All Roads Need Not Lead To China

Beijing has much to lose should it continue down the path of imperial overstretch.

By Parag Khanna July 13, 2020

(Parag Khanna is the founder and managing partner of FutureMap, a data and scenario-based strategic advisory firm. His latest book is “The Future is Asian: Commerce, Conflict and Culture in the 21st Century.”)

This essay was originally published in Noema Magazine.

Photo: Dunhuang, China, on the edge of the Gobi Desert in western China, was once a Silk Road frontier outpost. (Lintao Zhang/Getty)

SINGAPORE — It all starts with roads. Upon the conclusion of China’s civil war in 1949, China began a decades-long campaign to push westward into restive and contested terrain. Roads and railways began to inch westward along the Yellow River and through the narrow Gansu corridor, the ancient northern Silk Road passageway between the more inhospitable Mongolian and Tibetan Plateaus, into Xinjiang, land of the Muslim Uighurs, terrain labeled East Turkestan on many maps that depicted the Anglo-Russian maneuverings of the fabled 19th-century “Great Game.” By the time the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Chinese roads were well positioned to expand across once frozen Cold War borders and reshape the trade relations of the half-dozen newly independent Central Asian republics. China’s plan to win the new Great Game was to build new Silk Roads.  

Throughout China’s turbulent decades under Mao Zedong, the same domestic power play was unfolding in Tibet. When Tibetans resisted the convulsive campaigns of the Great Leap Forward, their 1959 uprising was crushed and the Dalai Lama fled into exile in India. In the 1962 Sino-Indian war, China seized parts of India’s Arunachal Pradesh (which China considers part of “South Tibet”) as well as Aksai Chin, a disputed region in the western Himalayas abutting India’s state of Ladakh.

Arrival of German technical experts to South Africa

17 July 2020

During the lockdown in SA, many businesses had come to a halt. With the easing of the lockdown in certain sectors companies have resumed their operations, albeit on a reduced level. They are now preparing for a further ramp-up of their operations while tackling critical maintenance for important upgrading projects. Many of these projects require special expert knowledge that is not available on the ground.

In close cooperation the Foreign Ministers Naledi Pandor and Heiko Maas supported the efforts of the South-African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lufthansa and the German Embassy together with the relevant South African authorities to enable a solution of the most pressing needs. On Thursday, July 16, a special Lufthansa flight is arrived from Frankfurt/Germany in Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport. On board were engineers, technicians and other experts whose skills are urgently needed to help get the economy going and South African exports rolling again.

Mandela Day: Germany supports food drive of football legends Delron Buckley and Sibusiso Zuma in KZN

17 July 2020

On this year’s Mandela Day the German Embassy partners with Bundesliga legends Delron Buckley and Sibusiso Zuma to honour the legacy of Madiba.

In times of the Covid19 crisis the Embassy decided to support a food drive in Ndwedwe and Hammersdale in KwaZulu-Natal. Together with the former Bafana Bafana stars a small team of the Embassy will distribute over 1000 food parcels and 2000 cloth masks to community members in need in the two townships.

“We hope that we can contribute in the fight against Covid-19 and the negative effects the crisis has on South Africa’s people. We are very proud to support Delron and Sibusiso in their efforts, because we can only overcome the crisis if we work together. What better way to honour Madiba’s legacy than to help the home communities of two of the most famous South African football Ambassadors and celebrate the great friendship of our two countries”, said German Ambassador Martin Schäfer.

Azerbaijani servicemen killed

17 July 2020

On July 12, the armed forces of Armenia attempted to attack, using artillery, in order to seize positions in the direction of Tovuz district along the state border between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

The attack of the enemy forces was prevented by retaliatory measures. As a result of the combat, three servicemen of the Azerbaijani army were killed and four were injured.

This provocative act of the Armenian armed forces should be seen as a continuation of the recent actions and statements of the leadership of aggressor state Armenia, which serve to increase tensions in the region.

Armenia, which has reflected its aggressive policy in the country's national security strategy, openly demonstrates that it aims to seize new positions and increase tensions in the region instead of eliminating the consequences of the conflict and withdrawing its occupying forces from the internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan.

2nd Wave

by Dieter Brockmeyer, Senior technology, innovation, media and entertainment expert and co-founder of Diplomatic World Institute, Brussels

17 July 2020

It is now about six months into the global pandemic and there are countries that seem to be past the worst, in Asia, and Europe, and others that are in their peak, in Latin America, the US and also South Africa…  And already fears of a second wave are spreading. It could be easy: Stick to the rules! But people are getting tired of it – self isolation or simple distancing does not correlate with human nature. When infection rates are low, why bother. Moreover, the fears of pitiful deaths lead to suppression and cause conspiracy theories: The virus is a hoax released by “the elites” to suppress the public. This provides the base for ignoring the danger. This is nothing new. Similar behavior has been reported during other outbreaks in history.

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