venerdì, Giugno 14, 2024



Russia’s intimidation of Ukraine is inviting media commentators to question American strength and credibility. It is fueling speculation about whether Beijing might replicate Moscow’s moves and seek to seize Taiwan by force. Such superficial analysis should not induce public anxiety in Taiwan or command the attention of Taiwan’s leaders. To be sure, there are lessons for Taiwan’s leaders to draw from events in Ukraine, but these are not them. Brookings, Ryan Hass: Learning the right lessons from Ukraine for Taiwan (


A divide is emerging between how the Asia Pacific region has responded to the Omicron wave of COVID-19, and how North American and Western European countries have responded. East Asia Forum, Jeremy Youde: Asia’s cautious approach to Omicron


In the past few years, much ink has been spilled by international relations and climate experts on whether tackling climate change is compatible with competition with China. At one extreme, there are China hawks who argue that climate change is a ‘dangerous distraction’ for the US Defense Department. At the other extreme are China doves, a group of whom wrote a letter in 2020 calling for an end to antagonism from the West towards China because it undermines global goals on climate. The Strategist, : Great-power competition and climate security in 2035


Over the past two decades, the engagement of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries with Africa has been shaped largely by a narrow set of economic and security interests among Gulf states rather than a long-term commitment to deep cooperation with Africa. Brookings, Tarik M. Yousef: Deepening Gulf engagement with sub-Saharan Africa


Under the auspices of the Caucasian Federation in Turkey (Kaffed), that country’s Circassian Association and its most important branches in Ankara and Istanbul are planning to open an office that will provide support for Circassians who want to return to their ancestral homeland in the Northwest Caucasus. This new push for Circassian repatriation is welcomed by many of the more than five million Circassians living outside the Russian Federation, including in Turkey, where the diaspora numbers some three million. However, Moscow has long resisted this drive, concerned that the return of a significant number of Circassians to the North Caucasus would upend Russian political and territorial arrangements in the region and perhaps beyond. Ankara, in turn, has been cautious about allowing such activities lest Moscow respond harshly—it only permitted the formation of a Circassian Cultural Center in Istanbul in 2019 (Kavkazsky Uzel, April 27, 2019). But now the Turkish government has a pressing new concern—the 30,000 Circassians who have fled to Turkey from war-torn Syria—and so appears increasingly disposed to facilitate this effort, which is likely to broaden over time (, February 15, 2022). The Jamestown Foundation, Paul Globe: Push for Circassian Repatriation Set to Spark New Tensions Between Moscow and Ankara


The Kremlin’s official recognition of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” (DPR, LPR) on Monday, February 22, further aggravated the confrontation between Russia and the West. As if preparing for such a scenario, Russian ideologists and propagandists had recently come up with a new justification for the need for such a global standoff. Over the past weeks, the myth that Russia is somehow under the “yoke” of the United States comparable to the Mongol-Tatar yoke of the 13th century has become a popular propaganda construction. According to this concept, without a “victory” over the West and the overthrow of the “yoke,” the country cannot move forward (YouTube, February 2). The Jamestown Foundation, Kseniya Kirillova: Russian Propagandists Justify Aggressive Policies as a Battle Against the ‘Western Yoke’

Russia has recognized the Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” (DPR, LPR) as “independent states,” eight years after seizing these territories in eastern Donbas from Ukraine. The scenario closely resembles Russia’s official seizure of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia in 2008 under the guise of recognizing their independence, many years after having occupied them de facto. In the case of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas, however, the Kremlin moved to recognize the DPR and LPR with lightning speed and to general surprise. The Jamestown Foundation, Vladimir Socor: Russia Recognizes Donetsk, Luhansk Satrapies as ‘Independent States’

The protracted escalation of the crisis encompassing Europe, from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Arctic but centered on Ukraine and driven entirely by Russia’s threats, has reached its inescapable culmination. President Vladimir Putin sought to sustain the military pressure on Kyiv and the West for as long as possible, but his troops could continue invasion-simulation exercises and stay in winter camps for only so long; thus, the last week in February marks the watershed, from which two steep slopes lead either to the eruption of hostilities or to a discharge of tensions. Last Tuesday (February 15), Putin claimed the beginning of a “partial” drawdown of forward echelons, and the Russian mainstream media delivered plenty of curated details about, for instance, Russian soldiers supposedly crossing the Kerch Strait bridge eastward, from Crimea to the North Caucasus. But in fact, the redeployments amounted to final preparations for a massive offensive on Ukraine from every possible land and sea direction (Izvestia, February 16). The spike in tensions peaked on Monday (February 21), with the obviously staged ceremony of discussion and then formal recognition of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” (Kommersant, February 22). The Jamestown Foundation, Pavel K.Baev: Crucial Week in Putin’s Pseudo-War Starts With a Bang, a Feint and a Flop


According to a recent report by Transparency International, Vietnam’s corruption levels significantly decreased in 2021, down to 87th most corrupt from 104th in 2020. But this encouraging shift does not reflect a seismic corruption case relating to COVID testing kits that came to light in the last days of 2021. The sheer scale of it — and the engagement of public officials — shocked the country. East Asia Forum, Hai Hong Nguyen: Looking beyond the tip of Vietnam’s corruption iceberg

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