Posts

Dr. Kurt Campbell: The Critical, Crucial Member In the Quad is India

Washington, DC – During an event hosted by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) today, White House National Security Council Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific Dr. Kurt Campbell said he was “very bullish about the future with India.” In a discussion on ‘Beyond AUKUS and the Quad: What’s Next for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy’, Campbell stressed the importance of India, who is the only Quad member who is not a formal US treaty ally.

“I think we all recognize the critical, crucial member in the Quad is India. We are determined to do what we can, in the bilateral context, to build relations,” said Campbell. He added that the origins of a closer partnership between the US and India began in the Bush administration and that people to people connectivity between the two nations has really manifested much more clearly in a bipartisan way over a succession of administrations.

Successive US administrations have recognized that “a key fulcrum player on the global stage in the 21st century will be India,” commented Campbell. “The broad sweep of history has brought us together.”

“This is a moment for thinking creatively and strategically about what’s possible” between the U.S. and India, said Campbell.

The consensus of the four members of the Quad is that it is appropriate to be considered as an informal gathering, said Campbell, adding that they will not be taking steps in the near term to institutionalize. Campbell emphasized that the Quad is actually about promoting the common good, and “It is about deliverables that are of interest to the peoples of the Indo-Pacific.”

President Biden hosted the first in person Quad Leaders Summit on September 24, 2021 in Washington, DC. The leaders underscored their dedication towards working with ASEAN and its member states—the heart of the Indo-Pacific region—in practical and inclusive ways. The Quad committed to donating 1.2 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, establishing a semiconductor supply-chain initiative, forming a green-shipping network, establishing a clean-hydrogen partnership, and launched a Quad fellowship that will sponsor 100 students per year—25 from each Quad country—to pursue masters and doctoral degrees at leading STEM graduate universities in the United States. The leaders discussed a common approach to emerging technologies, cyber security and addressing the challenge of climate change. They agreed to “closely coordinate our diplomatic, economic, and human-rights policies towards Afghanistan and will deepen our counter-terrorism and humanitarian cooperation in the months ahead in accordance with UNSCR 2593.”

The next Quad leaders summit will take place in Japan in 2022.

Thirteen Years After the Mumbai Terror Attacks, Perpetrators Yet to Face Justice

Washington, DC – Thirteen years after the Mumbai terrorist attack, the families of 166 victims – which included six American citizens – still await justice, while the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba masterminds of the attacks are safely under the protection of Pakistan’s army and intelligence agencies.

In response to Global Strat View’s (GSV) question about what steps the US is taking to bring the Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders to justice, a State Department spokesperson responded, “The United States remains committed to bringing those who planned and supported the 2008 Mumbai attack to justice. We continue to encourage the Government of Pakistan to take action against all militant and terrorist groups without distinction, including those responsible for Mumbai.”

In a phone interview with GSV, former Canadian diplomat and politician Chris Alexander said that this reflects the reality that the Biden administration, as with most US administrations in recent decades, has chosen to engage with Pakistan without proactive efforts or coercive diplomacy such as sanctions to change longstanding Pakistani behavior — this in spite of evidence that Pakistan remains a prolific state sponsor of terrorism.

Alexander, who served as the first resident Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2003-05, commented, “It is a policy paradox for a nation that has worked to counter terrorism around the world. This is a source of weakness for US policy, speaking to a pattern of inconsistency, especially with regard to Pakistan, that has harmed US national interests and the collective interests of US allies.”

In a joint statement issued by President Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Quad Summit in Washington DC in September 2021, both leaders “reaffirmed that the United States and India stand together in a shared fight against global terrorism” and “called for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks to be brought to justice.”

Pakistan’s support of terrorism continues unabated, while the US continues to say that Pakistan is an important partner in the war against terror. Earlier this year, a three-member bench of Pakistan’s supreme court headed by Justice Mushir Alam, acquitted Ahmed Omer Saeed Sheikh, who is accused of beheading US journalist Daniel Pearl. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has referred to Osama bin Laden as a martyr, and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi refused to condemn bin Laden. Pakistan continues to remain under increased monitoring (grey list) by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), but has so far remained off the black list.

As Dr. Christine Fair, Professor in the Security Studies Program within Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, commented, “If one were to apply the criteria with reference only to the facts, of course, it would have to be blacklisted. The US and the UK consistently argue that it should remain on the grey list as a black listing would preclude Pakistan from access to IMF funding, which the UK and the US believe is critical to Pakistan.”

“Ordinary citizens worldwide understand that Pakistan has been duplicitous, that it has been the driving force behind the invasion of Afghanistan, and that it is the state sponsor responsible for the existence of these terror groups,” commented Alexander. “But the current US approach seems to be based on a form of policy Stockholm Syndrome, which can be traced back to the US relationship with China, and the Kissinger doctrine which holds that strategic partnership with China or Pakistan is so important that any conflicts or disagreements must be tolerated for the larger cause of US and Chinese or Pakistani comity.”

“This doctrine is totally indefensible today,” added Alexander, “yet the US and most of its closest allies have still not moved beyond it. The so-called ‘pivot to Asia’ that started under the Obama administration has so far done very little to change the reality of this outdated doctrine.”

The consequences of letting Pakistan off the hook for its actions has led to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in recent times. “They invaded an entire country that was the focus of a NATO mission, but no government is proposing any form of accountability,” continued Alexander. “Everyone has to ask themselves what their role is in this. India should be advocating for this, and working with the international community to hold Pakistan accountable. If there are no consequences, the entire international system is made vulnerable.”

Following a classified briefing on Afghanistan last month, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) issued a statement saying that the briefing “confirmed yet again what we’ve known all along: the United States is now less safe than before President Biden’s disastrous decision to unconditionally and entirely withdraw from Afghanistan.” US media reported that the Biden administration informed US lawmakers that they were close to an agreement with Pakistan about using their airspace to conduct military and surveillance operations in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s foreign ministry denied the reports.

Last week Pakistan hosted representatives from the US, Russia, and China to discuss the unfolding humanitarian and economic crisis in Afghanistan that is forcing Afghans to migrate to neighboring countries. In a joint statement, they appealed for international humanitarian aid for Afghanistan and called on the Taliban to cut ties with terrorist groups.

India also held a regional security dialogue on Afghanistan last week attended by Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Pakistan and China declined to attend.

It is high time for the world to move beyond rhetoric and take action against state sponsors of terrorism like Pakistan to ensure a rules-based international order. Justice needs to be delivered, and delivered in a timely fashion. Otherwise, the victims of Pakistan’s actions, like the families of those who perished in the Mumbai attacks, are simply denied justice.

Biden Pledges 500 Million Doses of the Pfizer Coronavirus Vaccine to Developing Nations

Cornwall, United Kingdom – President Biden on Thursday announced that the United States will purchase half a billion doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer coronavirus vaccine which will be donated to 100 low- and lower-middle-income countries, “that are in dire need in the fight against this pandemic.”

Biden made the remarks after his meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ahead of the G7 Summit in Cornwall.

Biden said that two hundred million of these doses will be delivered starting in August this year, and 300 million more will be delivered in the first half of 2022. This is in addition to the 80 million excess doses of COVID-19 vaccines that are to be distributed by the end of June.

“Let me be clear: Just as with the 80 million doses we previously announced, the United States is providing these half million [billion] doses with no strings attached,” added Biden.

“We have supported manufacturing efforts abroad through our partnerships with Japan, India, and Australia — known as the “Quad.” We’ve shared doses with our neighbors Canada and Mexico,” said Biden.

“And from the beginning of my presidency, we have been clear-eyed that we need to attack this virus globally as well. This is about our responsibility — our humanitarian obligation to save as many lives as we can — and our responsibility to our values.”

Biden emphasized the United States commitment to strengthen global health , adding that “in this moment, our values call on us to do everything that we can to vaccinate the world against COVID-19.”

Commenting that the US is not alone in this effort, Biden said that under the UK chairmanship, G7 democracies of the world are ready to deliver as well. There will be an announcement tomorrow by the G7 nations on the COVID-19 vaccination program and the effort to defeat COVID-19 globally.

Pentagon Explains Military Assistance to Azerbaijan as Biden Waives Ban

Washington, DC – The United States listed a few explanatory points for offering military support to Azerbaijan as a conflict between it and Armenia is still hot and brewing. The Biden administration recently declared Turkish massacre of Armenians more than a century ago as “Armenian Genocide.”

Responding to a question on the presidential waiver on the ban on military aid to Azerbaijan from IAT (Tejinder Singh) at the Pentagon briefing, Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Anton T. Semelroth, DoD Spokesman said in a delayed email reply, “We review thoroughly any potential assistance to Azerbaijan to ensure it will not undermine or hamper ongoing efforts to negotiate a peaceful settlement between Armenia and Azerbaijan and will not be used for offensive purposes against Armenia.”

“Our non-lethal security assistance to Azerbaijan is in the US national security interests, and helps enable Azerbaijan to secure its southern and maritime borders to reduce the threat of terrorists, WMD, and other illicit trafficking.”

Citing examples to support the US decision, the DOD Spokesman added, “For example, just recently the x-ray scanners we provided were used to identify a large shipment of heroin at the Iranian border.”

Within 100 days of being sworn-in as the US President, Joe Biden became the first US president to issue a statement formally describing the 1915 massacre of Armenians as a genocide.

The killings took place in the days of the Ottoman Empire, the forerunner of modern-day Turkey. But the issue is highly sensitive, and previous US administrations have not used the term genocide in formal statements amid concerns over damaging relations with Turkey, a NATO ally.

Bit within two weeks of formally recognizing the Armenian Genocide, President Joe Biden gave a waiver to give American taxpayers money to Azerbaijan.

Nearly a year ago Azerbaijan reignited sanguinary hostilities with Armenia on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, resulting in thousands of deaths.

Within weeks, a Russian-French-American ceasefire brought open hostilities to a smoldering peace but Azerbaijan had already gained control of a sizable area from Armenia.

The FREEDOM Support Act, enacted in 1992 bars foreign aid from Azerbaijan, crafted amid the first Nagorno-Karabakh War following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In 2002 Congress gave the American President power to waive that ban on foreign aid to Azerbaijan.

During the campaign trail, Candidate Biden had openly criticized then incumbent president Donald Trump for waiving the ban and now President Biden himself has done exactly the same, thus adding more to millions of American taxpayers dollars siphoned off to an aggressor country against Armenia.

Political pundits and those watching the region raise issues about the Azerbaijan, Turkey and Pakistan nexus in the volatile area.