Ruta de navegación
▲ Almagro's remarks at the opening of the 49th OAS General Assembly, in Medellín, Colombia, in June 2019 [OAS]
COMMENTARY / Ignacio Yárnoz
At the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) held in Medellín last June, the tensions and division that currently exist within this international organization were confirmed. In the first place, these discrepancies were evident in the question of the Venezuelan question, an issue that was the protagonist of the meeting with the presentation of migration reports, criticism of the Bolivarian regime and the presence of the Venezuelan delegation representing the Government of Guaidó led by Ambassador Gustavo Tarre.
These events were met with the rejection of a large part of the Caribbean countries, who abandoned the conference room In the presentation and declared their refusal to comply with any OAS resolution that the Venezuelan delegation voted in favor of. In the opinion of Caribbean countries, Venezuela formally left the organization in March and the presence of Guaidó's delegation as the legitimate representative of Venezuela contravenes international law and the principles of the OAS Charter, since it represents a government without effective control of the territory or legal legitimacy. But the Caricom countries were not the only ones to express their protest, the delegation of Uruguay also left the meeting. conference room and that of Mexico expressed its displeasure with the Venezuelan opposition presence as a delegation of plenary session of the Executive Council right.
The controversy, however, not only revealed the discrepancies on how to deal with the Venezuelan crisis, but also reflected another underlying reality, and that is that the candidacy of Luis Almagro to be re-elected as president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. University Secretary of the organization hangs in the balance.
In December of last year, Uruguay's Almagro formally announced that, at the request of Colombia and the United States, he had decided to run for re-election with the certainty of having the necessary votes. Since then, however, the landscape of re-election has darkened. Voting will take place on the first semester Almagro needs at least 18 votes from the 35 countries of the OAS (if we include Cuba, even if he does not actively participate).
The future of Almagro, who arrived at the position In May 2015, it depends on several factors that will be developed this year. Mainly, the general elections in Argentina, Canada, Uruguay and Bolivia, which will be held between October and November. However, there are other variables that can also affect your re-election, such as the support you get from the countries of the United States. group or the possible division among CARICOM members on the matter. Below, we will review these assumptions one by one.
In the case of the Bolivian elections, Almagro has already played his cards and has been accused of having used a double standard by harshly criticizing the Maduro regime, but then not being critical of the possibility of Evo Morales being re-elected for a third time. Such re-election is supposedly not legal according to the Bolivian Constitution and was vetoed by the population in a referendum, but President Evo Morales has ignored it under the pretext that it prevents him from being elected. candidate once again, it goes against human rights, an argument later endorsed by the Supreme Court of Bolivia. The administrative office General of the OAS, despite not being in the agreement with the "right to be re-elected", he did not raise any criticism or position himself against said election supposedly because of Bolivia's possible vote in favor of Almagro, something that could happen if Evo Morales is finally re-elected but that is not completely certain either. Otherwise, however, he has already earned the animosity of the candidates of the civil service examination such as Carlos Mesa or Óscar Ortiz and the opposition leader Samuel Doria Medina who, if elected, would not vote in favor of him.
Regarding Guatemala, the first round of the presidential elections gave victory to Sandra Torres (22.08% of the votes) and Alejandro Giammattei (12.06% of the votes), who will face each other in the second round on Sunday, August 11. In the event that Torres is elected, she may align her position with that of Mexico, adopting a less interventionist policy towards Venezuela and therefore against Almagro. In the event of the victory of Giammattei, a center-right politician, it is likely that he will align his positions with Almagro and vote in favor of him. Guatemala has always been aligned with U.S. positions, so it is doubtful that the country will vote against a U.S.-backed candidacy, though not impossible.
As for Argentina and Canada, the position will depend on whether the candidate The winner in their respective elections is either conservative or progressive. Even in the case of Canada, the possibility of a rejection of Almagro is open regardless of the political orientation of the new government, since while Canada has been critical of the Maduro regime, it has also criticized the internal organization of the OAS under the command of the current one University Secretary. As far as Argentina is concerned, there is a clear difference between the presidential candidates: while Mauricio Macri would represent continuity in support for Almagro, the Alberto Fernández-Cristina Kirchner ticket would clearly be a rejection.
Uruguay represents a curious case of how internal politics and political games affect even members of the same party. We must not forget that Luis Almagro was a minister in the government of Pepe Mujica and that his first candidacy for University Secretary was submitted by Uruguay. However, given the division in the training The policy to which he belonged, Frente Amplio, won some enemies such as those of the current government of Tabaré Vázquez. That is why Uruguay has been so critical of Luis Almagro despite being a compatriot and party colleague. However, we should not doubt that he will also have his friends in the party who will change Uruguay's stance. If so, it wouldn't matter what the candidate (Luis Lacalle Pou for the National Party or Daniel Martinez for the Broad Front) that Almagro would be assured of the vote: that of the right wing of the National Party by having some thesis more critical of Maduro (in fact, they recognized Guaidó's government as a party and criticized Uruguay's neutrality), or that of the left of the Frente Amplio because of the contacts that Almagro may have, although the latter is still a hypothesis given that the most extreme wing of the party is the one that still has the majority of votes within the Frente Amplio.
However, Almagro's chances for re-election could be thwarted if another candidate who could win the sympathy of the government presents his candidacy. group of Lima, created in August 2017 and made up of a dozen countries in the Americas to coordinate their strategy in relation to Venezuela. Peru sounds like the one that is likely to present a candidate: Hugo de Zela, a 42-year-old Peruvian diplomat degree program who in April was appointed Peru's ambassador to Washington and who has played a very important role within the group of Lima as coordinator. In addition, De Zela knows the structure of the OAS since he has served as chief of staff of the administrative office General on two occasions: first, between 1989 and 1994, when the head of the agency was the Brazilian Joao Clemente Baena Soares; and then between 2011 and 2015, with the Chilean José Miguel Insulza. This candidate, apart from his extensive political experience, has as his trump card the fact that he has been a coordinator of the group of Lima, which could provide assurances about the partnership between that group and the OAS on the Venezuelan question.
If De Zela were to decide to run, the group Lima could split its votes, which could favor the interests of the 14 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, which usually vote as a bloc and have been unhappy with the management on the Venezuelan crisis. In fact, Caricom is already thinking about introducing a candidate that takes into account the interests of those countries, mainly climate change. The names that sound among the members of Caricom are the ambassador to the OAS of Antigua and Barbuda, Ronald Sanders, or the representative of Barbados to the UN, Liz Thompson.
However, there remains hope in the Caricom community for Almagro. Saint Lucia, Haiti, Jamaica and the Bahamas broke ranks at the time of voting on the admission of Ambassador Gustavo Tarre appointed by the Guaidó government to represent Venezuela at the OAS (although technically what they supported is that he be designated as "designated permanent representative of the National Assembly, pending new elections and the appointment of a democratically elected government"). These four countries, although with a more moderate position than that of the group of Lima, joined his position by accepting the appointment of such a representative with the aforementioned qualification. This is the third time so far this year that they have broken ranks in Caricom in the topic Venezuelan. This could give the University Secretary A trump card with which to be able to play in order to achieve the support of one of these four countries, although it will require skillful negotiation techniques and to give something in return to these countries, whether they are put in the position of the administrative office benefits in new programs and scholarships from development or climate change, for example.
In conclusion, in the best possible scenario for Almagro and assuming that no country in the group of Lima will present a candidate alternatively, the candidacy for re-election of the current University Secretary it would have 12 votes secured, 4 negotiable from Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Haiti and the Bahamas and 5 pending elections (Guatemala, Canada, Uruguay, Argentina and Bolivia). It is clear that Mexico, a large part of Caricom (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago) and Nicaragua will vote against. In addition, we must add the fact that any candidacy can be submitted up to 10 minutes before the extraordinary General Assembly, which gives rise even more to shadow political games and last-minute surprises. As we can see, it's a status very difficult for him University Secretary And it's surely going to be more than one headache in this arithmetic of votes to get the position. Without a doubt, a fight for the position that will give a lot to talk about between now and February 2020.
▲ Buddhist sculpture 'Hands from Hell', from the Watrongkhun White Temple in Thailand [Pixabay]
COMMENTARY / María Martín Andrade
Human trafficking is a global phenomenon that affects the entire planet. However, with 11.7 million victims, Asia-Pacific is currently the main hub of operations for organized crime groups that trade in people. Thanks to favourable conditions – frequent natural disasters and migrant and refugee crises, which have as their result A great issue of displacement across the geography of South Asia, criminal groups are at their best status to operate.
Despite ASEAN's efforts to foster international cooperation among its member countries for effective fighting, regional differences and corruption often prevail over other factors. On other occasions, it is the governments themselves that benefit from migratory flows, leading to situations of forced labour, thus contributing to the fact that Southeast Asia continues to have the highest numbers of victims of sexual and labour exploitation. Most migration in ASEAN countries is intra-regional, with Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand being the main destinations for immigrants.
Spotlight on Thailand
In Thailand, 72% of immigration was illegal in 2010, and today it is estimated to exceed one million people, most of them from Myanmar and other neighbouring countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. The explanation for why Thailand has become the main destination for migrants, and thus an important playing table for human trafficking organizations, lies in the combination of slow population growth, compared to other countries in the region, and a high level of population growth. development This began to be experienced in the 1990s. According to the ASEAN Post, Thailand has one of the fastest-growing markets among ASEAN members, prompting the government to continue working on the development of its infrastructure, for which immigration is fundamental.
At the beginning of the boom, Thailand was recruiting immigrants without having legislation to deal with the phenomenon, which resulted in its promoters taking advantage of the status to exploit those who arrived without knowledge of the language and Thai laws. It was not until the arrival of the government of businessman Thaksin Shinowatra that a registration system granting temporary permits was introduced. However, once their validity expired, many of these permits were not renewed, thus exposing thousands of workers to illegality and, thus, to sexual and other exploitation class forced labour in sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, domestic services or industry.
On the other hand, the lack of legal regulation of recruitment agencies, to which the Thai Government has not paid particular attention, has allowed these agencies to dispose of migrants as they please without suffering any reprisals for doing so. Weak legislation, coupled with minimum safety conditions for victims, with only extreme physical abuse being criminally punished, constitutes a status of almost total helplessness for the exploited, who also feel unable to go to the authorities for fear of being deported.
Human Trafficking: Challenges and International Cooperation
Organized crime in South-East Asia could not be tackled without first confronting corruption in the countries themselves, as many officials benefited from facilitating the crossing of their borders by such organizations and illegal immigrants. In addition, the lack of information and intelligence analysis by the security forces themselves, together with the difficulties offered by a complicated orography with large wooded and jungle areas that are very difficult to control, hinder investigations and cause the authorities to operate blindly.
With the intention of establishing a common legal basis, several countries in the region have signed the United Nations International Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, with the aim of goal to eliminate legislative differences and provide means to combat organized crime. However, while Thailand has signed it, along with Singapore and Brunei, it has not yet ratified it. Other solutions have also been proposed by ASEAN, with the creation of Heads of Specialist Strategic Units, whose intention is to promote the partnership and cooperation of countries, exchanging information. In addition, the Regional Support Office has been set up to establish guidelines for the prevention, detention and protection of victims.
Despite the apparent interest of the international sphere, the countries of the Asia-Pacific preferred to be governed by bilateral relations that allowed them to be selective with the rules that were appropriate for them, and cooperation was not possible if the interests of each State came first. These States will continue to be willing to sign agreements as long as they are not strictly binding because, as in the case of Thailand, the concern from the outside is greater than that perceived at the domestic level.
The fight against human trafficking in Asia-Pacific has a long way to go. The measures adopted cannot be effective if there is no firm intention on the part of the countries involved to put an end to this problem. Human trafficking is the profitability of a harm, a business from which certain dominant sectors benefit, so in order to achieve fruitful international cooperation, South Asian States would have to perceive it as the scourge that it is for their society.
Kranrattanasuit, N. (2014). ASEAN and Human Trafficking: Case Studies of Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. International Studies in Human Rights, Volume:109, 4-104.
Henry, N. (2018). Asylum, Work, and Precarity: Bordering the Asia-Pacific. University of Warwick.
Sansó-Rubert, D. (2011). Transnational Organized Crime in Asia-Pacific: Implications for Regional and International Security. University of Santiago de Compostela-CESEDEN, 159-189.
COMMENTARY / Naiara Goñi
The dazzle of a few years ago by the enormous possibilities of big data, when the mainstream media echoed its extreme usefulness for the provision of services in a democratic society, as long as it was in good hands, has given way in a short time to a generalized pessimism, fueled by the increase in cyberattacks on companies and States and a greater threat to the privacy and freedoms of citizens.
In 2010, The Economist magazine published a special report graduate "Data, data everywhere" welcoming the era of a new revolution, this time not based on steam or chip, but on data. "The effect is felt everywhere, from business to science, from governments to the arts. Computer scientists and engineers have coined a new term for the phenomenon: 'big data.'"
The dangers to privacy and freedoms posed by the storage of enormous information about each of the individuals in a society were already pointed out, but then the possibilities that opened up weighed more. From the field of cybersecurity, which has had a development Parallel to that of big data, with which it is closely related, Henry Kissinger was already warning at that moment of optimism that the future would not be placid.
In his book World Order (2014),1 the experienced American politician and diplomat pointed to the risk that the development of this new technology meant for international stability. Although he was not the only voice to be raised early on this matter, Kissinger's authority in the field of diplomacy allows us to use him here as a reference letter. If Zhou Enlai said that diplomacy is a war continued by other means, today we can say the same about cyberwar.
In the chapter graduate "Technology, balance, and human consciousness," Kissinger notes that the backbone of the concept of cybersecurity is technology. It emphasizes the fact that in the past, cybernetics were an element that could not be controlled in its entirety, and therefore became a complement in war situations. Today, however, it has established itself as a factor to be taken into account, thus altering the capacities of the actors involved in the world order. Kissinger asserts that the greater or lesser stability of the world will depend on who develops this technology and for what purposes
It is therefore necessary to inquire into the theoretical and ethical limits of this development technological. In fact, Kissinger states that "the penetration of communications in network in the social, financial, industrial and military sectors (...) anticipating most rules and regulations (...) it has created that state of nature with which philosophers speculated."
Kissinger takes a closer look at the notion of cybersecurity, mentioning that the technological revolution has brought about two different types of response. On the one hand, democratic countries allow this revolution. Conversely, countries with totalitarian regimes tend to dominate or impose themselves on it.
Although, as has been said, access to data In Kissinger's words, one can sense a certain alarm and concern, which has only recently been accentuated. In recent months, there have been numerous international examples of disruptive hacking, cyberespionage against companies or political formations, and cyber-interference in electoral campaigns.
In its 2018 edition, the report Cyber Threats and Trends by the National Cryptologic Center (CNN) indicates that "state actors – analogous to criminal organizations – are in a permanent search for new methods that allow them to infiltrate networks without being detected."
There have been many cases of cyberespionage attempts by non-democratic governments. In China, for example, a new search engine online: "Dragonfly". This tool it will allow the Chinese government to exercise greater censorship and control, as it claimed one publishing house of The New York Times.
However, the CCN points out that the forecast in democratic countries is not much more hopeful: "Over the next period, experts expect a growth in cyber espionage due to geopolitical triggers or economic sanctions, but also, due to the strategic objectives of nations."
The only possible way to control this phenomenon is clear and strict legislation, both internationally and by individual States. However, we must note that this is a reality that is advancing at a much faster speed than legislation, and that it does so without consensus and definitions.
1. Kissinger, H. (2014). World Order. New York: Penguin Press
▲ Warsaw downtown towers [Pixabay].
COMMENT / Anna K. Dulska
Often when we think of Central Europe the country that comes to mind is Germany. This association seems to be a very distant echo of the nineteenth-century term Mitteleuropa (literally " Middle Europe") that encompassed the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Second German Reich and was turned into an expansionist geopolitical conception by Germany during World War I. However, subsequent peace treaties reflected in the new political map a formal recognition of the great diversity that already existed in Central Europe. However, the subsequent peace treaties reflected in the new political map a formal recognition of the great diversity that had existed in the region since ancient times. The subjection of newly created or recreated states such as Poland, Hungary or Czechoslovakia to Soviet domination under the Yalta and Potsdam agreements did not put an end to this diversity and since the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 these countries have been searching for their place in today's world and Europe.
There is no clear definition of what Central Europe is today and to understand it in a simpler and more intuitive way, it could be said that for geopolitical, historical and cultural reasons it is neither strictly Western Europe nor Eastern Europe, but an intermediate area that for centuries has acted as a bridge between the two (one of those bridges that during the ups and downs of history sometimes get burned). Nor is there a consensus on the countries that make it up. According to the narrower definition, they are Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, while according to the broader definition, in addition to these four, they are Austria, southeastern Germany, the Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia), Slovenia, western Ukraine and northern Italy. Some also add Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the rest of Germany, but thus their delimitation seems to be too diluted and confused.
The current history of the region tips the balance in favor of the narrow view. The trajectories of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary since 1945, on the one hand, and their transitions to democracy after 1989, on the other, mean that within the geographic region and despite some considerable differences among them, these four countries constitute a distinct political, socioeconomic and cultural bloc. In the early 1990s this sort of imagined community was transformed into an intergovernmental organization known as the Visegrad group (the name of a Hungarian castle where in the 14th century the kings of Poland, Hungary and Bohemia had met and where in 1991 the founding agreement was signed), sometimes abbreviated to V4. Among its objectives were close economic cooperation (agreement Central European Free Trade Agreement, CEFTA), integration with the European Union (completed in 2004, after which all four left CEFTA) and integration with NATO (formalized in 1999; in 2004 in the case of Slovakia). Once these goals were achieved, the initiative lost momentum and seemed to become obsolete.
However, over the past three years, a shift in this aspect can be observed due to the phenomena that are challenging the European Union from outside and from within: migration from the Middle East, growing international tensions and terrorism. It is undeniable that all three are to a greater or lesser extent interrelated and for Europeans, whether Western, Central or Eastern, have a common denominator: security. While the lack of a deliberate and consensual strategy at the level of the European institutions to deal with this issue was evident until very recently challenge, the Central European states, especially Poland and Hungary, want to or have been forced to take matters, at least those that directly affect them, into their own hands. During the course of recent history their neighbors and partners did not have many occasions to hear them speak with their own voice and now it seems to be causing them some consternation.
A good example of this is the concern raised in Brussels and Berlin by the policies carried out by the Polish Government, both in relation to the domestic and international status . Paradoxically, these policies seem to be proving beneficial both for the State and for its society (which, after the halfway point of the term of office, still mostly supports the Government). However, the measures being taken to curb Warsaw's "authoritarian drift", as some media are describing it, especially the interference of EU high officials in the country's internal legislation, over which they have no competence, hinder the dialogue between the Polish Government and the Union's institutions. The threat of activating article 7 of the Treaty on European Union on the suspension of voting rights in the case of non-compliance with the demands of Brussels makes it impossible to rule out that such tensions could provoke other (after Brexit) irreparable fractures within the EU.
In the current geopolitical status , the voices about the need for a profound discussion on the future of the European Union are getting louder and louder, and Central Europe may once again have to play the role of a bridge. For the time being, as far as migration policy is concerned, it seems that the EU has proved V4 right. With the river in turmoil, the question arises as to whether the EU can afford an unnecessary and damaging internal weakening at a time when it needs unity the most.
COMMENTARY / Daniel Andrés Llonch
Cyberspace has established itself as a new domain in which the security of States and their citizens is decided. On the one hand, attacks no longer have to involve the employment armaments; On the other hand, non-military actions, such as certain operations of interference in the affairs of other countries, can be especially effective given the access to millions of people that information technologies allow.
These capabilities have contributed to a climate of growing mistrust among world powers, characterized by mutual accusations, cover-ups and secrecy, since cyberspace makes it possible to conceal the origin of aggression to a large extent. That makes it difficult to mission statement of the State to protect national interests and complicates its management of individual freedoms (the tension between security and privacy).
The governments of Russia and China have frequently been singled out by the West as sponsors of cyberattacks aimed at damaging sensitive computer networks and stealing data confidential transactions of both individuals and companies, and operations aimed at influencing world opinion. In the case of China, the activities of secret units dependent on the People's Liberation Army have been targeted; in the Russian case, organizations such as Fancy Bear are mentioned, behind which many see directly the hand of the Kremlin.
The latter agents are blamed for Russian cyberattacks or interference in Europe and the United States, whose goal it is to destabilize those powers and diminish their capacity for global influence. There are several sources that suggest that these organizations have intervened in processes such as Brexit, the presidential elections in the United States or the separatist process in Catalonia. This activity of influence, radicalization and mobilization would have been carried out through the management of social networks and also possibly through the use of the Dark Web and the Deep Web.
One of the most prominent organizations in this activity is Fancy Bear, also known as APT28 and linked by various means to the Russian military intelligence agency. The group serves the interests of the Russian government, with activities that include support for certain candidates and personalities in foreign countries, as happened in the last elections to the White House. It operates many times through what is called Advanced Persistent Threat or APT, which consists of continuous hacking of a given system through computer hacking.
Although an APT is normally addressed to private organizations or States, either for commercial reasons or for political interests, it can also have the following characteristics: goal citizens who are perceived as enemies of the Kremlin. Behind these actions is not a lone hacker or a small hacker. group of people, but a whole organization, of very vast dimensions.
Fancy Bear and other similar groups have been linked to the dissemination of confidential information stolen from world banks, the World Anti-Doping Agency, NATO, and the electoral process in France and Germany. They were also credited with an action against the network in which there was theft of data and extensive spying over a long period of time.
The European Union has been one of the first international actors to announce measures in this regard, consisting of a considerable increase in the budget to strengthen cybersecurity and increase research by technicians and specialists in this field. The new figure of the Data Protection Officer (DPO) is also being created, which is the person in charge of overseeing all issues related to the protection of data and your privacy.
The sophistication of the Internet and at the same time its vulnerability have also given rise to a status of insecurity in the network. Anonymity makes it possible to perpetrate criminal activities that know no borders, neither physical nor virtual: this is cybercrime. This was confirmed on May 12, 2017 with the Wannacry virus, which affected millions of people worldwide.
Reality, then, warns us of the dimension that the problem has acquired: it speaks to us of a real risk. Society is increasingly connected to the network, which, together with the advantages of all kinds that this entails, also implies a exhibition cybercrime. Hackers can use our data personal data and the information we share for their own purposes: sometimes as a way of blackmail or as a key to access fields of the subject's privacy; other times that private content is sold. The fact is that the magnitudes to which such a problem can reach are overwhelming. If one of the world's leading security agencies, the U.S. National Security Agency, has result hacked, what should simple users expect, who in their innocence and ignorance are vulnerable and usable subjects?
Added to the problem is the progressive improvement of the techniques and methods used: identity theft and viruses are created for mobile phones, computer systems, programs, emails and downloads. In other words, there are few areas within the cyber world that are not considered susceptible to hacking or that do not have some weak point that represents an opportunity for threat and intrusion for any person or organization for illicit purposes.
▲Flags of the United States and Japan at a ceremony welcoming the U.S. vice president in Tokyo in February 2018 [White House].
COMMENTARY / Gabriel de Lange [English version].
In recent decades, China has grown in economic and political strength. The inclusion of the document "Xi Jinping's Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era" in the Constitution of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), carried out during the 19th congress of that party in October 2017, and the amendment of the country's Constitution to eliminate the limit of two consecutive presidential terms, approved by the plenary session of the Executive Council of the People's Congress of China in March 2018, have meant the consolidation of power of the current Chinese leader.
For its part, the United States has been criticized on multiple fronts for its relations in Asia. Authors critical of the Trump Administration believe that its policies toward North Korea, China and the region in general are "damaging US interests" in the Asia-Pacific. The withdrawal from the agreement Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)has"undermined the influence" of the U.S. to shape the regional future, giving China the opportunity to do so on its own terms. The withdrawal from the TPP has left many Asian countries wondering what Washington brings to the table in economic terms and looking to China to fill the void.
One of the main factors that lead Asian countries to maintain a certain distance from China and closer proximity to the United States are the problems in the South China Sea. As in the case of the Philippines with the Spratly Islands or Vietnam with the Paracel Islands. The concern of those countries about Chinese intentions has pushed them to a rapprochement with the US. Unfortunately for Washington, that rapprochement depends on China's own decision whether or not to insist on its claims to particular islands. The Xi Administration may decide that the benefits of stronger relations with its neighbors are more important than these disputed territories.
The question now is: who will the other Asian countries, especially the members of ASEAN (association of Southeast Asian Nations), look to as a political ally? With signs of steady, stable and enduring power under the consolidated authority of Xi Jinping, compared to a seemingly unpredictable, divided and internationally criticized Trump Administration, no one can be surprised that regional neighbors may lean more towards China in the near future.
▲Great Wall of China, near Jinshanling [Jakub Halin-Wikimedia Commons]
COMMENTARY / Paulina Briz Aceves
The Great Wall of China was completed after decades of successive efforts by different dynasties, not only as a defensive line, but also as a sign of China's attitude towards the outside world. Although this wall currently has no use, other than to be a tourist attraction, it has been an example for the creation of another great wall, which, although not physical, has the same effects as the original: isolating the Chinese community from the outside world and protecting itself from attacks that threaten its sovereignty.
The "Great Firewall of China" – the government's online surveillance and censorship effort – monitors all traffic in Chinese cyberspace and allows authorities to both deny access to a variety of selected websites, and disconnect all Chinese networks from the Internet. network of the Internet. In addition to the Great Firewall, the Chinese government has also created a domestic surveillance system called the "Golden Shield," which is administered by the Ministry of Public Security and others Departments government and local agencies. The Chinese government understands how valuable and powerful technology, innovation, and the Internet are, which is why it is cautious about information disseminated on Chinese soil, due to its constant fear of possible questioning of the Communist Party and disruption of China's political order.
China's cyber policies and strategies are barely known in the international world, but what is known is that China's network security priorities are motivated by the goal the main challenge of the Communist Party to stay in power. China's rulers understand that cybernetics are something that is already fully integrated into society. Therefore, they believe that in order to maintain political stability, they must keep an eye on their citizens and control them, leaving them in the shadows by censoring not only general information, but also sensitive issues such as the massacre in the city. place Tiananmen or Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution .
Filters that control what citizens see on the web have become more sophisticated. In addition, the government has employee around 100,000 people to monitor the Chinese internet, to control information not only coming from the West, but even that which is generated in China itself. It is true that this meddling in the media has undoubtedly caused the Chinese government to assert its power over society, because it is clear that whoever has the information definitely has the power.
▲Mobilisation of the Royal Thai Armed Forces in 2010 [Roland Dobbins-WC]
COMMENTARY / Álvaro Aramendi Baro
Terrorism is hitting harder and harder in Thailand. The causes of this incipient growth are difficult to pin down. However, the coup d'état of the Royal Armed Forces led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha on May 22, 2014 and, obviously, the subsequent political repressions played a very important role. Nor should we forget the pressure exerted by the BRN (Barisan Revolusi Nasional), which for decades has been fighting for the independence of Pattani (located in the south of Thailand). group revolutionary also operates in northern Malaysia. This terrorist organization is currently used by ISIS. ISIS's strategy, as well as that of Al-Qaeda, is based on encouraging and incentivizing nationalist insurgencies in order to have easier access to those territories under its target.
Despite this, the jihadist influence has taken different paths from those we already know, such as in Iraq or Syria. It is enough to follow the media to guess that the self-styled Islamic State prefers global media expansion to national expansion. This is not the case in Thailand. Both the objectives of terrorism and its communication strategy are national and rather hidden, in the shadows. Because of this, the relationship between them is not entirely evident today.
The status It's not what it should be. If there is one thing Thailand needs today, it is a period of peace in order to recover from past events. In the last century, there have been at least twelve successful coups d'état, the last of them, and not counting the one in 2014, in 2006. There is an urgent need for a quiet period in which to establish a strong foundation, and other structure, for its constitutional monarchy (similar to that of England).
Perhaps the best way to resolve the conflict is to avoid falling into the error of other countries, such as Burma or the Philippines, and to avoid strong repression. That is why, as Crisis Group warns, the best option would be dialogue and not the exclusion of ethnic minorities such as the Rohingya, in the case of Burma, or the Muslim community in Thailand (with a Buddhist majority). Should this happen, the terrorist pressure would become more and more unbearable, until the pot could only explode. Annexation to groups such as ISIS can occur for a variety of reasons, not adding one more to the list is essential.
▲The H6K of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force, in flight over the Pacific
COMMENTARY / Ignacio Cristóbal Urbicain* [English version]
Only three countries in the world have strategic or long-range bombers (the US, Russia and China). The mission statement of this subject Weapons is to project the force at very long distances, usually within enemy airspace in order to destroy, with its significant armament load, strategic objectives, i.e. industry, infrastructure, logistics, etc. It is also an important deterrent.
In the case of China, its strategic aviation mainly has the latter mission statement with respect to the defence of their interests by projecting a threat to very distant distances, i.e. avoiding rapprochement and entrance of the U.S. Navy's battle groups (aircraft carriers and attack cruisers) to the South China Sea.
For this task, China has the Xian H-6. This aircraft is a derivation of the Russian Tupolev Tu-16 developed 60 years ago. In 2007, the Chinese modernized their H-6s by changing the old engines to reach a longer range (3,500 km). Again Russian engines were chosen, although there are sources who have said that a new Chinese engine (WS-18) is being developed. A general electronic modernization and the air-to-ground radar were also carried out. Their ability to pursue targets is unknown. The bomb bay was reduced to put another inner fuel tank and modified to house the Wayside Cross CJ-10 with a range of 2,200 km. In this way, the H-6K was created, much more modern than the previous version, which maintains the possibility of carrying nuclear weapons, as well as the YJ-12 supersonic anti-ship missiles.
A squadron of 15 of these aircraft (i.e., the issue that Jane's Defence thinks are in service) can fire around 100 missiles, creating a major problem for a number of people.group naval with bad intentions. Note also that in recent weeks the H-6Ks have been seen for the first time with bombs on the outer wing mounts.
In December 2016, sources in the Chinese Ministry of Defense confirmed the rumors about the development of a new long-range bomber. This new project it's probably sneaky (very leave It can be used to ensure that it has been able to load a large amount of conventional weaponry in an internal hold, which will improve stealth against enemy radars.
The designation is currently H-X, although Jane's Defense already calls it H-20. It appears that the bomber will not have the capability to carry nuclear weapons, as China has a "no strike first" nuclear policy, meaning it will not be the one to start a conflict with nuclear weapons. For all these reasons, it has a nuclear arsenal linked to the idea that the country would survive a first attack and would be able torefund the coup.
The function of this new bomber will be to ensure that a force of American aircraft carriers with their group closer than it should to their areas of interest. These aircraft, carrying long-range air-to-surface missiles against such well-defended naval groupings, will be one of the three legs of Chinese deterrence. The other two are attack submarines and ballistic missiles.
Probably your design, commissioned to Xian Aircraft Corporation, is similar to the American B-2 bomber, following the Chinese tradition of practically copying Western models (the J-20 fighter is similar to the American F-22) and its first flight may be in 2025. Another question is when it will be operational, but seeing what the first flight of the J-20 has cost and its operability, it seems very distant in time. Hence the modernization of the H-6 discussed at the beginning of the article.
Fighter jets are very complex weapons systems and it is not enough for them to fly. They must do so with the characteristics for which they have been designed. In this case, China has historically been heavily dependent on Russian engines. Theirs have not worked as expected. Not to mention electronics, which in this field the U.S. still beats it by far.
*Teacher School of Economics and Business, University of Navarra