Justice, Security and Rule of Law: The Pakistani-India Conflict

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Introduction

On July 17, 2014 China and Russia issued a joint statement stating their intention of creating a new world order. That same statement supported India’s long-standing bid to replace one of the United Nations Security Council’s five permanent members. July 17th is historically relevant as it is the same day the U.S. joined the European Union in imposing sanctions on Russia for its illegal annexation of Crimea, a mere hours later Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was downed by Russian mercenaries over Ukraine, followed by the announcement of the inception of the New Development Bank or The BRICS, named for its founders – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. While the intention of creating a new world, one radically different from that envisioned when the United Nations was created in 1948, appears to be well underway, India, which is busy defending its Kashmir region, has been left behind as Russia and China court the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, a long-term and strategically-positioned ally of the United States.

The Pakistani Government

Pakistan is essential to curbing terrorist activities by the Taliban, the Haqqani network and other designated terrorist groups operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s military and its notoriously violent intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), have been training and funding several terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan and India. The ISI aids these organisations by harboring terrorists, eradicating perceived enemies or those opposed to their cause, including India, Israel, the U.S., the United Kingdom and other NATO members. Pakistan harbors terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Omar, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Sipah-e-Sahaba.

These groups interfere with NATO operations in Afghanistan; with Operation Inherent Resolve in Syria by providing training, weapons and fighters; and they have engaged in unconventional warfare along the border of India’s Kashmir state. These groups are responsible for the decades long terrorism campaign in Kashmir and the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.

Human Rights Watch has determined the ISI and Pakistani army actively aid the Taliban by “…soliciting funding for the Taliban, bankrolling Taliban operations, providing diplomatic support as the Taliban’s virtual emissaries abroad, arranging training for Taliban fighters, recruiting skilled and unskilled manpower to serve in Taliban armies, planning and directing offensives, providing and facilitating shipments of ammunition and fuel, and on several occasions apparently directly providing combat support.”

ISI orchestrates its proxies to exert its influence in Pakistan, as well as in neighboring Afghanistan, Syria and India. The ISI also protected Osama bin-Laden, who lived a mere 100 kilometers outside of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad for years, before being assassinated by U.S. Naval Special Forces on May 2, 2011.

FBI Satellite imagery evidences the existence of several terrorist camps in Pakistan, some of which are jihadist madrasa schools.

The disconnect is that the civilian Pakistani government operates without control over the ISI, and its army.

“[T]he civilian government there [Pakistan] doesn’t control military policy, strategic policy… but the army and the intelligence service do…. and they have denied the obvious, postponed this reckoning for years with so many terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda,” confirmed Chris Alexander, Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and former Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan.

Given the opportunity, the Pakistani Taliban would overthrow the Pakistani government and introduce a radical Islamist regime. Pakistani authorities fear that the Afghan Taliban could join forces with the Pakistani Taliban.

The Fragile U.S.-Pakistani Relationship

Following 9.11 Pakistan became a critical partner in the U.S.’s counterattack on al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda’s ally, the Afghan Taliban. The relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan has been a difficult one, at best, owing to the fact that the civilian government exerts little or no control over the ISI and the Pakistani army. Since 2001, the U.S. has provided extensive funding, now subject to conditions, to facilitate a stronger civilian Pakistani government empowered to take measures towards eradicating terrorism and the support of terrorism within its borders. Between September 11, 2001 and the end of 2008 the U.S. provided Pakistan with $11 billion in assistance.

In return, the civilian Pakistani government permits the U.S. to use its airspace; allows overland access to Afghanistan; and, to the extent possible, employs its police and paramilitary organizations to capture al-Qaeda activists.

Nonetheless, as of 2008 Pakistan was “…with the possible exception of Iran, perhaps the world’s most active sponsor of terrorist groups… aiding groups that pose a direct threat to the U.S… Pakistan is probably today’s most active sponsor of terrorism,” opined Daniel Byman, in an analysis published by the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.

Due to a poor return on investment, as well as concerns about differing goals, nuclear proliferation, political instability, and Pakistan’s role as sanctuary for al Qaeda and Afghan insurgents, the U.S. has been modified its aid policy.

Thus, the 2009 Kerry-Lugar legislation tripled nonmilitary aid to $1.5 billion per year as a long-term pledge to the people of Pakistan, it delinked military from nonmilitary aid, and conditioned military aid on certification that Pakistani security forces are (1) working to prevent al Qaeda and associated terrorist groups from operating on Pakistani territory; (2) working to deny the Afghan Taliban sanctuary in Pakistan; and (3) refraining from interfering in Pakistan’s political and judicial processes.

At a September 2011 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Admiral Mike Mullen, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asserted that, “Pakistani duplicity puts in jeopardy not only the frayed U.S.-Pakistani partnership against terrorism but also the outcome to the decade-old war in Afghanistan.”

In July 2016 Sen. John McCain, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, met with former Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari. They agreed that it is in the interest of peace and stability that Pakistan continue playing its role in the fight against the global threat of terrorism. Mr. Zardari insisted that Pakistan is a victim of terrorism itself and would never support it, while Mr. McCain acknowledged the Pakistani government’s sacrifices in the fight against terrorism.

Afterwards, Sen. McCain wrote in a July 26th article that, “By taking on all terrorist groups operating in its territory, Pakistan will find that the U.S. remains willing and able to assist in this fight and develop an enduring strategic partnership. The sooner the U.S., Pakistan and Afghanistan get down to the business of fighting their common terrorist enemies together, no matter where they hide, the better off the nations, the region and the world will be.”

On August 29th the U.S. communicated its refusal to subsidize Pakistan’s purchase of 16 used F-16 fighter jets.

Building upon the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, on September 19th U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Pakistani Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to discuss the countries’ strong and long-term bilateral partnership. Mr. Kerry reiterated the need for Pakistan to prevent any terrorist from using Pakistani territory as a safe haven. Mr. Kerry stressed the need for restraint in nuclear weapons programs.

Mr. Kerry commended Mr. Sharif on recent efforts by Pakistani security forces to counter violent extremism, for 40 years of hosting Afghan refugees, for restoring macroeconomic stability, and for cooperating on climate change priorities.

On October 7th the White House rejected a demand from several legislators that the U.S. Secretary of State designate Pakistan a “terrorist state”.

Competing Claims in the Kashmir Region

As for the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir, India, Pakistan, and China have competing claims. While China has never engaged in overt action over the dispute, Pakistan and India have engaged in escalating violence in the Kashmir region along the Pakistani and Indian border. Most recently, in September, India blamed Pakistan-based militant groups for an attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 18 soldiers, the deadliest assault there in years. India retaliated with cross-border “surgical strikes” against suspected militants in Pakistan killing two people.

One of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s diplomats warned that Pakistan would look to China and Russia if the U.S. fails to reconsider its position on the escalating Pak-India Kashmir conflict.

At a September 19th meeting, Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Zardari and Mr. Kerry expressed concern as to the recent violence in Kashmir, and the need for both sides to diplomatically reduce tensions. Mr. Zardari stated that Pakistan wants to resolve the Kashmir issue through dialogue.

The next day U.S. State Department spokesperson, John Kirby, issued a statement that the U.S. will not intervene in the Kashmir dispute and asked both the Indian and Pakistan governments resolve it through ‘meaningful dialogue’.

India and China

India could look to neighboring China for support. China will outwardly try to remain neutral. While China and India share a fear of expanding terrorist networks, Pakistan is critical to China’s $46 billion “One Belt, One Road” trade route running from Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea to China’s landlocked Xinjiang Province. This initiative, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was designed to expand China’s Asian economic and political outreach, as well as providing it with access to a sea route for trade.

“The conventional wisdom is that China will intensify support to Islamabad amid rising India-Pakistan tension. China will want to reiterate its commitment to Pakistan and express its strong support, particularly if Beijing starts to worry that India’s more muscular approach towards Pakistan could entail efforts to undercut or even sabotage the China-funded China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project,” stated Michael Kugelman, senior associate for South and Southeast Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Centre.

India has worked to deepen its military cooperation with the U.S. In June the U.S. granted India “major defence partner” status, potentially paving the way for a transfer of U.S. military “dual-use” technologies, used to develop strategic weapons, such as ballistic missiles. The arms deal has a price tag of $9 billion. The deal was not totally one-sided. On August 30th the two countries signed a logistics sharing pact under which their militaries can use each other’s military bases.

Sino-Pakistani Relations 

China has significantly increased defence cooperation with Pakistan. While China already is Pakistan’s primary source of weapons, and responsible for building Pakistan’s nuclear reactors, only recently has China resumed sharing strategic weapons technology; a practice that ceased in the 1990s under U.S. pressure.

On March 9, 2015, Pakistan tested its Shaheen-3 intermediate-range, land-based surface-to-surface ballistic missile. Capable of delivering a conventional or nuclear warhead, the Shaheen-3 has a range of 2750 km- 1700 miles, and a circular error probable of less 40 meters, making it the most accurate ballistic missile of its class in the world.

The transport erector launcher used to launch the missile is believed to have been sourced by China as it bore similarity to a launcher transferred in 2011 by China to North Korea.

The Shaheen-3 was developed in response to India’s Agni-III. Capable of delivering a conventional or nuclear warhead, the Agni-III has a range of 3,500 km- 5,000 km, and a circular error probable of 40 meters. Since then India has tested two more advanced variants of intercontinental ballistic missiles, the Agni-V and Agni-VI. Using multiple independent re-entry vehicles, the AGNI-VI can simultaneously deliver multiple nuclear warheads reaching targets as far 6,000 km away.

In 2015, China introduced 10 MIRV variants of its DF-5 ICBM, which are similar in capability to the Agni-V and Agni-Vi. It is believed that China has shared this technology with Pakistan.

Seeking to match India’s development of second-strike capabilities through land, air and sea-based delivery systems, in 2015, Pakistan’s acquired eight Type 041 diesel-electric attack submarines from China that can be armed with nuclear-capable Babur cruise missiles.

Pakistan and Russia

In 2007 Pakistan and Russia reestablished diplomat ties. While the raison d’être was ostensibly a joint interest in defeating the Taliban, recent events evidence the rationale as being multi-faceted.

In 2014 Moscow lifted a longstanding ban on arms sales to Pakistan. In 2015 the two countries signed a defence deal, including a sale to Pakistan of four Russian Mil Mi-35M attack helicopters to replace Pakistan’s aging U.S.-made AH-1 Cobras.

In 2015 Russian agreed to invest $2 billion to construct a North-South gas pipeline to transfer liquefied natural gas from Pakistani port city Karachi to Lahore, in the Punjab Province. Having an energy shortage, the pipeline could supply 30 percent of the Pakistani population with energy. The first phase is expected to be finished by December 2017.

After an August 8th blast killed at least 70 people at a hospital in Quetta, a city located near the Afghanistan border, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin stated, “We decisively condemn this cynical, inhumane crime… I’d like to reiterate that the Russian side is ready to bolster cooperation with Pakistani partners in the fight against terrorism.”

In September, the Russian and Pakistani armies conducted “mutual special drills in mountainous terrain” in the eastern Punjab province, a neighboring province to Kashmir region.

“Moscow and Islamabad are interested in deepening military-to-military relations,” stated Qazi Khalilullah, Pakistan’s ambassador to Moscow.

Russia further invited Pakistan to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and Russia has expressed a desire in joining CPEC.

The India-Russo Relationship

In 2010, Mr. Putin stated that “Russia is not maintaining military cooperation with Pakistan as it takes into account the concerns of Indian partners.”

Following an October 23, 2013 meeting between India’s then Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, and Mr. Putin concerning Pakistan, Mr. Putin issued a strongly-worded statement that “states that provide aid, abetment and shelter for such terrorist activities are themselves as guilty as the actual perpetrators of terrorism”.

But, over the last two years things have radically changed. As Russia now considers Pakistan a partner on just about every level, Russo-Indian relations have experienced a downward trend. In 2015, under a pre-existing agreement Russia was to build and finance 12 nuclear power plants in India, Russia unilaterally doubled the number of plants to be built all at a significantly higher cost.

Now, Mr. Putin has grown angry over India’s augmenting its Russian-Indian defense agreement with assistance from the U.S. and other Western nations. That angry was made manifest after Russia announced a three-fold cost increase and a five-year delay in procuring for India’s fourth aircraft carrier, and delays in fulfilling a multibillion-dollar agreement to provide an India with a fifth generation fighter jet.

“By engaging with Pakistan, Russia leaves New Delhi with a hard choice: to honor its strategic commitment to Russia and make concessions or to observe Russian-Pakistani rapprochement, which could potentially erode India’s military advantage,” observed Moscow-based political analyst Dmitriy Frolovskiy.

Nuclear Proliferation

Advances in China, Pakistan and India’s strategic weapons programmes have significantly elevated the danger of nuclear conflict because they threaten “to blur nuclear thresholds and elevate the risk of inadvertent nuclear escalation due to misperception”, according to a June study by the U.S. Strategic Studies Institute.

“Pakistan has rapidly expanded its nuclear arsenal and reportedly developed new tactical nuclear weapons. Not to be outdone, India continues to modernise its nuclear triad,” confirmed Sen. McCain.

In the 2013 Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Yearbook, India and Pakistan were the only two unrecognised nuclear powers that are currently expanding their arsenals and delivery systems.

“The nuclear arms race in South Asia has its own logic but China’s growing military sophistication has pushed India and the U.S. closer, which has further cemented the China-Pakistan alliance. This has implications for the nuclear dynamic as well,” observed Harsh V. Pant, professor of international relations at King’s College London.

There are two doctrines which have governed nuclear armament. The oldest is the Doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) whereby neither country engages in direct military confrontation with the other. Rather, aggressions are taken out in proxy wars staged in other less powerful countries. The second and newer doctrine is that of Mutual Assured Security (MAS), a condition in which neither party has the intention or capability to exercise a unilateral advantage over the other. Neither Pakistan nor India play by these rules as reflected in a 2014 paper released by the Australian Institute of International Affairs:

“The largely-accepted and comforting notion that Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) permits stability at higher levels of conflict (even as it facilitates instability at lower levels) does not apply in the India-Pakistan dynamic. The validity of the Stability-Instability Paradox (SIP) rests on a number of assumptions which existed during the Cold War, but are not present in the Indo-Pakistani security environment. The preconditions required in order for the SIP to hold are:

• That the sides involved are rational actors;

• That the side which threatens first-use has unambiguous red lines to prevent the accidental tripping of nuclear thresholds; and

• That there are minimum levels of communication and mutual understanding between the actors so as to minimise chances of miscommunication and misinterpretation.”

The study concluded, “With tactical nuclear weapons and anti-ballistic missile defence technology entering the equation, the nuclear ladder is getting ever-shorter and the region is fast becoming a tinderbox.”

Consider the statement made by Air Marshal Shahid Latif, a retired senior commander in the Pakistan Air Force, which confirmed that “Now, India doesn’t have its safe heavens anymore. It’s all a reaction to India, which has now gone even for tests of extra-regional missiles. It sends a [very] loud message: If you hurt us, we are going to hurt you back!”

Conclusion

This growing tensions in the Kashmir region are fueling further regional destabilization and polarization. The U.S. has thus far stated that mutual dialogue is the only viable solution. As for China, its interest in Pakistan and India is pecuniary. While Russia does not share the same interest in Kashmir as it is not a border country, the key to Russian restraint in Pakistan may lie in Russia’s lucrative financial relationships with China, India and Pakistan.

With The BRICS Summit taking place this weekend in India, it is doubtful that the group will do little more than reiterate its position against terrorism. Through diplomatic channels, however, as Beijing has no desire for bordering Kashmir to fall in the hands of Islamic extremists, China may hold the key to pushing both countries to reduce tensions.

A second logical solution would be for India and Pakistan to present their territorial dispute to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, to which both countries are member states.

About the Author

Cynthia M. Lardner is an American journalist living in The Hague focusing on geopolitics. Ms. Lardner is a contributing editor for Tuck Magazine and E – The Magazine for Today’s Executive Female Executive, and her blogs are read in over 37 countries. As a thought leader in the area of foreign policy, her philosophy is to collectively influence conscious global thinking. Ms. Lardner holds degrees in journalism, law, and counseling psychology.

Sources

Dobbins, James, and Khalilzad, Zalmay, “Pakistan Holds the Key to Peace in Afghanistan”, January 11, 2016, Rand Corp, as found on the www at http://www.rand.org/blog/2016/01/pakistan-holds-the-key-to-peace-in-afghanistan.html.

Frolovskiy, Dmitriy, “What’s Behind Russia’s Rapprochement With Pakistan?”, May 14, 2016, The Diplomat, as found on the www at http://thediplomat.com/2016/05/whats-behind-russias-rapprochement-with-pakistan/.

Jose, Khemta Hannah, “MAD IN SOUTH ASIA: INDIA-PAKISTAN RIVALRY”, February 6, 2014, Australian Institute of International Affairs, as found on the www at http://www.internationalaffairs.org.au/australian_outlook/mad-in-south-asia-india-pakistan-rivalry/.

McCain, John, “America ignores Pakistan at its peril, 2016, July 26 Financial Times, as found on the www at https://www.ft.com/content/d97ccbe8-527e-11e6-9664-e0bdc13c3bef.

“NATO and Afghanistan”, June 14, 2016, NATO, as found on the www at http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_8189.htm.

“Secretary Kerry’s Meeting With Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif”, September 20, 2016, Office of the Spokesperson, U.S. State Department, as found on the www at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2016/09/262159.htm.

Williams, Christine, “Pakistan: State Sponsor of Terrorism”, April 7, 2014, Gatestone Institute, as found on the www at https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4250/pakistan-sponsor-terrorism.

P5

Justice, Security and Rule of Law: How the United Nations Security Council Has Failed You

P5

By:  Cynthia M. Lardner

In today’s turbulent world “…three core themes come to the fore: justice, security, and rule of law,” stated Dr. Abi Williams, President of The Hague Institute for Global Justice, who has previously served under United Nations Secretary Generals Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon.

When it comes to global justice, security and Rule of Law, the United Nations (U.N.) is the international organization that the world relies upon.  The U.N. was created in 1945 to restore world order after World War II and to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.  On July 12, 2016 an issue arose challenging the U.N.’s ability to fulfill its essential purpose.

On July 12, 2016 the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague issued an opinion in a territorial dispute between People’s Republic of China and the Philippines, commonly referred to as the South China Sea (SCS) Dispute. The sweeping opinion found in favor of the Philippines ruling that China, which had boycotted the proceedings calling them illegal, violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); an agreement about territorial seas and exclusive economic zones (EEZ), in claiming sovereignty over the 80% of the SCS, known as the “nine-dash line”, encompassing almost 80% of the SCS. China has militarized the region rich in natural gas deposits.

The PCA held that:

Having found that certain areas are within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, the Tribunal found that China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone by (a) interfering with Philippine fishing and petroleum exploration, (b) constructing artificial islands and (c) failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in the zone. The Tribunal also held that fishermen from the Philippines (like those from China) had traditional fishing rights at Scarborough Shoal and that China had interfered with these rights in restricting access. The Tribunal further held that Chinese law enforcement vessels had unlawfully created a serious risk of collision when they physically obstructed Philippine vessels.

In advance of the decision, China stated that it would not honor the PCA decision; a tribunal to which it is a member nation. As the PCA has no enforcement authority, enforcement falls on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The conundrum is that China is also a permanent member of the UNSC, which can veto UNSC enforcement of PCA decisions.  Rather that upholding its obligation as a permanent member of the UNSC to honor international law, China, in advance of the opinion, stated it will go to war to protect the “nine-dash line” region, leaving enforcement to the smaller nations in the region and their allies.

This calls into question whether China can ethically maintain its position on the UNSC.

This paper analyzes whether not only China but, also the Russian Federation should be permitted the ongoing privilege of sitting as an UNSC permanent member. As Sir Winston Churchill said, “Where there is great power there is great responsibility.”  Russia and China have failed in their responsibility to the other 191 member nations of the U.N.

United Nations Security Council’s Permanent Five

Created by the Rome Statute, to which all 193 U.N. member nations are signatories, the U.N.’s mission, as articulated in its Charter is:

“To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.”

The U.N. General Assembly, via the U.N. Charter, delegated the sole responsibility for maintaining international peace and security to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The UNSC is comprised of five permanent member nations, and ten rotating member nations elected by the five permanent members to staggered two-year terms.  At the time of its creation, the world’s five greatest superpowers were afforded the privilege of serving as permanent UNSC members:  the United States, the United Kingdom, France, the Russia and China (P5).  There is no provision in the U.N. Charter requiring that designation as a UNSC permanent member ever be reviewed or revisited.

The UNSC is responsible for authorizing U.N. peacekeeping operations.  Chapter VII of U.N. Charter authorizes the UNSC to deploy U.N. peacekeeping operations, including joint operations with allied forces and NATO, into volatile post-conflict settings where the state is unable to maintain security and public order.  Invocation of Chapter VII denotes a legal basis for taking action, and “…is viewed as a statement of firm political resolve reminding the parties to a conflict and the wider U.N. membership of their obligation to honor UNSC decisions.”  Security Council Resolution 1674, adopted on 28 April 2006, requires the UNSC to proactively protect civilians in an armed conflict, including taking action against genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity

The UNSC is also imbued with the singular responsibility for voting on U.N. member state applications, selecting the Secretary-General, and the creation and oversight of hybrid criminal courts.

The P5 have de facto control over the UNSC by virtue of their exclusive veto power over exercised when any permanent member casts a “negative” vote on not only “substantive” draft resolutions but as to what constitutes a substantive issue.

The veto power extends to the discretionary enforcement of decisions rendered by the U.N.’s International Court of Justice, which issues legal advisory opinions and hears cases involving crimes against humanity and war crimes, and the PCA.

China and Russia’s Abuses of P5 Power

The P5 has come under a great deal of criticism for failing to deliver justice, provide security, and adhere to Rule of Law, including its responsibility to protect (R2P) from statespersons, such Kofi Annan, the seventh U.N. Secretary-General and Nobel Laureate, former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and former Canadian Foreign Minister Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, calling into question whether the U.N. Charter needs to be amended.

The South China Sea Dispute

Along with the matter decided by the PCA, China has also been engaged in similar territorial SCS disputes with Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan, and Indonesia.

It is incomprehensible that China, a P5 member, can flagrantly ignore not only the PCA’s decision, which is final and binding upon the parties, but also UNCLOS, the treaty governing territorial rights.  Rather, than adhere to international law, China is prepared to go to war with the U.S. and other countries over the SCS. Complicating the matter is the joint military build-up by China and Russia in the South China Sea.

An Article VII draft resolution as to the enforcement of the PCA opinion or peacekeeping operations in the SCS would be vetoed by China and Russia.  Given that NATO has already stated it will not become involved in the SCS Dispute, if armed conflict erupts, defense against China and, likely Russia, military superpowers, will be the responsibility of the smaller nations in the region, the United States, France and their allies.

“Only when everyone plays by the same rules can we avoid the mistakes of the past, like when countries challenged one another in contests of strength and will, with disastrous consequences for the region,” stated U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

Russia, Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula

Russia’s relationship with NATO, its member nations, allies and partners deteriorated following Russia’s illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and military aggressions in Ukraine.  On July 15, 2015, rather than abstain, Russia vetoed a resolution as to its illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, shielding itself from accountability under international law.  Russia President Vladimir Putin recently stated that there will never be any diplomatic discussion of the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

Russia’s aggressions in Ukraine were to have been resolved by the September 5, 2014 Minsk Protocol, confirming Ukraine’s sovereignty, which was signed by Ukraine, Russia, the Donetsk People’s Republic, and the Lugansk People’s Republic.  Despite being called upon by the international community to implement the Minsk Protocol, including the G20 in April 2016, and at the February 2016 Munich Security Conference, Russia has refused.  As a P5 member, there will never be Article VII action to protect the Ukraine people from ongoing aggressions, including genocide, a war crime.

It is noteworthy that Russia, a P5 member, is not a member nation of the International Criminal Court under the Rome Statute, which prosecutes state actors for crimes against humanity, including genocide.

The Birth of Responsibility to Protect

Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, former Foreign Minister of Canada, cited the UNSC’s 1999 failure to act under Section VII in Kosovo based on Russia’s veto of U.N. peacekeeping troops to force the withdrawal of Yugoslav forces from Kosovo.  Dr. Axworthy stated that he and then U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright were emotionally and morally sickened by the mass genocide in Kosovo.  Dr. Axworthy stated that he and then Secretary Albright asked themselves, “Could we stand by and let people be murdered?”

NATO intervened in what came to be known as “Madeleine’s War”.

As then President Bill Clinton stated, “”It’s to our advantage to have a Europe that is peaceful and prosperous. And there is the compelling humanitarian case: if the U.S. walks away from an atrocity like this where we can have an impact, then these types of situations will spread. The world is full of ethnic struggles, from Ireland to the Middle East to the Balkans. If we can convince people to bridge these tensions, we’ve served our interests as well as our values.”

LlyodAxworthy

Dr. Lloyd Axworthy speaking at The Hague Institute for Global Justice on July 12, 2016

This Kosovo incident gave rise to the concept of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) under which “We [humanity] must be prepared to stop mass atrocities” and where sovereignty is “…not a divine right but an obligation to protect your people,” stated Dr. Axworthy during a July 12, 2016 talk on “Pursuing Justice in a Globalized World:  Reflections on the Commitment of Madeleine K. Albright”.

Since the war, Kosovo has been unable to secure U.N. member state status based on Russia’s veto.

Responsibility to Protect

R2P was later adopted by the U.N. obligating the international community, including the UNSC to prevent and protect individuals from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. Yet, both China and Russia have and are engaged in genocide and ethnic cleansing; with Russia focused on Jewish populations and China on Tibet.

Russia and China’s Recent P5 Vetoes

At a time when Dr. Axworthy noted that “…human rights in a position of limbo,” Rule of Law has been increasing ignored by the UNSC.

There have been many instances of Russia and China misusing their UNSC veto power in contravention of international law:

  • On June 15, 2009, Russia vetoed action concerning its 2008 Georgian invasion, which culminated in a March 18, 200 treaty on alliance and integration signed between the South Ossetia region of Georgia and Russia on 18 March. This so-called treaty is yet another move by the Russian Federation that hampers ongoing efforts by the international community to strengthen security and stability in the region.  It violates Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and blatantly contradicts the principles of international law;
  • Between 2012 and 2014, Russia and China have double vetoed four draft U.N. resolution concerning the crisis in Syria, including a referral to the International Criminal Court and the imposition of U.N. sanctions;
  • On July 8, 2015, Russia vetoed taking action with respect to the genocide that occurred in Bosnia and Herzegovina in clear contravention of Security Council Resolution 1674; and
  • Russia vetoed a referral to the International Criminal Court to hold those state actors accountable for having shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight No. MH17 on July 17, 2014.

The U.S. has also used its UNSC veto power in the past, primarily to block resolutions concerning Israel.  However, this is unlikely to reoccur as during 2015 the Obama Administration’s foreign policy position as Israel and Palestine underwent a drastic shift away from favoring Israel.  The U.K. and France have never used their veto power.

“A security council that is fractured into special national interests, abusing the right of the veto; warlords and dictators who kill with impunity to advance their greed for riches or power; and the weakening of resolve in North America and Europe to act in a collective manner, and thus far a confused set of objectives by the emerging states. As Kofi Annan clearly concludes, our level of governance is not up to the task posed by world realities,” stated Dr. Axworthy.

No nation should be allowed to sit on the United Nations Security Council, let alone be afforded permanent status, if it fails to adhere to Rule of Law, minimally, international law.

Selection of the Next Secretary-General

With Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s second term set to expire, the selection process by the UNSC has also been sharply criticized. “The selection of the Secretary-General has previously been a process shrouded in secrecy, and, ultimately, decision-making lies under the almost complete control of the five permanent members” stated Tom Brookes, Programme Office at The Elders Foundation.  While the current selection process has involved an open debate between ten of the 12 individuals under consideration, it has no impact on the selection process.

Hybrid Courts

The UNSC has failed to convene, offer oversight and provide funding of hybrid criminal courts, i.e. courts created to address war crimes or crimes against humanity in any given country. By way of example, according to Ambassador David John Scheffer, the UNSC has not funded The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, commonly known as the Cambodia Tribunal or Khmer Rouge Tribunal, which is relegated to raising funds to cover its annual $3 million operating budget, with funding coming primarily from the U.S.

By the Numbers

In addition to flagrant misuse of their P5 veto power, there are three indices three global indices measuring positive and negative peace, corruption and adherence to Rule of Law which statistically support the restructuring UNSC.

First is the 2016 Global Peace Index, issued by Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), which empirically ranked 175 independent states and territories based on their levels of peacefulness.  Peacefulness is measured based on two primary components: positive peace or resilience, and negative peace, defined as the presence of violence or fear of violence.  Overall scores are normed on the basis of one to five.

GPI.1

Camilla Schippa speaking on June 24, 2016 at The Hague Institute for Global Justice on the GPI

“We see peace as a measure of conflicts.  And the Global Peace Index found an overall increase in conflict with a widening gap between the most and least peaceful countries,” stated Camilla Schippa, IEP Director of Operations.

The cost to humanity is mindboggling.  Violence costs 13.3% of the world’s GDP or $13.6 trillion dollars.  This breaks down to $1,876 annually or $5.00 per person every single day.

Second, Transparency International’s 2015 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) measures perceived levels of public sector corruption in 167 countries.  The four areas measured are bribery, corruption, whistleblowing, and Rule of Law.  The CPI defines Rule of Law as the, “Legal and political systems, structures and practices that condition a government’s actions to protect citizens’ rights and liberties, maintain law and order, and encourage the effective functioning of the country.”

CPI.2015

“The 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index clearly shows that corruption remains a blight around the world.” stated José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International.

Third is the World Justice Project’s (WJP) 2015 Rule of Law Index® (RLI). According to the WJP, “The rule of law is the foundation for communities of peace, opportunity, and equity—underpinning development, accountable government, and respect for fundamental rights.”  The RLI provides original, impartial data on how the Rule of Law is experienced by the general public in 102 countries. The RLI measures nine variables — constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil and criminal justice, informal justice – generating an overall score ranging from .35 to .87.

Russian Federation

Russia’s overall GPI Score was the lowest of the P5: 3.079/5, ranking it 151 out of 163, or in the bottom 10 percent of the countries evaluated. Russia also performed the worst out of the P5 on the CPI, ranking a meager 29 or 119/168.  Thus, it is no surprise that Russia also had the worst P5 score on the RLI:  .47 overall, placing it near the bottom quartile, or 75th out of the 102 nations.

People’s Republic of China

On the GPI, China ranked 120 out of 163, with an overall GPI of 2.288/5.  China also performed poorly on the CPI, ranking 37 or 83/168.  China also fared poorly on the RLI, having a composite score of .48, ranking it 71.

The United States

On the GPI, the U.S. ranked 103 out of 163 nations, with a composite score of 2.154/5.  According to Ms. Schippa, the U.S.’s score was negatively impacted by the number of incarcerated individuals and access to firearms, required, to date, by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  The U.S. ranked 76 or 16/168 on the CPI, with its score having steadily improved over the last four years. On the RLI, the U.S.’s composite score was .73 ranking it 13th out of the 102 countries measured.

United Kingdom

On the GPI, the U.K. ranked 47 out of 163, having generated a composite score of 1.830/5.  The U.K.’s CPI was 81 or 10/168.  Great Britain fared well on the RLI, with an overall score of .78 ranking it 12th.

France

France ranked 46 out of the 163 nations measured by the GPI, with an overall score of 1.829/5. On the CPI, France ranked 70 or 23/168.  On the RLI, France’s overall score was .74, placing it 18 out of 102 countries.

The Call for Reform

Kofi Annan astutely reflected that:

Where we collectively realize that we do not live in a zero-sum world where someone’s gain automatically comes at another’s expense. I envision a world where these values are supported by an international architecture, a modernized United Nations that reflects the changing balance of global power brought about by the rise of China, Brazil, India, South Africa, and other emerging countries.

But above all, of a United Nations that serves not only states but foremost peoples — and becomes the forum where governments are held accountable for their behavior toward their own citizens. A forum where the shared values of pluralism, tolerance, solidarity, democracy and dialogue triumph over unilateralism, ultra-nationalism, and over the politics of identity…

You may argue that this is a pipe-dream, that around the world, personal liberty, human rights, and democracy are being eroded — even in countries that have embraced democratic ideals. Let us renew and strengthen this international system. From epidemics to climate change, we need to set our narrow self-interests aside and realize that we are in this world together, for better or for worse. Hitting each other on the head has not done us much good in the past. It is time to move beyond that, to embrace our common humanity and resume our journey towards a fairer, more peaceful world.

Mr. Annan concluded that, “A United Nations for the twenty-first century would have to create new partnerships, respond to the needs of the individuals and stand for the principle that national sovereignty could never be used as a shield for genocide or a gross violation of human rights.”

“Yet the Security Council, which has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, acting on behalf of all the member states, is still dominated by the same five permanent members that were designated all those years ago, being the five great powers that had just won the war. The governments of those five powers have become so used to their exalted status, which is protected by their ability to veto any change in the Charter, that they think of it almost as their natural right, sometimes forgetting that it is above all a responsibility. They assume that the world will continue to respect their authority, and fail to notice that, year by year, that authority is eroding,” stated a release issued by The Elders, a group of former statespersons who comprise a nonpartisan peacekeeping group.

As a result of the criticisms from around the globe, they have been numerous statespersons, commissions and entities calling for reform of the U.N., particularly the UNSC.  For instance, the 14-member Commission on Global Security, Justice, and Governance Commission convened by The Hague Center for Global Justice consisting of numerous ex-foreign ministers adamantly called for U.N. reform citing a “crisis in global governance.”

The Commission’s findings, “Confronting the Crisis of Global Governance”, was launched at the Peace Palace in The Hague on 16 June 2016. Commission Co-Chairs Secretary Albright and Ibrahim Gambari, former Nigerian Foreign Minister and UN Under-Secretary-General.  The Commission called for “…an expansion in Security Council membership and better engagement with nontraditional actors. Specifically, it seeks to create more opportunities for countries, regional organizations, local authorities, and business and civil society groups to contribute to peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peace-building while, at the same time, increasing the council’s representative legitimacy and restraint in the use of the veto, particularly when a state fails in its responsibility to protect its own citizens.”

Secretary Albright warned that continuing failures within the U.N. “risks prolonging and deepening” global crises.

At the launch of the ‘Strengthening the U.N.’ initiative at the 2015 Munich Security Conference, The Elders proposed a model for expanding the UNSC, that the P5 agree a code of conduct on veto restraint, and argued that the UNSC provide greater opportunity for civil society groups to be heard through greater use of informal “Arria formula” meetings.  Arria formula meetings are informal, confidential gatherings which enabling the UNSC to have a frank and private exchange of views, within a flexible procedural framework, with individuals, groups or nations outside of the UNSC.

Another group, Uniting for Consensus (UfC), comprised of 111 of the U.N.’s 193 member states, mission is to increase the number of non-permanent UNSC members, from the existing ten rotating seats, to a composition and number reflecting greater regional representation.  In a March 26, 2015 press release the UfC stated:

[W]e could support a UNSC of up to 26 members in total – a Council that is more representative of the international community as a whole while preserving the principles of democracy and accountability to Member States. The legitimacy of the Council depends not only – or even primarily – on its composition, but on its transparency, accountability and effectiveness. It is not just about who takes decisions, but most importantly the inclusive and democratic nature of decision-making.

In 2014, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon established a 17-member independent panel on U.N. Peace Operations to comprehensively assess the state of current and emerging UN peace operations.  The panel issued 104 page report, containing detailed and voluminous recommendations for change:

At the heart of …peace operations is the message that the United Nations must unite its strengths — of politics, of partnership and of people — to meet those challenges. This means that, where deployed, United Nations peace operations must be mandated and empowered to support the political resolution of threats to international peace and security. To succeed, United Nations peace operations must find a way to strengthen partnership at all levels, namely with regional organizations, with host Governments and with the local population, to overcome deep-rooted conflicts. United Nations peace operations must answer to “We the peoples”, the ultimate beneficiaries of peace and the survivors of conflict. Their perceptions and their assessments, particularly those of women and youth, are the critical barometer of the success, or failure, of United Nations peace operations.

The panel concluded that the U.N. requires “modernized approaches and structures to enable flexible and better United Nations system responses.”  However, the panel failed to state the structures and approaches to which it was referring.  As all substantive action of the U.N. requires UNSC approval, it can only be assumed that the panel was indirectly criticizing the UNSC.

Changes Supported by Sustainable Development Goal 16

On September 25, 2015, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which include 17 Global Goals.  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed the move as a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.  The new agenda is a promise by U.N. leaders to all people everywhere.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions”, adopted to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and to build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

SDG 16 has been broken down to eleven measurable targets. SDG 16.3 is promote Rule of Law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all.  SDG 16.6 requires the development of “effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.” This includes, under SDG 16.7, an increase in decision-making at all levels which is responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative, which is tied to SDG 16.8, which seeks to broaden and strengthen participation by developing countries in global governance.  Also relevant is SDG 16.10, which is promote fundamental freedoms in accordance with national legislation and international agreements.

In 2004, then Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed that for the U.N. Rule of Law is “a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. It requires as well measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of the law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness, and procedural and legal transparency”.

SDG 16 cannot be achieved without amending the U.N. Charter to change the powers vested in the UNSC, and the increasing the number of UNSC members, to insure greater regional representation, or even eliminate the P5 or the UNSC in its entirety.

Amending the U.N. Charter

“A true United Nations would rise above the interests of individual countries. It would place the good of the planet and its people above the good of governments. The organization now based in New York cannot do this. Perhaps no world body ever will,” stated Stephen Kinzer, senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

The path to a true U.N., involves amending the U.N. Charter.  Following a conference, this requires a majority vote by the General Assembly and a vote by any seven UNSC members.  Despite all of the criticism, there has yet to be a call for a conference to amend the U.N. Charter. There has never been a better time than now for the General Assembly to come together and act to amend the U.N. Charter to insure justice, security, and rule of law for generations to come.

About the Author

Cynthia M. Lardner is a journalist focusing on geopolitics.  Ms. Lardner is a contributing editor for Tuck Magazine and E – The Magazine for Today’s Executive Female Executive, and her blogs are read in over 37 countries.  As a thought leader in the area of foreign policy, her philosophy is to collectively influence conscious global thinking. Ms. Lardner holds degrees in journalism, law, and counseling psychology.

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Lee, Michael, R., “On UNSC Reform, New UfC Paper Calls for Transparency, No New Permanent Seats”, March 25, 2015, Inner City Press, as found on the www at http://www.innercitypress.com/unscreform1ufc032515.html;  Swart, L., and Pace, Cile, “Changing the Composition of the Security Council: Is There a Viable Solution?”, March 1, 2015, Center for U.N. Reform, as found on the www at http://www.centerforunreform.org/?q=node/629.

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(140520) -- SHANGHAI, May 20, 2014 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) and Russian President Vladimir Putin sign a joint statement aimed at expanding cooperation in all fields and coordinating diplomatic efforts to cement the China-Russia all-round strategic partnership of cooperation after their talks in Shanghai, east China, May 20, 2014. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei) (mp)

In Deep Waters with China and Russia

The Threat to Global Stability and Security

Geopolitical tensions have risen to a level where another major war or even world war is no longer outside the realm of possibilities.  There has been a military build-up by the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China in the South China Sea (SCS), and by Russia in the Baltic and Western European regions.

China’s SCS Dispute with Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan, Indonesia, and the Philippines over oil rich territory rich is most troubling.  Both China and Russia have increased their military presence in the northern Pacific Ocean where they have been engaging in joint military exercises.  An eruption of armed conflict involving China, may result in both responding.

There are also the ongoing concerns regarding erratic North Korea, which has restarted plutonium fuel production.

Russia’s relationship with NATO, its member nations, allies and partners deteriorated following Russia’s illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and its unlawful aggressions in Ukraine.  This precipitated a sharp shift in Western foreign policy toward Russia.  The West has moved away from the Doctrine of Mutual Assured Stability and beyond a policy of containment to a position of deterrence.  Knowing that NATO will respond, it is unlikely that Moscow will engage in armed conflict on European soil.

Less likely would be a scenario where armed conflict develops in the Atlantic and Pacific theatres as it is questionable whether the U.S., the European Union, NATO and their allies could adequately respond.

 The South China Sea – A Deepening Rift

While China and Russia are embroiled in territorial disputes in the Pacific Ocean, it is China’s SCS Dispute that is particularly troublesome.  The expansionist goal of the two countries is that they gain control the maritime activities in the region, impeding routine missions patrolling the area and impeding the territorial rights of other nations, and allowing them to exploit the region’s rich oil reserves.  In the SCS there are 11 million estimated barrels of oil, 190 trillion cubic square feet of natural gas, and $5.3 trillion in annual trade passing through the region.

Competing South China Sea Claims

China’s sweeping claims of sovereignty over the SCS have antagonized Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan, Indonesia, and the Philippines, each of which has competing territorial and jurisdictional claims in the SCS.  China has grown increasingly more assertive in advancing its position in these disputes, known as the South China Sea Dispute, by substantially modernizing its maritime paramilitary forces and increasing its naval capabilities.  In recent months, tensions in the South China Sea have steadily grown, amid global concerns over China’s constructions of artificial islands in the Spratly Islands and its continuing militarization in the Paracel Islands.

There is one pending case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague between China and the Philippines concerning lawful sovereignty over an area rich in natural gas deposits. The matter was brought by the Philippines as to the legality of China’s “nine-dash line”.  China has never clarified the parameters of the “nine-dash line”, which encompasses approximately 80% of the SCS. The Philippines claims that China violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); an agreement about territorial seas and exclusive economic zones (EEZ).

China’s motivation is not the preservation of ancestral waters or historical fishing sites, protected by the UNCLOS; rather China seeks to complete a “strategic triangle” in the SCS to monitor and control regional maritime activities, to bolster its naval position, and to gain access to much-needed natural resources. To further its interests, China has built man-made islands and artificial harbors on reefs creating more than 3,200 acres, and increasing its EEZs by 200 nautical miles or 370 km, and its territorial seas by 12 nautical miles or 22 km, on which it has installed airfields and surveillance systems, and a radar tower.  China now plans on installing an Air Defense Identification Zone, or ADIZ, covering the SCS. An ADIZ demarcates a zone outside a country’s national airspace where planes must identify themselves for security reasons and follow the country’s military instructions.

Newly constructed radar dome on Chinese-controlled Subi Reef

The Pentagon has accused China of using “coercive tactics short of armed conflict.”

The Philippines is expected to prevail in proceedings boycotted by China.  China called the PCA arbitration illegal and stated that it would ignore the PCA’s decision, even though China is one of five permanent United Nations Security Council members.  As the PCA has no enforcement authority, enforcement will fall upon other nations both in and outside of the SCS region.

“Only when everyone plays by the same rules can we avoid the mistakes of the past, like when countries challenged one another in contests of strength and will, with disastrous consequences for the region,” stated U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on June 3, 2016.

The U.S. could also be drawn into this conflict based on 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between the U.S. and the Philippines. The Treaty states, “Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific Area on either of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes.”  If the U.S. failed to respond, it could damper its relationship with other nations in Asia.

Also relevant is the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the South China Sea, in which ASEAN and China agreed upon multilateral risk-reduction and confidence-building measures.  DOC requires that territorial and jurisdictional disputes be resolved without resorting to the threat or use of force.

Chinese and Russian Joint Military Buildup

In advance of the G7 Summit, China warned Japan not to involve the G7 in the SCS Dispute.  Russian Prime Minister Sergei Lavrov, on April 14, also issued a statement that, while international law ought to be respected, Russia disapproved of internationalization of the dispute, stating, “Our position is determined by the wish, natural for any normal country, to see disputes resolved directly between the countries involved in a peaceful political and diplomatic manner, without any interference from third parties or any attempts to internationalize these disputes.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry reacted “by heralding the two countries’ converging position on the South China Sea.”

Ignoring the Chinese and Russian warnings, but without mentioning China, the G7, from which Russia has been excluded since annexing Crimea, expressed concern over Chinese aggression in the SCS.

A Fact Sheet released by the White House sumarized the April 7, 2016 G7 Summit:

“G-7 leaders reiterated their commitment to a rules-based order at sea, peaceful dispute settlement, and respect for freedom of navigation and overflight.  G-7 leaders also reaffirmed the importance of states’ making and clarifying their claims based on international law [including the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea]; refraining from unilateral actions; not using force or coercion; and seeking to settle disputes by peaceful means including through juridical procedures.’”

On April 29, 2016 Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held a joint press conference in Beijing declaring shared opposition to “interference from third parties” and “attempts to internationalize” the dispute.  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated that China and Russia should join together to oppose “internationalising” the disputes.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated on May 23, 2015 that, “Russia would deploy top-of-the-line Bal and Bastion coastal defense systems — with ranges of up to 450 kilometers — as well as Russia’s new Aeleron-3 drones. The apparent goal is to create an area-denial zone around the Kuril Island chain similar to those recently fielded in Crimea and Syria.”

The purpose of the Bastion-P is to engage various surface ships, as well as carrier battle groups, convoys or landing craft. In some cases missiles fired from this system can strike surface targets.  The Bastion-P launcher carries two P-800 Oniks/Yakhont and SS-N-26 Strobile anti-ship cruise missiles, having a range of 300 km, with hi-low flight trajectory and 120 km with low-low flight trajectory. The warhead, weighing 200-250 kg., can carry nuclear or conventional warheads.

At first, Mr. Shoigu alleged Russia’s Red Pacific Fleet was sending six of its warships carrying 200 troops, launched in April, to conduct a three-month “expedition” to the Kuril Islands.  The real mission is to establish a Russian military base on Matua Island, one of the Kuril Islands involved in its dispute with Japan.  The Matua Island base will hold 87 contract troops, 700 units of military equipment and weaponry, 60 new aircraft and helicopters, three vessels and over 20 drones. Based on a photograph released by Russian controlled state media, the warships were accompanied by nuclear-powered submarines.

Large landing ships “Admiral Nevelskoi,” foreground, “Nikolai Vilkov” and Varshavyanka-class diesel-electric submarine © Vitaliy Anko / Sputnik

Days prior to the May 30-31, 2016 “Russia and China: Taking on New Quality of Bilateral Relations international Conference”, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated, “[W]e closely cooperate on the international arena, where our cooperation serves as a very important stabilizing factor. We will continue to jointly with the Chinese friends advance the necessary steps in order to ensure that our cooperation reaches new levels.”

 Lavrov added that proposals for all directions of cooperation were being drawn up “with the goal to further deepen cooperation in politics, economy and humanitarian area.”

“Russia and China are priority diplomatic partners for each other within the framework of their strategic coordination. Our countries implement close interaction in the international arena. Russian-Chinese relations are an important factor in the world peace and stability. During Vladimir Putin’s visit to China, the two leaders will exchange views on the development of bilateral relations and on international issues,” stated Hua Chunying, Deputy Director of Foreign Ministry Information Department of the People’s Republic of China.

At the conference, Western economic sanctions against Russia were deemed moot by Russia as it is looking to the East for economic growth and stability with China and Russia agreeing to increase trade from $90 billion in 2016 to $200 billion within four years.

Calling the SCS Dispute a man-made problem “forged by the United States… both Chinese and Russian leadership understand that we are better together and we are not so worried about America and its attitude to this issue,” stated Boris Titov, co-chairman of the Russian-Chinese Friendship committee and Russia’s ombudsman.

Moreover, Russia and China have been engaging in joint naval exercises in SCS.  According to the Russian press service, Russia and China commenced their first joint computer anti-missile defense exercises Aerospace-Security-2016.  Russia and China will use the results to formulate proposals on Russian-Chinese military cooperation in the field of anti-missile defense.

China’s “waves -2″ submarine-launched ballistic missile launched from underwater

“My sense is that each country will try and oppose the U.S. where it feels that its national interests require it, and that in a number of instances their national interests converge,” stated former Dutch Diplomat Joost Dirzwager.

The U.S. and France have bolstered their presence in the SCS.  The Pentagon sent a guided-missile destroyer to maintain maritime rights. This was the third time in under a year that the U.S. has conducted freedom of navigation operations in the SCS.

U.S. Freedom of Navigation (FON) Program, created in 1983 “…provides that the United States will exercise and assert its navigation and overflight rights and freedoms on a worldwide basis in a manner that is consistent with the balance of interests reflected in the Law of the Sea (LOS) Convention. The United States will not, however, acquiesce in unilateral acts of other states designed to restrict the rights and freedoms of the international community in navigation and overflight and other related high seas uses.”

According to DoD spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Michelle Baldanza, on May 17, 2016, when the U.S. sent an unarmed U.S. military aircraft on routine patrol over the SCS, China responded with two fighter jets carrying out an interception at less than 50 feet forcing the U.S. plane to rapidly descent, which the Pentagon deemed unsafe.

China insists that reconnaissance activities undertaken without prior notification and without permission of the coastal state violate Chinese domestic law and international law. The U.S. responded by stating that the UNCLOS does not negates the right of military forces of all nations to conduct military activities in EEZs without coastal state notice or consent.

Days after Russia requested Vietnam permit it naval access, U.S. President Barack Obama visited Vietnam at which time a 50 year arms embargo was lifted, enabling Vietnam to obtain U.S. sourced radars and sensors, surveillance planes and drones to monitor and deter Chinese forces.  The U.S. Navy has requested access to Cam Ranh Bay, the most coveted deep water harbor in the western SCS.  If permitted, it would complement U.S. naval facilities in the Philippines on the SCS’ eastern edge.

Japan and Russia’s Kuril Islands Dispute

Japan has been embroiled in a long-standing dispute with Russia over a portion of the Kuril Islands, an archipelago stretching 1,300 km or 810 mi, from northern Japan to Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean.  As part of its territory, Japan claims the four ancestral islands; two southernmost and large Kuril Islands, Iturup and Kunashir, as well as the Shikotan and the Habomai Islets.

On February 7, 1855, Japan and Russia signed the Treaty of Commerce, Navigation and Delimitation, which established boundaries in the Northern Territories.  Japan lost control of several of its islands at the end of World War II, when they were claimed by Russia.  Japan has rejected Russian sovereignty over the islands in a dispute that has come to be known as the Northern Territories Dispute.  Japan does not dispute Russian sovereignty over the other Kuril Islands.

As recent as this past April, Japan has engaged Russia in frequent but, unsuccessful dialogue in an effort to diplomatically resolve the conflict, going so far as to state that it would not displace Russians occupying the islands as Joseph Stalin did to the Japanese people.

The U.S. supports Japan’s claim in the Northern Territories Dispute.

“A conflict involving China over the East and South Seas was more likely than a Russo-Japanese conflict over the Kuril Islands/Northern territories,” stated Steven Pifer, Senior Fellow Brookings Institute Fellow, and former U.S. Department of State Foreign Service Officer.

The Kuril Islands are salient based on Russia’s military build-up there.  While Russia and Japan are not predicted to engage in armed conflict over the Northern Territories Dispute, the military build-up is nonetheless significant as it relates to the SCS Dispute.

Insecurity in the European Union

Russia’s Methodology

“Russia’s interest in breaking up Europe is clear and it uses a variety of means, anything it can possibly do, to achieve its breakup,” stated Russian scholar and analyst Anne Applebaum.

Russia’s toolbox of hybrid warfare i.e. that without physical aggression, includes weaponising information; intelligence gathering; and cyber, political, psychological, and energy warfare.

Russia has been accused of cyber warfare in Estonia, the German parliament and in Bulgaria.  Russia has backed the far right front in France, the Hungarian Jobbik, and the German AFD, and has secured the support of Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Ukraine and Crimea

Recent geopolitical tensions between the West and Russian can be traced to Russia’s annexation of Crimean Peninsula, which the West deems illegal, and its military aggression in Ukraine, which the West stands firm in stating that in so doing Russia failed to implement the pre-existing Minsk Agreement.  Statements have recently issued from both sides.

“The path NATO has chosen is one of strong deterrence combined with meaningful dialogue. There cannot be any return to business as usual until Russia comes back into compliance with international law,” stated NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow.

Mr. Vershbow noted that ‘the first step toward that end should be the full implementation of the Minsk agreements – ending the Russian-backed insurgency in Eastern Ukraine, implementing a real ceasefire, withdrawing Russian forces and heavy weapons, and creating conditions for free and fair elections under Ukrainian and OSCE supervision aimed at re-integrating the occupied portions of Donbas into Ukraine.’

At the May 2016 G7 Summit, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and the European Union condemned Russia’s “illegal annexation” of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine. In a formal declaration the G7 threatened “further restrictive measures” but indicated sanctions could be scaled back if Russia implemented the Minsk Agreement to respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty.

Mr. Putin responded by stating that, “As far as Crimea is concerned, we consider this question is closed forever. Russia will not conduct any discussions with anyone on this subject.”

The Baltic States, Poland and Romania

On April 1, 2014 following the annexation of Crimea, NATO member nations unanimously voted to suspend all cooperation with Russia save essential diplomatic dialogue.  Since then, Russia has conducted military exercises involving 30,000-80,000 troops in close proximity to the Baltic region.

“To the east and north we face a resurgent and aggressive Russia, and as we have continued to witness these last two years, Russia continues to seek to extend its influence on its periphery and beyond. We are prepared to fight and win if we have to … our focus will expand from assurance to deterrence, including measures that vastly improve our overall readiness,” stated NATO Supreme Commander General Phillip Breedlove on March 31, 2016, just days after the conclusion of the Munich Security Conference.

NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said NATO is strengthening its deterrence and defence posture by implementing the Readiness Action Plan (RAP), which includes a 5000-strong Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, in response to a more assertive and aggressive Russia.

Russia’s interest in the Baltic States is multi-faceted. First and foremost, Russian President has stated over and over again that it is his responsibility to protect Russians, regardless of where they now live in the European Union.  Russia, having allowed its Baltic Sea port of Kaliningrad to deteriorate has, until recently, relied upon Baltic States’ modern and ice-free ports to transport its oil throughout Europe.

The deployment of Iskander-M missile complexes in Kaliningrad will “fundamentally change the balance of security in Europe,” stated NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

NATO responded by bolstering its position in many countries flanking the Russian border. NATO is deploying 4,000 additional troops to the Baltic countries and to Poland.  Another 4,200 troops are set to be deployed in early 2017.  NATO has also just committed to sending four rotating groups of combat battalions to Poland.

Despite NATO having voted to suspend cooperation with Russia, NATO members are complying with the May 27, 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation (Founding Act), even though some NATO members believe it to have been violated by Russia.  Under the Founding Act, significant numbers of troops cannot be permanently stationed in Eastern Europe.  The Founding Act does not define “significant”.  By rotating troops in the Baltic States or the East, Russia is deprived of the pretext of a Founding Act violation to engage in armed conflict.

The “Visegrad Four” – the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia – have proposed to NATO that they create a common “rotational” force to bolster defence in the Baltics starting in 2017.  Also in 2017, the U.S. military plans on an increased rotational presence in the East of up to 5,000 troops, including in both Romania and Bulgaria. A number of other countries have committed to or are considering sending troops to the Baltic Region and Poland; with the issue to be discussed at the July NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland.

A 2015 Rand study suggested the need for seven brigades, including three heavy armored brigade, to have a chance of stopping a major Russian offensive. This exceeds NATO’s present capacity. Moreover, such a force would appear overly provocative to Moscow, posing a potent ground offensive less than 400 kilometers from St. Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city.

Also bypassing the Founding Act, the air forces of 16 different NATO member states have been actively securing the Baltic air space.  There have been many incidents of these peacekeeping flyovers being improperly threatened by Russian fighter jets.

“There should be no gaps. Deterrence must be the new normal,” stated Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas.

If the rotational troops and increased air surveillance caused Russian ire, the U.S.’s recent activation of a land-based SM-3 missile defence interceptor or shield at its base in southern Romania, with a second defence system to be operational by 2018 in Warsaw, has only amplified the situation.  The radar, similar to that on U.S. Navy warships, detects and identifies incoming missiles, then launches interceptor missiles destroying the incoming missile in space.

“To put it simply, our new missile defense architecture in Europe will provide stronger, smarter, and swifter defenses of American forces and America’s Allies. It is more comprehensive than the previous program; it deploys capabilities that are proven and cost-effective; and it sustains and builds upon our commitment to protect the U.S. homeland against long-range ballistic missile threats; and it ensures and enhances the protection of all our NATO Allies,” stated U.S. President Barack Obama.

Mr. Putin stated that Russia will respond to the U.S. installation of missile defence shields in Romania and Poland as they directly threaten Russian security.

“We are convinced unconditionally that the deployment of an antimissile defense system does indeed pose a threat to the security of the Russian Federation,” stated Russian Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov.

Analysis

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger advised that, “To play a responsible role in the evolution of twenty-first century world order [each country] must be prepared to answer a number of questions for itself:

  • What do we seek to prevent, no matter how it happens, and if necessary alone? The answer defines the minimum condition of the survival of society.
  • What do we seek to achieve, even if not supported by any multilateral effort? These goals define the minimum objectives of the national strategy.
  • What do we seek to achieve, or prevent, only if supported by an alliance? This defines the outer limits of the country’s strategic aspirations as part of a global system.
  • What should we not engage in, even if urged by a multilateral group or an alliance? This defines the limiting condition [of a country’s] participation in world order.
  • Above all, what is the nature of the values that we seek to advance? What applications depend in part on circumstances?”

The West seeks to prevent the denigration or disregard of Rule or Law.  It has done so through NATO, it member nations and their alliances and partners.  This is and has been the driving principle for all actions it has undertaken in the Baltic Region, Western Europe, Ukraine, Crimea and the SCS.  With the exception of Crimea, the West has unequivocally indicated it will go to war if provoked by Russia.

As to what Russia seeks to achieve, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has stated, that Russia wants to be treated as an equal partner in foreign affairs, especially in Europe, but that the European Union has failed attribute to Russia the credence that it feels due and justified.  The reality is that Russia will never gain the acceptance of the European Union or the U.S. until it demonstrates adherence to Rule of Law.  This tests the outer limits of Russia’s foreign policy initiatives.

Nonetheless, given the powerful statements from the Kremlin, the European Union may yet be able to positively engage Moscow. After all, a Cold War is nothing more than failed diplomacy.  The European Union must consider the truth; if conditions deteriorate in either the East or the West, the West, in its current state, is not equipped to engage in deterrence let alone defence. In addition to the ongoing fight against terrorism and the distressing presidential elections in the United States, there is a lack of cohesion among European Union members impeding cooperative efforts with NATO and its other partners and alliances.  These are the limiting conditions that the West cannot ignore.

An alternate and more plausible explanation is that Russia, expert at psychological warfare and the use of propaganda, has used the ruse of an attack on the Baltic States, Poland or Romania to deflect public attention away from the South China Sea Dispute.

As for China, “There are a number of political and economic factors which militate against a military conflict, though the probability is not zero,” stated Mr. Pifer.

China seeks to achieve a leadership role in global financial stability.  It has strengthened its global financial position through the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank, known as The BRICS, to which many foreign powers, save the United States, have acceded to one or both.  China’s limiting condition is jeopardizing the many trade relationships it has built, not only with Western countries, such as Great Britain and the U.S., but with countries around the world.  The reality for China it that if SCS aggressions continue, especially in tandem with Russia, it may destroy positive relationships.

A second reality, based on Mr. Kissinger’s decision-making tree, is that China continues its military build-up in the SCS, with or without Russia, and that those countries adhering to Rule of Law are forced by treaty to respond.

As to joint Chinese and Russian military cooperation, while China and Russia have been bound to some degree by a shared ideology, it has thus far never extended to joint military cooperation or to an expansionist philosophy based on the use of force.  In this scenario, diplomatic relations with China might produce a positive result, not just in the SCS, but China may influence Russian interactions elsewhere in the world.

“The United States will make it clear that we are looking for a peaceful resolution to …  the disputes of the South China Sea. Let’s not resolve this by unilateral action; let’s resolve this through rule of law, through diplomacy, through negotiation. And we urge all nations to find a diplomatic solution, rooted in international standards and rule of law,” stated U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during Sangri-La talks held on June 7, 2016 in Beijing.

US Secretary of State John Kerry attends the US – China High Level Consultation on People to People Exchange at the National Museum in Beijing, June 7, 2016. (Photo credit SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian urging other European Union members to undertake “regular and visible” SCS patrols, stated, “If we want to contain the risk of conflict, we must defend this right, and defend it ourselves.”

Previously, the G7 members signed on G7 statements on maritime security and freedom of navigation.

India’s Prime Minister Narenda, following a visit to the White House, stated that it had no comment on the SCS Dispute.  India struggles to meet the energy demands of its citizens.

The necessary diplomacy might transpire at the G20 Summit – comprised of 19 individual countries—Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States—along with the European Union (EU) – to be hosted by September 4 to 6.  While less than 100 days away, it provides ample time for all parties to re-evaluate the current diplomatic posture.

About the Author

Cynthia M. Lardner is a journalist focusing on geopolitics.  Ms. Lardner is a contributing editor for Tuck Magazine and E – The Magazine for Today’s Executive Female Executive, and her blogs are read in over 37 countries.  As a thought leader in the area of foreign policy, her philosophy is to collectively influence conscious global thinking. Ms. Lardner holds degrees in journalism, law, and counseling psychology.

Cover Photo Courtesy of Xinhua.

Sources available upon request.

Inside the Mind of Vladimir Putin

Putin.CoverBy:  Cynthia M. Lardner

Introduction

The Russian Federation, when examined as the antagonist, views itself as having been left disconnected from post-World War Two Europe. Russia believes itself to be irrevocably tied to Europe dating back to the Byzantine Era.  When the Cold War ended Russia expected to be accepted by the West. This never fully materialized, leaving Russian President Vladimir Putin feeling dismembered. With heightening geopolitical tensions, especially in the European Union, it is critical to understand Mr. Putin’s long term strategy. When events over the last three years are examined together, not only does there exists a threat of conflict on European soil and cyberwar but, there also exists a very real threat to the Western world of another new genre of warfare:  economic warfare.

The Lavrov Statement

Understanding what Mr. Putin was and is thinking can now be best understood in the context of a March 3, 2016 statement by Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs:

“While the rapidly developing Moscow state naturally played an increasing role in European affairs, the European countries had apprehensions about the nascent giant in the East and tried to isolate it whenever possible and prevent it from taking part in Europe’s most important affairs.

During at least the past two centuries any attempts to unite Europe without Russia and against it have inevitably led to grim tragedies, the consequences of which were always overcome with the decisive participation of our country (Emphasis Added).”

Emphasizing Russia’s growing relationship with China and its other partners, including the BRICS, Lavrov stated that globalisation has led to the United States and the European Union’s demise as the leading global economic powers and political influencers, and to the emergence of “new and large centres of power”.

This was followed by the assertion that, “A reliable solution to the problems of the modern world can only be achieved through serious and honest cooperation between the leading states and their associations in order to address common challenges.”

Lavrov concluded that, “[W]e are not seeking confrontation with the United States, or the European Union, or NATO. On the contrary, Russia is open to the widest possible cooperation with its Western partners. We continue to believe that the best way to ensure the interests of the peoples living in Europe is to form a common economic and humanitarian space from the Atlantic to the Pacific, so that the newly formed Eurasian Economic Union could be an integrating link between Europe and Asia Pacific.”

Sino-Russian Partnership

Perhaps then it is ultimately not just what Mr. Putin is thinking but, also what the aspirations are of Chinese President Xi Jinping, with respect, not as to the Middle East, but as to Europe.  When events are read together, the two countries share expansionist and extremist policies, each with their own set of alliances, under which both countries aspire to wield greater global leadership.

A contemporary starting place for analyzing the Sino-Russian relationship is July 17, 2014, when a number of seemingly unrelated events occurred.  The day prior, the European Union imposed economic sanctions against the Russia Federation for its annexation of Crimea in violation of international law and the 1994 Budapest Agreement, followed by President Barack Obama announcing that the United States was also imposing sanctions; ultimately toppling the ruble.  Hours later, a Malaysian plane was shot down over the Ukraine by Russian mercenaries. This was quickly followed by a statement released by China, Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa, representing 40% of the world’s population, that they were implementing the New Development Bank or The BRICS, to provide funding to those countries previously unable to secure financing for essential sustainable infrastructures from the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Six months later, on February 2, 2015, obscured by an international community divided over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, China struck a potentially deadly blow to global financial stability when it announced that it was not only moving ahead in launching its Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) but that it was expanding to welcome founding members from the West, of which all 28 NATO members, save the United States, joined within months.  There are now 56 AIIB member nations and another 30 countries awaiting approval.

“The founding and opening of the AIIB also means a great deal to the reform of the global economic governance system,” stated Mr. Jinping at the January 16, 2016 AIIB inauguration.

The AIIB and its ‘junior partner’, The BRICS, were set up to compete with the WB and IMF, intending to ultimately issue its own currency to devalue the Euro and the dollar.

“The BRICS is expected to usher in a pair of institutions, a development bank and a currency reserve fund, that they hope will diminish Western control of the global financial system,” stated Stewart M. Patrick, director of CFR’s International Institutions and Global Governance Program.

“The AIIB is a challenge to the existing global economic order,” stated Robert Kahn, Steven A. Tananbaum Senior Fellow for International Economics.

Such would be the case if China and its partners called in their portion of the United States National Debt; $17.6 trillion dollars or 15.9%.

In addition, China and Russia, two of the five permanent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) members, along with India, issued a statement supporting India’s bid for one of the five permanent UNSC seats.

The statement declared that the three nations, with China at the helm, would “build a more just, fair and stable international political and economic order” and a ““multi-polar” world”.   Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi proclaimed, “We advocate the principle of partnership rather than alliance.”

In late 2015 Mr. Jinping made a state visit to Great Britain. India Prime Minister Naranda Modi made state visits to 28 countries.  In Great Britain and beyond, China and India secured many private and public sector contracts.  India’s state visits were partially motivated by its previous lack of cordial diplomatic relations with North African and the Middle East; regions India needs to to support its claim that it is a global leader meriting a permanent UNSC seat.

Inception of The BRICS and AIIB has raised global concerns.  The Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights is investigating whether projected project financing by The BRICS and the AIIB would include safeguards to preclude human rights violations, such as slave or child labor, underpayment of wages, forced evictions, and detentions.  Further concern exists over a lack of articulated environmental and anticorruption standards.  These concerns were manifest in previous projects funded by the Chinese government.

Syria

As time went on, the events of 2014 and 2015 fell off the front pages, replaced by news story about the Syrian War and the related terrorist attacks in California, Paris and Brussels.

Russia’s September 2015 entry into the Syrian War was reported to insure that Mr. Putin’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, remained in power.  It is questionable whether Mr. Putin’s move was a smokescreen allowing him to achieve another objective:  destabilizing the European Union.

Russian bombing in Syria was targeted in and around Aleppo, near the Turkish border.  NATO and other leaders asserted that Russia had weaponized Syrians; escalating the number of refugee seekers. The refugee crisis has created widespread dissension within Europe, which has been struggling to cope with the staggering numbers of refugees.  There are 4,883,643 Syrian refugees registered by the United Nations; making it the largest humanitarian crisis the world has faced since World War II.

Munich Security Conference

At the February 12-14, 2016 Munich Security Conference (MSC), Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s echoed Lavrov’s statements; calling the state of diplomacy between Russia and the West a new Cold War.  NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander General Philip Breedlove disagreed.

A Syrian ceasefire was negotiated at the MSC to allow participants time to reconvene in March to further discuss a nonmilitary resolution, and so that humanitarian aid could be delivered to Syria.

At the MSC conference, the issue of Russia’s failure to honor the Minsk Protocol, intended to resolve the Russian-Ukrainian conflict was raised.

On March 14, 2016, as the parties reconvened in Geneva, Russia only announced that it was pulling out of Syria at the same time Russian-backed separatists staged one their biggest Ukrainian offenses, fueling speculation as to Mr. Putin’s long range motives.

Europe and the United States

Mr. Putin’s goal is to undermine the European Union by causing destabilization as the European Union represents democracy, is based on Rule of Law, and is ideologically different from Russia, stated Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize Russian Scholar, Director of the Transitions Forum at the Legatum Institute, and an adjunct fellow of the Center for European Policy Analysis.

European and United States’ domestic and foreign policy has caused dissension within and between nations.  Natalie Nougayrède, a foreign affairs commentator for The Guardian, explained:

This year is one that arguably offers Russia an unprecedented window of opportunity to push that demand. The refugee crisis threatens key EU institutions, a referendum looms on the UK’s relationship to Europe, the Franco-German couple is in dire straits, Angela Merkel is politically weakened, Ukraine is unstable, populist movements are spreading throughout the continent, the Balkans are experiencing new tensions, and the US is busy with an election campaign imbued with isolationism.

“Europe when united is a problem for them [the Russians]. It doesn’t work when the whole of Europe joins together,” stated Applebaum.

“Closer cooperation between the EU and its eastern European partners – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine – is a key element in EU foreign relations,” states the European Union’s website.

Meanwhile, Russia has strengthened its relationships with Western Europe and Germany.  In 2014 Mr. Putin stated, “I expect that the citizens of Germany will also support the aspiration of the Russians, of historical Russia, to restore unity.”  Presently, an estimated 10-15% of all Germans support Mr. Putin.

Mr. Putin’s authoritarian leadership is also admired by Czech Republic President Miloš Zeman, Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vucic.

Then there is Poland; with Russia and Ukraine on its east and Germany and the Baltics on its west, it is a natural target for Russia.  The United States is building a missile defense shield in Poland due to be operational in 2018; stating it was to protect against Iranian aggressions.  Russia objected, stating that the shield is being built to protect the West from an attack by Russia.

Russia, having the world’s largest nuclear arsenal supported by a sprawling military and civilian nuclear industry, boycotted the March 31-April 1 Nuclear Security Summit, sparking concern as to whether Russia has or might sell nuclear weapons or weapon making materials to a terrorist organization.

Igor Ivanov, former Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated that, “The risk of confrontation with the use of nuclear weapons in Europe is higher than in the 1980s.”

Ukraine and the European Union

The conflict between Rule of Law and the Russian plutocracy is playing out in Ukraine and the Baltic region.

In 2012 Ukraine requested member state status in the European Union.  While there is no indication that Ukraine will be accepted as a European Union member, as part of the association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, the European Union is removing trade barriers with Ukraine.

“Ukraine has tied into mainstream European culture and life,” stated Applebaum.

“We can express our identity in the framework of the European Union,” reflected Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, Chief Rabbi of Ukraine.

Mr. Putin disagreed, stating, “Our concerns are understandable because we are not simply close neighbours but, as I have said many times already, we are one people… Millions of Russians and Russian-speaking people live in Ukraine and will continue to do so. Russia will always defend their interests using political, diplomatic and legal means.”

Rebutting Mr. Putin’s assertion, Rabbi Bleich stated that 60% of Ukraine’s fighters are native Russian speakers.

Mr. Putin additionally stated that, “Russia has its legitimate concerns in the framework of trilateral negotiations initiated by Russia, EU and Ukraine on gas issues and trade and economic implications of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement implementation” as Ukraine is the trade route by which oil is exported by Russia to Western Europe.

“We should recognize that the Ukraine is within the Russian sphere of influence,” stated Vaidotas Verba, the Lithuanian Ambassador to the Netherlands.

Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States and NATO

Since 1994 Ukraine has been a NATO alliance partner.  In 2010 Ukraine unsuccessfully sought to accede to NATO.  The request was denied due to the Ukrainian government’s failure to adhere to Rule of Law.

Olena Sotnyk, a newly elected Ukrainian Parliament member and Head of the Subcommittee on the Approximation of Ukrainian legislation to EU Law, stated “… that new parliament is striving to adhere to Rule of Law via implementation of a good number of legislative initiatives in the fields of human rights protection and anti-corruption, initiatives that only two years ago seemed unrealistic in the Ukrainian realities.”

In 2014, following a change in governance, Ukraine renewed its request to accede to NATO.  While Ukraine has not been invited to participate in accession talks, it is a partner nation of NATO.  In addition, of the 21 other countries belonging to NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, several have also expressed interest in acceding to NATO member nation status.  Presently, only Montenegro has been invited by NATO to participate in accession talks.

Every country has the right “to belong or not to belong to international organizations, to be or not to be a party to bilateral or multilateral treaties including the right to be or not to be a party to treaties of alliance,” according to Article I of the Helsinki Final Act, which established the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  All the OSCE member states, including Russia, have sworn to uphold this principle.

Since 2015 NATO has increased its presence in Ukraine and throughout the Baltic States; Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.

“The reason why NATO is adapting its military posture, especially in the eastern part of the Alliance, is Russia’s military buildup over several years… In the Barents Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea and now also in the Mediterranean. That’s one of the reasons why we are adapting both by increasing the readiness of our forces but also by increasing our presence in the Eastern part of our Alliance,” stated Stoltenberg.

Russia interpreted NATO’s eastern expansion as a sign of open hostility and warned that it will retaliate.

“We believe that NATO’s policy towards Russia remains unfriendly and generally obdurate,” stated Medvedev at the MSC.

Medvedev’s statement conflicts with Stoltenberg’s contemporaneous statement that, “This illustrates there are some challenges in the relationship between NATO and Russia. It is exactly these challenges that make it important to keep channels of political dialogue with Russia. They are open, we meet in different formats, on different levels, we meet at the ambassadors’ level in Brussels, and the NATO Russia Council meeting we are exploring to convene is at the ambassadors’ level. I met several times with Minister Lavrov. So we meet and we discuss. But so far we have not been able to agree on how to convene a NRC [the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission] meeting.”

“I’m afraid that Putin will create a really big crisis, like pick a fight with NATO,” stated Applebaum.

Such a crisis could include offensive action in the Baltic States, where there is a heavy concentration of ethnic Russians.  Ethnic Russians represent 14.3% of the Lithuanian population; 27.6% of Latvia’s population; and 24% of Estonia’s population.  Mr. Putin has previously stated that Russia has the right to intervene to protect the rights of ethnic Russians in neighbouring countries.

The United States is preparing for a Russian invasion in Ukraine or elsewhere in the Baltic region, as evidenced by a Pentagon statement that the United States was deploying an armored brigade to the Baltic region, with two more brigades to follow in 2017.

Considering such potentialities, NATO and Russia have agreed to meet.

“[T]here will be no return to business as usual until Russia again respects international law,” stated Stoltenberg.

The Game of Thrones

Irrespective of ideological differences, after the Cold War Era, Russia and the West shifted from the Doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction to that of Mutual Assured Security (MAS); where neither party has the intention or capability to exercise a unilateral advantage over the other.  It is now uncertain whether Russia intends to abide by MAS.

Conditions never favored full adaptation of MAS.  Celeste A. Wallander, an associate professor in the American University School of International Service, a fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia, explained:

The problem with the U.S. position is that Russia is not confident that conditions for strategic stability are met, and therefore they are not. Since strategic stability is a condition in which both parties are confident that each retains a secure retaliatory capability, if either is not confident, the equation is at risk. To put it another way, it does not help in a crisis.  If the United States is confident that no military strike could put Russia’s ability to retaliate at risk if Russia believes that it would have to preempt for survival.  Because Russian analysts take this seriously, U.S. policy needs to take this seriously.

“What we are dealing with is a conflict between a western philosophy in which international relations should be based on the Rule of Law, and the Russian one which tends to think in terms of power and zones of influence.  The view that the world order should be based on the rule of law, is very much the view of a militarily impotent Europe and more in particular that of small countries dependent on international trade such as the Netherlands.  The realistic school of American foreign policy on the other hand entertains no such illusions and views diplomacy as the application of power by nonmilitary means,” stated Joost Dirkzwager, a retired Kingdom of the Netherlands career diplomat.

That same analysis as to “zones of influence” can be applied to China, and to a lesser degree, India.  Although Russian and Chinese foreign and military policies differ radically, they operate under a similar ideology. While China is a superpower, Russia, due to its economic decline, is not.  Yet, the two countries are working together, with Beijing wielding the greater influence.

When read as a whole, not only does there exist the threat of conflict on European or even on United States soil and cyberwar with China and Russia but, there also exists a very real threat to the West of a new genre of warfare:  economic warfare.

About the Author

Cynthia M. Lardner is a journalist, holding degrees in journalism, law, and counseling psychology. Her blogs are read in over 37 countries.  As a thought leader in the area of foreign policy, her philosophy is to collectively influence conscious global thinking. Living in Den Hague or The Hague, she is currently looking for a challenging position in foreign policy, journalism, or social justice.

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Medvedev, Dimitry, “Speech by Dmitry Medvedev at MSC 2016”, February 13, 2016, Voltaire, as found on the www at http://www.voltairenet.org/article190255.html.

Ng, Teddy, “India and Russia back China’s call for ‘new world order’:  Foreign ministers of two nations meet Chinese counterpart in Beijing as China ‘seeks to counterbalance US influence’ in the Asia-Pacific”, February 3, 2015, South China Daily Post, as found on the www at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1699900/india-russia-back-call-new-world-order.

“Putin’s long game has been revealed, and the omens are bad for Europe,” March 18, 2016, The Guardian, as found on the www at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/18/putin-long-game-omens-europe-russia.

 

“Remarks by Chinese President Xi at the Inauguration of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank”, January 16, 2015, Council on Foreign Affairs, as found on the www at http://www.cfr.org/infrastructure/remarks-chinese-president-xi-inauguration-asian-infrastructure-investment-bank/p37470.

 

“Russian Foreign Policy”, Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the European Union, as found on the www at http://www.russianmission.eu/en/russian-foreign-policy#sthash.d7QaYgJe.dpuf.

 

“Sergey Lavrov’s article “Russia’s Foreign Policy: Historical Background” for “Russia in Global Affairs” magazine, March 3, 2016, MFR Russia, as found on the www at http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2124391.

Spaulding, Hugo, “Russian Military Activity:  OCTOBER 27-NOVEMBER 3, 2015”, Institute for the Study of War, as found on the www at http://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-military-activity-october-27-november-3-2015.

 

Stanton, Jenny, “Putin hopes to destabilise Germany by fuelling tensions over migrants, intelligence chiefs claim.” March 11, Daily Mail, as found on the www at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3487603/Putin-hopes-destabilise-Germany-fuelling-tensions-migrants-intelligence-chiefs-claim.html#ixzz43WbWoexA.

 

“Statement to the media by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after his meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov of Russia,” February 12, 2016, NATO, as found on the www at http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/opinions_128071.htm.

 

Stewart, Patrick, “The BRICS: Three Things to Know”, July 7, 2015, Council on Foreign Affairs, as found on the www at http://www.cfr.org/international-organizations-and-alliances/brics-three-things-know/p36759.

 

“Transcript: Putin says Russia will protect the rights of Russians abroad,” March 18, 2014, Washington Post, as found on the www at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/transcript-putin-says-russia-will-protect-the-rights-of-russians-abroad/2014/03/18/432a1e60-ae99-11e3-a49e-76adc9210f19_story.html.

 

Wallander, Celeste, “Mutually Assured Stability: Establishing US-Russia Security Relations for a New Century”, July 29, 2013, Atlantic Council, as found on the www at http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/publications/issue-briefs/mutually-assured-stability-establishing-us-russia-security-relations-for-a-new-century, citing, http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/images/publications/Mutually_Assured_Stability.pdf.

“Why China is creating a new “World Bank” for Asia”, November 11, 2014, The Economist, as found on the www at http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/11/economist-explains-6.

 

Reading Between the Lines of the “Cameron Letter”: Musical Diplomatic Chairs

cameron

It seems like a long time ago when China announced on January 27, 2015 that it was implementing its Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) on a much grander scale than originally publicly proposed[i]. A few days later, on February 2, 2015, China announced in a joint statement issued with Russia and India that it was not only convening its own ‘new world order’[ii], the stated function of the United Nations under its Charter, but that is was also supporting India’s longstanding bid to become one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)[iii].  But, it was less than 10 months ago when these two consecutive announcements were made[iv].

At the time, the significance of these announcements was obscured by the Israel-Palestinian stand-off and rampant allegations of unaddressed genocide in multiple hot spots. Over time, it has been the Syrian refugee crisis, the global quest for a solution to the multi-fractioned Syrian war and, most recently, the Cameron letter proposing that Britain break its ties with the European Union if four key demands are not met.

The announcements from earlier in the year were neither spurious nor have they been forgotten.  It is British Prime Minister David Cameron’s statement that the United Kingdom intends to exit the European Union and the recent state visits by China and India to Britain that have surreptitiously brought the announcements from earlier in the year back into the news; albeit not front page news.

Everything that occurs in our world is interdependent and interconnected.  To understand the geopolitical implications, these events must read in tandem with Britain, France, Germany, China, India and Russia’s recent foreign policy statements and their contemporaneous inter-related agreements:

March 12, 2015     The United Kingdom announced that it was joining the AIIB, becoming the first major Western Country to do so[v].  The decision was made without any consultation through diplomatic channels with the United States[vi].

March 13, 2015     “[Britain’s] Chancellor [George Osborne] has led the way in encouraging Chinese investment in the next generation of civil nuclear power plants in the UK and he ensured that the City of London would become the base for the first clearing house for the yuan outside Asia[vii].”

March 17, 2015      France, Germany and Italy announce that they would be joining the AIIB[viii].

September 21, 2015     In an article published by The Guardian, George Osborne and Jim O’Neill, the UK’s commercial secretary to the Treasury, jointly stated that “There are those who say we should fear China’s rise — that we should somehow guard ourselves against it. But we reject such thinking, which would simply leave the UK slipping behind. Instead, we should embrace it. We want a golden relationship with China that will help foster a golden decade for this country. It is an opportunity that the UK can’t afford to miss. Simply put, we want to make the UK China’s best partner in the West[ix].”

October 17, 2015     Chinese present Xi Jinping begins a four-day state visit to Britain, making him the first Chinese head of state to do so in over a decade.

Photo Courtesy of The Guardian

October 21, 2015   Over a four-day period, Britain and China executed deals exceeding $60bn[x], that “lifted China-Britain relations to a “golden era””.

October 21, 2015    “It is probably the most comprehensive push by any Western country on commercial ties with China, at the expense of any of the other considerations,” says Andrew Small, a transatlantic fellow in the Asia program at the German Marshall Fund in Washington (Emphasis Added)[xi].

October 21, 2015      Articles from around the world appeared questioning the motives for and implications of the full range of agreements entered into by China and Britain’s private and public sectors:

  1. The nuclear power plant China agreed to build and finance in Britain was questioned on many grounds, from interfering with global intelligence to Britain’s failure to avail itself of readily available green energy sources[xii].
  2. Having opened the door for Chinese enterprises to scrutinize Britain’s energy and telecommunication assets, and having agreed to train Chinese peacekeeping forces, the United States questioned the impact on NATO and other peacekeeping missions[xiii], in which China has historically refrained from participating despite being one of the UNSC’s five permanent members[xiv].
  3. tanding and ongoing human rights violations did not go unnoticed[xv].
  4. Britain’s steelworkers call for action as the industry was adversely affected by British-Chinese relations[xvi].
  5. The “ultra royal” welcome characterized by “lavish pageantry and obsequious attention” was noted as being extravagant even for Britain’s royals[xvii].

October 22, 2015     It was questioned whether the  “relationship between China and Britain would bring China closer to the United States or its fellow European Union members, particularly France and Germany, with the latter being complicated by Britain’s earlier statements that it intended to exit the European Union”[xviii].

Other than China and Russia, the United States, Britain and France[xix] hold the other three permanent seats on the UNSC, one of which is coveted by India[xx], augmented by ten rotating, nonpermanent UNSC members[xxi].

October 26, 2015     “The German and French ambassadors to China published a joint letter in the Chinese press calling the two countries China’s core partners ahead of visits to China by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande[xxii].”

October 28, 2015      Following years of strained diplomatic relations, India hosted the largest gathering of African leaders, urged to attend by China. The rationale was simple:  “New Delhi’s failure to secure backing from African nations for its permanent membership on the U.N. Security Council jolted the government out of its slumber, galvanizing it to strengthen ties with a continent that has often complained of indifference by New Delhi[xxiii].”

November 9, 2015     Days prior to India Prime Minister Narenda Modi’s British visit, an article appeared in an Indian newspaper summarizing Mr. Modi’s intention that India secure one of the five UNSC permanent member seats[xxiv].

November 10, 2015     It was reported that,David Cameron is enthusiastic about India as a permanent UNSC member[xxv].”

November 10, 2015     A flurry of news articles appeared covering India Prime Minister Narenda Modi’s upcoming visit to Britain[xxvi].

November 10, 2015     Mr. Cameron issued the letter containing four areas that must be resolved in Britain’s favor for it to remain a part of the European Union as it is currently configured or as it may be reconfigured:

The prime minister said he wants the UK to stay in a reformed EU, but he has not ruled out recommending leaving if he cannot secure the change he wants with the leaders of the other 27 EU countries.

  1. Protection of the single market for Britain and other non-euro countries

  2. Boosting competitiveness by setting a target for the reduction of the “burden” of red tape

  3. Exempting Britain from “ever-closer union” and bolstering national parliaments

  4. Restricting EU migrants’ access to in-work benefits such as tax credits [xxvii]

November 11, 2014     It was reported that in a speech given the day prior Mr. Cameron stated, “I say to those who are thinking about voting to leave. Think very carefully, because this choice cannot be undone.”

This statement issued contrary to that Article 50, paragraph 5 of the Lisbon Treaty, which governs the European Union, unequivocally states: “If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.”

Article 49 provides that: “Any European State which respects the values referred to in Article 2 and is committed to promoting them may apply to become a member of the Union.” It then details how the process would occur[xxviii].

November 12, 2015     Denmark’s prime minister gave a “guarded welcome” to Mr. Cameron’s demands for European Union reforms[xxix].

November 12, 2015     Germany voiced its interest in working with Great Britain[xxx].

November 12, 2015    Germany, France and the Netherlands announced upcoming diplomatic trips to China[xxxi].

November 12, 2015     Commentators began questioning Mr. Cameron’s motivation[xxxii].

November 12, 2015     A news article appeared purporting to clarify China’s January 2015 statement about a “new world order”:

One needs to note that the term China uses is “international order” or “international system.” What China is referring to is the international institutions within the United Nations structure to which China is an equal member and has a sense of belonging. China is also an important initiator and contributor to this order [xxxiii].

November 12, 2015     On the first day of Mr. Modi’s visit to Britain, more than £9bn of business deals were concluded.

“Cameron said he wanted to focus on Modi’s record as a trailblazer for hi-tech industries in a series of smart cities across India, which will be linked by 10,000km of new roads. Modi announced that a rupee bond is to be issued in London to raise funds for the expansion of the Indian railway system[xxxiv].”

November 12, 2015     A Russian newspaper reported that “The United Kingdom “firmly” supports Indian membership in the UN Security Council, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday alongside Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi”[xxxv]”.

November 13, 2015     With formal talks to convene this coming week, the European Union issued its first formal statement in response to the “Cameron Letter”:

Reaching a deal on David Cameron’s EU renegotiation goals will be “very, very tough”, European Council President Donald Tusk has said.

In his first comment since the UK prime minister wrote to him setting out his objectives, Mr Tusk said there was “no guarantee” of a deal by December.

“I have to say that it will be really difficult to find an agreement,” added the European Council president [xxxvi].

November 13, 2015     The French government, through French digital affairs minister Axelle Lemaire, issued a preliminary statement that there was “…no willingness, at least in the short term” to change EU treaties to accommodate the UK’s request to restrict newly-arrived EU citizens’ access to benefits.

This is not something that the French government would see as being reasonable… So there’s the question of is it legal or not and there’s the question of is it good to raise the issue at the moment and this, the timing is probably not so good[xxxvii].”

Conclusion

Only as the coming weeks play themselves might some answers be found to what are and have been open-ended questions for some time now as to:

  1. The fate of the European Union;
  2. China’s intentions as to its role in the United Nations and as a permanent member of the UNSC;
  3. Whether composition of the five permanent UNSC members changes to include India and, if so, which country – France, Britain or the United States loses its permanent seat[xxxviii];
  4. The economic power that the AIIB will ultimately wield, including its impact on the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, the Euro and the dollar; and
  5. How the AIIB will be used by China to impact foreign relations[xxxix].

All that is known for sure is that everything is interconnected and interdependent.

__________________________

About the Author

Cynthia M. Lardner holds a journalism degree, she is an attorney, and has trained as a clinical (school and agency) therapist. Her philosophy is to collectively influence conscious global thinking understanding that everything and everyone is subject to change given the right circumstances; Standard Theory or Theory of Everything.

Ms. Lardner has accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn, as well as accounts under the pseudonym of Deveroux Cleary, and is globally ranked in the top 1% of all account holders for her outreach and influence.

Having just relocated to Den Hague or The Hague, she is currently looking for a challenging position that will fully utilize her collective skill set.

__________________

Endnotes

[i] Lardner, Cynthia, “Geopolitical Meltdown”, Game of Thrones Meets House of Cards, April 9, 2015, as found on the www at https://cynthiamlardner.wordpress.com; and athttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/game-thrones-meets-house-cards-geopoliticalmeltdown-cynthia?trk=mp-reader-card

(“{S]urreptitiously striking a potentially deadly blow to global financial stability, China concurrently moved ahead in implementing its Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).  The stated rationale for its necessity differs radically from the underlying reason.

The reason articulated by the Peoples Republic of China:

The AIIB is a regional international financial institution originally proposed by the Chinese government in 2013 and launched in October 2014. The objective of the bank is to finance road, rail, port, and other infrastructure construction projects [xlvii].

The actual impetus is quite disparate from the stated rationale:

Reforms to give China a little more say at the International Monetary Fund have been delayed for years, and even if they go through America will still retain far more power. China is, understandably, impatient for change. It is therefore taking matters into its own hands.

Dig deeper:

Setting up rivals to the IMF and World Bank is easier than running them(Emphasis Added) [xlviii] (citations omitted).

[ii] Id., citing Ng, Teddy, “India and Russia back China’s call for ‘new world order’:  Foreign ministers of two nations meet Chinese counterpart in Beijing as China ‘seeks to counterbalance US influence’ in the Asia-Pacific”, February 3, 2015, South China Daily Post, as found on the www athttp://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1699900/india-russia-back-call-new-world-order; Krishnan, Ananth, “China and Russia back India for seat on UN Security Council”, February 2, 2015, The Daily Mail India, as found on the www athttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2937182/China-Russia-India-seat-security-council.html#ixzz3QhdEzHPy

(“The statement further declared that the three nations, with China at the helm, would “build a more just, fair and stable international political and economic order” and a “multi-polar” world”.   Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi proclaimed, “We advocate the principle of partnership rather than alliance,””).

[iii] Id.  (“First, China, along with Russia, two of the five permanent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) members, issued a statement on February 2, 2015 supporting India’s bid for one of five permanent UNSC seats [xi].  If India supplanted one of the remaining three permanent UNSC members, Great Britain, France or the United States, would lose its seat (citation omitted).

[iv] Id.  (“In less than two months, with stealth-like precision, China strategically and concurrently implemented two initiatives presenting an imminent threat to financial stability and global security.”).

[v] “UK announces plans to join Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank”, March 12, 2015, HM Treasury, Gov.UK, as found on the www athttps://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-announces-plans-to-join-asian-infrastructure-investment-bank

(“[T]he UK will play a key role in ensuring that the AIIB embodies the best standards in accountability, transparency and governance, which will be essential to ensuring the success of the initiative and to unlocking the potential benefits for the wider global economy.).

See also Gray, Eliza, Endnote Supra 15 (“The AIIB is an example of China’s desire to establish a new set of world economic institutions to shift power away from the US. Britain’s joining of the bank caused tension with the US, as well as with other Western allies like Germany and France, that would have preferred to join the bank in a united front. European countries are eager for China to invest capital in infrastructure projects, which the Europeans see as an opportunity to boost their sluggish economies. For Britain’s part, Osborne has encouraged China to invest in building things like homes and high speed rail, in efforts to re-invigorate the Northern cities of Manchester and Leeds.”).

[vi] Dyer, Geoff, “US Attacks UK’s ‘constant Accommodation’ with China”, Financial Times, March 12, 2015, Financial Times, as found on the www athttp://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/31c4880a-c8d2-11e4-bc64-00144feab7de.html.

[vii] “US Anger at Britain Joining Chinese-led Investment Bank AIIB”, The Guardian, March 13, 2015, as found on the www athttp://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/mar/13/white-house-pointedly-asks-uk-to-use-its-voice-as-part-of-chinese-led-bank.

[viii] Thomas, Andrea and Hutzler, Thomas, “Germany, France, Italy to Join China-Backed Development Bank:  The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is seen as challenger to Washington-based World Bank”, March 17, 2015, Wall Street Journal, as found on the www at http://www.wsj.com/articles/germany-france-italy-to-join-china-backed-development-bank-1426597078.

[ix] Zhang, Yuanan, “China-U.S. v China-UK: Two Very Different Kinds Of Diplomacy”, November 11, 2015, World Crunch, as found on the www athttp://www.worldcrunch.com/china-2.0/china-u.s.-v-china-uk-two-very-different-kinds-of-diplomacy/tpp-jinping-hollande-merkel-cold-war-diplomacy-relationship/c9s19992/.

[x] “China, Britain Sign Business Deals Worth More Than $60B”, October 21, 2015, Voice of America, as found on the wwwhttp://m.voanews.com/a/3016554.html

(“The Chinese state-owned National Petroleum Corporation and British oil giant BP are participating in the development projects.”); and

Gray, Eliza, “Britain’s Courting of China Raises Concerns Among Its Allies”, October 21, 2015, Time, as found on the www athttp://time.com/4079509/britain-china-courting/

(China’s four day state visit to Britain was expected to yield more that $46 billion in investment deal, “…including an investment in a nuclear power plant in Southwestern England. The Chinese will provide 30% of the funding to the plant, which will be built by a French energy company and a Chinese state-owned energy firm. Construction and management of the plant will create thousands of jobs and it is expected to provide 7% of the U.K.’s energy needs when it is completed.).

[xi] Gray, Eliza, Id. (“Though Britain is not alone in desiring Chinese capital, experts say it is unusual for a Western country to be so unreserved about the courtship. In September, Osborne travelled to China and declared Britain “China’s best partner” in the West, and called for a “golden era,” between the two countries.”

[xii] Austin, Greg, “Just how dangerous is China-Britain nuclear agreement?”, October 25, 2015, Japan Times, as found on the www athttp://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2015/10/25/commentary/world-commentary/just-dangerous-china-britain-nuclear-agreement/.

The U.K.-China nuclear deal is particularly complicated by the fact that it is this sector that has been named by the U.S. as one of the main victims of Chinese commercial espionage by cyber means.

The mix of competing interests opposed to the U.K.-China nuclear deal has been enriched by environmentalists who have argued that Britain need not expose itself to any possible Chinese threat because it did not have to go down the nuclear energy path at all, and could rely instead on other renewable resources.

[xiii] LaCorre, Phillippe, “What the budding China-UK romance means for the global economy”, October 22, 2015, Brookings, as found on the www athttp://www.brookings.edu/blogs/order-from-chaos/posts/2015/10/22-china-uk-relations-lecorre

(“The United States is worried about a rising China in the military field. Six months after the British sudden decision to join AIIB without seeking its advice, Washington has concerns about one of its key European and NATO allies, giving away some of its energy and telecommunication assets to Chinese enterprises…. The United Kingdom is also helping China train some of its peacekeeping forces (in September, China has committed to stabilize a U.N. peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops) and has been sending numerous consultants to China in fields as diverse as finance, infrastructure management, higher education, and civil engineering.”).

[xiv] Lardner, Cynthia, Infra Endnote i.

[xv] “Britain’s fawning over China is shameful and utterly cynical: How cheaply the British government throws away its beliefs in human rights and democracy”, November 1, 2015, The Guardian, as found on the www athttp://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/2015/nov/01/letters-china-xi-jinping-britain-visit

(“Meanwhile, British police arrested a survivor of the Tiananmen crackdown and raided his home after he stood in front of President Xi Jinping’s motorcade.  Organised pro-Beijing crowds were allowed to drown out China critics.  At home, Xi has overseen the most severe crackdown on civil society since the Tiananmen Square massacre 26 years ago. Hundreds of lawyers, liberal scholars, journalists and activists have been jailed or detained since he took power. David Cameron remained silent publicly on human rights.

And what about Britain’s former colony, Hong Kong? Britain was a party to the joint declaration and yet when the Chinese government turned its back on its promise for genuine universal suffrage and insisted that candidates for the leadership of the territory must first be vetted by Beijing, the British government hardly said a thing. The message from Britain was loud and clear: you carry on with the torture, forced abortions, executions, jailing of government critics and other rights abuses – we simply don’t give a damn. Who cares about values when we are talking money? Yes, Britain, one of the oldest democracies in the world, can really be bought so cheaply.

And for the human rights campaigners in China who brave their lives to fight against a repressive regime, this is a devastating blow to their morale. To thousands of prisoners of conscience, what David Cameron and the royal family have done amounts to a slap in the face. Not only that their government cares little about them, but the free world that is supposed to be champion of rights and freedoms has abandoned them. Yet these brave people are only a minority in China. Few living under a repressive regime can afford to pay the heavy price for speaking out against injustice, so most people choose to stay silent. But the politicians and royalty in the west have nothing to lose, yet they have chosen to be complicit in the endorsement of abuses and lies.”).

See also Zhang, Yuanan, Infra Endnote ix (“It took a full year, only after Cameron reiterated that Britain recognizes Tibet as part of China and that it does not support “Tibetan independence,” for the frozen bilateral relationship to begin to thaw again.”).

[xvi] “UK steelmakers call for immediate EU action on Chinese imports,” November 9, 2015, Reuters, as found on the www athttp://uk.mobile.reuters.com/article/idUKKCN0SY00B20151109?irpc=932

(“Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country had reduced capacity in its steel industry by 77.8 million tonnes, fending off criticism that Chinese exports had brought the British steel sector to its knees.”).

[xvii] Heaver, Stewart, “To kowtow or not is no longer the question when Britain and China deal”, November 14, 2015, Post Magazine, as found on the www athttp://m.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/article/1877753/kowtow-or-not-no-longer-question-when-britain-and-china-deal

(“An “ultra royal welcome” was afforded President Xi Jinping during his state visit to Britain last month. The considerable attention to etiquette and protocol paid by the hosts doubtless contributed to the success of the trip, and the heralding of a new “golden era” in Sino-British trade relations.

The positive impact of the lavish pageantry and obsequious attention heaped on the visiting Chinese delegation could not have contrasted more acutely with Britain’s first diplomatic attempt to establish Sino-British trade relations, in 1793.”).

[xviii] LaCorre, Phillippe, Infra Endnote xiii  (“Britain could possibly help China bring the United States closer to the negotiating table if the security situation in Asia Pacific were to deteriorate.

This will not be particularly easy for Britain, which has retreated somewhat from its global role. But China has other options within the EU: France was the first Western country to establish full diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China in 1964 and retains, as another permanent member of the U.N. Security council, a good relationship with Beijing.

Germany is China’s top European economic partner and the two countries have developed a mature relationship fields such as automobile, transport, and, energy. China also increasingly considers Germany to be the leader of Europe and will welcome German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the end of October for her eighth official visit since 2005.

China has between now and the British referendum on EU membership to find out. David Cameron may have proudly declared to the Chinese media that the United Kingdom was “uniquely placed to make the case for deepening the European Union’s trade and investment relationship with China,” but the truth of that statement remains to be seen. Like the rest of the world, China is aware that the next twelve or fifteen months could see a British exit from the EU, which would lose Britain much of its advantage over its European rivals. If that was to be the case, Germany and France, who have also been baffled by Britain’s pro-China stance, would be ready to step in.).

[xix] LaCorre, Phillippe, Infra Endnote xiii  (“China has other options within the EU: France was the first Western country to establish full diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China in 1964 and retains, as another permanent member of the U.N. Security council, a good relationship with Beijing.”).

See also Marlowe, Lara, “France-China statement heralds progress on path to climate conference”, November 5, 2015, The Irish Times, as found on the www athttp://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/france-china-statement-heralds-progress-on-path-to-climate-conference-1.2418789; and “Spotlight: China condemns Paris attacks, warns nationals in France to stay alert”, November 14, 2015, Xinhua, as found on the www at http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-11/14/c_134816015.html.

[xx] See gen Sharma, Smita, “How China and Pakistan almost scuttled India’s bid for Security Council seat”, October 28, 2015, Daily O, as found on the www athttp://www.dailyo.in/politics/india-africa-summit-2015-unga-unsc-permanent-member-uganda-kutesa-modi/story/1/7052.html.

[xxi] “Ukraine, Egypt, Japan among new members of UN Security Council”, October 15, 2015, Deutsche Well, as found on the www athttp://www.dw.com/en/ukraine-egypt-japan-among-new-members-of-un-security-council/a-18785835 (“Five countries have won non-permanent seats at the UN Security Council after running unopposed. The new members are likely to draw controversy amid regional tensions around the globe.

Ukraine, Egypt, Japan, Senegal and Uruguay were announced on Thursday as the new non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. The five countries ran unopposed.

The UN Security Council consists of five permanent members (China, France, Russia, the UK and the US) and ten non-permanent members, each of whom is elected for a two-year term.

The other five current non-permanent members are Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain and Venezuela, who will step down in 2016.”).

[xxii] Zhang, Yuanan, Infra Endnote ix.

[xxiii] Pant, Harsh, “India playing catch-up to China in Africa”, October 28, 2015, The Japan Times, as found on the www athttp://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2015/10/28/commentary/world-commentary/india-playing-catch-china-africa/.

[xxiv] Modi, Modi: One Man, Multiple Roles, November 9, 2015, India Today, as found on the www at http://m.indiatoday.in/story/modi-modi-one-man-multiple-roles/1/520089.html.

(“Modi believes that it is time a nation that houses one-sixth of humanity and is soon to be the world’s third-largest economy, takes its rightful place in the sun. He also reckons that with the US on a gradual decline and the Chinese shaky, India as the world’s largest democracy has the opportunity to lead the world if it plays its cards well.

As part of the quest for that status, Modi is pulling out all stops for India to become a Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), a proposal that had been languishing since 2005. The UNSC is the diplomatic power club that currently has only five Permanent Members that also enjoy veto rights — the US, Britain, France, Russia and China. Now to gain entry into the UNSC, India needs the support of two-thirds of the members of the 193-strong General Assembly.”).

See also Parikh, Maithili., “Will India Make It To The United Nation’s Elite Clout?”, October 20, 2015, Youth Ki Awaaz, as found on the www athttp://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2015/10/india-un-security-council-seat/

(“The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has made a statement to the Russian media that since Africa, Asia and Latin America are under-represented at the UNSC, Russia supports Brazil and India’s application to be included among the ranks of its permanent members. He further stated that the developing countries required fair representation. While the Russians seem to be warming up to this idea, the other permanent members of the UNSC too seem keen for India to join their ranks.

Official records of the United States of America too suggest a dual stand; while the official statement of the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest states that President Obama would support India’s inclusion, a leaked report suggests that Prime Ministerial candidate Hillary Clinton ridicules such a prospect. Visibly, the only permanent member that has been ambiguous and non-committal to this prospect has been China, possibly due to their close ties with India’s neighbour, Pakistan. Since reform of the Security Council can only be undertaken once the entire body of permanent members votes in the affirmative along with 2/3 of its non-permanent members, the road seems rather uphill at least until China decides to support India.

Leading the non-permanent members opposing India’s permanent membership, is India’s nuclear arms rival, Pakistan and an interest group called the ‘United for Consensus’ or colloquially ‘The Coffee Club‘. Pakistan is bound to raise the apprehension of regional imbalance, drawing special attention to the ongoing Kashmir conflict between the two countries, which could definitely impede India’s campaign.”)

[xxv] “Modi In UK: What To Expect”, November 10, 2015, Swarajya, as found on the www at http://swarajyamag.com/world/modi-coming-to-london/.

[xxvi] Taylor, Adam, “India’s Modi goes to Britain as both hero and villain”, November 12, 2015, Wall Street Journal, as found on the www athttp://wpo.st/4qmm0; Sugden, Joanna, “Britain Rolls Out Red Carpet for Modi Amid Protests: The Itinerary”, November 10, 2015, Wall Street Journal, as found on the www at http://www.wsj.com/articles/BL-IRTB-30824; “Why Cameron is pulling out all the stops for India’s Modi, November 11, 2015, BBC News, as found on the www at  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-34773767;  “The links between the UK and India”, November 12, 2015, BBC News, as found on the www at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34767180;  Shadbolt, Peter, “Why India is increasing its UK investments”, November 12, 2015, as found on the www athttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34787765; and “Indian PM Modi due to arrive in UK for three-day”, November 12, 2015, BBC News, as found on the www at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34790212.

[xxvii] “David Cameron sets out EU reform goals”, November 10, 2015, BBC News, as found on the www at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-34770875

(“A spokesman for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Mr Cameron’s benefit restriction proposals were “highly problematic” as they affected the “fundamental freedoms of our internal market” and amounted to “direct discrimination between EU citizens”.

But he said the Commission viewed the letter as the starting point of negotiations and it would work with the PM for a “fair deal for Britain which is also fair for all the other member states”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said “we want to work through these proposals with the aim of working towards a solution”.

“Some points are more difficult than others, but given that we are working in the spirit of wanting to reach a solution, I am reasonably confident that we can succeed. Germany will certainly do its bit to help as far as European rules permit,” she added.).

See also Shapiro, Ari, “Conservative Victory Moves U.K. Closer To EU Exit”, May 8, 2015, NPR News, May 8, 2015, as found on the www at http://n.pr/1cgNN42.

[xxviii] Kaseem, Rasam, “CAMERON LIED IN EU SPEECH: CLAIMED ‘CHOICE CANNOT BE UNDONE’, LISBON TREATY CONTRADICTS”, November 11, 2015, Breitbart News, as found on the www athttp://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/11/11/cameron-lied-in-eu-speech-claimed-choice-cannot-be-undone-lisbon-treaty-contradicts/ (British Prime Minister David Cameron appears to have lied in his big European Union referendum speech at Chatham House yesterday, telling the British public that if they vote to leave the EU, the “choice cannot be undone”.).

[xxix] Id.

[xxx] “The Latest:  Denmark Cautiously welcomed UK reform demands,” November 10, 2015, The Washington Post, as found on the www athttp://wpo.st/uqQm0

(“In a message directed to Cameron on Twitter, Lars Loekke Rasmussen said “Good basis for concrete negotiations. It will be difficult. I hope we will succeed because we need a strong UK in EU.”

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says he considers the most controversial of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s demands for European Union reforms the one about limiting the free-movement principle.

Sobotka says that “the right to work and live anywhere in the EU is absolutely essential to us due to our historical experience.”).

See also Kenyon, Peter, “David Cameron Delivers List Of Reforms For Britain To Stay In EU”, November 10, 2015, NPR News, as found on the www athttp://www.npr.org/2015/11/10/455510011/david-cameron-delivers-list-of-reforms-for-britain-to-stay-in-eu?sc=17&f=1004&utm_source=iosnewsapp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=app.

[xxxi] “Busy week of diplomacy sees EU leaders lining up for China trip”, November 13, 2015, The Telegraph, as found on the www athttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/china-watch/politics/11980805/eu-leaders-china-trip.html

(“President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the United Kingdom prompts European continent leaders to follow suit with a visit to China.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in China on Thursday for a two-day visit, while French President Francois Hollande has scheduled a trip on Nov 2. King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands is already here for a state visit from Oct 25 to 29.”).

[xxxii] Mardel, Mark, “Cameron’s EU renegotiations a mere sideshow”, November 12, 2015, as found on the www at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-34790247\

(“…suggests that Mr Cameron has made the calculation that the renegotiation doesn’t really matter very much. Of course he will swear blind that it does, but politically it may be more akin to a piece of theatre than the building blocks of an argument about policy.).

[xxxiii] Ying, Fu, “Under the Same Roof: China’s View of Global Order”, November 12, 2015, World Post, as found on the www athttp://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/8537918

(Chinese President Xi Jinping, when visiting the U.S. in September this year, expressed his views at the United Nations General Assembly. He said China will remain a staunch defender of the international order; we will continue to uphold the international order and system underpinned by the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter.

Indeed, most of what China offers to the world, be it in the economic field or in the security fields, revolves around the U.N. system and is under the U.N. auspices.”).

[xxxiv] Watt, Nicholas, “David Cameron: India and UK are no longer imprisoned by the past”, November 12, 2015, The Guardian, as found on the www athttp://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/nov/12/david-cameron-narendra-modi-india-prime-minister-uk-visit.

[xxxv] UK ‘Firmly’ Backs Permanent Indian UN Security Council Membership – Cameron”, November 12, 2015, Sputnik, as found on the www athttp://sputniknews.com/politics/20151112/1029992670/uk-supports-india-unsc-membership.html#ixzz3rMUYVr1O.

[xxxvi] “Donald Tusk: Deal on UK’s EU renegotiation ‘very tough'”, November 13, 2015, BBC News, as found on the www at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-34803222 (Cameron failed to attend an EU summit meeting on the refugee as India’s Prime Minister Modi was visiting Britain).

[xxxvii] Id.

[xxxviii] There has been a push for United Nations reform both internally and by external peacekeeping groups.  At the core of the proposed reforms are sweeping changes to the UNSC so as to provide greater regional representation to those nations most affected by its decisions.  See Lardner, Cynthia, Infra Endnote i, citing Lee, Michael, R., “On UNSC Reform, New UfC Paper Calls for Transparency, No New Permanent Seats”, March 25, 2015, Inner City Press, as found on the www athttp://www.innercitypress.com/unscreform1ufc032515.html;  Swart, L., and Pace, Cile, “Changing the Composition of the Security Council: Is There a Viable Solution?”, March 1, 2015, Center for U.N. Reform, as found on the www athttp://www.centerforunreform.org/?q=node/629; and Annan, Kofi, “The New World Disorder: Challenges for the UN in the 21st Century”, Andrew Carnegie Distinguished Lecture on Conflict Prevention, October 23, 2014, as found on the www at http://kofiannanfoundation.org/newsroom/speeches/2014/10/new-world-disorder-challenges-un-21st-century.

[xxxix] Lardner, Cynthia, Infra Endnote i, citing, Wei, Lingling, and Davis, Bob, “China Forgoes Veto Power at New Bank to Win Key European Nations’ Support: U.S. is concerned new bank would be an instrument of Beijing’s foreign policy,” March 24, 2015, Wall Street Journal, as found on the www athttp://www.wsj.com/articles/china-forgoes-veto-power-at-new-bank-to-win-key-european-nations-support-1427131055?cb=logged0.41626988095231354(“Beijing still is likely to have the upper hand, even without veto power, over major decisions, said people involved in the discussions. That is likely to fuel concerns—expressed by the U.S., India and others—that the bank will ultimately be a tool of Chinese foreign policy (Emphasis Added).”).