Sitrep: Here Comes China – Taking the lead – a dialogue on democracy in China

December 05, 2021

By Amarynth for the Saker Blog including a number of data points from Godfree Roberts

Did you know that a huge International Forum on Democracy is ongoing in China right now?  This is before the supposed Summit on Democracy which is an attempt to divide the world into Democracies and Autocracies, according to the wishes of the rules-based international order.

As we have seen so often from China, they acted with incredible speed and presented their own high-quality International Forum.  They also published a Chinese White Paper on Democracy and it outlines how their Whole Process People’s Democracy functions for their people:  http://en.people.cn/n3/2021/1204/c312369-9928374.html

These are the first presentations followed by a panel discussion:

In addition, China released a full report on the state of US democracy:  http://www.news.cn/english/2021-12/05/c_1310352578.htm

China has learned over the past three years how to defend itself against accusations coming from the combined Western influence sphere.  Although we know that the media in general still balances toward the combined Western Sphere, there is now a serious contender in the room with the ability, incredible speed of implementation, track record, education, and creative expressive talent to gain media supremacy in getting their message to the world.

Oh, the poor ‘partners’ …

Australia

The ‘partners’ are being led by their noses.  The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the US and its allies are the “biggest beneficiaries” of Australia’s trade row with China. Washington is in bed with Canberra, at the same time, it points the finger at Beijing and in the background, it picks up Australia’s lost Chinese trade.  So, simply stated, all the trade that Australia lost in their trade row with China, from coal to iron ore to meat, the US quietly picked up.

Taiwan

From Taiwan, I hear a similar activity is taking place but this is not yet confirmed by the needed 3 sources.  The idea of keeping the issues with Taiwan hot, is that the Taiwanese semiconductor foundry company (TSMC), the biggest employer in Taiwan with a raft of supporting industries around it, is being moved lock, stock, barrel, and existence to new facilities in Arizona.  We will wait for more confirmation, but this is a very dangerous move to make, as TSMC is not only the biggest semiconductor company in the world, the industry itself depends on a highly educated and trained workforce.  The Taiwanese workforce will lose its lunch.


All the latest from Godfree Roberts’ newsletter, Here Comes China:

BeiDou conducted the first inter-satellite and ground station communication using using lasers instead of radio signals, transmitting data a million times faster than radio and increasing satnav accuracy 4000%. Read full article →

A high-speed railway linking China to landlocked Laos opened Friday. The 660-mile, 160 km/h line runs through mountains and ravines from Kunming to Vientiane. Read full article →

Premier Li Keqiang says the establishment of a centre in Hong Kong to handle Asia – Africa trade and investment disputes will strengthen the city’s role as an arbitration hub and “provide more convenient and efficient dispute resolution services” for parties in both regions. [It also bypasses the WTO–Ed.] Read full article  →

China’s service trade rose 13% YoY to $659 billion in the first ten months of the year. Service exports rose 29% YoY, and service imports rose 1%. In October alone, the country’s service trade hit 414 billion yuan, up 24% YoY. Read full article  →

China now leads the world in trade of both goods and services and its trading partners now cover 230 countries and regions. China contributed 35% of the growth in global imports in the past five years. Read full article  →

Meeting its carbon goals could save China trillions: China could dodge $134 trillion in climate-related losses by meeting carbon neutrality targe. China is predicted to see an 81% reduction in its accumulative climate-related losses by 2100 if it achieves its carbon neutrality target, according to a new study from think tanks in Beijing and London. Read full article →

And extreme ethics violation in my view:  In 2018, Dr. He Jiankui shocked the world by announcing that he had used the CRISPR genome-editing technique to alter embryos that were implanted and led to the birth of two children. Today, the children are healthy toddlers and Western researchers want to get their hands on their DNA.  Read full article →

China has doubled installed renewable energy capacity since 2015, to one billion kW, or 43% of total installation: Wind power generation increased 30% year-on-year (299 million kWs), solar power generation grew 24% (282 million kWs), and hydropower remains at 385 million kWs; Cost inflation delays solar energy expansion. Read full article →

New groundwater regulations tackle overuse and contamination of 16 billion m³/year of water. Fines could reach  $783,000 daily. Right now 44% of groundwater monitoring stations record Grade V, the lowest water quality. Read full article →

China is scouring the countryside to find native seed, animal and fish genetic resources in a national germplasm census to protect “family property” and gain self-reliance in crop and animal breeding. “Excellent” plant and animal resources will be protected on company-run farms if they are in danger of extinction or turned over to Chinese breeding companies to exploit their commercial potential to propel Chinese seed companies as global competitors. Read full article →

Guinea-Bissau and Eritrea join the Belt And Road Initiative. Guinea-Bissau covers 36,125 square kilometres, with a population of 1,874,303, and like China’s Macau, was once part of the Portuguese Empire. Eritrea also signed an MoU with China to join the BRI and is expected to cement China’s presence in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea, with interests ranging from a military base to protect shipping, in addition to infrastructure projects in ports and railways. China has been investing in the country for some time. Read full article →

To conclude, China developed its policies to deal with its national issues. But in so doing it has created both practical and theoretical achievements which are the world’s most advanced. China has never asked other countries to learn from its example, but neither can if forbid them to do so. Given the gigantic scale of China’s achievements anyone with sense in the world will study these intently. The “Resolution on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century” is therefore not only key for China, it is a document of crucial importance for the entire world. Learning from China.

The US Should Concede to Its Diminishing Role in the Region As Iran Will Not Accept Compromise

Nov 5, 2021

By Mohammad Youssef

Beirut – The world scene seems very confusing, a lot of tension and strain stretching and extending across the continents, nonetheless, there are doorways that can lead to temporary solutions or compromises in the worst case scenario.

  • The escalating tension between Russia and the western world over Ukraine, and the western military measures there
  • The western-eastern tension between China and the western world over Taiwan
  • The continuous strain in world politics over the Iranian nuclear file, and Vienna negotiations taking place without any hope looming about a longstanding agreement that could be finalized.

This file is preoccupying the world because of its repercussions and ramifications that could translate all over.

Washington has dragged itself and the whole Western governments into a tough place when it unilaterally and without any reasonable justification withdrew from the agreement with Tehran.

Iran proved credibility and has delivered over the agreement with all its articles and subdivisions.

Contrary to this, the US did not respect its commitments nor delivered its share of conditions in the agreement.

It is Tehran’s right to ask for more guarantees from the world society involved in the negotiations to make sure Washington would not dare to breach its commitments again.

One of the issues at stake during the current negotiations is that Tehran wants a direct and complete lift of American and Western sanctions, meanwhile Washington continues the procrastination policy.

Washington, furthermore, is attempting to add new files to the negotiating table, especially those in link to Tehran’s role in the region, more particularly, those in relation with advancing its rockets arsenal and supporting the resistance movements.

Iran continued to insist in limiting the negotiations to the same issues discussed before without adding any extra point.

What are the anticipated results for the ongoing Vienna negotiations?

It seems clearly that the Americans are not in anyway in a position to hand the Iranians guarantees that former US president Donald Trump’s scenario of pulling out of any reached  agreement would not be repeated again. So, the most probable outcome is to reach a temporary agreement that would generally ease the tensions in the region, especially in Iraq and allow for mutual intersection points that would secure a level of stability over different issues.

For its part, Tehran that has never aimed  anytime to have a nuclear weapon, has given and is ready to give necessary assurances to this effect, but will never accept to compromise its full sovereign position vis-a-vis other issues that boils down to its basic interests and principles.

Washington, who day and night preaches about real politics and pragmatism, should accept its dwindling position and diminishing role in the region and the world. 

This entails a different approach that renders the US accept to abandon its arrogant policy, and strike a settlement that would necessarily recognize the vital interests and role of Iran in its surrounding region. This is the most likely scenario; otherwise, we would be entering another vicious cycle of escalation!

Now or Never: The Great ‘Transition’ Must Be Imposed

1 DECEMBER, 2021

By Alastair Crooke

A new wave of restrictions, more lockdowns, and – eventually – trillions of dollars in new stimmie cheques may be in prospect.

Were you following the news this last week? Vaccine mandates are everywhere: one country, after another, is doubling-down, to try to force, or legally compel, full population vaccination. The mandates are coming because of the massive uptick in Covid – most of all in the places where the experimental mRNA gene therapies were deployed en masse. And (no coincidence), this ‘marker’ has come just as U.S. Covid deaths in 2021 have surpassed those of 2020. This has happened, despite the fact that last year, no Americans were vaccinated (and this year 59% are vaccinated). Clearly no panacea, this mRNA ‘surge’.

Of course, the Pharma-Establishment know that the vaccines are no panacea. There are ‘higher interests’ at play here. It is driven rather by fear that the window for implementing its series of ‘transitions’ in the U.S. and Europe is closing. Biden still struggles to move his ‘Go-Big’ social spending plan and green agenda transition through Congress by the midterm election in a year’s time. And the inflation spike may well sink Biden’s Build Back Better agenda (BBB) altogether.

Time is short. The midterm elections are but 12 months away, after which the legislative window shuts. The Green ‘transition’ is stuck too (by concerns that moving too fast to renewables is putting power grids at risk and elevating heating costs unduly), and the Pharma establishment will be aware that a new B.1.1.529 variant has made a big jump in evolution with 32 mutations to its spike protein. This makes it “clearly very different” from previous variants, which may drive further waves of infection evading ‘vaccine defences’.

Translation: a new wave of restrictions, more lockdowns, and – eventually – trillions of dollars in new stimmie cheques may be in prospect. And what of inflation then, we might ask.

It’s a race for the U.S. and Europe, where the pandemic is back in full force across Europe, to push through their re-set agendas, before variants seize up matters with hospitals crowded with the vaccinated and non-vaccinated; with riots in the streets, and mask mandates at Christmas markets (that’s if they open at all). A big reversal was foreshadowed by this week’s news: vaccine mandates and lockdowns, even in highly vaccinated areas, are returning. And people don’t like it.

The window for the Re-Set may be fast closing. One observer, noting all the frenetic Élite activity, has asked ‘have we finally reached peak Davos?’. Is the turn to authoritarianism in Europe a sign of desperation as fears grow that the various ‘transitions’ planned under the ‘re-set’ umbrella (financial, climate, vaccine and managerial expert technocracy) may never be implemented?

Cut short rather, as spending plans are hobbled by accelerating inflation; as the climate transition fails to find traction amongst poorer states (and at home, too); as technocracy is increasingly discredited by adverse pandemic outcomes; and Modern Monetary Theory hits a wall, because – well, inflation again.

Are you paying attention yet? The great ‘transition’ is conceived as a hugely expensive shift towards renewables, and to a new digitalised, roboticised corporatism. It requires Big (inflationary) funding to be voted through, and a huge parallel (inflationary) expenditure on social support to be approved by Congress as well. The social provision is required to mollify all those who subsequently will find themselves without jobs, because of the climate ‘transition’ and the shift to a digitalised corporate sphere. But – unexpectedly for some ‘experts’ – inflation has struck – the highest statistics in 30 years.

There are powerful oligarchic interests behind the Re-Set. They do not want to see it go down, nor see the West eclipsed by its ‘competitors’. So it seems that rather than back off, they will go full throttle and try to impose compliance on their electorates: tolerate no dissidence.

A 1978 essay “The Power of the Powerless” by then dissident and future Czech President Vaclav Havel begins mockingly that, “A SPECTRE is haunting Eastern Europe: the spectre of what in the West is called ‘dissent’”. “This spectre has not appeared out of thin air. It is a natural and inevitable consequence of the present historical phase of the system it is haunting.” Well, today, as Michael Every of Rabobank notes, “the West has polarisation, mass protests, riots, talk of obligatory vaccinations in Europe, and Yanis Varoufakis arguing capitalism is already dead; and that a techno-feudalism looms”. Now, prompting even greater urgency, are the looming U.S. midterms. Trump’s return (even if confined just to Congress), would cut the legs from under BBB, and ice-up Brussels too.

It was however, precisely this tech revolution, to which Varoufakis calls attention, that both re-defined the Democrat constituency, and turned tech oligarchs into billionaires. Through algorithmically creating a magnetism of like-minded content, cascaded out to its customers, it has both smothered intellectual curiosity, and created the ‘un-informed party’, which is the today’s Managerial Class – the party of the credentialed meritocracy; the party, above all, smugly seeing themselves as the coming era’s ‘winners’ – unwilling to risk a look behind the curtain; to put their ‘safe space’ to the test.

Perversely, this cadre of professionally-corralled academics, analysts, and central bankers, all insist that they completely believe in their memes: That their techno-approach is both effective, and of benefit to humanity – oblivious to the dissenting views, swirling around them, down in the interstices of the internet.

The main function then of such memes today, whether issued by the Pharma Vaccine ‘Command’; the MMT ‘transition’ Command; the energy ‘transition’ Command; or the global managerial technocracy ‘transition’, is to draw a ‘Maginot line’ – a defensive ideological boundary, a “Great Narrative” as it were – between ‘the truth’ as defined by the ruling classes, and with that of any other ‘truth’ that contradicts their narrative. That is to say, it is about compliance.

It was well understood that all these transitions would overturn long-standing human ways of life, that are ancient and deeply rooted and trigger dissidence – which is why new forms of social ‘discipline’ would be required. (Incidentally, the EU leadership already refer to their their official mandates as ‘Commands’). Such disciplines are now being trialled in Europe – with the vaccine mandates (even though scientists are telling them that vaccines cannot be the silver bullet for which they yearn). As one high ‘lodge’ member, favouring a form of global governance notes, to make people accept such reforms, you must frighten them.

Yes, the collective of ‘transitions’ must have their ‘Big, overarching Narrative’ – however hollow, it rings (i.e. the struggle to defend democracy against authoritarianism). But it is the nature of today’s cultural-meme war that ultimately its content becomes little more than a rhetorical shell, lacking all sincerity at its core.

It serves principally, as decoration to a ‘higher order’ project: The preservation of global ‘rules of the road’, framed to reflect U.S. and allied interests, as the base from which the clutch of ‘transitions’ can be raised up into a globally managed order which preserves the Élite’s influence and command of major assets.

This politics of crafted, credentialised meme-politics is here to stay, and now is ‘everywhere’. It has long crossed the partisan divide. The wider point here – is that the mechanics of meme-mobilisation is being projected, not just in the western ‘home’ (at a micro-level), but abroad, into American ‘foreign policy’ too (i.e. at the macro-level).

And, just as in the domestic arena, where the notion of politics by suasion is lost (with vaccine mandates enforced by water-cannon, and riot police), so too, the notion of foreign policy managed through argument, or diplomacy, has been lost too.

Western foreign policy becomes less about geo-strategy, but rather is primordially focussed on the three ‘big iconic issues’ – China, Russia and Iran – that can be given an emotional ‘charge’ in order to profitably mobilise certain identified ‘constituencies’ in the U.S. domestic cultural war. All the various U.S. political strands play this game.

The aim is to ‘nudge’ domestic American psyches (and those of their allies) into mobilisation on some issue (such as more protectionism for business against Chinese competition), or alternatively, imagined darkly, in order to de-legitimise an opposition, or to justify failures. These mobilisations are geared to gaining relative domestic partisan advantage, rather than having strategic purpose.

When this credentialled meme-war took hold in the U.S., millions of people were already living a reality in which facts no longer mattered at all; where things that never happened officially, happened. And other things that obviously happened never happened: not officially, that is. Or, were “far-right extremist conspiracy theories,” “fake news,” or “disinformation,” or whatever, despite the fact that people knew that they weren’t.

Russia and China therefore face a reality in which European and U.S. élites are heading in the opposite direction to epistemological purity and well-founded argument. That is to suggest, the new ‘normal’ is about generating a lot of contradictory realities, not just contradictory ideologies, but actual mutually-exclusive ‘realities’, which could not possibly simultaneously exist … and which are intended to bemuse adversaries – and nudge them off-balance.

This is a highly risky game, for it forces a resistance stance on those targeted states – whether they seek it, or not. It underlines that politics is no more about considered strategy: It is about being willing for the U.S. to lose strategically (even militarily), in order to win politically. Which is to say gaining an ephemeral win of having prompted an favourable unconscious psychic response amongst American voters.

Russia, China, Iran are but ‘images’ prized mainly for their potential for being loaded with ‘nudge’ emotional-charge in this western cultural war, (of which these states are no part). The result is that these states become antagonists to the American presumption to define a global ‘rules of the road’ to which all must adhere.

These countries understand exactly the point of these value and rights-loaded ‘rules’. It is to force compliance on these states to acquiesce to the ‘transitions, or, to suffer isolation, boycott and sanction – in a similar way to the choices being forced on those in the West not wishing to vaccinate (i.e. no jab; no job).

This approach reflects an attempt by Team Biden to have it ‘both ways’ with these three ‘Iconic States’: To welcome compliance on ‘transition issues’, but to be adversarial over any dissidence to mounting a rules framework that can raise the ‘transitions’ from the national, to the supra-national plane.

But do the U.S. practitioners of meme-politics, absorb and comprehend that the stance by Russia-China – in riposte – is not some same-ilk counter-mobilisation done to ‘make a point’? That their vision does stand at variance with ‘the rules’? Do they see that their ‘red lines’ may indeed be ‘red lines’ literally? Is the West now so meme-addicted, it cannot any longer recognise real national interests?

This is key: When the West speaks, it is forever looking over its shoulder, at the domestic, and wider psychic impact when it is ‘making a point’ (such as practicing attacks by nuclear-capable bombers as close to Russia’s borders as they dare). And that when Russia and China say, ‘This is our Red Line’, it is no meme – they really mean it.

The Solomon Islands’ Unrest Is Part Of The Hybrid War On China

3 DECEMBER 2021

By Andrew Koybko

Source

What this Hybrid War on the Solomon Islands has thus far shown is that small nations which switch their recognition from Taipei to Beijing will be punished through the external exacerbation of their preexisting identity tensions for regime change ends.

The Solomon Islands was recently destabilized by large-scale riots that prompted the government to request a military intervention from its historical Australian allies and nearby Fiji. The unrest was driven by people from the country’s most populous island, Malaita, who traveled to the capital on Guadalcanal to protest against the government’s recognition of Beijing as the legitimate government of China in late 2019. That move prompted the province to flirt with separatist aspirations a year later, which were also promoted during last week’s riots.

The author asked at the time, “Is The Quad Plotting To Provoke A Proxy War With China In The Solomon Islands?” The basis for this prediction was that Malaita is openly loyal to Taipei while Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, nowadays supports Beijing. The issue of Taiwan’s status is an extremely symbolic and highly strategic one for both China and its Quad rivals. For that reason, the author predicted that tensions would eventually boil over in order to destabilize this new Chinese-friendly government.

Prime Minister Sogavare claimed that the recent riots were incited from abroad and aimed to carry out a regime change against him while the Chinese Foreign Minister expressed confidence that they’ll fail to disrupt bilateral ties. These official statements lend credence to the author’s prediction last year about a brewing plot to punish the Solomon Islands for recognizing Beijing in a way that relies heavily upon the Malaita factor to disguise the true motivation behind the expected unconventional acts of aggression. It can therefore be concluded that the latest events perfectly fit into the predicted model.

The requested Australian military intervention added a curious twist to this Hybrid War since that country is fiercely against China nowadays yet just dispatched troops to prop up this nearby Chinese-friendly government despite the criticism that this provoked from Malaita’s leader. Canberra helped Honiara in order to advance several objectives: preempt a possible Chinese intervention in that country’s support; flex its regional leadership; and possibly set the basis for a Quad-led “peacekeeping” mission in the future, one which might ultimately lead to an independence referendum for Malaita.

Evidently, Australia doesn’t feel comfortable “surrendering” its historical influence in the Solomon Islands, especially not after literally being requested by its government to once again militarily intervene there. This shows that Canberra plans to compete with Beijing for influence, which it might begin doing in increasingly creative ways. It remains unclear whether it had a role in provoking the latest riots, but one can likely exclude that scenario since the Solomon Islands wouldn’t have realistically asked it to dispatch troops to quell the riots if it had any credible suspicion that it did.

That, however, doesn’t mean that the other Quad countries’ potential involvement can be dismissed. The US might have worked together with Taiwanese intelligence in order to engineer last week’s regime change scenario. Australia’s requested intervention could thus lead to the Quad playing a game of “good cop, bad cop” whereby Canberra fulfills the former role while Washington fulfills the latter. That would give the alliance maximum strategic flexibility in shaping events. Australia might even soon be expected to offer reconstruction aid to the Solomon Islands to pair with the US’ existing aid to Malaita.

What this Hybrid War on the Solomon Islands has thus far shown is that small nations which switch their recognition from Taipei to Beijing will be punished through the external exacerbation of their preexisting identity tensions for regime change ends. Even if these kinetic provocations fail to overthrow those new Chinese-friendly governments, they’ll still serve as politically convenient pretexts for the US and its allies to exert influence over them, even if initially in the form of support in quelling the same disturbances that the Quad was responsible for provoking. All of this could complicate Chinese diplomacy.

Russian Foreign Ministry Statement on the planned US «summit for democracy»

1 December 2021

Cartoon courtesy of Global Times

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

In connection with the so called summit for democracy to be held on December 9-10 at the initiative of the US administration, we consider it necessary to make the following statement.

The organisers and enthusiasts behind this strange event claim to lead the world in advancing the cause of democracy and human rights. However, the track record and reputation of the United States, Great Britain, and the EU member states in terms of respecting democratic rights and freedoms at home, as well as in the international arena, are, to put it mildly, far from ideal.

The evidence suggests that the United States and its allies cannot and should not claim the status of a “beacon” of democracy, since they themselves have chronic problems with freedom of speech, election administration, corruption and human rights.

The editorial policy of major Western media outlets is, in fact, controlled by the partisan and corporate elites. Well-oiled mechanisms for censorship, self-censorship and the removal of unwanted accounts and content from digital platforms are used to suppress dissent in the media, which represents a gross violation of the right to free expression promoted by the West.

Social media platforms controlled by US corporations are widely used for disinformation, propaganda and manipulation of public opinion. Mass electronic surveillance by intelligence agencies and the IT corporations that collaborate with them has become a reality of daily life in Western states.

About a year ago, during the election campaign in the United States, the world saw how the archaic electoral system of that country began to crumble. The existing vote counting mechanism has revealed itself to have many weaknesses. Millions of Americans question the fairness and transparency of the 2020 presidential election. This is understandable, because the way it was conducted and its outcome involved dubious practices such as gerrymandering, multi-week mail voting, and denying observers, especially international ones, access to polling stations.

Serious questions arise from the continuing reprisals of US authorities against protesters outside the Capitol on January 6, whom the US administration and aligned media openly call “domestic terrorists.” Dozens of people who disagreed with the results of the presidential election were sentenced to prison time which is disproportionate to their opposition activities.

While fashioning itself as the “global democratic leader”, the United States has for many years led the world in the number of prisoners (over 2 million people). Conditions in many penitentiary institutions degrade human dignity. Washington continues to keep silent about torture at the Guantanamo Bay prison. The US intelligence services pioneered the creation of secret prisons in allied states, a practice without precedent in the modern world.

Lobbying in the United States is, in fact, legalised corruption. Legislatures are de facto controlled by big business. Both within the country and internationally, they primarily defend the interests of their sponsors, such as private corporations, rather than the people, voters.

Against this backdrop, the democratising rhetoric coming from Washington is not only completely disconnected from reality, but is also utterly hypocritical. Before embarking on the path of “exporting democracy,” we urge our North American partners to first address their problems at home, and to try to overcome the deepening divisions in society on matters of ethics, values, and vision of the country’s past and future. Humbly admitting that US democracy is not perfect is clearly not enough.

Great Britain cannot position itself as a progressive democracy, either. That country is a comfortable home to organisations professing neo-Nazi ideology with rising incidents of racism and discrimination against ethnic and cultural minorities in many spheres of public life. There have been cases of British intelligence illegally gathering personal data of their own citizens, and police violence, including against peaceful demonstrators, has become commonplace.

The situation in the EU is no better. Brussels consistently ignores the legitimate rights and interests of ethnic Russians and Russian-speaking residents in the Baltic states, Ukraine and Moldova. It turns a blind eye to the mythmaking of the new EU member states in political history, where former Nazi henchmen who committed war crimes are proclaimed national heroes. Administrative suppression of dissent, aggressive inculcation of ultra-liberal values ​​and practices that are destroying the Christian foundations of European civilisation have become commonplace in many EU states.

Claiming to be on the right side of ideology and morality, the United States and a small group of its allies have undermined confidence in themselves with aggressive actions on the world stage under the banner of “promoting democracy.” There were more than a dozen military interventions and attempts at “regime change” over the past 30 years. Provocative actions in the military-political sphere often flagrantly violate international law, and cause only chaos and destruction.

Recent history shows that military adventures with the aim of forced democratisation ended in bloody wars and national tragedies in the countries that fell victim to this policy, among them former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. All kinds of pretexts were used to unleash wars – the need to combat terrorism and WMD proliferation and “to protect civilians.”

Everyone remembers how after the military intervention of “the coalition of the willing” in Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush on board the Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier announced the victory of democracy in that country. What happened next is common knowledge. There are no precise statistics to this day but according to some estimates, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis perished before their time.

Despite spending enormous sums running into the trillions of dollars, the American mission in Afghanistan ended in complete failure. The chaotic exodus of Americans and other members of the US-led coalition from Kabul last August was the sad culmination of the “war on terror” that lasted more than 20 years.

Libya has still yet to recover from NATO operation to “protect the civilians”. For all the peculiarities of the former socio-political system in the Jamahiriya, Libya was a stable country that ensured decent living standards for its population. This ill-conceived military action led, among other consequences, to the uncontrolled spread of weapons and terrorists in the entire Sahara-Sahel region.

We can continue quoting examples revealing the hypocrisy at the core of this “summit for democracy.” But is it necessary?

Russia, whom our Western colleagues have accused of almost every mortal sin of late, is shaping its foreign policy in a different way. We do not impose our own development model on anyone. We respect cultural and religious identities of every nation as well as distinct qualities of their political systems. We also respect the right of every nation to detemine in an independent way  its path of development. We are not going to dictate our world view to anyone. In the international arena, the rules we follow are the UN Charter #OurRulesUNCharter .

Russia strives to play a balancing, stabilising role in global politics. We uphold sovereign equality of states, non-interference in their internal affairs, non-use of force or threat of force, and peaceful settlement of disputes. We stand for international relations based on peaceful coexistence, cooperation and solidarity, equal universal security and fair distribution of the benefits of globalisation.

Russia is a world power with Eurasian and European roots to its identity. It does not chart its development trajectory exclusively in line with trans-Atlantic political, economic and cultural templates. We do not agree with the aggressive imposition of the so-called “new ethics” that are destroying moral standards upheld by traditional religions and respected by humanity for centuries.

Pursuing a non-confrontational and well-balanced foreign policy, we strive to create opportunities for the unimpeded development of all international players. We do not copy the example of the Western countries and do not intrude in their domestic affairs: if individuals living in these countries, or some of them, support the destruction of traditional moral and spiritual values, we merely regret this but nothing more than that.

We support dialogue between cultures, religions and civilisations as an important instrument for forming a unifying agenda and building up trust in relations between states and societies.

To resolve pressing problems, we urge all foreign partners not to engage in “democracy promotion,” not to draw new dividing lines, but to return to the compliance with international law and to enforce the principle of the sovereign equality of states, which is enshrined in the UN Charter. It embodies the foundation for a democratic world order that the US and its allies do not accept.

As humanity continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftereffects, the cooperation of all states on the basis of the principles of the UN Charter is needed now more than ever.

We will closely follow the “summit for democracy.”


The upcoming Summit for Democracy as a time machine

November 29, 2021

Introduction:

Biden’s “Summit for Democracy” scheduled for December 9-10, 2021, has posted its final list of invited countries.

Let’s take a look:

Albania
Angola
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Armenia
Australia
Austria
Bahamas
Barbados
Belgium
Belize
Botswana
Brazil
Bulgaria
Cabo Verde
Canada
Chile
Colombia
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Democratic Republic of Congo
Denmark
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Estonia
European Union
Fiji
Finland
France
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Grenada
Guyana
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Iraq
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Kenya
Kiribati
Kosovo
Latvia
Liberia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Malta
Marshall Islands
Mauritius
Mexico
Micronesia
Moldova
Mongolia
Montenegro
Namibia
Nauru
Nepal
Netherlands
New Zealand
Niger
Nigeria
North Macedonia
Norway
Pakistan
Palau
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Republic of Korea
Romania
Saint Kitts and Nevis­
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Samoa
Sao Tome and Principe
Senegal
Serbia
Seychelles
Slovakia
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
South Africa
Spain
Suriname
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan
Timor-Leste
Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago
Tuvalu
Ukraine
United Kingdom
Uruguay
Vanuatu
Zambia

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace also published this very helpful map:

Finally, let us also recall the purpose of this summit, as explained by the US Department of State:

  1. Defending against authoritarianism
  2. Addressing and fighting corruption
  3. Promoting respect for human rights

Next, the first thing we need to do is to translate the above into plain English.  Here is how I would translate all this:

  1. Faithfully supporting a single World Hegemony of the (already dead, but nevermind that, they can pretend it is still alive) AngloZionist Empire and obediently participate in any anti-Russian and anti-Chinese operations to prevent the latter from creating a multi-polar world.
  2. Overthrow those government who refuse to participate in the operations mentioned under #1 and/or get rid of some truly useless and too embarrassing “our SOBs” (Zelenskii anybody?)
  3. Participating in strategic PSYOPs to demonize those countries not invited to the Summit while allowing those invited to use any level of repression/suppression of dissent needed to stay in power.

How relevant is this summit in reality?

By itself, such a summit has zero value, if only because it tries to unite around a single (and vapid) agenda countries with totally different circumstances.  It is therefore pretty obvious that all that which come out from this grand show is some insipid declaration “for everything good and against everything bad” (Russian expression).

Results of the regional and municipal elections in Venezuela

One telling example shows how out of touch with reality this entire endeavor will be: the White House has even extended an invitation to uberloser Juan Guaido!  That in spite of the fact that the people of Venezuela have recently massively rejected Guaido and everything he stands for.

This, by the way, also strongly suggest that even though, for example, almost all Latin American countries have been invited to the Summit, this participation is a very good illustration of the comprador nature of the ruling classes in Latin American.  If the people were given the right to decide whether they want to subserviently support the “Yankee/gringo” Empire or not, very few, if any, of the invited countries would send delegates.

In other words, this Summit is first and foremost about APPEARANCES, a PR move destined to strong-arm each government on the planet to make a simple choice, the very same choice Baby Bush offered when he said that “you are either with us or with the terrorists”.  The updated version of this could be “you are either with us, or with the evil Russians and the evil Chinese”.

[BTW – This is the list of countries which have not been invited (for various reasons): Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cote D’Ivoire, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Comoros, Congo, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, The Holy See, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Monaco, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nicaragua, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.]

The real (people’s) map would look very differently

What would a realistic map look like?

First, almost none of the Latin American countries would be represented.

Second, all of Europe would, but primarily because the EU’s comprador elites are desperate to get from this summit a legitimacy which they are increasingly losing in their own countries due to the truly phenomenal, I would even say, suicidal policies of the EU member states (economy, energy, COVID, crime, immigration, Wokism, etc.).

Next, all of Africa would participate, in a desperate attempt to get as much aid as possible (military, economic, political, etc.) and to show how abjectly subservient to their colonial masters all the African governments still are.  This is hardly their fault, true, but that does not change the abject reality of African politics…

Next, the wider Middle-East, India and Pakistan would also participate, but for very different reasons: these governments have all read the writing on the wall, albeit with some differences, and they know that the US is on the way out, but they want that “out” to be played on terms advantageous to them.  Nobody wants to be the “next Erdogan” and be overthrown by CENTCOM.  I would also add that while CENTCOM ain’t much of a military force anymore, there are numerous multi-billion dollar contracts still linking the USA to these countries and that is reason enough to show up at the Summit, and say all the right things, and then come home and return to business as usual.

Which leaves the entire Asian continent, including Russia, China, Central and Far East Asia.  Here the map is simple: countries near Russia and China are not invited, countries near(er) Australia are.  Asia currently is the continent with the most agency, by far, and the one with the brightest future due not only to its immense resources (human and natural) but also due to the fact that the two Asian giants (Russia and China) are moving together as one to begin to build the multi-polar world they eventually want to see worldwide on the continent they share.  Russia and China also happen to have the most powerful militaries on the planet (especially if counted together, which they increasingly should).

If Malcolm X was still alive today he would probably say that “all the house Negroes have been invited and all the field Negroes have not” (see here) 🙂

The Summit for Democracy as a time machine?

I would argue that the upcoming Summit is like a time machine, not one which allows us to actually travel in time, but one which shows us who will be part of shaping the future of our planet and who will not.  The folks invited by the (already dead) AngloZionist Empire are either comprador elites, or regimes with no real agency (and, therefore, no real legitimacy), and a few desperately poor countries which are literally willing to do anything, anything at all, to please their current masters.  They have no real future to speak of.

As for the future, it is pretty evident that Asia will be, by far, the most important continent to set the agenda for the foreseeable future.  I personally believe that Latin America will be next, all that is needed their is for a few well chosen “dominoes” to fall and the entire continent will be flipped very quickly.  True, right now, if we ONLY look at the official map, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Bolivia look rather isolated.  But let’s look at this differently, the fact that these countries can survive while being surrounded by pro-USA regimes is a very telling sign by itself.  Furthermore, there are also two giants in Latin America: Argentina and Brazil, especially the latter.  Should Brazil be “flipped”, then that would have a huge impact on the rest of the continent.

Next, the two regions which will “fall” next would be the Middle-East, first, and eventually, Europe, second.

There is very little, if anything, the Empire or the USA can do about the Middle-East: the truth is that the future of the region will be set by Iran (the regional superpower) and Russia.  Yes, the Axis of Kindness countries (US+KSA+Israel) can still trigger a major regional war.  But they can’t win it.  That ship has now sailed.

With the EU, however, things are much more complicated and all the Kabuki theatre we currently see about the “imminent” Russian invasion is all about two things: first, “elegantly” get rid of the Ukraine (to a Russian invasion would be best) and about reasserting the Anglo dominance over the European continent.  That plan might still succeed, especially when we consider the very real political power the UK+3B+PU gang has ever EU decision (yes, even the UK still has a lot of influence over the EU ruling classes via its still very real financial power!).

As for Oceania and Africa, they simply don’t matter very much, the former a nicely isolated by distance, the latter has no agency and is totally dependent on some kind of foreign masters.

In the meantime, the brain-dead EU politicians, which should have been placed on suicide watch years ago, are still at it: NATO threatens Russia with “consequences” while the US declares that “all options are on the table“.  We can be sure that Putin personally and everybody else in Russia are absolutely *terrified* by such language, and that is why when the “imminent” Russian invasion does not materialize, the leaders of the (long dead) Empire will proclaim themselves “victorious” against the “Putin regime”!  Bravo!

And even if the Ukies succeed in forcing Russia to intervene, then NATO will proudly declared that its invincible might is what forced the Russians to stop (doesn’t really matter where exactly). Again, bravo!

All this craziness actually makes perfect sense, as an imaginary war is the only one these losers can “win”.

Andrei

The NATOstan Clown Show

November 29, 2021

Flags wave ahead of a NATO Defence Ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 21, 2021. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol – RC28EQ9178EG

The charade has come to a point that – diplomatically – is quite unprecedented: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov lost his Taoist patience.

Source

Independent geopolitical analyst, writer and journalist

By Pepe Escobar,

American hysteria over the “imminent” Russian invasion of Ukraine has exploded every geopolitical Stupid-o-Meter in sight – and that’s quite an accomplishment.

What a mess. Sections of the U.S. Deep State are in open revolt against the combo that remote controls Crash Test Dummy, who impersonates POTUS. The neocon-neoliberal axis is itching for a war – but has no idea how to sell it to an immensely fractured public opinion.

UKUS, which de facto controls the Five Eyes spy scam, excels only in propaganda. So in the end it’s up to the CIA/MI6 intel axis and their vast network of media chihuahuas to accelerate Fear and Loathing ad infinitum.

Russophobic U.S. Think Tankland would very much cherish a Russian “invasion”, out of the blue, and could not give a damn about the inevitable trouncing of Ukraine. The problem is the White House – and the Pentagon – must “intervene”, forcefully; otherwise that will represent a catastrophic loss of “credibility” for the Empire.

So what do these people want? They want to provoke Moscow by all means available to exercise “Russian aggression”, resulting in a lightning fast war that will be a highway to hell for Ukraine, but with zero casualties for NATO and the Pentagon.

Then the Empire of Chaos will blame Russia; unleash a tsunami of fresh sanctions, especially financial; and try to shut off all economic links between Russia and NATOstan.

Reality dictates that none of the above is going to happen.

All exponents of Russian leadership, starting with President Putin, have already made it clear, over and over again, what happens if the Ukro-dementials start a blitzkrieg over Donbass: Ukraine will be mercilessly smashed – and that applies not only to the ethno-fascist gang in Kiev. Ukraine will cease to exist as a state.

Defense Minister Shoigu, for his part, has staged all manner of not exactly soft persuasion, featuring Tu-22M3 bombers or Tu-160 White Swan bombers.

The inestimable Andrei Martyanov has conclusively explained, over and over again, that “NATO doesn’t have forces not only to ‘counter-act’ anything Russia does but even if it wanted to it still has no means to fight a war with Russia.”

Martyanov notes, “there is nothing in the U.S. arsenal now and in the foreseeable future which can intercept Mach=9-10+, let alone M=20-27, targets. That’s the issue. Same analytical method applies to a situation in 404. The only thing U.S. (NATO) can hope for is to somehow provoke Russia into the invasion of this shithole of a country and then get all SIGINT it can once Russia’s C4ISR gets into full combat mode.”

Translation: anything the Empire of Chaos and its NATO subsidiary try in Donbass, directly or indirectly, the humiliation will make the Afghanistan “withdrawal” look like a House of Gucci dinner party.

No one should expect clueless NATO puppets – starting with secretary-general Stoltenberg – to understand the military stakes. After all, these are the same puppets who have been building up a situation which might ultimately leave Moscow with a single, stark choice: be ready to fight a full scale hot war in Europe – which could become nuclear in a flash. And ready they are.

It’s all about Minsk

In a parallel reality, “meddling in 404” – a delightful Martyanov reference to a hellhole that is little more than a computer error – is a totally different story. That perfectly fits American juvenilia ethos.

At least some of the adults in selected rooms are talking. The CIA’s Burns went to Moscow to try to extract some assurance that in the event NATO Special Forces were caught in the cauldrons – Debaltsevo 2015-style – that the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, with Russian help, will concoct, they would be allowed to escape.

His interlocutor, Patrushev, told Burns – diplomatically – to get lost.

Chief of the General Staff, Gen Valery Gerasimov, had a phone call with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen Mark Milley, ostensibly to ensure, in Pentagonese, “risk-reduction and operational de-confliction”. No substantial details were leaked.

It remains to be seen how this “de-confliction” will happen in practice when Defense Minister Shoigu revealed U.S. nuclear-capable bombers have been practicing, in their sorties across Eastern Europe, “their ability to use nuclear weapons against Russia”. Shoigu discussed that in detail with Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe: after all the Americans will certainly pull the same stunt against China.

The root cause of all this drama is stark: Kiev simply refuses to respect the February 2015 Minsk Agreement.

In a nutshell, the deal stipulated that Kiev should grant autonomy to Donbass via a constitutional amendment, referred to as “special status”; issue a general amnesty; and start a dialogue with the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

Over the years, Kiev fulfilled exactly zero commitments – while the proverbial NATOstan media machine incessantly pounded global opinion with fake news, spinning that Russia was violating Minsk. Russia is not even mentioned in the agreement.

Moscow in fact always respected the Minsk Agreement – which translates as regarding Donbass as an integral, autonomous part of Ukraine. Moscow has zero interest in promoting regime change in Kiev.

This charade has come to a point that – diplomatically – is quite unprecedented: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov lost his Taoist patience.

Lavrov was forced, under the circumstances, to publish 28 pages of correspondence between Moscow on one hand, and Berlin and Paris on the other, evolving around the preparation of a high-level meeting on Ukraine.

Moscow was in fact calling for one of the central points of the agreement to be implemented: a direct dialogue between Kiev and Donbass. Berlin and Paris said this was unacceptable. So yes: both, for all practical purposes, destroyed the Minsk Agreement. Public opinion across NATOstan has no idea whatsoever this actually happened.

Lavrov did not mince his words: “I am sure that you understand the necessity of this unconventional step, because it is a matter of conveying to the world community the truth about who is fulfilling, and how, the obligations under international law that have been agreed at the highest level.”

So it’s no wonder that the leadership in Moscow concluded it’s an absolute waste of time to talk to Berlin and Paris about Ukraine: they lied, cheated – and then blamed Russia. This “decision” at the EU level faithfully mirrors NATO’s campaign of stoking the flames of imminent “Russian aggression” against Ukraine.

Armchair warriors, unite!

Across NATOstan, the trademark stupidity of U.S. Think Tankland rules unabated, congregating countless acolytes spewing out the talking points of choice: “relentless Russian subversion”, “thug” Putin “intimidation” of Ukraine, Russians as “predators”, and everything now coupled with “power-hungry China’s war on Western values.”

Some Brit hack, in a twisted way, actually managed to sum up the overall impotence – and insignificance – by painting Europe as a victim, “a beleaguered democratic island in an anarchic world, which a rising tide of authoritarianism, impunity and international rule-breaking threatens to inundate”.

The answer by NATOstan Defense Ministers is to come up with a Strategic Compass – essentially an anti-Russia-China scam – complete with “rapid deployment forces”. Led by who, General Macron?

As it stands, poor NATOstan is uncontrollably sobbing, accusing those Russian hooligans – scary monsters, to quote David Bowie – of staging an anti-satellite missile test and thus “scorning European safety concerns”.

Something must have got lost in translation. So here’s what happened: Russia conclusively demonstrated it’s capable of obliterating each and every one of NATO’s satellites and blind “all their missiles, planes and ships, not to mention ground forces” in case they decide to materialize their warmongering ideas.

Obviously those deaf, dumb and blind NATOstan armchair warrior clowns – fresh from their Afghan “performance” – won’t get the message. But NATOstan anyway was never accused of being partial to reality.

To see Putin and die

November 29, 2021

by Rostislav Ischenko for Ukraina.ru
source: 
Note: this machine translated text

Joseph Biden, the 46th president of the United States, has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for a meeting for the second time in six months. This would not be surprising: in the end, international tensions have reached a limit, and not only the most alarmist of experts, but also the most cautious of politicians have already started talking about the high probability of war

In such circumstances, responsible leaders of great powers are simply obliged to meet and seek compromises.

But this is the same Biden, whose team cried all the tears over Russian interference in the American elections and twice tried to organize the impeachment of the 45th US President Donald Trump, accusing the latter of surrendering American interests to Russia and working for Putin. Meanwhile, Putin and Trump had only one full-format meeting (in Helsinki, July 16, 2018, a year and a half before the expiration of Trump’s powers), and the rest — about five short conversations “on the sidelines” of various summits.

Relations between Russia and the United States had sunk to the freezing point even before Trump. At the same time, the 45th American president, although he negotiated more harshly, was still much more constructive than the 46th. Trump was inclined to seek a compromise, despite all the contradictions, because only a mutually acceptable compromise can ensure a long and lasting peace.

Biden, in a typical American manner, is trying to deceive a partner in the negotiation process, seeking only a truce – a postponement of confrontation for some time, during which the United States will try to solve its problems in order to take up the old with renewed vigor later.

That is why Biden’s team is begging for meetings with Putin, as if their ancient boss is afraid to die without telling Vladimir Vladimirovich something important. Pay attention to the diplomatic activity of the American president who does not always adequately perceive reality during the first year of his term:

* spring – activation of the US-European Union, an attempt to force the EU to go to a sharp deterioration in relations with Russia and abandon the SP-2;
* summer – a sudden request for a meeting with Putin, insistence on its early organization, declared readiness to resolve the entire spectrum of controversial issues. In fact, absolutely empty and unacceptable hints for Russia about the readiness of the United States not to interfere if the Kremlin decides to restore its exclusive sphere of influence in the post-Soviet space by force, so that, as a reciprocal courtesy, Russia refuses an informal (but very problematic for the United States) alliance with China. The rest of the summer is devoted to spreading disinformation that Moscow is ready to negotiate with the United States at the expense of Beijing;
* autumn — the formation of an anti-Chinese alliance of US vassals in the Asia-Pacific region and part of the European powers, followed by a sharp and persistent desire to organize a personal meeting between Xi Jinping and Biden (the meeting took place, was in vain, after which the United States began spreading disinformation that Beijing is ready to negotiate with Washington at the expense of Moscow);
* winter — against the background of the sharp aggravation of the situation on the borders of Russia and Belarus that began in the autumn and an undisguised attempt to draw Russia into a war with the participation of Eastern European members of NATO and the EU, a new insistence on a personal meeting with Putin.

In my opinion, there is no need to have an outstanding intellect to see the “swing” on which the United States is trying to “rock” Russia and China in order to break their partnership (absolutely nullifying all attempts by the United States to regain the status of a global hegemon) and suppress Moscow and Beijing one by one and one by one. The United States offers everyone something unnecessary, but seriously binding their hands and requiring large resource costs, they try to link everyone with a regional war with their allies (who, however, are not in a hurry to drag chestnuts out of the fire for Washington), they inspire everyone that the partner has almost agreed to the American proposal and we must hurry to negotiate ourselves so as not to be made fools of.

The method is simple, has been used since ancient times and quite often led to success. The United States understands that neither Russia nor China want to win right now and annex the post-Soviet territories in Europe and Taiwan (respectively).

Moscow and Beijing would prefer to solve these problems peacefully and later. At this stage, the too clearly expressed intention to return the fallen imperial territories may not only limit the possibilities of cooperation between Russia and China to resist the military-political and financial-economic pressure of the United States, but also undermine the entire system of Eurasian unions built by them.

Therefore, the United States, in order to persuade Russia and China to make concessions in the negotiations, frighten both of them with an unnecessary regional war, while at the same time offering to negotiate and solve this problem. If someone gives up and starts at least discussing options, Washington will immediately provide a proof leak of information in order to persuade the second partner to make a concession, and then bargain with both from a favorable position to bring down the price.

Realizing all this, the Russian leadership is in no hurry to talk with Biden. Peskov, on behalf of the Kremlin, said that the exact date has not yet been determined. However, the Kremlin has agreed in principle to organize a videoconference before the end of the year. Why did they do that?

Every month (not to mention a year) without war, Russia and China strengthen and weaken the United States. If we hold out for two or three years, the war will become meaningless for the United States, because, by their own admission, after 2024 they do not see the possibility of defeating China militarily. Consequently, in two years, the opportunities for American blackmail will decrease sharply, and America’s allies, who are already unwilling to risk themselves because of the Washington games, will become even more thoughtful, it will be even more difficult to persuade them to demonstrative aggressive actions against Moscow and Beijing. A certain US deadline is approaching, we need to act already. Under these conditions, Washington, having lost hope of achieving its goal by peace, can really bet on provocation of war.

Any negotiations are a way to delay time. While they are preparing and while they are going, it is unprofitable for the United States to be unconstructive, which means they will try to keep their allies on a short leash. But vassal states are not trained dogs that can be set on an object or calmed down in one second, rocking the situation takes time (albeit a little). The solution suggests itself: as long as possible to delay the time in determining the date of negotiations, postponing them for later. As soon as it becomes impossible to pull further – to hold negotiations and try, without giving a single opportunity to interpret their outcome as a willingness to take seriously American proposals for the surrender of an ally, to involve the United States in the preparation of the next meeting by creating permanent expert groups in the areas.

Any diplomatic department is a complex bureaucratic machine that is extremely difficult to force to move simultaneously in two directions. If you give the task to begin diplomatic preparations for war, this apparatus will move in one direction, if you set the task of finding a compromise, then in another. At the same time, it will have a serious informational impact on both the international and domestic agenda. That is, even meaningless, but regular meetings of experts reduce (though not completely remove) the risk of fatal confrontation.

Russia’s actions indicate that the Kremlin clearly sees the threat and has chosen the right tactics. The agreement on the creation of expert groups was reached during the first meeting with Biden, with the organization of which they stretched out as much as they could. However, America countered this agreement by saying that the expert groups did not work. So, now Russian diplomats will point this out and demand more constructive.

The current meeting is also being delayed as much as they can, having already postponed it until the end of December. If it works out, then under the pretext of New Year’s holidays they will postpone it until the middle-end of January (however, this is unlikely, the United States is in a hurry). The current meeting will be held online: the coronavirus. Although he does not interfere with Putin and Biden’s meetings with other politicians, but in this case only online. And not because I don’t want to waste time on flights, knowing in advance that the negotiations will be in vain. The online mode does not allow the organization of fake leaks about the content of negotiations. This is not a face-to-face conversation (in the presence of only unknown and controlled translators, in an office protected from wiretapping) – everything is recorded, and by both sides.

Thus, Russia is trying to win one and a half to two months out of the 48 required. Will it be possible to win the world completely?

This question has no definite answer. On the one hand, time is running out, and with the approach of 2024, the United States has nothing to lose, and in the vassal countries designated by them for slaughter, there are their own war parties that (for personal gain) are ready to start even a losing war that destroys their states. On the other hand, the current authorities, who are now in charge of American consumables, are doing everything possible to get rid of the honorable mission of pointlessly dying for the interests of the United States. How strong will they have enough strength to continue maneuvering on the verge of a foul? How ready are Americans to increase pressure on the dependent elites of limitrophs? Where is the weak link ready to break: in Europe or in Asia and who is it (Ukraine, Taiwan, someone else)? We can only assume with more or less certainty.

Often the expected danger comes at all from where it is not expected or when they stopped waiting and relaxed.

China, Russia and India: Foreign Ministers Joint Communique

November 27, 2021

Joint Communique of the 18th Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation, the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China

November 26, 2021

1. The 18th Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation, the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China was held in the digital video-conference format on 26 November 2021. The meeting took place in the backdrop of negative impacts of the global Covid-19 pandemic, on-going economic recovery as well as continuing threats of terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, trans-national organized crime, natural and man-made disasters, food security and climate change.

2. The Ministers exchanged views on further strengthening the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral cooperation and also discussed various regional and international issues of importance. The Ministers recalled their last meeting in Moscow in September 2020 as well as the RIC Leaders’ Informal Summit in Osaka (Japan) in June 2019 and noted the need for regular high level meetings to foster closer cooperation among the RIC countries.

3. Expressing their solidarity with those who were negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministers underlined the importance of a timely, transparent, effective and non-discriminatory international response to global health challenges including pandemics, with equitable and affordable access to medicines, vaccines and critical health supplies. They reiterated the need for continued cooperation in this fight inter-alia through sharing of vaccine doses, transfer of technology, development of local production capacities, promotion of supply chains for medical products. In this context, they noted the ongoing discussions in the WTO on COVID-19 vaccine Intellectual Property Rights waiver and the use of flexibilities of the TRIPS Agreement and the Doha Declaration on TRIPS Agreement and Public Health.

4. Emphasizing the need for collective cooperation in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministers noted the measures being taken by the World Health Organization (WHO), governments, non-profit organisations, academia, business and industry in combating the pandemic. In this context, the Ministers called for strengthening the policy responses of WHO in the fight against Covid-19 and other global health challenges. They also called for making Covid-19 vaccination a global public good.

5. The Ministers agreed that cooperation among the RIC countries will contribute not only to their own growth but also to global peace, security, stability and development. The Ministers underlined the importance of strengthening of an open, transparent, just, inclusive, equitable and representative multi-polar international system based on respect for international law and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and central coordinating role of the United Nations in the international system.

6. The Ministers reiterated that a multi-polar and rebalanced world based on sovereign equality of nations and respect for international law and reflecting contemporary realities requires strengthening and reforming of the multilateral system. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to upholding international law, including the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. The Ministers acknowledged that the current interconnected international challenges should be addressed through reinvigorated and reformed multilateral system, especially of the UN and its principal organs, and other multilateral institutions such as International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), World Trade Organization (WTO), World Health Organization (WHO), with a view to enhancing its capacity to effectively address the diverse challenges of our time and to adapt them to 21st century realities. The Ministers recalled the 2005 World Summit Outcome document and reaffirmed the need for comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more representative, effective and efficient, and to increase the representation of the developing countries so that it can adequately respond to global challenges. Foreign Ministers of China and Russia reiterated the importance they attached to the status of India in international affairs and supported its aspiration to play a greater role in the United Nations.Foreign Ministers of Russia and China congratulated India for its successful Presidency of the UNSC in August 2021.

7. Underlining the significance they attach to the intra-BRICS cooperation, the Ministers welcomed the outcomes of the 13th BRICS Summit held under India’s chairmanship on 9 September 2021. They agreed to work actively to implement the decisions of the successive BRICS Summits, deepen BRICS strategic partnership, strengthen cooperation in its three pillars namely political and security cooperation; economic and finance; and people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Russia and India extend full support to China for its BRICS Chairship in 2022 and hosting the XIV BRICS Summit.

8. In the year of the 20th Anniversary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) the Ministers underlined that the SCO as an influential and responsible member of the modern system of international relations plays a constructive role in securing peace and sustainable development, advancing regional cooperation and consolidating ties of good-neighbourliness and mutual trust. In this context, they emphasized the importance of further strengthening the Organization’s multifaceted potential with a view to promote multilateral political, security, economic and people-to-people exchanges cooperation. The Ministers intend to pay special attention to ensuring stability in the SCO space, including to step up efforts in jointly countering terrorism, illicit drug trafficking and trans-border organized crime under the framework of SCO-Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure. They appreciated the Ministerial meeting in the SCO Contact Group on Afghanistan format held on 14th July 2021 in Dushanbe.

9. The Ministers supported the G-20’s leading role in global economic governance and international economic cooperation. They expressed their readiness to enhance communication and cooperation including through G-20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and other means, through consultations and mutual support in areas of respective interest.

10. The Ministers stand for maintaining and strengthening of ASEAN Centrality and the role of ASEAN-led mechanisms in the evolving regional architecture, including through fostering ties between ASEAN and other regional organizations such as the SCO, IORA, BIMSTEC. The Ministers reiterated the importance of the need for closer cooperation and consultations in various regional fora and organizations, East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), to jointly contribute to regional peace, security and stability.

11. The Ministers consider it important to utilize the potential of the countries of the region, international organizations and multilateral associations in order to create a space in Eurasia for broad, open, mutually beneficial and equal interaction in accordance with international law and taking into account national interests. In that regard, they noted the idea of establishing a Greater Eurasian Partnership involving the SCO countries, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other interested States and multilateral associations.

12. The Ministers condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The Ministers reaffirmed that terrorism must be comprehensively countered to achieve a world free of terrorism. They called on the international community to strengthen UN-led global counter-terrorism cooperation by fully implementing the relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. In this context, they called for early adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. The Ministers stressed that those committing, orchestrating, inciting or supporting, financing terrorist acts must be held accountable and brought to justice in accordance with existing international commitments on countering terrorism, including the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the FATF standards, international treaties, including on the basis of the principle “extradite or prosecute” and relevant international and bilateral obligations and in compliance with applicable domestic legislation.

13. The Ministers emphasized the importance of the three international drug control conventions and other relevant legal instruments which form the edifice of the drug control system. They reiterated their firm resolve to address the world drug problem, on a basis of common and shared responsibility. The Ministers expressed their determination to counter the spread of illicit drug trafficking in opiates and methamphetamine from Afghanistan and beyond, which poses a serious threat to regional security and stability and provides funding for terrorist organizations.

14. The Ministers reiterated the need for a holistic approach to development and security of ICTs, including technical progress, business development, safeguarding the security of States and public interests, and respecting the right to privacy of individuals. The Ministers noted that technology should be used responsibly in a human-centric manner. They underscored the leading role of the United Nations in promoting a dialogue to forge common understandings on the security of and in the use of ICTs and development of universally agreed norms, rules and principles for responsible behaviour of States in the area of ICTs and recognized the importance of strengthening its international cooperation. The Ministers recalled that the development of ICT capabilities for military purposes and the malicious use of ICTs by State and non-State actors including terrorists and criminal groups is a disturbing trend. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to principles of preventing conflicts stemming from the use of ICTs, as well as ensuring use of these technologies for peaceful purposes. In this context, they welcomed the work of recently concluded UN-mandated groups namely Open Ended Working Group on the developments in the fields of Information and Telecommunications in the context of international security (OEWG) and the Sixth United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (UNGGE) on Advancing responsible State behaviour in cyberspace in the context of international security and their consensual final reports. The Ministers supported the OEWG on the security of and in the use of ICTs 2021-2025.

15. The Ministers, while emphasizing the important role of the ICTs for growth and development, acknowledged the potential misuse of ICTs for criminal activities and threats. The Ministers expressed concern over the increasing level and complexity of criminal misuse of ICTs as well as the absence of a UN-led framework to counter the use of ICTs for criminal purposes. Noting that new challenges and threats in this respect require international cooperation, the Ministers appreciated the launch of the UN Open-Ended Ad-Hoc Intergovernmental Committee of Experts to elaborate a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of ICTs for criminal purposes under the auspices of the United Nations, pursuant to the United Nations General Assembly resolution 74/247.

16. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to broadening and strengthening the participation of emerging markets and developing countries (EMDCs) in the international economic decision-making and norm-setting processes, especially in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. In this regard, they emphasized the importance of constant efforts to reform the international financial architecture. They expressed concern that enhancing the voice and participation of EMDCs in the Bretton Woods institutions remains far from realization.

17. The Ministers reaffirmed their support for a transparent, open, inclusive and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core. In this context, they reiterated their support for the necessary reform which would preserve the centrality, core values and fundamental principles of the WTO while taking into account the interests of all members, especially developing countries and Least Developing Countries (LDCs). They emphasized the primary importance of ensuring the restoration and preservation of the normal functioning of a two-stage WTO Dispute Settlement system, including the expeditious appointment of all Appellate Body members. The post-pandemic world requires diversified global value chains that are based on resilience and reliability.

18. The Ministers agreed that the imposition of unilateral sanctions beyond those adopted by the UNSC as well as “long-arm jurisdiction” were inconsistent with the principles of international law, have reduced the effectiveness and legitimacy of the UNSC sanction regime, and had a negative impact on third States and international economic and trade relations. They called for a further consolidation and strengthening of the working methods of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee to ensure their effectiveness, responsiveness and transparency.

19. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in its three dimensions- economic, social and environmental in a balanced and integrated manner – and reiterated that the Sustainable Development Goals are integrated and indivisible and must be achieved ‘leaving no one behind’. The Ministers called upon the international community to foster a more equitable and balanced global development partnership to address the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and to accelerate the implementation of 2030 Agenda while giving special attention to the difficulties and needs of the developing countries. The Ministers urged developed countries to honour their Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments, including the commitment to achieve the target of 0.7 percent of gross national income for official development assistance (ODA/GNI) to developing countries and to facilitate capacity building and the transfer of technology to developing countries together with additional development resources, in line with national policy objectives of the recipients.

20. The Ministers also reaffirmed their commitment to Climate action by implementation of Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement adopted under the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including the principle of Equity, Common But Differentiated Responsibilities, the criticality of adequate finance and technology flows, judicious use of resources and the need for sustainable lifestyles. They recognized that peaking of Greenhouse Gas Emissions will take longer for developing countries, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty. They stressed the importance of a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework that addresses the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in a balanced way. They welcomed the outcomes of the 26th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-26) and the 15th Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-15).

21. The Ministers underlined the imperative of dialogue to strengthen international peace and security through political and diplomatic means. The Ministers confirmed their commitment to ensure prevention of an arms race in outer space and its weaponization, through the adoption of a relevant multilateral legally binding instrument. In this regard, they noted the relevance of the draft treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space and of the threat or use of force against outer space objects. They emphasized that the Conference on Disarmament, as the single multilateral negotiating forum on this subject, has the primary role in the negotiation of a multilateral agreement, or agreements, as appropriate, on the prevention of an arms race in outer space in all its aspects. They expressed concern over the possibility of outer space turning into an arena of military confrontation. They stressed that practical transparency and confidence building measures, such as the No First Placement initiative may also contribute towards the prevention of an arms race in outer space. The Ministers reaffirmed their support for enhancing international cooperation in outer space in accordance with international law, based on the Outer Space Treaty. They recognized, in that regard, the leading role of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). They agreed to stand together for enhancing the long-term sustainability of outer space activities and safety of space operations through deliberations under UNCOPUOS.

22. The Ministers reiterated the importance of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC) as a key pillar of the global disarmament and security architecture. They highlighted the need for BTWC States Parties to comply with BTWC, and actively consult one another on addressing issues through cooperation in relation to the implementation of the Convention and strengthening it, including by negotiating a legally binding Protocol for the Convention that provides for, inter alia, an efficient verification mechanism. The BTWC functions should not be duplicated by other mechanisms. They also reaffirmed support for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and called upon the State Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to uphold the Convention and the integrity of the CWC and engage in a constructive dialogue with a view to restoring the spirit of consensus in the OPCW.

23. The Ministers showed deep concern about the threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) falling into the hands of terrorist groups, including the use of chemicals and biological agents for terrorist purposes. To address the threat of chemical and biological terrorism, they emphasized the need to launch multilateral negotiations on an international convention for the suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism at the Conference on Disarmament. They urged all States to take and strengthen national measures, as appropriate, to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and materials and technologies related to their manufacture.

24. The Ministers noted rising concerns regarding dramatic change of the situation in Afghanistan. They reaffirmed their support for basic principle of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and called for formation of a truly inclusive government that represents all the major ethnic and political groups of the country. The Ministers advocated a peaceful, secure, united, sovereign, stable and prosperous inclusive Afghanistan that exists in harmony with its neighbors. They called on the Taliban to take actions in accordance with the results of all the recently held international and regional formats of interaction on Afghanistan, including the UN Resolutions on Afghanistan. Expressing concern over deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, the Ministers called for immediate and unhindered humanitarian assistance to be provided to Afghanistan. The Ministers also emphasized on the central role of UN in Afghanistan.

25. They stressed the necessity of urgent elimination of UNSC proscribed terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, ISIL and others for lasting peace in Afghanistan and the region. The Ministers acknowledged the widespread and sincere demand of the Afghan people for lasting peace. They reaffirmed the importance of ensuring that the territory of Afghanistan should not be used to threaten or attack any other country, and that no Afghan group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any other country.

26. The Ministers reiterated the importance of full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and UNSC Resolution 2231 and expressed their support to the relevant efforts to ensure the earliest reinvigoration of the JCPOA which is a landmark achievement for multilateral diplomacy and the nuclear non-proliferation.

27. The Ministers reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and unity of Myanmar. They expressed support to the efforts of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) aimed at implementation of its Five-Point Consensus in cooperation with Myanmar. They called on all sides to refrain from violence.

28. The Ministers underlined the importance of lasting peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. They expressed their support for a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to resolve all issues pertaining to the Korean Peninsula.

29. The Ministers welcomed the announcement of the Gaza ceasefire beginning 21 May 2021 and stressed the importance of the restoration of general stabilization. They recognized the efforts made by the UN and regional countries to prevent the hostilities from escalating. They mourned the loss of civilian lives resulting from the violence, called for the full respect of international humanitarian law and urged the international community’s immediate attention to providing humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population, particularly in Gaza. They supported in this regard the Secretary General’s call for the international community to work with the United Nations, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), on developing an integrated, robust package of support for a swift and sustainable reconstruction and recovery as well as for appropriate use of such aid. The Ministers reiterated their support for a two-State solution guided by the international legal framework previously in place, resulting in creating an independent and viable Palestinian State and based on the vision of a region where Israel and Palestine live side by side in peace within secure and recognised borders.

30. The Ministers reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. They expressed their conviction that there can be no military solution to the Syrian conflict. They also reaffirmed their support to a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, UN-facilitated political process in full compliance with UNSC Resolution 2254. They welcomed in this context the importance of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva, launched with the decisive participation of the countries-guarantors of the Astana Process and other states engaged in efforts to address the conflict through political means, and expressed their support to the efforts of Mr. Geir Pedersen, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Syria, to ensure the sustainable and effective work of the Committee. They reiterated their conviction that in order to reach general agreement, members of the Constitutional Committee should be governed by a sense of compromise and constructive engagement without foreign interference and externally imposed timelines. They emphasized the fundamental importance of allowing unhindered humanitarian aid to all Syrians in accordance with the UN humanitarian principles and the post-conflict reconstruction of Syria that would contribute to the safe, voluntary and dignified return of Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons to their places of origin thus paving the way to achieving long-term stability and security in Syria and the region in general.

31. The Ministers expressed grave concern over the ongoing conflict in Yemen which affects the security and stability not only of Yemen, but also of the entire region, and has caused what is being called by the United Nations as the worst humanitarian crisis currently in the world. They called for a complete cessation of hostilities and the establishment of an inclusive, Yemeni-led negotiation process mediated by the UN. They also stressed the importance of providing urgent humanitarian access and assistance to all Yemenis.

32. The Ministers welcomed the formation of the new transitional Presidency Council and Government of National Unity in Libya as a positive development and hoped that it would promote reconciliation among all political parties and Libyan society, work towards restoration of peace and stability and conduct elections on 24 December 2021 to hand over power to the new government as per the wishes of the Libyan people. They also noted the important role of UN in this regard.

33. The Ministers noted that some of the planned activities under the RIC format could not take place in the physical format due to the global Covid-19 pandemic situation. They welcomed the outcomes of the 18th RIC Trilateral Academic Conference organized by the Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi (ICWA) in the video-conference format on 22-23 April 2021. In this context, they also commended the contribution of the Institute of Chinese Studies (New Delhi), Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow) and China Institute of International Studies (Beijing) in establishing the RIC Academic Conference as the premier annual analytical forum for deepening RIC cooperation in diverse fields.

34. The Ministers expressed their support to China to host Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

35. Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China and the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation thanked the External Affairs Minister of India for successful organization of the RIC Foreign Ministers Meeting. External Affairs Minister of India passed on the chairmanship in the RIC format to the Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China. The date and venue of the next RIC Foreign Ministers Meeting will be agreed upon through the diplomatic channels.

روسيا والصّين وخطاب قوى المقاومة

الصين تتريَّث حالياً في دخول معترك ملفات المشرق العربي السياسية وتعقيداتها

الجمعة 26 نوفمبر 2021

المصدر: الميادين نت

عمرو علان

كاتب وباحث سياسي في العديد من المنافذ الإخبارية العربية ، ومنها جريدة الأخبار ، وقناة الميادين الإخبارية الفضائية ، وعربي 21 ، وراي اليوم

أُجبِر الكيان الصهيوني سابقاً على الانسحاب من قطاع غزة في العام 2005، وقبل ذلك من جنوب لبنان في العام 2000. وفي كلتا الحالتين، كان انسحابه من دون قيدٍ أو شرطٍ.

لعلَّ من أبرز تجلِّيات حقبة “القطب الواحد” التي عاشها العالم خلال العقود الثلاثة الماضية، والتي يشارف العالم على الخروج منها إلى “نظام عالمي” جديد ما زالت ملامحه قيد التشكل، حيث تجلَّت ملامح “القطب الواحد” باستفراد الولايات المتحدة الأميركية بالتأثير في قضايا منطقتنا العربية، إذ كانت روسيا مشغولة بعملية استعادة توازنها بعد انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي، وكانت الصين في مرحلة بدايات بناء قوتها الاقتصادية العالمية، أما أوروبا، فكان تأثيرها قد بدأ بالتراجع في ملفات السياسة الدولية لمصلحة الولايات المتحدة الأميركية منذ مشروع “مارشال”. 

أما اليوم، ونظراً إلى التحولات العميقة التي تجري في “النظام العالمي”، والتي تتمثل بعودة روسيا لتكون لاعباً دولياً رئيساً في الساحة الدولية من جهة، ولا سيما في منطقة المشرق العربي، وأيضاً في صعود الصين المطرد كعملاق اقتصادي دولي من جهة أخرى، نجد أنَّ الباب يُفتح مجدداً لهذه القوى الدولية للانخراط بشكل أكبر في ملفات المنطقة العربية، وعلى رأسها القضية الفلسطينية، القضية الأم والأكثر تعقيداً من بين قضايا المنطقة، إذ يفرض عليها التواجد الروسي العسكري في منطقتنا التعامل مع مسألة الصراع العربي الصهيوني، فكما صرَّح الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين مؤخراً: “روسيا عملت وستعمل كوسيط نزيه لتسوية النزاعات في الشرق الأوسط ولتحقيق الاستقرار في المنطقة… من أجل تطبيع الوضع في الشرق الأوسط. من المهم مبدئياً دفع عملية التسوية الفلسطينية الإسرائيلية”.

أما الصين التي يظهر أنها تتريَّث حالياً في دخول معترك ملفات المشرق العربي السياسية وتعقيداتها، فعلى الأرجح أن تجد نفسها مضطرة إلى الانخراط في هذه الملفات بقدرٍ أو بآخر، إما عاجلاً وإما آجلاً، ولا سيما أنها تسعى بشكل حثيث للاستثمار الاقتصادي في المنطقة الشرقية لحوض المتوسط، لكونها حلقة وصل رئيسية في مشروعها الاستراتيجي “الحزام والطريق”.

تطرح هذه المستجدات سؤالاً على فصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية حول الكيفية الأنسب للتعامل مع دول بحجم روسيا والصين العائدتين لأداء أدوار في قضايا منطقتنا، ولا سيما أنَّ منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية كانت قد ارتضت الدخول في خديعة “عملية السلام” التي أفضت إلى الاعتراف بالكيان الصهيوني المزعوم، وقبلت التنازل عن الحق العربي والإسلامي الأصيل في الأراضي المحتلة العام 1948، وما تبع ذلك من القبول بتقسيم القدس إلى شرقيةٍ وغربيةٍ، وتمييع حق العودة المقدس للاجئين الفلسطينيين، إلى درجةٍ توازي التنازل عنه عملياً، وباتت دول العالم اليوم – اللهم إلا الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران – تنظر إلى تنازلات المنظمة على أنها السقف المقبول فلسطينياً. 

الصين مثلاً، التي كانت ترفض الاعتراف بالكيان الصهيوني، والتي كانت من أواخر دول العالم التي اعترفت بهذا الكيان المصطنع، لم تقْدِم على الاعتراف به إلا بعدما اعترفت منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية به أولاً، وكان حال الصين في ذلك حال العديد من دول العالم الأخرى التي كانت تناصر الحقوق العربية والفلسطينية.

لكن قوى وفصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية، مع باقي قوى المقاومة الحية في وطننا العربي والإسلامي، على عكس منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية، ما زالت ترفع لواء تحرير كامل التراب الفلسطيني المحتل، بصفته الحل العادل والمنطقي للقضية الفلسطينية، ناهيك بكونه الحل الوحيد الحقيقي المتاح للصراع العربي الصهيوني، وذلك إذا ما وُضع أصل فكرة نشأت ووظيفة الكيان الصهيوني في سياقه الصحيح والأشمل ضمن الصراع مع قوى الاستعمار الغربي.

لذلك، يمكن لفصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية بناء خطابها مع هذه الدول على أساس فكرة وجوب انسحاب الاحتلال من الأراضي التي احتلها في العام 1967 من دون قيدٍ أو شرطٍ، فكل قرارات الأمم المتحدة تؤكد أن هذه الأراضي هي أراضٍ محتلة، وعلى أي احتلال الانسحاب من الأراضي التي احتلها من دون قيدٍ أو شرطٍ، ومن دون منحه أية مكافآت مقابل انسحابه هذا، وهي مسألة لا يستطيع أحدٌ المحاججة فيها بالقانون الدولي أو بغيره.

 أما الاحتلال الصهيوني، فهو حرٌ بأن يسمي هذا الانسحاب “إعادة انتشار” أو “فك ارتباط من طرف واحد” أو أي شيء آخر يريحه، فالجوهري هنا أن يكون هذا الانسحاب من دون قيدٍ أو شرطٍ، ومن دون أي تفاهماتٍ مع هذا المغتصب، وبعدها يكون لكل حادثٍ حديثٌ. 

لقد أُجبِر الكيان الصهيوني سابقاً على الانسحاب من قطاع غزة في العام 2005، وقبل ذلك من جنوب لبنان في العام 2000. وفي كلتا الحالتين، كان انسحابه من دون قيدٍ أو شرطٍ، ومن دون أن يحصل على أية تفاهمات مع المقاومة التي دحرته عن الأراضي التي كان يحتلها، وهذه التجربة يمكن تكرارها في الأراضي المحتلة العام 1967. 

أما عقيدة حركات المقاومة القائمة على تحرير كامل التراب الفلسطيني المحتل من رأس الناقورة إلى أم الرشراش، فهذا أمرٌ لا شأن للقوى الدولية به، ولا تجب مناقشته مع أيٍّ من هذه الدول، فإن أرادوا التضامن مع الشعب العربي ومساعدته على استعادة حقوقه، فعليهم الضغط على المحتلّ كي ينسحب من دون قيدٍ أو شرطٍ من الأراضي التي يحتلّها باعتراف القانون الدولي، وحجّة فصائل المقاومة في هذا قوية، فتكفي الإشارة إلى تجربة منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية على مدى العقود الثلاثة الماضية، وما سمي بـ”عملية السلام” وما انتهت إليه.

يرى البعض هذا الخطاب خطاباً متماسكاً، ويَصلح لمحاججة القوى الدولية الصاعدة به، فهو يضع الكرة في ملعبها، ولا يقدم في المقابل أي تنازلات عن الثوابت العربية والإسلامية في القضية الفلسطينية، ناهيك بكونه يتجاوز التنازلات التي قدّمتها منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية، والتي بات العالم يطالب الفلسطينيين بالالتزام بها، عوضاً عن مطالبة الاحتلال بالانسحاب دون قيدٍ أو شرطٍ من الأراضي التي احتلها العام 1967، بناءً على الشرعية الدولية التي تؤمن بها هذه القوى.

ويمكن القول ختاماً إنّ أيّ خطابٍ آخر تتبناه فصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية لا يلحظ فكرة وجوب انسحاب الاحتلال من دون قيدٍ أو شرطٍ، لا بد من أن يُدخِل الفصائل الفلسطينية في دوامةٍ تشبه دوامة خديعة “السلام”، إن لم تكن أسوأ. إذاً، ليخرج الاحتلال من الأراضي التي يحتلّها من دون قيدٍ أو شرطٍ أولاً. وعندها، يخلق الله ما لا تعلمون.إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي صاحبها حصراً

Tension Escalates: US Destroyer Sails through Taiwan Strait

Nov 23, 2021

By Staff, Agencies

An American warship has again sailed through the disputed Taiwan Strait, a move sure to enrage Beijing after repeat warnings over previous transits, which Washington deems “routine” missions to ensure a “free and open” Pacific.

A US guided-missile destroyer made its way through the strait on Tuesday local time, the Navy’s 7th Fleet announced in a statement, saying the move was conducted “in accordance with international law” and “demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

The Joe Biden administration has largely carried on ex-President Donald Trump’s regular transits through the strait, with Biden conducting them on a near-monthly basis since taking office in January.

Last month, the Chinese military blasted a joint US-Canadian sail-through as threatening regional peace and stability, in line with reactions to previous missions in the area.

Beijing, for its part, has also invoked the ire of Taipei with its own military exercises in recent months, flying warplanes into what Taiwan considers to be its air defense identification zone, which was criticized as a violation of Taiwanese airspace and an attempt at intimidation.

Though the United States, like most other nations, keeps no formal diplomatic relationship with Taipei, Washington has long been a close partner to the island, with the Biden administration following in Trump’s footsteps by approving “defensive” weapons sales to Taiwan earlier this year, including hundreds of millions in artillery gear and precision guidance kits for munitions.

String of pearls: Yemen could be the Arab hub of the Maritime Silk Road

November 22, 2021

With an Ansarallah takeover of Yemen, Asia’s trade and connectivity projects could expand into some of the world’s most strategic waterways

By Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and cross-posted with TheCradle

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The usual suspects tried everything against Yemen.

First, coercing it into ‘structural reform.’ When that didn’t work, they instrumentalized takfiri mercenaries. They infiltrated and manipulated the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS. They used US drones and occasional marines.

And then, in 2015, they went Total Warfare: a UN-backed rogue coalition started bombing and starving Yemenis into submission – with barely a peep from the denizens of the ‘rules-based international order.’

The coalition – House of Saud, Qatar, UAE, US, UK – for all practical purposes, embarked on a final solution for Yemen.

Sovereignty and unity were never part of the deal. Yet soon the project stalled. Saudis and Emiratis were fighting each other for primacy in southern and eastern Yemen using mercenaries. In April 2017, Qatar clashed with both Saudis and Emiratis. The coalition started to unravel.

Now we reach a crucial inflexion point. Yemeni Armed Forces and allied fighters from Popular Committees, backed by a coalition of tribes, including the very powerful Murad, are on the verge of liberating strategic, oil and natural gas-rich Marib – the last stronghold of the House of Saud-backed mercenary army.

Tribal leaders are in the capital Sanaa talking to the quite popular Ansarallah movement to organize a peaceful takeover of Marib. So this process is in effect the result of a wide-ranging national interest deal between the Houthis and the Murad tribe.

The House of Saud, for its part, is allied with the collapsing forces behind former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, as well as political parties such as Al-Islah, Yemen’s Muslim Brotherhood. They have been incapable of resisting Ansarallah.

A repeat scenario is now playing in the western coastal port of Hodeidah, where takfiri mercenaries have vanished from the province’s southern and eastern districts.

Yemen’s Defense Minister Mohammad al-Atefi, talking to Lebanon’s al-Akhbar newspaper, stressed that, “according to strategic and military implications…we declare to the whole world that the international aggression against Yemen has already been defeated.”

It’s not a done deal yet – but we’re getting there.

Hezbollah, via its Executive Council Chairman Hashim Safieddine, adds to the context, stressing how the current diplomatic crisis between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia is directly linked to Mohammad bin Salman’s (MbS) fear and impotence when confronted with the liberation of strategic Marib and Hezbollah’s unwavering support for Yemen throughout the war.

A fabricated ‘civil war’

So how did we get here?

Venturing beyond the excellent analysis by Karim Shami here on The Cradle, some geoeconomic background is essential to understanding what’s really going on in Yemen.

For at least half a millennium before the Europeans started to show up, the ruling classes in southern Arabia built the area into a prime hub of intellectual and commercial exchange. Yemen became the prized destination of Prophet Muhammad’s descendants; by the 11th century they had woven solid spiritual and intellectual links with the wider world.

By the end of the 19th century, as noted in Isa Blumi’s outstanding Destroying Yemen (University of California Press, 2018), a “remarkable infrastructure that harnessed seasonal rains to produce a seemingly endless amount of wealth attracted no longer just disciples and descendants of prophets, but aggressive agents of capital seeking profits.”

Soon we had Dutch traders venturing on terraced hills covered in coffee beans clashing with Ottoman Janissaries from Crimea, claiming them for the Sultan in Istanbul.

By the post-modern era, those “aggressive agents of capital seeking profits” had reduced Yemen to one of the advanced battlegrounds of the toxic mix between neoliberalism and Wahhabism.

The Anglo-American axis, since the Afghan jihad in the 1980s, promoted, financed and instrumentalized an essentialist, ahistorical version of ‘Islam’ that was simplistically reduced to Wahhabism: a deeply reactionary social engineering movement led by an antisocial front based in Arabia.

That operation shaped a shallow version of Islam sold to western public opinion as antithetical to universal – as in ‘rules-based international order’ – values. Hence, essentially anti-progressive. Yemen was at the frontline of this cultural and historical perversion.

Yet the promoters of the war unleashed in 2015 – a gloomy celebration of humanitarian imperialism, complete with carpet bombing, embargoes, and widespread forced starvation – did not factor in the role of the Yemeni Resistance. Much as it happened with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The war was a perverse manipulation by US, UK, French, Israeli and minions Saudi, Emirati and Qatari intel agencies. It was never a ‘civil war’ – as the hegemonic narrative goes – but an engineered project to reverse the gains of Yemen’s own ‘Arab Spring.’

The target was to return Yemen back to a mere satellite in Saudi Arabia’s backyard. And to ensure that Yemenis never dare to even dream of regaining their historic role as the economic, spiritual, cultural and political reference for a great deal of the Indian Ocean universe.

Add to the narrative the simplistic trope of blaming Shia Iran for supporting the Houthis. When it was clear that coalition mercenaries would fail to stop the Yemeni Resistance, a new narrative was birthed: the war was important to provide ‘security’ for the Saudi hacienda facing an ‘Iran-backed’ enemy.

That’s how Ansarallah became cast as Shia Houthis fighting Saudis and local ‘Sunni’ proxies. Context was thrown to the dogs, as in the vast, complex differences between Muslims in Yemen – Sufis of various orders, Zaydis (Houthis, the backbone of the Ansarallah movement, are Zaydis), Ismailis, and Shafii Sunnis – and the wider Islamic world.

Yemen goes BRI

So the whole Yemen story, once again, is essentially a tragic chapter of Empire attempting to plunder Third World/Global South wealth.

The House of Saud played the role of vassals seeking rewards. They do need it, as the House of Saud is in desperate financial straits that include subsidizing the US economy via mega-contracts and purchasing US debt.

The bottom line: the House of Saud won’t survive unless it dominates Yemen. The future of MBS is totally leveraged on winning his war, not least to pay his bills for western weapons and technical assistance already used. There are no definitive figures, but according to a western intel source close to the House of Saud, that bill amounted to at least $500 billion by 2017.

The stark reality made plain by the alliance between Ansarallah and major tribes is that Yemen refuses to surrender its national wealth to subsidize the Empire’s desperate need of liquidity, collateral for new infusions of cash, and thirst for commodities. Stark reality has absolutely nothing to do with the imperial narrative of Yemen as ‘pre-modern tribal traditions’ averse to change, thus susceptible to violence and mired in endless ‘civil war.’

And that brings us to the enticing ‘another world is possible’ angle when the Yemeni Resistance finally extricates the nation from the grip of the hawkish, crumbling neoliberal/Wahhabi coalition.

As the Chinese very well know, Yemen is rich not only in the so far unexplored oil and gas reserves, but also in gold, silver, zinc, copper and nickel.

Beijing also knows all there is to know about the ultra-strategic Bab al Mandab between Yemen’s southwestern coast and the Horn of Africa. Moreover, Yemen boasts a series of strategically located Indian Ocean ports and Red Sea ports on the way to the Mediterranean, such as Hodeidah.

Photo Credit: The Cradle

These waterways practically scream Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and especially the Maritime Silk Road – with Yemeni ports complementing China’s only overseas naval base in Djibouti, where roads and railways connect to Ethiopia.

The Ansarallah–tribal alliance may even, in the medium to long term, exercise full control for access to the Suez Canal.

One very possible scenario is Yemen joining the ‘string of pearls’ – ports linked by the BRI across the Indian Ocean. There will, of course, be major pushback by proponents of the ‘Indo-Pacific’ agenda. That’s where the Iranian connection enters the picture.

BRI in the near future will feature the progressive interconnection between the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – with a special role for the port of Gwadar – and the emerging China–Iran corridor that will traverse Afghanistan. The port of Chabahar in Iran, only 80 km away from Gwadar, will also bloom, whether by definitive commitments by India or a possible future takeover by China.

Warm links between Iran and Yemen will translate into renewed Indian Ocean trade, without Sanaa depending on Tehran, as it is essentially self-sufficient in energy and already manufactures its own weapons. Unlike the Saudi vassals of Empire, Iran will certainly invest in the Yemeni economy.

The Empire will not take any of this lightly. There are plenty of similarities with the Afghan scenario. Afghanistan is now set to be integrated into the New Silk Roads – a commitment shared by the SCO. Now it’s not so far-fetched to picture Yemen as a SCO observer, integrated to BRI and profiting from Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) packages. Stranger things have happened in the ongoing Eurasia saga.

حلف «أوكوس» وأبعاده الإستراتيجيّة…

الجمعة 19 تشرين الثاني 2021

كاتب وباحث سياسي في العديد من المنافذ الإخبارية العربية ، ومنها جريدة الأخبار ، وقناة الميادين الإخبارية الفضائية ، وعربي 21 ، وراي اليوم ،.

عمرو علان

أعلنت كلٌّ من أميركا وبريطانيا وأستراليا في 15 أيلول 2021 عن إقامتها لحلفٍ أمنيٍ باسم «أوكوس»، ودارت عقب هذا الإعلان نقاشات موسّعة حول مدى ما يمثل هذا الحلف من تحول في «الجغرافيا السياسية»، ودارت تباعاً لذلك نقاشات حول قيمة هذه الخطوة من الناحية الإستراتيجية. وقد تَشكَّل شبه إجماع على كون هذه الخطوة تُعد بمثابة تبدلٍ رئيسٍ في «الجغرافيا السياسية» العالمية، فهي تمثل تحولاً عملياً في أولوية السياسة الخارجية الأميركية نحو منطقة «الإندو باسيفيك»، التي تُعد المجال الحيوي للصين، ناهيك عن كونها خطوةً أميركية ملموسة ضمن محاولاتها لعرقلة تقدم الصين في المجالات الاقتصادية والتقنية والتنموية عموماً. تطرّقت عدة مقالات بارزة إلى أهمية هذا الحلف وإلى ما يمثله في «الجغرافيا السياسية»، فمثلاً أكد أستاذ العلاقات الدولية البروفيسور «ستيفن والت» على أن سبب نشوء هذا الحلف وطريقة تشكيله يكشفان عما يتجه إليه العالم في قابل الأيام، وقالت مجلة «ذي إيكونوميست» في غير مقال بأن إقامة هذا الحلف تحاكي محطات تاريخية من قبيل زيارة الرئيس الأميركي الأسبق نيكسون إلى الصين في سبعينيات القرن الماضي، وبأن حلف «أوكوس» يعيد تشكيل المشهد الإستراتيجي في منطقة «الإندو باسيفيك» برمّته.

لكن، رغم إجماع الآراء على أهمية ما يمثله هذا التحالف الأمني الثلاثي في السياسة الدولية، يبقى النقاش مفتوحاً حول ثقل هذا الحلف في الميزان الإستراتيجي، وإذا ما كان يُعد تبدلاً حقيقياً في ميزان القوى في مواجهة الصين في منطقة «الإندو باسيفيك». كان أبرز ما تمخّض عن حلف «أوكوس» توقيع أستراليا على عقد شراء ثماني غواصات حربية أميركية الصنع تعمل بالدفع النووي، وذلك عوضاً عن اثنتي عشرة غواصة حربية تعمل بالوقود التقليدي، كانت أستراليا قد تعاقدت على شرائها من فرنسا سابقاً، قبل إلغاء العَقْد لمصلحة عَقْد «أوكوس» الأميركي.

وتتميز الغواصات النووية الدفع عن نظيراتها التقليدية بأنها أسرع بنحو خمسة أضعافٍ، أي بنحو عشرين عُقدة بحرية للغواصات النووية الدفع في مقابل أربع عُقَد بحرية للغواصات التقليدية الدفع، وكذلك تتميز الغواصات النووية بأنها ذات قدرة عالية على الإبحار لمسافاتٍ بعيدةٍ، ومددٍ زمنيةٍ طويلةٍ، دون الحاجة إلى التزوُّد بالوقود، فمن الممكن القول بأن الغواصات النووية قادرةٌ عملياً على مواصلة العمل طالما توفّر لطاقمها الغذاء، ما يجعل من هذه الغواصات أداةً مثاليةً في عمليات فرض الحصار البحري على الدول، علماً بأن كلاً من مخزون الغذاء على متن الغواصة، وعدد الأيام التي يستطيع الطاقم قضاءها قبل أن يعتريهم الإرهاق، هما أمران ثابتان بمعزل عن نوع الوقود الذي تستخدمه الغواصة.

وتُعد الغواصات النووية أداةً فعالةً في عمليات الرصد والتجسّس أيضاً، وذلك بسبب قدرتها على الإبحار بصمت، ما يُصعِّب عملية اكتشافها وتعقبها من قبل الخصم. لكن في المقابل، وبناءً على معايير «برنامج ترايدنت النووي» البريطاني، تحتاج القوات البحرية إلى ثلاث غواصاتٍ بالحد الأدنى لضمان وجود غواصةٍ واحدةٍ في عمق البحر، وهذا يخفض القدرة العملانية للبحرية الأسترالية من ثلاث إلى أربع غواصات ، كانت لتحققها الصفقة الفرنسية، لتصير غواصتين أو ثلاثاً في أفضل الحالات حسب ما تُؤمِّنه صفقة «أوكوس» الأميركية، ونستذكر هنا جملة الأدميرال «هوراشيو نيلسون» حينما قال: الكثرة فقط هي التي تُبيد. ويجادل البروفيسور هيو وايت، أستاذ الدراسات الإستراتيجية في الجامعة الوطنية الأسترالية، في مقال عن صفقة غواصات «أوكوس» النووية، بالقول إذا ما كان هدف أستراليا الانضمام إلى أميركا في حرب عسكرية ضد الصين، فعندها يكون خيار الغواصات النووية منطقياً، ويتابع، لكن أستراليا ليست قادرة على خوض حرب ضد جيش التحرير الشعبي الصيني وحيدةً، وبدون تواجد أميركي عسكري في منطقة «الإندو باسيفيك»، أما في حال وجود أميركا في المنطقة، فلا فرق عندها بين إذا ما كانت الغواصات الأسترالية نووية أم تقليدية، ويُفهم من حديثه بأنه في هكذا حرب ضد دولة نووية كبرى كالصين، يقع العبء الأكبر على عاتق أميركا، فهل من شأن غواصتين – أو ثلاث في أحسن الحالات – قلب موازين القوى بشكل جوهري في بحر الصين الجنوبي؟

وزيادةً على ذلك، كان يفترض أن تتسلّم أستراليا الغواصات الفرنسية بحلول عام 2030، بينما تحتاج الغواصات النووية الأميركية حتى عام 2040 على أقل تقدير لتكون جاهزة، وحتى ذاك الحين، على الأرجح أن تكون الصين قد حسمت لمصلحتها قضية تايوان، التي تعدها أميركا أمراً رئيساً في مشروع مناهضتها للصين، ناهيك عن أنها ستكون قد عزّزت تواجدها بشكل واسع بالفعل ضمن مجالها الحيوي.

أما إذا كان الحديث عن حلف «أوكوس» الأمني بصفته الشق العسكري من إستراتيجية أميركية أوسع لمناهضة الصين، فهكذا إستراتيجية يلزمها بالضرورة أولاً جانب اقتصادي، ولا سيما كون المنافسة الأميركية مع الصين تتركز على صعود هذه الأخيرة كعملاق اقتصادي عالمي، وثانياً، يلزمها تحالفات أميركية صلبة ذات مغزى وفعالية. ونجد بأن أول تداعيات حلف «أوكوس» كان إغضاب فرنسا، أحد حلفاء أميركا في «الناتو»، ووصف وزير الخارجية الفرنسي سياسة الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن بالسياسة «الترامبية»، لكن بدون «تويتر»، وعدَّها «طعنة في الظهر» ممن يفترض كونهم حلفاء لفرنسا، ووصل الأمر إلى استدعاء فرنسا لسفيرَيها في أميركا وأستراليا للتشاور. وكانت ردة فعل الفرنسيين مفهومة، سيما أن صفقة الغواصات التي خسرتها كانت تُقدر بأكثر من 65 مليار دولار أميركي.

وأثار إقامة حلف «أوكوس» تساؤلاتٍ جدية لدى أعضاء حلف شمال الأطلسي عن موقع «الناتو» في الإستراتيجية الأميركية في مرحلة مناهضة الصين، حيث أقام الأميركيون هذا الحلف الثلاثي من وراء ظهر الأوروبيين، ذلك خلا بريطانيا التي كانت شريكة أميركا في تحالفها الجديد، ولا سيما أن الإعلان عن تحالف «أوكوس» جاء مباشرةً عقب الانسحاب الأميركي من أفغانستان، الذي لم تنسّق فيه أميركا مع شركائها لا من أوروبيين ولا من غيرهم.

وأما في الجانب الاقتصادي، فكان معبِّراً ما كتبته مجلة «ذي إيكونوميست»، حيث عنونت: وأخيراً أميركا تُبدي جديةً في مناهضة الصين في آسيا، لكنّ تقوية التحالفات العسكرية ليست وحدها أمراً كافياً، لتمضي بالقول إن علاقة أميركا بالصين يلزمها أكثر من مجرد استعراضٍ للقوة، وإنه ينبغي على أميركا تضمين إستراتيجيتها جوانب أخرى، من قبيل التعاون مع الصين حول التغيّر المناخي ضمن قواعد للتنافس الاقتصادي، وهنا فالسياسة الأميركية لا تزال تعاني. وقد كان لافتًا قيام الصين بتقديم طلب انضمامٍ إلى «اتفاق الشراكة الشاملة والتقدمية عبر المحيط الهادئ» بعد يوم واحد فقط على إعلان إقامة حلف «أوكوس»، هذا الاتفاق التجاري الذي يمثل المنطقة التجارية الحرة الكبرى في العالم، والذي انسحبت منه إدارة الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب في عام 2017، ما أشار إلى عقليةٍ أميركيةٍ تجاريةٍ انعزاليةٍ، ولا يبدو أن أياً في أميركا يخطط إلى العودة إلى هذا الاتفاق بما في ذلك إدارة الديمقراطيين الراهنة، رغم تصريحات جو بايدن الانتخابية عن «تصحيح» ما قامت به إدارة دونالد ترامب، وعن نيته إعادة تقوية الشراكات الأميركية مع دول العالم. ويُعد تقديم الصين لطلب الانضمام هذا تعبيراً عن توجهاتها الاقتصادية، ويمكن إدراجه في سياق مناكفة أميركا، رغم الشكوك حول إمكانية قبول طلب الصين في هذه المرحلة من قبل الدول الأعضاء في «الشراكة عبر المحيط الهادئ».

إذاً، بنظرةٍ شاملةٍ لحلف «أوكوس» من جميع زواياه، نجد أنه يمثل تبدلاً عميقاً في «الجغرافيا السياسية»، كونه يعبر عن احتلال مناهضة الصين لرأس أولويات السياسة الخارجية الأميركية لسنوات قادمة، لكنه يظل خطوة عسكرية منقوصة «نصف إستراتيجية» كما وصفته مجلة «ذي إيكونوميست»، فعزّزت أميركا بهذه الخطوة العسكرية التحالف القائم أصلًا مع أستراليا، التي تُعد قزماً إذا ما قورنت بالصين سواءً أكان بعدد السكان أم بالقوة العسكرية، ناهيك عن كون أستراليا تعتمد بشكلٍ رئيسٍ على الصين في الجانب التجاري.

مما لا شك فيه أن أميركا قد حقّقت ربحاً تجارياً من بيع الغواصات النووية الباهظة الثمن، لكنه يبدو قصير الأمد في مقابل تعثرٍ إستراتيجيٍّ طويل الأمد، نتيجة إثارتها مجدداً للشكوك حول مصداقيتها، وعن مراعاتها لمصالح حلفائها، سواءً أكانوا من «الناتو» أم من الدول الأخرى. فهل كانت إذاً أستراليا «بقرةً حلوباً» أخرى تم ابتزازها في حلف «أوكوس»؟ حيث استبدلت أستراليا صفقة فرنسية بأخرى أميركية تفوقها مرة ونصف مرة في القيمة، من أجل حيازة عتادٍ عسكريٍ مشكوك في حاجتها إليه، حسب ما خلص إليه البروفيسور «هيو وايت» بالقول: عند الأخذ في الحسبان مجموع العوامل المرافقة لتشغيل الغواصات النووية، تفوز الغواصات تقليدية الدفع بكل تأكيد، فيا ليت أدارت أستراليا تعاقداتها بقليل من المنطق.

وهل خضعت حكومة «موريسون» إلى تهديد البروفيسور الأميركي المعروف وأستاذ العلوم السياسية «جون ميرشايمر»، حيث كان قد خاطب نخبة من الإستراتيجيين الأستراليين خلال ندوة بعنوان «هل تستطيع الصين النهوض بسلام»، أقيمت في عام 2019 في أستراليا، قائلاً: يرى البعض أنه يوجد هناك بديل، السير مع الصين عوضاً عن أميركا، وفي هذا الخيار أقول – إذا قرّرتم السير مع الصين فعليكم فهم أنكم ستغدون أعداء لنا، وبأنكم تختارون العداء مع الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، فالحديث هنا يخصّ منافسةً أمنيةً حادةً، فإما أن تكونوا معنا وإما أن تكونوا ضدّنا، فإذا اخترتم الصداقة مع الصين، فهذا لن يجعلنا سعداء، وعليكم عدم الاستهانة بغضبنا حينما لا نكون سعداء، وما عليكم إلا سؤال فيديل كاسترو عن ذلك.


صعود الصين، عودة روسيا ونهاية فكرة تصدير الديمقراطية الأمريكية – البروفيسور جون ميرشايمر

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Russian options in a world headed for war

November 18, 2021

Russian options in a world headed for war

The world is headed for war and has been headed that way for quite a while now.  Several times, just at the brink, the West decided to pull back, but each time it did that its ruling elites felt two things: first, the felt even more hatred for Russia for forcing them to back down and, second, they interpreted the fact that no shooting war happened (yet) as the evidence, at least in their minds, that standing on the brink of war is a pretty safe exercise.  And yet, a major shooting war is quite possible in any of the following locations, or even in several simultaneously: (in no specific order)

  1. US-China war over Taiwan
  2. AngloZionist attack on Iran
  3. A war involving the 3B+PU against Belarus
  4. A war between the Ukraine and the LDNR+Russia
  5. A NATO-Russian war in the Black Sea region
  6. A resumption of a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan

As we can see, all of these potential wars could potentially involve Russia, either directly (3,4,5) or indirectly (1,2,6).

Today, I want to look at Russian options in the direct involvement cluster of wars 3, 4 and 5.

The first thing which I think is important to note here is that while the Ukraine has no prospects of becoming a NATO member country, some NATO member states have already taken the following steps to turn the Ukraine into a de facto NATO protectorate:

  1. Full and unconditional political support for the Nazi regime in Kiev and any of its actions
  2. Minimal economic support, just enough to keep the Nazis in power
  3. Minimal delivery of weapons for the Ukronazi forces
  4. Deployment of small NATO contingents inside the Ukraine
  5. Lot’s of Kabuki theater about “we will stand with you forever and no matter what

I have already discussed the 5th point here, so I won’t repeat it all here.  The important point in the list above in #4, the deployment of a small force of UK, Swedish, French, US and other NATO units into the Ukraine.  Such small forward deployed forces are referred to “tripwire forces” whose mission is to heroically die thereby triggering an automatic (at least in theory) involvement of their country of origin into the war.

Before going any further, I think I want to share with you a list of axiomatic facts:

  1. Russia cannot be defeated militarily by any combination of forces.  For the first time in centuries, Russia is not playing “catching up” with her western foes, but is actually ahead with both her conventional and her nuclear forces.  The Russian advantage is especially striking in her conventional strategic deterrence capabilities.
  2. The West, whose leaders are quite aware of this fact, does not want an open shooting war with Russia.
  3. The 3B+PU block wants a war at all costs, both for internal and for external political reasons.
  4. In a war against the Ukraine, Russia will have several counter-strike options in which she would not need to drive even a single tank across the border

The first three are rather uncontroversial, so let’s look at the 4th point a little closer.  Let’s begin by looking at Russian counter-attack options against the Ukraine.  Roughly summarized, here are what I see as the main possible options for a Russian counter-attack against the Ukraine:

  1. Protecting the LDNR in its current borders (line of contact) by a combination of a no-fly zone, missile strikes against Ukie C3I, the use of EW to disorganize the Ukie forces and very targeted strikes (from inside Russia) against key HQs, ammo/POL dumps, etc.
  2. Giving cover to the LDNR forces to fully liberate the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
  3. Giving cover to the LDNR forces to fully liberate the Donetsk and Lugansk regions and the creation of a land corridor towards the Mariupol-Berdiansk-Crimea area.
  4. Giving cover to the LDNR forces to fully liberate the Donetsk and Lugansk regions and the creation of a land corridor in the Mariupol-Berdiansk-Crimea area and then the liberation of the Ukainian coast along the Kherson-Nikolaev-Odessa axis.
  5. The liberation of all the lands east left bank of the Dniepr river (including the cities of Kharkov, Poltava, Dniepropetrovsk, Zaporozhie and others).
  6. The liberation of the entire Ukraine

In purely military terms, these are all doable options.  But looking at this issue from a purely military point of view is highly misleading.  But first, about the NATO tripwire force.

US/NATO commanders are not too bright, but they are smart enough to understand that in case of a Russian counter attack these forces would be wiped out, thereby potentially involving all of NATO in what could potentially be a huge, continental war.  That is not what they want.

So the real purpose of this tripwire forces would be to create a powerful enough anti-Russian hysteria to transform the (currently disorganized and deeply dysfunctional) West into a single, united, anti-Russian block.  In other words, this tripwire force presents a political challenge to the Kremlin, not a military one.  This being said, we need to look a a number of absolutely crucial non-military factors.

  1. Whatever territory Russia liberates from the Nazi forces she will have to rebuilt economically, protect militarily and reorganize politically.  The more territory Russia liberates, the most acute these pressures will become.
  2. It has been 30 years already since the Ukraine set a course on becoming an anti-Russia, and there is now an entire generation of thoroughly brainwashed Ukrainians who really believe in what the Ukronazi media and “democracy” or “civil society” promoting propaganda outlets have been telling them.  The fact that many of them speak better Russian than Ukrainian does not change fact that in the least.  While the Ukies cannot stop the Russian military, they sure can organize and sustain an anti-Russian insurgency which Russia would have to suppress.
  3. Economically, the Ukraine is a black hole: you can throw whatever you want at it, in any amounts, and everything will simply disappear.  The notion of “economic aid to the Ukraine” is simply laughable.
  4. The Ukraine is an artificial entity which never was, and ever will be, viable, at least not in her current borders.

For these reasons I submit that it would be extremely dangerous for Russia to bite-off more than she can chew.  As the best (by far) political analyst of the Ukraine, Rostislav Ishchenko, said in an interview last week: “Putin cannot save the Ukraine, but he sure can ruin Russia [if he tries]” – and I totally concur with him.

Whatever legal pretense can be wrapped around a Russian liberation of the Ukraine, the reality is that whatever land Russia does liberate, she will then own and have to administer.

Why would Russia want to reimpose law and order inside a black hole?

Then there is this: while historically Ukrainian are nothing but “Russians under Polish occupation”, the past 30 years have created a new, very different nation.  In fact, I submit that we have witnessed a true ethnogenesis, the birth of a new nation whose very identity is russophobic at its core.  Yes, they speak Russian better than Ukrainian, but speaking the language of your enemy did not prevent the IRA, ETA or the Ustashe from hating that enemy and fighting him for decades.  In many ways, the modern Ukrainians are not only are non-Russians, they are anti-Russians par excellence: I think of them as Poles, with vyshivankas instead of feathers.

Crimea was solidly pro-Russian in all its history.  The Donbass was initially rather happy to form part of the Ukraine, even in the early post-Maidan period when protests were organized under Ukrainian flags.  Those flags were later traded for LDNR/Russian flags, but only after Kiev launched a military operation against the Donbass.  And the further you go west, the clearer this distinction is.  As one LDNR commander once put it, “the further west we go, the less we are seen as liberators and the more we are seeing as occupiers“.

The crucial point here is this: it does not matter what you, or I, or anybody else thinks about the constituent parts of the new Ukie national identity, we can laugh about it all we want, but as long as they take it seriously, and enough of them do, then this is a reality we cannot simply overlook or wish away.

The other point which is often overlooked is this: the Ukronazi Banderastan has already mostly collapsed.  Yes, in central Kiev things look more or less normal, but all the reports from the rest of the country point to the same reality: the Ukraine is already a failed state, totally de-industrialized, where chaos, poverty, crime and corruption are total.  The same is becoming true even for Kiev suburbs.

When I observe at how slow the Russian efforts to reorganize (really, fix) Crimea are, by no fault of the Russians, by the way, I recoil in horror at the thought of what it would take for Russia to re-civilize and re-develop ANY liberated part of the Ukraine.

Russia is typically compared to a bear, and that is a very good metaphor on many levels.  But in the case of the Ukraine, I see Russia like a snake and the Ukraine like a hog: the snake can easily kill that hog (by venom or by constriction), but that snake cannot absorb that dead hog, it is just too big for it.

But here is the single most important fact about this entire situation: the Ukie Banderastan is dying, most of its body is already necrotic, so there is absolutely no need for the Russian snake to do anything about it at all (other than retreating into a corner ready to strike, in a coiled position, and loudly hiss: “attack me and you are dead!“.  Putin already said that much.

Still, what if?  What if the Nazis, egged on by their “democratic” patrons, do launch an attack?  At that point Russia will have no other option but to strike, using her standoff weapons (missiles, artillery, long range cruise missiles, etc.).  Since we can safely assume that the Russians have been rehearsing exactly such a counter-strike we can expect it to be swift and devastating.  Targets list will include: advancing Ukie forces, airbases and any aircraft (manned or not) taking off, any Ukie boat approaching the area of operations, communication nodes, supply dumps, roads, bridges, fortified positions, etc.  That is a lot of targets to be hit at once, but hitting them at once is also the safest and most effective method to quickly achieve the immediate goal of stopping any possible Ukie advance on the LDNR.  This initial phase would last under 24 hours.

[Sidebar: modern warfare is not WWII, you won’t see thousands of tanks and a clear frontline but, rather, you will see strikes throughout the strategic depth of the enemy side, intense maneuver by fire and the use of battalion tactical groups]

Should that happen, it is likely that NATO forces would move into the western Ukraine, not to “protect” it from a Russian attack which will never come, but to break off as much of the Ukraine as possible and take it under control.  The pretext for such a NATO move would be the destruction (partial or full) of the tripwire force.  NATO might also declare its own no-fly zone over the western Ukraine, which the Russians will have no need to challenge.  Finally, the West will happily unite against Russia, and sever all economic, diplomatic and other ties to “isolate and punish Russia”.  Let’s not kid ourselves, this would hurt the Russian economy, but not in a manner sufficient to break the Russian will.

Then will come the big question: how far should Russia go?

I am confident that this has already been decided, and I am equally confident that Russia will not follow the options 4, 5 and 6 above.  Option 1 is a given, we can take that to the bank (unless the LDNR forces alone are enough to stop a Ukie attack).  Which leaves options 2 and 3 as “possibles”.

So here I want to suggest another option, what I would call the “southern route”: while the line of contact between the LDNR and Banderastan can be pushed somewhat further west, I do not think that Russian forces shuold liberate any of major cities in the central Ukraine (Kharkov, Poltava, Dneipropetrivsk, Zaporozhie, ).  Instead, I think that they ought to envelop these forces by a move along the coast as far as all of Crimea (up to Perekop) and maybe even up to, but not into, the city of Kherson.  Of course, in order to achieve this, it would be necessary to bring a large enough force into the Voronezh-Kursk-Belgorod triangle to force the Ukrainians to allocate forces to their northeast.  The Russian Black Sea Fleet could also conduct operations all along the Ukrainian coast, including near Nikolaev-Odessa to force the Ukies to allocate forces to coastal defenses, thereby easing the load on the Russian forces moving towards Kherson.

[Sidebar: let’s be clear here, the LDNR forces along cannot conduct such a deep operation without risking envelopment and destruction.  That operation can only be executed at a relatively low cost by the Russian armed forces, including the Black Sea Fleet]

In such a scenario, Belarus could turn into a “silent threat from the north” which would further forces the Ukies to allocate forces to their northern borders, making the latter feel like they are being enveloped in strategic pincers.

What about Odessa?

Odessa is a unique city in many ways, and is population is generally pro-Russian.  It is also a city which would have a tremendous economic potential if managed by sane people.  However, Odessa is also a symbolic city for the Nazis, and they have placed a great deal of effort into controlling it.  Thus, Odessa is one of the few cities in the Nazi occupied Ukraine which could rise up against their occupier, especially while the Russian forces move along the coast towards it.  Here is where Russia could, and should, get involved, but not by taking the city WWII style, but by backing and supporting pro-Russian organizations in Odessa (primarily by using her special forces and, when needed, the firepower of the Black Sea Fleet).

What would the outcome of such a war look like?

One the down side, the West would unite in its traditional hatred for Russia, and economically Russia would hurt.  That is not irrelevant but, I submit, this scenario is already in the making and even if Russia does absolutely nothing.  Hence, this inevitable reality ought to be accepted by Russia as a condition sine qua non for her survival as a sovereign nation.

In military terms, the Poles and their Anglo masters would probably “protectively liberate” the western Ukraine (Lvov, Ivano-Frankovsk).  So what?  Let them!  There is no penalty for Russia from this.  Besides, the hardcore Ukronazis will then have to deal with their former Polish masters now fully back in control – let them fully “enjoy” each other 🙂

What about the rump Banderastan (we are talking about the central Ukraine here)?? It would end up being in even a worse shape than it is today, but Russia would not have to pay the bills for this mess.  Sooner or later, an insurrection or civil war would take place, which would pit one brand of Ukies against another, and should either one of them turn towards Russia or the liberated parts of the Ukraine, Russia could simply use her standoff weapons to quickly discourage any such attempts.

So how close are we to war?

Short answer: very.  Just listen to this recent press conference by Lavrov.  And its not only Lavrov, a lot of savvy political commentators and analysts in Russia are basically saying that the issue is not “if” but “when” and, therefore, “how”.  I think that the straw that broke the Russia’s patience’s camel back is the suicidal way in which the real (historical) Europeans have allowed the 3B+PU to set the agenda for the UE and NATO.  Oh sure, if NS2 goes ahead, as it still probably will, the Russians will be happy to sell energy to Europe.  But in terms of agency, the only power Russia is willing to talk to is the United States, as witnessed by the recent visits of Nuland and Burns to Moscow.  Let’s make one thing very very clear here:

Russia does not want war.  In fact, Russia will do everything in her power to avoid a war.  If a war cannot be avoided, Russia will delay the onset of that war as far into the future as possible.  And if that means talking to folks like Nuland or Burns, then that is something the Russians will gladly do.  And they are absolutely right in that stance (not talking to the enemy is a western mental disorder, not a Russian one).

As I have been saying for almost 2 years now, the Empire is already dead.  The USA as we knew them died on January 6th.  But the post Jan 6th USA still exists and, unlike the Europeans, the US ruling classes still have agency.  Just look at clowns like Stoltenberg, Borrell, Morawiecki or Maas: these are all petty bureaucrats, office plankton of you wish, which might have the skills to run a car rental agency, maybe a motel, but not real leaders that anybody in the Kremlin will take seriously.  You can hate Nuland or Burns all you want, but these are serious, dangerous folks, and that is why Russia is willing talk to them, especially when the request for such negotiations have been made by the US side (the Russians can’t really talk to clowns like Biden or Austin, which are just PR figures).

One thing needs mentioning here: the people of the rump-Banderastan and what will happen to them.

Actually, I think that the Ukraine is totally and terminally unsalvageable and the only good plan for anybody still living there is to do what millions of Ukrainians have already done: pack and leave.  Since most of the unskilled Ukrainian labor force lived in the western regions of the Ukraine, they will naturally prefer moving to the EU to work as cabbies, plumbers, maids and prostitutes.  Likewise, since most of the skilled Ukrainian work force comes from the southern and the eastern Ukraine, they will either be content with being liberated by Russia or they will move to Russia to work as engineers, medical doctors, IT specialists or even construction workers.  Russia has a need for such culturally close and qualified work force and getting jobs (and passports) for them will be a no brainer for the Kremlin.  True, what will be left of this post-Banderastan Ukraine won’t be a pretty sight: a poor, corrupt, country whose people will struggle to survive with lots of silly political ideas floated around.  But that won’t be Russia’s problem anyway while the main threat to Russia, a united Banderastan becoming a NATO training polygon right across the Russian border, will simply evaporate, dying on its own toxic emissions.  And if more Ukrainians want to move to Russia (or the free Ukraine), then the LDNR and Russian authorities will be able to decide on a case by case “do we wants these folks here or not?“.  Those Ukrainians who have remain real Ukrainians will be welcome in Russia while the Ukronazis will be denied entry and arrested if they still try.

Addendum: the two powers with imperial phantom pains and dreams of war

I am, of course, talking about the UK and Poland, two minor actors who compensate for their very limited actual abilities with a never-ending flow of vociferous declarations.  Mostly, they are just “playing empire”.  Both of these countries know exactly that they once were real empires and why they are pretty irrelevant today – they blame much of their own decay on Russia and hence their dream is to see Russia, if not defeated, then at least given a bloody nose.  And, of course, standing on the shoulders of the USA, both of these countries think of themselves as giants: they sure act the part very great gravitas and pomp.

Finally, their leadership is degenerate enough (inferiority complex compensated by a narcissism run amok) to lack even the basic common sense of wondering whether poking the Russia bear is a good idea or not.  More than any other NATO members, these yapping countries need a good smackdown to bring them back to reality.  Whether this smackdown will come in the form of some incident in the Ukraine or whether that will happen elsewhere is impossible to predict, but one thing is sure: the UK and Poland are (yet again!) the two countries which want, I would even say, need, a war with Russia more than anybody else (example one, example two).  I find it therefore rather likely that, sooner or later, Russia will have to either sink a UK/Polish ship or shoot down a/several UK/Polish aircraft which will show to the world, including the Brits and the Poles, that neither the US, nor NATO nor anybody else is seriously going to go to war with Russia over the Empire’s underlings.  Yes, there will be tensions, possibly even local clashes, and tons and tons of threatening verbiage, but nobody wants to die for these two hyenas of Europe (Churchill forgot to mention one), and nobody ever will.

Conclusion: war on the horizon

Right now, we are already deep inside a pre-war period and, like a person skating on thin ice, we wonder if the ice will break and, if it does, where that will happen.  Simply put, the Russians have two options:

  • A verbal push back
  • A physical push back

They have been trying the former as best they can to do the first for at least 7 years if not more.  Putin did trade space for time, and that was the correct decision considering the state of the Russian armed forces before, roughly, 2018.  Trump’s election was also God-sent for Russia because while Orange Man did threaten the planet left and right, he did not start a full-scale war against Russia (or, for that matter, Iran, China, Cuba, Iran and the DPRK).  By late 2021, however, Russia has retreated as far as she could.  The good news now is that Russia has the most modern and capable military on the planet, while the West is very busy committing political, cultural and economic suicide.

According to US analysts, by 2025 the USA won’t be able to win a war against China.  Frankly, I think that this ship has already sailed a long time ago, but that semi-admission is a desperate attempt to create the political climate to circle the wagons before China officially becomes the second nation the USA cannot defeat, the first one being, obviously, Russia (I would even include Iran and the DPRK is that list).  Hence all the current Anglo posturing in the Black Sea (which is even far more dangerous for US/NATO ships than the China Seas) is just that: posturing.  The main risk here is that I am not at all convinced by the notion that “Biden” can rein in the Brits or the Poles, especially since the latter are both NATO members who would sincerely expect NATO to protect them (they should ask Erdogan about that).  But, of course, there really is no such thing as “NATO”: all there is the US and its vassal states in Europe.  Should the two wannabe empires trigger a real, shooting war, all it would take is a single Russian conventional missile strike somewhere deep inside the continental USA (even in a desert location) to convince the White House, the Pentagon or the CIA “get with the program” and seek a negotiated solution, leaving the Brits and the Poles utterly disgusted and looking foolish.  I don’t think anything else can bring those two countries back to a sense of reality.

So yes, the war is coming, and the only thing which can prevent it would be some kind of deal between Russia and the USA.  Will that happen?  Alas, I don’t see any US President making such a deal, since however is in power is accused by the other party of “weakness”, “being a Russian asset” and all the rest of the flagwaving claptrap coming out of all the US politicians, especially in Congress.  One possibly mitigating factor is that the US politicians are also dead set on confrontation with China, including during the upcoming Olympic games, and if these tensions continue to escalate, then the US will want Russia to at least not represent a direct threat to US interests in Europe and the Pacific.  So maybe Putin and Xi can play this one together, making sure that with each passing day Uncle Shmuel gets even weaker while Russia and China get even stronger.  Maybe that strategy could avoid a war, at least a big one.  But when listen to the verbiage coming out of the UK+3B+PU, I have very little hope that the nutcases in Europe can be talked down from the edge of the precipice.

Andrei

The US Is Taking Note Of Russia’s Pragmatic Stance Towards The Taliban

18 NOVEMBER 2021

The US Is Taking Note Of Russia’s Pragmatic Stance Towards The Taliban

By Andrew Korybko

Source

Newsweek’s interview with Russian Special Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov was significant because it was the first time that Russia’s pragmatic stance towards the Taliban was given publicity and treated fairly by a major Western media outlet.

Russian Special Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov was recently interviewed by Newsweek about his country’s pragmatic stance towards the Taliban. This high-profile and fairly conducted media appearance speaks to the fact that the US is taking note of Russia’s evolving position. It also signals the incipient progress that’s been achieved in improving bilateral relations since this summer’s Biden-Putin Summit because it shows that Russia and the US are interested in working more closely together on this issue of mutual concern. Prior to summarizing the insight that the envoy shared, the piece will point readers in the direction of the author’s prior analyses on this topic that were published at the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) in case they’re interested in some background briefings:

* 3 June 2020: “Pakistan’s Role In Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnership

* 24 June 2021: “The Geostrategic Challenges Of Russia’s ‘Ummah Pivot’

* 14 July 2021: “Russia’s ‘Ummah Pivot’: Opportunities & Narrative Engagement

* 25 August 2021: “Russia & The Taliban: From Narrative Challenges To Opportunities

* 27 September 2021: “Comparing The Contours Of Russia’s Ummah Pivot In Syria & Afghanistan

To sum it up for those readers with limited time, Afghanistan forms a crucial component of Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnership (GEP) because it functions as the irreplaceable transit state for facilitating its overland connectivity with South Asia. Pakistan helped Russia enter into contact with the Taliban due to all sides’ shared anti-ISIS concerns, after which Moscow began to independently cultivate its own relations with the group that it still formally designates as terrorists. That political issue hasn’t hampered their cooperation though since they’re now coordinating on humanitarian, security, and socio-economic issues. Russia’s surprising successes in this respect are entirely attributable to its pragmatic grand strategy of attempting to become Eurasia’s supreme “balancing” force in the 21st century.

———-

Kabulov began the interview by stating Russia’s top two policy goals in Afghanistan: seeing it become a normal state at peace with itself and its neighbors; and containing international terrorist and drug trafficking threats. He then proceeded to explain that the Taliban has evolved from what he claims was its prior “global jihadist agenda” to becoming a “military political opposition” movement in Afghanistan. They beat NATO because they had better morale, he said. Although their post-war vision differs from the socio-political models that Russia and other countries adhere to within their own borders, Moscow nevertheless respects it. Even so, Kabulov insisted that his country wants the Taliban to abide by “basic human rights and international relations rules”.

These include an ethno-politically inclusive government and equal socio-economic opportunities for women. The envoy praised the progress that’s been achieved thus far, especially in terms of retaining a diversity of media outlets in the country and establishing law and order, but he of course also noted that a lot of work still remains to be done. Kabulov lauded the Taliban’s anti-terrorist struggle against ISIS (which is also banned in Russia) and said that they “are actually doing this much better than your and previous administration forces”. Since “they are serving both regional and international interests” in this respect, Russia is against all efforts to weaken its relevant capacities. The envoy also hopes that the US releases Afghanistan’s frozen funds so that the Taliban doesn’t need to rely on the drug trade.

As for the state of cooperation with the US on this issue, Kabulov sounded upbeat but noted that a lot of their discussions concerned dealing with the same financial and security messes that America itself is responsible for creating in Afghanistan. The Troika Plus framework between those two, China, and Pakistan was also presented as an example of their fruitful cooperation thus far. These four countries’ top priority right now is to avert Afghanistan’s impending humanitarian crisis and brainstorming multilateral solutions for sustainably improving its socio-economic situation. Broader cooperation with the Central Asian Republics (CAR), Iran, France, and Germany is possible too.

Kabulov expressed relief that the US hasn’t succeeded in setting up any regional bases, which he said would have provoked attacks against those host states by the Taliban and other terrorist groups. He also revealed how displeased Russia was with the US’ initial attempts to have it and the region shoulder the Afghan burden. A balance must be struck, he implied, between the US and its allies responsibly cleaning up the mess that they made there and other stakeholders assisting these efforts in a fair way that doesn’t ask too much of them or anything else that might be unrealistic. In the worst-case scenario that the situation deteriorates, Kabulov said this country’s CAR allies can count on Russia to defend their national security.  

Russia will not, however, render any anti-terrorist military assistance to the Taliban, nor has such been requested of it from the group. Kabulov then commented on the emerging regional consensus surrounding the need to help stabilize Afghanistan and contain the various threats that might emanate from it. The Moscow and Islamabad Format talks, as well comparatively minor supplementary ones like the latest virtual event in Tehran, are proof of this in practice. The envoy cautioned, however, against needlessly multiplying meetings just for the sake of it without focusing on achieving tangible dividends from each process, the most urgent of which concern humanitarian issues followed by anti-terrorist and drug-related ones.

Russia’s goal is to prevent Afghanistan from ever being exploited by foreign terrorist organizations to carry out another 9/11. About that world-changing event, Kabulov said that it was unfair to punish the Afghan people when none of their compatriots participated in it and only Osama Bin Laden operated from there. Arming Afghans with political and economic instruments can help them prevent this from ever happening again, the envoy advised. Going forward, Russia will continue working with its Troika Plus partners to convince other donors like those in Europe to contribute to averting Afghanistan’s impending humanitarian crisis. In conclusion, Kabulov hopes that the Taliban will continue to make comprehensive progress by having their comparatively moderate elements keep radical ones in check.

———-

This interview was significant because it was the first time that Russia’s pragmatic stance towards the Taliban was given publicity and treated fairly by a major Western media outlet. Kabulov’s interviewer wasn’t aggressive or provocative like Western ones usually are. Rather, they seemed sincerely interested in better understanding his country’s position so that their own and others could potentially learn from it. This further reinforces the earlier mentioned observation that relations between those two countries are improving when it comes to areas of mutual concern. Evidently, both sides have made progress on responsibly regulating their rivalry since their leaders met this summer. Afghanistan can therefore serve as a perfect example of Russian-American cooperation and help build more trust.

Of course, that best-case scenario is still a far way’s off as seen by the US’ reluctance to release Afghanistan’s frozen assets, but there’s still no denying that the present state of affairs could obviously be a lot worse than it is. Russia hopes to lead the international community’s efforts to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan or at the very least avert its impending humanitarian crisis. China and Pakistan are playing major roles in this respect too, but the former is considered by the US to be its top global rival while the latter has limited influence on the global stage. That’s why it falls onto Russia to rally the international community around this shared cause. The US can greatly assist if it encourages its Western allies to follow suit. Until that happens, progress will remain limited and uncertainty will prevail.

Frozen Deutschland

November 18, 2021

Frozen Deutschland

A “perfect storm of Russian aggression during the coming winter months” is all but inevitable. Watch it on your screens while you properly freeze.

By Pepe Escobar and extensively cross-posted

As much as with “brain dead” NATO (copyright Emmanuel Macron) no one ever lost precious assets betting on the incompetence, narrow-mindedness and cowardice of political “leaders” across the Atlanticist EU.

There are two main reasons for the latest German legalese gambit of suspending the certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

  1. Retaliation, directly against Belarus and Russia, “guilty” of the disgraceful refugee drama at the Poland-Belarus border.
  2. Politicking by the German Greens.

A high-ranking European energy executive told me, “this a game where Germany does not hold a winning hand. Gazprom is very professional. But imagine if Gazprom decided to deliberately slow down their deliveries of natural gas. It could go up tenfold, collapsing the entire EU. Russia has China. But Germany does not have a workable contingency plan.”

This ties up with a proposal that is sitting at a crucial desk in Moscow for approval for two years now, as I reported at the time: an offer by a reputable Western energy firm of $700 billion for Russia to divert their oil and gas exports to China and other Asian customers, away from the EU.

This proposal was actually the key reason for Berlin to resolutely counteract the U.S. drive to stop Nord Stream 2. Yet the torture never stops. Russia now faces an additional hurdle: a carbon tax on exports to the EU which include steel, cement and electricity. That may well be extended to oil and natural gas.

Every sentient being across the EU knows that Nord Stream 2 is the easiest path to lower natural gas prices across Europe, and not the EU’s blind neoliberal bet of buying short term in the spot market.

“They are going to freeze”

Seems like the Bundesnetzagentur, the German energy regulator, woke up from a deep slumber just to find out that the Swiss-based company Nord Stream 2 AG did not meet the conditions to be an “independent transmissions operator” and could be certified only if it was “organized in a legal form under German law.”

The fact that neither the Germans nor the Swiss company were aware of it during the long, previous, always turbulent stages is very hard to believe. So now it looks like Nord Stream 2 AG will have to establish a subsidiary under German law only for the German section of the gas pipeline.

As it stands, the company is not “in a position” to comment on details and especially “the timing of the start of the pipeline operations.”

Nord Stream 2 AG will have to transfer capital and personnel to this new subsidiary, which will then have to present a full set of documentation for certification all over again.

Translation: gas from Nord Stream 2 will be absent during the coming winter in Europe and the pipeline, at best, might start running only by mid-2022.

And that certainly ties in with the politicking angle, as the German regulators are de facto waiting for the new German ruling coalition to emerge, including the neoliberal Greens who are viscerally anti-Nord Stream and anti-Russia.

The European energy executive did not mince his words on a quite possible scenario: “If Germany does not obtain their oil and natural gas by land now they cannot fashion a fall back position, as there is not sufficient LNG capacity or oil for that matter to supply the EU this winter. They are going to freeze. Much of their economy will be forced to shut down. Unemployment will soar. It would take four years to build up LNG capacity for natural gas but who will build it for them?”

Germany has zero margin of maneuver to dictate conditions to Gazprom and Russia. The gas that Gazprom won’t sell to northern Europe will be sold to eastern and southern Europe via Turk Stream, and most of all to Asian clients, which do not engage in blackmail and pay much better than the Europeans.

What is also clear is that if by a misguided political decision Nord Stream 2 gas is eventually blocked, the fines to be collected by Gazprom from the European consortium that begged for the construction of the pipeline may exceed 200 billion euros. The consortium is made up of Engie, Shell, Uniper, Wintershall Dea and OMV.

It’s against this background that the offer on the table in Moscow becomes even more than a game-changer. The bold recommendation to the Kremlin – with financing already in place – is that Russia’s natural resources including oil and natural gas should be redirected to China, as part of the Russia-China strategic partnership.

The proposal argues that Russia needs no trade with the EU, as China is way ahead of them in most advanced technologies. That certainly provides Moscow with the upper hand in any negotiations with any German government. As I mentioned it to the European energy executive, his terse comment was, “I doubt they will desire to commit suicide.”

It’s all Putin’s fault

It would be too much to expect from German and EU politicians the clear-sightedness of the government of Serbia, which is considering importing 3 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas annually for 10 years. Gazprom has been on the record for years demonstrating the practical, reliable and cost-conscious aspects of long-term contracts.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, commenting on the migrant crisis at the Poland-Belarus border, noted how “Poland behaves outrageously, while the leadership in Brussels applies double standards that are so apparent and naked that they can’t fail to understand that they are embarrassing themselves.”

The case of Nord Stream 2 adds extra layers to EU self- embarrassment as it concerns the wellbeing of populations already living inside Fortress Europe. Let them freeze, indeed – or pay virtual fortunes for natural gas that should be readily available.

As we all know, Germany, Nord Stream 2, Ukraine, Belarus, it’s all interlinked. And according to a Ukrainian lunatic profiting from an Atlanticist platform, it’s all Putin’s fault – guilty of conducting hybrid war against the EU.

It will be up to the “resolve of Poland and Lithuania” to “counter the Kremlin threat”. The ideal framework in this case should be the Lublin Triangle – which unites Poland and Lithuania with Ukraine. These are the lineaments of the new Iron Curtain, erected by the Atlanticists, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, to “isolate” Russia. Predictably, German Atlanticists are a crucial part of the package.

Of course, to be successful, these actors should “also seek greater U.S. and UK engagement”, with every movement complementing “the role of NATO as the ultimate guarantor of peace in the region”.

So behold, EU mortals: a “perfect storm of Russian aggression during the coming winter months” is all but inevitable. Watch it on your screens while you properly freeze.

Four Nightmares Yemen Is Causing “Israel” to Have

17 Nov 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

Mohammad Faraj

This is not poetry nor mere exaggerations with the hope of spreading false hope. It is the reality of the Yemeni geographic revenge against the occupation.

Israeli technology is one of the most important sources of input for the Neom project, which heavily relies on stability that cannot be attained without securing the Red Sea itself.

For the UAE, Bahrain, “Israel,” and the United States to launch maritime military exercises is no show of force; it is a reflection of deep concern and misgiving, primarily that of “Israel.”

“Israel” is dealing with four nightmares in the Red Sea, and Yemen seems to be their common thread.

The first nightmare: “We will strike critical targets.” That is how Ansar Allah responded last year to “Israel’s” comment on the situation in Yemen. Ansar Allah’s words were not just mere lip service, for Yemeni drones and Sanaa’s missile capabilities pose a genuine threat to the occupation on the Red Sea front, which has been confirmed by various Israeli military research centers.

Throughout the entirety of the Yemeni Army and Popular Committee-controlled Yemen, threatening “Eilat” is not any harder than threatening Saudi Aramco – that is Ari Heistein’s approach, a researcher in the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies. Though Heistein underrates the Yemeni threat, he acknowledges that Ansar Allah is able to use long-range missiles to hit targets from very far ranges. He sums up the whole situation with a single phrase: “It is realistic; however, it is limited.”

The precarious aspect of “limitation” stems from one basic angle: long-range missiles would grant the Israeli defense systems a certain margin of time to respond. This study was written two weeks ahead of the battle of Seif al-Quds, which proved that the issues in the Israeli defense systems do not solely rely on preparation, for what merits preparation more than a war?

The second nightmare: during the 1967 war, “Israel” experienced firsthand the repercussions of the Suez Canal and the Straits of Tiran being closed, so what could be the adverse effects of a farther passage – Bab-el-Mandeb Strait – being closed?

Closing Bab-el-Mandeb Strait in the face of Israeli vessels could seriously harm Israeli trade, both in terms of imports and exports. India is the largest Israeli arms importer in the world, importing 43% of “Israel’s” arms exports between 2016 and 2020, while Vietnam is the third-largest in the world, importing 12% of “Israel’s” arms exports.

Arms exports are a vital part of the Israeli economy, as “Israel” ranks eighth in the world in terms of arms exports, exporting 3% of the world’s arms. Therefore, closing Bab-el-Mandeb in the face of Israeli ships, one of the main pillars of the Israeli economy, heavily impacts the lives of Israeli settlers, whom the Israeli authorities need many temptations to keep in place.

The Israeli economy heavily relies on imported goods, which cross through the Indian Ocean through Bab-el-Mandeb. “Israel” might experience a situation that is opposite to the one it went through during the October 1973 war, which saw “Israel” suffering because of Bab-el-Mandeb being closed in the face of Iranian tankers transporting oil to “Israel” back when Iran was under the Shah. Today, “Israel” is extremely worried about the same strait standing in solidarity with revolutionary Iran.

The third nightmare: “Israel” dreams about having coastal tourist-attractive cities, and they are part of its plans for the future, firstly due to profits they would generate, and secondly due to the doors they could open for normalization.

Carnegie Center calls this project “The diplomacy of the Saudi Neom.” Neom city is at the heart of this project, and Israeli technology is one of the most important sources of input for this project, which requires high levels of stability that cannot be attained without stability in the Red Sea. Losing the opportunity of having military stability in the Red Sea means “Israel” would lose its economic opportunities in these “smart cities.”

The fourth nightmare: China aims to ensure the finest conditions for stability in the regions and straits through which the Belt and Road Initiative goes. By taking a look at a map of the initiative, one sees that Bab-el-Mandeb is a pivotal intermediate link for its success. The same initiative deems the Haifa port as less of a priority in terms of pathways into the Mediterranean sea, especially because it has many alternatives.

“Israel,” who is acting very cautiously in fear of the US aims to please China, hopes to reap the utmost benefits from the project. However, Bab-el-Mandeb could seriously harm “Israel” if China was put in a zero-sum game. “Israel” would lose a railway that connects “Eilat” and “Ashdod” and huge gas pipelines that would transmit energy through the occupied territories and supply them with energy as well.

This is the Yemeni geographic revenge from the occupation, as the four Yemeni nightmares are enough to shake “Isreal” to the core in terms of the occupation’s security and economy.

New Paradigm of US Foreign Policy and Relations with Russia: Valdai Club Analytics

NOVEMBER 17, 2021

New Paradigm of US Foreign Policy and Relations with Russia: Valdai Club Analytics

https://valdaiclub.com/a/highlights/new-paradigm-of-us-foreign-policy/

US foreign policy is by no means becoming less ideological. Liberal ideology in its newest left-liberal form is turning from a means of expansion into an instrument for consolidating the “collective West”, defining “us and them” and splitting the international community into opposing blocs, writes Valdai Club expert Dmitry Suslov.

US foreign policy is undergoing an important transition. The US withdrawal from Afghanistan drew a final and symbolic line under the period of its foreign policy, which began not on September 11, 2001, but in the early 1990s — what’s commonly called the “post-Cold War” period. In the early 1990s, intoxicated by the “victory in the Cold War” declared by George Bush Sr., the United States, being confident of the “end of history” and not meeting any resistance from outside in the context of the emerging “moment of unipolarity”, embarked on a course to transform everything else in the world in accordance with its values. These included the universalisation of the collective West and the spread of the American-centric “New World Order”. It was then that the goal of American policy towards Russia and China became their liberal-democratic transformation in accordance with Western patterns and integration into the American-centric world as junior players. US policy objectives regarding so-called “Rogue countries” (that is, those who stubbornly did not want to go over to the “right side of history”) became regime change.

That policy reached an impasse in the second half of the 2000s; since then the United States has been mired in a deep foreign policy crisis, due to the fact that the world had “suddenly” stopped developing in line with the American ideological guidelines. Russia and China refused to be transformed in accordance with Western patterns and integrate into the American world order as junior players, and attempts to democratise Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East generally failed. It was obviously not possible to extend the American-centric world order to the entire international system, and this order itself gradually began to burst at the seams.

Barack Obama tried to find a way out of this crisis by changing the instruments of American foreign policy, but maintaining the paradigm of spreading the American-centric world order to the rest of the world. The “reset” of relations with Russia and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (Washington hoped that China would eventually be forced to join the TPP) were, in fact, the latest attempts to “draw” Moscow and Beijing into the American-centric world order. Supporting the Arab Spring and fighting Arab dictators was the latest attempt to transform the Middle East. Both attempts failed again.

The first president of the United States to abandon the paradigm of transforming the rest of the world in accordance with American values was Donald Trump. Under his administration, for the first time since the Cold War, the US didn’t initiate any new military interventions, openly declared its refusal to spread democracy by military means, and made a fundamental decision to leave Afghanistan by signing an agreement with the Taliban (banned in Russia). It announced that henceforth, US foreign and defence policy would be focused primarily on the confrontation with Washington’s global rivals and adversaries, namely China and Russia. However, both the American elite and the establishment of most of the US allies mistakenly perceived Trump and his policies as a temporary aberration, after which a “return to normal” US policy (as it was after the end of the Cold War) should occur. Trump’s turnaround did not seem real or final to many. However, their projections were all in vain.

Biden’s historical significance lies in the fact that, despite being flesh and blood part of the traditional American establishment, having removed Trump from the White House, and receiving the support of elites and the “deep state”, he not only did not abandon the foreign policy of Trump, but also saw it to its conclusion. In doing so, he gave it a much more systemic and complete character. The main ways in which Biden’s foreign policy differs from that of Trump are that the United States has increased the importance of combating transnational threats (primarily climate change), and also changed its rhetoric towards its European allies, making it more sympathetic. On most fundamental issues, however, continuity prevails.

The abandonment of the paradigm of universalisation of the American-centric world order is in no way a signal of the readiness of the United States to form a joint multipolar world order with non-Western centres of power, primarily with China and Russia. The fundamentals of American foreign policy — the commitment to primacy and ideological messianism — remain unchanged: they are the result of the nature of the American state as an ideological project and its position as the most powerful player in its environment. The history of US foreign policy does not know the joint formation of a multipolar world order and participation in it; the American ideology simply excludes this.

As a result, a new paradigm of American foreign policy is already being shaped. Its defining priority is the fight against global rivals, this time China and Russia, and attempts to build a new bipolarity, where one pole would be the “world of democracies” led by the United States, and the other pole would be the “world of authoritarians” with the leading roles played by China and Russia. From attempts to universalise the American-centric world order, the United States has moved to its consolidation and defence, and from the “post-Cold War” era to the era of a new global confrontation.

US foreign policy is by no means becoming less ideological. Liberal ideology in its newest left-liberal form is turning from a means of expansion into an instrument for consolidating the “collective West”, defining “us and them” and splitting the international community into opposing blocs.

By rejecting the old, failed foreign policy paradigm and adopting a new one, Biden has been able to lead America out of the foreign policy crisis of the past decade and a half. The fiasco in Afghanistan was associated with an incorrect assessment of how long the Ghani government would hold out after the withdrawal of American troops. However, this dramatic narrative should not be misleading: Washington was well aware that this government would fall and that the Taliban would inevitably come to power (within between several months and two years), but nevertheless decided to leave.

The new global confrontation is intended to restore meaning, order and self-confidence to American foreign policy. With its help, the United States seeks to rally allies and partners around itself, consolidate the “collective West” and strengthen its leadership, and, perhaps, even mitigate its internal problems — to try and glue back together a divided American society, albeit partially, and reduce the polarisation of the political elite.

Of course, the practice of American foreign policy is more complex and multidimensional than the rhetoric about a new global confrontation between democracies and autocracies.

First, the world does not fit into the Procrustean bed of a new ideological confrontation. As in the previous Cold War, in the fight against global adversaries, the United States needs to partner with a number of non-democratic countries (for example, Vietnam). Many of the official US allies are authoritarian (including most allies in the Middle East, including Turkey), and Washington is unlikely to abandon these alliances, even though relations with some of them have deteriorated. Loyal NATO allies such as Poland also face serious problems with democracy. However, most importantly, an increasing number of countries, including democracies, do not want to join the US-China or US-Russia confrontation on the side of one of the powers, and are striving to pursue an increasingly independent foreign policy. An illustrative example is South Korea, which, being an ally of the United States and a democracy, in every possible way avoids being drawn into anti-Chinese policies.

Therefore, it is already reasonable to raise the question of how soon the United States will enter a new foreign policy crisis associated with its inability to achieve a new global demarcation along ideological lines and rally around itself most of the “free world” in opposition to China and Russia. Where, in this case, will the American foreign policy strategy develop? But these are questions of a more distant future.

Second, an important priority of the Biden administration is the fight against transnational challenges, primarily climate change, which requires cooperation with global opponents of the United States and non-democratic countries in general. So far, the Biden administration has been trying to combine its geopolitical rivalry with Moscow and Beijing with cooperation with them regarding climate change and other global challenges. It is difficult to say whether such a combination works. Moreover, Russia and China are invited to cooperate on the basis of the Western agenda, not a joint agenda, and at the same time the United States is using the same climate agenda to discredit Moscow and Beijing, exposing them as “climate spoilers” that refuse to reduce carbon emissions on a larger scale.

Third, the Biden administration makes it clear that China, perceived as the only rival capable of undermining American global primacy today, is a much more important and strategic adversary than Russia, and the Pacific region is a much higher priority region than Europe.

It is precisely at the containment of China and the consolidation of the anti-Chinese coalition that the United States is trying to throw its main forces, sometimes to the detriment of its policy of consolidating the Atlantic community and containing Russia. The history of the creation of AUKUS and NATO’s decision to designate China in its future strategic concept (planned to be adopted in 2022) as a threat to the security of the alliance, along with Russia, speak of the same thing: Europe is interesting for the Biden administration not only as a springboard and an ally for containment Russia, but also as an assistant in the fight against China.

Equally, it is the desire of the United States to focus maximum resources and attention on the fight against China, as well as to weaken the tendency towards further rapprochement between Moscow and Beijing, which has led to their mutual strengthening, including the military strengthening of China. That is the main reason why the Biden administration is now aiming to stabilise the confrontation with Russia, and to prevent its further escalation. While maintaining the existing deterrent tools (sanctions, information war, support for the current governments in Ukraine and Georgia and their Euro-Atlantic orientation, etc.), Washington, nevertheless, has not provided a qualitative increase in support for Kiev and Tbilisi and seeks to prevent what could lead to a new escalation of the military conflict in the Donbass or in the South Caucasus.

However, while confrontation with Russia is not an equal priority of US foreign policy versus confrontation with China, it remains and will remain an important issue. The United States has neither the desire nor the ability to overcome or at least significantly reduce the confrontation with Russia at the cost of its own concessions, and will strive to make it more passive.

There is no possibility of reducing confrontation on the part of the United States, primarily due to its domestic political restrictions:

In recent years, a strong anti-Russian consensus has developed there. US policymakers perceive Russia as both a geopolitical and an ideological adversary that seeks to undermine the position of the United States around the world, strengthen its main strategic rival (China), as well as undermine the American political system, and undermine America’s faith in democracy and liberal values. This perception and the need to combat it is one of the few issues on which there is almost complete agreement in the polarised political system of the United States.

In the context of this polarisation, which has turned many foreign policy topics into instruments of domestic political struggle, any positive step towards Russia becomes a pretext for accusations of treason, and anyone who takes this step pays a high price. This limitation has been observed since the time of Barack Obama, but since then, its scale has increased many times over.

Since the adoption of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) in 2017, no administration has been able to significantly reduce the scale of anti-Russia sanctions.

In addition, NATO will try to maintain the Russian-American confrontation; the anti-Russian focus has sharply increased since the failure in Afghanistan. Finally, in the wake of the Afghanistan fiasco, the United States simply cannot afford to diminish support for countries directly involved in the conflict with Russia, such as Ukraine and Georgia. In order to reduce reparation damage and convince allies and partners of the reliability of American commitments, the Biden administration must show in every possible way that, although it is ready to turn away from “unnecessary” satellites, by no means will it abandon those that play an important role in the fight against global adversaries. The visits of US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to Georgia and Ukraine in October 2021 confirmed this very task.

The lack of any desire to improve relations with Russia is primarily due to the perception of Russia as a weakening power, which, in the opinion of the US, will in the foreseeable future be forced to seek cooperation with the West from the position of a vassal due to either a large-scale internal crisis or a geopolitical clash with China as a result of the growing asymmetry between Russia and the PRC (something the majority in the American mainstream stubbornly believe in).

As a result, the Biden administration’s policy towards Russia is essentially to wait and see as Russia returns to the western orbit while continuing the confrontation, but minimising the damage associated with this confrontation, that is, preventing it from creating an immediate threat to American security.

Thus, given the impossibility and unwillingness of the United States to reduce the intensity of the confrontation with Russia, let alone to overcome it, it is quite possible to conclude that the global confrontation with China and Russia has indeed become, and will remain in the near future, a new core and organising principle of US foreign policy. It will serve as the basis for the development of their national interests, determining the scale of their presence and the nature of their obligations in different regions of the world. One reservation: containing China and consolidating allies and partners against it will remain a higher priority than containing Russia.

In practical terms, this means that the United States will strive to increase its presence, range of partners and military-political commitments in Asia and strengthen relations with those countries it considers important in containing China (the creation of AUKUS and Biden’s statement that Washington will provide military assistance to Taiwan in the event of a military invasion by the PRC is a direct confirmation). It also intends to maintain its presence in Europe and support for Ukraine and Georgia as countries playing a central role in the geopolitical struggle with Russia at the current level. Additionally, it will seek to weaken the US presence and commitments in countries and regions that Washington does not consider central or important to the fight against China and Russia.

The latter include, for example, the Middle East. Washington does not see this region as an arena for fighting global opponents and therefore can afford to reduce its military presence and political role there. The US was guided by the same logic toward Afghanistan: they knew that the “vacuum” left there by their departure would not be filled by either Beijing or Moscow.

So, for Russian-American relations, the new paradigm of US foreign policy creates the preconditions for the formation of a model resembling a controlled or stable confrontation, when the parties are not interested in further escalation or in overcoming it through their own concessions.

 Will the Military Industrial Complex Permit Good Relations Between the U.S. and China?

November 16, 2021

British and Australian armies’ veteran, former deputy head of the UN military mission in Kashmir and Australian defense attaché in Pakistan

Brian Cloughley

The world would benefit enormously if Joe Biden terminated its ascent by coming to terms with China and Russia, Brian Cloughley writes.

At the recent semi-successful United Nations COP26 conference on climate change there was an unexpected revelation that the U.S. and China had engaged in some thirty virtual meetings on the subject over the past year. Their decision to “jointly strengthen climate action” was very welcome from the environment point of view, and even more welcome because it demonstrated that Washington and Beijing could actually get along in one aspect of international relations. It also raised the question as to whether they could ever sit down together and discuss the equally pressing problem of looming conflict.

When U.S. climate envoy John Kerry announced the agreement he acknowledged that although “the United States and China have no shortage of differences” it seemed that “on climate, cooperation is the only way to get this job done.” In this, however, he seemed to be taking a different track to President Joe Biden, who played into the ever-welcoming hands of Washington hawks on November 2 when he castigated Presidents Xi and Putin for non-appearance at the COP gathering. This, he declared, was a “big mistake” and contrasted with the fact that “we showed up” but “they didn’t show up… It is a gigantic issue and they just walked away. How do you do that and claim to have any leadership mantle?”

It is barely credible that the President of the United States would state that the Presidents of the world’s other most important countries are not effective leaders. The BBC’s record of his diatribe is disturbing, as it demonstrates a desire for confrontation rather than a genuine preparedness to calm things down. He said that “the fact that China is trying to assert, understandably, a new role in the world as a world leader — not showing up, come on.” He continued by declaring that Russia’s wilderness was burning while President Putin “stays mum” about the problem. He did not know, or deliberately ignored the fact that, as the BBC reported, “before Mr Biden’s speech Mr Putin virtually addressed a meeting on forest management at the COP26 summit on Tuesday, saying that Russia takes the ‘strongest and most vigorous measures to conserve’ woodlands.”

There was little surprise that as COP26 was drawing to a close, President Xi warned against a return to “Cold War-era” divisions when it was made known that he and President Biden would meet on November 15. He said plainly that “attempts to draw ideological lines or form small circles on geopolitical grounds are bound to fail,” and China’s Ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, expanded on the subject at a function in Washington of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, saying that China “always bears in mind the fundamental interests of the people of both countries and the whole world, and handles China-U.S. relations from a strategic and long-term perspective”.

Most people are aware that China has a long-term view on its place in the world, and even President Biden, in his message to the gathering, declared that “from tackling the Covid-19 pandemic to addressing the existential threat of climate crisis, the relationship between the U.S. and China has global significance. Solving these challenges and seizing these opportunities will require the broader international community to come together as we each do our part to build a safe, peaceful and resilient future.” He did not, however, place any emphasis on bilateral negotiations, which was left to President Xi, who wrote that “China-U.S. relations are at a critical historical juncture. Both countries will gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Cooperation is the only right choice.”

President Xi’s desire that China should get together with the United States specifically to plan a joint way ahead for a peaceful future has not been echoed in Washington where, as reported by the Straits Times, “the White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that Washington and Beijing had ‘an agreement in principle’ to have a virtual summit before the end of the year.” Her explanation was that “this is part of our ongoing efforts to responsibly manage the competition between our countries,” while stressing that it was “not about seeking specific deliverables.” In other words, don’t let anybody get their hopes up that Mr Biden would pursue collaboration that will lead to improved bilateral relations. He might not go so far down into the insult sewer as to reiterate his previous public declaration that Mr Xi doesn’t have a “leadership mantle”, but it is unlikely there will be long-term substance.

It is not surprising that Mr Biden is reluctant to compromise, because the Pentagon and its associates have already notified the world they consider China to be menacing and that the United States should “meet the pacing challenge presented by the PRC’s increasingly capable military and its global ambitions”.

In its November 3 Report to Congress, the Pentagon details “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China” and presents the Pentagon’s case for continuing to expand the U.S. military and acquire even more staggeringly expensive weaponry. As the New York Times reported, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said that China “is clearly challenging us regionally, and their aspiration is to challenge us globally… they have a China dream, and they want to challenge the so-called liberal rules-based order.” The Washington Post noted the Report’s concern about China’s global vision, in that it “already has established a military base in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa. To support its goals, it wants to build more facilities overseas and is considering more than a dozen countries that include Cambodia, Pakistan and Angola. Such a network could interfere with U.S. military operations and support offensive operations against the United States.”

The Pentagon’s warning that China’s establishment of a military base in a foreign country constitutes a threat is absurd to the point of risibility, especially in the context of the U.S. military footprint which extends to “750 military base sites estimated in around 80+ foreign countries and colonies/territories.” Further, it is calculated that the U.S. spends more on its military than the combined defence budgets of eleven major countries : China, India, Russia, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and Australia.

It is not surprising that William Hartung and Mandy Smithberger wrote in TomDispatch on November 9 that “The arms industry’s lobbying efforts are especially insidious. In an average year, it employs around 700 lobbyists, more than one for every member of Congress… A 2018 investigation by the Project On Government Oversight found that, in the prior decade, 380 high-ranking Pentagon officials and military officers had become lobbyists, board members, executives, or consultants for weapons contractors within two years of leaving their government jobs.” And of even more concern for the workings of democracy it is sinister, in the words of Dan Auble, that “defence companies spend millions every year lobbying politicians and donating to their campaigns. In the past two decades, their extensive network of lobbyists and donors have directed $285 million in campaign contributions and $2.5 billion in lobbying spending to influence defence policy.”

Good luck to Mr Biden. Let us hope that he will sacrifice popularity for peace and that he will bear in mind the words of his illustrious predecessor President Eisenhower, sixty years ago, that “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” Indeed it has risen. But the world would benefit enormously if Joe Biden terminated its ascent by coming to terms with China and Russia.

Xi’s new Communist Manifesto

NOVEMBER 15, 2021

Leader’s unshakeable ambition is that China’s renaissance will smash memories of the ‘century of humiliation’ once and for all

Xi’s new Communist Manifesto

By Pepe Escobar, posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

Marx. Lenin. Mao. Deng. Xi.

Late last week in Beijing, the sixth plenum of the Chinese Communist Party adopted a historic resolution – only the third in its 100-year history – detailing major accomplishments and laying out a vision for the future.

Essentially, the resolution poses three questions. How did we get here? How come we were so successful? And what have we learned to make these successes long-lasting?

Chinese President Xi Jinping is poised to take a third five-year term. Image: Agencies / Pool

The importance of this resolution should not be underestimated. It imprints a major geopolitical fact: China is back. Big time. And doing it their way. No amount of fear and loathing deployed by the declining hegemon will alter this path.

The resolution will inevitably prompt quite a few misunderstandings. So allow me a little deconstruction, from the point of view of a gwailo who has lived between East and West for the past 27 years.

If we compare China’s 31 provinces with the 214 sovereign states that compose the “international community”, every Chinese region has experienced the fastest economic growth rates in the world.

Across the West, the lineaments of China’s notorious growth equation – without any historical parallel – have usually assumed the mantle of an unsolvable mystery.

Little Helmsman Deng Xiaoping’s ’s famous “crossing the river while feeling the stones”, described as the path to build “socialism with Chinese characteristics” may be the overarching vision. But the devil has always been in the details: how the Chinese applied – with a mix of prudence and audaciousness – every possible device to facilitate the transition towards a modern economy.

The – hybrid – result has been defined by a delightful oxymoron: “communist market economy.” Actually, that’s the perfect practical translation of Deng’s legendary “it doesn’t matter the color of the cat, as long as it catches mice.” And it was this oxymoron, in fact, that the new resolution passed in Beijing celebrated last week.

Made in China 2025

Mao and Deng have been exhaustively analyzed over the years. Let’s focus here on Papa Xi’s brand new bag.

Right after he was elevated to the apex of the party, Xi defined his unambiguous master plan: to accomplish the “Chinese dream”, or China’s “renaissance.” In this case, in political economy terms, “renaissance” meant to realign China to its rightful place in a history spanning at least three millennia: right at the center. Middle Kingdom, indeed.

Already during his first term Xi managed to imprint a new ideological framework. The Party – as in centralized power – should lead the economy towards what was rebranded as “the new era.” A reductionist formulation would be The State Strikes Back. In fact, it was way more complicated.

This was not merely a rehash of state-run economy standards. Nothing to do with a Maoist structure capturing large swathes of the economy. Xi embarked in what we could sum up as a quite original form of authoritarian state capitalism – where the state is simultaneously an actor and the arbiter of economic life.

Team Xi did learn a lot of lessons from the West, using mechanisms of regulation and supervision to check, for instance, the shadow banking sphere. Macroeconomically, the expansion of public debt in China was contained, and the extension of credit better supervised. It took only a few years for Beijing to be convinced that major financial sphere risks were under control.

China’s new economic groove was de facto announced in 2015 via “Made in China 2025”, reflecting the centralized ambition of reinforcing the civilization-state’s economic and technological independence. That would imply a serious reform of somewhat inefficient public companies – as some had become states within the state.

In tandem, there was a redesign of the “decisive role of the market” – with the emphasis that new riches would have to be at the disposal of China’s renaissance as its strategic interests – defined, of course, by the party.

So the new arrangement amounted to imprinting a “culture of results” into the public sector while associating the private sector to the pursuit of an overarching national ambition. How to pull it off? By facilitating the party’s role as general director and encouraging public-private partnerships.

The Chinese state disposes of immense means and resources that fit its ambition. Beijing made sure that these resources would be available for those companies that perfectly understood they were on a mission: to contribute to the advent of a “new era.”

Manual for power projection

There’s no question that China under Xi, in eight short years, was deeply transformed. Whatever the liberal West makes of it – hysteria about neo-Maoism included – from a Chinese point of view that’s absolutely irrelevant, and won’t derail the process.

What must be understood, by both the Global North and South, is the conceptual framework of the “Chinese dream”: Xi’s unshakeable ambition is that the renaissance of China will finally smash the memories of the “century of humiliation” for good.

Party discipline – the Chinese way – is really something to behold. The CCP is the only communist party on the planet that thanks to Deng has discovered the secret of amassing wealth.

And that brings us to Xi’s role enshrined as a great transformer, on the same conceptual level as Mao and Deng. He fully grasped how the state and the party created wealth: the next step is to use the party and wealth as instruments to be put at the service of China’s renaissance.

Nothing, not even a nuclear war, will deviate Xi and the Beijing leadership from this path. They even devised a mechanism – and a slogan – for the new power projection: the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), originally One Belt, One Road (OBOR).

Chinese Communist Party's third historic resolution underscores China is back and set to
A mountain pass along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Image: Facebook

In 2017, BRI was incorporated into the party statutes. Even considering the “lost in translation” angle, there’s no Westernized, linear definition for BRI.

BRI is deployed on many superimposed levels. It started with a series of investments facilitating the supply of commodities to China.

Then came investments in transport and connectivity infrastructure, with all their nodes and hubs such as Khorgos, at the Chinese-Kazakh border. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), announced in 2013, symbolized the symbiosis of these two investment paths.

The next step was to transform logistical hubs into integrated economic zones – for instance as in HP based in Chongjing exporting its products via a BRI rail network to the Netherlands. Then came the Digital Silk Roads – from 5G to AI – and the Covid-linked Health Silk Roads.

What’s certain is that all these roads lead to Beijing. They work as much as economic corridors as soft power avenues, “selling” the Chinese way especially across the Global South.

Make Trade, Not War

Make Trade, Not War: that would be the motto of a Pax Sinica under Xi. The crucial aspect is that Beijing does not aim to replace Pax Americana, which always relied on the Pentagon’s variant of gunboat diplomacy.

The declaration subtly reinforced that Beijing is not interested in becoming a new hegemon. What matters above all is to remove any possible constraints that the outside world may impose over its own internal decisions, and especially over its unique political setup.

The West may embark on hysteria fits over anything – from Tibet and Hong Kong to Xinjiang and Taiwan. It won’t change a thing.

Concisely, this is how “socialism with Chinese characteristics” – a unique, always mutant economic system – arrived at the Covid-linked techno-feudalist era. But no one knows how long the system will last, and in which mutant form.

Corruption, debt – which tripled in ten years – political infighting – none of that has disappeared in China. To reach 5% annual growth, China would have to recover the growth in productivity comparable to those breakneck times in the 80s and 90s, but that will not happen because a decrease in growth is accompanied by a parallel decrease in productivity.

A final note on terminology. The CCP is always extremely precise. Xi’s two predecessors espoused “perspectives” or “visions.” Deng wrote “theory.” But only Mao was accredited with “thought.” The “new era” has now seen Xi, for all practical purposes, elevated to the status of “thought” – and part of the civilization-state’s constitution.

That’s why the party resolution last week in Beijing could be interpreted as the New Communist Manifesto. And its main author is, without a shadow of a doubt, Xi Jinping. Whether the manifesto will be the ideal road map for a wealthier, more educated and infinitely more complex society than in the times of Deng, all bets are off.

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