In December NATO allies agreed the civil and military budgets for 2019. At a meeting of the North Atlantic Council allies agreed a civil budget of €250.5 million and a military budget of €1.395 billion for 2019.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the agreement of the budgets, saying: “The world is changing, and NATO is adapting. Allies are investing in NATO to address the challenges of our time, including cyber and hybrid threats, a more assertive Russia, and instability across the Middle East and North Africa.
Thus, according to the NATO Secretary General, Russia remains one of the main threats the Alliance will face in 2019. The message that NATO is eager to negotiate with Russia is not always proved by the Alliance’s actions. The more so NATO high-ranking officials even contradict such message by their statements. It has become obvious that NATO as well as Russia is not always aboveboard.
General Philip Breedlove, former supreme allied commander Europe, and Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, former NATO deputy secretary general made a report “Permanent Deterrence: Enhancements to the US Military Presence in North Central Europe” that assesses the adequacy of current US deployments, with a focus on North Central Europe. A full report will be completed in January 2019. But there is a short summary of the task force’s conclusions and recommendations.
All recommendations are made in order to bolster NATO deterrence and political cohesion. The authors say that “military build-up in Russia’s Western Military District and Kaliningrad, and its “hybrid” warfare against Western societies have heightened instability in the region, and have made collective defense and deterrence an urgent mission for the United States and NATO. ”
They innumerate significant steps taken by the United States and NATO to enhance their force posture and respond to provocative Russian behavior.
The Alliance adopted the Readiness Action Plan, which called for the creation of a Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) and expansion of the NATO Response Force (NRF) to increase the Alliance’s capacity to reinforce any ally under threat.
At the 2016 Warsaw Summit, the Alliance took the next step in building deterrence by agreeing to deploy four multinational NATO battle groups of about 1,200 troops in each of the Baltic states and Poland.
The NATO Readiness Initiative, the so-called “Four 30s” plan, would designate thirty ground battalions, thirty air squadrons, and thirty major naval combatants to be ready to deploy and engage an adversary within thirty days.
Other steps were taken to bolster the NATO Command Structure and reduce mobility problems through Europe. Among others the main report’s recommendation are:
enhance the United States’ and NATO’s deterrent posture for the broader region, not just for the nation hosting the US deployment, including strengthening readiness and capacity for reinforcement; reinforce NATO cohesion;include increased naval and air deployments in the region, alongside additional ground forces and enablers; promote training and operational readiness of US deployed forces and interoperability with host-nation and other allied forces; ensure maximum operational flexibility to employ US deployed forces to other regions of the Alliance and globally; expand opportunities for allied burden-sharing, including multilateral deployments in the region and beyond; and ensure adequate host-nation support for US deployments. All these steps do not look like a diplomatic compromise or an intention to decrese the tension between NATO and Russia.
In its turn Russia flexes its military muscle. Moscow is to hold 4,000 military exercises in 2019. Russian defense minister said that Russia will increase combat capabilities in response to the U.S. intention to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.
The two super powers increase their military capabilities and put Europe at risk of war. The only way out is to negotiate, to show goodwill to change the situation, to stop plotting war hiding behind mutual accusations.
SCO: Community of Shared Future
SCO was initially came into being in 1990 between the former USSR and China. First time in 1996, Heads of States and delegates from Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan and Tajikistan sit together in Shanghai to draw upon the mandate, goal and structure of SCO for trust building measures in administrative issues as well as border conflicts. The post-Cold War trends and NATO expansion compel the regional states for the formation of the Shanghai Cooperation organization.
SCO member states holds very strong credentials, having overwhelmingly rich in energy resources ,accommodating more than one-quarter of the world‘s population, two of its founding members are the United Nation’s Security Council permanent members .At that time China and Russia was trying to provide the alternate bloc and to counter the US influence, and the SCO provides a platform for member states, especially China and Russia, to counter contain the western and US design in this region and form a uniform strategic alliance against US hegemony. However, since its reemergence in 2001, the SCO has become a regional deriving force and has been gaining importance in Asia ‘s strategic and security architecture.
With the new strategic realignment and regional security calculations Russia is more concerned to give SCO a security outlook with an energy-centered orientation, while China accentuates on regional connectivity and economic integration. China interested to highlight regional trade and investment through connectivity and economic linkage, which enable china to play a larger role in the regional and global affairs through BRI, BRICS and SCO platform. Russia desires to fetch the energy potential in the framework of SCO. The SCO is the major regional collaborating platform on the Eurasian continent with China, India and Russia are the three biggest and most populous countries in Eurasia.
The first and foremost feature of unity and binding force among SCO member states common threat perception of U.S influence in Central Asia region. China and Russia intended to promote the Eurasian order as a counter containment policy to U.S. influence. The SCO is best toll and counter weight to NATO intrusion in Eurasian region. In order to keep U.S. influence out of Eurasia, there is a possibility that both China and Russia would consider making certain realignments in their strategic maneuvering to balance their inherent strategic competition.
Meanwhile, the region is facing multifarious challenges. Being the China, Pakistan, Russia, India and Iran pursuing their varied interests in Afghanistan. Moreover, major states of the region have territorial disputes awaiting resolution. The SCO has also exaggerated its focus on Afghanistan. The intensifying emphasis on SCO as a probable multilateral platform for comprehensive cooperation on Afghanistan is a demonstration to the great transformational changes within the regional security milieu over the last decade but SCO has less room for engagements in Afghanistan due to the NATO and US forces. The SCO-Afghanistan Action Plan emphasized on joint military exercises, joint operations in combating and illuminating terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime; for involving Afghanistan in uplifting its institutional capacity. Moreover, Action Plan clearly points out the security challenges that emanate from the situation inside Afghanistan and threaten the security of the SCO States, on closer examination its scope appears limited and modest. Afghanistan and Iran having SCO observer status and India and Pakistan joined the SCO now the platform began playing a more important role in curbing instability in Afghanistan.
Pakistan placed itself at the crossroads of south, east and central Asia, keeping in view the geo-strategic importance of Pakistan and the development of Gwadar Port, Pakistan can become an energy and trade corridor for SCO countries. On the other side there are lot of prospects for Pakistan in the domain of strategic, economic and political spheres. Strategic imperatives encompassed military to military, counter-terrorism and anti-drug trafficking collaboration; economic dimension included Pakistan ‘s role as energy and trade corridor; and political dividends included good relations with china, Russia, India and CARs. India and Pakistan considered SCO as the most momentous platform in Eurasian region that might bring peace, prosperity and stability in South Asia. Now with the induction of India and Pakistan SCO expanded with new version by covering central Asia, south Asia and west Asia. SCO expansion with new members will encourage linkage and connectivity between the SCO and BRICS states.
BRI by China is facilitating coordination of development and connectivity mechanism between the SCO members, such as the Eurasian Economic Union, headed by Russia, and Kazakhstan’s Bright Road. China’s cooperation with Russia and Kazakhstan has set a good example for other SCO members and observer states. The SCO has become a major platform for Eurasian countries to synchronize development strategies and jointly build the Belt and Road connectivity. India is expected to ratify the Belt and Road Initiative after its inclusion in the SCO alongside Pakistan, which will amplify development strategy coordination among countries along the Belt and Road routes. China is eager to host the SCO joint counterterrorism cyber exercise again and to hold a defense security forum. China wants the SCO to address the global and regional issues with collective wisdom and common voice, which will help the organization play a bigger and more constructive role in international affairs.
Since its inception in 2001, the SCO summit had been held in China three times, twice in Shanghai and once in Beijing. Qingdao is the third host city, the coastal city in east China’s Shandong Province. The SCO coming summit in June is the first meeting after the expansion of SCO’s since its commencement in 2001. SCO is the best opportunity and platform for its new members like India and Pakistan because both have trouble history of long standing disputes and wars. As Pakistan and India now, part of this regional alliance and community of nations having share destiny of development, progress and long-awaited energy projects like TAPI (Turkmenistan, IPI and CASA (Central Asia-South Asia) can be kick started and push forward using the platform of SCO. The induction of new members states will encourage synchronization between the SCO and BRICS member states and this will add more responsibility with increased international impact followed by enlarge geographic and demographic range.
America’s Perspective on Iran’s Terrorism in the Region
One of the major pillars of Iran’s pandemic, which in recent years has received serious attention from Western media and propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran, is the issue of the nuclear program. In fact, Iran’s activities in the field of peaceful nuclear technology are one of the most important events in the country, which has gained wide-ranging global dimensions and attracted the attention of countries, institutions and international organizations. Therefore, recognizing the quality of representation and illustration of the nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran in various Western media, as well as the type of psychological warfare in it, seems necessary. What can be done through revealing their approaches to this, identifying and emphasizing their underlying issues in Iran’s persecution?
The Iranian documentary, commissioned by Alex Trimman, was launched in 2011, is a serious example of a nuclear-centric Iran-centered nuclear project that puts the activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the dark side of other issues and continues the course since the beginning of the revolution. . Considering the importance of this documentary, this research uses the literature of Iran and the psychological warfare and the Orientals approach and the theoretical framework of representing and using the discourse analysis method to answer these questions. How is it presented the Iranian documentary in the nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran and related issues? And Iran’s fears and psychological warfare against the Islamic Republic of Iran, how was it carried out in the form of representing its nuclear activities in this documentary?
Gen. Petraeus, who previously served as head of the United States military headquarters in the Middle East, East Africa and Central Asia, claimed that the system was designed to deter and enhance the region’s defense capabilities against missile power at the announcement of the establishment of a US missile shield in the Persian Gulf. Iran is spells Petraeus out the message that the United States will support the Persian Gulf States with Iran’s intermediate and long-range missile defense capabilities by deploying this defense system. The United States is trying to introduce Iran as a country that wants to disrupt regional order and dominate Neighboring countries. In a joint statement by the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council and the United States, after the 2015 May summit, Camp David said, “America and Gulf Cooperation Council countries are opposed to Iran’s actions to undermine the stability of the region and will confront it and engage in dialogue will continue to strengthen the security structure of the region? The United States will act as part of this effort to strengthen the capacity of the GCC states to defend itself against foreign invasion, including strengthening air defense and missile, naval and cyber security.
The anti-Iranian coalition has to be integrated, which requires serious grounds for this. The Persian Gulf’s anti-missile shield, in which the political and financial interests of the elite ruling in Washington, Tel Aviv and the Persian Gulf states are intertwined, can play the role of the best basis for their unification.
Iran’s fears are in the sense of excessive and irrational fears of Iran, especially with the magnitude of the threat of nuclear deal. Right-wing Ramadan believes that Iran was the first to appear during the peace talks between Egypt and Israel in the late seventies and early eighties. To convince its public opinion that peace is possible with the Arabs, Israel needs an external threat to replace the threat of Arab countries. The victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the opposition to Camp David’s peace accord were a golden opportunity for Israeli states to present a threatening image of Iran.
In other words, Iran’s fear is a strategic project in which Iran is portrayed as a major threat to the region, as well as a threat to global peace and security, and it is portrayed as a disturbing and disruptive player in the international system. This approach is pursued by the United States and Zionism with the aim of marginalizing the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Iran fears that Iran is seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons, in order to defend itself against Israel, which already has access to these weapons. Meanwhile, Israel is severely threatened by Iran’s pursuit of nuclear energy and pressured the United States to stop its nuclear activities as soon as possible. According to a poll, seventy-one percent of the Israeli people believe that if the diplomatic efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear activities are to be effective, America must launch a pre-emptive strike Iran against. The Israelis have devised numerous plans to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, and even examined its implications. Meanwhile, David Menashri, director of the Center for Iranian Studies at the University of Tel Aviv, acknowledged that Iran was not a threat to Israel’s existence and survival.
James Bale considers the Iran-Iraq phenomenon to be the result of Iran’s independence from the United States. “America is trying to prevent the emergence of regional independence hegemony,” he says. As their behavior is more independent, the United States puts more pressure on them. Also, the more universal the world hegemonic (i.e., the United States) and the different regional hegemony are the wider political tensions will emerge between them.
According to this view, the United States is pushing for a wave of Iran’s fears in the region and the world that Iran is trying to behave independently of the global hegemony and its worldview is very different from the global superpower.
In general, Iran’s fears and the psychological warfare of the Western media against Iran can be summarized in seven axes: 1. Inducing Iran’s access to nuclear weapons; 2. Iran’s support for terrorism; 3. Human rights abuses in Iran; The invasion of Iran’s defense technology; 5. The involvement of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the affairs of countries; 6. The Islam city of the political system in Iran; 7. Instigation of Iran’s opposition to regional peace and stability.
Iran is the only country that, according to the United States, threatens its interests in the region. From the perspective of Americans, Iran is seeking to acquire nuclear weapons. Americans claim that Iran’s reluctance to abandon its nuclear program has jeopardized its interests in regional stability, Israeli security and the non-proliferation regime. Americans believe that Iran’s assistance to Islamist groups in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Gaza will lead to the spread of terrorism and instability in the region. Also, Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz has added to these tensions. The United States of Arab and United States in the region claimed Iran’s support for Shiite groups in these countries, expressing deep concern about Tehran’s expansionist and hegemonic tendencies. Analysts say that authoritarian countries in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Bahrain, crack down protest groups and democratic and legitimate demands of their people on the pretext of engaging in Iran.
From the perspective of the Americans, two threats from Iran may threaten the interests of this country in Southwest Asia. First, Iran would face nuclear demands from other countries, such as Saudi Arabia, in the event of a nuclear bomb and nuclear capture. Under these conditions, the freedom of action of the United States and Israel in the multi-polar nuclear area is facing a lot of restrictions. Secondly, in the event of an Israeli-American military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities to prevent Iranian nuclear and retaliatory attacks, US interests in the region are fall down at the stake. Americans claim that Iran, in addition to its nuclear program, in its asymmetric capabilities in the Persian Gulf, threatens the obstruction of the Strait of Hormuz, links to al-Qaeda, political rhetoric on retaliatory and demonic attacks, the interests of the United States and its allies in the region Risked.
What is called the “Iran of Persecution” is based on the background of some realities in the region and the indebtedness and specific representation of some other events, in the light of which, the cost of power generation in Iran is increased, so that the transfer of power becomes impossible. In fact, the type of representations made by Iran by the Western media is such that by neglecting many of the events and even their hearts, they generally present a frightening and threatening portrayal of the various activities and issues of the country that can be the culmination of these propaganda and psychological warfare.
Revisiting the Strengths and Potentials of SCO in a Changing Geopolitical Setting
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was founded in the 2001 by the like-minded Eurasian states led by People’s Republic of China. Since the more than seventeen-years of its existence there have been dramatic shifts at the global geopolitical environment, characterized by a relatively declining US power and influence, resurgence of the Russian “Bear” under Putin and the rise of India and China as the economic hubs of the world. The implication are vast for SCO is such a setting which would continue to surge in the wake of growing interest of the superpower in the Indo-Pacific region. In order to contemplate the prospective of SCO in these surroundings there is a first a need to look back in history for the organizations credentials.
SCO has witnessed limited progress to be fair over the years. Although it did have to its name breakthroughs such as providing a platform for antagonistic adversaries such as India and Pakistan to conduct joint military exercises. Added to that, in the last decade its influence in the politics of Eurasia has coursed to great lengths. The organization covered 50 percent of global population and an area of 3716km that is before India and Pakistan were added in the picture. India with an economy of roughly $2.6 trillion and geography of the 7th largest land-mass state, along with Pakistan which with a $300 billion economy and 200 million population adds to the equation.
The organization as illustrated above presents a striking picture of tremendous power and influence when and if used “smartly and positively”. There is also a defence-oriented mindset behind the working of the SCO which is why it has been called the “NATO of the East”. It has been alleged that the organizations works in jeopardy by destabilizing the Post-Cold War unipolar structure in favor of a “multi-polar world order” of China and Russia.
It is interesting to note that the evolution of organization laid as a result of conflict resolution between Russia (former Soviet Union) and China who in the latter part of the Cold War remained hostile despite being socialist Marxist-Leninst inspired states. The two behaved rationally one could argue by putting aside their disputes and reconciling on territorial issues which laid the foundations of the “Shanghai Five”. Steady progress since then was made by Russia and China, whose progress was incorporated to trade, military and scientific cooperation which absolved them to the animosities of the past. The political calculations made, Western experts would argue was due to the mounting influence of NATO and US across the globe.
The SCO family with the expansion of India and Pakistan is an important development noting that two the possess nuclear weapons. This makes it one of the most powerful organization in the world with a combined nuclear arsenal that would from an estimate be more than 50 percent of global stockpile. Hence, out of the nine nuclear weapon states, four being part of the SCO adds to its stature. There is a possibility that with the “bridge building” history of the organization which has resolved disputes for the members in the past may extend such courtesy to the long unresolved issue of Kashmir, a bone of major contention between India and Pakistan. If such a feat becomes reality, the region could have degree of almost unprecedented stability in the modern times which would boost the economic and security impetus of all the region. SCO at present strategizes to expand its presence even further via the convenience of allowing for “Observer status” to states and regional bodies. It is a fact that Shanghai Cooperation Organization holds a degree of influence that is greater in terms of land-mass than NATO itself.
SCO and Anti-Terrorism
Global terrorism has been categorized as the deadliest of the threats in non-traditional security domain. The focus of SCO remains to be root out the destabilizing factors of “terrorism, separatism and extremism”. The SCO remains to be the single organization that has dedicated an entire wing, the “Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure” (RAT) for this menace, created months prior to the deadly “September 11” Terrorist attacks in the US. Over the years, SCO has arranged several meetings where NATO member states were invited to come up with a join action plan to counter drug smuggling, terrorism and other criminal activities.
SCO and Trade
SCO started as a platform that would facilitate peaceful resolution of border dispute and build-in a degree of military-to-military confidence. The changing geopolitical realities beset at the early parts of the 21st Century provided impetus to extend the influence to other major areas including of trade, contemporary security and politics. The patterns have since then reciprocated evenly where member states are at presented bonded via trade agreements. Such an approach has allowed Russia and China to experience growth in bilateral trade ties in recent years.
It would be interesting to see how China links up its grandeur vision of reviving the “Old Silk Route” with SCO. Linking the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) would provide the degree of trust and mutual acceptability that has been undermined by competitors and adversaries such as US via the tools of propaganda and disinformation against the “China’s Dream”. Pakistan remains at a paramount in the emerging geopolitics where the interests of former, current and aspiring powers lie at the convergence. In order for the 21st Century to be the “Asian Century,” all stakeholders need to redefine their interests from a rational approach that should be centered on “geoeconomics” rather than “geopolitics”. It is peace and stability will the “liberal market economic model” provide the maximum results, conflicts and war would not be desirable in the interests of any power in a world deeply embedded into virtues of “complex interdependence”. The SCO in this pretext can to provide the solidity to the majestic destiny that lie for the region with the “largest program of economic diplomacy since the Marshall Plan” at its disposal to what the 20th neo-classical economist called “Creative Destruction”.
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