Hamas’ War Against Jerusalem: Revelation 11

Hamas’s War Against Yerushalayim

21 Kislev 5782 – November 25, 2021

Photo Credit: Photo by Flash90Members of Martyr Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades take part in a memorial service in the southern Gaza Strip on November 15, 2021. 

The Hamas terrorist organization, responsible for the murderous attack early this week near the Western Wall in Jerusalem, has one interest these days: to rile up violent Arab opposition to Israel with the battle-cry: “The occupation [Israel] is taking over Al-Quds [Jerusalem]!”

Sunday’s murderous attack, in which Eliyahu David Kaye was murdered, was perpetrated by a Hamas political wing member. It took place just a few days after two Border Guard policemen were brutally knifed by a teenaged terrorist from eastern Jerusalem.

Just hours after Kaye was murdered and four other Israelis were wounded, one seriously, Hamas organized a celebratory rally in one of the Arab neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem. Hundreds of terrorism supporters cheered what they called the “heroic” attack.

Gal Berger, Arab affairs correspondent for Israel’s state-owned Kan TV/radio network, has researched Jerusalem’s emotionally-charged Damascus Gate. Berger compiled an impressive list showing that during the five months beginning this past May 21, nearly every single day featured one or more reports on Damascus Gate in PA Telegram accounts.

That is to say, this Jerusalem hot spot and site of many Palestinian terrorist attacks is being very carefully kept in the news for every possible incident that could somehow be construed as an Israeli provocation. Hamas, in turn, takes advantage of the “events” to pour fuel on the fire.

The most blatant finding of his daily documentation, Berger wrote, was “undoubtedly the obsession in these groups regarding any report or development that happens at Damascus Gate.” These include not only notable events such as disturbances, but even routine police requests for an ID card there or policemen descending the Gate’s well-known steps into the Old City. Not surprisingly, religious Jews simply passing through on their way home or to the Western Wall are often immediately termed “Israeli provocations” – and emotions are aroused accordingly.

Berger conjectures that Hamas “takes advantage of what goes on at the Damascus Gate, fans the flames, and tries to strengthen them – and mainly, rides atop the existing reality” of strong Arab emotions about the area.

It is well known that at least twice over the past several months, Hamas has sought to fight Israel’s actualization of its sovereignty over its capital by initiating violence. The first time was the traditional Jerusalem Reunification Day march this past June. Hamas threatened that if the planned route was not changed and distanced from the Temple Mount, it would respond militarily. Israeli authorities in fact changed the route, and still, Arabs threw rocks and attacked policemen during the march, and released incendiary balloons from Gaza towards Jewish towns and fields. Israel retaliated by attacking Hamas installations, but Hamas boasted: “We proved our deterrence ability against Israel. We forced the occupation to change the route of the march, to change civilian air routes, and to reinforce its Iron Dome deployment.”

Several weeks before that, Arabs rioted on the Temple Mount and began attacking Jews in Jerusalem’s Shimon HaTzaddik neighborhood. A few days later, Hamas terrorists fired thousands of rockets at Israel, killing 12.

That is to say: Hamas did not fire rockets at Israel in order to “protect” Jerusalem from Israel, but rather used the march and the Shimon HaTzaddik/Sheikh Jarrah events as a pretext to fire the missiles. Hamas has been piling up these deadly rockets by the thousands for many years, waiting for any excuse of controversy in Jerusalem to fire them at Israeli citizens.

Thus, we can say that any news that emanates from Hamas must be viewed as an attempt to chip away, or worse, at Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. Especially now, when the Biden Administration is still considering opening an official consulate for the Palestinian Authority in Israel’s capital – both illegal and a logical absurdity – is it important to be on guard against every Hamas provocation.

Readers may wish to be reminded of the Hamas Covenant, which reads, in part: “Israel will rise and remain standing until Islam eliminates it, as it eliminated its predecessors… Our struggle against the Jews is so extremely wide-ranging and grave that it will need all the loyal efforts we can wield, to be followed by further steps and reinforced by successive battalions from the multifarious Arab and Islamic world, until the enemies are defeated and Allah’s victory prevails.”

The charter also arouses fanatic violent-religious emotions and beliefs among Muslims by insisting on the need to “establish in the minds of all the Muslim generations that the Palestinian issue is a religious issue, and that it must be dealt with as such, for it contains Islamic holy places, [namely] the Al-Aqsa mosque [the Temple Mount in Jerusalem], which is inseparably connected to the holy mosque of Mecca …”

Both Sides of Hamas

The terrorist who murdered Eli Kaye on Sunday near the Kotel was a member of the political wing of Hamas. Just two days before, Great Britain took a major step to define this branch of Hamas as a terrorist organization. (The military wing has long been outlawed in Britain as a terror gang, as in many other countries.)

If the proposal is legislated into law as expected, it will be a crime to belong to Hamas, to fly its flag, or to wear a uniform that implies support for Hamas. The punishment: up to 14 years in prison.

The explanation for the decision was a bit muddled, however. On the one hand, some sources said it was because Hamas had carried out hundreds of deadly attacks against Israel and fired thousands of rockets into its territory. However, it was also said that Britain fears for the safety of its own Jewish community, such that the decision is part of its fight against anti-Semitism. Hamas responded with scorn to this latter claim, saying it was a lie to claim concern for British Jews, and that the decision is clearly a “pro-Zionist” one.

As if there is a difference… Once again, the world struggles, and fails, to understand that there is no essential difference between Zionism – the movement to restore a national Jewish presence in the Holy Land – and Judaism. It is impossible to be anti-Zionist without being anti-Semitic, and vice-versa.

A Hamas spokesman said after Kaye was murdered, “The war for Jerusalem will continue until the conqueror is banished.” From our side, KeepJerusalem and all those who love Yerushalayim say: “History and the Jewish nation and religion are on our side, and we will never allow our holy capital to fall from our hands.”

Hamas terror outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Latest Hamas terror infrastructure ‘the most dangerous in recent years’

The large-scale Hamas terror plot uncovered by the Shin Bet intelligence agency and broken up in recent weeks is “the most dangerous tactical-operational infrastructure I recall in recent years,” a senior former Israel Defense Forces officer has told JNS.

Maj. Gen. (res.) Eitan Dangot, Israel’s former Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), and a senior research associate at the Miryam Institute, emphasized the dozens of Hamas operatives arrested as well as the number of suicide bomb vests and weapons recovered in counter-terror raids.

The Shin Bet announced on Monday that it had, together with the IDF, broken up the cell, which was being orchestrated by senior Hamas operatives overseas, including the head of Hamas’s West Bank terror operations, Salah Al-Arouri (who is also Hamas’s deputy chief).

Dangot linked the development to cracks that have appeared in the rule of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and its leader Mahmoud Abbas.

He pointed out Hebron and its environment as a known ideological Hamas stronghold, and a Hamas activity hotspot, but added that Jenin and its environment have seen a spike of armed activity as well. The area is traditionally a Palestinian Islamic Jihad hotspot but also known for its opposition to Abbas’s rule from Fatah-affiliated militias like the Tanzim, Dangot stated.

“Hamas hasn’t budged one millimeter from its ideological commitment to Israel’s destruction, and it is implementing this gradually,” said Dangot. “Its military wing is building up force, and engages in rounds of fighting, like May’s conflict. Due to organizational problems, and secondary considerations created by Hamas’s sovereign rule over a population, the organization also opts for periods of calm, in line with its analysis of its interests at any given time.”

With Hamas’s home turf of Gaza facing limitations as a base for war with Israel, Hamas has reserved a strategic role for the West Bank, said Dangot. Beyond using it as a base for terror attacks targeting Israeli civilians and security forces, Hamas is committed to expanding its influence in the areas currently under P.A. rule, “step by step,” with the “objective of taking over the West Bank gradually and infiltrating the PLO,” he said.

Dangot argued that hints of the day after Abbas’s era have already appeared, ever since Abbas called elections in January this year – and that these hints were “greatly amplified when Abbas called off the elections” at the end of April.

Meanwhile, as a “sub-objective,” Hamas has marked out eastern Jerusalem as a branch for its terrorist activities, and the organization is continuously lighting “flames and instigating situations via Jerusalem residents, safeguarding the lava and ensuring that the flames never extinguish,” Dangot assessed.

This includes clashes at the Temple Mount, exploiting tensions around the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, and strengthening the movement’s presence in eastern Jerusalem. These activities are all designed to signal to Palestinians that Hamas is looking after their interests and looking out for Jerusalem, a cause that forms a core aspect of Hamas’s call to arms, according to Dangot.

The West Bank, meanwhile, is experiencing a weakening of law and order, which is “strengthening Hamas’s capabilities,” he said. “Hamas identifies this trend and expands its influence, through incitement, through Al-Arouri’s activities, through the allocation of resources. Meanwhile, Hamas in Gaza plays the ‘arrangement game,’” Dangot said, referring to ongoing Egyptian-mediated talks to reach a more stable truce with Israel and find solutions for Gaza’s shattered economy.

“This is an illusion. I call this a temporary ceasefire at best. Hamas understands that it needs to lower its head vis-à-vis Egypt and Qatar, as it waits for the next opportunity,” Dangot warned.

In addition, he said the rioting that occurred in Israel during the May conflict represents “the most urgent problem that Israel must take care of – sovereignty and disturbances within its borders.”

Dangot said that a “small but problematic part of the Arab Israeli sector” exploited tensions, and saw a combination of criminal and nationalistic motives come together for unprecedented levels of violence inside Israel.

This is a more alarming situation than security challenges in the West Bank, he said, since in the latter arena, Israel maintains strong intelligence coverage and is able to effectively activate its force while sharing the common interest of stability with the P.A.

Internally, on the other hand, hostile elements are attempting to send arms into the Arab-Israeli sector, including from radical Shi’ite sources from Syria and Iraq, via Jordan and the West Bank into Israel.

“Israel has reached a junction,” said Dangot. “Internally, it must reestablish sovereignty and deal with pockets of resistance. This means arresting inciters, seizing weapons, and creating deterrence [against domestic security challenges] – this is the number one priority,” he stated. “This requires a new strategic concept, and building an appropriate force – in this case, a national guard with adequate resources. Structural changes should be made to the Israel Police as well, with the Southern District divided into two new districts. A peripheral district would receive small, rapid response forces, while greater forces could be focused around the city of Beersheba. This requires immediate attention. Even the Home Front Command’s units can be transferred to a national guard.”

Israel must not accept divisions between Hamas in Gaza and other arenas such as the West Bank and overseas, he argued.

“Hence, Israel has to respond. It must demonstrate how Hamas in Gaza, Lebanon, Turkey and Qatar is orchestrating terrorism, and take action against those who do so. This includes targeted strikes and strikes on weapons storage centers,” said Dangot.

He added, “We must not fear that this will upset the quiet in Gaza. What have we gotten from this quiet? It has not stopped Hamas’s force build-up. We are in a situation in which Hamas has much to lose with Egypt – hence it will count to three before acting [from Gaza].”

The post Latest Hamas terror infrastructure ‘the most dangerous in recent years’appeared first on JNS.org.

Israel levels Palestinian farmland outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Palestinian farmers harvest their crops as land levelling works carried out by Israeli forces take place in Gaza on 13 January 2021 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

Israel levels Palestinian farmland in Gaza

February 15, 2021

Palestinian farmers harvest their crops as land levelling works carried out by Israeli forces take place in Gaza on 13 January 2021 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]November 23, 2021 at 2:41 pm 

The Israeli occupation army this morning carried out an incursion into a border area in the east of the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Information Centre reported.

According to local sources, armoured bulldozers escorted by several military vehicles advanced from a military post into a border area in the east of Gaza City.

The bulldozers levelled and dug swaths of agricultural land, which are located a few metres from the fence between the besieged enclave and the occupation state.

Israel’s army regularly shoots at and levels agricultural land in the area around the fence causing considerable damage to crops and preventing farmers from working their fields.

Such incursions are a violation of the last ceasefire between the Palestinian resistance and the occupation state, which came into effect in May.

The Australian Nuclear Horn Joins the Cold War: Daniel 7

AUKUS- Are We Entering A New Cold War?

Its formation will lead to thwe formation of opposing blocs

ByKawsar Uddin Mahmud1290

The most prominent constructivist, Alexander Wendt, argued, “500 British nuclear weapons are less threatening to the United States than the five North Korean nuclear weapons” (1995). The assertion upholds the power of relationship and its competency between and among the states based on norms, beliefs and culture, though they geographically remain in a remote place. Despite 1071.7 miles distance between New York and England, their culture, norms and accord of attaining the same goal kept them allies for years.

Besides, Australia has also been reckoned a perpetual ally of the UK and the USA since it got independence from the British Empire. The remote country is still under the rule of the British Monarchy, although the British Queen Elizabeth II does not participate in all administrative activities of Australia. The British Queen plays ceremonial and focal symbolic roles. Constituting the aspects made Australia an eternal ally of the United Kingdom ,and intimate and anchored to the extant superpower, the USA.

Through the Thucydides’ Trap, we can effortlessly discern that AUKUS is taking us into another Cold War. In 2016, the Trump administration was in the leading role of beginning the economic cold war, in the name of a ‘trade war’, between the USA and China imposing sanctions on hundreds of Chinese products. As a consequence, China also imposed sanctions on US products and raw materials. Scholars deemed the Democrats would bring a halt to this war but the Biden Administration incited the war with greater interest

However, the three countries entered a remarkable trilateral security alliance, called ‘AUKUS’ on 15 September 2021. The initiative has been upheld and endorsed by the USA, UK and Australia, through a video conference, for enabling Australia obtain nuclear-powered submarines coming out from the generation of diesel-powered submarines. This initiative also comprises the alignment of the greater integration of military purposes, regional policies and actions, cyber-warfare and the capabilities of artificial intelligence.

As this initiative elicits, the security and military assistance to Australia from the USA and UK will ensue in the South China Sea, and the Naval Group of France is conceivably going to miss out on a $90 bllion contract with Australia signed in 2016. Marking a setback for Frrrench President Emmanuel Macron and his government, this initiative takes him aback.

Talking about the alliance, the security buildup facilitation to Australia is one side of the coin but the other side focuses on the root goal of the initiative that aims at confronting China in the South China Sea, the heart of the Indo-Pacific Strategy. In this initiative. None of the three leaders, Joe Biden, Boris Johnson or Scott Morrison, hinted the China concern, but it knows no bounds and AUKUS has been set up as a powerful security alliance against China’s expansionist drive in the South China Sea.

Johnson referred to this initiative as a ‘natural alliance’. He said, “We may be separated geographically” but we are “natural allies”. Morrison, however, insisted that Australia has no concealed intention of pursuing nuclear weapons. Australia will always be there to abide by the rules and regulations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which was ratified by it in 1973. Moreover, Australia joined in the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1998 that also insisted on Australia’s eschewing pursuing nuclear weapons.

Notwithstanding this, critics assert this initiative would indirectly spur the nuclear proliferation of Australia. The alliance is creating a loophole in the NPT and perhaps, making the ways facile for Australia coming to be another nuclear-weapon-powered country. Australia is evolving as the first country to make use of the loophole that will bring about questions on the legitimacy of the NPT and other international institutions by exploiting the loophole in the NPT, critics argue.  No misgiving that the alliance will intensify suspicion and give rise to security dilemmaa among the NPT members and other countries surrounding the aim against China’s expansionist drive.

Focusing on another spectrum, the UK has been working on the concept of ‘Global Britain’ for a long time. It yearns to engage with the Indo-Pacific strategy, augmenting military power and intending for a global gain with the USA Inducting the UK. The initiative would mould the shape of the neo-cold war in the region. Despite the UK’s dependency on the USA, from the military perspective, the onetime world hegemonic power is newly thinking about amplifying sea power. Johnson, however, felt the significance of this trio– the UK, US and Australia– in the Indo-Pacific region which didn’t let him think out of the box.- Advertisement –

However, China is a rising power and the most peer competitor to the USA. A rising power never lets a superpower stay at peace. After 2000, China’s emergence in world politics was like a tiger that had been  asleep for a long time but by strengthening military power it is becoming, with time, another lion in world politics. The USA, the most powerful lion of world politics, will never bear with such a rising of an Eastern lion as its bravado and hegemony is in great danger. China’s military uprising in the South China Sea etches another Thucydides’ Trap in the region.

Thucydides, the writer of the History of the Peloponnesian War and predecessor of classical realism, argued ‘when a rising power challenges the dominance of an established power then war is inevitable between them.’ For instance, before WWI, Germany was the nearest peer competitor to Great Britain, second in military, economic and naval power, which irritated the demons of Great Britain and led it to commence WWI.

Through the Thucydides’ Trap, we can effortlessly discern that AUKUS is taking us into another Cold War. In 2016, the Trump administration was in the leading role of beginning the economic cold war, in the name of a ‘trade war’, between the USA and China imposing sanctions on hundreds of Chinese products. As a consequence, China also imposed sanctions on US products and raw materials. Scholars deemed the Democrats would bring a halt to this war but the Biden Administration incited the war with greater interest.

However, Thucydides’ Trap in the South China Sea issue is very apparent. China reproached the QUAD (The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue among the USA, Japan, India and Australia) initiative since it began. Moreover, AUKUS, undoubtedly, would raise anxiety and tension in China,and  in the South China Sea, strategically and militarily. China, the Eastern lion, will respond necessarily as its reign is being stymied by the Western lion, the USA.

AUKUS, it seems, is going to materialise another cold war. The Eastern bloc and Western bloc concepts will newly arise surrounding this issue. In the meantime, Bangladesh must be astute, as it fosters relations with not only the China bloc but also the US bloc, following further military and security policies. Bangladesh’s peace must not be obstructed in this ordeal maintaining friendly relations with the USA, China, India and all. As a NAM country, Bangladesh should uphold its core foreign policy ‘friendship to all, malice towards none,’ thus it can be competent to ensure security, economic and military peace and purposes.

The Australian Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

OPINION: Bomb-grade uranium for Australian submarines?

In 2016, Japan eliminated its stockpile of nuclear weapons-grade, highly enriched uranium (HEU) from its Fast Critical Assembly research reactor by sending the material to the United States for disposal.

The cache had been estimated at 215 kilograms, sufficient for at least eight nuclear weapons.

Japan’s action contributed to a multi-decade global effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons by ridding the world of HEU, either by closing facilities or converting them to low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel that is unsuitable for weapons.

Supplied photo shows Alan J. Kuperman. (Kyodo)

As a senior U.S. official declared, “Japan has been one of the United States’ staunchest allies in the global effort to minimize, and when possible eliminate, the use of sensitive nuclear materials…This strong partnership has helped the international community ensure that these materials never find their way into the hands of criminals, terrorists, or other unauthorized actors.”

How bewildered Japan now must feel by the recent U.S. and U.K. announcement of a deal to sell Australia eight nuclear-powered submarines fueled by weapons-grade HEU.

Each ship’s reactor would contain about 500 kg of HEU, so Australia would receive four tonnes of HEU, sufficient for more than 160 nuclear bombs. That is nearly 20 times as much HEU as Japan voluntarily gave up in 2016.

The AUKUS deal would also set a dangerous precedent that could reverse decades of progress in eliminating global HEU use.

Other countries that are seeking nuclear submarines — including South Korea and Iran — could insist that they too require HEU fuel, either imported or produced domestically.

This would open the floodgates to weapons proliferation, because such countries legally could block inspections of their naval fuel for decades under a loophole in international safeguards agreements.

Japan’s new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida needs no instruction on the dangers of HEU, considering that he represents Hiroshima, the only place HEU ever has been used in war.

HEU is the easiest path to a nuclear weapon because a critical mass can be formed simply by slamming two pieces together, as on Aug. 6, 1945.

A U.S. physicist who helped make that bomb, Luis Alvarez, later wrote that with “modern weapons-grade uranium…terrorists, if they had such materials, would have a good chance of setting off a high-yield explosion, simply by dropping one-half of the material on the other half.”

Kishida has a chance to engage his two “Quad” allies, Australia and the United States, during AUKUS’s 18-month consultation period, to suggest three alternatives.

First, Australia could insist that its partners provide submarines fueled by lifetime LEU cores, which the U.S. government has been developing since 2016.

Alternatively, Australia could switch to buying nuclear submarines from France, which already has converted its own to LEU fuel.

A final option would be for Australia to revert to conventional submarines, which are less expensive and thus could enable a larger fleet that experts say would achieve better coastal defense.

Japan is the nation that knows best the horror of atomic bombs, so it has special standing and responsibility to counsel its allies to modify a plan that risks spreading such deadly weapons.

(Alan J. Kuperman, Ph.D., is associate professor and coordinator of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project (www.NPPP.org) at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin, and editor of Nuclear Terrorism and Global Security: The Challenge of Phasing out Highly Enriched Uranium (Routledge).)

The Dangerous Australian Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

AUKUS: A dangerous military alliance – Pakistan Today

November 5, 2021

AUKUS is named after Australia, the United Kingdom, and the USA. On 16 September 2021, AUKUS was declared. It is a historic security and military alliance for the Pacific. The alliance will provide Australia with defense technology, including nuclear submarines and powerful missile management. The alliance members will also exchange defense intelligence between them. Cyber space, artificial intelligence, quantum technology, safe navigation strategies, joint military offices, and various military operations will be conducted from the same platform. This military alliance is basically to deal with the influence of China. Last month, the USA and earlier Australia and the United Kingdom withdrew troops from Afghanistan, focusing on the Indo-Pacific and China.

The USA believes that having nuclear-powered ships could quickly pave the way for the development of atomic bombs. That is why it provided nuclear propulsion technology to the British ally. Nuclear-powered submarines will prepare Australia to enter the nuclear power club. If there is a war with China, it will be a nuclear war. How many days and at what time the nuclear sub will reach Canberra has been kept secret. However, it is thought that it will take a decade to supply the full 12, at least eight, nuclear-powered subs.

As a result of this agreement, Australia has canceled the $90 billion submarine agreement with France. France was the first to lose to the USA’s AUKUS diplomacy. France has lost much of its status as a global power. The fall of Paris has been expected since the placing of the French Army under US command in NATO’s Integrated Command in 2009.

France is not just a European metropolis; It is a constellation of regions around the world after the USA, making it the second largest maritime domain in the world. The Indo-Pacific and adjoining regions are home to 1.6 million French citizens. That is to say, France is a power in the Indo-Pacific region.

The decision by Australia to cancel its agreement with France to supply submarines and to get the kind of nuclear-powered submarines used by the Americans and British instead, is a rude blow to the French. The decision was officially announced to France just hours before it was made public, when there was no time at hand. Therefore, the deal of these three countries is being called a betrayal.

According to Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia and now President of the Asia Society and one of the world’s leading experts on the Anglophone world, China Observer, a nuclear or conventional submarine has a lifespan of 30 years. The life of a nuclear power reactor in a submarine is the same. Thus, Australia will not need to develop nuclear power generation separately for submarines. The Australians will get 12 submarines. But no technology will be transferred outside of training on how these submarines can be maintained, or Australians will not have the freedom to operate these submarines of their choice.

In other words, Australian submarines will only support the US Navy, not be an independent military force. The Kiwis are happy that they will use the card as a bargaining chip when negotiating with China, a major trading partner. The US trump card is that Taiwan could be bloody at any time to get China in the bag.

China says AUKUS is another sinister move by the USA aimed at a military confrontation in the South China Sea. Since 2015, the Chinese military has been training to occupy Taiwan’s presidential palace, and they have built a replica.

The day after the announcement, China formally applied to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the successor to President Obama’s proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership. As it turns out, Beijing is proposing economic exchanges, and Washington is proposing war.

Influenced by the ideology of the non-aligned movement, ASEAN did not respond, but Indonesia has already expressed frustration. ASEAN wants to create a huge free trade area, which includes China. NATO is also silent. It had ambitions to expand into the Indo-Pacific region, and NATO understands that it will not be part of any game. New Zealand declared its adherence to the policy of nuclear disarmament. As a result, nuclear-armed ships have been refused entry to its ports.

The AUKUS deal brings the issue of Indo-Pacific strategic security back to the forefront and has also affected the balance of power in South Asia between nuclear rivals Pakistan and India.

Unfortunately, after the failed military operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, it seems that the Western bloc wants to test the depth and edge of the waters of East Asia and the Pacific Rim. Barack Obama wanted to take the ‘pivot to Asia’ policy forward, which is being brought back. Once the spark of a nuclear sub is heated in the ocean water, it may not be possible to control that arms race

Analysts are describing AUKUS   as a “new Cold War” between the USA and China. If Australia is equipped with nuclear weapons, India will also argue in favor of getting more nuclear subs and other nuclear weapons.

Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh has hinted that New Delhi may change its “no-first use of nuclear weapons” policy. Such a change in Indian policy could similarly force China to change its policy of not using nuclear weapon first. And in South Asia, a new wave of nuclear weapons competition may begin.

US-Indian cooperation on sensitive defense technology could upset the balance of strategic power in South Asia. If Modi’s BJP retaliates by increasing its own naval nuclear capability, Islamabad will not sit still on the nuclear strategic chessboard of maritime security to strengthen its alliance with China.

We have seen that the major powers are operating nuclear warships in the Indian Ocean in clear disregard of the 1968 NPT, the UNSC Resolution 255 and the UNSCR 984 Nuclear Security Assurance. Therefore, without going into any alliance, Bangladesh needs to acquire nuclear subs for its maritime, island and offshore security.

India has been very careless about nuclear energy. In Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Nagpur, and state-sponsored nuclear smuggling and uranium theft have easily led to the smuggling and sale to terrorists on the black market. This is a serious concern for the international community. Carelessness can lead to many catastrophes.

India has now embarked on a hegemonic ‘maritime brinkmanship’ in South Asia. Rapid military modernization and the acquisition of naval technology have increased the threat level of Pakistan.

US anti-China security concerns are conducive to India’s foreign policy. There is no doubt that Delhi will now further strengthen its naval alliance with Washington. That is why Islamabad may be motivated to make an awkward deal to resist India.

To maintain peace in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, Pakistan has already expressed its desire to further enhance its naval capabilities through modern warfare management (CMS), long-range patrol jets, unmanned warplanes, sophisticated weapons, satellites and surveillance systems. This arms race could make the security situation in the Subcontinent more unstable and complicated.

France has accused its allies of double standards for scrapping its multimillion-dollar deal with Australia. The French foreign minister said the relationship had given rise to a “serious crisis”. It is quite clear that the nuclear submarines are targeting China. Will Australia’s nuclear submarines protect the country from a major defense threat from tiny Pacific states, or will it make it more dangerous? That is now another matter of reckoning.

The AUKUS debate raises a number of other issues, such as the possibility that even close allies could be ditched if trade contacts are endangered. The French defense industry could have achieved a lucrative deal if the Australians had taken the lead. France will never forget this. There are many historical reasons for this. As the Western bloc opens up new fronts in the Indo-Pacific region, China will also step up its preparations. Withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, the world thought, had quenched the US hunger for global military courage. The sudden action and betrayal of France proves the idea futile. Washington is preparing for a long-term military confrontation with China.

To keep China under pressure politically and militarily, the vast sea area will be controlled by Quad + (United States and United Kingdom, as well as Australia, India and Japan). It seems that Washington is preparing for a war in a decade or two. But Beijing may not give anti-China forces time on the Taiwan question.

Meanwhile, China has accused AUKUS of having a “cold war mentality”. North Korea says the deal for a nuclear submarine will spark a regional arms race. Malaysia says the deal is a “catalyst for a nuclear arms race.”

Unfortunately, after the failed military operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, it seems that the Western bloc wants to test the depth and edge of the waters of East Asia and the Pacific Rim. Barack Obama wanted to take the ‘pivot to Asia’ policy forward, which is being brought back. Once the spark of a nuclear sub is heated in the ocean water, it may not be possible to control that arms race.

Bumbling Biden tells French President the US was ‘clumsy’ in handling the Australian nuclear Horn deal

Biden tells French President the US was ‘clumsy’ in handling nuclear submarine deal

In this June 11, file photo, US President Joe Biden and France’s President Emmanuel Macron walk along the boardwalk during the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, England. 

By Maegan Vazquez, CNN

(CNN) — President Joe Biden on Friday admitted that his administration was “clumsy” in its handling of the deal that deprived France of billions in defense contracts.

The comment came during of a closely watched meeting with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, in Rome, meant to repair fractured ties after a rift over an agreement to provide Australia with submarines,

“I was under the impression that France had been informed long before that the deal was not going through, honest to God,” Biden said on Friday, sitting alongside Macron in the French Embassy to the Holy See.

Last month, the US, the United Kingdom and Australia announced a new partnership that includes providing assistance to help Australia develop nuclear-powered submarines — a deal France says was made without its knowledge, jeopardizing an existing contract worth billions to provide Australia with diesel-powered submarines.

The rift escalated to the rare point that France temporarily recalled its US ambassador, and even Biden was caught off-guard by how furious French officials became over the matter.

“I think what happened — to use an English phrase — what we did was clumsy,” Biden continued. “It was not done with a lot of grace. I was under the impression that certain things had happened that had not happened.”

It was a striking admission of a foreign policy misstep for a President with decades of experience in that arena.

Biden called France “an extremely valued partner and a power in and of itself.”

“There’s too much we have done together, suffered together, celebrated together and value together for anything to be able to break this up. We’re at one of those inflection points in world history. Things are changing. Pieces of the board are moving,” he added.

When Macron was asked if he was satisfied that the relations with the United States had been repaired, he told reporters, “We clarified together what we had to clarify.”

“Now what’s important is to be sure that such a situation will not be possible for our future,” he added.

Macron emphasized that “what really matters now is what we will do together in the coming weeks, the coming months, the coming years.”

The two leaders appeared in good spirits ahead of the meeting, waving to the press and smiling before clapping each other on the shoulder as they walked inside the embassy.

The highly anticipated bilateral meeting between the long-standing allies is taking place ahead of the Group of 20 meeting in Rome and the United Nations’ subsequent climate summit in Glasgow. The bilateral follows Biden’s earlier meetings on Friday with the Pope at the Vatican and with the Italian president and prime minister.

The location for the meeting — on French territory in Rome — is intentional, a diplomatic source told CNN.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Rome that he expected the meeting to be “constructive and deeply substantive,” and that Biden and Macron will cover a gamut of issues facing their alliance, from “counterterrorism in the Middle East to great power competition to economic, trade and technology issues.”

Sullivan said a “forward-looking” statement is expected to be released following the meeting, which will touch on areas of cooperation, counterterrorism, the Indo-Pacific, energy and technology.

The two leaders are also expected to be in the same room for other meetings throughout the summits.

In mid-September, the two leaders spoke over the phone, appearing to ease some of tensions over the submarine deal.

During the 30-minute call, Biden appeared to acknowledge missteps in how his administration had approached the talks. And, importantly, a joint statement about the call noted that “the two leaders have decided to open a process of in-depth consultations, aimed at creating the conditions for ensuring confidence and proposing concrete measures toward common objectives.”

Friday’s bilateral meeting marks an opportunity for those consultations to lead to concrete announcements, Célia Belin, a visiting fellow at the Center on the United States and Europe at The Brookings Institution, told CNN.

“The meeting between the two leaders will be the occasion to make some announcements and to see whether or not … this crisis was the occasion to define … a new common agenda, or if there are sort of long, lingering issues that cannot be addressed,” Belin told CNN.

Sullivan told reporters on Thursday that the Biden administration feels “very good about the intensive engagement that we’ve had with France over the course of the past few weeks,” noting his own recent visit to Paris, the President’s two calls with Macron since the submarines spat and Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s Paris trip.

“We’re eager to have the conversation tomorrow because the agenda really is overflowing,” Sullivan said. “There are so many issues in which we and France come from common values, common perspectives, common interests, and need to be aligned in terms of our policy approaches.”

The outrage in Paris over the subs agreement was dismissed by some in Washington, and Belin wasn’t convinced that the US and France see the stakes of Friday’s meeting the same way.

“I can tell you it’s highly anticipated on the French side. I wonder if it’s highly anticipated on the other side,” Belin said, calling the dynamic “a reflection of the imbalance in a relationship.”

“One is the superpower. The other one is this strong middle power. But you have an imbalance. And for France, having a good relationship, or having a clear relationship, with the US — it’s also a condition, for instance, for influence in Europe,” she added.

There have been other rifts, too, such as the surprise over the deadly and chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan, which involved NATO allies, such as France.

Macron used the withdrawal to make the case for his larger vision for European global leadership — particularly its independence from US national security policy.

During a speech from Baghdad this summer, Macron remarked: “Whatever the American choice, we will maintain our presence to fight terrorism in Iraq as long as the terrorist groups continue to operate and as long as the Iraqi government asks us for this support.”

The meeting between the two leaders, which is clearly seeking to repair relations, comes just four months after their last summit with other world leaders in Europe, where Macron heaped praise on Biden and called him “part of the club.”

“I think that what you demonstrate is that leadership is partnership, and we do appreciate,” Macron said.

And asked at the time if allies think America is back, Biden looked at Macron and said, “Ask him,” to which Macron replied: “Definitely.”

The Macron meeting is a smaller part of a larger theme playing out as Biden returns to Europe for the summits.

Biden, who stepped into his presidency declaring that American diplomacy had returned following a period of Trump-led nationalism, has returned to Europe for the second time since coming into office among a more skeptical group of world leaders.

Leaders attending the global summits in Europe in the coming days, such as Macron, have their own stakes.

France’s presidential election is in April. Macron, who is seeking reelection, is on a charm offensive with voters. In June, his party performed poorly in regional elections, which were being closely watched ahead of the presidential vote next spring. However, given the low voter turnout, political experts said it was hard to draw conclusions.

France is also assuming its six-month presidency of the European Union in January — marking a test for Macron’s larger vision. And with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s imminent departure from office, Macron, if reelected, could stand to become the de facto dean of Europe.

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How the Australian horn is destabilizing the world: Daniel

Beijing’s conversion of this prowess into significant military and diplomatic might is now altering the global balance of power

How the AUKUS pact could destabilise China, and the rest of the word

By Chris Ogden9th October

CHINA’S dramatic accumulation of economic power over the last 40 years has increasingly focused the attention of western countries upon Asia.

Beijing’s conversion of this prowess into significant military and diplomatic might is now altering the global balance of power. It also suggests that while ­China is rising to international pre-eminence, countries such as the US and the UK are in relative – if not terminal – decline.

At stake in these dynamics is who ­determines the nature of the world order in which international politics takes place but also if this transformation can happen peacefully and will be accepted by all ­involved.

Central to such an outlook from a ­western perspective are attempts to ­present China as an imminent threat to the international system. Such ­narratives claim that Beijing is seeking to use its ­economic and military might to take over the world in a manner akin to that of the US, who effectively dominated the world since the end of the Second World War until the early 21st century.

READ MORE: Iraq and the Balkans remind us of the power of the people

This viewpoint overlooks Beijing’s repeated insistence upon wishing for a peaceful international system in which several countries hold power. It also ­ignores 2000 years of Chinese history ­during which China dominated Asia, but not the world, and who reigned based more upon respect than brute force.

The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wishes to restore this past status, which was debased for over a century prior to 1949, and began with the Opium Wars with the British in 1839-42, and also included long periods of war, invasion and then occupation by Japan.

This period of shame is known ­within China as the “Century of ­Humiliation”, and was characterised by chaos, ­uncertainty and instability. Used as a touchstone for nationalism, it included China losing its regional supremacy to ­Japan, which ­remains as a ­significant point of friction between the two sides. Not only did Japan occupy parts of ­China, its forces also ­carried out ­atrocities against the population – most ­notoriously the Nanjing Massacre of 1937-8 that ­resulted in between 40,000 and 300,000 deaths (and which is still denied by ­Japanese ­nationalists to this day).

Importantly too, Japan’s occupation also saw the loss of territory in the form of Taiwan (then known as Formosa), as well as related Chinese claims ­concerning some small islands in the South China Sea. When the 1919 Treaty of Versailles wrongly transferred German-occupied portions of Shandong to Japanese control rather than back to China, it also bred a deep-seated suspicion towards the west.

Any actions by western countries that seek to limit China’s regional ­power ­immediately trigger such historical ­memories not only for CCP leaders but also for a population that is well-educated in their history.

The announcement of the AUKUS pact between the US, the UK and ­Australia, that heightens the west’s ­military ­presence in the Indo-Pacific, typifies such ­triggering. So too will the upcoming meeting of “the Quad” (between the US, Japan, Australia and India) where its various leaders will proclaim a need to bolster democracy in the region as part of their “rules-based” international order. Such aims have been – and will be – interpreted by Beijing as being essentially anti-China, and due to highly virulent nationalist voices in the country, will force CCP leaders to openly and decisively respond.

The AUKUS pact is also indicative of the lengths to which western powers fear that their status is threatened by China. Apart from burning many ­diplomatic bridges between the EU and the ­members of AUKUS, by giving Australia access to sensitive technology in the form of ­nuclear powered submarines, the deal tacitly encourages nuclear proliferation.

It also acts, from Beijing’s ­perspective, as a new threatening element in the ­Indo-Pacific region that actively seeks to limit, if not derail, its development and modernisation goals. These goals are ­essential to China restoring its past status as Asia’s number one power.

In these ways, it is unsurprising that China will now seek to enhance its own military capabilities, and as such the AUKUS pact reduces – rather than ­maximises – regional security.

It also augments the perception ­within some nationalist and military circles in China that such moves by the west will affect China’s ability to reclaim ­Taiwan, which is central to overturning the ­injustices of the Century of Humiliation.

Such fears explain in part why ­China has carried out so many incursions into Taiwan’s air defence zone in the last weeks, which are occurring at an ­unprecedented level. Such incursions are also done to test Taiwan’s defensive capabilities and to put pressure upon its pilots but concurrently increase western and regional perceptions that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is imminent.

Such reactions and counter-reactions, accompanied by increasingly histrionic rhetoric, again only serve to increase ­tensions on all sides and do little to foster stability.

Chinese suspicions concerning western intentions were recently only increased further when US President Biden ­announced to the United Nations that “for the first time in 20 years the United States is not at war. We’ve turned the page” despite the fact that the US has ­active troops in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

In total, across 80 countries, the US also still has 800 active military bases (versus 70 bases across the world held by all ­other countries). When heightened by negative historical memories, western actions are thus regarded as ­hypocritical and ­duplicitous. This is ­especially so in light of the huge failed invasions ­regarding ­Afghanistan and Iraq that bought ­insecurity to Central Asia and the Middle East.

In turn, western strategic thinkers ­appear to have neglected to consider the impact of AUKUS upon North Korea, which continues to enhance its nuclear weapons capability and does so – partly – out of fear of a western intervention.

Given the militarising effect that AUKUS will have on the region, ­Pyongyang will continue to develop such a capacity and we can expect to see more weapons and missiles tests, which again will act as a catalyst for further destabilising forces in the Indo-Pacific, which are on China’s southern border.

SEEN in the context of a wider narrative that attempts to situate China-Western relations within that of a “new Cold War”, the potential for further competition and friction is palpable.

Not only is such a narrative misplaced – in that the globalised, highly inter-connected world is no longer split into two separate trade and diplomatic blocs – it also casts China as the new enemy of the west despite very deep-seated ties ­between the two sides.

These primarily include – in 2020 – China being the top trading partner of the US (with $560.10 billion in trade), Japan ($141.6 billion), Australia ($90.6 billion) and India ($77.70 billion). It was also the third highest trade partner of the UK (at $18.6 billion), after the US and the EU.

Such ties beggar the question; if China is such a major threat to global ­stability, why do these countries have such ­deep-seated economic relations with it?

China is also a vital partner concerning the climate emergency and managing the global financial system, and is essential to the world finding solutions to such major issues. Pressuring China through AUKUS would appear to be counter-intuitive in solving such questions and may cause China to embolden the economic and ­diplomatic ties that it is building across Asia and the world.

In particular, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is investing between

$1 and $8 trillion in railway, road, and sea route infrastructure, as well as ­construction, real estate, and power grids. This investment is attracting other ­countries to Beijing, and by extension greatly reduces relative western influence in global politics. Building such ­“win-win” ties that are not based upon military force and coercion also helps China to present itself as a more peaceful and more stable alternative to the west.

Notwithstanding the human rights concerns apparent in Xinjiang or the ­increased control and surveillance of the Chinese population through the Social Credit System, the AUKUS pact and the western insecurities will thus ­undoubtedly fuel destabilise the ­Indo-Pacific region.

If a conflict is forced over China’s ­territorial claims relating to Taiwan or islands in the South China Sea, the ­consequences will be devastating.

These relate to the human cost of any conflict – in which Chinese, and arguably western, leaders will not wish to be seen to back down – but also concerning the ­resultant damage to the global economy, which with China at its epicentre will ­precipitate a decades-long worldwide depression.

The ramifications of such a conflict will be felt everywhere, including in Scotland, and must make us ask why the UK ­Government is seemingly on a pathway that facilitates such an eventuality.

READ MORE: El Salvador: The Scottish people who emigrated to Latin America

Coming at a time when much of the British economy is visibly convulsing from the country’s withdrawal from the EU, as well as the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, we must also ­question the value of such badly thought through consequences of the AUKUS pact.

AS a country that is firmly in decline on the world stage, the instinct to punch above its weight and to side with the US no matter the consequences remains (and has little heed for the lessons from the disastrous invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq).

This hubris only underlines the ­perilous nature of contemporary UK foreign ­policy, and the unintended consequences that trying to grasp on to the country’s past status will bring.

Chris Ogden is Senior Lecturer in Asian Security at the School of International Relations at the University of St Andrews

The Australian Horn joins the war outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Rockets are launched towards Israel from Gaza City, controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement, on May 11, 2021. Picture: MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
Rockets are launched towards Israel from Gaza City, controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement, on May 11, 2021. Picture: MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

Joint committee hears Australia should classify Hamas ‘in its entirety’ as terrorist organisation

The head of Australia’s domestic intelligence agency has made a bold declaration about Palestinian group Hamas.

The head of Australia’s domestic spy agency has thrown his support behind listing the entirety of Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

ASIO director-general Mike Burgess said he did not have an issue with the listing the entire Palestinian group.

“Yes I would support it, but I am not the decision maker,” Mr Burgess told a parliamentary inquiry on Friday.

“There is a difference between Hamas and people who consider themselves Palestinian. If they support Hamas, then they would be supporting a terrorist organisation.”

At present, Australia only recognises the group’s paramilitary wing as a terror group.

But Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of a pro-Israel group known as the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, said the idea of “wings” within Hamas was fiction.

Dr Schanzer said the Home Affairs Minister should list the entirety of Hamas under the Criminal Code. 

“There is no separating the Izz-Add brigades (the paramilitary) from the broader organisation,” he said on Friday.

“This is a fiction perpetuated by those who wish to engage with elements of the terrorist group.

“The entry of Hamas should be listed as a terrorist group in Australia and around the world.”

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews has been urged by experts to follow the lead of Canada, the EU and the US in classifying all of Hamas as a terrorist organisation. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews has been urged by experts to follow the lead of Canada, the EU and the US in classifying all of Hamas as a terrorist organisation. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

Canada, the European Union, Israel, Japan and the United States have designated the entirety of Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

In order to be listed as a terrorist organisation, an agency would need to nominate Hamas to the Department of Home Affairs.

There is no nomination for the broader group before the department, but representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Home Affairs confirmed to the committee they could make a nomination themselves.

Mr Burgess said broadening the listing to include the entire organisation would not have an impact on ASIO’s work, nor would it “present broader national security concerns”.

Burnt cars in the Israeli town of Holon near Tel Aviv, on May 11, 2021, after rockets were launched towards Israel from the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas. (Picture: Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)
Burnt cars in the Israeli town of Holon near Tel Aviv, on May 11, 2021, after rockets were launched towards Israel from the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas. (Picture: Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)

He said Hamas brigades were assessed as a threat to military and civilian targets in Israel.

“As a consequence, they remain a security concern to ASIO, and we support the listing,” Mr Burgess said.

“ASIO has assessed (the brigades) as a highly capable terror organisation that are committed to using terror tactics in targeting Israel.”

Listing all of Hamas as a terrorist organisation would expose its supporters to counter-terrorism laws.
The committee has been asked to review whether Al-Shabaab; the Kurdistan Workers’ Party; Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and Palestinian Islamic Jihad; as well as Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades will continue to be listed as terrorist organisations under the Criminal Code. 

This will be the ninth time Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades will be relisted.

In anticipation of the New Zealand nuclear horn: Daniel 7

With the AUKUS alliance confronting China, New Zealand should ramp up its anti-nuclear diplomacy

OPINION: New Zealand might not be part of the recently revealed security agreement between the US, Britain and Australia (AUKUS), but it certainly can’t avoid the diplomatic and strategic fallout.

Under the pact, Australia stands to gain nuclear-powered submarine capability, with the US seeking greater military basing rightsin the region. ASEAN allies have had to be reassured over fears the region is being nuclearised.

Unsurprisingly, China and Russia both reacted negatively to the AUKUS arrangement. France, which lost out on a lucrative submarine contract with Australia, felt betrayed and offended.

Johnson tells Macron to ‘get a grip’ over AUKUS submarine deal

Boris Johnson has dismissed French anger about the Australian submarines deal, insisting Emmanuel Macron should “get a grip”.

But behind the shifting strategic priorities the new agreement represents – specifically, the rise of an “Indo-Pacific” security focus aimed at containing China – lies a nuclear threat that is growing.

Already there have been warnings from China that AUKUS could put Australia in the atomic cross-hairs. Of course, it probably already was, with the Pine Gap intelligence facility a likely target.

While New Zealand’s nuclear-free statusmakes it a less obvious target, it is an integral part of the Five Eyes intelligence network. Whether that would make the Waihopai spy base an attractive target in a nuclear conflict is known only to the country’s potential enemies.

What we do know, however, is that nuclear catastrophe remains a very real possibility. According to the so-called Doomsday Clock, it is currently 100 seconds to midnight – humanity’s extinction point should some or all of the planet’s 13,100 nuclear warheads be launched.

The US and Russia account for most of these, with 1550 many of these deployed on high alert (meaning they can be fired within 15 minutes of an order) and thousands more stockpiled.

The other members of the “nuclear club” – France, Britain, Israel, India, North Korea, Pakistan and China – are estimated to possess over 1000 more.

Most of these warheads are much larger than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. US, Russian and Chinese investment in the development of a new generation of hypersonic missiles has raised fears of a new arms race.

From New Zealand’s point of view, this is more than disappointing. Having gone nuclear free in the 1980s, it worked hard to export the policy and promote disarmament. The high-tide was in 2017 when 122 countries signed the UN’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

But the nine nuclear-capable countries simply shrugged. The Trump administration even wrote to the signatories to say they had made “a strategic error” that “turns back the clock on verification and disarmament” and urged them to rescind their ratification.

President Donald Trump then began popping rivets out of the international frameworks keeping the threat of nuclear war in check. He quit the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which prohibited short- to medium-range nukes in Europe, and the Open Skies agreement, which allowed flights through national air space to monitor compliance.

He also quit the multi-national agreement restricting Iran’s nuclear programme (despite Iran’s compliance) and failed to denuclearise North Korea, despite much fanfare. The bilateral START agreement limiting US and Russian nukes survived, but China rebuffed Trump’s idea of a trilateral nuclear pact.

Nor is the clock ticking backwards with Joe Biden in the White House. Although he extended START, the Iran deal hasn’t been resurrected and there’s been no breakthrough with a still provocative North Korea.

Both the INF and the Open Skies agreements lie dormant, and the AUKUS pact has probably seen US-Chinese relations hit a new low.

While it makes sense for New Zealand to maintain and promote its nuclear-free policy, it must also be pragmatic about reducing tension and risk, particularly in its own region. Being outside the AUKUS agreement and being on good terms with China is a good start.

Not being a nuclear state might mean New Zealand lacks clout or credibility in such a process. But the other jilted ally outside the AUKUS relationship, France, is both a nuclear power and has strong interests in the region.

Like China, France sits outside the main framework of US-Russia nuclear regulation. Now may well be the time for France to turn its anger over the AUKUS deal into genuine leadership and encourage China into a rules-based system. This is where New Zealand could help.

The Christchurch Call initiative, led by Jacinda Ardern and French president Emmanuel Macron after the 2019 terrorist attack, shows New Zealand and France can cooperate well. Now may be the chance to go one step further, where the country that went nuclear-free works with the country that bombed the Rainbow Warrior, and together start to talk to China.

This would involve discussions about weapons verification and safety measures in the Indo-Pacific region, including what kinds of thresholds might apply and on what terms nuclear parity might be established and reduced.

Such an initiative might be difficult and slow – and for many hard to swallow. But New Zealand has the potential to be an honest broker, and has a voice that just might be heard above the ticking of that clock.

As UN Secretary General António Guterres warned only last week: “We are on the edge of an abyss and moving in the wrong direction. Our world has never been more threatened or more divided.”

Alexander Gillespie is a Professor of Law at the University of Waikato.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.