Posts Tagged China
Fareed Zakaria On Afghanistan, China’s Middle East Plans, and Turkey’s Fight With Iran for Influence
A year ago, the Middle East was shaken by the Arab Spring and the subsequent fall of three of its most enduring autocrats. Then in the midst of the upheaval came news about the death of elusive terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden. But these endings have not yet brought about new beginnings; instead they have brought new challenges, says prominent foreign policy commentator Fareed Zakaria.
Though Afghanistan will see most of its foreign troop presence dwindle, Zakaria says there will have to be a continuation of foreign aid to the nation to keep it from falling into chaos again.
China has been aggressive in pursuing natural resources in the region, he notes, “but they seem unwilling to take on a larger, more political role, [or articulate a] political vision of what that means in terms of the politics of the Middle East.”
There is meanwhile a battle for regional political influence between Turkey and Iran, he adds, a battle that Turkey is winning. “When I was in Cairo, the people I talked to all looked to Turkey as a model, because they viewed it as democratic, powerful economic model, capitalist, a great trading country, able to deal with the west and the east, confident, assertive,” he says.
Zakaria is host of CNN’s flagship international affairs program,Fareed Zakaria GPS, is also editor-at-large of TIME magazine, a columnist for the Washington Post, and a New York Times-bestselling author.
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The Wharton School‘s latest global venture, an Accelerated Development Program in India, commenced early in October with plans to be fully functioning by January 2012. This innovative business certificate program was created to serve the “current needs of high-potential business leaders in India,” but the business school plans to literally broaden the program’s horizons.
“We will learn from our delivery of this program [in India] how we can do it in China … and in other locations,” said Wharton Vice Dean Jason Wingard. He went on to say that the target countries are those with emerging markets, for example, Brazil.
However, lacking definitive plans, further expansion of the program will have to be based on the school’s historical relations with China and the alumni based there.
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GDF Suez came to the Gulf region as its countries were just celebrating their independence. Now, it is the major electricity producer in the Gulf marketplace. Guy Richelle, GDF Suez Energy CEO and president for the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, spoke with Arabic Knowledge@Wharton in Oman to talk about his first experiences in the country, his company’s latest double project there, and doing business in the energy sector in the Gulf.
“There has been an evolution in doing business in the Gulf,” Richelle says. “Before, the local sponsor was inevitable. Then, free zones came up here and there. Now, the ownership share changes from one kind of project to another.”
There is new competition in the market from Asia, Richelle adds. “We work a lot with Korean companies. We were the first to work with them in this sector. The Chinese have begun to get into the market. They won a project in Salalah (Oman), and another in Rabigh (Saudi Arabia). But they need to prove themselves in this sector.”
Power demand has increased across the Gulf, Richelle notes. “In Saudi Arabia, during the next five years, this annual growth will be 8%. It is essentially as if a new power plant should be built every year. For the GCC, the current capacity is 75 gigawatts (GW) and the additional need will reach 60 GW by 2020.”
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As unrest sweeps across the Middle East and North Africa, the entire region is on the cusp of change in ways that will affect the geopolitics of oil. The Chinese need Saudi Arabia as a stable, established oil producer. The Saudis need China’s burgeoning demand for oil in light of flat, or even decreasing, demand among consumers in developed markets. ”It is a major turning point,” says Tim Niblock, professor of Arab Gulf studies at the University of Exeter in the U.K. “Inevitably, that will have foreign policy effects.”
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Wharton professors and other scholars say recent confrontations between Ontario, Canada-based Research In Motion and different foreign governments wanting to monitor the services of its popular Blackberry device raise a number of issues, from leadership and company response in a crisis, to questions regarding the control and jurisdiction of data flowing across international borders, and the obligations global communication companies have in protecting their customers from unreasonable searches by governments.
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