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November 1, 2010

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Tibetan natural resources
ROGER HOWARD states that relations between Beijing and Lhasa would be defined by the region’s natural resources and ‘development’ of the region would either strengthen or dissolve these political ties in the backdrop of ambitious Chinese plans to make Tibet an important ‘strategic resources reserve base’. In an article for the Chatham House publication, The World Today, “Tibet’s Natural Resources: Tension Over Treasure“, he states that the extraction of Tibet’s resources could not only shape the political relationship between Tibet and China but also have global repercussions giving China political leverage over countries importing those resources.

Geo-economics redux
MARK THIRLWELL, director at the Lowy Institute, avers that the current international environment marked by an increasingly dense entanglement of issues related to international economics, national security and foreign policy lends itself to a return to the idea of geo-economics with key issues around multi-polarity, pax mercatoria, globalisation, state capitalism, resource scarcity, risks arising from the global financial crisis. In a Lowy Institute Perspectives article, “The return to geo-economics: Globalisation and national security“, he concludes that this could lead to two potential consequences: an improved quality of analysis with inputs from economics, foreign policy and security while these would be tempered by underlying assumption of zero-sum outcomes.

Analysis of online jihadism
MOHAMMED ALI MUSAWI of the Quilliam Foundation states that counter-extremism initiatives needed to make a clear distinction between attempting to de-radicalise existing extremists and preventing new generations from adopting such ideologies in the first place. He calls for greater efforts to challenge the ideology, rhetoric and worldview of pro-Jihadists forums in both the ‘cyber’ and the ‘real’ worlds, with special focus on countering wahhabism, publicising refutation of jihadism by reputed Islamic scholars as well as former jihadists. In a Quilliam Foundation report, “Cheering for Osama: How Jihadis Use Discussion Forums“, he provides fresh insights into the workings of Arabic-language pro-jihadist web forums, shedding new light on the ideologies, recruitment strategies and social dynamics of these forums and illuminating the role that these forums play in distributing and popularising jihadist texts, videos and statements.

Dìyuán zhèngzhì
FRANCOIS GODEMENT, director at Asia Centre, Sciences Po, analyses content in Chinese language publications in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan to state that Beijing’s defensive and cautious approach based on conflict avoidance was a temporary strategy — intended to be applied while China rose and Beijing would run its writ unconstrained once its ascent was complete. In a China Analysis article for the European Council for Foreign Relations, “Geopolitics on Chinese terms“, he states that the concept of Beijing as a responsive stakeholder was getting outdated since it was not interested in norm-setting beyond the principle of non-interference. He avers that the Chinese strategic community itself was in a state of flux with its focus to partnership driven more as a tactic to prevent its own strategic encirclement.

Dancing with elephants
ABDULLAH AL SHAYJI of Kuwait University calls for concerted efforts by both the GCC and India to expand strategic cooperation beyond energy, trade and expatriate workers. In an article for Gulf News, “Learning to dance with India“, he states that India had a future role in Gulf security while contentious issues such as the GCC-India FTA and rights for expatriate workers needed to be addressed by both India and the GCC.

Capital flood
ARVIND SUBRAMANIAN of the Peterson Institute argues against opening up the floodgates to the capital sloshing across the world in an environment of mercantilistic policies across the world with countries across the world doing their best to repel capital. In an op-ed in Business Standard, “Reserve Bank of India’s Fateful, Fatal Action“, he argues that improving governance and regulatory reform rather than access to foreign capital was the need and that the RBI may be trading away a bird in hand (the tradable sector) for the bird in the bush (infrastructure).


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