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Hegemonic Shadow Boxing

Hegemonic Power
&
Changing Global Order
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/south-china-sea-territorial-claims-unclos-by-gareth-evans-2015-06?utm_source=project-syndicate.org&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=authnote#

http://www.cfr.org/asia-and-pacific/chinas-maritime-disputes/p31345#!/

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Who Went Where How & Why

IMG_2976-Edit Recently I found myself sitting alone with some spare time, which in today’s  world is a luxury. There were many things that I began to ponder, such as who we are as a species. I went on wondering how and why we are where we are in the 21st Century. We live in a paradoxical world of everything and nothing. We have complete freedom and yet we are enslaved by many aspects of our modern world.

Please wait a minute for I just need to check my email as I just received a text message. My thoughts drifted through time and through our modern history. Whilst ancient history is both fascinating and interesting, it is what it is, ancient history. The human species has been consistent throughout our history for we are only two things, constructive or destructive…we make babies or we kill them. Dramatic shocking analogy but it works to highlight the point.

There is a Great Zimbabwe, away from the common tourist spot, where the jungle has covered the walls of the fortress constructed to protect those indigenous people in the Zambezi Valley. It is like many other ancient structures, constructed to protect from one of many types of threat. We have only two responses to a threat, fight or flight. So if the welfare of the human species is in a state of eternal conflict, then we have been consistent throughout our history.

There is no difference between yesterday and today. Yesterday we lived in fear of one thing or another. Today we still live in the shadow of fear even though we understand the notion of the only thing to fear is fear itself. The reason that we live in fear today is because the world has lost something that is critical in the fight or flight response to a threat. We have lost trust in our world because it is in a transition from the West to the East, a huge paradigm shift. We wonder what the current Zeitgeist will be regarding our modern world.

Cognitive psychology would explain that we have certain conditioning agents that exist today. Today the sourcing, retention and retrieval of knowledge is one click of a button away. We are breeding ahistorical  generations who will only ever know the world wide web and who demand instant gratification. Where will they get wisdom from, certainly not from history. The internal mental state of the individual is being conditioned by data transferred through time and space by technology.

The Ahistoricism that exists today is because there is a lack of concern for history, historical development, or tradition from X,Y,Z generations. I was a baby boomer who is transitioning into becoming the sandwich generation and quite frankly I am not fearful of the future but I am most concerned. Does the dumbing down of our society in the West leave a window of opportunity open for the East to quietly enter?

I grew up in a world where it took a male and a female to be father and mother and there were no test tube babies. Now we have same sex parents and babies that have three parents.  Britain became the first country to approve three parent babies. Can you imagine the size of the parental form sent home with the child so that they can do whatever the school requires parental approval for, that says get mummy and mummy or daddy and daddy or all three to sign the form.

We live in a world of stranger danger where children are escorted wherever they go and where one can not take out a camera at your own child’s sporting event without being shot yourself. The only onward Christian soldier in the future will be limping home from war as Mohammed will have the Ten Commandments that will have been rewritten in Sharia Law.

It is the best of times and it is the worse of times as we have complete freedom in our politically correct mufti-cultural, multipolar global village of the future. Our bipolar world of yesterday has been changed by the new world order. When I grew up a BRIC was a component in a building and today it is an alliance and if you add the letter s, it does not make it plural.

Today we live in a world that has impunity and one that has a lack of trust. I wonder what tomorrow will have in stall. The time passed by and I wondered still and silently on how we got to where we are today. Maybe I do not need to Google the question for I already have the answer. If the perfect question is why then there is only one answer, which is because.

絲綢之路經濟帶 -The Silk Road Economic Belt & Eurasian Economic Union

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The PRC Silk Road Economic Belt initiative that aims to establish the network of land and sea routes that will link the western regions of China with the main markets of Central Asia and Europe. The Silk Road Economic Belt project and the Eurasian Economic Union led by Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus can become the main driving forces transforming Central Eurasia into a zone of joint development.

This initiative is addressing internal and external challenges. The policy that China has pursued since the late 1970s has allowed the country to increase its impact on the world stage and improve the domestic economic situation. This is China’s largest foreign trade project and its implementation will allow for the strengthening of economic ties between China and the Central Asian countries; the increase in the volume of trade with Europe is considered to be less of a priority.

This Chinese initiative is for economic, geopolitical and security reasons. It is a combined land sea project. The Northern route is supposed to go through the territory of Kazakhstan and the Trans-Siberian Railway. The sea routes will involve the Kazakh port of Aktau, and the ports of the Caspian Sea (Makhachkala, Baku) that provide access to the Caucasus region, Turkey and the Black Sea basin. The Southern routes go through the territory of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran, thus providing access to the Indian Ocean in the Persian Gulf.

The Eurasian Economic Union that commenced on 1st January 2015,brings together Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia, lays the foundation for a framework of legal conditions for the joint breakthrough and creates an effective tool for the prevention and resolution of international disputes. The union ensures free movement of goods, services, capital and labor, as well as working on the coordination and synchronization of economic policies in various sectors and there will be only one customs border between China & the E.E.U.

The E.E.U is in many ways a unique association because in addition to the purely economic component, it also includes cooperation in the defense sector – the C..S.TO. The E.E.U. projects and the Silk Road Economic Belt compliment each other and will create a new opportunities.

The first group (the Northern Route) includes the routes that run across the territories of China, Kazakhstan and Russia: Urumqi – Dostyk – Omsk – Moscow – EU countries. The second group (the Sea Route) includes the routes that run across the territory of Kazakhstan and use the Caspian Sea ports for transit. The third group (the Southern Route) includes the routes that bypass the territory of Russia. The Urumqi – Aktau – Baku – Poti – Constanta (the second option is: Urumqi – Dostyk Almaty – Shymkent Tashkent – Ashgabat Tehran – Istanbul route).

These two initiatives create a Eurasia that has unique opportunities for the development of transport and logistical corridors and hubs that will connect the production and consumption potential of Europe and Asia and means that the Suez Canal route can be bypassed.

The most advanced version of the route is the Western China – Western Europe transport corridor, which runs through the cities of Lianyungang, Zhengzhou, Lanzhou, Urumqi, Khorgos, Almaty, Kyzylorda, Aktobe, Orenburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow and St. Petersburg, with further access to the Baltic Sea ports.

All this sets the scene for the revival of the Silk Road in its original capacity as the continental belt of trade and economic and cultural interaction among the adjoining states, allowing them to achieve wealth and prosperity.

A part of the EEU Treaty is the road map of movement towards a common market. There is a plan to unify the pharmaceutical regulations by 2016, to organize a common electric power market by 2019, to create common financial mega-regulators by 2022, and to have a common market for oil, gas and petroleum products by 2024–2025. This will already facilitate the development of specialized clusters in Eurasia.
There is also a prospect of a common electric power market using both hydro and nuclear power. In the future, it will be possible to raise the issue of creating a circular electric power system of Central Eurasia, including Siberia, Kazakhstan, Central Asia and western regions of China. Central Eurasia is home to enormous reserves of natural resources, including those that are very important: oil, natural gas, cerium- and non-ferrous metals.
Kazakhstan is piggy in the middle between Russia & China.
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African Conflict & Sustainable Development

 

The following is taken from Center for Strategic & International Studies
Document
A Report of the CSIS Program on
Crisis, Conflict, and Cooperation
October 2014

Africa is the continent with the highest concentration of countries that are affected by violence and conflict and that appear regularly on lists of fragile states. CSIS senior fellow Robert D. Lamb sat down with Africa Program deputy director Richard Downie to talk about the conflicts and crises Africa is likely to face in the future and how the United States has positioned itself to deal with those challenges.

In Angola, the United States played an unhelpful role in prolonging the civil war through its continued support for U.N.I.T.A. [the National Union for the Total  Independence of Angola]. But elsewhere, it’s played a constructive diplomatic role, helping negotiate an end to conflicts in South Africa, Namibia, and Mozambique. This region—Zimbabwe aside—has for the past two decades been by far the most stable region of Africa.

China’s influence in Africa has been a net positive, actually, providing Africans with much-needed infrastructure and increased opportunities for trade and investment. At the same time, China’s avowed policy of noninterference in domestic politics has meant it’s been willing to do business with some of the continent’s most corrupt, authoritarian regimes, such as those in Sudan, Angola, and Zimbabwe. This has been a boon for incumbent autocrats. But it’s hard to make the case that China has directly fueled conflict and extremism in Africa. It shares with the United States an interest in peace and stability, and conflict threatens its business interests, in places like South Sudan, for instance. As its ties in Africa get deeper, China’s doctrine of noninterference is going to come under more strain.

China does limit U.S. influence in Africa although not to the extent commonly portrayed in the media mainly by offering itself as an alternative suitor to African governments who have no interest in heeding U.S. advice on promoting democracy and good governance.

There are two big, intractable problems that have implications for security in the region. The first is poor governance, which continues to blight a number of [African] countries. Indeed, that number has increased in recent years, reversing some of the positive progress made in the 1990s and early 2000s. One particular manifestation of this problem is leaders who remove constitutional term limits. By altering, or threatening to alter, constitutions in order to stay in office, leaders like Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso undermine their nations’ institutions and run the risk that opposition to their incumbency will take on increasingly desperate, even violent, forms.

The second big problem is the lack of viable African security institutions to respond to conflict in a timely, professional manner. The continent currently lacks political leaders with the skill and vision to take ownership of the issue and produce models for a homegrown and financially sustainable African security architecture.

In July 2014, former UK foreign secretary William Hague described a turbulent global landscape as one not simply experiencing a series of regular disruptions; instead, he suggested that the world was suffering from “systemic disorder.” In a similar vein, former U.S. national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski characterized the environment as “historically unprecedented in the sense that simultaneously, huge swaths of global territory are dominated by populist unrest, anger, loss of state control.

Indeed, every day seems to bring news of emerging crises and deeper chaos, with few signs the world’s troubles are abating. China’s assertive posture in Asia has the neighbors scrambling to bolster their armed forces, reinforce territorial claims, and buttress relations with the United States. Russia’s confrontation with Ukraine and NATO holds the prospects of conflict in Europe. A worsening in one or both of these regions could herald a new economic downturn worldwide.Beginning in North Africa in late 2010, the Arab Spring offered the promise of economic opportunity, justice, and self rule. But four years later, the region has more often witnessed despair, economic paralysis, and violence. The players include countless militias, insurgents, terrorists, government security services, and political factions all contesting control of territory, populations, and resources. The integrity of Libya, Syria, and Iraq are in serious jeopardy at the same time insurgent groups like ISIS are surging in influence and capability and in some places governing as a state.

At the heart of this turmoil are two distinct but related phenomena. States are less able or willing to exercise power and authority over their people, territory, and (shrinking) resources, while actors at the sub state level are simultaneously wielding greater capabilities than ever before. This is not a new state of affairs, but the trend has worsened sharply over the past year. Incompetent or corrupt regimes are failing to provide basic services and opportunity to their populations. Filling that void are ethnic- or sectarian based groups and sophisticated criminal gangs that are not only supplanting traditional government roles but challenging states on the battle field. The ongoing confrontation between ISIS and several powerful nations bears witness to this reality.

Caught in the middle are millions of citizens with scant economic opportunities, security, and little control over their own lives. With their own governments often at fault, many people look to alternative sources of authority and service provision. Violent extremist groups offer a respite for those seeking relief, along with a promise of empowerment and even revenge very appealing choices for many individuals in this environment, given their lack of other options.

Despite the strong desire by many to avoid these cofounding problems, there is little doubt that the United States will remain deeply engaged in finding solutions. The prospects for continued violence, radicalization, and global “systemic disorder” appear to be very strong, and the United States and its partners must prepare themselves for a rough ride ahead.

At the end of the Cold War, humanitarian assistance by civilian aid workers to alleviate suffering evolved into “humanitarian intervention.” This dramatic shift in conflict from interstate wars, which declined during the last decade of the twentieth century, to intrastate conflicts arising from weak and fragile states tested the capacity of both civilian and military agencies to find appropriate responses to the dual crises of human suffering and bad governance.

Urban growth was rapid over the course of the twentieth century, and it will continue to advance quickly over the next 20 years. The overall world population reached 7.3 billion people in 2014 and is projected to exceed 8.3 billion by 2030. Notwithstanding its scale, this rate of population growth will not match the projected scale of urban growth over the same period: urban populations will grow from 3.8 billion in 2014 to more than 5 billion in 2030. Most of this growth will occur in Asia and Africa.

Every year, millions of men, women, and children relocate to periurban spaces. The newly urbanized commonly find themselves forced to live in the most insecure spaces, such as along the edges of ravines, on flood prone streambeds, on unstable slopes, or in slums and shantytowns so densely populated that they become marked with ignominious titles such as Lagos’s “Face Me, I Face You” complexes. The speed and nonuniformity of this migration overwhelms existing urban infrastructure and service provision capacities, generating interrelated negative social, health, and economic externalities. The severity of this insecurity is nowhere more apparent than for the 930 million inhabitants in developing countries, specifically in sub-Saharan Africa, who live in a slum.

Organized crime and the potential for violence from terrorist or insurgent networks pose a further challenge to human security in quickly urbanizing environments. Problems found in mega cities economic disparity and high unemployment make them a prime breeding ground for violent non state actors. Many fear the sheer size of these cities will allow criminal groups to flourish undetected by local government or legal authorities. The absence of rule of law and basic services has the potential to provide safe haven to organized criminals, insurgents, and other violent non state actors.

Transnational criminal organizations corrupt and intimidate governments and facilitate illicit trafficking, which makes them one of the more pernicious non state actors. UNODC emphasizes in its 2013 West African Threat Assessment that underserved communities particularly those in border areas can profit from the flow of contraband, “leading them further and further from the reach of the state.”

Livelihoods that benefit from governance vacuums are unsustainable but usually preferable to poverty. Those involved in illicit trade are willing to defend themselves violently when their livelihoods are threatened whether by the state or by rivals. To make matters worse, wealth accrued through illicit trafficking is often sufficient to buy cooperation from high levels of government, meaning corruption is both enabled by and an enabler of organized crime.

Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa are still experiencing a new kind of threat as stateless armies of criminal actors threaten the peace and security of many countries. In 2014, we still face the problem of accepting how long it takes to build strong institutions, grow civil society, and restore economic growth. Foreign assistance budgets are developed in five year bundles, yet reality tells us that state building is a 20 year task at a minimum. A generation is usually needed to see the results of stabilization and institution building, yet the high level of demand for the immediate resolution of conflict, often characterized by impatience and quick fixes, checking a box on a “to-do” list, fails to create a genuine understanding of how any short-term development interventions support a path to national development and a return to stable governance.

The rapid changes and instability emergent today require a comprehensive and effective response that brings people together to resolve differences peacefully and strengthens their ability to better overcome future potential conflict or strife.

I would like to focus here in conclusion, on two sub- Saharan African countries  that have overcome some  challenges and made some progress towards a modern democratic civil society. South Africa & Zimbabwe have enormous natural resources some of which contribute to their GDP and also a revenue stream for the government which can be further strengthened with bilateral trade agreements with their trading partners. Both countries share a common history in that they have had precolonization and colonization and are now in the third stage of their history which is post colonization.

The countries share a border and there is a certain amount of commonality with the challenges that they face moving into the Twenty First Century. South Africa & Zimbabwe are both part of the South African Development Community and the African Union. Ideally for progress to happen and for them to reach their full potential, truth, trust and transparency in government are paramount. Sustainable development that is part of a transformative state requires a collaborative and consultative approach with all of the stakeholders. There are many real challenges ahead, some of which were addressed in the Millennium Development Goals. The Sustainable Development Goals have continued the MDGs and also focus on future remaining challenges.

Governments can to be proactive regarding matters such as health, education, employment, infrastructure, gender equality, food security, population growth, structural reforms(whether they are regulatory, or institutional, or political, or fiscal, or social) and climate change, which will benefit the current citizens and future generations. It also is the duty and responsibility of foreign governments to work with these two countries to establish mutually beneficial relationships that benefit the citizens.

The proactive approach that government needs to address with structural reform is highlighted by a 2012 report by KPMG (http://www.kpmg.com/Africa/en/IssuesAndInsights/Articles-Publications/Press-Releases/Documents/Africa%20Fraud%20Barometer%20June%202012.pdf ) where it claims ” Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa make up 74 percent of all fraud cases reported in Africa. While fewer cases are reported in South Africa, the overall value of these cases is far greater in Nigeria”.

The writer welcomes and feedback and or ideas regarding the subject and appreciates the work that C.S.I.S. carries out and the contribution that is makes globally.

China & TheTwenty First Century

China 2015 White Paper Beijing issued its first white paper on military strategy, ushering in greater military transparency by giving details of the direction of its military buildup to other nations. The document of about 9,000 Chinese characters revealed a list of new expressions that have never before appeared in Chinese white papers.

In the preface it reaffirmed China’s adherence to peaceful development and its “active defense” military strategy. It interpreted the policy as “We will not attack unless we are attacked, but we will surely counterattack if attacked”. “China will never seek hegemony or expansion,” it added.

On China’s security environment, it mentioned increasing security challenges brought by certain countries, citing the growing US military presence in Asia and Japan’s major adjustment in its security policies.

For the first time, the paper noted that “some offshore neighbors take provocative actions and reinforce their military presence on China’s reefs and islands that they have illegally occupied”. “It is thus a long-standing task for China to safeguard its maritime rights and interests.”

Vietnam and the Philippines have kept building on some of China’s islands in the South China Sea. Accordingly, the paper said the navy of the People’s Liberation Army will “gradually shift its focus from ‘offshore waters defense’ to a combination of ‘offshore waters defense’ and ‘open seas protection'”.

China Military

China’s air force will soon commission the J-10B fighter jet, the most advanced military aircraft the country has ever developed on its own.

[Photo provided to China Daily]

It also mentioned an adjustment in preparations for military struggle. Following the guideline set in 2004 in order to win “informationized local wars”, the new expression highlighted maritime military struggle.

Regarding outer space, the paper reaffirmed China’s opposition to the weaponization of outer space and its disapproval of an arms race in outer space.

As for cyber space, it said “China will expedite the development of a cyber force” and enhance its capabilities in cyber situation awareness and cyber defense.

The paper also noted that as Chinese national interests stretch further abroad, it will “strengthen international security cooperation in areas crucially related to China’s overseas interests”.

It said the PLA will engage in extensive regional and international security affairs, and promote the establishment of the mechanisms of emergency notification, military risk precaution, crisis management and conflict control.

The paper highlighted future cooperation with Russian armed forces, saying the PLA will foster a comprehensive, diverse and sustainable framework to promote military relations.

On cooperation with the US, China intends to build a “new model of military relationships” that conforms to the two nations’ new model of major-country relations.

It will strengthen defense dialogues, exchanges and cooperation with the US military, and improve the mechanism for the notification of major military activities as well as the rule of behavior for safety of air and maritime encounters.

Zhao Weibin, a researcher on China-US military relations with the PLA Academy of Military Sciences, said though the paper named the US, Japan and some neighbors which pose security challenges, it is not written to counter them.

“In this chapter on the security environment, we just objectively assessed China’s situation.”

Wen Bing, a researcher on defense policies with the academy, said China has become one of the few countries that have published white papers to clarify military strategy. According to him, the US, Russia and Britain have issued similar reports.

“That is indeed a big step in China’s military transparency.”

Wen suggested the readers of the report examine every word of it, as “there are so many new expressions and ideas, through which you can better understand today’s PLA.”

Further to this white paper, The General Political Department of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has compiled Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speeches and writings on national defense for release in the military system.

The book, compiled and released under the approval of the Central Military Commission, includes major strategic thinkings, theories and policies reflected in 36 key articles by Xi between Dec. 2012 and March 2015.

The PLA General Political Department urged soldiers and officers to study the book to improve the army, with guided sessions to explain key theories and deepen the reader’s understanding.

China said on Wednesday that it was deeply shocked and dissatisfied with the Philippine president’s remarks likening China to Nazi Germany, warning Manila to stop provoking Beijing on the South China Sea issue.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that the Philippines has tried to occupy Chinese islands for decades and has kept “colluding with countries outside the region to stir up trouble and sling mud at China”.

“I once more seriously warn certain people in the Philippines to cast aside their illusions and repent, stop provocations and instigations, and return to the correct path of using bilateral channels to talk and resolve this dispute,” she said.

During a speech in Japan on Wednesday, Philippine President Benigno Aquino compared China’s actions to Nazi Germany’s territorial expansion before the outbreak of World War II.

Tensions have risen recently as the Philippines, as well as the United States and Japan — two nations that are not directly involved in the issue — repeatedly criticize China over its construction on some of its islands in the South China Sea.

China has said its projects mainly aim to provide a civilian service that will benefit other countries.

US President Barack Obama conceded on Monday that “it may be that some of their (China’s) claims are legitimate”, but he urged China to stop construction on the islands. The US has sent reconnaissance planes over Chinese islands with reporters on board.

Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai told The Wall Street Journal it was “very surprising to us that the US has overreacted to the situation and is escalating the situation.”

He said China is more concerned than anybody about the safety and freedom of navigation in the region, given China’s huge trade volume going through the South China Sea.

“If somebody wants to see escalation of tension, then that could be used as an excuse for advancing their military deployment, for setting up Cold War-type alliances and for setting up new missile defense systems,” he said.

During Aquino’s visit, Tokyo and Manila are likely to agree to start talks on a framework for the transfer of defense equipment and technology. Japan last year eased restrictions on arms exports set after World War II.

“As a major victim of Japan during the war, it is really cynical for the Philippines to unite with Japan and link China to Nazi Germany,” said Chen Qinghong, a Southeast Asian studies researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

“Manila wants Tokyo to help press Beijing on the South China Sea issue. And Japan — which is under great international pressure for its attitude on history as the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II approaches in August — seeks to transfer the regional focus.”

In previous posts I have written about understanding China and the rise of the Red Dragon in this “The Asian Century”. I wonder how may of us in the West truly independently understand the complexities of this state and the global challenges we will face during the 21st Century as our global power structure transitions.

Link

Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich man Poor man China can.

scs

The French navy command ship Dixmude is welcomed by Chinese soldiers upon its arrival at the Wusong naval port of Shanghai on May 9, 2015. The LHD Dixmude is in Shanghai for a port visit during a five month Jeanne Darc mission.  AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE        (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

The French navy command ship Dixmude is welcomed by Chinese soldiers upon its arrival at the Wusong naval port of Shanghai on May 9, 2015. The LHD Dixmude is in Shanghai for a port visit during a five month Jeanne Darc mission. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

 

https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/06/03/the-two-words-that-explain-chinas-naval-strategy-active-defense/

https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/06/04/should-beijing-establish-an-air-defense-identification-zone-over-the-south-china-sea/

‘It is obvious that people here are poor. It is less obvious that someone made them that way.’

Now this is different.

So I made a video with some thoughts I had during my recent work-trip to Uganda.

I have a knot in my stomach putting this kind of shit online. Another white guy, in another African country, broadcasting another set of un-earned conclusions. The whole point I’m trying to make in the video is that I have no idea what I’m talking about, but maybe that means I should have just not talked at all.

Anyway, now it’s out there, embarrassing but irrevocable, just like the rest of the internet. Next time, I’ll try making one of these I don’t feel the need to apologize for.

View original post

Zimbabwe Challenges

https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/06/03/ominous-warning-signs-resurface-in-zimbabwe/

Ominous Warning Signs Resurface

in Zimbabwe

Ominous Warning Signs Resurface in Zimbabwe

The southern African nation of Zimbabwe has fallen off the international radar screen in recent years, but alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear. Over the course of the past few months, we have witnessed an ominous series of warning signs: bitter political infighting within the country’s ruling party, the worsening of already deplorable economic conditions, the abduction and disappearance of a prominent human rights activist, and a surge of inflammatory rhetoric and political violence. According to a report by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, these are all telltale signs of growing atrocity risk — and precisely why the United States, and its allies, must wake up and take a proactive stand.

Political violence has long shaped the landscape of Zimbabwe, home to an estimated 14 million people. After a bloody liberation struggle against British colonial rule, Robert Mugabe, the only head of state Zimbabwe has ever known, spoke of reconciliation, peace, and social cohesion at independence in 1980. Mugabe’s words, however, brazenly belied the reality on the ground. Wartime emergency measures were kept in place, and we now know that plans for massacres against the Ndebele people in Midlands and Matabeleland provinces — what would later be known as Gukurahundi — were well underway. This calculated campaign of terror against an ethnic minority, executed with assistance from North Korea, was a key component of Mugabe’s plan to eliminate any opposition to his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). This scorched-earth campaign left at least 20,000 people dead and thousands more displaced. Thirty years later, no one has been held accountable, and the perpetrators remain in positions of power.

For a brief moment during Zimbabwe’s coalition government, from 2009-2013, the situation seemed as if it might be improving. The shattered economy stabilized and slowly began to recover, political space re-opened, and the most blatant forms of state-sponsored aggression declined. In reality, however, ZANU-PF and Mugabe were merely adjusting their tactics: Instead of physically assaulting opposition leaders in front of TV cameras, they undermined their influence through manipulation of the courts; instead of firebombing newspapers, they quietly intimidated the media and civil society activists; instead of beating up and maiming opposition supporters, they craftily rigged the polls to win the vote in July 2013. This more subtle approach worked, even leading to a softening of European sanctions earlier this year.

Over the past several months, however, the mood in Zimbabwe has markedly changed.

On March 9, prominent human rights defender Itai Dzamara was abducted in broad daylight. Diplomats claim that his disappearance bears all the hallmarks of an operation by Zimbabwe’s intelligence services, which has long operated with impunity under the direction of Mugabe and his security chiefs. More than two months later, Dzamara remains missing. Not only have the police ignored a High Court judgment, which ordered them to provide bi-weekly updates on the investigation and search for Dzamara, but a government minister went so far as to suggest that Dzamara staged his own disappearance.

Dzamara’s abduction is not an isolated incident. Zimbabwe’s history is replete with examples of human rights and opposition political activists who have been abducted, tortured, forcibly disappeared, or murdered by state agents. Most recently, on April 26, ruling party operatives publicly assaulted six traditional leaders at a campaign rally in Mashonaland, in full view of the police, for supporting an independent candidate running for local office. Two of the headmen have been reported missing by the local press.

The recent uptick of incendiary rhetoric espoused by leaders in ZANU-PF has also raised red flags. Last month, for example, Zimbabwe’s current Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, while on a campaign stop in Midlands, likened Zimbabwe’s political opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), to Satan, announcing to the crowd “we have come to cleanse you of the sins of the MDC.” Importantly, Mnangagwa — who is also minister of justice and the most likely successor to the 91-year-old Mugabe — was a chief architect of Gukurahundi as then-minister of defense.

This type of dog-whistle rhetoric — including from Mugabe himself — is eerily reminiscent of Zimbabwe’s dark past. The ethnically-charged words are strategically chosen: meant to strike fear in the hearts and minds of would-be voters, but also to send a clear warning to those in ZANU-PF who might challenge Mugabe’s authority. In December 2014, for example, during the height of a frenzied intraparty struggle for power, Zimbabwe’s longtime vice president and liberation war hero Joice Mujuru — nicknamed “Spill Blood” — was ousted after allegations that she had planned to assassinate Mugabe. To date, Mujuru has maintained that the accusation is false and many observers, both inside Zimbabwe and out, believe the smear campaign was part of a more sinister plot to neutralize a political rival who had been gaining popularity.

Even prior to this latest incident, Mujuru knew full well the ramifications of crossing Mugabe and ZANU-PF, whether intentional or perceived. Her late husband, Solomon Mujuru, a highly revered figure in Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle and former defense minister, was killed in an eerily suspicious house fire in 2011. Following Joice Mujuru’s political demise this past year, the first lady of Zimbabwe and current chairwoman of the ZANU-PF Women’s League, Grace Mugabe, declared that if Mujuru were killed, “dogs and fleas would not disturb her carcass.”

In Zimbabwe, this type of odious rhetoric has often coincided with political violence: It was a common tactic deployed during land invasions in the early 2000s, during a forced “urban clearance campaign” in 2005, and exemplified by targeted political attacks during and after the 2008 election period, when Robert Mugabe lost a first round but then unleashed a cascade of violence to force the opposition to withdraw.

The latest developments in Zimbabwe come at a time when the country’s economy is again collapsing and the political elite are tearing themselves apart in a battle for succession. Monitors of mass atrocity risk typically watch for ethnic exclusion, hate speech, and indicators of political and economic stress. The greatest indicator of a country’s atrocity risk is whether it has suffered from similar events in the past. All of these factors are currently, and ominously, present in Zimbabwe.

This is a dangerous moment for the citizens of Zimbabwe, and for the southern African region writ large.

This is a dangerous moment for the citizens of Zimbabwe, and for the southern African region writ large. The United States government recently dispatched a delegation, including one of the State Department’s top human rights officials, to Harare. But the Obama administration will need to keep a keen and close eye on the ongoing events in Zimbabwe, including tasking the intelligence services for an assessment of the potential for mass violence. This should include elevating the issue of Zimbabwe to the president’s Atrocities Prevention Board, which can readily address the early warning indicators of mass atrocities that currently prevail. Just as important, authorities in the capital, Harare, must know that the world is watching. Preventative steps must be taken now by engaging with the African Union (which Mugabe currently chairs), other African heads of state, as well as the United Nations Security Council to dissuade the Mugabe government from going down this tragic road once again.

Mugabe and his inner circle of ZANU-PF loyalists must also understand that those who continue to commit violence against their own people will ultimately be held accountable. The United States and its allies should make it profoundly clear, both publicly and in private, that visa bans, asset seizures, and even war crimes prosecutions are all viable policy options that remain on the table.

Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images

The Asian Century (Part Two)

Red Dragon Rising

  China 1 China 3

Prior to trying to formulate an informed opinion on China’s role in the first half of the 21st Century, a brief review of the make up of the current leadership of the P.R.C. related to global strategic defence, specifically the South China Seas region would assist the reader. The P.R.C. President and Premier are Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang. Their roles are head of state and head of government and the leadership is commonly referred to as the Xi Li team. The Minister for Defence is Chang Wanquan. These three men will be responsible for the continued global positioning of the P.R.C. during Q1 of the 21st Century.

China B

Xi Jinping is one of the three wise men (Mao & Deng are the other two) and he is focused upon positioning China for Q2 of the 21st Century with domestic and international foundations that have been constructed or are being constructed by China. With his quasi-Maoist values he is changing China. He has gained more power than his predecessors with a strong power base in the P.L.A. He is the key figure of the Fifth-Generation leadership in this renaissance period or golden age of the P.R.C.

Xi is changing the growth mode and improving quality and efficiency at the center, the economy will be driven by consumption, investment and exports instead of only by investment and exports. China will shift from relying on secondary industries alone to reliance on the primary, secondary and tertiary industries, turning away from resource consumption and toward technological progress through innovation. With the 13th five year plan (2016 – 2020) Xi is driving the industrialisation, informatisation, urbanisation and agricultural modernisation. The weakest link is agriculture which Xi is transforming agricultural development with agricultural technology innovation.

China C

Li Keqiang is the driving force behind China’s positive efforts to promote political reforms such as decentralization of government and the positioning of government to be efficient and streamlined to meet the needs during this transitional phase stage two of China’s global dominance, stage one being the one that Deng Xiaoping implemented. China’s economic development is now in the transitional period from export driven to domestic demand and makes up the other component of the Li leadership, and that is of development.

China D

Chang Wanquan was born 1949 in Nanyang City, Henan Province,
home of ancient strategist, Zhuge Liang. Rise to power possible from President Hu Jintao (2003-2013) and anit-terrorism background. Writings and speeches demonstrate support for President Hu’s “scientific development” effort, Confucian in nature, and a heavy emphasis on training. Partly due to his leadership background in military technology, including the manned space program, Chang has been a strong advocate of rapid modernization in PLA military equipment and of the integration of a combined operations supreme command, with an emphasis on better operational coordination among the army, navy, land forces, and missile forces in warfare.

Chang has had direct influence in the continued pursuit of China’s space programe via the Second Artillery Corps which is the strategic ballistic missile force of the PLA, and it maintains China’s nuclear arsenal. The ultimate end goal is to move away from the S.A.C. control of the space progame, have an independent organization that will still have a collaborative role with the military. Hainan Island (space programe and a Deep Blue for the Navy and physical location of GhostNet) is a critical geographical location for both military and space operations.

Whilst a single decision-maker does not decide upon military strategies, policies, and weapons development, Chang is part of the apex in the decision making process. Chang is diverse in his roles and is involved in various military and space related activities. He was the commander of the manned space mission named Shenzhou VII. Chang advocates certain strategies such as the importance of Shih in Chinese military strategy. “Instead of using military force to subjugate another society or to defeat an enemy’s army, Shih operates to convince an opponent to yield without battle.

Whilst Chang is Minister for defence and the P.R.C. military strength is increasing along with a space programe, Chinese preference for psychological warfare over weaponry and firepower, victory without fighting, nonviolent stratagems, and deception still exists in the 21st Century. China’s ancient and modern history has demonstrations of great violence; however, Chinese rhetoric today promotes peace in the world and a defensive posture. Chang has made statements that whilst pursuing peace the P.R.C. will defend it’s assets with force.
Chang’s birthplace Henan Province is historically significant because it is the “cradle” of Chinese civilization due to its proximity to the Yellow River.However, maybe more importantly, many in Nanyang City consider it the home to the greatest military strategist and public official during the Three Kingdoms Period, Zhuge Liang (181-234 AD). Zhuge Liang often quoted Confucius and reflected an undercurrent of Taoist thought in his attitudes toward life and work, and stressed the importance of military preparedness, training, and the need for strong allies as consultants.

Chang joined the P.L.A. in 1968 and has risen through the ranks with various roles such as and not limited to: Chief-of-Staff of the 140th Division, 47th Field Army, Division Commander of the 61st Division of the 21st Group Army, Director of the General Armament Department, Director of the Campaign Teaching and Research Office at the National Defense University. Chang’s credentials are not technical; instead, he is a trainer. His role is likely not the technical management of the latest weapon systems in the PLA arsenal, but instead, is to make the P.L.A. qualified to operate in an “informationalized” environment with high-technology equipment.

Chang’s rhetoric often is close to that of Zhuge. In his published article “Ancient Thought of Military Management in China and Its Inspiration” is said to be a work designed to revitalize Confucian teachings and thinking. Chang understands why the P.R.C. has used force against its neighbors at least 12 times since 1949 and why in 1950, Mao committed his people to fight the United States, not because of any threat to China’s survival but to resist U.S. expansion on China’s periphery. China’s culture developed its own world order and attitudes toward warfare over nearly three millennia and through its history of survival, evolution, domestic conflicts, and defenses against foreign aggressions, China’s distinctive culture has shaped and limited strategic choices and profoundly influenced China’s interactions with other states.

Chang may not fully understand the complex nature of China’s strategic rival, the U.S.A. but he has much to draw upon to drive the military and space programes, and protect the P.R.C. through the 21st Century. He is a vital part of the P.R.C. triangle, Xi – Li – Chang.

China’s long history has seen evidence of both a defensive and offensive culture. Additionally, the writings of Sun Tzu and others offer a method of statecraft that is secretive and deceptive.
Many analysts do not understand the motivations, priorities, and perspectives of Chinese decision-makers, especially regarding China’s space programe. The programe has a duality – it is for defence as much as it is for economics.

China’s strategic culture has converged around Tao three additional
important ideas that emerged from prehistoric Confucian thought and belief:
Shih, Hsing, and Li. Any analysis of China’s strategic culture and uses of force must begin with an understanding of these four faces of Chinese
Shih-strategy. The defining theme in Sun Tzu’s The Art of Warfare, the essence of Shih was the dynamic power that emerged in the combination of men’s hearts, military weapons, and natural conditions.

Shih-strategy, which converged Shih along three broad dimensions of warfare: the people, the context, and the enemy. Shih-strategy concentrated the power of the people in the soldiers and their weapons. The power of context appeared in opportunity, timing, and logistics. The enemy’s power lay in the relative skill, competence, and will of the opposing force.

Hsing as a military term is described as the deployment and employment of forces. Hsing is explicitly the tangible, visible, and determinate shape of physical strength and Hsing is static.

Li refers to self-interest or material gain and carries a definite priority for the present. arising from materialistic thought and theory, Li-strategy does not recognize intangible human factors as important elements of power. Instead it focuses on visible, material assets and enemy forces

Sun Tzu’s famous metaphor is a strategic message that the method of draining the water was more important than the amount of water behind the dam.