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The Antarctic versus Dubai – The Planetary Crisis Rules (5)

Three seemingly unrelated events occurred in April 2014. The IPCC, the international body of scientists tasked with monitoring climate change, released its fifth report, assessing that, between today and 2100, climate change could induce a rise of one metre of the sea level, and the radical necessity to start adaptation policies (IPCC, fifth report, 2014). Meanwhile, in Dubai, the immense beach, which has become the support for a gigantic tourist and real estate industry, welcomed the first open water swimming championships on 18 and 19 April 2014 (1st Dubai International Open Water Swimming Championships). While this sportive event was taking place, a gigantic iceberg, six times the size of Manhattan, was breaking off from an Antarctic glacier into the open ocean (Will […]

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China, Russia and the New Silk Road in Central Asia: the Great Co-Empowerment (1)

On 9 May 2015 took place an impressive military parade in Moscow to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. The parade was presided by the Russian President Vladimir Putin, and by its guests, dozens of heads of state and government. At his right hand were seated Xi Jinping, President of the Popular Republic of China, and Pranab Mukherjee, President of India (“Russia stages massive WW2 parade despite Western boycott”, BBC News, 9 May 2015). Western governments were not represented during the parade itself, because of the tensions about the situation in Ukraine. Two months later, President Xi Jinping, the Indian Prime Minister Rajendra Modi and President Putin held talks about the development of the relations […]

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Iran, China and the New Silk Road

Given the rising tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia since the beginning of the twenty-first century, reaching new heights in early 2016 with the beheading of a Shi’a Cleric by Saudi political authorities, which generated violences on Saudi diplomatic representations notably in Iran, in turn leading to the Saudi decision to break diplomatic relations with Iran (e.g. BBC News, 4 Jan 2016), understanding the new dynamics existing between Iran and China is even more important, as they may carry new weight, usually not considered as far as the Middle East is concerned. On 4 March 2013, an Iranian military fleet, which had left the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, docked at the Chinese port of Zhangjiagang, after a forty days journey (“Thread: Iran 24th fleet heading […]

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Energy Geopolitics and Climate Politics: a Complicated Relationship

The geopolitical landscape at the end of the year 2015 is especially strange. In effect, it is both dominated by the enormous gathering of heads of states and governments in Paris for the “COP 21”, which aims to make possible an international treaty on climate change, and by the war against the Islamic State, as the French president works to make possible a new cooperation between the U.S.-led coalition and Russia against the common foe (Yves Bourdillon, “Hollande, Poutine et Obama se liguent contre Daech”, Les Echos, 17/11/2015) after the terrible attacks on Paris on 13 November, following the downing of the Russian Plane on 31 October, the attack in Lebanon on 12 November and the bombing in Tunis on 24 November. […]

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Planetary Security, or the Subversion of Collapse

On 3 November 2015, the Dutch Ministry of foreign affairs organises the conference “Planetary Security: Peace and Cooperation in Times of Climate Change and Global Environmental Challenges” at the Peace Palace in the Hague. This conference accompanies the worldwide mobilisation for the United Nations summit on climate change (known as “COP 21”), which will take place in Paris, France, from 30 November to 11 December 2015. The peculiarity of this conference lies in the fact that it infuses the idea of security with a political, strategic and societal meaning, while security also remains clearly defined as a moment of exchanges between policy-makers and experts on the threat caused by climate and environmental change. In other words, the very existence of […]

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Climate Nightmare in the Middle East

The summer of 2015 has been a terrible climate moment and an energy game changer in the Middle East. From the end of July to the middle of August, a terrible heat wave has swept the whole region, from Iran and the Persian Gulf to Egypt, causing hundreds of deaths and a heavy pressure on the health of people, the infrastructures and social cohesion (Kyle Jaeger, “”Heat Dome” in the Middle East is ravaging region’s residents”, ATTN, August 4th, 2015). At the end of this sequence, at the beginning of September, the Italian oil giant corporation ENI announced having found a mammoth off shore deposit of natural gas in the Egyptian economic exclusive zone (Jeff Reed, “ Elephant discovery made […]

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China and the New Silk Road: From Oil Wells to the Moon… and Beyond

 On 25 May 2015, the Chinese political authorities agreed to finance the building of a pipeline between Pakistan and Iran, dubbed the “peace pipe line” (Valantin, “China, and the new silk road: the Pakistani strategy”, The Red Team Analysis Society, May 18, 2015). As we saw, this agreement is part of the Chinese strategy called “the New Silk Road”, which is defined by the concept of “One belt, One road”. The “road” is aimed at creating a worldwide “land and sea” system (“Belt and Road Nations account for 26 per cent of China’s trade”, The Beijing Review, April 29, 2015), in order to attract supplies and diverse resources much-needed by the rapidly growing Chinese economy and urban development. Each “segment” of […]

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Climate Change, a Pause or an Aposiopesis?

On 4 June 2015, Science magazine published “Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus,” which addressed what some see as an apparent pause in the upward trend of global surface temperatures since 1998. In the paper, Thomas R. Karl and others presented updated global surface temperature analysis, which they think reveals that global trends are higher than reported by the IPCC and does not support the notion of a “slowdown” or a pause in the increase of global surface temperature. For those who firmly believe there is a pause or even a downward trend, that paper released the Kraken. Whatts Up With That?, a website dedicated to climate change skepticism, called the new paper “laughable”.  Dr […]

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China, Israel, and the New Silk Road

In April 2014, the Israeli President and historic figure Shimon Peres led a three days state visit in China, in order to bolster the growing relationship between the two countries (Shannon Tiezzi, “As China Turns Toward Middle East, China and Israel Seek Closer Ties“, The Diplomat, April 09, 2014). It is interesting to note that the discussions were mainly focused on agriculture, natural resources, environmental protection, education and healthcare. Since then, other talks have been held about defense cooperation (Mercy A. Kuo and Angelica O. Tang, “The U.S.-China-Israel Defense Dynamic: Strategic Common Ground”, The Diplomat, May 11, 2015). Beijing has even proposed its mediation in the Israel-Palestine conflict (Shannon Tiezzi, “China appoints new special envoy to the Middle east”, The Diplomat, September […]

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China and the New Silk Road: The Pakistani Strategy

On 20 April 2015, the Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced a common plan for developing an economic and energy corridor linking the two countries through the development of gigantic infrastructures worth 46 billion dollars (Katharine Houreld, “China and Pakistan launch economic corridor plan worth 46 billion dollars”, Reuters, April 20, 2015). If this announcement is in itself very impressive, it is, in fact, only a part of China’s grand strategy, dubbed the “New Silk Road”. This strategy is defined through the concepts of “belt and road” (literally in Chinese Yídài yílù, 一带一路, one belt, one road) (“Belt and Road Nations account for 26 per cent of China’s trade”, The Beijing Review, April 29, 2015). […]

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