Salman Rafi Sheikh

How Nord Stream 2 Could ‘Liberate’ Europe


More than anything else, riots in Washington D.C. showed that the US politics, while apparently shifting from the ‘mad’ Republicans to the ‘wise’ Democrats, is likely to remain in the grip of intense internal power struggle between what have become ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ Trump groups. The Biden administration is most likely to remain, at least for some time, focused on diffusing…

Joe Biden’s “Asia Pivot 2.0” is Already Here


The Joe Biden administration has already made its intentions clear about reversing, through a series of executive orders, some of the policies of the Trump administration. The new regime is well poised to reverse the over-all course of the previous regime. This includes not only domestic policies, but foreign relations as well. During the Trump era, China was the main…

The ‘European Challenge’ for the Biden Administration


The EU-China investment deal is a major breakthrough, one that would allow both actors to expand their economic power. For the EU, its China-policy, largely ‘independent’ of the US, stamps its own rise as a major global player in today’s increasingly multi-polar world. For China, an enhanced access to Europe means a major leeway for its economy in the wake…

Gulf Normalisation is not “Arab Unity”


While Saudia Arabia/UAE and Qatar have been successful in bringing their more than 3 years old diplomatic stand-off to an end, and the moment has been called a “big breakthrough”, there is no gainsaying that the ground realities of the Gulf have already changed to an extent where a mere normalization wouldn’t automatically produce the so-called “Arab Unity.” Past three years have…

Turkey Preparing for a Balancing Act between Russia and the West


When Russia’s Vladimir Putin recently remarked that Turkey’s Erdogan is an ardent follower of the logic of national interest, he was perhaps alluding to the way Tukey continues to adjust very consistently between the West and the East, though it doesn’t always work. Turkey is a member of NATO and is a buyer of Russian defense…

The Geo-politics of EU-China Investment Deal


The recently announced EU-China principally agreed investment deal is a watershed moment, marking a first EU-China investment deal of its kind that would open the doors for the EU to make direct investment in China. China will also have opportunities to expand its reach in the European market. While the deal would yield numerous benefits to the parties involved, it also has very visible…

Russia-China Prepare to Challenge US World Domination Bid


While a widely shared expectation was that Joe Biden will bring a positive change to the state of US bi-lateral relations with Russia & China, it has already become evident that the only change that the Biden administration will bring would be a relatively increased focus on the military aspects of bi-lateral tensions. While the military aspect…

Pompeo’s Departing Kick to Turkey only Weakens NATO


The incumbent US Secretary of State’s strong dislike of Turkey is evident from the fact that he never visited Turkey in an official capacity, although he was in the region for more than once during his tenure and visited both Cyprus and Greece, Turkey’s regional rivals. Mike Pompeo, who thinks Turkey is as “democratic as Iran” and is more of an “Islamic Dictatorship…

The US-China ‘Trade War’ to become ‘War of Military Resources’ under Biden


With China being the most powerful competitor of the US in the 21st century, it is but natural to see various US administrations and the more permanent US defense establishment obsessed with China’s rise and the question of maintaining the balance to their advantage. The US, under the Trump administration, decided to confront China…

Why is Saudi Arabia Approaching Qatar and Turkey?


Intense geo-political upheavals are taking place in the Middle East in the wake of the Trump administration’s exit from power. The Biden administration, therefore, will inherit a Middle East that is much more complex and changed than it was during the Obama administration. However, a lot of what is happening today in the Middle East—The Abraham Accords, an apparent…

How Israel’s Plan to Kill JCPOA Failed


While the killing of the Iranian nuclear scientist was always meant to sabotage the JCPOA and establish Israel as the ringleader in the Middle East against Iran, counter-productive moves from otherwise Israeli allies and Iran together are threatening to sabotage Israel’s own plans. Iran, instead of restoring to direct action, has chosen to respond to the matter…

Why the West and Turkey are on a Collision Course


The West, namely the US and EU, appear to have designed a joint approach to clip Turkey’s wings in order to dent its ability to stretch itself beyond its territorial boundaries and act as big power, competing the West itself. Turley, under Erdogan, has been able to stretch itself to Libya in north Africa, and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus. It remains involved in Syria [against…

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