Home

August 2012

Polish Missile Defense Plan Puts Poland First

In an August 6, 2012 interview in the Polish weekly Wprost, President Bronislaw Komorowski stated that Poland is prepared to create its own  anti-aircraft and missile defense system as part of a NATO shield. While some saw the statement as a rejection of U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposed missile defense system, others viewed it as a sign of  Poland’s weakening military alliance with the United States. Both arguments are misleading. READ MORE

Iran committed to Mideast free of nuclear weapons, Leader tells NAM

video

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei insisted on Thursday that Iran has never been seeking to produce nuclear weapons. However, the Leader said Iran “will never give up” its right to a peaceful use of nuclear energy. READ MORE

Kazakhstan is on the way of impressive development: Guido Westerwelle

Germany and Kazakhstan are closely connected by multifaceted cooperation in many spheres. 200 000 people of German parentage, residing in Kazakhstan, bridge the two nations as well. READ MORE

«We Intend to Proceed Enhancing Close Cooperation with Kazakhstan» — the Head of the European Commission Delegation to Kazakhstan Norbert Jousten

By Muratbek Makulbekov

The European Union is the most important partner of Kazakhstan on provision of financial and technical granting aid. This year it is 15 years since the Delegation of the European Commission had been opened in Kazakhstan. On the eve of the anniversary the Head of the Delegation Norbert Jousten during the talk to our reporter told about their achievements and about their future plans READ MORE

North against South in Europe?

video

Europe's dividing lines in the debt crisis run between the rich North and less well-off South - at first glance, anyway. But closer examination suggests the truth is more complicated. READ MORE

Gabala radar station is not worth a brass farthing?

By Arthur Pryjmak

In late 2012, the lease term of Gabala radar station expires. Azerbaijan insists on inherently disadvantageous for Russia conditions of the contract extension. Previously Moscow paid Baku $ 7.5 million per year, but now Baku demands $ 300 million. At the same time, the lease term reduces from 49 to 7 years. Russian Defense Ministry, in order to optimize costs, has decided to close the Russian sector of the school and hospital, sending families of the officers away from Azerbaijan. The officers' wives took it as a disaster and began to appeal to all authorities. One of the recipients was the military commentator of "Nezavisimaya Gazeta" Viktor Litovkin. GTimes reporter spoke with him on the problems of the Gabala radar station. READ MORE

Spanish Ambassador Miguel Arias Estévez: Lithuania is an open country

By Justinas Šuliokas

Spain's ambassador to Lithuania Miguel Arias Estévez likes everything about his host country: the food is good, people are friendly, and the climate is perfectly bearable. The ambassador particularly enjoys walking in Lithuania's green forests, something that cannot be found in Spain.
  READ MORE

Turkish interests in the Caucasus

video

By Andrey Barinov

In recent times, the role of Turkey is growing in the Middle East due to the Syrian events increasing the general tension in the region. It is no secret that Turkey has an interest in spreading its political influence on neighboring sub-regions, for example in the South Caucasus or Central Asia. Such directions of Turkish geopolitical development are not new in the history of the country. At the same time, and it is very important, motives and reasons for them are different. In the early 20th century political development of the Ottoman Empire was defined by a difficult complex of internal contradictions and external disability; but today revival of old ideas is initiated by the economically, politically and military strong country. READ MORE

Yerzhan Kazykhanov: We Revived Lost Cultural and Political Contacts with Islamic World Thanks to OIC Chairmanship

By Mejrambek Bajgarin

Interview of the Foreign Affairs Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan. READ MORE

Baltic and German foreign ministers warn about threat of north-south division in Europe

Foreign ministers of the Baltic states and Germany warned on Thursday about a growing threat of Europe being divided into the north and the south and called for further integration, including closer cooperation on economic and fiscal policy. READ MORE

New Foreign Policy Strategy Paper Codifies Uzbekistan’s Reluctance Toward Restrictive Alliances

By Zabikhulla S. Saipov

The Lower Chamber of Uzbekistan’s Parliament – the Oliy Majlis – approved the country’s own national security strategy, “The Concept Paper on the Foreign Policy Activity of Uzbekistan.” One of the essential elements in this articulated strategy is the position not to take part in any politico-military blocs (News.olam.uz, Mir24.tv, August 1). In light of Tashkent’s earlier decision to suspend its membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) (see EDM, July 11, 18), Uzbekistan is sending a clear signal to the parties concerned that it is not going to restrict itself to an alignment with any single great power. It may also underline Tashkent’s long-term desire to eventually assume a regional leadership role in Central Asia. READ MORE

Partners or rivals? Chinese investments in Central and Eastern Europe

video

Today China holds 1/3rd of the world’s currency reserves. By 2030, the Chinese economy will surpass the United States, becoming the world’s largest market.  Between 2007 and 2012, the Chinese economy grew by close to 60 percent; emerging Asia as a whole by almost 50%. Over the same period, economies of high income countries have grown by a mere 3%. Clearly the world is undergoing profound changes. READ MORE

U.S. Official Visits Uzbekistan Amid Military Base Speculation

By Joshua Kucera

The U.S.'s top diplomat responsible for Central Asia just finished a trip to Uzbekistan, amid increasing speculation that the two countries are seeking to upgrade their relationship, in particular their military cooperation. READ MORE

Major initiator of a nuclear-free world

By Alina Kantor

On August 29 the world celebrates the International Day against nuclear testing. Exactly 20 years ago there was an event, which overturned the course of modern history - the largest nuclear test site – Semipalatinsk test site was closed. For the first time Kazakhstan, a nation possessing the world’s fourth largest nuclear capacity - abandoned it. August 29 should remind the world about the threat to the existence of mankind. READ MORE

The Paradox of China's Naval Strategy

By Rodger Baker, Zhixing Zhang

Over the past decade, the South China Sea has become one of the most volatile flashpoints in East Asia. China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan each assert sovereignty over part or all of the sea, and these overlapping claims have led to diplomatic and even military standoffs in recent years. READ MORE

The United States and Central Asia

video

This testimony was originally given by The Hon. S Enders Wimbush, Senior Director of The German Marshall Fund of the United States, before the House Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia on July 24th, 2012. READ MORE

Poland in “Baltic Dimension” of European Integration

By Jan Nalepa

In the end of this March the Minister of Foreign Affairs reported to the Sejm on the program “Priorities of Polish Foreign Policy for 2012-2016”. The list of the main principles, Warsaw is going to follow in its international activity, included a higher level integration into the bodies of the European Union, strengthening of Poland by determination of the common defense policy and accomplishment of the program “Eastern Partnership”, privileged relations with Germany. Among other specified priorities – the liability to maintain own line inside the EU in the number of decision-making countries, enhancement of common defense policy and partnership with the states of Eastern Europe. READ MORE

Probable reserves of oil in Kazakhstan exceed 17 billion tons

Probable reserves of "black gold" in the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea exceed 17 billion tons (124.3 billion barrels), the head of Kazakhstan's national oil and gas company "KazMunaiGas" Lazzat Kiinov. READ MORE

Tajikistan – a New Energy Actor

video

By Aygul Hanova

Until recently, a solution for the future of economic sustainability in Tajikistan was thought to be dependent on Rogun hydropower plant. However, future of the power plant is still challenged by Uzbekistan’s claim that it will reduce water in this country. The World Bank has not yet confirmed its support in the construction of the power plant. The Tajik government is looking for other investors to proceed with construction of Rogun. The project is crucial for the country where due to an energy deficit, population receives only 2-3 hours of electricity daily. READ MORE

Crisis Threats Defense Capacity of NATO States

By Alexey Koval

Global economic recession strikes recently “healthy” spheres – defense, security and MIC. Moreover, reduction of expenses on army and defense becomes a more “popular” anti-crisis decision in political circles of the countries of the both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. READ MORE

Oil and gas - riches and risks of Iraq's Kurdish autonomy

By Aygul Taghiyeva

Recently, the question of the world's major energy companies entering the oil sector of Iraq's Kurdish autonomy and as a consequence, the deterioration of relations between the central government of Iraq and the Kurdish administration has become more and more topical. READ MORE

Uzbekenergo unhappy with Tajikistan’s energy export strategy

Tajikistan has placed itself in direct competition with Uzbekistan as a supplier of electric power. From August this year, Tajikistan has agreed to supply electricity to Afghanistan through the new Sangtud-Puli-Khumri power line, an Uzbekenergo spokesman says. READ MORE

Is the special relationship still special?

video

By Fareed Zakaria

As Americans watch the London Olympics, commentators filling airtime have speculated on the decline of the special relationship between the U.S. and the U.K. Mitt Romney took a few swipes at Barack Obama for being responsible for this decline when he was in London two weeks ago. Actually, the bonds between the United States and United Kingdom remain very strong. Why? READ MORE

Terror, coercion and foreign policy

More than ten years after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, counterterrorism practitioners, academics and policymakers are still struggling to understand what motivates men who have spent their formative and early adult years in Western urban settings – like London, Toronto, Copenhagen, New York or Madrid – to turn against the countries of their citizenship or residence and attack them. READ MORE

Kazakhstan Expands Gas Transit Pipeline Capacities and Own Exports to China

By Vladimir Socor

The longest section of the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-China transit pipeline passes through Kazakhstan’s territory: it measures 1,115 kilometers in length, of the total 1,830-kilometer Turkmenistan-China distance. Kazakhstan is adding a dedicated export pipeline for its own gas exports to China. In combination, these developments (alongside planned oil exports) confer to Kazakhstan a major role in China’s energy security calculations. READ MORE

Hijabs Democracy

By Ivan Preobrazhenski

The President of Tatarstan signed amendments to the law on the freedom of conscience earlier grandiosely adopted by the State Council of this entity of the Russian Federation. In particular, foreigners are forbidden to found religious organizations in the republic. However, all the decisions made by the power were late. It’s senseless to issue a ban on the way of penetration of “foes” to Tatarstan, when in the environment of local population already occurred people, calling themselves “Mujahideens”, able to take the responsibility for the terrorist attack against the leaders of Spiritual Department of the Muslims of the Republic. READ MORE

Competitive Caucasus Elections

By Thomas de Waal

A curious election took place recently in the Caucasus. It attracted very little notice but deserved more. In the tiny, unrecognized territory of Nagorny Karabakh—entirely Armenian but still regarded by the world as de jure part of Azerbaijan—an opposition candidate for president did extremely well. READ MORE

Stronger together

By Denis Manturov

Russia's minister of trade and industry makes the case for Russia as a good place for European companies to do business. READ MORE

Is This Why Romney Thinks Russia Is Geopolitical Foe Number One?

video

Mitt Romney’s talk may be tough when it comes to the Kremlin, but on his foreign tour, he stepped carefully into two of the places where Moscow’s foreign relations are most important: Poland and Israel. READ MORE

France dismantles camps, deports Gypsies

By Robert Marquand

Unlike former President Sarkozy's virulent anti-immigrant media campaigns, the new Socialist government says it is motivated by health, sanitation, and security. READ MORE

Never Again to Genocide Trials

video

By Timothy W. Waters

Rarely does one read such hopeful news: in late June, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) acquitted former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić of genocide. That might sound like a bad thing: Karadžić, who once warned Bosnia’s Muslims that war would lead them down the road to hell, surely deserves to be sentenced for the acts of which he was just acquitted – murder, siege, and slaughter almost beyond naming. But for genocide? Better not. READ MORE

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia asserts its influence

Saudi Arabia has become one of the most influential Arab states. The billions it earns from oil production help it assert its interests, but there are growing tensions with its neighbors - including Syria. READ MORE

Russia's Medvedev hints of Chinese threat to Far East

By Thomas Grove

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev issued a veiled warning about China's rising influence in Russia's resource-rich Far East, saying it was essential to defend the area against "excessive expansion by bordering states". READ MORE

Tight Grip of Democracy

By Alina Kantor

Democracy as natural state of existence for a western person in new, developing countries, can be perceived in the context of collapse of civilizations. This is a challenge, which can’t be ignored. READ MORE

Uzbekistan rules out foreign military bases - IWPR

Uzbekistan’s parliament has passed legislation to enact a new strategic document that rules out the possibility of hosting foreign military bases, reports NBCA of IWPR. READ MORE

The India-China Rivalry

video

By Robert D. Kaplan

As the world moves into the second decade of the 21st century, a new power rivalry is taking shape between India and China, Asia's two behemoths in terms of territory, population and richness of civilization. India's recent successful launch of a long-range missile able to hit Beijing and Shanghai with nuclear weapons is the latest sign of this development. READ MORE

Hiroshima marks 67th anniversary of A-bomb attack

video

Japan marked the 67th anniversary of the world's first atomic bomb attack with a ceremony Monday that was attended by a grandson of Harry Truman, the U.S. president who ordered the bomb dropped on the city of Hiroshima. READ MORE

Russia allows transit of NATO supplies via Ulyanovsk

video

By Anna Analbaeva

Opening of customs hub expected in August, fulfilling a proposal made by Russia in March. READ MORE

Is China Losing the Diplomatic Plot?

By Kishore Mahbubani

In 2016, China’s share of the global economy will be larger than America’s in purchasing-price-parity terms. This is an earth-shaking development; in 1980, when the United States accounted for 25% of world output, China’s share of the global economy was only 2.2%. And yet, after 30 years of geopolitical competence, the Chinese seem to be on the verge of losing it just when they need it most. READ MORE

NATO in South Caucasus: Pragmatism or Farewell to Illusions?

video

By Sergey Minasyan

A few years ago the subject of NATO’s role in regional policy in South Caucasus was one of the key within estimations and declarations of many politician, experts and reporters involved into the region. The August Russian-Georgian war of 2008, world financial-economic crisis, “Arab spring” and return of “classic” geopolitics into the region have changed the priority of perception of the North Atlantic Alliance in South Caucasus. NATO is already perceived by South Caucasian countries not the way as it was in the first part of 2000. In its turn Brussels also already not that ambitiously targets at South Caucasus. READ MORE

Belarus expels Swedish ambassador, EU weighs response

By Andrei Makhovsky, Foo Yun Chee

Belarus has expelled Sweden’s ambassador over his actions to support democracy, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said on Friday, as the European Union’s foreign policy chief said the bloc would consider responding with “appropriate” measures. READ MORE

U.S. wants to use Manas airport after 2014, but may also look to neighbouring countries

video

The United States would like to extend its agreement with Kyrgyzstan on the use of Manas airport for the delivery of goods to Afghanistan after 2014, CA-NEWS reports. However, Washington does not exclude the possibility that it will have to look for another hub in one of the neighbouring countries, assistant U.S. Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake said at a congressional hearing on Tuesday, ITAR-TASS reported. READ MORE

Twenty years ago: the birth of NATO’s crisis-management role

Twenty years ago, in July 1992, NATO started taking on a limited crisis-management role in support of international efforts to end the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. Within a few years, the Alliance was called upon to play a more robust role: it deployed its first ever peace-support operation to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995 and later intervened to end the crisis in Kosovo in 1999. NATO’s involvement in stabilising the Western Balkans has played a key role in the transformation of the Alliance after the end of the Cold War. READ MORE

New Lithuanian National Security Strategy

By Vadim Volovoj, expert of the Centre for Geopolitical Studies

On 26 June the Lithuanian Seimas approved draft National Security Strategy. “This is a much more realistic Strategy: the evaluation of Lithuania’s security environment in the current Strategy is rather “euphoric”, whereas in the new draft this evaluation is more careful", said Rasa Juknevičienė, the minister of national defense while presenting a draft Strategy to the Seimas. READ MORE

Baltic States and Finland urge EU to note increasing flows of immigrants from Russia

The Baltic states and Finland have approached the European Commission (EC) with a call for a proper response to the growing flows of immigrants from Eastern neighbors, mainly Russia, whose citizens may be granted visa-free travels in the future. READ MORE

Opinion: Romania needs a fresh start

video

By Robert Schwartz

Romanian President Basescu remains in office. The referendum failed to get the required 50 percent turnout. But despite that victory, DW's Robert Schwartz argues Basescu should step aside and make way for new talent. READ MORE

Turkmenistan’s Gas Export Potential: New Implications for Europe

By Vladimir Socor

BP’s latest annual Statistical Review of World Energy has revealed Turkmenistan’s proven gas reserves as even bigger than previously assessed (see accompanying article). From Ashgabat’s perspective, European gas markets must look more lucrative and reliable compared with Turkmenistan’s existing export markets in China, Russia, and Iran (let alone the proposed trans-Afghan export route). The westward direction remains the only missing direction for Turkmenistani gas exports. Turkmenistan has started construction of the East-West pipeline, to run from its eastern gas fields to the Caspian coast, there to connect with a westbound trans-Caspian pipeline. Ashgabat proposes to deliver 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) annually through this line, and another 10 bcm annually from its Caspian offshore fields, for onward transportation to Europe after 2016. Turkmenistan plans to finance the overland pipeline from its own budget, but is running into problems with funding and subcontracting some of the work. READ MORE