The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewPepe Escobar Archive
The Road Toward Greater Eurasia
Kazakhstan’s first president has road map for 21st century: global alliance of leaders for nuclear-free world
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

The Astana Club is one of the most crucial annual meetings in Eurasia, alongside the Boao forum in China and the Valdai discussions in Russia. China, Russia and Kazakhstan are all at the forefront of Eurasia integration. No wonder, then, that the 5th meeting of the Astana Club had to focus on Greater Eurasia – synonymous, it may be hoped, with a “new architecture of global cooperation.”

Astana Club congregates a fascinating mix of Eurasia-wide notables with Europeans and Americans. Virtually all relevant shades of the geopolitical spectrum are represented. Panels are very well structured (I moderated two of them). Discussions are frank and non-denial denials are heavily discouraged. Here is just a taste of what was discussed in Nur-Sultan, under the spectacular shallow dome designed by Norman Foster.

Great stabilizer

Vladimir Yakunin, chairman of the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute in Moscow, bets that China is “ready to prepare Eurasia for the future” even while there’s “no hint it will be treated by the West in a positive way.” Yakunin sees the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative, as a “civilizational dialogue basis for China” even as Russia continues to assert itself again as a global power.

Wang Huiyao, from the Center for China and Globalization and a counselor of China’s State Council, sees China as “the biggest stabilizer” in international relations and trade as “the biggest mechanism for prosperity,” as demonstrated once again at the latest Shanghai Expo.

Senior Pakistani diplomat Iftekhar Chowdury, now at the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore, argues that the “liberal world order is not universal”; now it all comes down to “liberal capitalism against China.” Huiyao, for his part, is not fazed: he stresses that China already sees a “Eurasia 3D” as a new negotiation platform.

Huiyao points out how the “wrong methodology” is being applied as a “stabilizer of the world economy.” He emphasizes the role of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank and especially Belt & Road as “a new impetus for developing the world in the next decades,” drawing on “Chinese culture, tradition, values” – plus a hybrid economy not only featuring state-owned enterprises. Belt & Road, he insists, is a “real international development plan.” In contrast, the great danger is “unilateralism”: “Do we have only one form of history?”

Jacob Frenkel, Chairman of JP Morgan International, clear-headed and didactic unlike many bankers, actually quotes from a Chinese proverb: “The honey is sweet, but the bee stings.” He emphasizes that “words matter. When you use ‘war’ in commerce, there are consequences” – especially when there are “millions of boats” navigating “the same ocean.”

Wang lends backing to Frenkel when he underlines the unintended consequences for third countries from the US-China trade war. Frenkel sees tariffs as “the wrong instruments” and stresses that businessmen “don’t believe in IMF models.” Boris Tadic, former President of Serbia, concentrates on how “arrogant big powers are ignoring smaller countries.”

The redoubtable Li Wei, President of the Development Research Center of the State Council Chair and a sterling negotiator, stresses that under serious “anti-globalist tendencies,” the need is for “new principles of coexistence.” China and the US should “stop exchanging punches; there have been 13 meetings to discuss the trade war.” What’s needed, says Li, in a new first stage of discussion, is for Xi and Trump to sign a memorandum of understanding.

Reacting to the possibility of China and the US signing protocols, Yakunin has to come back to his main point: “The US is not willing to see China transform itself into a great power.”

Li, unfazed, has to mention that Xi Jinping actually launched Belt & Road in Kazakhstan – at the nearby Nazarbayev University, in 2013. He’s convinced that the initiative is capable of “fully answering all challenges of the present historical moment.”

From MAD to SAD

Terje Todd-Larsen, former Under Secretary General of the UN and President of the International Peace Institute, laments that with the multilateral system weakened, and no multilateral organization encompassing the Middle East and Northern Africa, there is no table capable anywhere of congregating Arabs, Iran, Israel and Turkey. The best hope lies with Kazakhstan – and there are precedents already, with Nur-Sultan hosting the Astana process for Syria.

On the nuclear weapons front, Yakunin notes how nations that subscribe to the Non Proliferation Treaty actually now expect a “formal affirmation they won’t be threatened.” He sees “lack of trust” as the greatest threat to the NPT: “The P5 members of the NPT did not live up to their promises.”

The legendary Mohamed El Baradei, former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency and 2005 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, lays down the choice in stark terms: It’s either “maximum pressure, regime change and sanctions” or “dialogue, equity, cooperation, respect.” He stresses that “International institutions can’t deal with the world today – it’s way beyond them.” And the elephant in the room is, of course, nuclear weapons: “We seem frozen in place.”

El Baradei refutes the notion of the nuclear club as a model: “What is the logic and moral justification? This is an unsustainable regime.” On nuclear disarmament, it’s the nuclear states that have to start a new era. For the moment, what’s left is “to salvage the remains of nuclear arms control. We’ve gone from MAD to SAD – self-assured destruction.”

Back on the ground level, Dan Smith, director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute introduces lethal autonomous weapons systems – as in robots with a very high degree of autonomy – into the conversation. Not that these entities would prevent, for instance, cyber-attacks, which “can be counter-productive and self-destructive, because there will be a counter-strike.”

Global alliance

ORDER IT NOW

The undisputed star of the show at the Astana Club is really Kazakh First President Nazarbayev. There’s a feeling among seasoned diplomats and analysts that when the history of Greater Eurasia is written, Nazarbayev will be on the front page. Global turmoil may not favor it too much at the moment, but as the Russians stress, the Eurasian Economic Union, for instance, is bound to survive sanctions and the trade war, and 2025 offers a tantalizing glimpse of the future via open market for gas and transportation. The EU and the EAEU have complementary economics, and Russia can play a major role.

Nazarbayev quotes from washed up theorist Francis Fukuyama to stress that “only three decades later,” his “anticipation did not come true.” He is keen to “critically reassess” the Eurasian model of security, now combining Europe and Asia, as most experts who prepared a detailed report on the Top Ten risks for Eurasia in 2020 agree.

Nazarbayev does have a road map for peace in the 21st century, via a manifesto he presented at the UN. That would be constituted as a global alliance of leaders for a nuclear-free world – complete with global summits dedicated to nuclear security. He can speak like that with the “moral right” of having closed one of the world’s major nuclear arsenals – Kazakhstan’s.

What’s key as much for Nazarbayev as for Xi and Putin is that Belt & Road, the Eurasian Economic Union, the European Union, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Association of Southeast Asian Nation – all these initiatives and institutions – should be on overdrive, together, creating multiple negotiation tracks, all geared towards Greater Eurasia. And what better platform to advance it, conceptually, than the Astana Club?

(Republished from Global Research by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Economics, Foreign Policy • Tags: China, Eurasia, Kazakhstan, Russia 
Hide 11 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. Anonymous[402] • Disclaimer says:

    I’m not so sure about China lately. The Hong Kong rioters seem to be getting the better of them and their internment of well over a million Uyghurs in concentration camps is attracting international outrage and implies a sense of desperation in the CCP to maintain control at all costs.

    China is pushing it too far in Xinjiang and I suspect it will erupt eventually in a big way. If China is struggling to even keep the lid on middle class Hong Kong urbanites then if the Uyghurs kick off, many of whom are already somewhat battle hardened, then I’m not sure they will be able to maintain control of Xinjiang for much longer.

    • Replies: @Alfred Barnes
    , @Biff
  2. @Anonymous

    Unfortunately, you’re drinking the exceptional America kool-aid. Both HK and Uyghurs are non starters, given that Muslims aren’t being mistreated any more so than other non chicoms, so don’t take it personally, and Xinjiang are simply trying to maintain the status quo they enjoyed during British rule. Both of these talking point dog whistles are US policy to undermine China by any means available.

    In a perfect world, there’s nothing wrong with a greater Eurasia, one that welcomes diversity of culture and climes.

  3. Biff says:
    @Anonymous

    Disagree.

    Hongkong and Xinjiang are but minor distractions to the Beijing government, but are headline news in the West blowing the incidents way out proportion. Not that Beijing considers Washington’s efforts a minor distraction- on the contrary – China knows Washington is going to use every kind of disrupting force to stop China’s economic enterprise. It’s how Washington works.

    If Washington were to directly arm it’s antagonists, then that would get Beijing’s attention bigly(not my word).

  4. “If Washington were to directly arm it’s antagonists, then that would get Beijing’s attention bigly(not my word).”
    My understanding is that this current crack down on the Uyghurs is in response to various terrorist incidents a few years ago by Uyghurs supported by such noble organisations as the NED….

    • Replies: @Biff
    , @Anonymous
  5. Biff says:
    @animalogic

    My understanding is that this current crack down on the Uyghurs is in response to various terrorist incidents a few years ago by Uyghurs supported by such noble organisations as the NED….

    Most likely true, but Washington is not arming the Uyghurs in the same fashion it is straight up arming novonazis in Ukraine – with truckloads of weapons and money.

  6. Reacting to the possibility of China and the US signing protocols, Yakunin has to come back to his main point: “The US is not willing to see China transform itself into a great power.”

    Because China lacks resources within its borders, China’s “great power” aspirations depend on international trade feeding its economy. The current “global economy” exists because the US maintains freedom of the seas, at significant cost with questionable benefit to its people. If China were to seek to guarantee its access to raw materials in the manner of the Japanese in the early 20th century they would find more than just the US opposed to their ambitions.

    They seem to know this, hence the “Greater Eurasia” scheme to provide overland access not dependent on the US umbrella. It is part of the unraveling of the western Ponzi scheme, supposedly to be replaced by the “improved” eastern one. The Chinese currently have one advantage in that they seem to understand that there must be winners and losers in life as opposed to the US pretense that it can wipe the tears from every eye (a pretense whose “sell by” date is drawing nigh).

    Regarding the failure of the US pretense, John Mearsheimer has some apt observations, linked below.

    Interesting times, but as always, “when the elephants fight, the grass will get trampled”.

  7. Yee says:

    another fred,

    “The current “global economy” exists because the US maintains freedom of the seas, at significant cost with questionable benefit to its people. ”

    LOL… The US controls all important sea routes in the world all right, but that’s not out of the goodness of their heart like you say. It’s called “world hegemony” – submit or they will destroy you…

    The US blocked China’s sea route for 30 years in the past. From 1949-1979, despite having a long sea coast, Northern China couldn’t transport to the South by ship, because US troops stationed in Taiwan and blocked the Taiwan Strait.

    Freedom? Bullshit…

    And please don’t image China to be without resources like Japan. Japan is a small island. It had one chance in 1700 years to step on the continent. But China IS the continent. We’re the size of the whole of Europe. We’re even the 5th oil producer of the world, and has 13% of the world’s coal reserves too. China used to be a resource exporter…

    We buy from the world only because we sell to the world. Why would we want to kill like Japan did when we want to sell other people our products?

    • Replies: @another fred
    , @Lin
  8. Anonymous[185] • Disclaimer says:
    @animalogic

    Isn’t anyone fighting against occupation a “terrorist” in the eyes of the oppressor state?

  9. @Yee

    You have proved, once again, that Popper was right when he said: “It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood.”

    There are so many logical errors in your emotional screed that it isn’t worth the time to discuss them.

  10. Lin says:
    @Yee

    But China IS the continent. We’re the size of the whole of Europe. We’re even the 5th oil producer of the world, and has 13% of the world’s coal reserves too. China used to be a resource exporter…

    …..Lets clarifiy:
    –China does lack traditional geological petroleum but china has lots of shale oil and gas but the latters are difficult to develop because of the water shortage I read. Another spot is coal-fed oil synthesis but it’ll up CO2 emission.
    –China has good amount of iron ore but I read ore quality is a problem
    –Titanium.China’s the biggest. China used to have the biggest tungsten resource, not sure about now.
    –earth earth, lithium.. china has a lot
    –China lacks copper, nickel..
    …………
    China usually keeps most of her strategic resources figures confidential; besides strategic reason, commodity prices concern

  11. Yee says:

    Lin,

    “China lacks copper, nickel..”

    China has copper and nickel, both in the world’s top 10 reserves. Slightly less copper than the US, a lot more nickel.

    copper

    nickel
    https://m.chyxx.com/view/653841.html/

Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply -


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Pepe Escobar Comments via RSS