Tuesday, July 19, 2016

#SouthChinaSea - Reality sets in; Ankara's lessons for Central Asia; Nepal Politics still a Dumpster Fire

Politics in Nepal remain a hot mess. This time, the drama will draw in more actors:
Nepal’s confusing and fragmented politics took a new, but not entirely unanticipated, turn last week when the Maoists, the second largest constituent in the K. P. Oli-led coalition government, withdrew support and tabled a no-trust motion in the parliament. Oli, who also heads the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist, has clearly lost the majority, but wants a test on the floor of the house on July 21. 
Oli’s preference for a trial of strength is largely born out of the hope that the constitution, that came into force in September 2015, is ambiguous about succession, even when the government loses a vote of confidence. Chances of Oli continuing in the post till elections to the parliament are held are high. Oli is banking on the constitution’s silence on succession. However, whatever he does — whether he sticks to his post or quits in deference to the majority decision in the house — will only contribute to anarchy. Meanwhile, the walkout by the Maoists has terminated the Left alliance that many thought would sweep the elections.

The recent coup attempt in Turkey has spurred fears of contagion in Astana and elsewhere:
In early June this year, Kazakh security forces unveiled what prosecutors were to dub a “coup plot” led by a businessman of doubtful reputation from the country’s far south named Tokhtar Tuleshov, engaged in large-scale food and beverage trade and industry and property not just in Kazakhstan but in nearby Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan as well... 
Little earlier, Kyrgyzstan became the scene of conspiracy. In late March this year, three ringleaders, namely Bektur Asanov, former governor of the southwestern province of Jalalabad, Kubanychbek Kadyrov, the head of an extra-parliamentary but legal political faction called Chyndyk, and Ernest Karybekov, at the time of his arrest just described as “opposition activist”, were arrested and held for investigation... 
What recently happened in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan demonstrates that if the Turkish coup may have failed, it does give people bad ideas.

Meanwhile, South China Sea interests regroup post-PCA ruling:

Analysts said the arbitral court's ruling has made it easier to set ground on settling these disputes, whether through bilateral or multilateral channels. Historic rights as a basis for economic rights at sea, for instance, are out. 
"The Asean way encourages flexibility and constructive cooperation. How this would work out… after the Hague ruling remains to be seen," said RSIS' Mr Han. 
But he added: "I believe that moving forward, Asean would seek to focus on peaceful cooperation in line with the principles laid down in the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea."

China boycotted the legal proceedings from the beginning and has long said that it would not abide by the court’s decision. We should not expect Beijing to simply decamp from the artificial islands it has just built, so it will fall to concerned states to reinforce the legitimacy of this decision. 
What is important is that we have succeeded in defending our legal rights over the disputed islands. We should continue our diplomatic initiatives, securing the support of our Asean partners, United States, Japan, India, the European Union, and other countries. They are neutral on the region’s sovereignty disputes and are firmly supportive of the legal process, engaging in their own public diplomacy effort bolstering the decision. China of course has been engaged in coalition-building efforts of its own—with less success, it seems. 
Although the Philippines was optimistic in winning the arbitration, few expected such a total victory, winning all our major points. Legally, it is the best scenario that could be imagined. But such a complete victory also poses it own challenge. Now that the ruling has arrived, as one observer pointed out, the Philippines and our new President have been thrown a geopolitical curveball.

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