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People Who Are in Denial About Coronavirus

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There are basically two different policy-approaches to the coronavirus problem: One is the passive approach, waiting for ‘herd immunity’ to develop naturally. And the other is the active approach, in which the Government does take action — not just wait while the most-vulnerable individuals die off from the disease. The “herd immunity” approach is libertarian; it assumes that “let nature take its course” is always best; it is “laissez faire.” The “take action” approach is the exact opposite — very restrictive (including strong disincentives — “punishment” — for individuals’ misbehaviors that transmit the disease and endanger other people). This is the old debate between some form of anarchy on the one side, and some form of “socialism” (legally enforced governmental policies) on the other side.

The earliest popular ideological debate regarding coronavirus-policy was between advocates of Denmark’s socialistic approach, versus neighboring Sweden’s laissez-fair approach. EuroNews headlined on March 26th “Neighbours Denmark and Sweden miles apart on coronavirus confinement”, and reported that “when it comes to handling the coronavirus crisis, they are on very different trajectories,” which were Denmark’s socialism, versus Sweden’s libertarianism. 

At that time, there was no clear indication, yet, as to which approach would win out. For example, on April 19th, Denmark had 1,275 Covid-19 cases per million, whereas Sweden had 1,424. So: per million inhabitants, they were about the same. 

Even as late as 12 May 2020, three libertarian co-authors at the prestigious U.S. neoliberal and neoconservative Council on Foreign Relations’s journal Foreign Affairs headlined, confidently, that libertarianism would win out: “Sweden’s Coronavirus Strategy Will Soon Be the World’s: Herd Immunity Is the Only Realistic Option—the Question Is How to Get There Safely”.

But, by the time of June 29th, the data had become clear to the exact contrary, and so I headlined “‘Herd Immunity’ Is a Failed Response to Coronavirus”, and reported the subsequent increases in each of these two countries’ numbers.

On April 22nd:

DENMARK = 1,329 (up 4%)

SWEDEN = 1,517 (up 7%)

On May 10th:

DENMARK = 1,782 (up 34%)

SWEDEN = 2,567 (up 69%)

On June 17th:

DENMARK = 2,123 (up another 19%)

SWEDEN = 5,404 ( up another 111%)

And here it is as of June 28th:

DENMARK = 2,188 (up another 3%)

SWEDEN = 5,450 (up another 1%)

And, finally, on 22 August:

DENMARK = 2,783 (up another 27%)

SWEDEN = 8,515 (up another 56%)

Furthermore, one of the leading libertarian arguments against taking action has been that supposedly the economy will perform better if there are no coronavirus-restrictions placed by the Government. However, Sweden’s unemployment-rate has been hit at least as hard by coronavirus as Denmark’s has:

Denmark’s unemployment-rate was 4.1% in March, 5.4% in April, 5.6% in May, and 5.5% in June.

Sweden’s unemployment-rate was 7.1% in March, 8.2% in April, 9% in May, and 9.8% in June.

So, on that day, August 22nd, I sent to an influential libertarian website (not as influential as Foreign Affairs, but more populist — not funded by billionaires like the CFR is), which has come to specialize on coronavirus, the following article for them to consider, since it discredits their many libertarian articles about coronavirus, and the response from them three hours later was:

I appreciate you’re willingness to engage on this topic, but your choice of source is poor. The logic is bad, and whole areas of policy are ignored.

Firstly, comparing Sweden only to Denmark and Norway is absurd. Sweden imposed no lockdown, yet fared far better than many countries which did so (Belgium, Netherlands, UK, Spain and Italy). This alone is a perfectly strong argument that lockdowns are totally ineffective for their stated aims.

Secondly, it at no point talks about deaths caused by lockdowns, which is a huge factor (accounting for nearly half the excess deaths in the UK). 

Thirdly, it mentions GDP but doesn’t discuss that the economy is MORE than that. A suffering economy is not about money or finance, it is about well-being for the working class. Good wages, affordable rent and the freedom to run your own small business. All of which have been destroyed by the lockdown policy, which Sweden shows was (at best) pointless.

I promptly replied:

The Belgian policy-response was unclear, unfocused, and such a mess that nothing has even been generally reported regarding their contact-tracing (which is such a crucial aspect of effective policy-response to the virus).

None of the countries with good results have achieved them via an expectation of ‘herd immunity’. No country is anywhere near the 70%-infection-rate that produces herd-immunity. It’s a myth; it’s just a lie.

For example, though the imperialistic libertarian country United States warns travelers that the coronavirus risk is exceptionally high in Uganda (warning “Level 3,” which is their highest), Uganda is actually one of the world’s lowest coronavirus-risk countries, and they achieved it by stringent policies, which is exactly what you reject. Whereas U.S. now has 17,587 cases per million, Uganda has 47. The country that has a 374 times higher percentage of its population coronavirus-infected, warns its suckers to stay away from the country that has 1/374th of the risk.

Why is [your site] feeding into this deception of its readers, instead of exposing it to them? Have you switched to being pro-imperialistic (pro-neoconservative, which is a variety of neoliberal or “libertarian”)? All of a sudden, the neoliberal countries, such as U.S., Brazil, and India, which are or have been the world’s worst on coronavirus-performance, are the ones to emulate? Why? Or else: which countries ARE the ones to emulate on this? Say it. Prove it. The statistical data by now are certainly sufficient to do this. Why don’t you do it, instead of continue to deceive readers? Why do you deceive readers so that they would support, instead of condemn, the imperialistic U.S. Government’s alleging that Uganda is more coronavirus-dangerous than the U.S. itself is? It’s a lie, but how would your readers be able to know this?

I don’t get it. You seem stuck in your existing false beliefs. Please explain so that I will become able to understand. Right now, I don’t.

I received a reply that said I should “apologise” because “We have never expressed any support for the US or its Imperial policies in any way, shape or form,” and “the statistics speak for themselves — the virus is harmless to the vast majority of people, and in no way justifies any of the draconian or authoritarian laws being imposed opportunistically in many countries around the world (including the United States).” In other words: the U.S. under Trump isn’t being sufficiently laissez-faire about this matter. The evidence that I had cited was ignored, not discussed, by him.

Subsequently, I checked a few of the other nations that are among the best on coronavirus-performance. For example, there’s China. It has 59 coronavirus-19 cases per million population, and the U.S. has 298 times as many cases per million, but the U.S. Government rates China also in the highest-risk category, “Level 3,” for Americans to visit, on account of its supposedly higher-than-U.S. danger of becoming infected with that virus.

Then, there’s Vietnam, which the U.S. Government had tried to conquer but couldn’t. Vietnam has only 10 coronavirus cases per million inhabitants. America has 17,587 per million; so, obviously, that’s 1,759 times as many. Vietnam also is rated “Level 3” — the worst, most coronavirus-dangerous, category. The Government of Americans is warning Americans to avoid visiting Vietnam because it’s just too dangerous a coronavirus-risk for an American, whose country has 17,587 cases per million. Obviously, no intelligent person trusts a government such as this. (No more than such a person would trust the Government that had promised it was certain that WMD existed in Iraq in 2002, or that Syria had gassed people on 7 April 2018, or that the overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected President in 2014 was a ‘democratic revolution’ instead of a U.S. coup — or on, and on, such as about “Russiagate”.)

Then, there’s Myanmar, which has only 8 cases per million inhabitants — 1 divided by 2,198 times as many cases-per-million as the U.S. does — and the U.S. Government refuses even to call that nation “Myanmar,” but instead calls it by what the British did when they had it as a colony, which is “Burma,” and the U.S. regime’s travel-advisory rating of “Burma,” for ‘Burma’s would-be now U.S. imperial masters, is likewise exactly the same as they rate Uganda: “Warning — Level 3”. The U.S. regime is telling its citizens that a country which is 2,198 times safer on the coronavirus danger than the U.S. itself is, is instead too unsafe on coronavirus for Americans to travel to. They care so much about the safety of their own citizens, as to warn them against visiting a country that’s thousands of times safer. How sincere is that? But some people still respect the lie, and the liars (serial-liars), as if they weren’t. 

Perhaps people who are in denial about coronavirus are simply in denial about reality — the broader, global, reality.

On coronavirus-19 — this pandemic — the best data regarding the international reality is this, which is the constantly up-to-date listings of all countries and their respective numbers. To see the rankings there of all countries on the crucial outcome-variable of “Tot Cases/1M pop” just click onto that column’s heading and countries will be ranked that way. Same for the other crucial outcome-variable “Deaths/1M pop,” and for the far less-crucial process-variables (such as “Tests/1M pop”). Two successive clicks onto the given column-heading will reverse the ordering of the countries regarding that variable. You’ll be seeing there the existing rankings, as of that given moment. To see the trends within any given country, just click onto the name of that country, and then scroll down to the charts “Daily New Cases” and “Daily New Deaths” (tracking both of the crucial outcome-variables)

However, people who are in denial about coronavirus-reality avoid those numbers like the plague. Perhaps they do that because, to their libertarian ideology, these numbers are “the plague.” 

Author’s note: first posted at Strategic Culture

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse’s next book (soon to be published) will be AMERICA’S EMPIRE OF EVIL: Hitler’s Posthumous Victory, and Why the Social Sciences Need to Change. It’s about how America took over the world after World War II in order to enslave it to U.S.-and-allied billionaires. Their cartels extract the world’s wealth by control of not only their ‘news’ media but the social ‘sciences’ — duping the public.

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Victor Orban’s eyes may be bigger than his stomach

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When Prime Minister Victor Orban recently spelled out his vision of Hungary’s frontiers, he joined a club of expansionist leaders such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping, and members of the Indian power elite who define their countries’ borders in civilisational rather than national terms.

Speaking on Romanian territory in the predominantly ethnic Hungarian town of Baile Tusnad in Transylvania, a onetime Austro-Hungarian possession home to a Hungarian minority, Mr. Orban echoed the worldviews of Messrs. Xi and Putin.

Those views are on display in the South China Sea and Ukraine, as well as in statements by the Russian leader about other former Soviet republics.

It’s a worldview also embraced by members of India’s Hindu nationalist elite that endorses a country’s right to expand its internationally recognized borders to lands inhabited by their ethnic kin or territories and waters that historically were theirs.

Unlike the Russian and Chinese leaders, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been careful to avoid public support for the civilisationalist concept of Akhand Bharat embraced by his ideological alma mater.

The concept envisions an India that stretches from Afghanistan to Myanmar and encompasses nuclear-armed Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.

Mr. Modi’s silence hasn’t prevented Mohan Bhagwat, head of the powerful ultra-Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sang (RSS) or National Volunteer Organization, from recently predicting that Akhand Bharat would become a reality within 15 years.

Mr. Modi has been a member of the RSS since the late 1960s. However, he is believed to have last referred to the Akhand Bharat concept in an interview in 2012 when, as Chief Minister of Gujarat, he suggested that “Hindustan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh should rejoin.”

However, in contrast to his more recent silence, Mr. Modi has approached Indian Muslims, the world’s largest minority and its largest Muslim minority, in much the same way that Mr. Orban envisions a racially and religiously pure Hungary.

The Hungarian prime minister sparked outrage in his July speech when he rejected a “mixed-race world” defined as a world “in which European peoples are mixed together with those arriving from outside Europe.”

Mr. Orban asserted that mixed-race countries “are no longer nations: They are nothing more than conglomerations of peoples” and are no longer part of what he sees as “the Western world.” Mr. Orban stopped short of identifying those countries, but the United States and Australia would fit the bill. 

Romanians may be more concerned about Mr. Orban’s racial remarks than his territorial ambitions, described by one Romanian Orban watcher as a “little man having pipe dreams.”

Romanians may be right. Mr. Orban’s ability to militarily assert his claims is far more restricted than those of his Russian and Chinese counterparts. Nevertheless, one underestimates at one’s peril.

Mr. Orban shares Mr. Putin and Mr. Xi’s resentment of perceived historical wrongs that need to be rectified irrespective of international law and the consequences of a world whose guardrails are dictated by might rather than the rule of law.

His speech seems to promise to reverse what he sees as an unjust diktat. His revanchism may explain why Russia’s alteration in Ukraine of national boundaries by force doesn’t trouble him.

Mr. Orban left no doubt that his definition of the Hungarian motherland included Transylvania and other regions in the Carpathian Basin beyond Hungary’s borders that ethnic Hungarians populate.

Insisting that the world owed Hungary, which eventually would call in its debt, Mr. Orban asserted that his country was driven by the notion “that more has been taken from us than given to us, that we have submitted invoices that are still unpaid… This is our strongest ambition.”

Mr. Orban implicitly suggested a revision or cancellation of the 1920 Treaty of Trianon, which deprived Hungary of much of its pre-World War I territory.

Two months earlier, Hungarian President Katalin Novak ruffled diplomatic feathers when she posted a picture of herself climbing a mountain peak in Romania’s Alba County, standing by a disputed milestone painted in Hungarian colours.

At the time, Ms. Novak advised Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu that it was her duty to represent “all Hungarians, regardless of whether they live inside or outside the borders” – a claim Romania rejected.

Mr. Orban’s grievance and racially driven nationalism may be one reason the Hungarian leader has been Europe’s odd man out in refusing to sanction Russia for its invasion of Ukraine fully.

In a break with European Union policy, Hungary’s foreign minister Péter Szijjarto met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on the eve of Mr. Orban’s speech to request additional gas supplies.

In contrast to the EU, which wants to remove Russia as a supplier of its energy, Mr. Orban insisted that “we do not want to stop getting energy from Russia, we simply want to stop getting it exclusively from Russia.”

Mr. Orban’s speech is unlikely to ease the task of Tibor Navracsics, Hungary’s regional development minister and a former EU commissioner. Mr. Navracsics arrived in Brussels this week to persuade the EU to release €15 billion in covid recovery funds amid an unprecedented disciplinary process that could lead to the suspension of EU funding because of Hungarian violations of the rule of law.

So far, Mr. Orban’s support of Russia has isolated him in Europe with the de facto demise of the Visegrad 4 or V4 in its current form in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine and the threat of an economic recession.

Grouping the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia, the Visegrad 4 were united in their opposition to EU migration and rejection of what the Hungarian leader termed Europe’s “internal empire-building attempts,” a reference to the European Commission’s efforts to stop moves that hollow out Central European democracy.

Leaving Mr. Orban isolated, Slovakian Prime Minister Eduard Heger has pledged to use his current six-month presidency of the European Council to return the Visegrad 4 to the roots of its founding in 1991 as the four countries emerged from communism: respect for democracy and a commitment to European integration.

If successful, Mr. Heger’s V4 will likely be a V3 with Hungary on the outs.

Said Mateusz Gniazdowski, an analyst at the Warsaw-based Centre for Eastern Studies: “Attempts to ideologically use the V4 brand harm mutual trust and don’t contribute to building a strong Central Europe in the EU.”

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The End of History, Delayed: The EU’s Role in Defining the Post-War Order

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While the world is following the dramatic unfolding of the Russian aggression against Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Europe needs to start elaborating its vision for the post-war world. While a new Yalta might be needed, we all should realise that a peaceful world order has never existed outside the European Union. This in itself grants the EU the credibility – and responsibility – for arranging the post-war framework that secures the peaceful future of the continent.

By Dr.Maria Alesina and Francesco Cappelletti*

In the interconnected international society, war is not only a horrific and painful but also irrational choice. It is a zero-sum game, which sets into motion the domino effect of global repercussions. However, rational considerations have little to do with what stands behind the ongoing military attack on Ukraine. Russia’s war is not limited to Ukraine or aimed at a regime change to strengthen regional influence (as realists would say), nor does it represent an attempt to reinforce specific strategic interests (as a cognitivist analysis would suggest). It has emerged as something beyond traditional disputes: it is, as a matter of fact, an ideological war against the West. More than anything, it is Huntington’s “clash of civilizations”, although driven not by ideology or religion but by the two conflicting standpoints on human life – as a value and a non-value. This fundamental clash is happening now on the Ukrainian soil, and the battle is as fierce as it can possibly get.

The propaganda-driven “Rus-zism” rhetoric, missing any solid ideological basis or constructive meaning, consists of an overt anti-Western narrative aiming to establish a multi-polar world order and a vaguely defined concept of Russia’s “greatness”, entrenched in the shreds of evidence given by altered revision of events, such as the Great Patriotic War. A war that, in the eyes of the Russian establishment, has never ended. In the anti-Western rhetoric, the corroborating factor is a series of facts, events, convictions, beliefs, interests that support the leitmotif of the inevitability of “blocks”, an enemy, the “others”. A heritage of the Cold War. All this is grounded in the historical super Troika of the Russia’s foreign policy: fear of external threats, dispersed economic and political inefficiency, and focus on securing citizens’ support – by all means, ranging from propaganda to political repressions. This is a sheer exercise in power without purpose, control without vision, projected both internally and externally. This dynamic, although never fully dissipated, has been re-gaining momentum starting with Putin’s speech at the 2007 Munich Security Conference.

Today, in mid-2022, Russian aggression in Ukraine is only growing in atrocities and cynicism. In contrast, the EU politics still remain a palliative medicine, by definition unprepared to dealing with the concept of war. Political crises in several Member States – Italy, France, Estonia, Bulgaria – risk becoming a further destabilizing factor preventing the EU from fully standing up against Putin’s war plans. Meanwhile, the Europeans are becoming increasingly concerned with the upcoming ‘Russian winter’, recession, global food shortages, and a new migration crisis. As much as citizens advocated for support to Ukraine in the beginning, soon they might start demanding peace at any cost – most likely, Ukraine’s cost. This is the trap that Russia is orchestrating.

However, any simple, although desperately needed, ceasefire agreement risks only deepening the problem and postponing the solution. It will be a matter or years, if not months, when Russia restarts its aggression, possibly better prepared the next time around. The somewhat belated understanding of this simple truth should prevent us from re-engaging into the dilemma of prioritizing short-lived comfort and material gain over long-term solutions based on our fundamental, “civilizational” priorities. We need to remember that Europe’s prosperity has resulted from a prolonged period of peace – not vice versa. Those who threaten the peace, by definition threaten our growth and sustainability. Alongside building up its strategic autonomy for the 21st century, Europe must be prepared to do what it takes to secure a new long-term peaceful world order – not simply patch the old one.

Given that the ‘Russian factor’ will not disappear even after the overt military conflict is over, the Cold War II stands in the midst of diplomatic challenges anticipated for the post-war scenario. On the one hand, as Russia has acquired the official status of the world’s villain, dethroning China from this role, it will continue to face some extent of isolation. Regaining any level of trust will require years, and Moscow will struggle to find a credible audience to speak to when trying to redefine its external relations, while having to deal with a prolonged recession and a technological slowdown never experienced since 1991. On the other hand, without being naïve, we cannot expect any substantial regime changes to happen in Moscow. For centuries, the narrative ‘Russia vs. the West’ has constituted the very central axis of the national public discourse, even within the liberally-minded opposition circles. Such long-standing trends do not change quickly, if ever.

Although no notions of trustworthy diplomacy will bring Russia to the international negotiation tables for a long time, the need to guarantee security goes beyond this conflict and its territorial or ideological implications. The only viable solution is to find a way to contain Russia within a binding and comprehensive international framework. This means a pragmatic approach is needed in developing untouchable geopolitical, diplomatic, and security-related boundaries of the new order. The exact same boundaries that kept the first Cold War “cold”, with the difference that this time one of the great powers involved is – to use Kennedy’s word – declining.

The results of the potential Kyiv-Moscow talks will largely depend on the West’s willingness to avoid grey zones in the future security settlements. It is a matter of responsibility, especially for the EU, to provide a forum to assess, judge, clarify, evaluate, measure, and pragmatically set limits of the new post-war security system. While the US is interested, first and foremost, in slowly weakening Russia politically and economically, Europe’s long-term concern consists primarily in preventing its giant neighbour from disrupting the very basic principles of coexistence on the continent. A zero-trust model should be applied to Russia, while a new paradigm for debates should be developed from scratch: there is no more “balance of power” and “deterrence” to fit into the discourse. The world is now divided into nations that either care or not about commonly accepted principles, rights, and, above all, about the value of human life. The end of history, in 2022, is farther away than expected.

*Dr Maria Alesina and Francesco Cappelletti are Policy and Research Officers at the European Liberal Forum. Dr Alesina holds MA degrees in Political Science and EU Studies obtained in Ukraine, Germany and Belgium and a PhD degree in interdisciplinary cultural studies from Ghent University. She specializes in EU foreign, social, and cultural affairs. Francesco Cappelletti holds an MA in International Relations from the University of Florence and MA in World Politics from MGIMO. Member of Center for Cybersecurity in Florence. He focuses on cybersecurity, digitisation, Russian-Western relations and the relation between sustainability and technologies.

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“No longer analyze Asia with European eyes”, says French expert in Bucharest conference

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A 2-day academic hybrid conference organized in Bucharest at mid-July by MEPEI (Middle East Economic and Political Institute) and EuroDefense Romania, two Bucharest-based think-tanks, was the perfect venue to learn about the latest analyses on economic, geopolitical and security topics related to the Middle East and Asia, during which China was mentioned by all speakers as clearly playing a role in today’s international order. Entitled “Middle East in Quest for Security, Stability, and Economic Identity”, the conference was the 8th in a series of international conferences that annually gather well-known experts from all over the world to present their analyses and research on highly debated topics such as terrorism, Middle East, emerging Asian countries, the rising China, to which this year a new topic was added: the conflict in Ukraine.

Interesting ideas derived from the speakers’ presentations.

Adrian Severin, former Romanian minister of foreign affairs and EU parliamentarian, pointed out that “the conflict in Ukraine is actually one between Russia and the West, but economic sanctions never stop wars, and they even may lead to global disaster”. Severin considers it to be more and more difficult for NATO to defend its allies, with so many countries relying on NATO, and on the US, for their national protection, including non-European countries such as Saudi Arabia and Israel. When it comes to Asia, Severin sees “China to have a first rank role in shaping the world order.”

Teodor Meleșcanu, another former Romanian minister of foreign affairs, stressed that “Asia has the majority of the world’s population and lots and resources, and the future of Asia will assume the future of our civilizations.” Meleșcanu explained that “China wants to stabilize the world and to forge alliances, but not to fight with the West. Chinese trade is not interested in confrontation with Western partners by making alliance with Russia and it’s obvious why – because the West means more than 700 million people whereas Russia means only 114 million.” Meleșcanu suggested that the optimal solution in international relations is to operate with regional organizations in order to have dialogue, not directly with “the big boys in the garden.” Meleșcanu also encourages never-ending dialogue between the US-Russia-China, as the current situation proves it, in order to prevent such events that destabilize the world. He believes that the principles in Norman Angell’s The Great Illusion will always apply, as war does not actually mean conquering territories.  

Lily Ong, host of the Geopolitics360 live show in Singapore, confirmed that regional organizations are vital for dialogue: “Had not it have been for ASEAN, Singapore would have been on the menu, not at the table.”

Foad Izadi from the University of Tehran informed that Iran signed a 25-year agreement with China, and a separate one with Russia, and said “Iran would welcome such 25-year agreements with European countries. It’s Europe’s decision if they really want to follow the US decisions, but the US interests are often not aligned with the European interests”, concluded Izadi.

Vasily Kuznetsov from the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow reminded the audience that Russia and the West cooperated very well in Libya, in fighting against ISIS in Syria, and expressed his confusion about Europe’ militarized approach towards Russia.  He stressed that “the current international situation will result into the strengthening of Asian centres of global power and global economics. China, as well as India and the Middle East as a collective actor become new great powers directly linked to each other, without the West.” At the same time, Kuznetsov sees “for China, a dilemma between pragmatic economic interest and global political ambitions, and for India, a choice between regional and global ambitions outside South Asia”, and he wondered whether “China can have a realistic foreign policy in the Middle East which  is facing issues of internal reconfiguration, sovereignty and security.” For the US, Kuznetsov sees the biggest challenge in the effort “to preserve leadership without more engagement, to make American politics more successful and to combine values and pragmatism.”

 “The rise of China is beneficial not only for China but for entire Asia”, believes Yao Jinxiang from China Institute of International Studies (CIIS) in Beijing. “The rise of Asia will rebalance the world.” Yao also stressed that “people are often biased about Asia. Let us not forget that, apart from the wars led by the US in Asia, Asia has been stable with no war for a long time. The self-control of the Asia countries ensures stability. It looks that it’s easier to attract Europe in a war than Asia. Asian countries try to solve problems by consensus. For example, China, Japan and South Korea step back because ASEAN is the leader. On the other hand, China has always been defensive. China does not want to claim hegemony or to replace the US, or another great power.” Yao equally explained the two terms used to refer to the same region: Asia-Pacific and Indo-Pacific: “Asia-Pacific reflects economic relations, whereas Indo-Pacific rather mirrors the political and military relations”, and he stressed that “China does not want to claim hegemony in this world or to replace the US or another great power. China is only interested in prosperity around the world and it watches carefully the Global Development Index and the Global Security Index”.

Pierre Fournié, French expert on Asia from SUFFREN International think-tank declared the Belt and Road Initiative, formerly One-Belt, One-Road (OBOR), to be “a magnificent project that could be pivotal in Europe” because “trade has always been a peaceful and fruitful relation among countries.” Fournié made clear that the war in Ukraine, inflation, migration, social discontent in Europe and the ongoing reconfiguration of the US society create conditions for Asian nations to become key partners in the post-war reshaping of Europe. “Thus, BRI, or the Indonesian Global Maritime Fulcrum are magnificent assets. Fournié also suggested that ”the current economic model creates tensions, and it’s time for  people to apply mutual aid and to unite to create coo-petition, a term coined by himself, and not competition. He recommended people to “no longer analyze Asia with European eyes.”

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