L’analisi di Ian Bremmer, pubblicata su “The A-List” del Financial Times, nella quale il presidente di Eurasia Group evidenzia il pericolo che il conflitto siriano si trasformi presto in scontro regionale:
[...] So as outside powers take sides in the Syrian struggle, and the regime consolidates its military gains, we are getting closer to a Shia-Sunni war that will spill beyond Syria – creating fragmentation in Iraq, threatening the monarchy in Jordan and bringing Israel into direct military confrontation with proximate perceived security threats on an ongoing basis. International governments understand the risks involved and are likely to push with far more vigour to ensure negotiations occur quickly (with Russia and now China both signing on to direct participation). But it is too little too late, with no capacity to facilitate a near-term resolution or even a ceasefire – and a growing capacity for missteps that could lead to rapid escalation. Unless we see a dramatic shift, the trajectory remains clear. The situation will metastasise, and it will force further reluctant and incremental intervention from the US and some members of the EU, mainly the UK and France. Call it “cautious escalation”, a worst-case scenario where western powers neither cut loose from their obligations nor expand their involvement in a co-ordinated and efficient manner. Syria is now the poster child for the G-Zero – a global power vacuum where there is no durable alliance of countries willing and able to set the international agenda. In just a matter of months, it has become all too clear that the Syrian war, not Iranian nuclear development (despite an expanding nuclear programme, as documented by last week’s IAEA report) is the greatest risk factor in the region. What will the next few months bring? The looming danger, and the likeliest path, is that the Syrian war expands as more outside players dig their heels in – or get pulled into the proxy war despite dragging their heels as much as they can.
[...] It is more accurate, however, to see the region entering an age of proxy wars, on a scale that is likely to dwarf the Arab Cold War that pitted Saudi Arabia against Egypt in the 1950s and 1960s. While Iran and Saudi Arabia are major antagonists in the unfolding battles, they are not the only ones. The emerging wars are genuinely multipolar, and U.S. policy and practice will need to adapt to this emerging reality. The most active proxy war is in Syria, where a range of regional and global powers seeks to shape the future of the country. What is surprising is not so much the scale of that assistance as its diversity. Support flows from governments, institutions, and individuals to a dizzying array of actors. Some are principally armed and others are principally political; some are disciplined and others seem determined to sow terror. More than two years into the conflict, there is remarkably little strategic coordination among the parties supporting Syrian opposition forces, contributing to sustained disarray and infighting among the forces themselves. Support does not follow clear sectarian or religious lines. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two Wahhabi states, appear to support different clients in Syria. The Saudi government fears trained and networked jihadi fighters flowing back into the kingdom as they did after the Afghan war in the 1980s, and it fears inspiring a politicized Islamist opposition. It acts with some caution in Syria, and this avowedly religious government appears to favor secular nationalists. Qatar appears confident that a jihadi wave will not threaten the emirate and is casting bets widely to hasten Bashar al-Assad’s fall. The United Arab Emirates, deeply distrustful of political Islam of any stripe, is among the most cautious of the Gulf states, seeking to check Iran without supporting Islamist fighters. Iran, of course, is betting heavily on the Assad government, while rumors spread that Russia is looking for a solution that preserves Syria’s integrity even if it does not preserve Assad. Western countries have their own preferences and red lines, and each has its own clients. The proxy war extends far beyond Syria, however. Egypt’s major political parties reportedly receive extensive outside funding, with Qatar heavily bankrolling the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi Arabia reportedly supporting salafi parties. Among a range of Arab forces, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates invested especially heavily in the effort to depose Muammar el-Qaddafi in Libya, supporting different troops on the ground under the protection of NATO airstrikes. They backed different parties in 2011 and continue to do so. There are many antagonists in tiny Bahrain—with only 600,000 citizens—but Saudi Arabia and Iran are the most active, supporting the Sunni and Shiʽite communities respectively. [...]
Una situazione molto complessa, insomma, che necessita di un’attenta analisi e di una puntuale pianificazione.
Il nuovo numero di Foreign Policy affronta il tema del potere e delle “persone che realmente guidano il mondo“. Tra queste – lo 0,000007% della popolazione mondiale – la rivista statunitense colloca anche 9 italiani. Ovviamente, in assoluto, la quota più importante va agli Stati Uniti (143 persone). Circa i due terzi sono “occidentali” (Europa+Nord America+Australia) mentre Cina (38), Russia (24) ed India (17) inseguono…
Sul viaggio in Russia del nuovo leader cinese Xi un articolo del Washington Post:
China’s new president, who has chosen Moscow as his first foreign destination, urged Russia to work closer with Beijing on foreign policy matters in order to better protect their joint security and interests. The comments from Xi Jinping Friday appeared to reflect a growing desire to secure Russia’s backing for a new assertiveness that he has shown in challenging U.S. influence in Asia, and Japan over a set of disputed islands.[...]
Douglas H. Paal and Dmitri Trenin of Carnegie Endowment said in an analysis this week that China may try to woo Moscow to Beijing’s side in its quarrel with Japan and entice it to cooperate more actively against the U.S.-led missile shield in northeast Asia. However, they said Russia is unlikely to show much enthusiasm as it wants to normalize relations with Tokyo and doesn’t share the Chinese grievances about the U.S. missile defenses in the Pacific region. Still, they said, Moscow and Beijing are interested in nurturing close ties. “For China, Putin personally can be relied upon to keep an arm’s length from Washington and to promote a multipolar world, not one dominated by the United States,” Paal and Trenin said. “For Russia, the growth of China, India, and other emerging powers is clearest evidence of the multipolar world becoming a reality. Thus, demonstrating Sino-Russian cooperation serves the interests of both in offsetting American power and influence.”
Gli Stati Uniti, in base a quanto annunciato dal Ministro della Difesa Hagel, taglieranno lo sviluppo della quarta fase del programma di difesa missilistica da realizzare in Europa.
Ciò al fine di reindirizzare risorse a favore per ridurre la minaccia proveniente dalla Corea del Nord:
The United States has effectively canceled the final phase of a Europe-based missile defense system that was fiercely opposed by Russia and cited repeatedly by the Kremlin as a major obstacle to cooperation on nuclear arms reductions and other issues. Russian officials here have so far declined to comment on the announcement, which was made in Washington on Friday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as part of a plan to deploy additional ballistic missile interceptors to counter North Korea. The cancellation of some European-based defenses will allow resources to be shifted to protect against North Korea.[...] American experts insisted that the Russians’ concern over the antimissile program was exaggerated and that the system would not have jeopardized their strategic missiles had the final phase been developed. That Russian concern has now been addressed. “There is no threat to Russian missiles now,” said Steven Pifer, an arms control expert who has managed Russia policy from top positions at the State Department and the National Security Council. “If you listen to what the Russians have been saying for the last two years, this has been the biggest obstacle to things like cooperation with NATO.” “Potentially this is very big,” said Mr. Pifer, now of the Brookings Institution. “And it’s going to be very interesting seeing how the Russians react once they digest it.”
Annunciato già da qualche mese, le agenzie di Intelligence statunitensi hanno appena concluso di elaborare il primo National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) sul c.d. “cyber-espionage”. A conferma che a Washington tali attività vengono oramai considerate come una vera e propria minaccia per gli interessi nazionali.
Il documento, come sempre predisposto dal National Intelligence Council, non è pubblico ma secondo il Washington Post l’Intelligence americana indicherebbe la Cina come l’attore principale (e più pericoloso) nel campo del cyber-spionaggio. Rilevanti sarebbero, però, anche le attività svolte dalla Francia, da Israele e dalla Russia.
[...] The report, which represents the consensus view of the U.S. intelligence community, describes a wide range of sectors that have been the focus of hacking over the past five years, including energy, finance, information technology, aerospace and automotives, according to the individuals familiar with the report, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about the classified document. The assessment does not quantify the financial impact of the espionage, but outside experts have estimated it in the tens of billions of dollars. Cyber-espionage, which was once viewed as a concern mainly by U.S. intelligence and the military, is increasingly seen as a direct threat to the nation’s economic interests. In a sign of such concerns, the Obama administration is seeking ways to counter the online theft of trade secrets, according to officials. Analysts have said that the administration’s options include formal protests, the expulsion of diplomatic personnel, the imposition of travel and visa restrictions, and complaints to the World Trade Organization. Cyber-espionage is “just so widespread that it’s known to be a national issue at this point,” said one administration official, who like other current and former officials interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The National Intelligence Estimate names three other countries — Russia, Israel and France — as having engaged in hacking for economic intelligence but makes clear that cyber-espionage by those countries pales in comparison with China’s effort.[...]
In recognition of the growing problem, the State Department has elevated the issue to be part of its strategic security dialogue with China. Within the past year, the Justice Department has set up a program to train 100 prosecutors to bring cases related to cyber-intrusions sponsored by foreign governments. In many ways, the moves are a response to what experts have described as the government’s earlier passivity in tackling the problem. “The problem with foreign cyber-espionage is not that it is an existential threat, but that it is invisible, and invisibility promotes inaction,” a former government official said. The National Intelligence Estimate, he said, “would help remedy that” by detailing the scope of the threat. Some experts have said that cyber-espionage’s cost to the U.S. economy might range from 0.1 percent to 0.5 percent of gross domestic product, or $25 billion to $100 billion. Other economists, while viewing the problem as significant, have pegged the losses lower.
[...] But how exactly is a Moscow-led Eurasian Union supposed to become a global pole of power? Russia’s goal is to turn this grouping into a chorus that will sing in international forums with one voice under a Kremlin choirmaster. The integration mechanism that Russia is willing to implement should create the necessary asymmetric dependencies that would consolidate its leadership position within such a union. For instance the recovery of Soviet-era common transportation and energy infrastructure would magnify economic and political dependence on Russia among many future Eurasian Union members. In the developing economies of the CIS countries, natural gas plays the role of a public good with pronounced social welfare effects. When delivered at low prices—as Russia is willing to offer in exchange for often painful concessions from its importers—natural gas has the potential to significantly affect the political capital of the national leaders. Russia also represents a huge market with lower standards for produced goods, making it more accessible for post-Soviet states.
[...] With so much economic and political influence, Russia will then be able to promote its preferred candidates in national elections along its periphery—and will basically own the national governments. Such an outcome would also trigger a diffusion into neighboring countries of Russia’s political system, which is a form of “smart authoritarianism” mimicking democratic institutions and processes. This type of governance forces its citizens to trade between some minimal level of social welfare assured by the government in exchange for giving up many individual freedoms. The emergence of the Russian-led Eurasian Union would produce a wave of authoritarianism, slowly spreading from East to West, until it reached the borders of the EU.
[...] Consequently, in addition to its diplomatic moves, Russia is making significant efforts to strengthen its military tool of foreign policy. Moscow believes that modernizing its strategic nuclear capabilities to enable Russia to penetrate US missile defense systems would deter the United States from interfering into Russia’s foreign affairs. It is also massively funding its conventional forces, permitting Moscow to create facts on the ground that other actors would have to accept. Currently, Russia is believed to be the third largest defense spender in the world, after the US and China, with its defense expenditures being slightly over three percent of its GDP; while its combined “national defense” and “national security” spending totals over 30 percent of Russia’s annual budget (newizv.ru, October 18). It plans to increase its 2013 defense spending by over 25 percent compared to the current year (Ng.ru, July 19), leading some Russian experts to suggest Moscow is preparing for war (Ria.ru, November 17, 2011). All these actions indicate that the new Putin administration is consistently building both military and diplomatic tools to support its declared goal of building the Eurasian Union. They also suggest the Kremlin is resolute in limiting interference from the West, willing to militarily deter any possible resistance to the fait accompli reality Moscow is attempting to create in the post-Soviet space.
Il CSIS ha pubblicato un report che analizza il ruolo della Russia e della Cina nella competizione strategica tra Stati Uniti ed Iran.
Facilmente sintetizzato in questo passaggio:
China and Russia are key players in US-Iranian strategic competition. As major world powers and permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia play an important role in shaping sanctions and other aspects of international action in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program. Leaders in Moscow and Beijing focus on the influence, security and economic gains to their respective leaderships, and pursue international relationships from that standpoint. At present, external pressure from the US and its allies is not able to make either China or Russia give up all ties to Iran, and they manipulate such ties to Iran as a bargaining chip in dealing with the US, as well as the European and Arab Gulf states. Both countries seek to maximize the benefits they can gain from the ongoing competition by refusing to commit to either player. Both nations have an interest in preventing or at least forestalling open hostility that will upset this balancing act, as any conflict could have an impact on their economies and seek to use their support of either side to advance their own positions.