Full Spectrum Economic War has replaced Trade War

May 21, 2019

by Chris Faure for The Saker Blog

The Trading Community

I grew up in the dark continent on farms, where, in the local trading town, my parents owned the meat businesses, the Jews owned the general store, the Indians owned the fabric store and sold shoes and pointy bras.  My mom owned the fashion store and hairdresser. Of course, there was the mechanic who fixed cars and tractors and big harvesting machinery and the movie house where I saw the first opera when the traveling opera came to town and fell in love. Of course, there was the school, the doctor and the pharmacist and a Church or three. We also had the Portuguese Cafe, where we could buy chocolates and candies and bread and milk and fresh English fish and chips. The joint clientele of this trading community was the forestry workers, the mine workers and the farmers of the area. It was a well-off little community with a large forestry industry and gold mining.

While we told the most offensive jokes about the Jews and the Indians and the Portuguese, and to be sure they must have told the nastiest jokes about us European style white ones, we all equally hated the Colonizing English rulers and together told dirty jokes about them while all the kids happily went to school together and played together.

This little farming town was bound together by its trading class.

When the trade started to fracture with bigger food stores and chain mechanics, the town fractured, and where our main street was with the trading class, now there are only a bunch of Korean stores, selling stuff that only Korean folks buy, to Korean folks.

The Power of Trade

This is the power of trade, it can bind people together, or it can fracture communities and whole countries. The Chinese know this, hence BRI has no structure for war, only for trade.

We look with dismay at the geopolitical situation, and it is clear that something has to give as the U.S. clearly cannot hold on all the fronts they have opened.  Mr. Trump may end up having to choose his favorite war, the one where he feels comfortable, and he does not have to see or count dead bodies and spectacular explosions, but he can hide the results of the Silent Economic war from his own eyes while standing on the China Bad plank as his 2020 mission to win the election.

Tom Luongo says: “At this point, Trump is fighting a war with everyone not named Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Just like our little town, this economic war will fracture farming communities, trading communities, and countries. As we have seen in India, we are beginning to get similar notices of desperation suicides of farmers in the U.S.

Silent Killer

An economic war is a Silent Killer. It will create conditions for the US to become Gulag America deeply into cultural schizophrenia to avoid all of their so-called enemies, and for China to take the lead as biggest trader in the world today while the U.S. is off fighting their own internal windmills.

The ‘Understandings’

It seems as if Steve Bannon (after his successful trip to change Brazil into a neocon enclave and start similar initiatives colored with racism and shades of white supremacist, in Europe), has been called back to run this Economic War. He began with an Op-Ed in the Washington Post. While WaPo is not my regular reading, this one spells out the 6 ‘understandings’ that the U.S. should have about this Economic War.


It makes interesting reading to read the understandings in full. The 6 understandings are in short, and my comments are on the right hand side.  (Please read the full set of ‘understandings’ at the link.)

The first understanding: The CCP has been waging economic war against industrial democracies ever since China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, and now China has emerged as the greatest economic and national security threat the United States has ever faced. Note: Direct aim at the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) – Steve is fighting communism and it is the same old story … Those warmongering ChiComs are coming to get us!
The second understanding: The trade deal under negotiation this month is not a deal between two similar systems seeking closer ties, as its cheerleaders on Wall Street and in the media and academia argue. Rather, this is a fundamental clash between two radically different economic models. And of course, if you read the full second understanding, the Chinese economic model is terrible, putrid and simply wrong and those enlightened Westerners have the best method and are morally oh so superior.
The third understanding: Chinese state capitalism is highly profitable for its owners — the members of the CCP. Stagnant state-owned enterprises gain a competitive edge through massive government subsidies, and the cost savings won by stealing the intellectual property, technology, and innovations of foreigners. Chinese State Capitalism he says – The State should not own anything, he says. But, if you take a look at what is happening right now with Google and Western Technology companies, they are ‘joined at the hip’ with The State in the West and they have all joined the have all joined the economic war (See below).  Jump for Trump and the Western technologists say How High.
The fourth understanding: Certain Trump advisers inside and outside the White House are playing on the president’s well-earned pride in a rising stock market and a fear he might lose the Farm Belt to try to box him into a weak deal. But it is a decidedly false narrative that any failure to reach a deal will lead to a market meltdown and economic implosion. Now Steve takes a turn at protecting Mr. Trump for the 2020 election. In reality, the farm belt is up in arms and really upset that Mr. Trump calls them Patriots, while he is destroying their livelihoods. Farmer’s bailouts only manage to extend the agony of the farm belt.
The fifth understanding: Even the toughest agreement needs effective monitoring, which is difficult even with accommodating partners and perhaps impossible with China. The danger is for the president to sign what appears to be a reasonable deal and find out several years later that the United States was hoodwinked. And, if the Chinese boogieman does not get you now, it might just do so in the future.  One just cannot trust these yellow hordes, according to Bannon.
The sixth understanding: The world now bears witness to a rapidly militarizing totalitarian state imprisoning millions in work camps; persecuting Uighurs, Christians and Buddhists; and spying on, and enslaving, its own population. And this is so trite that it is funny. China is persecuting its own people. Have we not heard this drumbeat before?

And here comes the cherry on the Bannon cake of ‘understanding’: “The central issues that must be faced are China’s intentions on the world stage and what those ambitions mean for U.S. prosperity. With our country at a crossroads, it is more important than ever that Trump follows his instincts and not soften his stance against the greatest existential threat ever faced by the United States.

Just then they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that rise from that plain. And no sooner did Don Quixote see them that he said to his squire, “Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we shall begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless.””What giants?” asked Sancho Panza.”Those you see over there,” replied his master, “with their long arms. Some of them have arms well nigh two leagues in length.””Take care, sir,” cried Sancho. “Those over there are not giants but windmills. Those things that seem to be their arms are sails which, when they are whirled around by the wind, turn the millstone.” Cervantes’ Don Quixote

Now Bannon is on the media trip to tilt at these windmills and stop the world’s millstones from turning.


Who is posing the existential threats? “Us” Versus “Them”

So now China is an existential threat to the United States. Does this not sound like creating the basis for war talk to you? What of this is different from the Russia derangement? It is just the same old story, the same old positioning of creating enemies, using different words. Civilizational differences are now weaponized by those who we can argue do not have a civilizational history of any great import.  Hamburgers, Hotdogs, Disney, Madonna and Barbie Dolls do not a civilization make.

So, while the U.S. demanded structural reforms from China during the Trade War, and China absolutely refused, at the end of last week, Trump took aim at big Chinese businesses, placing them on lists where trade becomes almost impossible and creating an Economic War.   Huawei and ZTE Corp are easily recognized here. The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that Chinese technology giant Huawei and 70 of its affiliated companies would be included in an “entity list” of export controls, prohibiting Huawei from buying technology or parts from U.S. companies. Today we see that Google, Intel,, and a raft of other Western technology companies are joining this economic war to kill a Chinese enterprise and all who work for it. And they call it righteous.


As is usual in the “Us” Versus “Them” U.S. methodology, we can always wait for the backtracking after the insulting war talk. Early yesterday morning the penny dropped for U.S. companies using Huawei technology, and they had to quickly ask for a reprieve from the U.S. Commerce Department because somewhere they use Huawei equipment. A 90-day reprieve for certain U.S. broadband companies and wireless customers was granted to figure out plan B.  (Spoiler alert – there isn’t a plan B).   Your broadband possibly runs on Huawei equipment and let me explain how close this economic war is to you and me.

From the White House into My House

A few months ago, I had to buy a new smartphone and eventually settled on a sweet little Huawei, reasonable on price and the most intuitive smartphone ever. I got to like this phone. This morning, I hear that Google decided not to extend usage licenses to Huawei for the Android operating system.

So, now Mr. Trump’s economic war is causing havoc directly with my phone – This is not the kind of fight that will leave you or me untouched.

Future Huawei phones, which run Google’s Android operating system, are set to lose access to updates to some Google apps, including YouTube and Maps, but don’t worry, but the existing devices will be safe.

Soft Pressure

Also, the soft pressure on China is increasing. China is being interfered with in terms of oil imports (Iran, Venezuela) and the South China Sea issues which China is busy negotiating with their neighbors are continually being interfered with by U.S. aircraft carriers or some level of task force of some or other kind making passage to test ‘freedom of navigation.’ And in the U.S., not to be left behind, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a warning on Monday that Chinese-made commercial drones may be sending sensitive flight data to China. Nearly 80% of the drones used in the U.S. and Canada come from DJI, a Chinese commercial drone manufacturer and these drones are widely used by farmers, law enforcement and any child that has a play drone.

Vietnam is the place about 20 years behind China in terms of wages and level of development. It is beginning to hop with manufacturing facilities moving there, to avoid trade tariffs. These businesses are still in Chinese hands. It won’t be long though, and these businesses may as well save their money as this is an Economic War that will not leave any place undisturbed.

Take a look at those winning trade deals

Can this man negotiate a trade deal?  Or is he trying to lead a country with ‘off the cuff’ decisions?

Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump

“Starting Monday, our great Farmers can begin doing business again with Mexico and Canada. They have both taken the tariff penalties off of your great agricultural product. Please be sure that you are treated fairly. Any complaints should immediately go to @SecretarySonny Perdue! 7:29 PM – 19 May 2019″

Aha, it looks like progress, yes? What is not mentioned is that tariffs on Mexican and Canadian steel and Aluminum were dropped, and in a reciprocal action, Mexico and Canada lifted tariffs on the agricultural products. So, that great trade deal that Trump negotiated with Mexico and Canada is back to where it was, and it is no reprieve. There is only some normalization.

“But now Canada and Mexico will get a reprieve, as the U.S. has reached a deal to lift tariffs on steel and Aluminum coming from those two countries. This eliminates a huge hurdle to the ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the revised version of NAFTA.”



We still ask ourselves the same question. What is it going to take for the U.S. to make their appropriate place in a multi-polar world because they will not be allowed to be a single hegemonic power player any longer.  There is no doubt about this.  Consider Dmitry Orlov’s long list of things that the US can no longer get done.  (Color revolutions, false flag attacks, troop pullouts, trade wars.  The one thing they can still get done is causing humanitarian disasters).

Do you understand now that the U.S. in its current incarnation is not agreement capable as is the official stance of Russia, and China will not make a deal with them, but China will keep talking. The fear now is that China will prohibit any rare earth metal sales to the U.S. in a tit for tat action. Huawei will smile.

Think about all these issues through the prism of how the U.S. is trying to maintain it’s global hegemony. The Russia derangement is cooling down, and the China derangement has taken over the airwaves with the full U.S. Administration and the media in lockstep. Can we now say Russia won? A few days ago it was Russia Bad full-on coverage, and today it is China Bad full-on coverage.

There is nothing new here, excepting a welcome groundswell of resistance opposition in the strangest of places. In Latin America, there is a type of an eBay online store called Mercado Libre. To my great surprise, most products on there, seemingly overnight, changed to “imported directly from China” with free shipping and better prices.  I can pay in local currency and seamlessly the U.S. Dollar is not included in this buy or sell.

Mr. Trump can fuggetaboutit and, don’t mess with my phone!

Chinese Readiness

This economic war is a story that can also be told in headlines alone:

Top U.S. economist warns against American demonization of China – Jeffrey Sachs


On Hostile Coexistence with China – Chas Freeman


‘If trade stops, war starts,’ Alibaba founder – Jack Ma


Chinese T.V. Station Pulls US-Made Films, Runs Classic Anti-US War Flicks Instead


I hear through the economic grapevine that there is now a popular and modern opposition song in China against the U.S. and economic war. I understand this is a war song. China and her people are ready for whatever shape or form this war will take, and Mr. Trump inadvertently unleashed the dragon, which may just spit fire and roast the U.S. first. Its time to go on record and say that my own expectation is that the Empire will fail in their objectives for this economic war, but much damage will be caused as the U.S. now is only able to cause damage.  It will in fact be impossible to find ‘the winner’.  How will a winner be defined and by who?  The Chinese ‘understanding’ is not only absolutely correct, but is the only ‘understanding’ worth knowing.  This ‘understanding’ is : There are no winners in an economic war, only horrendous costs for humanity.


إيران تتفوّق استراتيجياً وواشنطن ترتبك

مايو 21, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– بالقياس لما أعلنه الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب ووزير خارجيته مايك بومبيو ومستشار أمنه القومي جون بولتون، يفترض أن نكون في خامس أيام حرب شاملة بين أميركا وإيران. فإن ما شهده الخليج من أحداث أمنية تمثلت باستهداف مصالح نفطية سعودية وإماراتية حيوية، وصفتها الدولتان بالاعتداءات التي تستهدف الأمن والسلم الدوليين، وتعرض التجارة النفطية العالمية للخطر، وما رافق آخر الاستهدافات التي طالت خط آرامكو الذي يشكل خط الاحتياط لنقل النفط السعودي تفادياً للمرور بمضيق هرمز نحو البحر الأحمر، وإعلان أنصار الله مسؤوليتها عن العملية، فإن من قام بالاستهداف هم من تسميهم واشنطن بوكلاء إيران، ووفقاً لما قاله ترامب وبومبيو وبولتون، فكل استهداف لمصالح حلفاء واشنطن من قبل وكلاء إيران سيعني تعرّض إيران لعقاب شديد وعواقب وخيمة، وها هو الاستهداف يحصل، ولا تقع الحرب.

– قامت طهران بنقلتين نوعيتين مفاجئتين، بلغة الشطرنج، النقلة الأولى هي إعلانها بعد إلغاء الاستثناءات التي كانت مطبقة على العقوبات الأميركية على مستوردات النفط والغاز من إيران، عن مهلة ستين يوماً ستخرج من الاتفاق النووي بعدها وتعود للتخصيب المرتفع لليورانيوم عندها، بما يعني اقترابها من لحظة امتلاك الكمية الكافية كماً ونوعاً لصناعة قنبلة نووية، ولو بقيت خارج دائرة تحويل هذا اليورانيوم إلى قنبلة جاهزة، والنقلة الثانية هي قيام حلفائها الذين يملكون خطوط اشتباك مع واشنطن وحلفائها، برفع درجة السخونة على هذه الخطوط، كحال المواجهة بين أنصار الله والسعودية والإمارات من جهة، والمواجهة التي تخوضها قوى المقاومة العراقية لفرض انسحاب القوات الأميركية، مقدّمة لواشنطن الفرصة لدخول الاشتباك الذي هددت به واشنطن.

– كان كافياً للاستنتاج بأن واشنطن مرتبكة رؤية مايك بومبيو في اليوم الثاني لعمليات الخليج، وهو يطل في مؤتمره الصحافي المشترك مع وزير الخارجية الروسية سيرغي لافروف من سوتشي متجاهلاً أن حدثاً هائل الأهمية يحدث في البقعة التي أوفدت إليها واشنطن حاملات طائراتها ومدمراتها كترجمة لتهديداتها بالحرب «إذا تعرضت مصالح الحلفاء وتم استهدافها من وكلاء إيران، فإن إيران ستدفع الثمن»، وجاءت العلامة الأقوى على حال واشنطن المرتبكة، عندما سئل بومبيو في المؤتمر عما يجري في الخليج فأجاب أن ليس لديه تفاصيل ما يجري وأن إدارته تنتظر نتائج التحقيقات، والطبيعي هو السؤال منذ متى تنتظر الدولة التي تريد شنّ الحرب نتائج تحقيق، وهي غالباً ما تقدم على تصنيع الذريعة التي تتيح ترجمة التهديد بتوجيه اتهام وإطلاق الطلقة الأولى. فهل انتظرت واشنطن تحقيقاً في استخدام السلاح الكيميائي في سورية قبل حشد مدمّراتها وإطلاق الصواريخ؟

– الواضح أن طهران تدرك بدقة موازين القوى التي تحكم معادلات المنطقة، وتدرك أن واشنطن بلهجتها وخطواتها التصعيدية منحتها الفرصة لتسييل فائض القوة الذي يملكه محور المقاومة، لتشبيك ملفات قوى المحور بعضها بالبعض الآخر، وإحكام القبضة على ربط أي مسعى للتفاوض بتناول الملفات المتشابكة، بحيث بات وقف هجمات أنصار الله مرتبطاً بوقف العدوان السعودي الإماراتي، ووقف الرسائل السانحة في العراق ببرمجة الانسحاب الأميركي منه، إضافة لأي حل يؤمن لإيران صادرات نفطها وتدفق الأموال، ويضمن تهدئة الملف النووي بانتظار فرص مقبلة للحلول، ولم يغيّر من ذلك إقدام «إسرائيل» على مشاغبات عسكرية في سورية، وتسريب الجماعات المسلحة في سورية اتهامات للحكومة باستخدام السلاح الكيميائي.

– ستون يوماً على صفيح ساخن تمرّ بها المنطقة، ستقطعها قمة العشرين بعد شهر تقريباً، لتشكل فرصة مشاركة الرئيسين الأميركي والروسي وما يجري تداوله من فرصة لقمة تجمعهما، الموعد المناسب لرسم معادلات تتراوح بين تسويات بطريقة التراضي أو بطريقة التغاضي أو بربط النزاع، كشروط للتهدئة.

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Iran Quadruples Production of 3.67% Enriched Uranium

By Staff, Agencies 

Iran announced on Monday that it has quadrupled the low level uranium enrichment.

Spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran [AEOI] Behrouz Kamalvandi quoted the director of Natanz uranium enrichment facility, stating that the decision was made by the country’s Supreme National Security Council [SNSC].

“Iran has increased production of 3.67 enriched uranium by fourfold from today,” he announced.

Kamalvandi at the same time noted that the issue “does not mean an increase in enrichment level or a boost in the number of centrifuge machines or a change in the type of centrifuges”.

He said Iran has quadrupled the rate of the 3.67 enriched uranium only by utilizing the existing production capacity.

The spokesman also noted that the Islamic Republic of Iran has informed the International Atomic Energy Organization [IAEA] about the development.

He further stated that the country can easily achieve 190 thousand of SWUs capacity, adding that the move was a message to other parties to the nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

So, they had better carry out the necessary measures already asked by Iran [SNSC] as soon as possible, he added.

“We will reach the cap of 300 kilograms within few weeks. Our technical requirements and orders by senior officials will determine our next measures.”

He said Iran stops selling any enriched uranium above the 300-kg limit in exchange for yellow cake and also stops selling its heavy water above the limit of 130 tons.

The president also announced that the JCPOA parties will have 60 days to come to the negotiating table and fulfill Iran’s main interests under the nuclear deal, especially regarding oil sales and banking interaction.

If Iran does not achieve the desired results after 60 days, it will take two more measures and stop observing the limit on uranium enrichment to 3.67 percent purity, he added.

أميركا في مواجهة إيران: ماذا بعد الفشل الأوّلي؟

مايو 21, 2019

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

يكاد العالم يحبس أنفاسه وهو ينتظر أحد صوتين: صوت جرس هاتف ترامب يرنّ ويكون المتصل من المسؤولين الإيرانيين ليسجل ترامب انتصاراً في استراتيجية الضغط التصاعدي المرغِم للخصم على الخضوع والإذعان، أو صوت القذائف الأميركية المتعددة الأنواع والعيارات والأحجام تنهار على إيران لتدمير إرادتها قبل تدمير حجرها وقتل بشرها. فأميركا التي منّت النفس بإرغام إيران على الإذعان نتيجة الحرب الاقتصادية الظالمة والخانقة التي بدأتها ضدّها منذ سنة تقريباً تشعر الآن بالضيق لأنّ إيران استمرّت صامدة متمسكة بحقوقها وكرامتها الوطنية لا يرهبها تهويل أو أكثر منه.

لقد باتت أميركا بحاجة لأحد هذين الصوتين هاتف او مدفع وما سيترتب عليهما من سلوك إيراني يصبّ في مصلحتها في معرض سعيها إلى تهيئة البيئة الاستراتيجية والعملانية والسياسية في المنطقة للإعلان عن تصفية القرن التي تتحضّر أميركا لإطلاقها والإعلان عن مضمونها في النصف الثاني من حزيران/ يونيو المقبل، والتي ترى أميركا أنّ سكوت إيران أو تعطيل معارضتها لها شرط لا بدّ منه لنجاحها. وفضلاً عن ذلك فإنّ أميركا تحمّل إيران ومحور المقاومة مسؤولية مساندة سورية للصمود وهزيمة العدوان الكوني الذي استهدفها، والذي كانت أميركا تعوّل عليه لاستباحة غربي آسيا وشمالي أفريقيا والسيطرة بعد ذلك على العالم كله في إطار نظام أحادي القطبيّة تسعى إليه.

إذن… خضوع إيران واستسلامها للإرادة الأميركية بات مهمّاً للغاية في الحساب الأميركي خاصة بعد أن توصلت أميركا في الحقبة الأخيرة الى حصر أعدائها الأساسيين بثلاثة وتشكلت لديها قناعة نهائية انّ هؤلاء الثلاثة يعتمدون سياسات ومواقف تعطّل عليها سعيها الى قيادة العالم والتحكم بثرواته، وصنفتهم بالترتيب التالي: الصين أولاً ثم روسيا وإيران، وترى أميركا انّ البدء في مواجهة إيران وإخضاعها سيشكل قفزة نوعية لها في مواجهتها لكلّ من روسيا والصين، وترى أنّ سقوط إيران سيُغنيها عن مواجهة روسيا لأنّ هذا الأمر سيمكّنها من إكمال حلقة الحصار على روسيا وعزلها وجعلها واهنة استراتيجياً. من هنا تأتي أهمية حرب أميركا على إيران، الحرب التي تتمنّى أميركا أن تبقى في الإطار الاقتصادي على حدّ ما قال ترامب مؤخراً، وأن تحقق لها ما تريد دون الحاجة الى الحديد والنار.

فالمواجهة الحالية بين أميركا وإيران ليست شأناً عابراً، أو خلافاً نشأ عفواً أو صدفة، بل هو صراع تمتدّ جذوره إلى يوم نجاح الثورة الإسلامية في إيران وتتصاعد أهميته ربطاً بالمتغيّرات الدولية وتصنيف دول العالم بين عدوّ او تابع لأميركا، ونكاد نقول إنّ المواجهة مع إيران باتت في ذهن غلاة الصقور الأميركيين اليوم مسألة استراتيجية عليا لا تعلوها مسألة، وإنها قضية يترتب على نتائجها تحديد وجهة العلاقات الدولية وموقع أميركا فيها مستقبلاً.

لكن المأزق الأميركي يبدو اليوم أكبر مما توقعت أو ظنّت الفئة المسؤولة التي دفعت بالأمور الى هذا الحدّ، مأزق يتمثل بأمرين اثنين:

ـ الأول فشل الحرب الاقتصادية حتى الآن في اقتياد إيران الى طاولة الإذعان لأميركا والاستسلام لمشيئتها، وبالتالي فإنّ صوت جرس الهاتف كما يبدو ويؤكد المسؤولون الإيرانيون، لم ولن يأتي مهما طال انتظار ترامب ومعاونيه، فإيران تملك من العنفوان والكرامة الوطنية والثقة بالحق وبالنفس وبقوّتها ما يمنعها من الاتصال والذهاب الى تفاوض الإذعان.

ـ أما الثاني فيتمثل في خشية أميركا من الدخول في حرب مع إيران لا تحقق النتائج المرجوّة في مهلة معقولة، خاصة أنّ هناك عناصر رئيسية تبرّر هذه الخشية وتلزم أميركا بالحدّ من الاندفاع في الحرب النفسية التي بدأتها وجعلت الأمور عبرها تتحرك على حافة الهاوية، دون أن تكون هناك ضمانات أكيدة لإبقاء الوضع تحت السيطرة ومنع الانزلاق الى الحرب الحقيقة الواسعة.

فأميركا رغم كلّ ما تملك من قدرات عسكرية هائلة، ورغم ما يظنّ أنها قادرة على زجّه في الميدان ضدّ إيران في أيّ حرب تشنّها عليها، أميركا هذه تعلم حقائق مرعبة عن القدرات الإيرانية العسكرية الذاتية والتحالفية، كما أنها تعلم أنّ مسألة حسم الحرب وفرض الاستسلام على إيران أمر ليس سهلاً او مؤكداً، لا بل قد يكون المؤكد غرق أميركا وأتباعها في المنطقة في وحول حرب استنزاف لا تتوقف ولا تنتهي إلا باقتلاع المصالح الغربية من المنطقة.

وإضافة الى ذلك فإنّ أميركا تعلم أنّ احتمال تساقط أتباعها في المنطقة إذا لم تحسم الحرب في مهلة قصيرة، هو احتمال مرجّح حيث سيكون أشبه بتساقط أحجار الدومينو، ثم أنّ أميركا تعلم أنّ صيغة التحالفات الدولية القوية التي استندت اليها في حروبها الأخيرة في الخليج وأفغانستان والى حدّ ما في العراق، انّ هذه الصيغة ليست في متناول يدها بعد أن أبدت أوروبا رفضها للسياسة الأميركية حيال إيران وعدم استعدادها لحرب مع إيران، وانسحبت مصر من الناتو العربي ووهن مَن تبقى معها جاهز للحرب.

لكلّ ما تقدّم، باتت فكرة الحرب كابوساً لأميركا وليس كما يروّج البعض ممن يشتهونها ويقولون بأنها باتت الحلّ الوحيد والسريع الذي ستلجأ إليه أميركا للسيطرة على المنطقة برمّتها.

وعليه… نرى انّ أميركا التي تهدّد وتزبد وترعد هي في الحقيقة تخشى الحرب أكثر من أيّ وقت مضى، لأنها غير واثقة من تحقيق المطلوب فيها، لا بل إنها قد تذهب هيبتها وتوقع فيها خسائر لا تقدّر الآن أحجامها، وتعطل مفاعيل الحرب الاقتصادية التي تشنها على أعدائها دون هوادة خاصة الصين وروسيا ومحور المقاومة حرباً لا يمكن التكهّن بنهايتها نظراً لعجز أميركا عن حسمها مهما امتلكت من قوة لأنها حرب من أجيال مركبة بين الثالث والخامس مروراً بالرابع وهي تعلم أنّ التأخر في حسمها سيفاقم من خسائرها الى الحدّ الذي يجعلنا نقول إنّ حجمها سيكون في حجم أكبر من أيّ حرب سبقت، ثم لا ننسى انّ هذه الحرب اذا وقعت فستكون متزامنة مع مواجهات أخرى تنخرط فيها أميركا مع كلّ من الصين وروسيا وكوريا الشمالية، مواجهات لم تستطع أميركا أن تحقق في أيّ منها شيئاً مما تطلبه ما يمكن من القول بأنها حتى الآن فاشلة على تلك الجبهات.

ومن جهة أخرى ستجد أميركا أنّ التراجع عن الحرب سيكون فيه خسارة أيضاً خاصة أنه يكشف الثغرات في الوضع الأميركي ما يمكّن الأعداء من استغلال هذه الثغرات والتشدد في مواجهتها مستقبلاً، ما يعني أنّ قرار التراجع عن الحرب هو كقرار مؤلم لا يخلو من خسائر. وهنا يطرح السؤال أيّ السبل ستسلك أميركا؟

لقد أدركت أميركا الآن انّ إخضاع إيران ليس بالأمر السهل وأنه غير ممكن الآن وعلى أيّ من السبيلين حرب اقتصادية او حرب نارية ، وعليها أن لا تراهن او تنتظر سماع أيّ من الصوتين اللذين تنتظر!؟ وأنها ليست في موقع تختار فيه أيّاً من الأرباح تحقق، بل هي في موقع ونقولها بكلّ ثقة، باتت في موقع يفرض عليها اعتماد سياسة تحديد الخسائر وهي السياسة التي يلجأ اليها كلّ من فاته سوق الربح الأكيد ودخل في مرحلة العجز والكساد وتشتّت الحلفاء والأصدقاء عنه، والحرب تفاقم الخسارة طبعاً لذا فإنها في المنطق السليم تعتبر حتى اللحظة مستبعدة رغم قرع طبولها والصخب والقمم والتحشيدات التي تجري من أجلها.

وهكذا نجد أنّ إيران ببراعتها في إدارة المواجهة مع أميركا منذ أن انسحب ترامب من الاتفاق النووي معها، ربحت حتى الآن بما اظهرته من قوة وعنفوان وجنّبت المنطقة والعالم حتى الان حرباً تدميرية كبرى فكان أداؤها مصداقاً للقاعدة الشهيرة «اذا أردت السلام فاستعدّ للحرب»، أما دعاة الضعف والارتهان كما والذين لا زالوا يلهثون وراء حروبهم الفاشلة فإنهم لن يجنوا من الأمر إلا الخسائر المادية والمعنوية وعلى شتى الصعد والأشكال ولن تسعفهم قمم تعقد للتحشيد للحروب فهم وقممهم أعجز من أن يدخلوا حرباً ينتصرون فيها.

أستاذ جامعي وباحث استراتيجي.

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Ukraine Will Be Able to Restore Its Economy Only By Cooperating With Russia

May 20, 2019

Ukraine Will Be Able to Restore Its Economy Only By Cooperating With Russia

By Olga Samofalova
Translated by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard
cross posted with 
source: https://vz.ru/economy/2019/5/19/978334.html

Ukraine is beginning to realise the scale of the damage that it caused to itself due to cutting economic ties with Russia. In only five years the country managed to lose about $80 billion and to stop many industrial enterprises. How much time will it need to return to the level of 2013? And under what conditions is this in general possible?

Over the last five years Ukraine lost $75-80 billion from the reduction of trade with Russia, said the deputy of the Verkhovna Rada Vadim Novinsky. “Our enterprises that were oriented towards the Russian market and the market of the CIS countries, are just idle,” he noted.

Ukraine needs at least 35 years in order to return the economy to at least the level of 2013, and the main condition for this purpose is the restoration of ties with Russia, assured Novinsky. “It is our neighbour and there is no getting away from it. Throughout centuries it will be our neighbour. It is necessary to live with our neighbour in normal relations – only a bad proprietor lives with a neighbour in a state of constant fighting. A good proprietor is on friendly terms with the neighbour,” summarised the deputy.

After Vladimir Zelensky’s victory in the presidential election the Federation of Employers of Ukraine recognised huge losses from the severance of commercial ties with Russia. In 2018, in comparison with the figures for 2013, it was reduced by more than three times, considered the Director of the Department of Economic Policy of the Federation of Employers of Ukraine Sergey Salivon. “At the same time, our export fell more than four times, import from Russia fell slightly less than three times,” he added.

These calculations do not take into account the Russian gas that is purchased by Ukraine in Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary with surcharges for mediation.

“If to consider that we, after all, buy gas from Russia, then our export to Russia and our import from Russia dropped approximately by $11.5 billion. But $11.5 billion for Russia is less than 0.8% of its GDP, and for Ukraine it is 10% of GDP. I.e., the difference in losses is 13-fold,” noted Salivon. In other words, because of the decline in trade with Russia, Kiev lost 13 times more than Moscow did.

The five-year period of 2014-2018 undoubtedly is a failure for the economy of Ukraine and the citizens of its country, said the economist of “Ukrainian Choice” Aleksandr Koltunovich. The new economic model of integration proposed in 2014 by the EU and the severance of ties with the Russian Federation has not paid off. Thus, as Koltunovich considers, the volume of GDP was reduced from $183.3 billion in 2013 to $112.1 billion in 2017. In terms of economy volume, Ukraine was overtaken even by 10-million [population – ed] Hungary (139 billion).

Even more clear is GDP per capita. In all global rankings Ukraine trudges at the end of the list. Even the countries of North Africa are richer than Ukraine.

“Ukraine is de facto the poorest country in Europe. In terms of GDP per capita we were overtaken by Moldova, and we in turn are above Papua New Guinea. Now Moldova claims 133rd place in the world with $2690 of GDP per capita, and Ukraine is in 134th place with $2660. The GDP per capita of Ukraine is 10.3 times less than the indicator for the countries of Europe ($27,000) and 4.5 times lower than the countries of East Asia ($12,000), and is also lower than North Africa ($3,000). This is what Ukraine really is in economic terms, and this is unacceptable with such a high intellectual and innovation potential,” noted Koltunovich.

In the 1990s Ukraine was among the top-10 most industrialised countries in the world. In 1991 its economy was the 60th best in the world and, according to forecasts of the World Bank, towards the middle of the 2000’s the country was on course to enter the top-10 most developed states in the world. Now it is impossible even to dream of such things.

If after the collapse of the USSR Ukraine was a country with a high industrial and technological potential, then after 2017 its GDP was 61.5% of what it was in 1990, notes the Ukrainian expert. If in 1991 the role of industry accounted for 44% of the GDP of Ukraine, then today it is less than 20%. The specific weight of mechanical engineering in 1990 was 30.5% of the industrial production of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and now it fell to 14–15%.

After 2014 the legendary aviation company “Antonov”, the major plane-building company “Yuzhmash”, and many other industrial enterprises have passed through the worst of times.

A large-scale social crisis became the result of an economic fiasco, added Koltunovich. Ukraine claimed 7th place in the rating of Bloomberg for the top-10 most unfortunate states of the world. According to the UN, over 60% of its population are below the poverty line. The average monthly salary is only $313, i.e., one third less than it was in 2013 – $409. The minimum pension was reduced in half to $52 per month, whereas in 2013 it was $112.

At the same time, the cost of housing and communal services grew even seven times, domestic gas and heating prices rose even more. Many Ukrainians living in villages are forced to save on heating, in other words, to freeze in their own houses.

It is always simpler to destroy than it is to build again. And without a multi-vector nature of the economic policy it will be impossible to return to the pre-crisis figures.

“Only the restoration of the destroyed cooperation ties with the CIS countries in the hi-tech sectors of industry will allow to increase Ukraine’s volume of export of goods to the CIS markets four times, or for $20 billion – up to $26 billion annually. The deepening of trade and economic ties with the countries of the EEU will allow to further increase Ukraine’s export of goods by $10 billion annually,” considers Koltunovich.

In addition, according to him, it is necessary to review the discriminatory conditions within the framework of the Free Trade Zone with the EU. Integration with the European Union is at an initial stage, it is necessary to move to a new level, to achieve the actual free movement of goods, services, and labour. So far the situation is such that Europeans can deliver to Ukraine any goods in an unlimited number and without duties, whereas for Ukraine there are restrictions in the form of a quota system for the most quick-selling export goods.

Lastly, Ukraine needs to develop its transit potential and trade with the countries of BRICS, SCO, and APEC, rather than focus on Europe alone.

Koltunovich considered that the implementation of these tasks will allow to increase export twofold from the current $43 billion to $80 billion and to increase the volume of GDP by 1.6 times – from the current $112 billion to $180-185 billion.

India’s “Israeli” SAM Test Sent a Very Strong Signal to Iran — Astute News

There’s no clearer indication that two parties are in a military-strategic alliance with one another than when one of them tests the high-tech weapons that they just jointly produced, which is exactly what India just did with “Israel’s” surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and in the process also sent a very strong signal to Iran about where […]

via India’s “Israeli” SAM Test Sent a Very Strong Signal to Iran — Astute News

‘Clash of civilizations’ or crisis of civilization?

May 20, 2019

by Pepe Escobar : posted with permission

‘Clash of civilizations’ or crisis of civilization?

Talk about a graphic display of soft power: Beijing this week hosted the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations. 

Organized under the direct supervision of President Xi Jinping it took place amid an “Asian Culture Carnival.”  Sure, there were dubious, kitschy and syrupy overtones, but what really mattered was what Xi himself had to say to China and all of Asia.

In his keynote speech, the Chinese leader essentially stressed that one civilization forcing itself upon another is “foolish” and “disastrous.” In Xi’s concept of a dialogue of civilizations, he referred to the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as programs that “have expanded the channels for communication exchanges.”

Xi’s composure and rationality present a stark, contrasting message to US President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign.

West vs East and South

Compare and contrast Xi’s comments with what happened at a security forum in Washington just over two weeks earlier. Then, a bureaucrat by the name of Kiron Skinner, the State Department’s policy planning director, characterized US-China rivalry as a “clash of civilizations,” and “a fight with a really different civilization and ideology the US hasn’t had before.”

And it got worse. This civilization was “not Caucasian” – a not so subtle 21st century resurrection of the “Yellow Peril.” (Let us recall: The “not Caucasian” Japan of World War II was the original “Yellow Peril.”) 

Divide and rule, spiced with racism, accounts for the toxic mix that has been embedded in the hegemonic US  narrative for decades now. The mix harks back to Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, published in 1996.

Huntington’s pseudo-theory, coming from someone who did not know much about the multi-polar complexity of Asia, not to mention African and South American cultures, was mercilessly debunked across vast swathes of the global South.  In fact, Huntington did not even come up with the original, flawed concept. That was the work of Anglo-American historian and commentator Bernard Lewis, who passes for a Middle East guru in the US.

Divide, rule, conquer

As Alastair Crooke, the founder of the Conflicts Forum, has outlinedLewis consistently preached divide and rule, tinged with racism, in Islamic states. He was a fervent proponent of regime change in Iran and his recipe for dealing with Arabs was “to hit them between the eyes with a big stick” because, in his world view, the only thing they respect is power.

Crooke reminds us that since the 1960s, Lewis has been a master at spotting vulnerabilities in “religious, class and ethnic differences as the means to bring an end to Middle Eastern states.” Lewis is a hero across a certain spectrum – a spectrum that includes former US Vice President Dick Cheney and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Now, we live in the era of “Lewis redux.” Given that the Islamic world is  largely subdued, in torpor or in turmoil, the clash of civilizations basically applies, on a downsized scale, to containing or destroying Shi’ite Iran.

Meanwhile the real clash – as the State Department insists – is with China.

Huntington, the sub-Lewis, did not include Russia among “The West.” The revisionist State Department does. Otherwise how could “Nixon in reverse”be justified? (“Nixon in reverse,” let us remember, is the Kissingerian recommendation to President Donald Trump: Apply divide and rule between Russia and China – but this time seducing Russia.)

A revisionist Pentagon also came up with the “Indo-Pacific” concept. The only justification for the amalgam is that these two zones should conduct a foreign policy subjected to American hegemony.

The logic is always divide and rule and clash of civilizations – divisions provoking chaos all across Eurasia. 

But this strategy is being applied against the background of a crucial historical juncture: The era when BRI is being configured as the road map for progressive Eurasian integration.

Quo vadis, humanity?

It’s not hard to detect the faintest of smiles on the faces of Chinese strategists as they survey “The Big Picture” from the vantage point of 5,000 years of civilization. The Christian West as the unique road map to deliver humanity from evil – in fact, the foundation of Pax Americana – is regarded as an amusing fiction at best.

That fiction is now looking downright dangerous, wallowing in exceptionalism and demonization of “The Other” in myriad forms. The Other – from the Islamic Republic of Iran to atheist China, not to mention “autocratic” Russia – automatically qualifies as a manifestation of “evil.”

China, by contrast, is polytheist, pluralist, multi-polar – embracing Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism. That is mirrored by the current drive towards a multi-polar world-system. What matters is unity in multiplicity – as Xi stressed in his keynote speech. In it, we find China and Persia, two ancient civilizations – not by accident linked by the Ancient Silk Road – thinking alike.

Then there’s the appalling state of the planet, which dwarfs the current appalling spectacle of political madness. UCLA geographer and global best-selling author Jared Diamond is not being terribly precise, but he estimates there’s a 49% chance “that the world as we know it will collapse by about 2050.”

As encapsulated by author Nafeez Ahmad: “Over the last 500 years or so, humanity has erected an ‘endless growth’ civilization premised on a particular patchwork of ideological worldviews, ethical values, political and economic structures, and personal behaviors. This is a paradigm that elevates the vision of human beings as disconnected, atomistic, competing material units, which seek to maximize their own material consumption as the principal mechanism for self-gratification.”

What we’re living now is not a clash of civilizations; it’s a crisis of civilization.

If the paradigm under which most of humanity barely survives is not changed – and there’s precious little evidence it will – there won’t be any civilizations left to clash.

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