In search of a new balance of power in Asia

The United States is signaling that it is going to limit its military presence in countries far away. Maybe Donald Trump listened to those realists who have suggested for a long time that America can uphold its superpower status only if it focuses on offshore balancing strategy. No matter what the intentions really are, the US government’s declarations result in redefining foreign policies of Asian states. The limitation of American presence changes the regional distribution of power, and forces other actors to assess their alliances and to search for new partners who might be an asset in case of conflict.

Changes in the balance of power in Asia
Until the US leaves Asia, the balance is preserved. The limitation of involvement suggested by Washington results in a search for new allies by all states in the region in order to level the capabilities. America’s withdrawal gives new opportunities to China, which can extend its sphere of influence and endanger Russia and India. However, the military threat won’t appear instantly. We’ll probably witness an increase in economic penetration. The economic imperialism resulting in power maximization may be the indicator of growing revisionism understood as a policy aimed at bringing down the actual status quo in Asia and establishing a new order. Continue reading

The isolation of Italy in the migrant crisis is self-inflicted and likely to remain so.

There’s some sort of collective cognitive dissonance in Italy about the migrant crisis. Both politicians and mainstream media, right or left, “globalist” or “populist” put the blame on the other European countries and their alleged lack of solidarity for not wanting to redistribute the 180’000 migrants Italy took last year. It isn’t just the fault of the Visegrad Group. Since the European meeting in Tallin, the Italian government received the “Non” of French President, motivating his answer with the argument that 80% of the arrivals are economic migrants,the politically correct term for illegals that should be repatriated, the “No” of Spain, the “Nein” of Austria and so on.

The opinion of the European Commission is unchanged, Italy should speed up returns, with the supplemental aid from the EU itself.

So while solidarity isn’t really lacking, the media and politicians, regardless of their persuasion, began screaming “Europe has forsaken us”, “They left us alone”. As if Italy were facing a natural calamity and were not responsible for what is going on. Reality could not be more different.

The “populist” party Movimento 5 Stelle almost got it. They founda video where Emma Bonino, former Minister for Foreign Affaris, admitted that Italian governments had agreed that everyone rescued by Frontex should be brought to Italy. So the beans are spilt: all the migrants were being shipped to Italy because… the Italian government decided so. It may be that the then Prime Minister Matteo Renzi traded flexibility on the Italian budged with the European Commission in exchange for taking in all the migrants rescued in Italian and international waters by Frontex. Continue reading

The biggest enemy of European integration? Current EU leaders.

We could say that, just looking at the plight of Southern European countries after years of EU-imposed austerity, where trust in the European project is fading, while the euro currency is increasingly under question.

This time however, we look eastwards, at big, bad Visegrad. The group composed of Poland, Czechia, Slovakia and Hungary has shared and separate interests.

Among the former is their unwillingness to take part in the refugee relocation program. Why? Because Angela Merkel invited them without first consulting the rest of Europe.

This is unbearable for the EU leadership, who loves diversity and wants to pass it off as a way forward, unless it’s diversity of opinion, a core tenet of the liberal democracy they claim to represent. Liberalism that once was about “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to death your right to say it’’, a quote maybe erroneously attributed to Voltaire, has now become “I disapprove of what you say, so just don’t say it’’.

The problem is even deeper. The Visegrad bloc has gained independence from a forced solidarity, another international project, the Soviet Union, less than 3 decades ago. Their experience makes them wary of unelected, centralized utopias. And yet once again they found that they have been entrapped in another one. Just when they thought they left one dystopia to join the free world, the free world itself has turned into one. Solidarity is voluntary, it can’t be forced. Angela Merkel’s approach resembles that of the Soviets rather than free people. Continue reading