Asia, Europe, News Watch, Side Feature, South Asia

News Headlines 6/12/2022

* NATO Countries Running out of Ammunition as Germany Left with ‘2 days’ of Stocks
* Why Europe must Break with US on China Policy to Avert Global Economic Disaster
* COAS not the Prime Minister Decides US-Pakistan Ties

NATO Countries Running out of Ammunition as Germany Left with ‘2 days’ of Stocks

The war in Ukraine has exposed a significant fallacy in the post-Cold War recalibration of ammunition stocks, leaving some countries struggling to cope with defence demands. Germany has been facing pressure to maintain its defence commitment to NATO while providing Ukraine with the necessary weaponry to fight back against Russia. According to local reports, the German Army has been left with only “two days” worth of ammunition to sustain active combat if necessary. German affairs expert Oliver Moody noted Berlin is not the only NATO country to have been left facing stock issues as he noted the end of the Cold War nearly 30 years ago ushered in a change towards more technological types of warfare, leaving ammunition stocks thinner. The Berlin correspondent told Times Radio: “It’s important to say this isn’t just a Germany problem. “It’s a problem across much of Europe. Basically, defence spending was cut in many European states after the end of the Cold War and then, particularly over the past two decades since 9/11, there’s been a sort of configuration towards smart munition for things like counterinsurgency, high-tech, asymmetric conflicts. “And then with the advent of the war in Ukraine, obviously very large volumes of ammunition, in particular, these 155 millmitre artillery shells have been transferred to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.” Mr Moody continued: “What is distinctive about Germany is partly that the problem has been known about for so long, partly the sheer scale of it in that it looks like they’re going to need to spend at least 20 billion euros on replenishing their stocks just to meet the minimum NATO requirements. “And then finally, that the response has been so slow that they haven’t really put in any meaningful orders yet. “They’ve only got 1.1 billion allocated for ammunition over the coming year despite having a 100 billion investment fund for their armed forces.” Germany underwent a historic shift following the invasion of Ukraine, announcing plans to send weapons to support the Kyiv Government in its pushback against Russia shortly after the invasion began in February. But Olaf Scholz’s decision ignited a domestic skirmish that to this day has left Germany’s stance on the war in Ukraine split. [Source: Daily Express]

The wars of Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine have exposed the reality of great powers unable to win asymmetrical wars. And now the ammunition shortage just goes to underline that a united Muslim stance under the Khilafah (Caliphate) could not only liberate the Muslim world but also subdue foreign powers across the globe.

Why Europe must Break with US on China Policy to Avert Global Economic Disaster

The view that the global economy is destined to split into two rival camps – one led by the United States and the other by China, with others relegated to being “camp followers” – is unfortunately gaining ground. Yet this will become a reality only if it is passively accepted and not actively challenged. The great divide will not happen overnight, but it is under way. There is still time to devise countervailing measures and create counterbalancing poles of influence, but this will require radical policy actions going beyond the US-China arena. A potential catalyst for change is in sight, although it will come only at the expense of deeper economic recession. It is that the prospect of growing economic hardship in Europe and the US will force politicians to adopt less rigidly ideological attitudes.The cost of inaction could be devastating. On the economic side, inflation could become entrenched because production of goods will become less efficient and more costly in a fractured global system. As prices rise, so too will wage demands, and so on, upwards.Trade and investment between the two great economic powers will suffer as sanctions and counter sanctions multiply, and the economic fate of other powers that are reduced to becoming satellites of these two will suffer as a consequence. Physical confrontation will become a real possibility.

No other single power can compete, in terms of economic and diplomatic clout, with the world’s biggest and second-biggest economies, and new alliances among multiple smaller nations would be too unwieldy. Only an enlarged European community can provide a needed third pole.French President Emmanuel Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte have indicated a desire to differentiate their position on China from that of the US. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz recently headed a business and goodwill delegation to China. That could be suggestive of a united European front. Britain’s position on China will also need to change. The role of the United Kingdom could be highly important, diminished though Britain’s status is in the eyes of the world at present as a result of the hash the country has made of managing its political affairs under the ruling Conservative Party.It is tempting to see US-China rivalry as a battle between good and evil, between democracy and autocracy. There is some truth in this assertion, but the problem is equally about economic rivalry, which clothes itself in concerns over human rights and security issues. The world needs to figure out how to escape the thrall of such narrow perspectives which can only lead to a dead end. For that to happen, we need a new balancing factor in the global power equation, and a further renaissance in Europe seems the only viable option now. [Source: South China Morning Post]

It is quite obvious the US has used the war in Ukraine to weaken both Russia and Europe. America’s other target is China, and hitherto Beijing has not fallen for Taiwanese trap set up by the US. However, the Chinese are in no position to influence Europe to break away from the US. It is more than likely that the US will push Europe away from China thereby isolating the economy of China.

COAS not the Prime Minister Decides US-Pakistan Ties

Former prime min­ister Imran Khan’s return to power — or not — will not have much impact on the future of US-Pakistan relations as such decisions in Islam­abad are taken by the army chief, not the prime minister. This view was expressed at a Monday evening seminar in the US capital. “I don’t think the future of US-Pakistan relations hinges on who will be the PM in Pakistan… more important is who will be the chief of army staff,” said Lisa Curtis, who looked after South and Central Asian affairs at the Trump White House, adding it was the army that controlled decision-making on issues important to the US, such as the nuclear programme, Pakistan’s relations with India, and counter-terrorism. But Ms Curtis also said this kind of hybrid democracy would not be good for Pakistan as it’s “an inherently unstable form of government”. When asked how Mr Khan’s return to power could influence the US-Pakistan relations, she said: “Even though Imran Khan very unhelpfully used the US as a scapegoat when he lost power, were he to be reelected, there will be a certain amount of pragmatism that might become part of the equation.” She believed there would be “an effort to make amends with Washington”. Douglas London, a former CIA operative and analyst; Javid Ahmad, a former Afghan ambassador to the UAE; and Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to Washington also participated in the discussion. Marvin Weinbaum, director of Pakistan/Afghanistan Studies at the Middle East Institute (MEI), Washington, moderated the session hosted by his institute. Both Ms Curtis and Mr Haqqani believed Pakistan and the US were not as close as when America was still in Afghanistan. Ms Curtis said the US wanted to ensure Pakistan did not get closer to China and that negative views about Islamabad regarding Afghanistan still prevailed. The US, she added, “wants Pakistan to support it in Ukraine”. Mr London noted that tensions between the two countries had reduced since the US withdrew from Afghanistan, and Washington didn’t want to lose Islamabad completely as it was a nuclear state. Now, he remarked, there was “more openness” between the intelligence and military services of the two countries, but “little substance”. [Source: Dawn]

As long as the present civilian and army leadership continues to rule, America’s Raj in Pakistan will prevail unchecked. Khan and other like him will never be able to liberate Pakistanis from Pax Americana. Only the Caliphate on the way of the Prophethood could emancipate Pakistan and Muslims across the globe from foreign powers.