Centrul Diplomatic/Diplomatic Center

Centrul de Studii Politice si Diplomatie/ Center for Political Science and Diplomacy

EIGHT PREDICTIONS FOR 2010 by Dr. Anton Caragea

EIGHT PREDICTIONS FOR  2010

It is in human nature deeply rooted the desire to see what is the future reserving for us. In the ancient times Sybille’s priestess in a cave near Rome interpreted the sacred Sibylline Book to see what the New Year will bring for Rome. Today the desire to know the future remain as strong as ever but the technique has certainly improved. Today geopolitics is here to help us guide our way in the next year. So what will bring to us 2010?  

The end of economic crisis?

Certainly something that everybody will like to see in 2010 is an end to the powerful economic crisis that is ripping havoc in international economy. Unfortunately 2010 is a decisive year in economy but with a double potential: to show the end of recession or to provoke another catastrophic fall. The economic dates are far away from a promising future. The US economy still has to face with the consequence of a real estate market that is suffocated by offers but also in lingering demand because of the strict policy applied by banks. Also financial sector proved his vulnerability to external pressure when the so called Dubai World bobble burst in November 2009 the New York Stock Exchange suffered a fall of 8 %. This vulnerability to foreign market will still be a major factor in influencing US economy recovery. Crushing stock markets in Asia or Middle East will sure happen in 2010 as the international banking system is slaw in offering collaterals and credit to pharaoh type projects that where starting before crisis and needs financing to be completed. These big projects are a sward with two directions, if they are not completed investor confidence will fall and as a result we will see depreciating values of stacks and bankruptcy if they are completed they will find a market already saturated and they will collapse.

A ghost is troubling the continent: Unemployment.

We all remember K. Marx beginning of Capital: a ghost is wondering the continent: the communism. Well now another ghost is showing here ugly face from New York to London: unemployment. The latest data from United States are crippling any hope of recovery, with 85.000 jobs lost only in December the economy of US is in severe shape and with more than 600.000 people relinquishing any hope for finding a new job the prospects seamed deem. In Europe the situation is even grey, German Federal Government admitted in November that the figures showing the German economy out of recession are exaggerated, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia face national bankruptcy and Spain, Italy, Ireland are fallowing closely and with national bankruptcy looming over Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria economy is still clear that Europe economy is continuing his downfall rapidly.

China and India: how long the miracle can last?

This year the only good news from world economy come from India and China that relied on a huge internal market (more than 1 billon each) to continue to grow in a down fall year. But this maneuver could not be sustained for 2010 economist predicts. Two are the main reasons: the grow of internal market demand could only be sustained by increase in wages that will affect both China and India competitiveness on external market. The second reason is that the internal market is not producing hard currency (dollars or Euros) that both India and China need for their developing economy but they only acquired more of their one currency with no value on international market. China and India continuous grow could only be sustained by cutting their economy from international market and this will be another catastrophe for international economy. In conclusion 2010 will be decisive in shaping the way for a recovery or for another crisis.

Democrats lose control.

In United States 2010 is an electoral year in which the democrats and republican will fight for control of Legislative. In this fight democrats enter on the lame duck position, in economy the financial support offered generously by B. Obama did not produced neither the necessary recovery neither the economic climate improvement, on international policy US troops are still embattled in Iraq, in Afghanistan a long war of guerrilla will claim his life toll in 2010 and Obama just make the monumental mistake in involving US military in a new conflict in Yemen. With none of his campaign pledges honored and a dire economic situation B. Obama is having little to show for, a situation that republican will get the best of it.

Israel – a new military adventure.

In Middle East the clouds of a new war are rapidly getting strength. In Israel an embattled Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is seeing his cabinet position weaker and weaker by days go done. Israel Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman has found himself excluded for Mediterranean Union projects talks as a result of Turkey veto and Arab country refusal to talk with him for his extremist views (the most inflammatory remark being the possibility of an attack on Aswan Dam in Egypt to disrupt Egypt economy). Inside Israel the dispute surrounding construction in occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem is further weakening his cabinet. In this case as Ehud Olmert has done in 2008 attacking Gaza or Menahem Begin invading Lebanon in 1982 is clear that the cabinet will try to avoid collapse by launching a new attach in the region. The best target is Gaza already weakened by the 2008 war and by 3 years of total blockade. An operation in Gaza could dismantle Hamas and provide a strategic victory with little human life cost so probably this will be the next target. But also there are voice that suggest that an attack on Lebanon infrastructure will be more beneficial for Israel that economically bothered by Lebanon tourism and investment opportunity competition in the region. But is probably that Israel will restrain his goal at more achievable level and a strike on Gaza seems the most likely scenario for 2010.                 

Pakistan: between civilian rule and military intervention.

Pakistan situation is dire: economy fall by 20% percent, unemployment is huge (more then 18%) and banking system is showing sign of collapse. With the army engaged in frontier battles at border with Afghanistan and with a continuous line of interior attacks the last things Pakistan needs is a political crisis. But exactly this is what 2010 will bring.  The embattled president Ali Zardari was forced to relinquish nuclear arms control to his prime minister and also to face a corruption charges that could lead to his downfall. The only civilian personality that could take his place is former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. But we must not forget that Mr. Sharif was deposed in a bloodless coup d’état in 1996 by the military and replaced with General Perwez Musharaf. Bringing him back to power will just mean that the history will be re-write. In any case if there will not be a political solution to Pakistan economic and political crisis the military will step in and this time with the accord of Washington that is eager to see stability at the front door of Pakistan at any cost in order to defeat the insurgency in Afghanistan. A general that will promise Washington tranquility at the southern border of Afghanistan will be acclaimed just as Perwez Musharaf was in 2001 after September attacks.

Latin America.

2010 also witness another tension fleering up: in Honduras a coup d’état mounted by military in convergence with right wing politicians toppled the legitimate president: Manuel Zelaya, crush any civilian resistance and despite international condemnation consolidated there regime in illegal elections. This became now a study case in United States and the region where many want to see left wing politicians as Evo Morales, Hugo Chavez and Rafael Correa overthrown. The Honduras success receipt will be surely repeated in another Latin America country this year. The question is where?

In Bolivia where a so called independent state in the center of the country has elected a parliament and a government and tries to overthrown Evo Morales in a civilian and military coup ? Or in Venezuela where Hugo Chavez is now under Columbian army pressure, irregular militia that crossed the border from Columbia to attack Venezuelan objectives on daily bases and where United States just opened up military bases?

Finally Rafael Correa of Ecuador is also on the black list; Ecuadorian military trained and grown by United States is also shooing sign that could change lines. Where will be CIA next revolution in Latin America?   Newsweek citing informed sources from CIA announced that Venezuela is the prime candidate for a „freedom” operation in Caribbean.  

China`s decision.

2010 will also be a decisive year for China that will be presented in the Security Council with sanctions proposal for Iran and Sudan. Both countries are strong allies of China, suppliers with gas and oil for increasing Chinese demands and both countries have a tension relationship with United States. China will have to decide; to give a go ahead to future sanctions could spell clearing the road for war. Everybody remembers in Security Council the 2002 resolution against Iraq that threatened the Baghdad regime with serious consequences if they don’t comply. United States decided that serious consequences could mean war and launch the attack on Iraq. A similar resolution today imposed on Teheran will be just a final step to war. China seemed to be aware of this and will have to choose between open opposition to United States agenda or temporary acceptance of US demands. The present strategy of China of temporization could no longer work in 2010.

This are just of the few decision that international policy and market decision makers will be confronted in this decisive year between peace and war, crisis or recovery , coup d’état or liberty. The answer will be decided in the next 12 month. We will live with the consequence.

Professor Anton Caragea PhD, MA, FINS

January 12, 2010 Posted by | Diplomacy, Eastern Europe, Ecology, Economy, Environment, Foreign policy, History, Informations, International Relation, Latin America, Leaders, Mass media, News, Open Letter, Politics, Religion, Russia, United States | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CAUCASUS THE POWDER BARELL OF EUROPE? by Anton Caragea

CAUCASUS THE POWDER BARELL OF EUROPE?

800px-Caucasus_breakaway_regions_2008_svg

Caucasus: the place for the next war ?

 

In the XIX century it was usual to say about the Balkan Peninsula that here is the powder barrel of Europe where all the wars are starting. In XX century the Russian and German ambitions where making the Eastern Europe the powder barrel of Europe. The XXI century seems to have (besides Middle East) his own soft spot: the Caucasus region. Here an explosive mixture of dictatorship, military ambitions, Islamic fundamentalism and rich natural resources is threatening the Europe stability.

Georgia`s open wounds.

Off course the first thing that is crossing our minds in relation with Caucasus region is the Russian-Georgian war of 2008. The war left the region in tatters : Georgia has seen disappearing all his chances to join NATO or European Union in the forcible future, the Georgian army was crushed by a rudimentary Russian forced proving that Georgia is far from a position of strength in the region. Not at least Georgia has seen amputation of his territory by the independence proclamation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Both newly appeared countries are supported militarily and economically by Russia which is making any transgression against these two countries a casus belli. If Georgia does not relinquish his claims to this two regions will never be accepted to NATO and European Union, both organization requiring a prior settlement of frontiers as a part of any pre-joining negotiation. Now an isolated Georgia, a war ravage country confronted with street demonstration and an unpopular president with authoritarian tendencies is ready to embark at least in a war of words with Russia. In august 2009 a war of tension brooked out one more time between Russia and Georgia both trying to win a PR confrontation this time, war is a continuation of politics by other means used to say Clausewitz and Russian and Georgia are ready to continue their confrontation.

Tskhinval_after_Georgian_attack4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frozen conflicts.

The Georgian-Russian war is not the only conflict that is casting a shadow over the region prospects on a normal development.   The north of Caucasus seemed to be one more time engulf in the flames of radical Islam. In 1999 then Prime-Minister Putin has build his career on crushing the Chechen rebellion. Now ten year after the story is again on the front page of newspapers; Chechnya is burning.  In Ingushetia, a neighboring republic of Chechnya has seen in the last months his president badly wounded and two ministers assassinated and a radical increase in terrorist activity. In the old wound of Chechnya the Kremlin prodigy Ramzan Kadyrov is confronted with an Islamic revival, a chain of assassination and attacks plague the country and make even the Prime minister reloaded Vladimir Putin visiting the region in a desperate effort to prevent a new war in Chechnya that could be fatal to his political stature. Let`s not forget that Chechnya war has destroyed Boris Eltin popularity and toppled two Russians prime ministers.

The conflict has spelt into Dagestan and North Ossetia menacing the pro-Russian leaders and the stability of a difficult region. A new war in Caucasus in a crumbling economy with a Russian unreformed army could spell disaster for Russian renewed imperial ambitious.

Azerbaijan on the frontline.

Azerbaijan is not enjoying a comfortable position on power struggle on Caucasus. With a large part of the population of Shia confession (the same as Iran) the Azerbaijan is observing with increasing worry the rise in isolation of Iran. If a war is to broke up in the region Azerbaijan is crucial: first his air space must be used for aerial attacks on targets on Iran, the country radar system must be used to control Iran air space and any missile interception system to prevent attacks on Europe and Israel must be position here. Already the Israel president Shimon Peres made a landmark visit to Azerbaijan (June 2009), described by Israel Minister of Foreign Affairs as:  „to reaffirms the strategic relationship between the two countries”.

Azerbaijan is sharing a long border with Iran, an important Shia population and a common history and is having important internal issues that make the country fragile, economic crisis seriously crippled the economy; corruption is endemic and democracy inexistent. In this difficult portrait the Iran threat made public by Iranian Chief of Staff , Hasan Firudabadi, that said that is regarding Azerbaijan movement as inimical and the Iran ambassador in Baku was recalled for consultation .An attack on Iran could be fatal for Azerbaijan in the present diplomatically  and economical construction.

Caucasus: oil and gas battle.

As if the geopolitical confrontation in the region is not enough the resources battle is at an age here. The oil and gas resources of Caspic Sea are poring from this region either to Russia, or to Europe, also the reach wealth of Iran in gas and oil could be exported to Europe only by this region. Russia is trying to secure his control on energy route on Caucasus by building South Stream pipeline, by dismantling independent pipeline and exploit the military victory over Georgia as an incentive to control the region resources. European Union is trying to find alternative routes and reserves of gases, independent of Russian influence by building Nabucco bypassing Russia as main supplier. But the Nabucco pipeline must go by Caucasus region and the gas and oil reserves  are also in the region so economic date are making the future of the region even more cloudy then it seems.

Caucasus is looking like a fragile region, with authoritarian regimes, economic corruption and under an ongoing battle for influence and power between Russia, United States, European Union, Israel and Iran. Will be Caucasus the new powder barrel of Europe?    

Professor Anton Caragea PhD, MA, FINS

August 27, 2009 Posted by | Diplomacy, Eastern Europe, Ecology, Economy, Environment, Foreign policy, History, Informations, International Relation, Leaders, Mass media, News, Politics, Religion, United States | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment