News Archive – March 2016
Developing the Trans Arabian Network
DVIDS (Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System), 4th Expeditionary Sustainment Command (Courtesy Story By Col. Michael Malone, 1TSC OCP (4ESC) Distribution Management Center Chief) March 29, 2016 – The TAN includes most of the countries in the Arabian Peninsula – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen – and most countries in the Levant: Sinai Egypt, Israel and Jordan. The development of the TAN is a CENTCOM strategic priority. The TAN is the interconnection of important sea ports, air ports and road networks within these countries and having access is necessary to facilitate and move all Department of Defense cargo. In order to optimize use, the TAN must be multimodal in nature – ground, air, and sea….
Diplomatic clearances, contracting process, contractor reliability, restriction on military moves, restrictions on the type of cargo and relationships of the various nations are all constraints that must be addressed with every shipment. Diplomatic clearances is one of the most constricting and challenging of the constraints. Each country has different clearance processes and timelines. Timelines are as short as five days for Jordan and Kuwait, but as long as 45 days for Qatar with the rest of the countries somewhere in between. Engagement by the U.S. Department of State through the various embassies is necessary to streamline the process and leverage Department of Defense capabilities to deliver supplies to warfighters throughout the region.…
The partnered countries would improve logistic capability along with improved coordination among the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
The U.S. “region-building” policy for Sunni Arab countries will use this defense logistics pretext to further integrate the GCC nations into a greater Sunni Arab Union, like the European Union.
EUROPEAN UNION: THE ‘REGION-BUILDING’ OF EUROPE:
Robb: Donald Trump is right – NATO is obsolete
Arizona Republic (Phoenix), March 27, 2016 – The only way for the United States to get European countries to pay more for their own defense is for the United States to pay less, irrespective of what the Europeans do. The GDP of the European Union rivals that of the United States. There is no justification, economically or in terms of our security interests, for American taxpayers to be underwriting the security and stability of Europe.
Internationalists’ uopian delusion is their unconstitutional “justification” for forcing American taxpayers to continue providing and underwriting umbrella security for the ongoing European Union integration process.
Lukashenko: The Eurasian Economic Union should be at least as good as the European Union
‘There is no turning back’
Belarus News, March 24, 2016 – The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) should be at least as good as the European Union (EU), Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Tigran Sargsyan on 24 March, BelTA has learned. “There is no turning back. We need to improve the Eurasian Economic Union, this union should be as good as the European Union. Otherwise, our people will think that we are just babblers,” the Belarusian leader stressed.
European Commission President Calls for ‘Security Union’
DefenseNews, March 24, 2016 – European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has called for a European “security union” to face the threat of terrorism. His comments come in the wake of Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels….
Juncker’s demand was immediately attacked by UK Independence Party MEP Mike Hookem, his party’s defense spokesman, who said: “Juncker must be literally mad if he thinks people will sign up to a security union with the EU after it has shown itself dangerously incompetent on this issue.”
Brussels attacks: Europe is acting as a ‘welcome sign’ to terrorists, warns former Tory leader
EU Leaders demand more, not less Europe
‘Europe must go all the way…invest in a common security and defence structure’
The Telegraph (London, UK), March 22, 2016 – George Eustice, a Eurosceptic minister, told The Telegraph that the Schengen zone enabled “terrorists to move around freely” and said Britain could only take back full control of its borders if it leaves the EU….
The attacks led to demands for more, not less Europe from other EU leaders such as Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, who argued that “closing borders won’t solve anything” and urged deeper EU security cooperation. “Europe must go all the way this time. We must invest in a common security and defence structure,” he said. “This is not the time for jackals, but nor is it the time for doves. We need a European pact, a pact for freedom and security.”
Obama’s Foreign-Aid ‘Region-Building’ Initiative for Association of SE Asian Nations
The Straits Times (Singapore), March 17, 2016 – A new economic cooperation initiative, the US-Asean Connect, was launched during a summit in California last month between United States President Barack Obama and the 10 Asean leaders. The US-Asean Connect has four pillars: first, business-connect, which supports commercial engagement between US and Asean businesses…. Secondly, energy-connect, which assists in the development of the power sector in Asean…. Third, innovation-connect, or encouraging South-east Asian emerging entrepreneurs…. And fourth, policy-connect, which supports Asean countries in creating a positive environment for trade and investment, including capacity building and technical support to Asean member states.
To increase US business’ presence in South-east Asia more uniformly, the US-Asean Connect offers business-connect that, together with policy-connect, aims to provide the policy infrastructure for US businesses to capitalise on a growing Asean Economic Community, established in December last year.
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SAARC Needs To Unleash Collective Strength, Says Sushma Swaraj
‘If we are to achieve a South Asian Economic Union’
NDTV (New Delhi, India), March 17, 2016 – India today pitched for unleashing the “collective strength” of SAARC as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj underlined the need for a South Asian Economic Union with greater connectivity and forward movement on pending agreements on rail and motor vehicles…. “We have taken some important decisions to integrate our economies through SAFTA and South Asian Trade in Services Agreement. These need to be developed and consolidated further if we are to achieve a South Asian Economic Union,” she said in her address at the 37th SAARC Council of Ministers meeting in Pokhara…. The SAARC comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
President Obama to Visit Saudi Arabia in April
Summit with Gulf Cooperation Council
President Barack Obama will travel to Saudi Arabia next month for a summit with Gulf Arab leaders, the White House said Wednesday, offering them a chance to repair relations strained by last year’s nuclear deal with Iran. The summit with the Gulf Cooperation Council follows one Mr. Obama hosted last year at Camp David in an attempt to ease concerns among U.S. allies over the Iran deal. This year’s summit will take place on…
Mexican Flag Raised in Chicago; ‘We Stopped Trump!’
Breitbart, March 13, 2016 – Protesters raised a Mexican flag in celebration after Donald Trump’s planned rally in Chicago on Friday night was canceled, according to news reports. The Wall Street Journal reported:
Cheers went up among many protesters when the announcement came, but a chaotic scene soon emerged with protesters and Trump supporters scuffling on the arena floor. Police rushed into the fray to try to restore order. One person raised a Mexican flag amid chants of “We stopped Trump!”
SAARC nations should create common court to tackle terrorism: SC judge
The Tribune (Chandigarh, India), March 11, 2016 – United Nations, March 11: A Supreme Court Judge from India has suggested the creation of a “common court” for SAARC countries that comprises judges from each nation who can share their knowledge and tackle cross-border terrorism cases…. The UN event brought Supreme Court justices from across the world together for the first time to discuss how terrorism cases are handled in their respective countries.
China’s Developing Silk Road Trade Relations with SAARC – Asia Briefing, March 11, 2016 – One aspect of the proposed China Silk Road that is not often factored into the route is that of India, and especially the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) trade bloc. In fact, SAARC has long been of high interest and importance to the Chinese, who tried to join a few years ago and were rebuffed. SAARC’s members, which essentially comprise the entire Indian sub-continent, include India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
‘China should become part of SAARC structure’
The Hindu (India), March 9, 2016 – Globalisation is putting pressure on the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to change its traditional ways of working, according to Imtiaz Ahmed, Executive Director of the Regional Centre for Strategic Studies (RCSS), a 23-year-old South Asian regional think tank. “The way globalisation is working, whether you like it or not, the borders are not the same they used to be. Now, it is almost impossible to keep your business within your borders….
The message behind the trend of globalisation is that the region has to include China, which, he called, has now become a “South Asian country” for all practical purposes.
ASEAN, EUROPEAN UNION:
What Lessons Can ASEAN Learn from the EU?
Knowledge@Wharton (Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania), March 10, 2016 – ASEAN was founded in 1967. In that year, the European Economic Community (EEC), which was established in 1957 through the Rome Treaties, had almost finished its first stage of regional integration. It had abandoned tariffs on most industrial goods in intra-EEC trade in five consecutive steps (between 1957 and 1968)…. That procedure had been textbook-like and in the aftermath of 1957 spurred the ambition of many developing countries to replicate the EEC model, characterized as stepwise: from a free trade area via a customs union and common market to an economic community; legalistic: every step is embedded in binding and lawful obligations; and top-down: the electorate, though being the principal, waives its rights in favor of the agents, the executive.
Long committed Unasur and regional integration
La Republica (Ecuador), March 7, 2016 (Google Translation) – The new foreign minister of Ecuador, Guillaume Long, decided today to strengthen Latin American integration and give “great strength” to the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), beyond “legitimate differences that may exist between governments “of the region…. ” You have to really think about a democratization of international bodies” and “institutions of international governance , ” he said stressing that the United Nations General Assembly voting is “symbolic” something that is “not acceptable” he said.
AFRICAN UNION – EAC:
Key Bills On East African Single Currency Complete
The East African (Kenya), March 5, 2016 – East African Community member states have completed drafting crucial legislation required to fast-track the establishment of a single currency regime. The EAC heads of state signed a protocol in November 2013 in Kampala committing to a 10-year road map towards achieving a monetary union in 2024. The protocol provides for the introduction of a single currency and creation of a single central bank for the region.
Game Change: Jeff Sessions Endorses Trump from Stage in Alabama; Stunning Event Unites Populist, Nationalist Movement
Breitbart, Feb 28, 2016 – Sessions is known for his tough views on immigration and trade and has repeatedly aimed to push the Republican Party in a more populist, nationalist direction…. Sessions is the most highly sought-after endorsement because of his respect party-wide, and he’s been cited by Cruz especially frequently on the campaign trail.
Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Endorses Donald Trump – Breitbart, Feb 27, 2016 – Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer endorsed GOP frontrunner Donald Trump for president on Saturday. Brewer stated she believes Trump will secure the border:
Arizona’s unsecured border is the gateway of illegal immigration into the United States and the politicians in Washington D.C. have continually failed to secure our border. As I’ve always said: A nation without borders is like a house without walls – it collapses. As Arizona’s Governor, I witnessed too much heartache, loss and suffering caused by illegal immigration. I’ve seen communities destroyed by the drugs, gangs, drop houses and cartels. The cost of health care, education and incarceration for illegal immigrants places a crushing burden on taxpayers. Workers of all backgrounds are deprived of jobs and income from our open, bleeding border.”
For years I pleaded with the federal government to do their job and secure our border. Today, we can elect a President who will do just that – Donald J. Trump. Mr. Trump will secure our borders, defend our workers and protect our sovereignty.
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox on Donald Trump: ‘I’m not going to pay for that f—ing wall’ – Los Angeles Times, Feb 25, 2016 – The former president of Mexico Vicente Fox has a blunt rebuttal to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s plans to build an enormous wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. “I’m not going to pay for that f—— wall,” Fox said in an interview with Univision’s “Al Punto”….
Trump took notice of the rebuke and gave his own response on Twitter on Thursday afternoon: “FMR PRES of Mexico, Vicente Fox horribly used the F word when discussing the wall. He must apologize! If I did that there would be a uproar!”
Trump went even further when Fox’s remarks came up during Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate. “The wall just got 10 feet taller!” Trump said.
How China is driving Japan closer to Southeast Asia
Deutsche Welle (Germany), Feb 24, 2016 – Kristen Gunness, an expert on the Chinese military and the CEO of Vantage Point Asia LLC, argues that Beijing’s assertiveness in the region “has definitely played a role in pushing Japan to form closer ties to Southeast Asian nations.” …. As a result, says analyst Gunness, Japan will likely continue to use a combination of military and economic incentives to increase its influence with ASEAN in the near future.
EUROPEAN UNION, EURASIAN UNION and the
Competitors benefit from the freezing of EU-Russia trade relations
Everybody understands that Russia will not beg the EU to abandon sanctions, but the longer the sanctions persist, the more Russia will develop its import substitution, writes Vladimir Chizhov.
EurActiv, Feb 21, 2016 – We do not yet have a clear understanding of the EU position regarding the establishment of relations with the Eurasian Economic Union, though relevant proposals have already been made by the Eurasian Economic Commission…. But let us try to imagine if amelioration happens later rather than sooner? Firstly, the longer the present “sanctions” period lasts the more Russia will develop its import substitution (already quite visible, for example, in agriculture). The more it will strengthen relations with other sources of food imports – like Latin America, China and – finally – Iran that happens to be our close geographical neighbour fresh from a sanctions-lifting exercise.
The Ukraine crisis signals the beginning of Henry Kissinger’s “new mercantilism” of “competing regional units.” As was typical of historic mercantilism, media reports within both sides of today’s Ukraine crisis acknowledge that antagonism from the other region is useful in the deeper integration of their own regional bloc. Here are some examples:
● WESTERN SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA MAY BOOST EURASIAN ECONOMIC UNION – RT (Russia Today), March 20, 2014 – – “What would then happen is that the Eurasian Economic Union would accelerate in scale very rapidly.”
● THANK YOU, MR PUTIN – DW (Deutsche Welle, Germany), March 21, 2014 – – “With your annexation of the Crimea you have thrown a much-needed lifeline to…European integration…”
● VLADIMIR PUTIN: HERO OF THE EUROPEAN UNION – Breitbart London, March 14, 2014 – “Vladimir Putin’s adventurism in the Ukraine has had a strange side effect: it may well have prolonged the life of his chief rival and antagonist – the European Union…”
EUROPEAN UNION: ORDER out of CHAOS
Fintan O’Toole: EU at its strongest when on brink of abyss
Banner under which the EU has marched forward has two short words inscribed on it: ‘or else’
Irish Times, Feb 21, 2016 – What can be said for the European Union is that it allowed its most powerful member states to imagine for themselves a post-imperial place in the world. With the exception of little Luxembourg, all the founding states of the EU were former colonial powers. They were joined over time by others: Portugal, Spain and, of course, the UK. The EU helped them to move, however incompletely, away from their imperial mindsets and helped Europe to get over its sense of itself as the centre of the universe.
All of these achievements were fuelled, not so much by idealism, as by fear. The banner under which the EU has marched forward has two short words inscribed on it: “or else”. The union’s 28 members must leave an empty seat at the table for a ghostly 29th: the abyss. The knowledge of how close the continent is to savagery and chaos is vital to the very existence of the union…. Maybe the British referendum will be the moment at which the EU begins to reconnect with its roots in the positive side of fear.
Federalists’ solution of fiscal union may be what’s needed to preserve European project long term
Now, more than ever, that ‘closer union’ means decisive steps toward political integration.
CNBC, Feb 22, 2016 – ….First, there is a radical approach advocated by EU “federalists.” That would involve a common fiscal policy managed by the euro area finance ministry – a supranational institution like the European Central Bank (ECB). That, of course, would involve a complete and formal transfer of sovereignty over important state functions because it would also necessitate harmonization of social and labor market legislations.
Yemen will not be easily persuaded to join the GCC
The National (Abu Dhabi, UAE), Feb 21, 2016 – Almost forgotten amid the hope of Yemen’s Arab Spring and later collapse into chaos and war was the plan that Yemen should have joined the Gulf Cooperation Council by now…. Yemen’s population of 26 million is more than the population of all the GCC countries combined (excluding expatriates)…. If integration reduced or removed barriers to business, GCC companies could base themselves in Yemen and benefit from much lower manufacturing costs. The real clincher, however, is security.
“The plan” for Yemen integration into the GCC is identical to the so-called “free trade” plan for Mexico, the US and Canada within an open-border NAFTA region.
ASEAN & REGIONAL ORDER:
Asean a collective security organization?
U.N. Vision: Global System with Regional Defense Organizations:
Manila Times, Feb 19, 2016 – Although its name gives no hint of it, Asean was envisioned to have an exclusively economic orientation. The world however woke up to its immense potentials as a regional body for its work in the political and security area, for the critical role it played in resolving the Kampuchean crisis…. But Asean leaders at their first Summit in Bali in 1976 overruled Asean becoming a collective defense organization…. Actually, the original vision of the United Nations for world peace consists of a global collective defense system supported by regional collective defense organizations.