Category Archives: Diplomacy

Russian Invasion in Ukraine: Explaining the Identity Crisis and the Energy Wars Over the Shale Gas Reserves Share in Ukraine


At the moment of writing these lines, an Ukrainian soldier falls to the ground, with a bullet piercing his head, while a Russian soldier is losing his life from a fragment of an anti-tank shell. At this time, small children are losing their parents in Ukraine, either they are Ukrainian or Russian orphans. We must end the war on Ukraine and find a way to put an end to perpetual wars.

The catastrophe that was set in motion by the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 cannot be averted on the basis of Russian nationalism, a thoroughly reactionary ideology that serves the interests of the capitalist ruling class represented by Vladimir Putin.Statement of the International Committee of the Fourth International

Analysts argue that Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine has overturned the post-war world order.  Surely, Putin’s indefensible invasion has been transformative, violating international law and fueling a perilous escalation of violence. We have witnessed the heart-rending suffering of Ukrainians, including the 350,000 already forced to flee; the bravery unfairly required of people lining up to donate blood or organize resistance; the more than 6,000 arrests of anti-war demonstrators in Russia.

If he persists in this mad act of imperial aggression, it will be catastrophic not only for Ukraine but for Russia and all of Europe — and maybe even the entire world. With his forces encircling Kyiv but bogged down after five days of heavy combat, Putin placed Russia’s nuclear forces on alert.

The Imperialist war between Russia and the United States into the Ukrainian territory.

Since 2014, the Russian regime has become more nationalistic and chauvinistic, while nationalism in Ukraine has become more civic, and yet some western writing on Ukraine and Russia since 2014 gives the opposite impression.

A successful overthrow of the current regime in Ukraine would increase the threat to the three Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, all NATO members, and encourage China to consider a military conquest of Taiwan.

Russia has demanded since the mid-1990s that Eurasia be recognized as Russia’s exclusive sphere of influence where countries cannot integrate with, or join, NATO and the EU. Russia has also been opposed to Eurasian countries using UN peacekeepers in frozen conflicts artificially manufactured by the Kremlin to thwart pro-Western countries integrating into NATO and the EU. Ranked by the human rights monitoring think tank Freedom House as a “consolidated authoritarian regime”, Russia aggressively opposes the spread of democracy in Eurasia. The existence of a successful democracy in Ukraine is viewed by the Kremlin as a threat to the autocracy built by President Vladimir Putin.

The US Biden administration, by refusing to discuss Russia’s objections to Ukraine’s integration into NATO, used Ukraine as bait. It incited the invasion, which will now be used as a pretext for escalating confrontation with Russia.

The claim, repeated by Biden, that “our forces are not and will not be engaged in a conflict with Russia in Ukraine,” has no credibility. The US and NATO powers have funneled billions of dollars in military equipment into Ukraine and have armed its fascistic paramilitary forces with the aim of prolonging the conflicts and exacting significant Russian losses. “History has shown time and again,” Biden said, “how swift gains in territory eventually give way to grinding occupations, acts of mass civil disobedience and strategic dead-ends.”

Biden again declared that in a confrontation involving Russia with any NATO country, the US will use the “full force of American power.” This can only mean that not only is nuclear war possible, but the danger is far advanced and greater than at any previous time in history. Biden stated today that relations between the US and Russia have completely broken down, declaring that, amidst the danger of a catastrophic European and global war, he has no plans to call Putin.

(source)

Language Map of Ukraine
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ethnolingusitic_map_of_ukraine.png

Putin Wants to Reinstate the Soviet Bloc Influence in East Europe

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and fall of Communism as a major global ideology, observers across the world were optimistic that “political ideologies” would never again determine great power competition. However, the spread of ethnic conflict in Ukraine between Russian-speaking minorities and the Kiev government since 2014 has demonstrated that the Communist political ideology, which was promoted by the Soviet Union for over seventy years, was being replaced by a new narrative, “identity politics”, which emphasized ethnolinguistic identities as fundamental pillars of society rather than socioeconomic categorizations.

Back in February of 2015, representatives of Russia, Ukraine, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the leaders of separatist-held regions Donetsk and Luhansk signed a 13-point agreement called Minsk II.

The Minsk II deal set out military and political steps that remain unimplemented. A major blockage has been Russia’s insistence that it is not a party to the conflict and therefore is not bound by its terms Al-Jazeera reports.

Considering Ukraine’s own problems with corruption and the rule of law and given the active war in its east, it is impossible that the country joins either the EU or NATO in the near future. Russia, for one, demands that the latter remains completely off the table by a mutual agreement between Moscow and Washington. But part of the problem is that although Ukraine is not in NATO, Ukraine’s security is treated by EU and NATO member states (like Poland and Lithuania) as a matter of their own security.

What is the ‘Minsk conundrum’?

Ukraine sees the 2015 agreement as an instrument to re-establish control over the rebel territories. It wants a ceasefire, control of the Russia-Ukraine border, elections in the Donbas, and a limited devolution of power to the separatists – in that order.

Russia views the deal as obliging Ukraine to grant rebel authorities in Donbas comprehensive autonomy and representation in the central government, effectively giving Moscow the power to veto Kyiv’s foreign policy choices. Only then would Russia return the Russia-Ukraine border to Kyiv’s control.

After Minsk II and the implication of Russia in the Syrian conflict, Russian identity warfare has helped Moscow to advance her regional policies and to deter strategic threats. Following the 2014 Ukraine revolution, Russia was concerned about the expansion of NATO to Ukraine, though the pro-Russian separatist movements in Luhansk and Donetsk successfully established a buffer zone between Russia’s mainland and pro-west Kiev.

However, it is hard to believe that Russia and its proxies withdrew from their territorial ambitions solely to assist the Minsk II process. In reality, there were other issues that might have convinced the Kremlin to put a hold on its territorial ambitions. Moscow’s incursions against Georgia and Ukraine have also altered the attitudes of other traditional allies of Russia in Central Asia and East Europe. Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia, both Belarus and Kazakhstan were increasingly worried that they might be the next targets of Russian expansionism. Many in Kazakhstan started to fear that Russia might attempt to bring regions populated by ethnic Russian speakers in northern Kazakhstan back within its borders. Also, in Minsk, a growing fear began among elites over Russian intentions towards Belarus. Hence, despite the many achievements of Russia’s identity warfare, it also presented Moscow with new challenges.

One the other hand, Russian identity warfare has not been cost-free, Russia’s policy has led to the growth of xenophobic nationalism in Russia to the extent that many of the country’s minorities have started to consider themselves as persona-non-grata in Russia. In a way, the current emphasis on the Orthodox religion and Slavic ethnicity as the core elements of Russian national identity has raised concerns among non-Slavic minorities that Russia is moving toward a cultural nationalism that discriminates against these minorities. Hence, it seems that while identity warfare can be an efficient sword in Russia’s weaponry, it is also double-edged one that can be hurtful to Russia.

The Question of the Ukrainian Identity according to Ukrainians

Most people think of Ukraine as an Eastern European country. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba isn’t one of them. “I am deeply convinced that Ukraine is and has always been a Central European state: historically, politically, and culturally,” he said in a speech last year. “Central Europe is where our identity belongs.”

This was not a statement of geographical fact but one of historical and cultural perspective. Ukraine’s future, like its past, lies not with Russia but with the Central European countries firmly ensconced in NATO and the European Union: Slovakia, Hungary, Lithuania, and especially Poland.

Over the past 20 years, Poland has influenced Ukraine’s cultural and political development more than any other country besides Russia. It has been its staunchest supporter within the EU and NATO; welcomed millions of Ukrainians to live, study, and work there; and provided an alternative model of what Ukraine could become as a truly Central European country: European, patriotic, openly anti-Russian, and economically successful—all under the safety of the U.S. security umbrella.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014‚ Kyiv has steadily built itself up as a nation state on the Polish model. It is a process that Russia itself set in motion, and one that—as Russian troops again amass on Ukraine’s border, with talk of war imminent—is all but impossible to reverse.

In 2020, leaders of Poland, Lithuania, and Ukraine met in Lublin, Poland, to make a joint declaration announcing a new alliance called the “Lublin Triangle,” dedicated to strengthening cultural, economic, political, and military ties as well as supporting Ukraine’s eventual EU and NATO integration. Pro-Kremlin propaganda labeled the formation part of an “Anglo-Saxon proxy war” with Russia. This year, Poland and Ukraine entered yet another trilateral alliance aimed at protecting Ukraine’s sovereignty, this time with the United Kingdom.

Fracking Shale Gas Reserves in Ukraine and the role of Presidents Biden and Putin since 2014

The vast shale gas reserves in the separatist-held Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk regions are an important element not to be overlooked when analysing the Ukraine crisis!

Concerns that Russia is using its gas supplies as a weapon to achieve its political aims are well founded. Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, noted that Russia’s decision to drop gas supplies to Europe by a quarter came as it was heightening tension towards Ukraine. “I hope this was only a coincidence,” he told the Guardian.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Ukraine has third-largest shale gas reserves in Europe at 128 trillion cubic feet (3.6 trillion cubic metres). As of 2011, approximately 22 domestic and foreign-owned companies have been engaged in hydraulic fracturing in Ukraine. Excluding Russia’s gas reserves in Asia, Ukraine today holds the second biggest known gas reserves in Europe. As of late 2019, known Ukrainian reserves amounted to 1.09 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, second only to Norway’s known resources of 1.53 trillion cubic meters. Yet, these enormous reserves of energy remain largely untapped. Today, Ukraine has a low annual reserve usage rate of about 2 percent. Moreover, more active exploration may yield previously undiscovered gas fields, which would further increase the overall volume of Ukraine’s deposits.

In addition, if we put the map of the conflict on the one of Ukraine’s shale gas fields, the Donetsk region is an obvious overlap.  Besides sitting on an allegedly huge deposit of shale gas known as Yuzivska, perhaps not surprisingly, it is also the hotbed of the fiercest fighting between the government’s armed forces and pro-Russian separatists.

Yuzivska is believed to contain up to four trillion cubic meters of shale gas, according to the Ukrainian government. To tap this, energy giant Shell signed a production sharing agreement in January 2013, opening way for a potential $10 billion investment in the field. In an optimistic scenario before the armed conflict, Yuzivska alone was supposed to produce up to 20 billion cubic meters of gas annually (bcm/y) by 2030, which equals Ukraine’s 2011 overall gas output.

It is not hard to see why this would be a quite a scary scenario for Moscow. An energy independent Ukraine, let alone if it decides to export its gas to Europe, would mean enormous losses for Gazprom.

Foreign Policy reported in June 2014 that the Russian president and his inner circle have been covertly backing European movements that demonise fracking, in order to maintain the Russian stranglehold on European gas imports. FP notes that strong environmental opposition to fracking is present in countries like Bulgaria and Ukraine, which are heavily dependent on Russia for energy supplies.

According to Russia’s TASS, the residents of Slavyansk, which is the centre of the Yuzivska deposit, organised several protests against development of the deposit. They even planned to have a referendum on the issue.

Another TASS report even allegedly cited Pavel Gubarev, the self-proclaimed leader of pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk, admitting in an interview with Russian television Rossiya 24 on 19 May 2015 that one of the key reasons for the fighting is Kyiv’s push to “continue development of shale gas on the territory of Ukraine”.

In 2015, Vice President Joe Biden announced that the United States would bring in technical experts to speed up Ukraine’s shale gas development.

In fact, the Biden family was so interested in Ukraine, that his son Hunter was appointed to the board of directors of Ukraine’s largest private gas producer, Burisma Holdings. This has put Ukraine’s shale gas question into a new perspective – at least from the American viewpoint.

Burisma holds licenses covering the Dnieper-Donets basin in the eastern Ukraine and Biden Jr. is not the only American with political ties to have recently joined the company’s board.  Devon Archer, a former senior advisor to current Secretary of State John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign and a college roommate of Kerry’s stepson, signed up with Burisma in April 2014.

Shale Gas Reserves in Ukraine

Contemporary Russian Nationalist (Imperialist) Imagining of Ukraine and Ukrainians

The following was also repeated during President’s Putin speech before starting the war in Ukraine

First, Ukraine is an artificial country and a failed, bankrupt state. Putin (2008) raised this in his 2008 speech to the NATO-Russia Council at the Bucharest NATO summit. Ukraine as a failed state is one of the most common themes in Russian information warfare and appears in many different guises (Zolotukhin 2018, 302–358). Political collapse in 2014 required Russian intervention, Ukrainian authorities are incapable of dealing with their problems, Ukraine is not a real state and will not survive without trade with Russia, western neighbours put forward territorial claims on western Ukraine, while the east is naturally aligned with Russia, and Ukraine was artificially created with ‘Russian’ lands. Ukraine is a land of perennial instability and revolution where extremists run amok, Russian speakers are persecuted, and pro-Russian politicians and media are repressed or closed down.

Russia’s long-term inability to come to terms with an independent Ukraine and Ukrainians as a separate people became patently obvious when Putin’s regime rehabilitated Tsarist Russian and White émigré views of Ukraine and Ukrainians (see Wolkonsky 1920; Bregy and Obolensky 1940). Igor Torbakov (2020) traces the continued influence of Tsarist ‘liberal’ and White movement supporter Struve’s view of what constitutes an ‘All-Russian People’ to contemporary Russian leaders.

In the USSR, there was a Ukrainian lobby in Moscow, while under Putin there is no such thing (Zygar 2016, 87). In the USSR, Soviet nationality policy defined Ukrainians and Russians as close, but nevertheless separate peoples; this no longer remains the case in Putin’s Russia. In the USSR, Ukraine and the Ukrainian language ‘always had robust defenders at the very top. Under Putin, however, the idea of Ukrainian national statehood was discouraged’ (Zygar 2016, 87) and the Ukrainian language is disparaged as a Russian dialect that was artificially made into a language in the USSR. (source)

Sources:

Borders of Identity: Ukraine’s Political and Cultural Significance for Russia : https://www.jstor.org/stable/40869778

China’s “Silk Road” in the Eastern Mediterranean and Beyond


China’s economic and political footprint has expanded so rapidly that many countries, even those with relatively strong state institutions and civil society organizations, found it difficult to manage the effects of this extension. The United States and the advanced industrial democracies of Japan, Australia and Western Europe are paying more and more attention to this issue. Whether Beijing seeks to use debt as a tool to expand its influence and leverage over other countries remains under debate. 

The Belt and Road Initiative ( BRI) is the foundation of President Xi Jinping’s foreign policy through which China is trying to establish connections with more than 100 countries in the world. The BRI was officially launched by Xi in 2013, and was added into China’s constitution in 2017, The Economist reported.

The projects revolve around the improvement of physical infrastructure in these countries in order to open trade routes and transport corridors that approximately correspond to the historic Silk Road routes that consisted of both land and sea corridors connecting the East and the West to each other.

From the British point of view of BBC‘s, despite that China being technically a “communist” country, the government had put its faith in trickle-down economics, believing that allowing some people to become extremely rich would benefit all of society by dragging it out of the disastrous quagmire of Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution as quickly as possible.

After the 1989 fall of communism in the Soviet bloc, five self-declared communist states remain today: China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam. Belarus and Venezuela can also be added to the mix as they fulfil the criteria of a communist state – even though they do not officially invoke the ideology. So, at present, the number stands at seven. Another question arising now is that if capitalism is the engine of China’s economy at present, what is communism today? And if the number of communist states is poised to grow in the near future, as some predict, what does this prospect mean for capitalism?

China managed to fend off the post-Mao malaise with the introduction of Deng Xiaoping’s reforms in late 1978, which redefined for several decades the meaning of the special brand of Leninism known since the 1980s as “socialism with Chinese characteristics”. Yet only a decade later, the PRC became an international pariah again after the brutal suppression of the 1989 democracy movement known as the “Beijing Spring”. 

Few would have contemplated, much less predicted, in 1989 that the PRC would rise again so soon and so dramatically, and become within a few short decades a major global player, aspiring, plausibly, to (re)design the “future of all mankind”. Yet it was, arguably, exactly this hopeful, pivotal year of 1989 that set China on this path and ultimately led to its current position in the world.

There is no place for dissent that would disrupt the harmony between the wise rulers and the devoted masses. The market economy and private ownership are only tolerated insofar as they help the party achieve its goals.  The country is ruled by law, but it is the party that decides what the law is and interprets it as needed. As Xi Jinping declares, the main feature of the New Era is the unquestionable leadership of the party in all aspects of life. He is fond of quoting Chairman Mao’s adage: “The Party, the government, the army, the people, the education; East West South North and the centre—the Party leads it all !

In the beginning of China’s expansion, it was about the potential of China, especially after Deng’s Open-Door Policy. In the second stage, the discussion transformed from its possibilities to its increasing influence on the global economy, especially after its membership to the World Trade Organization. In the third and last stage, especially after BRI, the discussion is shifting to China’s ever more complex balancing act between nations. 

China ‘s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the Eastern Mediterranean region

The Eastern Mediterranean remains a region of critical importance for the United States and the West. Through Greece and Cyprus, it is a frontier of the European Union. Through Greece and Turkey, it is also a NATO frontier. The presence of Israel, a unique U.S. ally, adds to the region’s geopolitical significance. Coupled with the fallout from the conflict in Syria, the rise in political tensions, close encounters between military forces, and overlapping territorial and resource claims among allies and partners in the region, divisions and instability have increased. These developments have created opportunities not just for Russia, but increasingly for China to exert influence.

For the record, during the era of the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt was the first Middle Eastern and African country to recognize the People’s Republic of China in 1956. Former President Hosni Mubarak was one of the first foreign leaders to visit Beijing after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

It is no surprise the Chinese state-owned conglomerate TEDA is the biggest investor in the Suez Canal industrial zone near the city of Ain Sokhna. The company operates an industrial park with 85 companies and more than 4,000 employees.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project , of which the Mediterranean is a key part, has forced the United States and Europe to think more seriously about geopolitics for the first time since the Cold War. Geopolitical competition requires the orchestration of political, economic, and security instruments in the words of China’s Foreign Minister. The challenge for the United States and Europe going forward will be to agree on the problems posed by BRI, and then to develop a set of integrated strategies in response.

The sudden Chinese economic growth occurring at the end of the 1970s, coupled with its government’s strategy to promote Chinese investment abroad at the end of the 1990s gradually reduced the economic gap between China and the Mediterranean. Under Xi Jinping, Chinese diplomacy has become more active, not only through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), but also by expanding their economy globally.

China heavily invests in infrastructure and acquisitions of European companies. Especially in the Eastern Mediterranean, China is building an enormous economic presence. Its involvement in major infrastructure projects is growing at a rapid pace and may have a significant impact on trade routes that traverse this strategically located region.

The Mediterranean Sea is one of the most important maritime highways of all international trade routes around the globe. It is a focal point, as it represents the western end of the BRI. Given the Mediterranean’s strategic position, China has stepped up its presence in the region by acquiring, building, modernizing, expanding, and operating the most important Mediterranean ports and terminals in Greece, Egypt, Algeria, Turkey, and Israel. Beijing wants to capitalize on the Mediterranean’s geographical proximity to become a major distribution hub for Chinese goods to the European Union (EU), its biggest trading partner. The increasing economic ties between China and Europe are giving the Mediterranean region an opportunity to regain its place at the forefront of international trade.

China is the main geopolitical rival to the United States in the Asia Pacific region. As this rivalry intensifies, it is likely to affect other regions. China has major ambitions in the Eastern Mediterranean in the area of infrastructure and transportation, and the greater its regional involvement becomes, the larger the risk becomes of this spill-over effect, regarding a potential economic trade war with other nations.

China’s activities in the area, while relatively new, are growing in scale. In the sphere of investment and trade, the Eastern Mediterranean is a conduit for Chinese power into Europe. Through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China has gained influence over strategic infrastructure, from 5G networks to port facilities. Two important examples include a nearly €600 million investment in the Greek port of Piraeus (dating back to 2006), and China’s success in bringing Italy on board to the BRI in March 2019.

In addition, China also continues bilateral negotiations with Turkey on the Port of Izmir, and Istanbul holds strategic importance for the BRI. Its alliance with Egypt constitutes a very critical point for China’s trade because of the significance of the Suez Canal for intercontinental maritime trade from Asia to Europe. Moreover, China also has the right to manage the Port of Ashdod in Israel for forty-nine years.

For China, the way to secure the BRI’s trade interests in the Mediterranean is not only to abstain from intervention in the domestic politics of other countries, but also to prevent any conflict between those countries. 

  • The BRI as a debt trap for less-developed countries ?

However, labeling the BRI a debt trap is not only insulting to the borrowing countries, who feel they are being accused of gullibility, but it also neglects the domestic root of this debt problem. Although China often claims that it is not exporting its system of governance, the BRI’s “hidden debt” is an offshoot of the public-private partnership (PPP) trend that took off within China over the past decade as more and more local governments leveraged capital from the business sector to help fund large infrastructure projects.

The reviving of the Silk Road: These projects were being planned and undertaken as of December 2015 in China’s Belt and Road initiative.

To be sure, China is not the only country spreading the PPP gospel, which began in Western countries and gained support from multilateral development banks as a solution to the Global South’s infrastructure gap. Still, whether in the West or China, PPPs have not proven to be a silver bullet. Many projects suffered heavy losses that eventually required a public bailout.

In China, PPPs are particularly problematic given that state-owned enterprises, with their privileged access to China’s state-controlled financial system, often act as the local governments’ “private” partners in PPP projects. This off-balance-sheet financial arrangement, coupled with inevitable moral hazard problems, has perpetuated China’s string of inefficient domestic investments, such as the infamous “ghost towns” that blight many parts of the country. While Beijing-backed overseas PPP projects have caught the U.S. foreign policy circle’s attention, it is important to keep in mind that China’s domestic hidden debt is a much bigger concern for Beijing. A September 2017 report estimated China’s PPP projects at around $2.7 trillion.

Sources and further analyze :

La Question de l’Indépendance et les Droits des Minorités


L’organisation des Nations unies a été fondée en 1945, au lendemain de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, pour fournir une base de dialogue à tous les pays et éviter les guerres. À la base, il y a avait 51 pays fondateurs, dont la France. Aujourd’hui, l’ONU compte 193 membres. Le dernier État à avoir intégré l’institution est le Soudan du Sud, en 2011. Il n’y a désormais plus que quatre États sur la planète reconnus par l’ONU, mais qui n’en sont pas membres : la Palestine, le Vatican, les Îles Cook et une île du Pacifique sud.

Dans le monde actuel, les Etats multiethniques sont la norme et la majorité. La définition traditionnelle de l’Etat-nation selon laquelle un groupe national distinct correspondait à une unité territoriale n’a jamais été exactement respectée en pratique, mais, de nos jours, la mondialisation et les déplacements croissants à travers les frontières la rende totalement dépassée. Cependant des cultures majoritaires ou dominantes dans les différents pays du monde cherchent encore à imposer leur identité aux autres groupes avec lesquels elles partagent un territoire.

L’opinion dominante aujourd’hui notamment à l’ONU est que les minorités, par principe, ne peuvent pas réclamer le droit à l’autodétermination. Toutefois, certains auteurs considèrent, en revanche, que le principe d’autodétermination pourrait s’appliquer aux minorités, bien qu’ils ne donnent pas d’indication claire sur le mode de réalisation de ce principe.  Continue reading La Question de l’Indépendance et les Droits des Minorités

Lors du dernier test nucléaire, la Corée du Nord a annoncé avoir procédé avec succès au test d’une bombe à hydrogène.


On n’écrit presque jamais pour la Corée du Nord et tout ce qui se passe actuellement à la péninsule coréenne mais il y a le risque que la guerre soit scénario possible envisagé par les Etats-Unis voire la Russie et la Chine.   

Le sixième test nucléaire de la Corée du Nord n’est pas une surprise pour les analystes qui suivent attentivement le programme du régime Nord-Coréen. Depuis avril, les analystes de 38 North disent que le régime était prêt, et l’intelligence sud-coréenne l’a prédit depuis la semaine dernière.

La Corée du Nord n’a jamais caché que ses programmes interdits avaient pour but de mettre au point des missiles balistiques intercontinentaux susceptibles de porter le feu nucléaire sur le continent américain.La situation s’était déjà tendue en juillet quand la Corée du Nord a procédé à plusieurs essais réussis d’un missile balistique intercontinental ou ICBM, le Hwasong-14, puis en août lorsqu’elle avait tiré un missile qui a survolé le Japon avant de s’abîmer dans le Pacifique.

Ce qui manque encore c’est la diplomatie. La balle est dans le camp de l’administration de Trump de commencer rapidement les discussions avec ce régime, ou de continuer ce recours de démonstration des forces, d’autres sanctions de l’ONU et des sanctions secondaires. Plus de ce qui a été fait depuis huit ans mais sans résultat réel vu que le régime devient de plus en plus agressif.

Le 28 août, les services de renseignement sud-coréens (National Intelligence Service, NIS) auraient informé le gouvernement de l’imminence d’un tel essai. Samedi 2 septembre, le vice-premier ministre japonais, Taro Aso, avait annulé un déplacement aux Etats-Unis. S’il n’a pas évoqué spécifiquement un essai nucléaire, il a justifié sa décision par les tensions autour de la Corée du Nord.

La course à l’adhésion au club nucléaire a un but: la survie du régime Nord-Coréen. Et le récit est simple: si le Nord a les armes et les systèmes de livraison, il est trop dangereux d’attaquer.

Puissance nucléaire en augmentation

Pyongyang a annoncé, dimanche 3 septembre,à la télévision nationale d’ avoir mené avec succès un test de « bombe à hydrogène [aussi appelée bombe H] pouvant équiper un missile balistique intercontinental ICBM ». Il s’agit du sixième essai nucléaire mené par la Corée du Nord en onze ans.De son côté, le Japon a confirmé que suite à cet essai ses agences géologiques ont enregistré une secousse de magnitude 6,3 sur l’échelle de Richter (ressentie également par des instituts sud-coréens et américains), près de son principal site de tests atomiques (Punggye-ri). L’Institut d’études géologiques des Etats-Unis (USGS) a précisé que la magnitude de cette secousse était bien plus forte que celle recensée lors des tests antérieurs.

Quelques heures auparavant, la Corée du Nord avait publié d’autres photos montrant le dirigeant nord-coréen inspectant ce qui était présenté comme une bombe H (bombe à hydrogène ou thermonucléaire) pouvant être installée sur le nouveau missile balistique intercontinental dont dispose le régime nord-coréen.

kim jong un examining bomb
Source: @Twitter

Les bombes H sont beaucoup plus puissantes que les bombes atomiques classiques déjà testées par la Corée du Nord.Selon des spécialistes sud-coréens, la puissance de la nouvelle secousse était cinq à six fois supérieure à celle du précédent essai de septembre 2016. La Corée du Nord avait alors fait exploser une bombe de 10 kilotonnes.

L’engin inspecté par le dirigeant nord-coréen est “une bombe thermonucléaire d’une très grande puissance fabriquée par nos efforts et notre technologie”, a déclaré KCNA, tandis que Kim Jong-un a souligné, selon l’agence, que “tous les composants de cette bombe H ont été fabriqués à 100 % nationalement”.

Réactions et analyse

Pour RT France, Pékin, Moscou, Tokyo, Séoul et Paris n’ont pas tardé à condamner cette nouvelle violation de multiples résolutions de l’ONU exigeant la fin des programmes nucléaire et balistique nord-coréens.

Dès l’annonce d’un séisme imputé à une probable explosion en Corée du Nord, le premier ministre nippon Shinzo Abe a déclaré qu’un nouvel essai nucléaire était absolument inacceptable.

La Chine, principal allié et soutien économique du régime de Kim Jong-Un, a condamné vigoureusement ce nouveau test en exhortant que Pyongyang de son côté à «cesse d’aggraver la situation» avec des «gestes qui ne servent pas ses intérêts». La Russie a, elle, estimé que «cette dernière manifestation par Pyongyang de mépris pour les exigences des résolutions en la matière du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU et les normes du droit international mérite la plus forte condamnation». Le texte ajoute qu’«il est impératif de rester calme et s’abstenir de toute action qui conduirait à une nouvelle escalade».Poutine a qualifié la situation dans la péninsule coréenne d’« ultra dangereuse » en réaction aux tensions grandissantes dans cette région.

Le président français Emmanuel Macron a appelé la communauté internationale à réagir avec la plus grande fermeté, estimant que le test nord-coréen portait atteinte à la paix et à la sécurité.

Selon le Monde, de fait, ni les sanctions économiques, ni les pressions, ni, plus récemment, les rodomontades du président américain, Donald Trump, ne semblent avoir dissuadé le régime de Pyongyang de poursuivre son objectif. Pyongyang avait déclaré avoir achevé les préparatifs d’une frappe contre Guam, où une base aérienne et une base navale américaines sont déployées, et qu’il s’exécuterait si les États-Unis ne se comportaient pas «raisonnablement».En réponse à cette menace, les militaires américains ont procédé mercredi à des tests antimissiles.

Loin de fermer la porte à l’option militaire, Donald Trump semble donc décidé à n’exclure aucune possibilité. Dans la foulée, il a publié plusieurs tweets au ton plutôt pessimiste. «La Corée du Nord a conduit un test nucléaire d’ampleur : ses discours autant que ses actes hostiles envers les Etats-Unis constituent une menace», a-t-il estimé.

Il a également estimé que la Corée du Nord était un «Etat voyou qui est devenu une grande menace et une source d’embarras pour la Chine, qui essaie d’aider mais avec peu de succès». Au sujet de la Corée du Sud, il a déclaré : «[Ils] s’aperçoivent, comme je le leur ai dit, que leur discours d’apaisement avec la Corée du Nord ne fonctionnera pas, ils ne comprennent qu’une chose !»


Sources : RT France, The Guardian, le Monde, France 24, Libération, Europe 1,
Reuters