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Escalation of military-political confrontation, trade wars likely in 2019: Eurasia Report

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New Delhi: Increased geo-political competition between Russia, the US and China, escalation of military-political confrontation and trade wars between these three nations and the possibility of a “Great War” in the Middle East are concerns for 2019, an international study has pointed out.

“The world faces major crises in 2019 with escalation of military-political confrontation and trade wars, humanitarian tragedies and environmental disasters,” according to the study ‘Global Risks for Eurasia in 2019’, conducted by 30 top global experts.

Highlighting the top 10 global risks for Eurasia in 2019, the study pointed out to escalation of the confrontation between China and the US; full-scale expansion of trade wars; the Great War in the Middle East; further degradation of relations between Russia and the West; “defrosting” of hotspots in Eurasia; growth of separatism and ethno-confessional conflicts; intensification of environmental and water challenges; strengthening and evolution of cyber threats; the beginning of a new arms race; and risk of major nuclear and technological disasters.

 

The study was prepared by the team of experts of the Institute of World Economics and Politics (IWEP) headed by its Director Yerzhan Saltybayev.

It was based on the opinions expressed by over 30 global experts and politicians, including several former heads of states and Nobel laureates. Additionally, more than 1,000 experts from 60 countries also provided inputs.

The study was presented recently as part of the fourth annual meeting of the Astana Club, an international discussion forum, held in Astana, Kazakhstan.

“The aggravation of geopolitical competition between Russia, the US and China is taking place not only in the global context, but also within the perimeter of the Greater Eurasia. It is necessary to realize: misunderstanding, miscalculations in crisis situations can potentially lead to military confrontation,” President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev said in his address at the meeting (November 12-13) of the Astana Club.

“We haven’t observed such confrontation in a long time. The so-called post-bipolar world order is being finally left in the past. We are now witnessing the formation of the ‘Greater Eurasia’ outlines.

“This process has been affected by the changing balance between global players as well as by the growing competition between regional powers. The fundamental disagreements in the main issue – the future format of the world order – cannot yet be overcome by all of them,” Nazarbayev said.

Notable authors of the study are geopolitical and strategic forecasting gurus and Nobel laureates, including Robert Kaplan, senior advisor at Eurasia group; Dan Smith, director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI); Mathew Burrows, director of the Atlantic Council’s Strategic Foresight Initiative; Samir Saran, President of the Observer Research Foundation; Matthew Rojansky, Director of the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Centre; Rajendra Pachauri, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and president of the World Forum on Sustainable Development and Mohamed El Baradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (1997-2009) and Nobel peace prize winner in 2005.

The study has pointed out that the two most serious risks are associated with two areas of confrontation between the US and China.

“The first is in the military-political environment – involving mutual distrust and growing competition for dominance in Asia. The US will strengthen its policy of containing China, strengthening the anti-Chinese consensus in the Asia-Pacific region. This will provoke a response from China, which will seek to counteract the pressure.”

The second area relates to the trade war between the two giants which started in mid-2018.

“Tariff restrictions are sure to be extended, resulting in a slowdown in both countries’ economies. The effect of protective measures overflowing to other markets may be seen as a result also. A slowdown in global trade and investment will be caused by trade restrictions around the world.”

The consequences of the US withdrawal from a nuclear deal with Iran could trigger a largescale war in the Middle East, it added.


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Pakistan among the few countries to successfully turn tide against terrorism: Imran

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Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the country condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including state-terrorism against people under illegal occupation. The PM stated that Pakistan is “among the few countries to have successfully turned the tide against terrorism”.

Addressing the 19th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit at Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Khan reiterated that Pakistan is ready to share its experience and expertise in counter-terrorism. He added that growing intolerance and Islamophobia are threatening to accentuate religious fault-lines. He further said that Pakistan will remain actively engaged in SCO’s counter-terrorism initiatives.

Speaking on Afghanistan, PM Khan said that “the conflict in Afghanistan has no military solution”, adding that Pakistan is fully supporting efforts for “peace and reconciliation, through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process”.

 

“Excellencies, The world stands at a crossroads. For the first time in ages, we are seeing the advent of a multi-polar global order. Epicentres of economic power and growth momentum are shifting eastwards. Regional integration is speeding up. Disruptive technologies are maturing. Threats from terrorism to climate change to narcotics to bacterial resistance continue to loom large,” said PM Khan.

“There are increasing barriers to open trade and innovation. Meanwhile, growing intolerance and Islamophobia are threatening to accentuate religious fault-lines. For its part, Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including State-terrorism against people under illegal occupation. We are among the few countries to have successfully turned the tide against terrorism,” added the Pakistan PM.

“Pakistan remains ready to share its experience and expertise in counter-terrorism. We will also remain actively engaged in SCO’s counter-terrorism initiatives. Excellencies, There is finally a realization that the conflict in Afghanistan has no military solution. Pakistan is fully supporting efforts for peace and reconciliation, through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process,” further said Pakistan PM Khan.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reiterated India’s strong stand against terrorism and appealed that countries supporting, aiding and funding terrorism must be held accountable. PM Modi highlighted the spirit and ideals of SCO to strengthen cooperation in the fight against terrorism even as Khan looked on.

Without naming Pakistan, a country that has made state-sponsored terrorism its biggest policy to counter India for the last several decades, PM Modi said every country needs to come together, unite and fight against the scourge.

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Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state

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Moscow: Vladimir Putin has said Russia will fight for an independent Palestinian state, and called for the issues of the Middle East to be resolved through peaceful means.

Despite international criticism over Russia’s own role in the Ukrainian crisis, Mr Putin was hailed last week by a St Petersburg Cossack group for his ability to “bring order and stop wars”.

In an address to the Arab League summit in Egypt on Saturday, Putin spoke against foreign intervention in countries’ internal disputes and spoke of the role Russia can play in diplomatic channels.

 

While Russia openly opposes the stance of US-backed Israel on the Gaza crisis, its position in the Middle East is complicated. Putin is one of Iran’s key allies, but as he spoke on Saturday the core nations of the Arab League engaged in air strikes on the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

His attempts to urge a peaceful solution in Yemen haven’t had much of an immediate impact – on Sunday, the Arab League agreed to the creation of a joint military forces comprised of around 40,000 elite troops to resolve the future “challenges” of the Middle East.

As one of the “Quartet” entities involved in Middle East peace negotiations, Russia has played a key role in talks about the fallout of last year’s Gaza crisis.

He told the summit this weekend: “Palestinians have the right to establish an independent and habitable state with a capital in East Jerusalem.

“Russia will continue to contribute to achieving this goal through bilateral and multilateral channels,” he said.

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Trump claims Queen had fun with him during his UK visit

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Washington: US President Donald Trump claimed that Britains Queen Elizabeth II had more fun during his state visit to the UK than in the last 25 years."I have such a great relationship, and we were laughing and having fun. And her people said she hasnt had so much fun in 25 years. Then I got criticized for it because they said we were having too much fun,” the Hill quoted Trump as saying.

Trump`s comments come two weeks after his first state visit to London to meet the 93-year-old monarch. During his three-day visit, the president dined with the Queen, members of the British royal family and other British politicians at Buckingham Palace.

Trump and the queen reaffirmed the importance of the Washington-London relationship during an elaborate state banquet.”On behalf of all Americans I offer a toast to the eternal friendship of our people, the vitality of our nations and to the long cherished and truly remarkable reign of her majesty, the queen,” Trump said in his toast during the event.

 

He also met Prime Minister Theresa May. Opposing Trumps visit, thousands of people hit the streets. TheTrump Baby` blimp was flown by the demonstrators outside the Houses of Parliament, according to CNN, alongside a 16-foot robot version of Trump sitting on the toilet and tweeting.

Other activists came dressed as gorillas, with signs reading that they “only eat chlorinated chicken” — a nod to concerns in Britain that a post-Brexit trade deal with the US would mean a decline in food standards for imported produce.

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