Category Archives: Central Asia

A Reasonable End to the Afghanistan War

Last year, I wrote:

Liberals and the left need an Obama administration. Otherwise, it is unlikely that Americans will withdraw from Afghanistan.

As more people talk about leaving Afghanistan to its fate, its worth a second to look around and ask what an appropriate future for Afghanistan loosk like.

Afghanistan’s most important future partner is China.

Afghanistan’s most important future association is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

A reasonable goal for US efforts in Afghanistan is to allow it to become a functional member of the SCO, the club for natural resource suppliers of the People’s Republic of China.

Nabucco Slaves Are Shedding Their Chains

The Economist has a good video on the Nabucco Pipeline, which would circumvent Russia (a violent country in Central Asia). The name references Nebuchadnezzar, that is, Putin.

I previously reference Nabucco in posts about the Eastern Partnership and Supplier Failure.

A Side Note: I had the great pleasure to see a production of Nabucco the play in the Arena di Verona, back in 2000. I can’t believe I didn’t make the connection until now!

As I said, Russia is a Central Asian State

Russis is an economically unfree state in Central Asia

Putinism by stages: 1 is through Khordokovsky’s arrest the oil baron in late 2003, and involves Putin as determined technocrat; 2 is the Bonapartist elevation of Putin to czar; and now stage 3 sees Putin morph into a Chavez-like figure where the chief piranha now turns on the plutocrats–a sad return to Soviet-era logic on economic control.Will it work economically? God no, as The Economist points out. Putin will survive for quite a while, as oil inches back up, but in terms of demographics and innovation and an economy beyond natural resources, Russia will become a bigger but less interesting version of Kazakhstan. Actually, Kazakhstan is starting to look a lot better.

via Wither Russia? Back to its historical comfort zone Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog.

To anyone reading this blog, this is old news.

Russia: neither powerful nor important

I agree with Tom on this:

Russia, as I pointed out in the last Esquire.com column, simply isn’t that powerful or important.

via No es problemo with Russia (Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog).

This is the line I’ve been advocating since August. Of course, the purpose of the spin is still the same – support Gazprom’s interests — but at least there is less Cold War thinking here than before.

Interesting Take on Russia

Certainly, this piece is more balanced than the self-contradictory Cold War thinking we got during the Georgia War.

Much of the advice comes down to just trust Gazprom. Should we provide security for pro-European states in Europe? Not if we can trust Gazprom instead. Should we try prevent more energy cut-offs when democracies anger Putin? Not if we can trust Gazprom instead.

The take on Russia is a bit deceptive — it sounds so much more reasonable than the hysterics we got last August I want to agree with it, but ultimately cannot. The piece is to transparently the work of an employee for an energy services provider on behalf of another large energy company.

It’s hard to give up on a once promising analyst, but over the last few years the feeling of reading press releases has grown stronger and stronger.

When European leaders say “global warming,” they mean “Russia”

This post came from a chat with Brendan of I Hate Linux. It confirms the cap-and-trade bill pushed by President Obama.

We are doing it for Europe

When Europe says “global warming,” they mean “Russia.”

The transposition works almost every time.

X is a threat to civilization; X is a threat to humanity; X is a threat to small nations; X must be combated by all developed nations.

Obama’s cap-and-trade is basically a way for us to assure europe that they won’t be at a compettive disadvantage if they throttle-down on Gazprom deliveries.

Russian military officeres smuggling anti-submarine weapons to China (?)

Does this story make sense on its face?

Russia’s Chief Military Prosecutor said an attempt to smuggle anti-submarine missiles and aviation bombs was foiled in the Navy. The weapons were meant to be later sold to China.

Sergey Fridinsky said Wednesday that several Navy officers and businessmen were going to smuggle 30 missiles and 200 bombs to Tajikistan. He said criminal cases had been launched against them.

The arms are worth $US 18 million. A prospective buyer was waiting for the weapons in China.

Navy General Staff confirmed the information. According to Navy’s Deputy Commander Igor Dygalo, the smugglers were trying to disguise the arms as outdated munitions.

The ring was busted together by the Navy, the Federal Security Service and the Military Prosecutor’s Office

China already has the CY (Chang Ying / 长樱 / Long Tassel) series of anti-submarine missiles (RAND PDF). While the Russians do have the SS-N-14 and SS-N-16 series of anti-submarine missles, would this be something that China actually needs? I know that China purchased several air-craft carriers from Moscow after the fall of the Soviet Union (I even visisted one, and took pictures). Did China never get around to buying an anti-submarine missle to reverse engineer the technology? I would think that if China really wants anti-submarine missles, there are Chinese factories with Chinese workers (whose profits line the pcoket of Chinese officials) more than happy to do so.


The Kiev, in Dock in Tianjin, China

Without knowing anything about the mysterious world of anti-submarine missile smuggling, it seems more likely this is part of the fallout to the sinking of the Chinese ship “New Star” by the Russian navy. (The surviving Chinese sailors have now gone home to China.)

Tangentially related:

EU: Russia should stay out of Belarus
Russia: EU and US should stay out of Moldova
Russia: US should stay out of Kyrgyzstan
Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan: US welcome

Chinese and Russian Reactions to Russia’s sinking of the Chinese ship ‘New Star’

Entries in bold are from the Russian Information Agency Novosti. Entires in italics are from Xinhua News Angecy.

January 15
13:25: Foreign ship sinks of Russia’s pacific coast, 8 sailors dead
21:36: Eight sailors drown in Sea of Japan

January 18
11:31: Captain of sunken ship crosed Russian border fearing trial
23:58: Chinese FM confirms cargo ship in a “sea accident” near Vladivostok

January 19
12:49: China demands Russia investigate sinking of Chinese ship
16:34: China demands Russia investigate sinking of Chinese ship – 2
17:44: China says Russia’s investigation into sea acident still going on
20:53: Chinese sailors rescued off Russian coast in good health, 7 still missing
21:56: Moscow blames captain of China’s New Star for tragic sinking

January 20
00:18: China lodges urgent representation again to Russia on cargo ship sinking
13:12: Russian rescuers halt search for sailors on sunken Chinese ship
17:44: Chinese consul general urges Russia to probe sea accident
21:37:China says Russia’s attitude on cargo ship incident “unacceptable”

January 21
20:36: Russian border guards fired on Chinese ship legally – ministry

All of this overlaps with Secretary of State Clinton’s visit to Asia, and the major flurry of news overlaps specifically with Clinton’s’ visit to Beijing.

Russian Federation Fires on, Sinks Chinese Ship

Without comment:

BEIJING, Feb. 21 (UPI) — Russia’s attitude and response to the sinking of a Chinese cargo ship in Russian waters is unacceptable, Beijing’s foreign ministry says.

Zhang Xiyun, director general of the foreign ministry’s Department of European-Central Asian Affairs, Friday lodged formal protests with Russian Minister Counselor to China Morgulov Igor regarding the Feb. 14 incident involving the ship New Star, Xinhua, the state-run Chinese news agency reported.

A Russian warship fired 500 rounds at the New Star, sinking it during stormy weather in Russian waters near the eastern port city

of Vladivostok, The New York Times reported.

via China protests Russia’s ship actions – UPI.com.

See also: China Demands Russia Explain Ship Sinking.