At the end of July, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Council of Foreign Ministers held a two-day meeting in Uzbekistan’s capital – Tashkent. The foreign ministers of the member states deliberated on matters of regional and global security, cooperation, and SCO’s membership. Amna Walistan notes that the conference provided Pakistan, represented by FM Bilawal Zardari, the opportunity to participate in the discussion of several issues, including the economic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
In its quest to contain the Chinese influence by supporting India, the US has compelled Pakistan to seek an alliance with Russia and China. Huda Raza and Sher Ali Shahid analyze the Indo-US strategic partnership, particularly in the realm of nuclear technology, and its impact on the balance of power in South Asia. The authors note that the India-US nuclear deal represents a shift in the US foreign policy from Pakistan to India. Although the two parties claim that the deal is for peaceful purposes, it poses a threat to the stability of South Asia and elevates Pakistan’s security dilemma.
The West believed that the sanctions on Russia would completely leave the latter immobilized. Hafsa Ammar notes that while that was very likely, Russia’s influence and resources insulated itself from economic shocks. One significant Russian resource would be crude oil, as it has now become the primary oil supplier to both China and India—a position that once belonged to Saudi Arabia.
President Putin’s visit to Iran has caught significant attention amidst the fragile global political and economic conditions. Faran Feroze considers the visit to have raised various concerns among Washington and its allies as the two leaders met to discuss economic cooperation and deepening partnerships through an MOU between Gazprom and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and the installation of the Rasht-Astara railway line, among others.
Fatima Arshad Warraich writes that Europe’s acute dependence on Russia for energy supplies is causing them to prepare for a harsh and cold winter ahead, since Russia has threatened a complete cut-off of gas supplies. The EU is now scrambling to fill their gas storage caverns, looking for alternate sources of energy supply, and trying to quickly transition to greener alternatives.
Last week, President Joe Biden made a series of visits to various political leaders in the Middle East. While this trip marked a diplomatic milestone in his tenure, being his first comprehensive visit to a region stained with American intervention and restructuring, Hassan Saeed Khan writes that the US was too absorbed in relieving itself of the oil crisis than resolving human rights violations.
Russia’s not the only one bothered by the NATO expansion — in fact, Turkey is only willing to admit Finland and Sweden into NATO if they meet a few crucial conditions. Turkey will only vote for their acceptance if they follow through on the agreements that were made on counterterrorism and arms exports at the NATO summit in Madrid.
Rich in natural resources and blessed with quicker transportation routes, the Arctic has piqued the interest of countries and businesses all over the world. Hadia Ibrar notes China’s evident interest in building the Polar Silk Road across the Arctic and paving the way for the establishment of a new maritime route.
The Russia-Ukraine war has been portrayed by the West with extreme prejudice. The American-European media has been demonizing Russia, while Ukraine, the second-most corrupt country in Europe (behind Russia), is being showcased as a champion of liberty and democracy. Where Russian war crimes are discussed ad nauseam, Ukraine’s Azov Regiment and its war crimes are obfuscated. Sarmad Ishfaq notes that despite Western sanctions and propaganda, the Russian ruble is surging and after re-orienting the war efforts towards the Donbas, Russia is indeed winning this war.
In modern warfare, the role of private military companies (PMCs) has significantly increased. The world’s major powers, in particular, are keen on employing PMCs in conflict zones. The author, Adam Abass, notes that the strong ties between these companies and states have allowed the former to evade prosecution or sentences for their alleged war crimes and human rights abuses.
One of the most recent factors negatively affecting food security is the armed struggle between Russia and Ukraine. Aimen Jamil and Zartaj Chaudhary explain how droughts, shortage of fertilisers, and geopolitical tensions are possibly creating a global food crisis.
Communism is a political ideology that started gaining momentum in the 1920s. It was a champion for the East and had started to encroach on the West as it started to become popular amongst the lower class. To deal with such a broad and intangible threat, the Western powers (mainly America) built a negative and dangerous aura around it and used it to garner public support for themselves. This narrative building was done through securitization of the term and can be visualized in the public speeches of American Presidents of the Cold War era.
The United States of America purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867 and made it one of its fifty states in 1959. It is a very important maritime strategic asset of the US. The author, Summaiyya Qureshi, looks at how this tender took place.
The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD), an alliance between the US, India, Australia, and Japan, reemerged in the international arena in 2017 as an effort to keep China in check in the Indo-Pacific region. The common interest of countering China bounds these states together but according to the author, Dr. Kankana Debnath, the visit of the Russian and Chinese foreign ministers to New Delhi has threatened the internal dynamics of QUAD.
The arms trade between the West and the Middle East has been a long-standing factor in the relations between the two. Within the Middle Eastern region, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has risen as the largest arms importer, mainly relying on the US for weapons. The author, Rooha Javed, notes that between 2015 and 2020, the US pledged to sell weapons worth $64.1 billion to Riyadh. Moreover, despite the criticism of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the war in Yemen, the US has continued the arms supply to the kingdom.
Facing enormous sanctions and economic setbacks, the Russian state is grasping at straws as it attempts to keep its economy afloat. Pegging the ruble to gold was a last-ditch attempt by Russia, but it seems to have struck gold. Or has it? The author, Muhammad Mustafa Ahmed Khan, explains the value and current state of gold, the dollar, and the ruble in the global financial markets following the sanctions on Russia.
Space was an important front for war in the last century and will be just as significant in this century. Space became a zone of conflict during the Space Race in the Cold War. In present times, the space market has grown complex and diverse, with the private and commercial sectors participating more in this realm. The author, Iqra Mumtaz, believes that space hegemony will play an important role in terms of future military and political influence.