Commentary: What does Vietnam stand to gain from welcoming Russia's Putin

Obscure Visible BENEFITS

Besides romantic attachments and the government’s political consideration, substantial benefits for Vietnam from Putin’s explore are obscure. Bilateral trade stood at&nbsp, US$ 3.6 billion &nbsp, in 2023, half of the&nbsp, 2021 figure&nbsp, and a mere fraction of Vietnam’s trade with China ( US$ 171 billion ), the US ( US$ 111 billion ) and EU ( US$ 72 billion ).

In 2023, Soviet visitors, again among the top 10 resources of foreign tourists to Vietnam, dropped to only&nbsp, 19 per cent&nbsp, of the 2019 ( post- COVID 19 pandemic ) number.

The hopes of furthering financial ties are dark, given the US&nbsp, tightening sanctions&nbsp, against Russia. The only area of different may be in the energy sector, where, despite China’s growing obstructiveness, Vietnam however places its hopes on Russia’s ongoing support of its petroleum projects in the South China Sea.

Also, Asian investments in Soviet oil and gas reserves through&nbsp, Rusvietpetro- a cooperative venture between state- owned Zarubezhneft and Petrovietnam- are reaping profits with Soviet tax concessions.

In the hands industry, where Russia matters the most to Vietnam, Russia ‘s&nbsp, stability as a military partner&nbsp, is exceedingly in question as its army industry looks towards&nbsp, Chinese, North Vietnamese and Iranian&nbsp, help to maintain its war machine in Ukraine.

Even before the conflict in Ukraine, Vietnam had begun to diversify its wings source, and this trend is likely to expand. &nbsp, Russian hands payments to Vietnam&nbsp, have gradually decreased since peaking at around US$ 1 billion in 2014, plunging deeper after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to just US$ 72 million in 2022.

Continue Reading

Commentary: Singapore’s balancing act continues regardless of US election outcome

Fourth, given that his predecessor is still controversial on a national level, the Biden strategy wants this election to be less of a referendum on the president’s second term and more of a choice over a second one. Trump’s irresponsible call for social security cuts is just one example of how he made it simpler for Biden to carry out that plan.

WHAT TO Expect During A Next Trump Trial

A Donald Trump return to power in the US would have significant repercussions internally.

A Trump success will result in work to source out the therefore- called “deep position” of civil servants, impacting the US government’s ability to function as it does now. His planned severe immigration crackdown will also result in a decline in home suffering, both economically and socially, as well as in international relations and climate change.

There will be a lot of influence on the rest of the world because the world’s security is more sensitive than ever.

If the US were to remain in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ( NATO ), a second Trump term would mean a lessening of its commitment to Ukraine and a significant reduction in its involvement there.

Countries like Japan and South Korea are likely to find their individual nuclear weapons, which would have an impact on their relations with China and have a regional influence as a result.

A Trump presidency would be less likely to participate in restraining Israel in its vengeance against Hamas ‘ Oct. 7, 2023 strike, which the Biden administration has begun to do more formally. &nbsp, This could lead to further increase of the conflict, which may directly impact Singapore’s sea market.

Continue Reading

Commentary: Should Trump win the US presidential election again, will Kim Jong Un pick up the phone?

By extending the 1961 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Shared Assistance for an additional 20 years, North Korea and China restored their diplomatic ties in July 2021.

Following the invasion of Ukraine, with Russia and North Korea continuing to party like the ancient Russian times, Russian President Vladimir Putin contacted Kim for weapons. Kim gained the tacit support of Beijing and Moscow for his nuclear and missile programs as a result of their new connection.

In addition to terminating the 2018 military agreement with South Korea and remilitarizing the inter-Korean borders, North Korea is today comfortable enough to create a “tactical nuclear hit” on the country.

A DIFFERENT APPROACH IS MADE BY SOUTH KOREA’S YOON SUK-YEOL.

Kim might gain a number of advantages if Trump returns to the White House. Trump is likely to increase pressure on South Korea to add more to the alliance and threaten to reduce US military presence in the area as a interpersonal leader. At the same time, Trump is the kind of person who would want to rekindle personal ties with Kim in an effort to triumph over Biden’s mediocre North Korea plan.

Even so, Trump wo n’t have an easy time crossing the same river twice because Yoon Suk-yeol, the current president of South Korea, approaches North Korea very differently than his liberal predecessor Moon Jae-in.

Continue Reading

Commentary: Xi and Putin think they’re winning - and maybe they are

REDISTRIBUTION OF POWER

The typical objective outlined in their mutual declaration was the” transfer of power in the world ,” an ending to US supremacy, and the redefining of democracy and human rights as whatever a given state says they are, regardless of whether Putin disclosed to Xi specifics of his impending plans to invade Ukraine at their 2022 meeting.

For certain, Xi didn’t foresee Russia’s war machine being humiliated in Ukraine or that the West may react by uniting and expanding rather than by imploding, any more than Putin did. In a similar vein, it’s unlikely that Xi anticipated the latest Middle East blaze when the two officials met in February 2022.

However, trouble in Ukraine or the Middle East is a gain for China in terms of an all-out political conflict with the US. Both rely on US tools and focus. Both challenged the status quo. Options for Xi may arise as the US becomes involved in Israel’s retaliation against Hamas in Gaza and its partnerships with the Gulf Arab state will become strained.

Therefore, China has avoided any open criticism of Hamas while criticizing Israel for its social punishment of Palestinians in reply, only as Putin quickly laid the blame for the horrifying attack on Israeli civilians at the entrance of the US.

Putin and Xi are doubling down on their achievements in convincing the so-called Global South that the issue isn’t Russian anger in Ukraine or Hamas’ hideous criminal deeds in Israel, but rather the continued colonization of the US and Europe by courting the Arab world in this way.

Never mind the Taiwanese detention of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province or the Russian destruction of Muslim Tatars in the occupied Crimea. The Arab injustice, with its imperial overtones and extensive background in centuries of conflict over control of the Holy Land, can infuriate the Arab Street unlike any other, which is why the story works.

But be prepared for Xi and Putin to deliver more vehement anti-Western messages this year. They may have experienced some financial and military failures, in Russia’s case, but they are making good progress when it comes to uniting various countries behind their produce.

Continue Reading

Commentary: India needs to take Sikh leader's murder in Canada seriously

Otherwise, it appears that Trudeau and Modi’s meet at the recent G20 summit in New Delhi— where the Nijjar shooting was discussed— was a train crash for all time.

Trudeau claimed that he” individually and directly” brought Modi the charges. In contrast, Canada is accused of supporting a” nexus” of religious extremism and” organised crime, drug cartels, and human prostitution” in the official Indian display of the meeting.

People Assistance AND Clarity

There are many things about this situation that we still don’t understand. The standard American theory that the French establishment is rife with Sikh separatist movement sympathizers who have influenced a murder investigation with extreme viewpoints may end up having some merit.

What matters right now is that the American government cooperates as openly as it can while the Canadians carry out an analysis in the most transparent manner possible.

We may therefore acknowledge that there is a subjective difference between this and previous American plan on fanaticism worldwide if there turns out to be enough proof that this was savagely committed by the state.

Yes, it is true that New Delhi is thought to have killed insurgents who were in exile in Pakistan in the past. However, even when relations with the West were much worse than they are now, the larger community has always been off limitations.

This case will undoubtedly be cited by Modi’s supporters when he runs for re-election in the following year as additional proof of his efforts to transform India from a weakened state to one that is strong.

However, having the ability to travel across continents and murder those you fear is one thing; it is quite another to do it in a way that denigrates your friends and the ideals they- and you, presumably— hold dear. India may ending up looking much more like Rwanda or Russia than Israel or the United States to the rest of the world.

Continue Reading

Commentary: An expanded BRICS could reset world politics but picking new members isn’t straightforward

We are political scientists whose research interests include changes to the global order and emerging alternative centres of power. In our view, it won’t be easy to expand the bloc. That’s because the group is still focused on harmonising its vision, and the potential new members do not readily make the cut.

Some may even bring destabilising dynamics for the current composition of the formation. This matters because it tells us that the envisioned change in the global order is likely to be much slower.

Simply put, while some states are opposed to Western hegemony, they do not yet agree among themselves on what the new alternative should be.

EVOLUTION OF BRICS

BRICS’ overtly political character partially draws on a long history of non-alignment as far back as the Bandung Conference of 1955. It was attended mostly by recently decolonised states and independence movements intent on asserting themselves against Cold War superpowers – the Soviet Union and the United States.

BRICS has come to be viewed as challenging the hegemony of the US and its allies, seen as meddling in the internal affairs of other states.

Reuters estimates that more than 40 states are aspiring to join BRICS. South African diplomat Anil Sooklal says 13 had formally applied by May. Many, though not all, of the aspiring joiners have this overtly political motivation of countering US hegemony.

The other important incentive is access to funds from the BRICS’ New Development Bank. This is especially pronounced in the post-COVID climate in which many economies are yet to fully recover. Of course the two can overlap, as in the case of Iran.

The notable applicants have included Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Ethiopia, Argentina, Algeria, Iran, Mexico and Turkey.

EXPANDED BRICS

A strategically expanded BRICS would be seismic for the world order, principally in economic terms.

Key among the club’s reported priorities is reduction of reliance on the US dollar (“de-dollarisation” of the global economy). One of the hurdles to this is the lack of buy-in by much of the world. Though some states may disagree with the dollar’s dominance, they still see it as the most reliable.

Continue Reading

Commentary: The Global South is on the rise - but what exactly is it?

Until then, the more common term for developing nations – countries that had yet to industrialise fully – was “Third World”.

That term was coined by Alfred Sauvy in 1952, in an analogy with France’s historical three estates: The nobility, the clergy and the bourgeoisie. The term “First World” referred to the advanced capitalist nations; the “Second World”, to the socialist nations led by the Soviet Union; and the “Third World”, to developing nations, many at the time still under the colonial yoke.

Sociologist Peter Worsley’s 1964 book The Third World: A Vital New Force In International Affairs further popularised the term. The book also made note of the Third World forming the backbone of the Non-Aligned Movement, which had been founded just three years earlier as a riposte to bipolar Cold War alignment.

Though Worsley’s view of this Third World was positive, the term became associated with countries plagued by poverty, squalor and instability. Third World became a synonym for banana republics ruled by tinpot dictators – a caricature spread by Western media.

The fall of the Soviet Union – and with it the end of the so-called Second World – gave a convenient pretext for the term “Third World” to disappear, too. Usage of the term fell rapidly in the 1990s.

Meanwhile “developed”, “developing” and “underdeveloped” also faced criticism for holding up Western countries as the ideal, while portraying those outside that club as backwards.

Continue Reading

Commentary: US, China and a Cold War lesson to apply 'rules of the road' at sea

Even allowing for the 12 nautical mile (22km) territorial seas claimed off the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, and adjacent small islands, given the breadth of the Taiwan Strait legally it is one in which there exists either an exclusive economic zone or a high seas corridor.

Unlike Bass Strait, Torres Strait, and the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, the Taiwan Strait is not governed by certain provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that recognise the right of transit passage through recognised “international straits”. 

The Taiwan Strait is so wide that there is no need for passing vessels to enter the territorial sea, and consistent with UNCLOS exclusive economic zone or high seas navigation can safely be undertaken through the middle of the strait.

AN INTERNATIONAL MARITIME HIGHWAY

The strait is therefore effectively a form of international maritime highway because of its breadth. The US position that high seas freedoms of navigation apply in the Taiwan Strait is a view shared by other foreign navies, including Australia. 

The so-called maritime “rules of the road” in this instance are embedded in the COLREGS (Collision Regulations), which lay down accepted practices and standards for how all shipping is to conduct itself so as to avoid collisions at sea. 

These rules are ones that navies apply and respect during peacetime, and are generally considered to be the baseline standard of professional conduct for all mariners at sea.

Continue Reading

Commentary: Why Southeast Asia should care about the 2024 elections in Taiwan

During that period, the DPP administration had obtained US approval to acquire eight diesel electric submarines. However, the budget for this acquisition was unable to pass due to the KMT-led pan-blue majority in parliament. Therefore, the composition of the Legislative Yuan bears watching as well.  

2024 ELECTION HAS BEARING ON CROSS-STRAIT TIES 

Due to Taiwan’s strategic location within the so-called “first island chain” and its status as a potential flashpoint between the US and China, the outcome of the 2024 election in Taiwan will have implications for both cross-strait ties and US-China rivalry. 

Lai, for example, has emphasised his commitment to upholding President Tsai Ing-wen’s “status-quo approach” to cross-strait relations, as well as her efforts in strengthening US-Taiwan relations and fostering ties with democratic nations worldwide.

He has also expressed his intention to enhance Taiwan’s self-defence capabilities, stressing that true peace can only be achieved by being able to defend oneself with strength. 

Despite Lai’s repeated assertions on preserving the status quo, it is likely that Beijing will maintain its assertive stance towards Taiwan under a Lai presidency. 

Hou, on the other hand, is likely to receive a more positive response from Beijing as he represents the traditionally China-friendly KMT. However, his foreign policy and national security platform is still being fleshed out.

While he has publicly rejected both the “One Country, Two Systems” formula and Taiwan independence, he has yet to comment on the 1992 consensus that former president Ma Ying-jeou (2000 to 2008) committed to, which states that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one China.

Continue Reading

Commentary: 70 years after the first ascent of Everest, the impact of mass mountaineering must be confronted

HAIKOU, Hainan: Mountains – their height, their mass, their climates and ecosystems – have fascinated humans for thousands of years. But there is one that holds extra special meaning for many – Mount Everest, or Chomolungma as the Nepalese Sherpa people call it.

A sacred mountain for some, for others the world’s highest peak represents a challenge and a lifelong dream. Seventy years ago, on May 29, 1953, that challenge and dream became reality for two members of a British expedition: New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the 8,848.86m summit.

Their achievement was a testament to endurance and determination. It was also the crowning glory of the British expedition’s nationalistic motivations on the eve of the young Queen Elizabeth’s coronation.

From our vantage in the present, it also represents a high point, not just in climbing terms, but in what we now think of as the modern era of mountaineering. Since then, mountaineering has become massively popular and commercial – with serious implications for the cultures and environments that sustain it.

SCALING THE HEIGHTS

The early mountaineering era began in 1786 when Jaques Balmat and Michel Paccard reached the summit of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the European Alps at 4,808m. From 1854 to 1899 (known as the classic mountaineering period), advances in climbing technology saw ascending peaks by challenging routes become possible and popular.

During the modern era from 1900 to 1963, mountaineers pushed further into the Andes Cordillera in South America, explored polar mountains and began high-altitude climbing in Central Asia.

Continue Reading