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Defense & Security
Soldiers outside a hotel in Amman, Jordan. The country is currently under strict curfew enforced by the military to combat coronavirus

Jordan’s Security Challenge: All Not Quiet on the Northern Front

by Osama Al-Sharif

Jordan’s King Abdullah is not known for mincing words, especially when speaking to a foreign audience or media. After all, he was the one who back in 2004 coined the term “Shia crescent,” which proved to be a self-fulfilling prophecy in the wake of the US invasion of Iraq.  It proved to be a stern warning to the world and the region about the possible emergence of an ideological Shia crescent extending from Tehran to Beirut that Iran dominates through Baghdad and Damascus. Few took his warning seriously then, and many years later, the region finds itself embroiled in a multi-layered crisis with one common denominator: an ideologically-driven Iran. So, it was not surprising that King Abdullah issued another firm warning, on May 18, in an interview with H.R. McMaster in Washington, DC, for the Battlegrounds series by Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. During this interview, the king said that the Russian presence in the south of Syria was a source of calm. He added that their absence would create a “…vacuum [that] will be filled by the Iranians and their proxies, so, unfortunately, we are looking at maybe an escalation of problems on our borders.” His statements were seen as prophetic and pre-emptive. The Russians were still going nowhere at that specific moment. They have been in Syria since 2015, and the king was the first Arab leader to welcome their intervention specifically to offset the presence of pro-Iran militias, especially in the south so close to the borders with Jordan.  Through close personal rapport with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the king was able to reach an understanding under which, among other things, the Kremlin would run military patrols along the shared borders and keep pro-Iran militias as far away as possible from the Jordanian borders. However, the king’s recent statements may have divulged an intrinsic concern that as the inconclusive war in far-away Ukraine drags on, consuming more of Moscow’s political, economic, and military assets, the Kremlin might be forced to redeploy its forces elsewhere. Such a scenario could divert some of its troops from parts of Syria and leave a void in the south that pro-Iranian militias would then fill.An Intensifying Drug WarJordan’s problems in southern Syria are multi-faceted. Besides the possible encroachment of pro-Iran militias, including Hezbollah, Amman is worried that ISIS is slowly re-merging in the vast eastern desert between Jordan, Syria, and Iraq. Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told this writer last month that Amman is monitoring militant movements and drug-making facilities close to its borders with Syria.  Making things more complicated is the fact that since late last year, the Jordanian armed forces have found themselves in the middle of an intensifying drug war along the border with Syria, which is becoming more intense, dangerous, and challenging. In January, the Jordanian army intercepted and repulsed a vast operation that killed 27 smugglers and confiscated a large cache of hashish and Captagon pills. A Jordanian officer was killed in one of the operations, and three border guards were wounded. The escalation has forced the Jordanian army to change the rules of engagement, giving its officers a free hand in dealing with the smugglers. To make things more complex, Jordan spoke of organized smuggling operations where “rogue” members of the Syrian army were involved. On May 23, a senior Jordanian army officer said, “dangerous Iranian organizations are conspiring and targeting Jordan’s national security.” According to him, smugglers receive support from “undisciplined groups from the Syrian border guards” while using sophisticated reconnaissance and surveillance technology, including drones. The drug war consumes Jordanian resources as the army tries to keep the 360-kilometer-long border under control. Jordan has highlighted that the kingdom has become a gateway for smugglers who use its territory to reach Gulf and European markets. Evidence suggests that the Syrian regime uses the drug network to generate billions in illicit money to fund its ailing treasury. The escalation of the drug war has cast a shadow over King Abdullah’s attempt to rehabilitate President Bashar Assad’s regime. A senior Jordanian official tells this writer that Amman has received no response from the Damascus government regarding the possible complicity of members of the Syrian army in smuggling activities. While there has been no evidence that Russian forces in southern Syria have withdrawn, several unconfirmed western reports indicate that some Russian military assets in Syria have been redeployed and may have left the country. On May 18, Asharq Al-Awsat reported that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. (IRGC) has received sizable military shipments in Syria in April, and pro-Iran militias have taken strategic positions in the central parts of the country following the Russian withdrawal. On May 22, the same paper reported that the Russian military police had run patrols along the border with Jordan near Daraa, Suwayda, and the Yarmouk River basin. It seems that Amman has suspended its efforts to normalize ties with Damascus in contrast to a spike in official contacts between the two sides late last year and earlier this year. Pundits in Amman believe that the possibility of a significant geopolitical shift in southern Syria has put the détente between the two countries on hold. In his recent interview, King Abdullah also talked about a possible “escalation of problems on our borders,” a stark reminder that Jordan will not stand by if it directly threatens its security emanating from southern Syria. That could include launching pre-emptive cross-border special operations bringing Jordan’s armed forces closer to engaging Syrian soldiers and pro-Iran militants.

Flag of Japan between flags of US and China

Japan’s policy amidst growing US-China rivalry

by Kristina Voda

AnnotationThe article is devoted to the analysis of Japan’s policy amidst growing competition between the United States and China in the Indo-Pacific region. It assesses the Japan’s place in US strategy to contain China in the economic and political spheres. Particular attention is paid to the events that took place in 2021, the first year of the Biden administration in the US.  The Biden administration, which came to the White House on January 20, 2021, immediately announced a course of rivalry with China. In his very first foreign policy speech, the 46th President of the United States called the PRC the most serious rival of the United States, declared his desire to rebuff "the growing ambitions of authoritarian China, challenging American leadership". The U.S. Interim National Security Strategy Guide, published in March 2021, called China “the only competitor with the potential to combine its economic, diplomatic, military, and technological might to mount a sustained challenge to a stable and open international system”. The Biden administration's course of confronting Beijing also included countering Chinese illegal trade practices, cybercrime, and countering Beijing's so-called coercive economic measures that undermine the competitive advantage of the American economy. At the same time, Joe Biden, unlike his predecessor D. Trump, who pursued a policy in the spirit of “America first”, promised to rely on allies and partners in the implementation of his international policy. The Interim Strategic National Security Guide of the United States called the American allies “the most important strategic resource”, allowing them to act as a united front against global and regional rivals, including China. The United States promised to reaffirm and strengthen its commitment to alliances in Europe and the Indo-Pacific region, and to encourage allies to develop their military and political capabilities to counter common current and future threats. Japan, the most important military and political ally of the United States in the Indo-Pacific region (ITR), supported Joe Biden's course of rivalry with China on a wide range of issues. At the same time, the growing competition between Washington and Beijing is challenging Tokyo's national interests, forcing it to revise the key parameters of its economic and foreign policy strategy and adapt it to changing international political conditions.Military-political sphereIn 2021, Japan began coordinating its PRC strategy with the new American administration. On March 16, Tokyo hosted the first meeting of the new heads of the US Foreign and Defense Departments — A. Blinken and L. Austin — with their Japanese counterparts, which took place in the 2+2 format. Following the meeting, the parties stated that China's activities in the political, economic, military and technological spheres pose a challenge to the Japan-US alliance and the entire world community when they do not comply with the existing international order. The ministers announced their determination to resist Beijing's actions if they put pressure on regional players or destabilize the situation, which undermines the "rules-based" international system. During Biden's first Japan-US summit in Washington on April 16, 2021, the parties expressed concern about China's behavior that violates international order, including the use of economic and other forms of coercion. In addition, J. Biden and Y. Suga spoke out against China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, and also expressed concern about the human rights situation in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. For the first time in 52 years (since 1969), the leaders of Japan and the United States mentioned the "Taiwan issue" in a joint statement: they declared the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and expressed concern about the current situation around Taiwan. A desire was declared to develop cooperation between Washington and Tokyo on the basis of universal values and common principles. The parties also stressed the need for deterrence to maintain peace and stability in the region. At the same time, J. Biden and Y. Suga noted that it is important to have a frank dialogue with Beijing, directly express their concerns and work with it on topics of interest. The United States remains Japan's most important military and political partner, guaranteeing the security of the Japanese state from outside attacks. According to official Japanese government documents, the most serious security threat to Japan is the lack of transparency in the increase in the combat capability of the Chinese military. In addition, China's attempts to change the status quo in the East China and South China Seas pose a threat to Japan. There is particular concern about China's activity around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which threatens Japan's sovereignty over the islands. In addition, the development of the DPRK's nuclear and missile programs is considered a security threat to Japan. Tokyo is concerned about the significant progress made by Pyongyang in the development of a new type of ballistic missile. On these most sensitive issues, Tokyo is seeking guarantees from Washington to ensure its security. The growing confrontation between the US and China in the international military-political sphere poses new challenges to the alliance between Japan and the US. In the 2010s - early 2020s. with the active assistance of the Japanese government, military cooperation between Tokyo and Washington has expanded markedly. The change in the interpretation of the Constitution by the government of S. Abe in 2013 allowed Japan to apply the right to collective self-defense in limited cases. The Japanese Self-Defense Forces gained the ability to come to the aid of their allies in joint operations outside the Japanese islands. As a result, the scope of the Japanese-American alliance has expanded virtually to the whole world. The creation in 2015 of the Coordinating Mechanism between the armed forces of the two countries is aimed at strengthening cooperation between Tokyo and Washington in the military sphere. It was used to monitor the situation on the Korean Peninsula during the escalation of tensions in 2017. In addition, Japan increased the volume of purchases of American weapons, including F-35 aircraft, SM3 ballistic missile interceptors, RQ-4 Global Hawk long-range unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, Osprey convertiplanes, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye AWACS aircraft, etc. Tokyo's more active involvement in the confrontation between Washington and Beijing is supported by some American political experts. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of publications substantiating the important role of Japan in the US strategy in the Indo-Pacific region. It is noted that during the years of D. Trump's presidency, the United States refused to participate in a number of global and regional multilateral initiatives, undermining its credibility as the leader of the liberal international order. At the same time, it was Japan that assumed the role of a conductor and defender of liberal values in the IPR. As S. Smith, senior fellow at the American Council on Foreign Affairs, notes, along with maintaining an unshakable commitment to an alliance with the United States, Japan has acquired a more prominent role in international coalitions in the ITR in recent years. This is evidenced by its participation in naval exercises with the United States, Australia, India, and others. Further involvement of Japan in the US-Chinese confrontation on the side of the United States will require Tokyo to build up its military potential and increase its defense budget, strengthen coordination between its three types of armed forces, between the armed forces of the United States and Japan, as well as the unification of their commands. Such changes in Japan's military sphere will require further modifications of its defense legislation, including a revision of the restrictions imposed by the anti-war Article 9 of the Constitution. Although part of the political elite, including members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and former Prime Ministers S. Abe and Y. Suga, advocates the need to revise the Constitution and further expand Japan's military capabilities, about half of the public still does not support this course and adheres to pacifist views. In the short term, radical changes in Japan are unlikely, which will impose restrictions on Japanese-American cooperation in the military sphere. As for relations between Japan and China, during the period of D. Trump's administration in the United States, there was limited convergence on economic and political issues between Tokyo and Beijing in 2017-2019. The visit of Prime Minister S. Abe to Beijing in 2018 gave an impetus to the expansion of economic interaction between the two largest Asian economies. China and Japan signed 52 agreements totaling about $18 billion, announced plans to cooperate in third countries in the field of infrastructure construction, agreed to cooperate in the field of innovation development and intellectual property protection, renewed a $30.4 billion currency swap agreement, expressed the need to jointly develop free trade regimes in the region. Tokyo and Beijing have taken steps towards each other in the field of regulating tension in the East China Sea. The parties reaffirmed their long-standing intention to turn the East China Sea into a "sea of peace, cooperation and friendship" and agreed to prevent the emergence of dangerous situations at sea and in the air. On December 28, 2021, Japan and China again announced their intention to open a “hot line” between military departments to monitor the situation in the East China Sea around the Senkaku Islands, the sovereignty over which is disputed by Beijing. In the military-political sphere, serious contradictions remain between Japan and the PRC, including the territorial dispute, the problem of historical memory, as well as competition for influence in the IPR. At the same time, Tokyo maintains channels of communication with Beijing and its own agenda of bilateral relations. According to R. Sahashi, a Tokyo University researcher, Japan's task in its relations with China since establishing diplomatic relations in the 1970s has been to involve China in the international political order through the development of bilateral economic relations while maintaining its alliance with the United States. Japan's response to the current intensification of confrontation between the United States and China has been to increase cooperation with the United States in the military-political sphere and in the field of economic security, as well as the development of interaction with countries that share views with Tokyo on a preferred international order while maintaining diplomatic relations with China. Japan's long-term interest lies in the creation in the IPR of certain institutions in the field of economy, politics and security, which should lead to the formation of an order based on universal values.Trade and economic sphereIn 2021, the policy of the Joe Biden administration in the trade and economic sphere in the Indo-Pacific region was in the process of formation. Many of D. Trump's measures, primarily in relation to China, have retained their effect. A number of new initiatives were proposed to restore the US position in the IPR, lost during the years of the previous administration. With respect to the PRC, Washington upheld the tariffs imposed by Trump on imports of Chinese products worth about $370 billion (on 75% of exports of Chinese manufacturers to the United States). In addition, sanctions remain against high-tech Chinese companies ZTE and Huawei. In response to US restrictive measures, China imposed 25% tariffs on $110 billion of US imports in 2018. The trade dispute between the United States and China, the active phase of which fell on 2018-2019, led to the signing by the parties on January 16, 2020 of the so-called first phase of the trade agreement. It assumed an increase in Beijing's purchases of American products in 2020-2021. by $200 billion compared to 2017. It also committed China to make progress in enforcing intellectual property rights, remove non-tariff barriers to agricultural imports, and liberalize its financial services sector. The Biden administration continued to insist that China fulfill the terms of the first phase of the bilateral agreement. In October 2021, the new US Trade Representative K. Tai announced her intention to continue consultations with the Chinese side on trade and economic issues, as well as to raise issues such as subsidizing by the PRC government of certain sectors of the economy and special measures to support state-owned enterprises, which Washington is considering in as Beijing's "non-market trading practices". The trade dispute between the United States and China has led to a slowdown in the global economy and world trade, a decline in business confidence and increased uncertainty about future developments. Japan's trade volume in 2019 also decreased by 5% compared to 2018. Japanese exports to China fell by 7%, imports decreased by 3%. China remains Japan's largest trading partner: China's share in Japanese trade in 2018-2019 was 22%, and at the end of 2020 it increased to 24%, while the share of the USA was at the level of 15%. The trade dispute between Washington and Beijing had a negative impact on the economic performance of Japanese multinational corporations (TNCs) with Chinese subsidiaries. Since the US imposed tariffs on Chinese products in 2018, there has been a decline in sales from Chinese affiliates of Japanese TNCs trading with North American countries. Declines in the value of shares on the exchange (Nikkei 225 Index) were recorded for Japanese TNCs, whose operations are related to trade between the US and China. The share price of TNCs, whose Chinese subsidiaries had a higher share of imports from Japan, fell most noticeably. This is because, as sales to the US fell, the volume and value of imports from Japan also fell, resulting in a decline in the share price. To avoid an increase in the negative effect of the trade war, some Japanese corporations were forced to transfer production. So, Mitsubishi Electric in 2018-2019 moved part of the production of semiconductors and equipment for customers from the United States to Japan. Other companies have increased the capacity of their plants in North America and Southeast Asia. Electric motor maker Nidec Corporation moved production to Mexico in October 2018, Ricoh moved printer production to Thailand, and Sharp moved some laptop production from China to Vietnam. Washington’s course to confront Beijing in the economic and technological spheres in 2021 was supplemented by an initiative aimed at reducing the dependence of the US economy on high-tech products made in China and reformatting existing supply chains with the possible exclusion of China from them. In February 2021, Washington announced its intention to encourage the transfer of production of critical products from China to the United States and allied countries, including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and India. At the same time, special attention in the United States is paid to the production of semiconductors, an industry that is one of the key drivers of global economic growth. The semiconductor shortage in 2021 exposed the vulnerability of existing supply chains and undermined the global production of cars, computers and electronics. On June 8, 2021, the U.S. Senate passed the Innovation and Competition Act, which provides $250 billion for the development of the semiconductor, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence industries. 52 billion of them is planned to be directed to expanding the production of semiconductors in the United States. The purpose of this bill is to increase the competitiveness of the United States in the technological competition with China, where as part of the "Made in China 2025" strategy, the amount of state support for semiconductor-producing companies is stated to be 1.4 trillion dollars. The Japanese government is also taking steps to reduce dependence on China. According to Japanese expert A. Furuse, Tokyo realized the need to diversify its supply chains as early as 2010 after the escalation of tensions around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea caused interruptions in the supply of rare earth metals to Japan from China. Today, when the whole world is facing supply disruptions, the importance of cooperation between allies and partners in high-tech industries is increasing. Partner countries will be able to reduce the risks of dependence on China, share the financial burden on research and development, and take their industrial cooperation to a new level. On June 4, 2021, the Government of Japan released the "Semiconductor and Digital Industries Strategy" covering activities in three sectors: semiconductors, digital infrastructure, and digital industry. It states that ensuring the security of production and supply of semiconductors is an issue directly related to economic security in the face of technological competition between the United States and China. To this end, Japan will promote joint development with advanced foreign manufacturers. Another document released by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on June 29, 2021 said that with the rivalry between the US and China intensifying, Japan should diversify its suppliers and cooperate with the US and other countries to protect supply chains. It also emphasizes the need to take measures to prevent the leakage of sensitive technologies from Japan. Another important issue is the prospects for the participation of the US and China in multilateral trade formats in the ITR. Now China's share of international trade in the region far exceeds that of the United States. On November 15, 2020, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was signed and entered into force on January 1, 2022 for ten countries (Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Japan, Laos, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam). In the absence of India, which pulled out of negotiations in early 2020, China is taking the lead in this world's largest free trade zone, covering 30% of the world's population. After the United States withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in 2017, the remaining 11 countries participating in the negotiations entered into a new agreement called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Japan, after the withdrawal of the United States, took the place of the leader of the association and thereby guaranteed itself participation in the formation of rules and norms for conducting trade and economic activities in the region. In September 2021, China applied to join the CPTPP. Although many are skeptical about the prospects of China's participation in the CPTPP, China's share in the trade of all its members already exceeds that of the United States. The accession of the United States to the CPTPP in the near future is also unlikely, primarily for domestic political reasons. Nevertheless, in 2021, the Biden administration made an attempt to return to the discussion of trade and economic issues in the IPR on a multilateral basis. Speaking at the East Asia Summit (EAS) on October 27, 2021, which was held online, Biden announced the initiative to create the Indo-Pacific economic framework. According to him, its activities will be aimed at facilitating trade procedures, setting standards for the digital economy and technologies, strengthening the sustainability of supply chains, decarbonization and development of clean energy, infrastructure development, improving labor standards, and so on. But this initiative, unlike multilateral free trade agreements, will not be binding, it does not include trade and investment liberalization goals, and it does not guarantee preferences in the attractive US market. These circumstances will reduce the value of the American proposal for the IPR countries in comparison with the already existing multilateral formats. Washington's unwillingness to participate in free trade agreements in the IPR reduces the involvement and influence of the United States in the rules and norms of trade and economic activity being developed here. In turn, Beijing, the leading trading partner of most regional economies, during the 2010s put in significant efforts in creating its own international institutions designed to strengthen the influence of the PRC on international economic relations and at the same time increase independence from external rules and norms. Under these conditions, Japan sees its task as the formation of a multifaceted trade and economic system with unified rules and norms in the ITR, which will be able to not only balance China's growing influence but also create a liberal economic order that both China and the United States will be forced to reckon with. Thus, Japan hopes that its multilateral trade policy will be able to limit the unilateral actions of Beijing and Washington and reduce the potential negative effects of the trade war between China and the United States on the national and global economy.

Mumbai, India. Migrant workers sit in the queue at a train terminus to board on a train for their journey back home during a nationwide lockdown

South Asian Migration to Western Europe: Origins, Trends, Perspectives

by Andrey Volodin

Migration flows from South Asia to Western Europe have a long history, the origins of which can be traced in the colonial development of the states of this region.  The end of British colonial rule in India in 1947 was accompanied by the split of the once unified territorial space of Hindustan into two national entities - India and Pakistan. During the first decades after independence, there were intense migratory movements from the former colony to the former metropolis. British migration policy determined the direction and intensity of migration flows from the Hindustan Peninsula to the United Kingdom. The first post-colonial migration flows were based on the following reasons: Britain's interest in the influx of additional labor force, mostly of low qualification; the practice (which existed before 1947) of free human movements from the colonies to the mother country; features of the immigration policy of the United Kingdom, which allowed citizens of the countries of the British Commonwealth to choose their country of residence and even have their own companies in the UK. The vast majority of migrants from India were Sikhs, people from a peasant environment (mainly middle-class farms), who served in the colonial army and police units, as well as their relatives, who did not fail to take advantage of the opportunity to leave. Prior to the adoption of The British Commonwealth Immigration Acts 1962 and 1968 by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, indians, as Commonwealth citizens, had unlimited rights to enter the territory of the former metropolis. Many of the new arrivals settled in industrial centers such as Leicester or Birmingham. Newly arrived migrants were employed in the textile and service industries. A significant part of them were employed in the services of Heathrow Airport in west London. The 1962 Act, which restricted the freedom of migration to the British Isles from the Commonwealth countries, actually already encouraged immigrants from India and other South Asian countries to settle on British territory. Soon their family members joined them. By the mid-1960s, most Indians arriving in the UK were listed as "dependants", as British government statistics described them. Dependents made up 75% of immigrants in 1965 and 80% in 1966. Migration flows from India to the former metropolis peaked in 1968, when the number of arrivals in the United Kingdom exceeded 23 thousand people. Migration flows from India intensified sharply between 1995 and 2005. Data from population censuses shows that the number of Indian migrants actually tripled between 1961 and 2001, from 166,000 to 470,000. To be fair, we note that the British, who were born in India, were also immigrants. In 2001, the Indian community in the United Kingdom numbered about 1 million people, with about a fifth of its composition coming from South Africa and former East African colonies. In 2007, the number of Indians in the UK increased to 1.3 million people. Until the early 1990s, the former metropolis remained the main haven for Indian migrants, but gradually their influx began to spread to Western and, to an increasing extent, Eastern Europe. For the period 1995–2005 about half of the migrants from India heading for Europe ended up in the UK. The rest preferred other EU countries, primarily Germany and Italy, which accounted for 18 and 12% of Indian migrants respectively. During the period under review, there was an increase, albeit slowly, in the number of Indians moving to Belgium and Sweden. Approximately 1,000 settlers per year settled in France, where the Indian community, which by the mid-2000s was about 65,000 people, largely consisted of ethnic Indians from Madagascar, the Seychelles, Reunion and Mauritius. For a better understanding of the reasons for the intensification of migration flows from India and other countries culturally related to this country, it is worth recalling the policy deliberately pursued by a number of European governments, the meaning of which was to invite skilled and relatively inexpensive labor from the “largest democracy in the world”. Thus, the temporary “green card” migration initiative that operated in Germany from 2000 to 2005 was initially focused on attracting Indian information technology specialists. In Italy, the Indian community was formed from those who initially entered the Apennines illegally, and subsequently received legal grounds for staying in the country. The vast majority of Indian migrants in Italy are from Punjab, working on dairy farms and other agricultural sectors. The development of information technology and related industrial clusters in India, the high-quality professional training of graduates from Indian institutes of technology - these and other factors predetermined the interest of the United States, Western Europe, and Australia in attracting skilled labor from India. Already in 2000, at least one third of migrants in the field of information technology in the UK represented India. In 2000–2004 more than 245 thousand migrants of this profession settled in the USA. In this kind of "migration competition" India was second only to Mexico, China and the Philippines. In the UK, in October 2004, a program was adopted to "naturalize" successful Indian students (as well as representatives of other Commonwealth countries) in the specialties: physical sciences, mathematics and engineering. The naturalization program has become an additional source of attraction to the United Kingdom of future specialists in the field of natural sciences and exact sciences from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. At the same time, this program has become a tool for managed migration to the UK. This practice is followed by the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, as well as France, Germany and the Netherlands. Demand for foreign labor with a high share of added intellectual value is ultimately determined by the characteristics of the socio-demographic structure of the population of Western European countries. The rapid “aging” of the workforce in the countries of the historical “core” of the current EU encourages the governing bodies of this organization to use such tools to attract future workers in the “knowledge economy” as educational fairs. At the same time, the use of foreign “intellectual production proletarians” is conceived as the provision of appropriate services without staying in a Western European country on a permanent basis. The movement of human capital from India and South Asian countries to Western Europe, in the understanding of local elites, has a twofold goal: 1) to increase the competitiveness of Western European economies in the world economy and at the same time 2) to deprive the countries of the South Asian region of independence in choosing national models for the development of the information technology industry. There are also restrictions even for this type of migration: the EU authorities are seriously afraid that the massive import of labor from India and other (not only South Asian) countries with a high share of added intellectual value may in the future undermine the reproduction of national scientific schools in Western European countries employed by developments in the field of information technology and their application in the economy. Finally, a group of political factors is of no small importance in the formation of the migration policy of the EU countries, in particular, dissatisfaction with the “substratum of other civilizations” in the Western European cultural environment on the part of forces supporting national populism. A significant proportion of Pakistani migrants to the UK originate from the Mirpur district in Azad Kashmir (area now under Pakistani control). The county has a long history of emigration. So, people from Mirpur worked as stokers on British ships, whose home ports were Bombay and Karachi. Subsequently, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, some of them settled in the United Kingdom. Post-war Pakistani migrants in the British Isles took jobs in the textile factories of Lancashire, Yorkshire, Manchester and Bradford, in the car factories of the West Midlands and its largest city of Birmingham, filled the light industry development zones in cities such as Luton and Slough. Among other groups of migrants from Pakistan, it is customary to single out Punjabis who settled mainly in Glasgow, Birmingham and Southall, an area of west London that is often called “little Punjab”. The main migration flows from Bangladesh to the British Isles occurred in the first half of the 1970s. They were a reaction to civil unrest in the newly formed state and affected primarily the Sylhet region in the north-east of the country, located directly near the Bangladeshi-Indian border. Initially, Bangladeshi migrants were employed in steel mills and textile mills throughout the UK, but after the closure of these enterprises due to the economic crisis, Bangladeshi migrants rushed into small businesses, primarily in tailoring and catering, including restaurant business. Many people from Bangladesh actively joined the network of Indian restaurants, which was rapidly developing in those years, and subsequently took over a significant part of it. The first migration flow from the relatively developed Sri Lanka (before 1972 - Ceylon) to the UK, modest in size, falls on the 1960s-1970s. Migrants arriving from the former colony were employed in the UK National Health Service, as well as in other areas of the economy where white-collar workers work, becoming employees, administrators, managers, etc. For the most part, the migrants who arrived in the British Isles were from wealthy families and well-educated. They quickly found a use for their abilities in the United Kingdom. The second wave of Sri Lankan migration to the UK occurred in the 80s and was a product of the civil war that swept the island at that time. A significant number of wealthy Sri Lankan Tamils sought refuge in the former metropolis. The migrants of the second wave were not as well-born as their predecessors, however, like many refugees to the West, they did not belong to the "lower classes" of society. Sri Lankans are employed in the traditional segment of the service sector: in shops and restaurants, and some of them even managed to open their own business. CONSEQUENCES OF THE MIGRATION CRISIS OF 2015 Significant adjustments to the intensity of the movement of people from the territories of the “global South” to the space of the “historical North” were introduced by “truncated globalization” (which further exacerbated the contradictions between the leaders of the world economy, primarily the United States, Western Europe, Japan, with on the one hand, and the rest on the other). It gave rise to both active (“passionary” anti-globalization movements and projects) and passive (intensification of migration flows towards the original “core” of the EU) response of transitional societies – the main part of the ecumene. It is believed that the main migration “corridors” from transitional societies to industrialized countries will retain their main direction in the future, especially since demographic processes in the “global South” will continue to exert migration pressure on future generations in the coming decades. India (and South Asia in a broad sense) remains the territory of origin of the largest number of international migrants: 17.5 million Indians live abroad. For the countries of South Asia, a region with significant labor surpluses, migration eases labor market strains while contributing to poverty alleviation through remittances. It is therefore not surprising that the countries of the South Asian region remain the largest recipients of remittances in the world: in 2018, in countries such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, remittances from abroad exceeded 5% of the GDP of these states. It is also worth noting the factor of internal migration in the countries of South Asia: for the period 2001–2011 the urban population of these countries increased by 130 million people, which became an additional incentive for external migration. The most desirable destination regions for illegal migrants from South Asia are Western Europe, North America and Oceania. Demographers note that South Asian migrants bound for Western Europe are smuggled to their destination mainly through Central Asia and the Russian Federation, but also through the Middle East towards the Western Balkans. Finally, South Asians are driven to move to Western Europe and the Gulf region by the constant risk of natural disasters, which primarily affect Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Obviously, the most socialized and adapted groups of the urban population of South Asia are ready to change their way of life. As of 2019, the largest migrant groups in the United Kingdom were immigrants from India, Poland and Pakistan. In the UK, France and Germany, there is a positive correlation between the high quality of human capital among migrants and their innovative activity. Migration flows are expected to influence the activation of the forces of national populism in Western Europe. Thus, after the migration crisis of 2015, the influence of the respective parties is rapidly growing, winning back positions from the centrists and social democrats. “People's parties” are becoming more and more successful, uniting various segments of the population, including those who are dissatisfied with the growing influx of “other civilizational substrate” into the countries of Western Europe. Thus, the policy of "traditional" parties contributes to the growth of the influence of the forces of national populism. Traditional parties justify their policy of accepting migrants by the need to integrate the labor market in the face of a growing shortage of skilled labor. According to traditionalists, the integration of the labor market has an inevitable consequence of strengthening the economic viability of society and increasing the viability of its political institutions, as well as the feeling of new arrivals of their belonging to the host society. The problem of socio-economic (as well as cultural) adaptation of migrants in the societies of Western Europe remains acute: in 2017 in the EU, the unemployment rate among migrants was 13.3%, while among the autochthonous population it did not exceed 6.9%. The coronavirus pandemic has made significant adjustments to the intensity of migration flows. As a result of the pandemic, the IMF blog writes, “migration flows suddenly stopped. The Great Lockdown is temporary, but the pandemic could reinforce general sentiments of insularity and disbelief in opening up to the outside world and have a more lasting effect on countries' propensity to accept migrants. Decline in immigration and high unemployment in destination countries will have a negative impact on the situation in its origin countries, especially the poorer ones, which are heavily dependent on the remittances that migrant workers send home”. The costs of migration also include the need to overcome geographical and linguistic barriers. Integration into the economic system of the host country implies a thorough mastery of its language, which is a precondition for the adaptation of migrants in a different cultural and social environment. So, immigrants from Bangladesh adapted well to the Apennine Peninsula because they were able to master the Italian language, which is difficult for the inhabitants of South Asia. As the Italians believe, people from Bangladesh are more industrious and less pretentious than Indians, and are ready to work in the most adverse conditions. Finally, migration from Bangladesh is economically beneficial for Italians: migrants with skills in light industry are welcome “guests” in the Apennines, since they make up a significant part of the staff of textile enterprises that manufacture products with the “Made in Italy” identification label especially valued by foreigners. Other dangers await the settlers. It is worth remembering that migrants to the West often find themselves in a “poverty trap” due to insufficient funds to pay the costs associated with migration. Nevertheless, experts believe that a one percentage point increase in migrant influx relative to total employment increases output by almost 1% by the fifth year of the resettlement in a new place. The desire of South Asians to move to Western Europe may be due to the fact that in the case of immigration to countries with emerging markets and transition societies, such a positive impact of labor productivity growth is not observed, primarily due to the difficulties of adapting to the conditions of local markets of underdeveloped countries. Migration can also create problems in the area of income distribution in the host society, since in some segments of the labor market, local workers (or people from Eastern and Central Europe who have already settled down in Western Europe) may suffer material damage, at least temporarily. Modern migration and migration policy in Western European countries continue to be influenced by the experience of previous decades. Thus, post-war migration to Western Europe from the former colonies was structured both by centuries of experience in moving along the route of the colony-mother country, and by a significant demand for relatively inexpensive labor for the needs of modernizing the economies of Western European countries after World War II. And some former colonial powers, such as the Kingdom of the Netherlands, were engaged in the movement of labor from their eastern possessions (Indonesia) to South America (Suriname). Historical memory is also invisibly present in the migration policy of France. So, in the 30s, almost a third of the population of this country was in the status of migrants, mainly they were immigrants from the countries of Southern Europe. Memories of the past, coupled with the migratory consequences of imperial existence, gave rise to the phenomenon of anti-immigrant political parties. The growth of the influence of the forces of anti-migrant populism was already observed in the 90s. Then the “National Front” quickly gained influence. As if responding to the challenge of anti-migrant populism, the right-wing government headed by E. Balladur is taking tough measures to limit the migration flow to the maximum and minimize emigration for political reasons. Subsequently, migration reforms were somewhat relaxed, but entry into France was strictly controlled, and the labor market was tightly regulated. The authorities of another colonial empire, Great Britain, acted in approximately the same way, pursuing a liberal line in relation to highly qualified migrants and implementing strict restrictive measures against refugees for political reasons. When assessing the prospects for resettlement of immigrants from India and other South Asian countries to Western European countries, it is necessary to take into account the EU factor, which has become a central element in building a new migration space in the unity of institutional rules for the movement of migrants and patterns of movement of peoples in the vastness of this integration association. It is important to keep in mind that migration is not a long-term solution to the demographic problems of the developed countries of Europe. It is assumed that most EU members, with the exception of France, Ireland and the United Kingdom, are doomed to a serious reduction in working-age populations in the coming decades. In addition, according to experts, labor markets in the EU countries are more inert and less flexible in relation to changing circumstances than in the US. Potential resettlers have to reckon with growing migration concerns in the EU's leading countries. At the same time, the attitude of receiving countries towards migration varies from country to country. Thus, in the countries of Southern Europe (Spain, Greece, Portugal), a “permissive” political culture that does not condemn migration is still influential. It is no coincidence that almost half of the migrants who have arrived in the EU since 2000 began their journey to Europe from Spain. However, even in Spain, new arrivals are viewed by public opinion not only as a socio-economic challenge, but also as a threat to cultural and ethnic identity. Since the early 1990s, the UK has been implementing a policy aimed at limiting the number of refugees and migrants as much as possible. Sometimes the authorities of the United Kingdom resort to frankly everyday motivation for their anti-migration actions, referring to the aggravation of the housing problem and the growth of social tension in London and southeast England. Nevertheless, the UK remains one of the preferred destinations for migration to Western Europe. Moreover, the very policy of the Western European states remains contradictory. On the one hand, the desire to appease public opinion results in uncompromising rhetoric against irregular migration. On the other hand, the desire to attract the skilled labor force necessary for the economy dictates an emphasis on the temporary nature of migration, which does not imply the granting of citizenship or residence permits. Nevertheless, since 2002, the number of people entering the EU has been an impressive figure - from 1.5 million to 2 million people. In other words, the conflict between the principles of the functioning of the nation-state and the guiding principles of multiculturalism defended by the settlers (as a method of managing interethnic relations in the host society) is becoming an integral part of the political development of many European countries. From now on, the confrontation between the principles of assimilation and multiculturalism becomes the axis of the entire socio-political development of the West. Until recently, multiculturalism had a strong influence on the attitude towards migrants in the Scandinavian countries, while assimilation has become clear in Greece, Austria, Poland, and Hungary. However, within the EU, the “multicultural consensus” is being increasingly tested for strength, in particular in Sweden. Similar trends are observed in the UK, France and the Netherlands. The sheer number of migrants can sometimes be misleading. Thus, the largest number of immigrants is recorded in large countries (Germany, France, Spain and the United Kingdom), while their highest proportions are noted in small states (Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland), which has an inevitable projection on the sphere of political relations. In addition, many countries do not keep statistics on the religious affiliation of the population, which is done in the name of the sacred principles of secularism. However, the situation is starting to change. Thus, in the UK in 2001, they began to take into account the confessional identity of the population, primarily to control migration flows from India and South Asia. At the same time, in the censuses in France and Germany, religious affiliation is not yet recorded. By the ratio of the principles of multiculturalism and assimilation, it is customary to single out several groups of European states. States that do not officially recognize the fact of multiculturalism (Germany, France, Greece, Denmark, Austria, Portugal, Finland, Ireland). At the same time, Italy, Finland, Germany, and Ireland practice bilingualism in relation to compact national minorities that have been living in these countries since ancient times. This principle does not apply to migrants. States that have delegated “linguistic powers” to several languages (Spain, Switzerland, Belgium). The envisaged status for French and Flemish in Belgium and the similar legal status for Catalan and Basque in Spain are intended to stop separatist tendencies in these societies and do not apply to the linguistic means of communication of migrants. States where multiculturalism has historically existed (United Kingdom, comprising England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), but its principles do not apply to migrants. States with a detailed policy towards migrants on a secular basis (Sweden, Norway), which is subjected to extensive criticism by various socio-political forces. States that initially accepted multiculturalism but subsequently rejected it (Netherlands). On the one hand, in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the largest centers of multiculturalism, special services for helping migrants have been preserved. On the other hand, the main socio-political forces of the country and the parties expressing their interests are strongly opposed to further external migration, and not only from the “global South”. The attitude towards the principles of assimilation and multiculturalism is also manifested in the life attitudes and practical activities of various social forces. Thus, liberals and social democrats prefer the discourse of multiculturalism, while conservatives present themselves as the guardians of the values of the nation-state, Christian ethics and national culture. However, the above dichotomy acquires important clarifying characteristics and nuances when the analysis program includes the contradictory position of trade unions, on the one hand, belonging to the left side of the political spectrum, and on the other hand, forced by the logic of internal political development to counteract the migration of foreign labor and the adaptation of migrants in the host country. The attitude towards migration of the business community, conservative in its cultural orientations and attitudes, and at the same time interested in the import of foreign labor as a factor in “compensating” the insufficient demographic potential of an “aging society” and an instrument of economic growth within a particular Western European country, is also distinguished by a considerable originality. The initial unfriendly reaction of the local population to the new arrivals was dictated by fears of an exclusively economic nature, that is, the unwillingness to financially support migrants. Settlers were not then seen as a threat to national culture and national identity. However, as refugees settled in a new place, their families increased, religious buildings were built, and European politics were actively involved, the attitude of Europeans towards migrants began to change. The “clash of civilizations” (SP Huntington) in Europe intensified. The “racial riots” of 1958 in Great Britain can be considered the historical starting point for the escalation of conflicts on a civilizational basis. In this country, most migrants had the status of subjects of the British Empire, which definitely facilitated their entry into the arena of political life. Race remained at the heart of the issue of multiculturalism in the UK until at least the late 1990s. At first, no serious significance was attached to the factor of religion as a fundamentally different model of behavior in Western Europe. The spread of Islamist radicalism and terrorism, rooted, as some politicians now argue, in the Islamic value system, has become a kind of watershed. The essence of their ideas boils down to the fact that Islam is allegedly in a state of “permanent war” with the West in general and with Christianity and democracy in particular. This kind of sentiment is supported by a part of the Western European press, which regularly publishes anti-Islamic stories coming from the Middle East and Central Asia. Shifts in the positions of political parties in Western European countries on migration issues can be summarized as follows:  - there is a strengthening of the motives of national culture, the principles of assimilation and loyalty to European political values; - control over migration processes is being tightened, including increased attention to political refugees;  - the “horizontal” interaction of the migration authorities of the interested European countries in the field of control over the movement of foreigners to the EU countries is being strengthened;  - there is an actual refusal of the political elites of Western Europe from the principles of multiculturalism, as well as from the concept of "universal values";  - attempts are being made to introduce “rational” (that is, deliberately complicated) concepts of migration policy into the life of the EU countries;  - organizational resources and political powers of organizations supervising migration processes are increasing.  Such steps by the Western European elites, which do not formally abolish the principles of racial equality and the practice of religious rites by migrants, actually exclude the further development of the principles of multiculturalism. The situation of migrants is also complicated by the unwillingness of orthodox Muslim activists to compromise with the authorities of the host country in the sphere of religious rites, which undermines the position of supporters of multiculturalism in Western Europe. In the current conditions, militant opponents of multiculturalism are turning for support not only to Western European lumpen and outcasts, but also to a significant part of the middle class and anti-migrant parties that advocate Christian values. For their part, members of the Muslim community believe that the "war against terror" in the West, started in 2001, has escalated into a "war against Islam." In the smaller EU countries, fears of being “absorbed” by a foreign culture are constantly fueling radical, anti-immigrant sentiments.  It can be assumed that the events of the beginning of this century (September 11, 2001, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, terrorist attacks in the countries of Western and Southern Europe, etc.), as well as the European migration crisis of 2015–2016 laid the foundation for shifts in the public consciousness of the population of the EU leaders that are unfavorable for migrants. The dominance of multiculturalism was replaced by the idea of the nation-state as a community bound by the unity of interests and the norms of Christian culture. At present, in the broad sections of the population of Western Europe, the idea of the ongoing erosion of the fundamental principles of the life of society, which undermines its integrity, is being strengthened. In the current reality, even highly educated migrants are beginning to be seen as a threat to the national unity of society. Such mindsets are constantly fueled by the systemic economic crisis, which calls into question the once stable notions of multiculturalism as a force capable of simultaneously ensuring the prosperity and security of Western society. CURRENT TRENDS IN MIGRATION FROM SOUTH ASIA TO THE EU The migration crisis of 2015–2016 turned the problem of migration into a central political issue in the internal life of the leading Western European countries. In the new conditions, socio-political forces and parties that advocate tough restrictive measures against the influx of migrants of other cultures into the EU receive more and more significant support in the new conditions. However, the resettlement of immigrants from South Asian countries to Western Europe continues, which is confirmed by the example of the Netherlands and Italy. Migration from India and other South Asian countries to these two countries is mostly “productive” in nature: for the Netherlands, an influx of quality labor in the information technology sector is important, while Italy needs a “demographic dividend” in the agro-industrial complex. In the Netherlands, where there is a need for qualified personnel for a rapidly growing information technology cluster, educated migrants from India have benefited from the liberalization of migration policy in important segments of the economy. True, in this country, a kind of Damocles sword is suspended over the problem of migration: the murder of film director Theo van Gogh in 2004 by a native of North Africa stimulated the growth of anti-migrant sentiment in the Netherlands, which traditionally had a reputation as a “home of tolerance”. Note that the need for skilled workers in the Netherlands is higher than the EU average (by 10%). Here, as in other countries of Western Europe (primarily in the UK), expat Indians represent the most dynamically growing group of migrants. In the Netherlands, this community includes workers with the necessary professional training in the fields of information technology, consulting services, engineering, and enterprise personnel management. Significant Indian migration to the Netherlands began in the 1980s. By the beginning of the 2010s, about 22 thousand Indians lived in the country (compared to 9 thousand in 1996). The Kingdom attracts Indian migrants, first of all, with a favorable living environment, a high standard of living, the widespread use of the English language in the country, a tolerant attitude towards foreigners, etc.  Young educated Indians find themselves in the Netherlands in several ways. In addition to the traditional recruitment practices of Dutch companies, the factor of expanding the activities of Indian companies in the kingdom is becoming increasingly important. Thus, currently more than 200 companies from India, mainly from the information technology sector, are active in this country. It should be taken into account that the information technology sector, on the one hand, is a powerful driving force for economic growth in India, and on the other hand, this segment of the national economy accounts for more than 45% of all exports of services from India. Another way of delivering Indian labor to the Netherlands is the activity of transnational companies (TNCs) operating in the country, interested in attracting from India the profile workforce of the required quality. The reluctance of some Dutch people to perform certain types of activities in the information technology segment also plays a role. In this case, English-speaking and law-abiding Indians are perhaps the best candidates for high-paying positions in this sector. In other words, the Netherlands attracts skilled, expensive labor to the country, the price of which (as of the beginning of 2019) starts at 4.5 thousand euros per month and 3.2 thousand euros per month for people under 30 years old. In turn, the Italian economy is experiencing a need to increase the volume of dairy production, which opens up opportunities for the Indian labor force, primarily from the northern state of Punjab. Many migrants from India arrived in the Apennine peninsula without an accurate understanding of the nature of the Italian labor market and the peculiarities of Italian society. Some migrants have joined families of relatives who have already arrived in the EU. Arriving in the Apennines, Indian settlers from the Punjab countryside quickly adapted to northern Italy, an industrial zone that lacks quality labor for the agricultural sector. However, this was more a happy coincidence than the result of the successful functioning of the labor market due to the competent intervention of Italian government departments. Indian migrants have recently turned their attention to Italy. Thus, in 2003, the total number of Indian migrants to the Apennine Peninsula was fixed at around 35.5 thousand people, while by 2018 it had more than quadrupled to 151.7 thousand peoplef. As a result, India has now moved from 10th to 6th place in the list of the main “suppliers” of migrants to the EU countries (and to 5th place among non-EU countries). The configuration of the main concentrations of Indian immigrants to Italy has also become somewhat different. If in 2003 the Indians settled unevenly in the central subregions of northern Italy and in Rome, then at present the contours of settlement have become more dispersed: the Indians live mainly in ten provinces, and their largest concentration is in Brescia (14 thousand people per 200 thousand of the local population). Unlike the Netherlands, migration to Italy is often carried out on an unplanned basis - as a result of a situational shortage of labor in a particular segment of the labor market or as a situational reaction of the Italian migration system to migration flows from non-Western societies. It should be noted that in Italy the majority of Indians are engaged in low-skilled labor outside the agro-industrial complex, in particular in industry. In terms of the share of employment in this segment of the national economy, immigrants from India do not stand out among migrants who came from non-Western societies. The agricultural sector, being the area of activity of 28.6% (2016) of migrants, remains the main area for the application of labor skills for Indian migrants (24.1% of the total labor force from outside the EU countries). Even among self-employed workers who came from countries outside the EU, the share of Indians (7% in 2016) has increased almost sixfold since 2007. It should be noted that agriculture is a relatively small and ever-shrinking segment of the Italian economy, accounting for no more than 2% of the country's GDP and in which wages are only half of the total level in the national economy. However, when assessing the potential of the agro-industrial complex, nuances are important. Thus, with the declining role of agriculture, agricultural production in Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto tends to increase - not least due to the hard work of Indian immigrants. The dynamic dynamics of development in these regions is shown by dairy production. An illustrative example is Cremona (population - about 75 thousand people), the administrative center of the Italian province of the same name. The resettlement of Indians began in the first half of the 90s with the use of tourist visas. Dairy production in the region was affected by the technological modernization of this sector, which began in the 60s and sharply reduced the demand for labor in Italian agriculture. However, the reduction in the supply of labor in the dairy sector was so significant that it was necessary to attract skilled labor from abroad, and this was a historic opportunity for hardworking Punjabis. A particularly significant contribution of Indian migrants was to the preservation of the cheese industry in the province of Cremona. In other words, the traditions of working on the ground were in demand in the north of Italy, where climatic conditions and temperature conditions almost perfectly match those of the Punjabi. Finally, the hard work of the Indians, their willingness to work on weekends and holidays, as well as overtime, are invariably noted by Italian employers. However, the interest of Indians to work in Italy has its own practical reasons. On the one hand, overtime work allows you to earn up to 3 thousand euros per month, receiving part of the payment “in an envelope” (a procedure common in Italy). Thus, the total income increases, which allows not only to send part of the proceeds to Punjab, but also to invest in the future - to invest savings in various sectors of the Italian economy. On the other hand, living on farms at work allows Indians to avoid the vicissitudes of the housing market in Italy, including discrimination against newcomers. In addition, employers highly appreciate the role of family ties among Indians as a stimulant of productive work. It is significant that employers have a positive attitude towards such qualities of Indians as internal balance, punctuality in the performance of official duties, enthusiasm for work, and note their lower predisposition to conflicts (both with the employer and with colleagues), which favorably distinguishes Indians from, for example, Egyptians and Moroccans. However, it should be taken into account that the Punjabis are a historically formed community of high-quality labor force. Their qualifications are highly valued far beyond the borders of India, whose national economy clearly lacks professionally trained workers capable of performing modern production operations. European migration crisis in 2015–2016 made significant adjustments both to the routes of movement of immigrants, and to the intensity of the human flows themselves from the “global South” to the “historical North”. India and other countries of South Asia remain one of the main sources of migration activity in the world. The examples of the Netherlands and Italy show that there is a “demographic dividend” in the South Asia region that can be used to benefit economic growth and development in industrialized countries. Both the Dutch and the Italians use the services of India's competitive populations. This experience, perhaps, should be used by Russia, which is in need of importing a “demographic dividend”. However, it is advisable to remember that the Indian authorities, conducting relevant negotiations with the Russian leadership, offer labor with low qualification characteristics for export. Defending national interests in such a specific area of bilateral relations will contribute to a better understanding by the Indian side of our real needs in the import of human capital and will confirm Russia's serious attitude towards multidisciplinary cooperation with the "largest democracy in the world." 

Defense & Security
Sukhbaatar, the parliament building of the government of Mongolia in Ulan Bator

Renewed Geopolitical Rivalries: Challenges and Options for Mongolia

by Mendee Jargalsaikhan

IntroductionDuring a break in the COVID-19 pandemic, the foreign ministers of China, Russia, Japan and the United States boosted Mongolia into international headlines. Returning from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting in Moscow, for instance, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stopped in Ulaanbaatar (15–16 September) with a message: Do not take sides with China’s competitors if Mongolia wants to rely on the Chinese economic powerhouse. Within the week, Mongolian Foreign Minister Enkhtaivan Nyamtseren was invited by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to meet on short notice. Even though the ministers jointly announced the finalization of a treaty on the permanent comprehensive strategic partnership, the Kremlin showed its will to lead trilateral economic projects (such as a gas pipeline) with China and impose the Eurasian Economic Union agenda on Mongolia. Then on 29 September, the United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the inclusion of Mongolia in his trip to visit allies in East Asia—Japan and the Republic of Korea.2 Although the trip was ultimately cancelled due to an outbreak of COVID-19 cases among White House officials, Pompeo talked by telephone with President Battulga Khaltmaa and highlighted their shared commitment to democracy and regional security. A few days later, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, considered a key insider of then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s geopolitics, flew to Ulaanbaatar. In addition to updating the strategic partnership plan until 2022, the Japanese Foreign Minister’s interests centred on Mongolia’s inclusion in the Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy. Mongolia has declared strategic partnerships with each of these great powers and is thus entering a complicated geopolitical setting. It is not entirely new. A similar scene occurred in the summer of 1991. Chinese President Yang Shangkun, Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu and the United States Secretary of State James Baker each visited Mongolia within a month’s time. China wanted agreement to non-interference in its internal affairs, whereas Japan and the United States imposed non-reversal conditionality on Mongolia’s democratic transition to receive much-needed economic assistance. The primary difference then was the absence of Russia. This policy paper discusses the renewed geopolitical rivalries of the great powers, explains Mongolia’s challenges to manoeuvring in this tough geopolitical terrain and then proposes pursuit of a pragmatic, neutral foreign policy option similar to Finland’s strategic concessions to its neighbouring great power, the Soviet Union.Renewed geopolitical rivalriesThe great power competition also is nothing new. Even after the Cold War, China, Japan, Russia and the United States were watching each other suspiciously while avoiding unnecessary tension. In the 1990s, policymakers and academics in Japan, Russia, and the United States debated over the China threat and the consequences of China’s economic rise. Russian leaders, such as Foreign Minister and later Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and President Vladimir Putin, sought ways to balance with the United States and to integrate into the European economic and security framework. It was not a surprise when Putin hinted at Russia’s inclusion in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) because the country was already supporting American military operations in Afghanistan. Similarly, in 2000, the United States Congress mandated its Defense Department to report annually on China’s security strategy and military development. China and Japan had similar outlooks. China was wary of the United States, whereas Japan remained vigilant of both China and Russia. In the mid-2000s, all these countries reassessed their long-term geopolitical and economic objectives as the geopolitical setting began to shift. With similar geopolitical concerns about American strategies, China and Russia advanced their partnership by conducting an annual joint military exercise (Peace Mission, beginning in 2005) and even demanded the withdrawal of American forces from Central Asia. When the United States proposed another round of NATO’s expansion into Ukraine and Georgia and new missile defence systems in the Czech Republic and Poland, Russia quickly reacted. This resulted in a brief military conflict with Georgia in 2008. Following the breakdown with Europe, Russia began pursuing policies to reassert its influence in former Soviet republics through the Eurasian Economic Union as well as the Collective Security Treaty Organization. China and Russia jointly strengthened the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and created a new bloc with Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa (BRICS) for collaborating on major geopolitical issues. From 2012, the great power rivalries intensified. Chinese President Xi Jinping renounced the “hide and bide” principle of Deng Xiaoping by pledging that China would take an active role in global politics. A year later, China unveiled a new grand strategy, known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), to invest in infrastructure that increases global connectivity. Chinese leaders explained that the BRI is a “win–win” developmental initiative. The ambitions and ambiguity of the BRI, however, immediately raised geopolitical concern from all the great powers, as if China was about to reshape the global and regional order for its geopolitical advantage. For example, building on its earlier strategy (Pivot to East Asia), the United States launched a series of measures to contain China. It endorsed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s quadrilateral security dialogue (for the alliance of Japan, India, Australia and the United States) and strengthened ties with India, Myanmar, Singapore and Vietnam, all of whom are cautious of China’s economic and military powers. Meanwhile, in 2014, Russia annexed Crimea and intervened in Eastern Ukraine, based on its geopolitical concerns for Ukraine’s potential membership in NATO. Then, in 2015, Russia deployed its military to Syria to check the United States’ interventions while declaring its strategic partnership with China. In response, the United States cited China and Russia as the biggest threats in its National Defense Strategy (2018), which is the country’s long-term strategic defense document.6 The American Defense Department released its Indo–Pacific Strategy Report, and the State Department defined its Free and Open Indo–Pacific vision. Both documents prioritized containing China’s growing economic and military power in the Indo–Pacific region. In addition to sanctions against China and Russia, the United States pressured its allies to ban Chinese telecommunication companies from participating in the development of the 5G network. In contrast, Russia welcomed the Chinese telecommunication giant—Huawei—to develop its 5G network and pledged to develop Chinese missile defence capabilities. This new round of great power rivalries is changing the geopolitical setting for a small State like Mongolia.Challenges for MongoliaThe primary challenge for Mongolia is to maintain its sovereignty. For centuries, geography has dictated the country’s fate as a classic buffer State between two expansionist and rival great powers—China and Russia. While serving the Kremlin’s geopolitical interests from 1921 to 1986, Mongolia gained United Nations membership and its independence from China. During this period, Mongolia remained under close control of the Kremlin and became a militarized buffer State whenever Russian geopolitical interests were threatened. The Kremlin deployed its military three times: in 1921, 1936 and 1960. Following the Sino– Soviet rapprochement and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mongolia normalized its relations with China and developed new ties with the United States and its allies. In the 1990s, Mongolia did not experience any geopolitical pressure from the great powers and firmly declared a series of neutrality policies. At the time, Mongolia’s two neighbours were preoccupied with maintaining their domestic matters and also coping with security concerns elsewhere. The United States and Japan focused on Mongolia’s political and economic transition while explicitly avoiding developing security ties. In that period, Mongolia adopted a series of neutrality policies: the constitutional prohibition on foreign military transition and basing, a non-aligned foreign policy stance, declaration of a nuclear weapon-free zone and bilateral treaties with all the great powers, with a “against no third party” principle. In this favourable geopolitical context, Mongolia increased Its engagement with international and regional organizations and sought ways to attract the interests of so-called “third neighbours”. The most important endeavour was its military deployment in support of American operations in Iraq, when China and Russia were strongly opposing the United States war in Iraq. Then, Mongolia deployed its military to Kosovo and Afghanistan. This military contribution resulted in close political and defence ties with the United States and NATO members as of 2003. The other endeavour was the conclusion of an investment agreement with Anglo–Australian mining giant Rio Tinto and Canadian Ivanhoe Mines to develop the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold deposit. These endeavours triggered reactions from China and Russia. China’s security experts cautioned Mongolia’s inclusion in the American “strategic encirclement” of China, whereas Russia was wary of losing its geopolitical privileges in Mongolia to NATO members. China and Russia jointly pressured Mongolia to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. As a result, Mongolia became an observer in 2005. Since then, Russia has taken assertive action to secure its geopolitical and geo-economic interests in critical areas such as railway construction, the energy sector and uranium mining. To be clear, neither China nor Russia attempted in this period to influence Mongolia’s domestic politics, especially its elections. Now all these great powers want to include Mongolia in their competing geopolitical visions. China declared a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2014 and included Mongolia as one of six economic corridors of the BRI. Beijing leaders hope that Mongolia will join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to fulfil its regionalization strategy of Central Asia. They also want Mongolia to commit to non-intervention in its internal affairs, especially in matters related to Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Inner Mongolia, in return for economic assistance and market access. In 2019, Russia quickly upgraded its strategic partnership with conclusion of a permanent treaty, which imposed Mongolia’s adherence to the Russian geopolitical agenda. Specifically, the treaty prioritizes bilateral consultations, renews defence technical cooperation and requires Mongolia’s adherence to the 1,520 mm (Russian standard railway gauge) for the railway extension. As hinted by some Russian officials, the Kremlin even dreams of Mongolia’s inclusion in the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, considering how Mongolia is traditionally wary of Chinese expansion. The United States and Japan have included Mongolia in their Free and Open Indo–Pacific strategy because Mongolia shares similar values (democracy, human rights) and security concerns regarding China and Russia. Interestingly, the American Pentagon’s Indo–Pacific Strategy (June 2019) identified Mongolia as a “reliable, capable and natural partner of the United States,” while designating Mongolia’s two neighbours as the biggest security threats: China as a revisionist power and Russia a revitalized Malign Actor. The American State Department’s Free and Open Indo–Pacific visionary document highlights Mongolia as one of the beneficiaries and supporters of its strategy. Japan also included Mongolia in its Partnership for Quality Infrastructure (PQI), a developmental assistance alternative to China’s BRI, and designated a new international airport and railway flyover (Sun Bridge) in Ulaanbaatar as PQI projects. Like many small States, Mongolia’s challenge is determining how to manoeuvre in this round of great power competitions without compromising its sovereignty and undermining its institutions of democratic governance.Options for MongoliaIdeally, the best option for Mongolia is to maintain friendly ties with all the great powers and to benefit economically as it sits at the merging point of different geopolitical strategies. In fact, this has been the case to a certain degree. Mongolia’s nuclear weapon-free zone status has been endorsed by all permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. The country’s peacekeeping efforts, whether military deployments or hosting training events, have been supported by all the involved great powers. Both China and Japan have aided in road development, such as with the Chinese-built Moon Bridge (BRI funding) and the Japanese Sun Bridge (PQI project) in the capital city. At the moment, China and the United States are assisting to improve the capital city’s water supply and infrastructure. Hopefully, China and Russia will construct a natural gas pipeline through Mongolia, which would increase trilateral economic cooperation. Current trends, however, force a consideration of the likelihood of consequences in the worst- and best-case scenarios. The most likely worst-case scenario has China alone or together with Russia entering into conflict with the United States. This circumstance would force Mongolia to limit its relations with the United States and even to stand with its neighbours against the United States and its allies. The other worst-case scenario, which is less likely at the moment, is the emergence of Sino–Russian geopolitical tension. This would create the direst situation, in which Mongolia could easily fall into the control of either neighbour or become a battleground. The best-case scenarios are also possible and would create a favourable overarching setting for Mongolia to manoeuvre and maintain its sovereignty. The best-case scenarios have all the great powers seeking strategic stability because they are intertwined with domestic challenges or geopolitically distracted elsewhere. In all these scenarios, the primary objective for Mongolian leaders would remain the same—to maintain sovereignty and independence. However, Mongolia’s options to maintain its sovereignty are limited. First, it is a regionless country. Therefore, it cannot rely on any regional security alliance, such as NATO or the Collective Security Treaty Organization. The only close alliance is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, but Mongolia is wary of jeopardizing its sovereignty if it joins. Second, it is impossible for leaders in Ulaanbaatar to gain security guarantees from one or several of the great powers, with the possible exception of Russia. Leaders in Washington and Tokyo are not likely to make any such deal as with the Philippines or Taiwan. Mongolia is too cautious of losing its sovereignty to Russia and provoking China by renewing the mutual defence clause with Russia. Lastly, Mongolia is too economically poor to build its defence capabilities in a way that is similar to Singapore, Switzerland and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Therefore, the most suitable option would be to make strategic concessions to the great powers following the example of the Finnish experience during the Cold War. This option requires that Mongolia avoid joining in the security alliance of any great power, just as Finland avoided joining NATO and the Warsaw Pact. In this sense, Mongolia should not attempt to upgrade its current level of confidence-building security defence relations with members of NATO, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and, potentially, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (if it turns into a regional security organization). In regard to the Free and Open Indo– Pacific, Mongolia should limit its security cooperation to specific areas: peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and defence diplomacy. This type of neutrality policy would also require Mongolia to abstain from taking any stance on controversial matters related to its neighbours and their geopolitical competitors. Such avoidance would help Mongolia to promote itself as a neutral place for all great powers to negotiate, such as the Finnish model of the Helsinki process. At the same time, Mongolia should strengthen its democratic governance: the parliamentary system, civil society and the rule of law. Democratic governance would distinguish Mongolia’s identity within the authoritarian great powers and ensure self-rule free from those great powers. One of the downsides of this type of neutral, pragmatic strategy, however, is its limit on participation in foreign policy decision-making processes. This requires that only professional diplomats handle foreign policy matters while encouraging informed public discourse. In return for this neutral policy, Mongolia would expect the great powers to respect its sovereignty and restrain any actions to influence its policies.ConclusionWhen the foreign ministers of the great powers gave some attention to Mongolia in the fall of 2020, Mongolia reacted with proactive diplomacy amid the pandemic. On 29 February, Mongolian President Battulga became the first foreign dignitary to visit China during the pandemic and extended a gift of 30,000 sheep as a goodwill gesture. On 21 June, the Mongolian airline, MIAT, conducted a long-awaited flight to North America and delivered more than US$1 million worth of assistance and 60,000 personal protective equipment to the United States. On June 24th, despite Russia having the second highest number of coronavirus cases, the Mongolian military marched in the Victory Day Parade, marking the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory in the Second World War, in which Mongolia stood as a close ally. As with the proactive diplomacy, the renewed geopolitical tensions among the great powers will require unity, patience and deft diplomacy from Mongolian leaders to steer through the rough sea.

Flags of China, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan in one frame

China and Central Asia: a new path to joint development

by Shiri Shiriev

Another important event on the international agenda was the Second Forum of Think Tanks "China + five countries of Central Asia", organized by: the Institute of Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia of the CASS, the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the National Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of the Kyrgyz Republic Republic, Center for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, Institute for Strategic and Interregional Studies under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The connecting link for all forum participants was the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) with the support of the Institute of Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia of the CASS, the Secretariat of the Council of High-Level Think Tanks of the CASS and the All-China Association for the Study of Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The two-day program of the forum, which was held in a hybrid mode with a central communication platform in Beijing, included speeches of the heads of the above-mentioned structures, diplomatic missions, foreign ministers, the Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, who considered the most important issues on the “agenda” dedicated to the search for new ways and formats for joint development. The experts focused on various topical aspects, presenting their vision of how China's relations with each of the states of Central Asia and the region as a whole should develop at the present stage. As for our country, the rector of the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, Djumamurad Gurbangeldiyev, spoke about the state and prospects of Turkmen-Chinese cooperation, in particular, noting that the peaceful foreign policy successfully pursued under the leadership of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, gaining momentum, contributes to the achievement of new frontiers in the system of international relations by Turkmenistan. In the modern era, the whole world respects the legal status of Turkmenistan's neutrality with great respect. Among the priority areas of the peace-loving policy and diplomacy implemented under the leadership of the head of state, a special role is given to relations with the states of the Asia-Pacific region. The People's Republic of China is one of the friendly partner states of Turkmenistan. The Turkmen and Chinese people are connected by historical, spiritual and cultural ties that originate from the depths of centuries. These common historical roots, the bonds of friendship that go deep into history, form the basis of the Turkmen-Chinese interstate cooperation, in which a special place is given to interaction in the scientific and educational sphere. An important role in the formation of new approaches of the parties to topical issues of international relations and cooperation between the states of the region with China is played by the accumulated experience in this area and the First Forum of Experts of Analytical Centers "China + Five Central Asian Countries" held in November 2021. The broad horizons for the development of partnership that are currently opening in accordance with the realities of modernity form new areas of cooperation between Turkmenistan and China. This is clear evidence of the success of our country's foreign policy strategy. The head of the Higher School of Diplomacy of Turkmenistan also focused on the fact that Hero-Arkadag, in his speech at the China + Five Central Asian Countries Summit held in January 2022, emphasized that it is the heads of states of Central Asia who are widely promoting strategically important proposals and initiatives for issues of world politics. In this context, it was emphasized that Central Asia is a region that attracts the attention of the whole world due to its huge natural resources and advantageous geographical location. In the system of international relations, the importance of the Central Asian region is growing due to the presence of large reserves, especially energy resources, favorable geopolitical and geo-economic advantages. At the end of the 20th century, the number of states interested in including the countries of Central Asia in the orbit of cooperation increased. This is confirmed by the fact that in the last 20 years the phrase "Central Asia +" has become widely used in political terminology. And the People's Republic of China, one of the first states that showed interest in this format, has the largest economy in the world, a great influential force in world geopolitics. The head of the Turkmen university, noting the features of the main directions of China's policy, emphasized that the foreign policy of the Celestial Empire, aimed at becoming a developed state of the world and based on ancient Chinese principles, implies the interest of this country in increasing influence in the world through cooperation. In supporting the international initiatives of the Central Asian countries aimed at ensuring peace, security and sustainable development in the region, the political assistance of China, which is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, is very necessary. The states of Central Asia are cooperating in the field of consolidating efforts in the field of security and countering terrorism with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, established at the initiative of China. The speech also noted that the partnership of the countries of Central Asia with the People's Republic of China in the effective implementation of the new philosophy of the Hero-Arkadag "Dialogue is a guarantee of peace" in international life, aimed at eliminating the mutual distrust that has spread today in international relations, was of particular importance. It is no coincidence that energy is the key vector of the partnership between China + the five countries of Central Asia. As you know, a powerful Chinese economy requires a significant part of its energy capacities to be imported from outside. China attaches particular importance to Central Asia in providing its rapidly developing economy with guaranteed energy sources. In this context, a great success of Turkmen and at the same time Chinese diplomacy is the Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline project, built on the initiative of Hero-Arkadag in a very short time - just over two years - has become another clear evidence of Turkmenistan's commitment to the principle of using its energy resources for the benefit of all mankind. The development of the transport sector is also important. If China stands at the origins of the creation of the Great Silk Road, then Turkmenistan is its heart, the driving force. Within the framework of cooperation in the "China + five countries of Central Asia" format, given the new geopolitical, geo-economic reality of the III millennium, great importance is attached to the revival of the Great Silk Road. The project of the Hero-Arkadag "Revival of the Great Silk Road", designed to give a powerful impetus to the economic development of Eurasia, is closely interconnected in its philosophy and geo-economic content with the all-China project "One Belt - One Road". The already implemented and ongoing multilateral transport and transit projects coincide with the interests of the China + five countries of Central Asia interaction format. Continuing the topic related to the “China + five countries of Central Asia” format as a factor of strategic and regional stability, ensuring the sustainable development of friendly states in the new conditions, I would like to recall that at the beginning of the 2000s, many similar platforms for interaction appeared and took shape in the world. Nevertheless, in my opinion, as time and the realities of life have shown, today the China + Five Countries of Central Asia Project is one of the most famous, authoritative, multilateral formats with great prospects for development. And this is natural and logical, since the ties between the peoples of the Central Asian region and China have a long history. In the process of their long communication, a huge and unique experience of interaction, good neighborliness, exchange of knowledge and achievements in all areas of human life was accumulated. The Great Silk Road passed through the territory of Central Asia from China, which, by developing trade relations between countries, already then demonstrated the possibility of maintaining an atmosphere of calm and stability to the world, including in the territory of present-day Central Asia. And today we can say with full confidence that it was the reliance on this outstanding heritage, the continuity of historical destinies, that was embodied when the countries of the region, having gained independence, resumed active all-round relations with the People's Republic of China. Without a doubt, the current cooperation of all the countries of the region has a noticeable constructive impact on the provision of global peace and stability. It is based on the closeness and coincidence of approaches to fundamental issues on the global agenda. Together we stand for equality and justice in international affairs, respect for territorial integrity and non-interference in the affairs of sovereign states, for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, we support the measures taken by the world community to effectively counter international terrorism, extremism and other challenges. Not so long ago, the states of the region celebrated the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations with China. 30 years of mutual trust, friendship and close cooperation have shown that by adhering to the basic principles of mutual respect, good neighborliness, friendship, mutual assistance and mutual benefit, China and the countries of Central Asia have been able to build healthy and effective interstate relations of a new type. Today, the world is undergoing changes not seen in a century. The structure of international politics and economics is undergoing profound changes and needs to be adjusted. Geopolitical conflicts, disordered global governance create new challenges for development both globally and regionally. Under these conditions, the presence of objective mutual interests of the Central Asian countries and China in line with the China + Five Central Asian countries partnership format on a practical basis opens up additional opportunities for increasing the pace of effective cooperation. Using their huge potential, the countries of this alliance set a course for the modernization of the mechanism of mutual cooperation in the format "China + five countries of Central Asia". It from the moment of its appearance as a specific body for the comprehensive rapprochement of the Central Asian countries, has been and remains an important factor in the stable development of the region. Further cooperation within its framework will improve the well-being of the peoples and significantly raise the standard of living. I am sure that all the states of the region, using their authority and established cooperation mechanisms, will be able to make an important joint contribution to establishing a new agenda of peace and trust in international affairs, reducing tension, de-escalating conflicts, moving to dialogue and negotiation methods for resolving disputes and contradictions based on the UN Charter.

Defense & Security
Faded US (United States) VS Russia VS EU (European Union) flags isolated on cracked wall background, abstract USA Russia Europe politics partnership relationship conflicts concept

Europe must not be divided

by Petro Burkovskiy

As Russian troops withdraw from occupied Ukrainian villages and towns in the Kherson and Kharkiv regions, the military, forensic experts, and the world media are being shown the extent of Russian war crimes. In the 21st century, the Kyiv suburb of Butscha takes on a creepy meaning that was set for Auschwitz in the 20th century. Since April 2022, "Butscha" has not only become synonymous with the planned systematic extermination of people because of their membership in the Ukrainian community, but has also served to expose the cynicism of European elites who, over the past two decades, have turned a blind eye to the nature of the Russian regime and the practices of modern Russian statehood. Bluff about "civilized country" and "threat from the West" In February 2007, before the expiration of the second (as it turned out, not the last, although the Constitution of the Russian Federation did not provide for this) presidential term, Vladimir Putin sharply criticized the unilateral power politics of the United States at the Munich Security Conference. He said that the use of force in international relations is possible only on the basis of the UN Charter. He insisted that energy sources must not be used as weapons or means of extortion against consumers. He promised to create a free and open market economy in Russia, primarily with the help of Germany. At the same time, Putin denied that the opposition in Russia is brutally repressed; he did not admit that the rights of people in Chechnya are systematically violated through torture, murder, and kidnapping; he denied involvement in the transfer of missile technology to Iran and support for its nuclear program. All of this gave the impression that Russia's leadership wants to build an open and democratic country that pursues responsible and predictable policies and is ready for profitable, multi-billion dollar economic cooperation with its European neighbors. In return, Putin wanted "very little." First, the transformation of NATO from a defense alliance into a political organization in which European countries would conduct their policies independently of the United States. This is because, according to Putin, it is the United States that, by stationing its troops on the territory of countries that became NATO members after 1991, is fomenting a threat to Russian sovereignty and tensions throughout Europe. Second, Putin did not want European states to make the development of relations with Russia dependent on their assessment of the democratic or authoritarian character of the Russian regime. His assistant Vladislav Surkov even invented a special term - "sovereign democracy" - to justify Putin's authoritarianism and seduce Europeans with the prospect of Russia's slow democratic "evolution". Respect, equal treatment and security: demands of an autocrat In short, Putin demanded respect, equal treatment, and security. Aren't these the same principles on which NATO and the EU are based! By successfully manipulating these values and profitable economic deals, Putin achieved his goals. By February 24, 2022, many European politicians either shared the opinion that Russia was trustworthy because it was developing and liberalizing economically. Or they argued that Russia had a reason for threats and a show of force to protect its borders from NATO expansion. Putin forced European governments to turn a blind eye to the murder of tens of thousands of Chechens in 1994-2007. He managed to avoid condemnation and punishment for open aggression against Georgia in 2008. Even in 2014, he managed to get France and Germany to recognize his role as a "peacemaker" in the self-created "Ukraine crisis" and the hybrid war in the Donbass. In fact, the facts indicated that Russia began to move toward autocracy when Putin came to power. However, it was not even a party autocracy as in China, which provided for internal competition and relied on an extensive network of technocratic managers who adopted Western standards in this way or another. Putin, as president, began to restore the vertical of the KGB - the Soviet secret police and intelligence service that throughout its history viewed the democratic world as an existential enemy and a target for destruction. As a KGB apprentice, he naturally wanted revenge for the collapse of the USSR, which he considered his defeat. When Putin promised to build democracy and a market economy in Russia, he was bluffing. His calculation was based on the idea of the instability and corruption of the European political and business elites, who, for the sake of high and stable profits, will be willing to justify the "excesses" of the authorities and the "weakness" of Russian civil society. Neglecting his country for a perfidious vision When Putin pointed to the threat posed by NATO, he sought only a justification at home for constantly increasing spending on the army and defense industry, while neglecting the modernization of social and transport infrastructure in most regions of Russia. In foreign relations, Putin rewarded leaders and governments that were slow to implement common goals within NATO or promoted their national interests as opposed to pan-European or U.S. interests. This may explain how politicians as diverse as Silvio Berlusconi, Nicolas Sarkozy, Gerhard Schröder, Robert Fico, and Viktor Orbán managed to build long-term alliance relationships with the Kremlin. Despite the shock over Russia's lies and crimes that accompanied the aggression against Ukraine, Putin continues to actively use the old bluff about "normal Russia" and threatens retaliation for violation of "Russian security," which means control over Ukrainian territories. Putin's bluff is his declaration of occupied Ukrainian territories as Russian and the corresponding threat to defend them with nuclear weapons. Russian troops are fleeing the Kherson and Donbass regions with no sign of preparation to use weapons of mass destruction. Likewise, if Putin has to choose between withdrawing from Crimea and risking losing everything in a nuclear confrontation, he will choose to withdraw and retain his power. This is because Crimea is the same "integral part" of Russia as Kherson and Kharkiv oblast, from which the Russians are withdrawing as a result of military defeats. Putin, however, could be heading down a dangerous path of escalation if voices continue to be raised in Europe that his conquests must be recognized by the conclusion of a cease-fire. The Kremlin's calls for a willingness to negotiate are aimed at spreading uncertainty among European leaders about Russia's goals. This maneuver is being carried out to force everyone to suddenly turn a blind eye to mass executions, torture camps, and the bombing of peaceful Ukrainian cities in order to sow doubt that Russia is waging a war aimed at destroying an entire European nation. Putin again offers to believe that secure relations with the Russia he leads are possible if his demands are heeded. If the debate in Europe is resumed according to the logic imposed by Putin, he will use all means of terror to divide the continent and within individual states into the camps of "uncompromising" and "moderate". And without solidarity in Europe, it will be much easier for Russia to continue the war with impunity and ruthlessness. Even far beyond Ukraine. Russia hybrid means to divide Europe.At stake is trade in oil, coal, and natural gas. Since early 2021, Russia's Gazprom refused to supply gas to Europe beyond contracted volumes, artificially contributing to stock market speculation and price increases. This had a painful impact on household spending on municipal services. It also led to higher consumer prices due to more expensive electricity generated by burning Russian gas and fuel oil. Against a backdrop of public discontent, Russian intelligence services mobilized the Russian diaspora into spectacular protests in Germany and the Czech Republic and put forward the thesis of the "harmfulness" of anti-Russian EU sanctions. And such actions have a political impact. In France, Marine Le Pen actively criticized the renunciation of Russian energy sources and promised to maintain the purchase of oil from Russia if elected. In Italy, the "Lega" and "Forza Italia!" parties, which became part of the governing coalition, also opposed sanctions that hurt Italian industry. In Germany, the opposition parties "Alternative for Germany" and "The Left" expressed even more open theses about the need for "understanding" with Russia, for the sake of energy sources. The Kremlin is watching such processes closely, and they convince it that such a policy of division will bring the desired results. Russian efforts will be especially dangerous this winter. The ideology of the "Russian world" and the myth of the "Great Victory".Every year since the attack on Ukraine in 2014, the Russian president has justified his aggressive policy of conquest on the basis of Russia's special historical mission. It consists in restoring historical justice - the borders of the Russian state, which should unite all bearers of "traditional Russian values." These are the Russian language, the Orthodox faith, education in the traditions of Russian culture and literature. The Kremlin calls this bizarre combination the ideology of the "Russian world." Considering the fact that the Russian diaspora is currently manifesting itself very actively throughout Europe, from Italy and Germany to Latvia and Finland, this creates, in the view of the Russian leadership, a sufficient legitimate reason to spread measures of direct and hybrid aggression against new countries. And Putin constantly talks about the inevitability of a "multipolar world" in which Russia will be one of the "poles". While the fate of Europe, in his opinion, will be ruined by excessive American influence. That is why he often refers to the Yalta Conference in 1945, which made Stalin's Russia the owner of half of the European continent, while the other half was controlled by the Allies led by the United States. In relations with Europe, Putin wants to see himself not only as a "veto player," the leader of a "great power" that belongs to a narrow circle of its peers (the United States and the PRC) that have a decisive influence on world politics, but as a hegemon. As the ruler of a victorious state to which the others are grateful for their security and existence. Therefore, despite the defeats in Ukraine, he continues to say, "We haven't really started it yet." Obviously, Hitler and Stalin could have said the same thing when they invaded and divided Poland in September 1939 and prepared for new conflicts. So far, this history has a slim chance of repeating itself. 

Defense & Security
Several automatic rifles raised up on the background of the Pakistani flag

Is terrorism returning to Pakistan?

by Zahid Shahab Ahmed

Earlier this week, a suicide blast ruptured the relative calm that had returned to Pakistan in recent years. The attack at a mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar killed more than 100 people and stunned many Pakistanis who thought the days of such horrific suicide bombings were long behind them. While Monday’s attack was among the worst in the country in a decade, the blast doesn’t necessarily signal a return of terrorism so much as an escalation of a problem that never really went away. The Pakistan Taliban, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), denied responsibility for Monday’s blast. Instead, a TTP faction, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, claimed to be behind it. But in many ways, Pakistan’s deteriorating security situation is directly linked to a resurgent TTP and the increasing fragility in neighbouring Afghanistan since the Taliban’s takeover in August 2021. The Pakistani government had supported the Afghan Taliban for years, but the relationship began to break down after the Afghan Taliban offered shelter to TTP fighters and released thousands of terrorists from prison after taking power. The TTP not only appeared to be strengthened and energised by the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan, it also drew closer to the group. Last year, the Afghan Taliban facilitated dialogue between the Pakistani government and the TTP that led to a ceasefire deal. But by November, the TTP ended the five-month truce, claiming the government had not complied with all its requests, most notably the freeing of important TTP members. The result has been a slow but steady uptick in terrorist attacks. Documented acts of terrorism hit a high of 3,923 in Pakistan in 2013, with more than 2,000 deaths. The number of fatalities plunged to 267 in 2021, but last year, started to climb again to 365. Pakistan also only registered four suicide attacks in 2021, but there were 13 last year and four already this year. The TTP has claimed responsibility for most attacks. Decade-long war on extremismPakistan had achieved enormous strides against terrorism over the past 15 years, in large part because of its significant “Rah-e-Rast” military operation in 2009 and the “Zarb-e-Azb” operation in 2014. The TTP retaliated to the latter with an attack on an army public school in Peshawar in 2014, killing more than 130 children. This prompted the army to intensify its activities, and by 2017, it had largely routed the TTP. These security operations, however, only addressed the symptoms of the problem by pushing most TTP fighters across the border into Afghanistan. Terrorist attacks in Pakistan declined, but the problem didn’t go away. Despite the development of a counter-terrorism blueprint called the National Action Plan in 2014, the government’s security operations have been too limited in scope. They do not focus on all terrorist groups, but selectively target a few, such as the TTP. The National Counter Terrorism Authority has registered 78 terrorist organisations in Pakistan, but little is known what the government is doing to counter them. The National Action Plan also does not focus much attention on preventative measures like education. Addressing the root causes of extremismNonetheless, there is growing interest in Pakistan to invest more in promoting a stronger national counter-narrative against extremist ideologies, such as the Paigham-e-Pakistan, which the government developed with the help of hundreds of Islamic scholars. Moreover, there is a growing desire in policymaking circles to address the root causes of extremism, including the grievances of locals in the region previously known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas on the Afghan border and Balochistan in southwestern Pakistan. The growing insecurity in Balochistan, for instance, is in part driven by Chinese investment, which is opposed by the militant Baloch Liberation Army. The group believes the government has exploited the region’s resources and ignored its development needs. It has targeted Chinese citizens in numerous attacks. The stakes here are very high for Pakistan, which is desperate for foreign investment. As such, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal has urged the government to focus on addressing the socio-economic concerns of locals, in particular young people, so they don’t turn toward extremism. The same grievances exist in the former tribal areas, where millions have suffered due to the government’s neglect. Until 2018, this region was governed under the notorious, colonial-era Frontier Crimes Regulation. This meant Pakistani laws did not apply and there were no local courts or political parties, allowing armed groups to thrive. The first time residents participated in any election was in 2019, more than 70 years after independence. When the government merged the tribal areas with a neighbouring province in 2018, residents believed their lives would improve. But this coincided with the resurgence of the TTP in the region, bringing new concerns about security and stability. What the state should do nowFor now, Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts are largely focused on TTP, but the country needs a broader approach. First, Pakistan needs to have its own house in order by addressing the ongoing governance challenges in the former tribal areas and Balochistan. Second, the government can no longer limit counter-terrorism operations to only a few areas. This will only increase the grievances of locals, who continue to suffer due to displacement and disempowerment. As terrorist groups are spread across the country, it is time the state tries a more holistic approach. With the TTP, it is already clear that attempting dialogue has not worked. It only provided the group more legitimacy and time for recruitment and fundraising. Instead of playing into the hands of terrorist groups, the government needs to address the structural causes of extremism, such as the marginalisation of millions living in peripheral areas, in particular highly vulnerable young people.

Defense & Security
Chinese Spy balloon

Did China’s balloon violate international law?

by Donald Rothwell

Was the balloon that suddenly appeared over the US last week undertaking surveillance? Or was it engaging in research, as China has claimed? While the answers to these questions may not be immediately known, one thing is clear: the incursion of the Chinese balloon tested the bounds of international law. This incident has also added another layer of complexity to the already strained relations between the US and China. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s planned visit to Beijing has been postponed. And China has reacted to the shooting down of the balloon with diplomatic fury. Both sides have long disagreed over the presence of US warships in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait, which China claims as its own waters and the US considers international waters. Will the air be the next realm to be contested by the two superpowers? A long military historyHot air balloons have a somewhat benign public image. But they also have a long military history that extends back to the Napoleonic era in Europe during the late 18th century and early 19th century when they were used for surveillance and bombing missions. The early laws of war even included some specific measures designed to address the military use of balloons during armed conflict. The modern military significance of balloons now appears to be understated, especially in an era of uncrewed aerial vehicles or drones, which have proven effective during the current Ukraine war. However, while balloons may no longer be valued for their war-fighting ability, they retain a unique capacity to undertake surveillance because they fly at higher altitudes than aircraft, can remain stationary over sensitive sites, are harder to detect on radar, and can be camouflaged as civilian weather craft. Who has sovereignty over the air?The international law is clear with respect to the use of these balloons over other countries’ airspace. Every country has complete sovereignty and control over its waters extending 12 nautical miles (about 22 kilometres) from its land territory. Every country likewise has “complete and exclusive sovereignty over the airspace above its territory” under international conventions. This means each country controls all access to its airspace, which includes both commercial and government aircraft. But the upper limit of sovereign airspace is unsettled in international law. In practice, it generally extends to the maximum height at which commercial and military aircraft operate, which is around 45,000 feet (about 13.7km). The supersonic Concorde jet, however, operated at 60,000 feet (over 18km). The Chinese balloon was also reported to be operating at a distance of 60,000 feet. International law does not extend to the distance at which satellites operate, which is traditionally seen as falling within the realm of space law. There are international legal frameworks in place that allow for permission to be sought to enter a country’s airspace, such as the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation. The International Civil  Aviation Organization has set an additional layer of rules on airspace access, including for hot air balloons, but it does not regulate military activities. The US also has its own “air defence identification zone”, a legacy of the Cold War. It requires all aircraft entering US airspace to identify themselves. Canada has its own complementary zone. During the height of Cold War tensions, the US would routinely scramble fighter jets in response to unauthorised Soviet incursions into US airspace, especially in the Arctic. Many other countries and regions have similar air defence identification zones, including China, Japan and Taiwan. Taiwan, for instance, routinely scrambles fighter jets in response to unauthorised incursions of its airspace by Chinese aircraft.Testing the waters – and airSo, given these clear international rules, the US was on very firm legal footing in its response to the Chinese balloon. Overflight could only have been undertaken with US permission, which was clearly not sought. China initially attempted to suggest the balloon malfunctioned and drifted into US airspace, claiming force majeure. If the balloon was autonomous, it would have been entirely dependent on wind patterns. However, a report in Scientific American said the balloon appeared to have a high level of manoeuvrability, especially when it appeared to linger over sensitive US defence facilities in Montana. Washington displayed a lot of patience in dealing with the incursion. President Joe Biden authorised military jets to shoot down the balloon, but it took some days before that could be done safely without endangering lives on the ground. The balloon incident has clearly tested the Biden administration and the US response to China’s growing military assertiveness. Similar events occur on a regular basis in the South China Sea, where the US Navy conducts freedom of navigation operations through Chinese claimed waters. The US presence is vigorously challenged by the Chinese Navy. China has also responded aggressively to the presence of US reconnaissance planes over the South China Sea, raising the risks of an accident that could spark a wider conflict. What is remarkable about the balloon incident is China has asserted its physical presence well within America’s sovereign borders. How both sides respond in the aftermath will determine whether China-US tensions worsen further and if we can expect potential future provocations between the two sides in the air, as well as at sea.

Defense & Security
Ukrainian armoured vehicles during a military parade in 2018

Sleepwalking into escalation

by Helmut W. Ganser

Delivering Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine takes the war to a new level. Trying to look past the fog of war can help to predict how things might play out The decision of Germany and other NATO states to supply modern battle tanks and other armoured infantry vehicles to Ukraine takes the West’s involvement in the war to a new level. Presumably, in the further course of the war, the numbers mentioned so far will not be enough; the decision to provide tanks immediately sparked an international debate on delivering fighter planes as well. We are also hearing initial calls for NATO troops to be deployed to Ukraine as a ‘deterrent’, which would mean NATO becoming embroiled in the war. However, the discussion about the objectives in the Ukraine war mustn’t be muddied, even if clarifying these leads to a fierce dispute both within and amongst the NATO states. There is just too much at stake. The American and German governments indicate that they want to enable Ukraine to hold the frontline which it has fought for so far and liberate more areas wherever possible. All occupied territories, including Crimea, would probably be regained through a strategic approach of lengthy negotiations under the pressure of overwhelming Western sanction packages. This objective comes with the broader demand that Ukraine be enabled to reconquer its entire territory through military counterattacks, something also put forward by the Ukrainian leadership. The serious risks of escalation associated with this must be thoroughly analysed, which has largely been skirted around in the discussions so far. The fog of war prevents us from predicting how things will play out. All professional military policy experts are aware that their analyses, evaluations and forecasts are clouded by this; there are always bound to be frictions and surprises. However, looking at various scenarios can help us refine our assessments of what might be on the horizon. We will attempt to assess the potential effects of the new tank deliveries to Ukraine, using two scenarios that look ahead to the early summer of 2023. In both scenarios, it is assumed that the Ukrainian army will gradually receive about 100 Western battle tanks, most of the Leopard model, and around 100 largely German and American infantry vehicles by early summer 2023. The thirty-one M1 Abrams tanks previously promised are unlikely to be delivered by this point. Two tank battalions and two tank grenadier battalions – roughly equivalent to a brigade – will be equipped with the new heavy weapons systems by the early summer under both scenarios. Another assumption is that the widely anticipated Russian spring offensive, targeting the Luhansk or Donetsk area, will begin around the end of February or March. Very few Western battle and infantry vehicles, if any, are likely to be used, in what are expected to be highly intense battles with severe casualties. It is assumed with some uncertainty that the more professional and mobile Ukrainian defence can ward off larger operational gains from the major Russian units. These two scenarios look to the early summer after the Ukrainian army has taken delivery of the tanks from the West. Scenario 1: tank battle on the southern front, with limited Ukrainian territorial gainsBy the late spring, it becomes clear that the Ukrainian military intends to push hard towards the south from the area east and southeast of Zaporizhzhia. The goal is to advance over about 100 km to the Sea of Azov and cut the Russian troops off south of the river Dnieper and, more than anything, to stop Crimea from being supplied via the land bridge. The terrain in this area is mostly open and flat – highly beneficial to tanks – and, with the exception of the town of Melitopol, is only dotted with small villages. In the early summer of 2023, Ukraine makes bold advances south under favourable weather conditions, targeting the Sea of Azov coast. This results in the first major tank battle of the war, which sees German Leopards and Marders deployed at the front, as well as the American Bradleys and Strikers. With their better armour, agility and weapon effect, they clearly come out on top in a head-to-head battle. Ukrainian commanders, however, struggle to master the complexity of mixed-weapons combat, in which battle tanks, armoured infantry vehicles with tank grenadiers, artillery, sappers and air support must work together in close coordination to achieve the full force of impact. Heavy Russian tank and infantry forces withstand the advancing units. The Ukrainian counterattack progresses for about 30 km but then gets bogged down in the huge defensive firing, after Russian mechanised units succeed in pushing into the flank of the Ukrainian tank formations, jeopardising their supply. Soldier and material losses are severely high again on both sides. Pictures of destroyed Leopard tanks are plastered across the internet. German television channels and online media increasingly draw parallels with historical footage of German tanks during the Second World War in the same region. From a political and strategic perspective, attrition warfare has been consolidated in this scenario, despite tactical gains on both sides. Russia still has about 10 to 12 per cent of the Ukrainian territory under its control. The extensive exhaustion of weapons systems, spare parts and ammunition from the German and American armies is increasingly running down the operational capability and perseverance of the NATO forces on both sides of the Atlantic. As production capacity remains limited, there is increasing support for an agreement between the US, Ukraine and Russia to bring an end to the war. In Ukraine, the devastating losses are affecting more and more families, leading to political demands for a ceasefire. Opposition politicians demand that their president publish the actual losses incurred since the war began. Scenario 2: tank battle on the southern front, with the Ukrainian army advancing to the Sea of AzovScenario 2 is identical to scenario 1 up to the Ukrainian army’s counterattack from the area east of Zaporizhzhia. But in this scenario, operations are proceeding as planned by the Ukrainian General Staff. Kyiv has deployed forces equipped with Western tanks and infantry vehicles to the heart of the battlefield. With the superior firepower, armour and agility of the Leopard 2 tanks, they advance towards intermediate targets northeast of Melitopol after a few days. Leadership, fighting strength and motivation are once again proving weak amongst Russian ranks, while the Ukrainian troops’ command of mixed-weapons combat is better than initially expected by Western military experts. Leopard spearheads reach villages just off the coast, opposite Crimea. As Ukrainians advance, American-made HIMARS rockets destroy the new Russian bridge near Kerch in some places, rendering it unusable for supplying Crimea. Russia responds with the most intense air raid ever launched on Kyiv, with numerous casualties reported and electricity supply destroyed. The Russian president makes a brief statement following a stage-managed press conference with his General Staff. Putin first states that the Russian Federation now considers the NATO states that supplied heavy weapons to Ukraine as direct opponents in the war, regardless of any fine details in international law. The ongoing attack on Russian-occupied Crimea could only have come about through the massive involvement of Western states. The war has now created an existential dimension for the Russian Federation. As far as Russia is concerned, the entire war zone now extends to the territory of the Western states supporting Ukraine. He refrains from verbal warnings of nuclear war because his earlier threats were not taken seriously. Putin says he has ordered his Defence Minister and General Staff to supply some of the nuclear-capable missile troops with the nuclear warheads stored in depots. If the blockade of supplies to Crimea via the land bridge is not removed, Russia must use force through its tactical nuclear weapons. Russian bloggers report that the course of the war has brought unity to Kremlin leaders and only made them more determined to see it through, but this cannot be verified. A few hours later, American satellites pick up Russian convoys beginning their journey from the nuclear weapons storage facilities to the nuclear missile battalion deployment areas. This secret intelligence becomes public across the world. In a widely unexpected twist, China announces the largest mobilisation of its naval forces ever in the Strait of Taiwan. Its first fleet of warships has already set sail. The US and its NATO partners are now on the verge of a nuclear face-off that has escalated faster than many had believed, with consequences unimaginable for the whole of Europe. Western governments, the NATO Council and Military Committee, as well as the UN Security Council, meet day after day. Commentators can’t help but compare it to the height of the Cuban crisis. But NATO leaders clash on their assessments of the situation and their approach. In Berlin, huge demonstrations are held calling for an immediate end to the war, with the slogan ‘Stop the madness’. Of course, more optimistic scenarios can also be envisaged in which the Kremlin hands back Crimea without nuclear escalation. The powers that be, including those in Berlin, Washington and Paris, have so far held firm on their objective of not stepping into the grey area of getting directly involved in the war. But the danger of slowly and unintentionally sleepwalking into what would be the biggest catastrophe for the whole of Europe is growing and growing. Unexpected twists and turns (sometimes referred to as black swans or wild cards) can also create dynamic developments that are likely to be extremely difficult to control and contain. As more German tanks are sent to Ukraine, Germany’s share of responsibility for the course that the war takes – and the consequences thereof – increases and ultimately so does its right and need to influence the leadership in Kyiv.

Defense & Security
President of United States Joe Biden

The Biden Administration’s National Security Strategy

by Douglas J. Feith

The Biden Administration’s national security strategy, as released to the public, has some praiseworthy elements, stressing, for example, the “need for American leadership.” But it does not take its own words seriously enough. Its discussion of “leadership” is confusing, and the administration is not providing for the kind of military strength that would make US leadership effective. A Preliminary Word on Precision A strategy should not use vague and ambiguous language (let alone mind-numbing repetition). Having said that no nation is better positioned than the United States to compete in shaping the world, as long as we work with others who share our vision, the strategy declares (the italics are mine), “This means that the foundational principles of self-determination, territorial integrity, and political independence must be respected, international institutions must be strengthened, countries must be free to determine their own foreign policy choices, information must be allowed to flow freely, universal human rights must be upheld, and the global economy must operate on a level playing field and provide opportunity for all.” The fuzziness—incoherence—of using the word “must” should be obvious. For example: “The United States must...increase international cooperation on shared challenges even in an age of greater inter-state competition.” But “some in Beijing” insist that a prerequisite for cooperation is a set of “concessions on unrelated issues” that the US government has said are unacceptable. So the strategy effectively declares that cooperation with China is a “must” even when China says we cannot have it. In other words, the word “must” doesn’t really mean “must.” In this case, it expresses no more than the administration’s impotent preference. This strategy is 48 pages long. It uses the word “must” 39 times. To drive home that President Biden is not his predecessor, the strategy constantly emphasizes allies and partners. It uses the word “allies” 38 times and “partner” or “partnership” an astounding 167 times. Meanwhile, it does not use “enemy” even once. Two of the three times it uses the word “adversary” it is referring to “potential” rather than actual adversaries. The third time, it says only that America’s network of allies and partners is “the envy of our adversaries.” Enemies and Hostile Ideology The strategy identifies, correctly in my view, America’s “most pressing challenges” as China and Russia. China is described as the only “competitor” with both the intent and power to “reshape the international order.” Russia is called “an immediate threat to the free and open international system,” while the Ukraine war is rightly characterized as “brutal and unprovoked.” The discussion of enemies, however, is euphemistic and misleading and does not give explicit guidance on confronting them. Alluding to China and Russia, it talks of “competing with major autocratic powers” as if everyone in the “competition” is playing a gentlemanly game with agreed rules. That creates a false picture of the problem. The strategy states that China “retains common interests” with the United States “because of various interdependencies on climate, economics and public health.” In discussing “shared challenges”—such as climate change or COVID-19—it implies that Chinese leaders see these challenges the same way the administration does, but the well-known recent history of Chinese secretiveness about COVID-19, for example, refutes that assumption. There are references to pragmatic problem-solving “based on shared interests” with countries like China and Iran. The strategy does not explain, however, what US officials should do if such cooperation is inconsistent with other US interests. Should they work with China at the expense of opposition to genocide against the Uighurs? Should they work with Iran at the expense of that country’s pro-democracy resistance movement? Iran and North Korea are called “autocratic powers,” but being autocratic is not the key to their hostility and danger. Rather, it is that they are ideologically hostile to the United States and the West. There are two passing references to “violent extremism,” though no discussion whatever about anti-Western ideologies. US officials are given no direction to take action to counter such ideologies. The strategy is entirely silent on jihadism and extremist Islam. Leadership and Followership—Ties to Allies and Partners While it properly calls attention to the value of America’s “unmatched network of alliances and partnerships,” the strategy does not deal adequately with questions of when the United States should lead rather than simply join its allies. It does not acknowledge that there may be cases when the United States is required to go it alone. President Biden is quoted as telling the United Nations, “[W]e will lead...But we will not go it alone. We will lead together with our Allies and partners.” But what if American and allied officials disagree? Sometimes the only way to lead is to show that one is willing to go it alone. Failing to distinguish between leadership and followership is a major flaw. While asserting that America aspires to the former, the strategy declares that “we will work in lockstep with our allies.” Such lockstep would ensure that the United States is constrained by the lower-common- denominator policy of our allies. If President Biden really believes what he is saying here, he is telling his team to refrain from initiatives that any or all of our allies might reject. Instead of soliciting ideas from administration officials that would serve the US interest even if they require campaigns to try (perhaps unsuccessfully) to persuade our allies to acquiesce, his strategy discourages initiative and efforts to persuade. That is the opposite of leadership. The strategy says that “our alliances and partnerships around the world are our most important strategic asset.” But that is not correct; our military power is. This is a dangerous mistake. Our alliances can be highly valuable, but to suggest that they are more important than our military capabilities is wrong and irresponsible. The document says, “Our strategy is rooted in our national interests.” This assertion is at odds with the insistence that America will not act abroad except in concert with our allies and partners. The strategy claims that “Most nations around the world define their interests in ways that are compatible with ours.” That, however, is either banal or untrue. Our European allies have important differences with us regarding China, Iran, Israel, trade and other issues. Before the Ukraine war, they had major differences with us regarding Russia. The strategy says, “As we modernize our military and work to strengthen our democracy at home, we will call on our allies to do the same.” What if they do not heed the call, however? For decades, US officials complained vainly that NATO allies underinvested in defense, confident that the United States would cover any shortfalls—what economists call a free-riding problem. Along similar lines, the strategy declares that America’s alliances “must be deepened and modernized.” But how should US officials deal with allies who act adversely to US interests, as Turkey has so often done under Erdogan—in buying Russian air-defense systems, for example—and as the Germans did, before the Ukraine war, in increasing their dependence on Russian natural gas? Interestingly, on strengthening the US military, the strategy does not say that US allies have to agree or cooperate. It says “America will not hesitate to use force when necessary to defend our national interests.” This part of the document reads as if it had different authors from the rest. Nuclear Deterrence The strategy makes an important point about nuclear deterrence as “a top priority” and highlights that America faces an unprecedented challenge in now having to deter two major nuclear powers. It makes a commitment to “modernizing the nuclear Triad, nuclear command, control, and communications, and our nuclear weapons infrastructure, as well as strengthening our extended deterrence commitments to our Allies.” But the administration has not allocated resources to fulfill its words on deterrence and Triad modernization. Promoting Democracy and Human Rights “Autocrats are working overtime to undermine democracy and export a model of governance marked by repression at home and coercion abroad,” the strategy accurately notes, adding that, around the world, America will work to strengthen democracy and promote human rights. It would be helpful if it also explained why other country’s respect for democracy tends to serve the US national interest. This is not obvious and many Americans, including members of Congress, show no understanding of how democracy promotion abroad can help the United States bolster security, freedom and prosperity at home. The strategy does not explain how its championing of democracy and human-rights promotion can be squared with its emphasis on respecting the culture and sovereignty of other countries and not interfering in their internal affairs. Nor does it explain how officials should make tradeoffs between support for the rights of foreigners and practical interests in dealing with non-democratic countries. Officials need guidance on such matters. The public also would benefit from explanations. The administration just announced that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, who is also prime minister, has immunity from civil liability for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who worked for the Washington Post. The strategy does not shed light on how the relevant considerations were weighed. It says the United States will make use of partnerships with non-democratic countries that support our interests, “while we continue to press all partners to respect and advance democracy and human rights.” That’s fine as far as it goes, but it does not acknowledge, for example, that we sometimes have to subordinate human rights concerns for national security purposes, as when President Franklin Roosevelt allied with Stalin against Hitler. A strategy document should be an aid in resolving complexities, not a simplistic list of all the noble things we desire or wish to be associated with. Refugees Regarding refugees, it is sensible that the strategy reaffirms the US interest in working with other countries “to achieve sustainable, long-term solutions to what is the most severe refugee crisis since World War Two—including through resettlement.” But there is no mention of why US officials should press Persian Gulf states to accept more refugees from the Middle East, given that those states share language, culture and religion with those refugees.Willing Ends Without Providing Means The strategy does a lot of willing the end but not specifying or providing the means. As noted, the administration is not funding defense as it should to accomplish its stated goals. On Iran, the strategy says, “[W]e have worked to enhance deterrence,” but US officials have been trying to revive the nuclear deal that would give Iran huge financial resources in return for limited and unreliable promises. The strategy says, “We will support the European aspirations of Georgia and Moldova...We will assist partners in strengthening democratic institutions, the rule of law, and economic development in the Western Balkans. We will back diplomatic efforts to resolve conflict in the South Caucasus. We will continue to engage with Turkey to reinforce its strategic, political, economic, and institutional ties to the West. We will work with allies and partners to manage the refugee crisis created by Russia’s war in Ukraine. And, we will work to forestall terrorist threats to Europe.” But these items are presented simply as a wish list, without explanation of the means we will use, the costs involved or the way we will handle obvious pitfalls along the way. Setting Priorities A strategy paper should establish priorities, but this one simply says we have to do this and that, when the actions are inconsistent with each other. It is line with the quip attributed to Yogi Berra: When you get to a fork in the road, take it. It says we should act in the US national interest, but we should also always act with allies and partners. We should oppose Chinese threats, but always cooperate with China on climate issues. We should pursue the nuclear deal with Iran even when Iran is threatening its neighbors and aiding Russia in Ukraine (and, as noted, crushing its domestic critics). We should insist on a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict while the Palestinian Authority remains unreasonable, corrupt, inflexible and hostile. A strategy should not set up choices that involve tradeoffs and then give no guidance on how to resolve the tradeoffs. If it promotes arms control and other types of cooperation (on COVID-19, for example) with Russia and China, it should forthrightly address problems of treaty violations and specify ways to obtain cooperation when it is denied. Such a document cannot specifically identify all possible trade-offs and resolve them, but it can set priorities and do a better job than this strategy does in informing officials on how to handle easily anticipated dilemmas. Strategic Guidance or Campaign Flyer The administration’s strategy combines valid points and unreality. It is unclear whether it is a serious effort to provide guidance, directed at officials, or a boastful campaign document, directed at the public. Mixing the genres is not useful.