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Showing posts from March, 2019

Squaring the circle: US challenges China on Xinjiang

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By James M. Dorsey
A podcast version of this story is available on Soundcloud,Itunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn and Tumblr
A draft US resolution that would designate a Pakistani militant as a global terrorist threatens to be China’s, and possibly Pakistan’s showdown at the OK Corral. The draft is supported by Britain and France.
The resolution, if formally tabled in the full United Nations Security Council, could force China to justify its ten-year long blocking of efforts to designate Masood Azhar, the head of Jaish-e-Mohammed, the UN designated Pakistani group believed to be responsible for last month’s suicide attack in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Some 40 Indian paramilitary personnel died in the attack that briefly brought Pakistan and India to the brink of war.
China earlier this month blocked a French draft resolution presented to the council’s 1267 committee, saying it needed more time to study evidence against Mr. Azhar.
Known as the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, the commit…

Balochistan: A powder keg at a geopolitical crossroads

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By James M. Dorsey
A podcast version of this story is available on Soundcloud,Itunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn and Tumblr
Balochistan should be oozing with optimism as Chinese and Saudi investment pours into the troubled Pakistani province. It is not. Instead, Balochistan, a key node in China’s Belt and Road initiative that borders Iran, is gripped by anger, fear and uncertainty.
Local residents are hardly awaiting with baited breath Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan’s visit this week for the Gwadar Expo 2019 and ground breaking of several infrastructure and development projects, including an international airport, a power plant, a vocational training institute and a hospital.
Against the backdrop of a history of neglect and underdevelopment, resource-rich Balochistan struggles with a failing health and education system, drought, and lack of basic infrastructure.
“The historical lack of investment in basic economic and social infrastructure in the province – except for extraction …

Civilizationism vs the Nation State

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By James M. Dorsey
Edited remarks at Brookings roundtable in Doha
A podcast version of this story is available on Soundcloud,Itunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn and Tumblr
Many have framed the battle lines in the geopolitics of the emerging new world order as the 21st century’s Great Game. It’s a game that aims to shape the creation of a new Eurasia-centred world, built on the likely fusion of Europe and Asia into what former Portuguese Europe minister Bruno Macaes calls a “supercontinent.”
For now, the Great Game pits China together with Russia, Turkey and Iran against the United States, India, Japan and Australia. The two camps compete for influence, if not dominance, in a swath of land that stretches from the China Sea to the Atlantic coast of Europe.
The geopolitical flashpoints are multiple. They range from the China Sea to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Central European nations and, most recently, far beyond with Russia, China and Turkey supporting embattled Venezuelan…

The fallacy of soccer’s magical bridge-building qualities

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By James M. Dorsey
Edited remarks at Brookings seminar in Doha: Lessons from the 2019 Asian Cup: Sports, Globalization, and Politics in the Arab World
A podcast version of this story is available on Soundcloud,Itunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn and Tumblr
Imagining himself as a peacemaker in a conflict-ridden part of the world, FIFA President Gianni Infantino sees a 2022 World Cup shared by Qatar with its Gulf detractors, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, as the magic wand that would turn bitter foes into brothers.
It may be a nice idea, but it is grounded in the fiction that soccer can play an independent role in bringing nations together or developing national identity.
The fiction is that soccer has the potential to be a driver of events, that it can spark or shape developments. It is also the fiction that sports in general and soccer in particular has the power to build bridges.
Mr. Infantino’s assertion that if foes play soccer, bridges are built is but the latest iteration of…