Monthly Archives: April 2007

“Para ser global, España necesita pensar el mundo a través de Eurasia”

Luis Martínez Montes es miembro de la carrera diplomática que actualmente ejerce de Consejero de la Misión Permanente de España en la OSCE, organización presidida este año 2007 por España, reflexionó sobre el papel de Eurasia, en una entrevista concedida a la Fundación CIDOB. Martínez Montes, que combina su labor como diplomático con la elaboración de ensayos en los que reflexiona sobre temas candentes de la realidad internacional, es autor de ‘España, Eurasia y el nuevo teatro del mundo’, un Documento CIDOB de reciente publicación desde el que propone elaborar un plan en el Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperación para dar respuesta a una nueva realidad emergente: Eurasia.


Acercándonos a la política exterior española, ¿cuál sería el propósito de establecer un Plan Eurasia? ¿Cómo podría entroncarse ese Plan con otros ya existentes y con el resto de la política exterior española?

Por razones históricas España ha seguido una política exterior centrada en tres “ejes”, Europa, Iberoamérica y el Mediterráneo / Oriente Medio. No discuto que éstas sean áreas prioritarias para nuestro país. Pero pensar y actuar como si se tratara de ámbitos autónomos desconectados del contexto global no es realista. Retornando al ejemplo de Eurasia, la reafirmación de las potencias tradicionales y el activismo de las emergentes en regiones cada vez más alejadas de su inmediata vecindad está alterando decisivamente los equilibrios en cada una de nuestras áreas privilegiadas de acción. Pensemos en los crecientes intereses de la India en empresas europeas; de Rusia en Argelia o de China en Marruecos, por no hablar de las inversiones de este último país en Iberoamérica o en el África Subsahariana. Hemos de ser conscientes de que para un país que ha alcanzado la magnitud de España ya no es sostenible concebir y ejecutar una política exterior propia de una “potencia regional media”. En el mundo de hoy sólo tendrán capacidad de acción y decisión autónomas los actores que piensen y actúen en términos globales y sean capaces de explorar y aprovechar las múltiples redes que conectan ámbitos geográficos y temáticos antes separados. La era de los compartimentos estancos y las áreas de influencia está dejando paso a la de los vasos comunicantes, de las redes. De ahí que, para tener una presencia global, España necesite pensar el mundo a través de Eurasia. Ya disponemos de una trayectoria definida, que conviene adaptar constantemente a las nuevas realidades, en ámbitos como la UE, Iberoamérica y el Mediterráneo. También nos hemos dotado recientemente de planes geográficos específicos como el Plan Asia o el Plan África. El principal valor añadido de un Plan Eurasia estribaría precisamente en poner de relieve el papel central del macrocontinente en la creciente interconexión entre realidades en apariencia distantes y dispares. Por ejemplo, quienes estén centrados en seguir los acontecimientos en Venezuela, en Marruecos o en Sudán tendrían así acceso en tiempo real acerca de cómo decisiones adoptadas en Pekín, Moscú, Astana o Bruselas afectan instantáneamente a sus respectivos ámbitos de interés. Por otra parte, un Plan Eurasia debería prestar una especial atención a Eurasia interior, es decir, a los actores y dinámicas que se entrecruzan en el espacio post-soviético, sobre todo en el Cáucaso y Asia Central. Se trata de zonas a las que hasta ahora no habíamos prestado toda la atención que se merecen, a diferencia de nuestros vecinos más activos,que sí disponen de una visión global. En suma un Plan Eurasia, sumado a los existentes e incardinado en una Estrategia de Política Exterior, habría de contribuir a ese salto de calidad que permitiría a España pasar de potencia (tri) regional a potencia media global con capacidades de gran potencia en ámbitos regionales seleccionados de acuerdo con nuestros intereses. Es un reto que como sociedad creo que nos podemos plantear de forma realista en el transcurso de esta generación. Nos va el futuro, y casi me atrevería a decir el presente, en ello.

Y algunas reflexiones sobre sus futuras líneas de investigación….

… Mis futuros proyectos van un poco en esa línea. Por ejemplo, acabo de terminar otro ensayo para CIDOB sobre las implicaciones del ascenso de China sobre la hegemonía estadounidense. El siguiente paso sería completar una visión panorámica del nuevo teatro del mundo prestando atención a dinámicas particulares pero de alcance mundial. Centrándonos en Eurasia, me interesan las relaciones entre China y Japón; la función de Asia Central como encrucijada histórica y las relaciones triangulares entre Rusia, China y la UE. Soy consciente de que son proyectos amplios que sobrepasan mis capacidades y requieren de una contribución colectiva como la que pueden aportar fundaciones como CIDOB, Casa Asia, las universidades y las excelentes escuelas de negocios con que cuenta nuestro país.

Enlace a la entrevista en la web de la Fundación CIDOB

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BMD in Asia and the World

There is an increasing BMD arms race in the world, those are the consecuences of the to proliferation of nuclear weapons in India, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea,etc. After the ABM issue in Europe (see this article in Novosti), the UK decision to renovate it’s arsenal, France stance on it,…we now read that:

Iran`s Drive to Develop Nuclear Weapons Has Alarmed Neighboring Turkey. Now the Turkish Government is Planning to Buy Bmd Systems to Defend the Country. The New Policy Could Mean Big Contracts for Major U.S. Defense Contractors, but the Turks Are Looking at Chinese and Israeli Companies for Possible Orders, Too.

And also: BOSTON April 24 (UPI) — The U.S. Navy finalized a contract that will deploy top-of-the-line air-defense radar (AEGIS) aboard new warships in Spain and Australia.

But it’s in Asia where this BMD race is going to escalate further:

United States Plans New Bmd Base on Guam

U.S. policymakers are pushing ahead with their plans to relocate U.S. ballistic missile defense assets to the Central Pacific as they scale down the direct U.S. military presence in Japan.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Monday that the Pentagon intends to set up a new BMD base on Guam after transferring 8,000 U.S. Marines currently based in Japan to the island. ABC said 630 troops would operate the new facility.

‘The BMD system would be capable of intercepting missiles that either have the potential to impact military assets or involve long-range attacks on U.S. allies in the Asia-Pacific region,’ ABC said.

India just tested the AGNI-III with a range of 3.000 kilometres, that could reach Shanghai or Beijing. Very good article by Dyer in Japan Times:

India successfully tested a missile that could reach the Middle East or China’s major cities of Beijing and Shanghai, a capability that could insert more tension into Asian affairs. Journalist Gwynne Dyer speculates that most Asian nations do not anticipate attack from one another and that India demonstrated its capability in order to join the world’s great powers and gain influence. However, the test does show that “all the pieces are already in place for an Asian Cold War,” she writes. “Which would be a serious waste of half the world’s time at best, and a mortal peril to the whole planet at worst.” – YaleGlobal

We have already seen these… so Stratfor says that, like in the ColdWar, submarines with nuclear ballistic missiles (SSBN) are going to be the key of the race:

Russia and China are both in the process of fielding a new class of ballistic missile submarines. These submarines, longtime prudent investments for states with nuclear weapons, are becoming an essential — and ultimately, the only — option for a survivable nuclear deterrent.

UzFiles

The daughter of Islam Karimov (President of Uzbekistan) just released a new CD that collects most of her former singles (read former post about her). This is a good excuse to present UzFiles, a webpage where you can download hundreds of uzbek music songs, videoclips, etc… including Gulnara Karimova’s.

Sakhalin Island’s oil and gas resources

Sakhalin Island’s oil and gas resources are being developed by international consortia. Sakhalin I’s oil production neared its maximum capacity of at 250,000 bbl/d in February 2007, and Sakhalin II produces oil for six months of the year at a rate of roughly 80,000 bbl/d. Other areas around Sakhalin Island are still in early stages of development.

General Background

Sakhalin Island, a former penal colony located off the east coast of Russia and to the north of Japan, holds vast hydrocarbon resources. Oil reserves in the area are estimated at almost 12 billion barrels, and natural gas reserves at approximately 90 trillion cubic feet. International consortia of energy companies have entered into production sharing agreements (PSAs) to develop the resources. Even though all of the consortia have extensive export plans (including to the United States) via LNG terminals and export pipelines to the mainland, there has been little progress except on the first two parts of Sakhalin Island: Sakhalin 1 and Sakhalin 2, which lie to the southeast of Okha (see map to the left, and for more detailed maps click on the project websites for Sakhalin 1 and Sakhalin II below)

IR soundtrack

Thinking about a soundtrack for your IR lectures? Here you can find Michael J. Tierney’s suggestions or add your own ones. Some exemples:
Introduction to International Relations: Daily Musical Selections

Introduction: Political Science (Randy Newman)

War as the Central Issue in IR: War (Bruce Springsteen’s live version)

World Politics Simulation: Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Tears for Fears)

Theory and Methods in IR: Epistemology (Witchypoo)

Nationalism and the State: Courtesy of the Red White and Blue (Toby Keith)

Non-State Actors: Ma Petite Terroriste (Mint)

Anarchy and the Security Dilemma: Anarchy (Busta Rhymes)

Power and the Balance of Power: The Power (Snap)

World War I: Take me Out (Franz Ferdinand)

Polarity/Hegemonic Stability Theory: One is the Loneliest Number (Three Dog Night)

Military and Information Technology: Mr. Roboto (Styx)

Norms and Ideas: Imagine (John Lennon)

Liberalism, Interdependence, and War: It’s a Small World (Disney song)

International Organizations and Collective Security: Peace Train (Cat Stevens)

Exam Review: O Fortuna (Carl Orff)

Mid-Term Exam: I Feel Lucky (Mary Chapin Carpenter)

Nuclear Deterrence: 99 Red Balloons (Nena)

The Political Use of Force: Bomb Iran (The Capital Steps)

The Cuban Missile Crisis: Let Me Die in My Footsteps (Bob Dylan)

Bureaucratic Politics in the Bush Administration: My Sweet Neo-Con (Rolling Stones)

Political Economy: Money (Pink Floyd)

Marxist Theory, Imperialism and War: The Revolution (Gil Scott Heron)

Political Culture and the Clash of Civilizations: Rock the Casbah (The Clash)

The Democratic Peace: Peace, Love and Understanding (Elvis Costello)

Spanish American War and Electoral Connection: Election (Culture Reggae)

Causes of World War II: Springtime for Hitler (The Producers)

Consequences of World War II: Blitzkrieg Bop (The Ramones)

Sex, Gender, and War: I am Woman (Helen Reddy)

Ethnic Conflict and the Balkans: Bosnia (The Cranberries)

Luttwak’s “Give War a Chance”: Give Peace a Chance (Peace Aid)

The IR Discipline and Last Day: Another Brick in the Wall (Pink Floyd)

Final Exam: It’s the End of the World as we Know It (REM)

Extra Topics and Songs

Napoleonic Wars and Concert of Europe: 1812 Overture (Tchaikovsky)

Insurgency and Guerilla Warfare: If I Had a Rocket Launcher (Bruce Cockburn)

Vietnam and Domestic Politics: Stop, Hey What’s That Sound (Buffalo Springfield)

Nuclear War and its Consequences: Blackened (Metallica)

Conflict and Natural Resources: Royal Oil (Mighty Mighty Bostones)

Multi-National Corporations: Lawyers, Guns and Money (Warren Zevon)

Collapse of the Soviet Union: Back in the USSR (Beatles)

Global Environment: Fall on Me (REM)

Universal Human Rights: Biko (Peter Gabriel)

Foreign Aid and Development: Do They Know its Christmas (Band Aid)

Linking Theories Together: Ah Tutti Contenti (From the Marriage of Figaro)

Conflict Resolution: Beat It (Michael Jackson)

Negotiation and Bargaining: Don’t Let me be Misunderstood (Nina Simone)

Postmodernism and IR Theory: Postmodern Sleaze (The Sneaker Pimps)

Moral Obligation in IR: We Didn’t Start the Fire (Billy Joel)


You can check last International Studies Perspectives for more about rock and IR.

Sino-Japanese Relations: The Impact of Wen’s Visit

Kenichi Ito
23 April 2007

Read this interesting piece in its original framework, here

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao completed his three-day trip to Japan on April 13, the first visit by a Chinese premier in more than six years since Zhu Rongji came to Tokyo in October 2000. Wen, who had praised Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Beijing last October as “a trip to break the ice,” described his recent visit as “a trip to melt the ice” and judged it a success. The Japanese side appears more cautious, still trying to figure out Beijing’s true intentions. Nonetheless, Wen’s visit is an unmistakable sign that the Sino-Japanese relationship has taken a solid step forward toward a post-ice period.

Premier Wen told the Japanese parliament: “The amicable exchange between China and Japan is unprecedented in the history of the development of world civilizations in terms of its longevity, scale and impact.” This is no exaggeration. Wen called this Sino-Japanese relationship “a shared asset worth handing down to posterity.” I think Wen’s words echo the sentiments of many Japanese.

Still, the scars left by the violent anti-Japanese demonstrations across China two years ago remain. At that time, I was organizing a forum of intellectuals called the Council on East Asian Community in an effort to frame a common regional future together with China. The demonstrations dealt an unexpected blow to this endeavor, prompting me to write a newspaper op-ed: “The most shocking incident in the past year as we explored the possibility of an East Asian Community was the outbreak in April of violent anti-Japanese demonstrations that engulfed the whole of China. People are arguing that it is difficult to maintain normal, friendly relations with a country where slogans such as ‘patriotic innocence’ go unchallenged and whose government does not apologize for, compensate for and punish the destructive behavior of demonstrators. They say it is almost insane to imagine forming a ‘community’ with such a country. I do not reject these arguments. However….” What I really wanted to say followed that, but I remember there was little regard given at the time to opinions such as mine.

Since Japan and China normalized diplomatic relations in 1972, the bilateral relationship has continued to develop. Ties were strengthened through the mutual trust fostered between the countries’ top leaders: between Yasuhiro Nakasone (Japanese Prime Minister from 1982 to 1987) and Hu Yaobang (Chinese Communist Party Leader from 1980 to 1987), and between Noboru Takeshita (Japanese Prime Minister from 1987 to 1989) and Zhao Ziyang (Chinese Communist Party Leader from 1987 to 1989). Nevertheless, relations worsened after Jiāng Zémín came to power in the wake of the Tiananmen Square incident and started in 1994 all-out anti-Japanese patriotic education. Beijing refused to hold summit meetings with Tokyo when Junichiro Koizumi, who became prime minister in 2001, made repeated visits to Yasukuni Shrine, where the spirits of Japan’s war dead including 14 Class-A war criminals are enshrined. The anti-Japanese demonstrations in China came as the culmination of soured Sino-Japanese relations.

As the saying goes, yin (shade) and yang (light) can transform into one another. Both Jiāng’s patriotic education and Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni were intended to win the support of their respective peoples. However, when the damage caused by such domestic-oriented policies became unbearable, calls for changes in policy mounted in each country. Last October my organization, The Japan Forum on International Relations, presented policy recommendations titled “Japan and China in the Changing Asia” that urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to pay an official visit to China and agree with Beijing to hold summit meetings on a regular basis. Abe flew to Beijing just a week after the recommendations. A number of problems exist between Tokyo and Beijing and their solutions will not be achieved overnight. Still, Premier Wen’s visit signaled an important step forward in bilateral relations in that Tokyo and Beijing affirmed their political will to confront these problems.

Kenichi Ito is President of The Japan Forum on International Relations, Inc. He is also President of the Council on East Asian Community and Professor Emeritus of Aoyama Gakuin University.

Google and knowledge

“When it was proclaimed that the Library contained all books, the first impression was one of extravagant happiness. All men felt themselves to be the masters of an intact and secret treasure… As was natural, this inordinate hope was followed by an excessive depression. The certitude that some shelf in some hexagon held precious books and that these precious books were inaccessible, seemed almost intolerable.” (Borges, La Biblioteca de Babel)

This short article (in a post format): Das Google Problem: is the invisible mouse benevolent? by Tony Cruzon in Open Democracy summeraises and gives us some very good reviews and thoughts about internet, google and the process of knowledge:

As David Levi Strauss has it, web surfing is eliminating the trace, the permanent, and turning culture into mere momentary flow.(…) The internet has changed the economics of knowledge-production, and it will therefore transform what we know.

But Cruzon’s article is not another nostalgic and pessimistic one… he is optimistic about the future. He thinks that the “invisible mouse” is like the market economy “invisible hand” and that communities (of experts) could be the answer to knowledge on internet.