« Israel is trying to blow up the ME again. | Main | Confirmation - straight from the Red Heifer's mouth »

07 November 2017


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Account Deleted

Exactly to my point Babak.


Thanks for the detailed breakdown.

But I'm not sure I get your point. How will India's fears impact their political decisions, in your opinion? How can it gain that influence that the post above hints to?


Iran and Pakistan are not strategic enemies either, not even with Saudi money. The issue with Pakistan is, that there is not much she can offer to Iran, or she can pay for to buy or get from Iran. The relationship always was ceremonial nothing more.

Babak Makkinejad

China is offering a credible positive vision that Japan had called "Co-prosperity Sphere" a hundred years ago.

Many are buying into that vision without a single bullet being fired in anger because they all need economic development and upgrade of their societies.

Assuming a grand-failure of China's vision, where would all these states go; to US, to Russia, to EU?

I do not think that is likely.

China does not have to become a high-income country - like South Korea or Japan - to be an attractive economic model.

Babak Makkinejad

India turned down multiple opportunities to participate in the Co-prosperity Sphere of China. Consider: Roads could have been built in the extreme Northeastern corner of India as conduit for Chinese trade to Calcutta. Such a road - or roads - would have immediately improved the lot of many of those 500 million people who subsit on 50 cents a day.

Abe's Diamond is a sick Joke - how could Indians work with Australians and Japanese with their deep prejudices against them?

Babak Makkinejad

All he needs to become the Perfect Global Statesman is a Nobel Peace Prize.

Babak Makkinejad

Pakistan always looks for patrons, the more the merrier. She will never willingly let go of Saudis without someone replacing the Saudis with a big fat annuity.

Diplomacy and Money go hand in hand.



Thank you for your insights. It is always a treat to read something like this. I read Tillersons speech in India last week, which left me with the impression that it was the sales pitch of a CEO not a high government functionary.

How does the increased influence of India in Afghanistan affect Pakistans strategy?
thought Afghanistan was Pakistans 'hinterland' in case of an Indian invasion?


The US and India getting to be closer dance partners is now fairly independent of administrations in DC and New Delhi. It is simply a function of the realignment in South and Central Asia. With Russia shrinking economically to cement its status as a junior partner to the Chinese, and China taking over as the primary patron of Pakistan's uniformed and ununiformed Jihadis, the coming together of U.S and Indian interests is just realpolitik.

To access the underbelly that is Central Asia, the US will continue to rent the services of Pakistan till the whole enterprise becomes untenable due to Chinese presence there. It will be near impossible for multiple clients to rent Pakistan's services concurrently for they seek different outcomes in Central Asia.

I do not believe the transition to 'China #1' will come at no cost to the region. There is no real economic activity that justifies the infrastructure vision of OBOR. By design, OBOR is a tool to provide captive markets for the excess industrial capacity and exportable manpower in China. And market access will be obtained in lieu of loan writeoffs of unviable infrastructure projects.


A bit odd to read this article and the comments and not one mention of BRIC... is it really only a conceptual grouping?

Babak Makkinejad

It was a fantasy that sold news papers and speeches; another one is SCO, yet another is OIC, yet another is RCD.

FB Ali

I’m glad so many readers found this piece worthwhile. Thank you.

Peter AU
There are reports that the Russians are in touch with the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Kremlin seems to follow a very pragmatic policy. The Taliban appear to be only interested in Afghanistan; unlike al Qaeda and IS, they are not interested in exporting their ideology to other parts of the world.

India’s role in Central Asia is mainly as a US proxy. Any of the “’stans” that wish to balance the pressure of China can turn to India as a proxy of the US.

Barbara Ann
Yes, the Chinese are moving into Syria. This is what they have been doing all over Eurasia, eg, Greece, Serbia, the EU, etc. See:

I see no evidence for any possibility of Chinese investment in India, nor for Modi hoping for some. The idea of India joining CPEC is a fantasy. I suggest your Indian friends are telling you fairy tales.

In Pakistan, it is the politicians who are in thrall to the Saudis. The country’s foreign policy is mainly directed by the Army. Its relationship with the Saudis is very different; it is the Saudis who need to keep the Army happy, and willing to help them out in times of need. The Army has decided to move Pakistan into the Chinese camp, whether it suits the Saudis or not.

India doesn’t have “increased influence” in Afghanistan. I suggest a re-read of my article.

I think BRICS doesn’t play any significant role in the internal dynamics of the region. However, it is still a useful grouping on the international scene, eg, its recent role in the attempt to move out from under the hegemony of the US dollar.

Pacifica Advocate

India's fears are already strongly influencing the region, insofar as they are a useful tool for the US/uk alliance. The post makes clear that the Northern Alliance (Kabul leadership) is receiving a lot of support and direction from India. If India, however, decides to withdraw that support, then the war in Afghanistan will become entirely unfeasible for the US to maintain. The simmering war in Afghanistan delivers a powerful means of destabilizing the entire region, from eastern Iran on over to western China, and on up to southern Russia.

I differ with Gen. Ali, here, in that I see what he outlines as a series of baby-steps, rather than definitive moves. I will admit, however, that these sorts of baby-steps by Modi have been quite consistent so far. My understanding, at the time of his election, is that he is a far right-wing populist, so it seems to me that he may not accurately represent the overall mood in India. Gen. Ali, however, will be better able to comment on that.

It seems to me there is a lot that can yet happen, here. Just as the US has used Afghanistan to drive a wedge between India and Russia, so too some other power--China, Russia, Iran--could use the US relationship with Pakistan to drive a wedge between India and the US. Pakistan is close to the Saudis, as is the US. Wahabbism is a deep antagonist to peaceful relations among Muslim and Hindu within India. Perhaps some way could be found to peel Pakistan away from US influence and shift it firmly under Chinese or Russian patronage--while that would threaten to drive India further away from the Sino-Russian economic plans for the area, it would also isolate it from the Central Asian markets, and might also result in bringing the Afghan war to an end.

Personally, I don't see the US winning this fight, regardless of its relationship to India, regardless of how much money or weapons are used.

Pacifica Advocate

>>>I think the current Communist China....

"Communist" China?

"Communist" in what sense, precisely?

Pacifica Advocate

>>>Politically, Xi continues to consolidate his authoritarian power by eliminating his rivals in purges and shadow trials. This removes any chance for a more inclusive political environment in China.

Xi is not "eliminating his rivals;" his campaign is and always has been an anti-corruption campaign, which is of course precisely what is needed to promote greater political inclusion within the Chinese political system. There is

Trials in China are no more nor less "show trials" than are trials in Taiwan.

China's political situation is very complex, and unless one can first admit that single-party systems are just a lot more opaque and difficult to analyze than multi-party systems, then there really isn't anything meaningful to say about what's happening in Chinese politics.

This is an excellent overview of the actual situation:



Just like YOU know they will be a source of great global instability...


They claim it themselves and indeed they kept the "working parts" of Communism (control...) they only ditched the economic silliness :-)



Regarding credit bubbles...who creates the debt in China, relative to who creates the debt in the U.S? To whom is payback ultimately owed in each case?

blue peacock

It is not easy to overcome the middle income trap.

I agree that China is offering a positive model of economic development through both financing and construction of infrastructure in return for market access to their manufactured goods.

How big do you think the market would be in the Stans, Afghanistan & Pakistan relative to the Chinese investment in infrastructure?

The financial math hasn't exactly worked out for them in Africa & South America.

blue peacock
"...Xi is not "eliminating his rivals;" his campaign is and always has been an anti-corruption campaign..."

Are you asserting that Xi's faction is not corrupt?

Look at all the politburo members that have been arrested. None belong to Xi's faction. Many have been part of Jiang Zemin's Shanghai faction.

blue peacock

China does not have a deep bond market, so the visible credit has been created by the banking and shadow banking system.

In the US, on the other hand the credit markets are large. Student loans, auto loans, credit card debt, municipal debt, corporate debt, mortgage debt are mostly marketable debt.

Pacifica Advocate

>>>They claim it themselves and indeed they kept the "working parts" of Communism (control...)....

Yes, they adopted a lot of capitalist reforms, and the economy is today pretty much robber-baron capitalism. But what the Chinese kept was the single-party system, and the legal requirement that all laws, constitutional assemblies, and forms of government may be amended at the party's will. That's not "Communism" in any respect that I've ever seen attributed to Marx, nor any of the many, many other communist philosophers and analysts that came after him; it's just a single-party system with a carefully managed capitalist economy. North Korea is a single-party state, and Taiwan was, too (and in many respects still is). More and more people are saying that the US's "Two Party system" is in fact just a single-party system with two branches, and lord knows the economy in the U.S. is managed, as well.

These same complaints are made of quite a few "two-party systems"--like the so-called "democratic" governments in the Caribbean.

China has a lot of problems, but exactly none of them has anything to do with "Communism"--and most of them are surprisingly like the sorts of problems one finds in the US, UK, and poorer Commonwealth countries.


Barbara, I hesitated for a moment, if I should throw a singular human being and/or his biography into the larger political context.

But then, that was the closest I ever got to the region mentally via local journalist's curiosity/looks/research. ... The larger "professional" security context both regional and beyond was much harder to grasp.

Semi irony alert, a bit of taking a cue and run with it. From my as always limited perspective. This was the most interesting part:

“You were just not supposed to because it was considered bad form. It was not a nice thing to do and I understand that from the standpoint of the president whose place you were taking,” Trump added.

Is there a full transcript?


ex-PFC Chuck

I'm late to the party but, yes, this was a very informative post. Thank you.

ex-PFC Chuck

Since China, like the USA, is a sovereign country that issues its own fiat currency, they owe it to themselves. In other words, it's not a problem. This is per Modern Monetary Theory.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad