Giorgia on our mind

September 28, 2022

by Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely cross-posted

It’s tempting to interpret the Italian electoral results this past Sunday as voters merrily hurling a bowl of lush papardelle with wild boar ragu over the collective bland faces of the toxic unelected Euro-oligarchy sitting in Brussels.

Well, it’s complicated.

Italy’s electoral system is all about coalitions. The center-right Meloni-Berlusconi-Salvini troika is bound to amass a substantial majority in both the Parliament’s Lower House and the Senate. Giorgia Meloni leads Fratelli d’Italia (“Brothers of Italy”). The notorious Silvio “Bunga Bunga” Berlusconi leads Forza Italia. And Matteo Salvini leads La Lega.

The established cliché across Italy’s cafes is that Giorgia becoming Prime Minister was a shoo-in: after all she’s “blonde, blue eyes, petite, sprightly and endearing”. And an expert communicator to boot. Quite the opposite of Goldman Sachs partner and former uber-ECB enforcer Mario Draghi, who looks like one of those bloodied emperors of Rome’s decadence. During his Prime Ministerial reign, he was widely derided – apart from woke/finance circles – as the leader of “Draghistan”.

On the financial front that otherworldly entity, the Goddess of the Market, the post-truth equivalent of the Delphi Oracle, bets that PM Giorgia will insist on the same old strategy: debt-funded fiscal stimulus, which will turn into a blowout in Italian debt (already huge, at 150% of GDP). All that plus a further collapse of the euro.

So the big question now is who’s going to be Italy’s new Finance Minister. Giorgia’s party has no one with the requisite competence for it. So the preferred candidate shall be “approved” by the usual suspects as a sort of enforcer of “Draghistan lite”. Draghi, by the way, already said he’s “ready to collaborate”.

Marvels of gastronomy apart, life in the EU’s third largest economy is a drag. Long-term growth prospects are like a mirage in the Sahara. Italy is extremely vulnerable when it comes to the financial markets. So a bond market a-go-go selloff in the horizon is practically a given.

In case of a – nearly inevitable – financial catfight cage match between Team Giorgia and Christine “look at my new Hermes scarf” Lagarde at the ECB, the European Central Bank will “forget” to buy Italian bonds and then, Auguri! Welcome to a new round of EU sovereign debt crisis.

On the campaign trail, sprightly Giorgia incessantly pledged to keep the massive debt under control. That was coupled with the requisite message to placate the woke crypto-“Left” and its neoliberal banking owners: we support NATO and sending weapons to Ukraine. In fact everyone – from Giorgia to Salvini – supports the weaponizing, having signed a letter during the previous legislature, in effect until the end of 2022.

Deconstructing a “semi-fascist”

The Atlanticist woke/neoliberal sphere, predictably, is fuming with the advent of “post-fascist” Italy: oh, these people always voting the wrong way… The discombobulated think tank crowd is pointing to the latest in a cycle of populist waves in Italy; they don’t even know what “populist” means. But they can’t be too hysterical because Giorgia, after all, is a product of the Aspen Institute.

Giorgia is a complex case. She is essentially a trans-Atlanticist. She abhors the EU but loves NATO. In fact, she would love to undermine Brussels from the inside, while making sure the EU does not cut off those crucial flow of funds to Rome.

So she does confound primitive, crypto-“Left” American “experts”, who blame her at best for “semi-fascism” – and thus more dangerous than Marine Le Pen or Viktor Orban. Then she gets immediate redemption because at least vocally she proclaims to be anti-Russia and anti-China.

But then again, the temptation to burn her at the stake is too great: after all she’s appreciated by Steve Bannon, who proclaimed four years ago that “you put a reasonable face on right-wing populism, you get elected.” And she keeps terrible company: Berlusconi is dismissed by the woke/neoliberal Americans as a “Putin buddy” and Salvini as a “firebrand nationalist”.

It’s imperative to imbibe a strong dose of reality to form a clear picture of Giorgia. So let’s turn to a fine Turin intellectual and author, Claudio Gallo, now benefitting from being far away from the toxic fog of Italian mainstream media, mostly a fiefdom of the dreaded Agnelli/Elkann family.

Here are Gallo’s key takeaways.

On Giorgia’s popular appeal: Her support “among working people is a fact. We can see that in every survey. However, this is not a new tendency, and it started in the time of Berlusconi. At this moment, the working class began to vote for right-wing parties. But I believe this is not an Italian-only trend. If you look at France most of the representatives of the traditional working class vote for Le Pen, not the socialist parties. It is a European trend.”

On the “Draghi agenda”: “You can figure out the kind of governments we just had as a European Troika with one man only – Mario Draghi. They have proposed the most brutal economic reforms inspired by Brussels, such as extreme flexibility and fiscal austerity. These are policies that affect mainly the middle classes and poor people (…) The Draghi government decreased welfare spending by 4 billion euros next year and another 2 billion in two years. It means 6 billion less will be available for healthcare in two years. There were cuts also in the school system. Polls show that more than 50% of Italians did not support Draghi and his program. Draghi comes from the most powerful part of society, the banking sector. In the leading Italian media, it is impossible to find any critics of this agenda.”

On a possible Berlusconi power play: “He has quite a huge audience. He is accredited with roughly 8% of the vote. After all these years and all his judicial difficulties, it is still a lot (…) A few months after the election, we can imagine a situation in which Meloni is forced to resign because she cannot cope with the harsh winter (cost of living out of control, social unrest). It will be the time of a Grosse Koalizion to save the country, and Berlusconi, with his strong stance on NATO and Europe, is ready to play his cards. Berlusconi would be the key to a new coalition. He is always ready to get any compromise done.”

On “firebrand” Salvini: “He is the leader of a very divided party. He used to have a populist agenda, but at the top of his party you can also find some technocratic figures like Giancarlo Giorgetti, a staunch defender of the interests of the North Italian Confindustria. Salvini is losing consensus within his electoral base, and Meloni stole his votes along with Movimento Cinque Stelle. His party is divided between old politicians that dreamed of some federation to strengthen the autonomy of the Northern regions and others more inspired by Marine Le Pen’s right. It’s a volatile mixture.”

On Giorgia under pressure: “The pressure of the economic issues, inflation, price of gas and so on, will make Meloni, a very tough politician but not an expert statesman, probably resign. In Italy, there is a political stalemate; like everywhere in the West, democracy doesn’t work correctly. All parties are pretty much the same, with some cosmetic differences; everyone can still make a coalition with anybody else, without any regard to principles or values.”

“The more things change…”: “The man behind the foreign policy of Fratelli d’Italia is an ex-ambassador in US and Israel, Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata. I cannot see how his opinion differs from Draghi’s. The same neoliberal and Atlantistic background, the same technocratic resume. Meloni is simply capitalizing that she didn’t participate in the last government, even if she doesn’t offer any alternative. Meloni repeats that nothing will change; we will send money and arms [to Ukraine]. She sends a lot of signals to NATO and the EU that they can count on her when it comes to foreign policy. I think she is sincere: she is surrounded by the people who will make it real. It is very different from the situation a couple of years ago when Meloni published a book in which she said we need to have a good relationship with Putin and build a new European order. Now she has completely changed her position. She wants to be seen as a trustworthy future premier. But the polls say that 40-50% of Italians don’t like to send weapons to Ukraine, and support every diplomatic measure to end the war. The cost of living crisis will strengthen this position among the people. When you cannot warm your house, everything changes.”

The real cage match

No one ever lost money betting on the EU oligarchy always behaving like a bunch of self-entitled, stubborn, unelected pricks. They never learn anything. And they always blame everyone except themselves.

Giorgia, following her instincts, has a decent shot at burying them even deeper. She is more calculating and less impulsive than Salvini. She won’t go for a euro exit and much less an Italexit. She won’t interfere with her Finance Minister – who will have to deal with the ECB.

But she remains a “semi-fascist”, so Brussels will want her scalp – in the form of cutting off Italy’s budget appropriations. These Eurocrats would never dare doing it against Germany or France.

And that brings to the political set up of the – supremely undemocratic – European Council.

Giorgia’s party is a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists bloc, along with only two other members, the PMs of Poland and Czech Republic.

The Socialists & Democrats bloc has seven members. And so does Renew Europe (the former “liberals”): that includes the president of the European Council, the supremely mediocre Charles Michel.

The center-right European People’s Party has six members. That includes Ursula “My Grand Dad was a Nazi” von der Leyen, the sadomaso dominatrix in charge of the European Commission.

The prime catfight cage match to watch in fact is Giorgia versus dominatrix Ursula. Once again, Mediterranean swagger against the Teutonic techno-barbarians. The more Brussels harassment of Giorgia, the more she will counter-attack, with full support of her post-truth Roman legions: Italian voters. Grab the Negronis and the Aperol Spritz; it’s show time.

Who profits from Pipeline Terror?

Secret talks between Russia and Germany to resolve their Nord Stream 1 and 2 issues had to be averted at any cost

September 29 2022

By Pepe Escobar

The War of Economic Corridors has entered incandescent, uncharted territory: Pipeline Terror.

A sophisticated military operation – that required exhaustive planning, possibly involving several actors – blew up four separate sections of the Nord Stream (NS) and Nord Stream 2 (NS2) gas pipelines this week in the shallow waters of the Danish straits, in the Baltic Sea, near the island of Bornholm.

Swedish seismologists estimated that the power of the explosions may have reached the equivalent of up to 700 kg of TNT. Both NS and NS2, near the strong currents around Borholm, are placed at the bottom of the sea at a depth of 60 meters.

The pipes are built with steel reinforced concrete, able to withstand impact from aircraft carrier anchors, and are basically indestructible without serious explosive charges. The operation – causing two leaks near Sweden and two near Denmark – would have to be carried out by modified underwater drones.

Every crime implies motive. The Russian government wanted – at least up to the sabotage – to sell oil and natural gas to the EU. The notion that Russian intel would destroy Gazprom pipelines is beyond ludicrous. All they had to do was to turn off the valves. NS2 was not even operational, based on a political decision from Berlin. The gas flow in NS was hampered by western sanctions. Moreover, such an act would imply Moscow losing key strategic leverage over the EU.

Diplomatic sources confirm that Berlin and Moscow were involved in a secret negotiation to solve both the NS and NS2 issues. So they had to be stopped – no holds barred. Geopolitically, the entity that had the motive to halt a deal holds anathema a possible alliance in the horizon between Germany, Russia, and China.

Whodunnit?

The possibility of an “impartial” investigation of such a monumental act of sabotage – coordinated by NATO, no less – is negligible. Fragments of the explosives/underwater drones used for the operation will certainly be found, but the evidence may be tampered with. Atlanticist fingers are already blaming Russia. That leaves us with plausible working hypotheses.

This hypothesis is eminently sound and looks to be based on information from Russian intelligence sources. Of course, Moscow already has a pretty good idea of what happened (satellites and electronic monitoring working 24/7), but they won’t make it public.

The hypothesis focuses on the Polish Navy and Special Forces as the physical perpetrators (quite plausible; the report offers very good internal details), American planning and technical support (extra plausible), and aid by the Danish and Swedish militaries (inevitable, considering this was very close to their territorial waters, even if it took place in international waters).

The hypothesis perfectly ties in with a conversation with a top German intelligence source, who told The Cradle that the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND or German intelligence) was “furious” because “they were not in the loop.” 

Of course not. If the hypothesis is correct, this was a glaringly anti-German operation, carrying the potential of metastasizing into an intra-NATO war.

The much-quoted NATO Article 5 – ‘an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us’ – obviously does not say anything about a NATO-on-NATO attack. After the pipeline punctures, NATO issued a meek statement “believing” what happened was sabotage and will “respond” to any deliberate attack on its critical infrastructure. NS and NS2, incidentally, are not part of NATO’s infrastructure.

The whole operation had to be approved by Americans, and deployed under their Divide and Rule trademark. “Americans” in this case means the Neo-conservatives and Neo-liberals running the government machinery in Washington, behind the senile teleprompter reader.

This is a declaration of war against Germany and against businesses and citizens of the EU – not against the Kafkaesque Eurocrat machine in Brussels. Don’t be mistaken: NATO runs Brussels, not European Commission (EC) head and rabid Russophobe Ursula von der Leyen, who’s just a lowly handmaiden for finance capitalism.

It’s no wonder the Germans are absolutely mum; no one from the German government, so far, has said anything substantial.

The Polish corridor

By now, assorted chattering classes are aware of former Polish Defense Minister and current MEP Radek Sirkorski’s tweet: “Thank you, USA.” But why would puny Poland be on the forefront? There’s atavic Russophobia, a number of very convoluted internal political reasons, but most of all, a concerted plan to attack Germany built on pent up resentment – including new demands for WWII reparations.

The Poles, moreover, are terrified that with Russia’s partial mobilization, and the new phase of the Special Military Operation (SMO) – soon to be transformed into a Counter-Terrorism Operation (CTO) – the Ukrainian battlefield will move westward. Ukrainian electric light and heating will most certainly be smashed. Millions of new refugees in western Ukraine will attempt to cross to Poland.

At the same time there’s a sense of “victory” represented by the partial opening of the Baltic Pipe in northwest Poland – almost simultaneously with the sabotage.

Talk about timing. Baltic Pipe will carry gas from Norway to Poland via Denmark. The maximum capacity is only 10 billion cubic meters, which happens to be ten times less than the volume supplied by NS and NS2. So Baltic Pipe may be enough for Poland, but carries no value for other EU customers.

Meanwhile, the fog of war gets thicker by the minute. It has already been documented that US helicopters were overflying the sabotage nodes only a few days ago; that a UK “research” vessel was loitering in Danish waters since mid-September; that NATO tweeted about the testing of “new unmanned systems at sea” on the same day of the sabotage. Not to mention that Der Spiegel published a startling report headlined “CIA warned German government against attacks on Baltic Sea pipelines,” possibly a clever play for plausible deniability.

The Russian Foreign Ministry was sharp as a razor: “The incident took place in an area controlled by American intelligence.” The White House was forced to “clarify” that President Joe Biden – in a February video that has gone viral – did not promise to destroy NS2; he promised to “not allow” it to work. The US State Department declared that the idea the US was involved is “preposterous.”

It was up to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov to offer a good dose of reality: the damage to the pipelines posed a “big problem” for Russia, essentially losing its gas supply routes to Europe. Both NS2 lines had been pumped full of gas and – crucially – were prepared to deliver it to Europe; this is Peskov cryptically admitting negotiations with Germany were ongoing.

Peskov added, “this gas is very expensive and now it is all going up in the air.” He stressed again that neither Russia nor Europe had anything to gain from the sabotage, especially Germany. This Friday, there will be a special UN Security Council session on the sabotage, called by Russia.

The attack of the Straussians

Now for the Big Picture. Pipeline Terror is part of a Straussian offensive, taking the splitting up of Russia and Germany to the ultimate level (as they see it). Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America: A Critical Appraisal, by Paul E. Gottfried (Cambridge University Press, 2011) is required reading to understand this phenomenon.

Leo Strauss, the German-Jewish philosopher who taught at the University of Chicago, is at the root of what later, in a very twisted way, became the Wolfowitz Doctrine, written in 1992 as the Defense Planning Guidance, which defined “America’s mission in the post-Cold War era.”

The Wolfowitz Doctrine goes straight to the point: any potential competitor to US hegemony, especially “advanced industrial nations” such as Germany and Japan, must be smashed. Europe should never exercise sovereignty: “We must be careful to prevent the emergence of a purely European security system that would undermine NATO, and particularly its integrated military command structure.”

Fast-forward to the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act, adopted only five months ago. It establishes that Kiev has a free lunch when it comes to all arms control mechanisms. All these expensive weapons are leased by the US to the EU to be sent to Ukraine. The problem is that whatever happens in the battlefield, in the end, it is the EU that will have to pay the bills.

US Secretary of State Blinken and his underling, Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland, are Straussians, now totally unleashed, having taken advantage of the black void in the White House. As it stands, there are at least three different “silos” of power in a fractured Washington. For all Straussians, a tight bipartisan op, uniting several high-profile usual suspects, destroying Germany is paramount.

One serious working hypothesis places them behind the orders to conduct Pipeline Terror. The Pentagon forcefully denied any involvement in the sabotage. There are secret back channels between Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

And dissident Beltway sources swear that the CIA is also not part of this game; Langley’s agenda would be to force the Straussians to back off on Russia reincorporating Novorossiya and allow Poland and Hungary to gobble up whatever they want in Western Ukraine before the entire US government falls into a black void.

Come see me in the Citadel

On the Grand Chessboard, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan two weeks ago dictated the framework of the multipolar world ahead. Couple it with the independence referendums in DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporozhye, which Russian President Vladimir Putin will formally incorporate into Russia, possibly as early as Friday.

With the window of opportunity closing fast for a Kiev breakthrough before the first stirrings of a cold winter, and Russia’s partial mobilization soon to enter the revamped SMO and add to generalized western panic, Pipeline Terror at least would carry the “merit” of solidifying a Straussian tactical victory: Germany and Russia fatally separated.

Yet blowback will be inevitable – in unexpected ways – even as Europe becomes increasingly Ukrainized and even Polandized: an intrinsically neo-fascist, unabashed puppet of the US as predator, not partner. Vey few across the EU are not brainwashed enough to understand how Europe is being set up for the ultimate fall.

The war, by those Straussians ensconced in the Deep State – neocons and neoliberals alike – won’t relent. It is a war against Russia, China, Germany and assorted Eurasian powers. Germany has just been felled. China is currently observing, carefully. And Russia – nuclear and hypersonic – won’t be bullied.

Poetry grandmaster C.P. Cavafy, in Waiting for the Barbarians, wrote “And now what will become of us, without any barbarians? Those people were some kind of a solution.” The barbarians are not at the gates, not anymore. They are inside their golden Citadel.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

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The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People – Book Review

September 22, 2022 

The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People, by  Walter Russell Mead. (Photo: Book Cover)

By Jim Miles

(The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People.  Walter Russell Mead.  Alfred A Knopf, New York, 2022.)

In today’s world, a clear understanding of the relationship between the US and Israel is important – this is not the work to clear it up. Walter Mead’s hypothesis is that Israel does not control US governance, but that many other forces have shaped the relationship. With that, he is correct and in an overly long convoluted manner he is able to make that sort of clear. “The Arc of the Covenant,” for the arguments presented could have been well worked in half of its almost six hundred pages.

Instead, the book is a mix of theology, sociology, geopolitics, domestic politics, history, and biographical analysis of – mostly – various presidents of the US It really succeeds with none of them. It contains far too much theorizing and conjecture, discusses at length beliefs and morals, and has far too many unanswered rhetorical questions (okay, rhetorical questions really seek no answer, but there are far too many of them). The reader will not come away with a good understanding of Israel as the vast majority of the discussion is centered on US political maneuvering.

To his credit Mead is quite critical of many US failures around the world but mostly in the Middle East. Unfortunately that comes from a perspective, unstated but implied, that the US is the indispensable nation and acts with good intentions because of its moral strength and liberal beliefs. He does use “exceptionalism” frequently, implied or directly, giving support to the thought that Mead, without stating it directly, is a firm believer in the US being the world’s global policeman, “by the courageous use of necessary force.”

Omissions

There are far too many problems with the arguments presented in this work to counter them here, but it is what is missing that makes the arguments so weak.

While he discusses “national interests” and the ability of the US to use force to maintain peace (a lot of an oxymoron) he never discusses the US as an empire. Certainly the evil Russians and Chinese, and before World War I the Germans, Russian, and Ottomans were all the cause of that war as contending empires. British, French, Dutch, and other European empires are mentioned in passing, but he does not accept, or will not articulate, that the US is the largest empire the world has seen – militarily and economically, the two going hand in glove.

The massive 750 military bases around the world, mostly surrounding Russia and China, and that ability to use the global reserve currency, the petro-dollar (never mentioned in the book although oil is continually mentioned as a strategic value) and its associated institutions (WTO, BIS, World Bank, SWIFT et al) to impose destructive sanctions on countries that do not abide by its wishes is the modern form of imperialism.

He reiterates several times the US role in decolonization without recognition that it was the US that denied Vietnam its fair and democratic elections, denied Korea the right to vote for its post war government, created the CIA with its initial successes overthrowing governments in Iran and Guatemala in 1953. He admits US errors in Iraq, Libya, and – well not quite Syria, it was the “brutal” Russians that destroyed Syria, even while US forces remain in large parts of the country to this day. There is no mention of Operation Gladio, the occupation of Japan and Germany that continues today, nor the seemingly endless list of interventions to overthrow unfriendly regimes either through economic or military power.

Israel

When it comes to discussing Israel there are equally large omissions. A reasonable essay on Herzl’s machinations is given, but after that, he generally uses only passing mention of Israel’s settlements and the wall as the main components of Palestinian strife. He accepts that some people think of Israel as a “colonial-settler” enterprise but dismisses that thought as being on the radical left and of little importance.

He dismisses the idea that Israel is a racist (actually he never mentions that with Israel) and an apartheid state. The book is recent enough that the author is surely aware of the major institutional labels of Israel as apartheid, including Israel’s own B’etselem.

Nor does he get into the details of the ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Palestinian people as an ongoing process. The many discriminatory laws and policies, house destructions, the imprisonment, and the torture as an everyday occurrence of Palestinian life are never considered.

At the same time, Mead does not create a coherent history of Israel. In his concluding remarks Mead states, “….for both Israelis and Palestinians, two peoples whose fates have become intertwined in ways that neither side wanted or foresaw.” This is absolutely not true, as Jabotinsky, Herzl, Weismann, Ben Gurion and others – including most of the British political establishment – knew that depositing Jewish immigrants on land owned by Palestinians was a source of major problems as obviously the Palestinians recognized it as well.

He continues with “their private quarrel must be fought out in the glare of global publicity.” That at least is good news, as the balance of power, out of sight of global publicity, hugely puts Israel in a dominating position.

Finally he concludes “I have tried to shine a useful light on the relationship between the ways Americans think about the world and the approaches they develop to act in it.” Mission not accomplished as per the errors and omissions mentioned above among many others.

Current Events

“The Arc of a Covenant” was published shortly before the Russian invasion in Ukraine to prevent the ongoing shelling of the Donbas people by Ukrainian forces. Since then, it is clearly demonstrated that the “prime directive” (p. 13) of the US empire is the destruction of the Russian state and the containment of the power of China.

We are entering a new era where “the ways American think about the world and the approaches they develop to act in it” are clearly global dominance through financial and military means. All the purported values and morals are worthless when the true history of US imperial adventures are understood.

– Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews to Palestine Chronicles.  His interest in this topic stems originally from an environmental perspective, which encompasses the militarization and economic subjugation of the global community and its commodification by corporate governance and by the American government.

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The real US agenda in Africa is hegemony

September 21, 2022

by Pepe Escobar, first published at The Cradle and posted with the author’s permission

Forget development. Washington’s primary interest in Africa today is keeping the Chinese and Russians out.

In a rational environment, the 77th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) would discuss alleviating the trials and tribulations of the Global South, especially Africa.

That won’t be the case. Like a deer caught in the geopolitical headlights, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued platitudes about a gloomy “winter of global discontent,” even as the proverbial imperial doomsayers criticized the UN’s “crisis of faith” and blasted the “unprovoked war” started by Russia.

Of course the slow-motion genocide of Donbass russophone residents for eight years would never be recognized as a provocation.

Guterres spoke of Afghanistan, “where the economy is in ruins and human rights are being trampled” – but he did not dare to offer context. In Libya, “divisions continue to jeopardize the country” – once again, no context. Not to mention Iraq, where “ongoing tensions threaten ongoing stability.”

Africa has 54 nations as UN members. Any truly representative UNGA meeting should place Africa’s problems at the forefront. Once again, that’s not the case. So it is left to African leaders to offer that much-needed context outside of the UN building in New York.

As the only African member of the G20, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa recently urged the US not to “punish” the whole continent by forcing nations to demonize or sanction Russia. Washington’s introduction of legislation dubbed the Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act, he says, “will harm Africa and marginalize the continent.”

South Africa is a BRICS member – a concept that is anathema in the Beltway – and embraces a policy of non-alignment among world powers. An emerging 21st century version of the 1960s Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is strengthening across the Global South – and especially Africa – much to the revulsion of the US and its minions.

Back at the UNGA, Guterres invoked the global fertilizer crisis – again, with no context. Russian diplomacy has repeatedly stressed that Moscow is ready to export 30 million tons of grain and over 20 million tons of fertilizer by the end of 2022. What is left unsaid in the west, is that only the importation of fertilizers to the EU is “allowed,” while transit to Africa is not.

Guterres said he was trying to persuade EU leaders to lift sanctions on Russian fertilizer exports, which directly affect cargo payments and shipping insurance. Russia’s Uralchem, for instance, even offered to supply fertilizers to Africa for free.

Yet from the point of view of the US and its EU vassals, the only thing that matters is to counter Russia and China in Africa. Senegal’s President Macky Sall has remarked how this policy is leaving “a bitter taste.”

‘We forbid you to build your pipeline’

It gets worse. The largely ineffectual EU Parliament now wants to stop the construction of the 1,445 km-long East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) from Uganda to Tanzania, invoking hazy human rights violations, environmental threats, and “advising” member countries to simply drop out of the project.

Uganda is counting on more than 6 billion barrels of oil to sustain an employment boom and finally move the nation to middle-income status. It was up to Ugandan Parliament Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa to offer much-needed context:

“It is imprudent to say that Uganda’s oil projects will exacerbate climate change, yet it is a fact that the EU block with only 10 percent of the world’s population is responsible for 25 percent of global emissions, and Africa with 20 percent of the world’s population is responsible for 3 percent of emissions. The EU and other western countries are historically responsible for climate change. Who then should stop or slow down the development of natural resources? Certainly not Africa or Uganda.”

The EU Parliament, moreover, is a staunch puppet of the biofuel lobby. It has refused to amend a law that would have stopped the use of food crops for fuel production, actually contributing to what the UN Food Program has described as “a global emergency of unprecedented magnitude.” No less than 350 million people are on the brink of starvation across Africa.

Instead, the G7’s notion of “helping” Africa is crystallized in the US-led Build Back Better World (B3W) – Washington’s anaemic attempt to counter Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – which focuses on “climate, health and health security, digital technology, and gender equity and equality,” according to the White House. Practical issues of infrastructure and sustainable development, which are at the heart of China’s plan, are simply ignored by the B3W.

Initially, a few “promising” projects were identified by a traveling US delegation in Senegal and Ghana. Senegalese diplomatic sources have since confirmed that these projects have nothing whatsoever to do with building infrastructure.

B3W, predictably, fizzled out. After all, the US-led project was little more than a public relations gimmick to undermine the Chinese, with negligible effect on narrowing the $40-plus trillion worth of infrastructure needed to be built across the Global South by 2035.

Have YALI, will travel

Imperial initiatives in Africa – apart from the US military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM), which amounts to raw militarization of the continent – brings us to the curious case of YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative), widely touted in the Washington-New York axis as “the most innovative” policy of the Obama years.

Launched in 2010, YALI was framed as “empowering the new generation of Africa leadership” – a euphemism for educating (or brainwashing) them the American way. The mechanism is simple: investing in and bringing hundreds of young African potential leaders to US universities for a short, six-week “training” on “business, civil leadership, entrepreneurship, and public management.” Then, four days in Washington to meet “leaders in the administration,” and a photo op with Obama.

The project was coordinated by US embassies in Africa, and targeted young men and women from sub-Saharan Africa’s 49 nations – including those under US sanctions, like Sudan, Eritrea, and Zimbabwe – proficient in English, with a “commitment” to return to Africa. Roughly 80 percent during the initial years had never been to the US, and more than 50 percent grew up outside of big cities.

Then, in a speech in 2013 in South Africa, Obama announced the establishment of the Washington Fellowship, later renamed the Mandela-Washington Fellowship (MWF).

That’s still ongoing. In 2022, MWF should be granted to 700 “outstanding young leaders from sub-Saharan Africa,” who follow “Leadership Institutes” at nearly 40 US universities, before their short stint in Washington. After which, they are ready for “long-term engagement between the United States and Africa.”

And all that for literally peanuts, as MWF was enthusiastically billed by the Democrat establishment as cost-efficient: $24,000 per fellow, paid by participant US universities as well as Coca-Cola, IBM, MasterCard Foundation, Microsoft, Intel, McKinsey, GE, and Procter & Gamble.

And that didn’t stop with MWF. USAID went a step further, and invested over $38 million – plus $10 million from the MasterCard Foundation – to set up four Regional Leadership Centers (RLCs) in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, and Senegal. These were training, long distance and in-class, at least 3,500 ‘future leaders’ a year.

It’s no wonder the Brookings Institution was drooling over so much “cost-efficiency” when it comes to investing “in Africa’s future” and for the US to “stay competitive” in Africa. YALI certainly looks prettier than AFRICOM.

A few success stories though don’t seem to rival the steady stream of African footballers making a splash in Europe – and then reinvesting most of their profits back home. The Trump years did see a reduction of YALI’s funding – from $19 million in 2017 to roughly $5 million.

So many leaders to ‘train’

Predictably, the Joe Biden White House YALI-ed all over again with a vengeance. Take this US press attache in Nigeria neatly outlining the current emphasis on “media and information literacy,” badly needed to tackle the “spreading of disinformation” including “in the months leading up to the national presidential election.”

So the US, under YALI, “trained 1,000 young Nigerians to recognize the signs of online and media misinformation and disinformation.” And now the follow-up is “Train the Trainer” workshops, “teaching 40 journalists, content creators, and activists (half of whom will be women) from Yobe, Borno, Adamawa, Zamfara, and Katsina how to identify, investigate, and report misinformation.” Facebook, being ordered by the FBI to censor “inconvenient,” potentially election-altering facts, is not part of the curriculum.

YALI is the soft, Instagrammed face of AFRICOM. The US has participated in the overthrow of several African governments over the past two decades, with troops trained under secrecy-obsessed AFRICOM. There has been no serious Pentagon audit on the weaponizing of AFRICOM’s local “partners.” For all we know – as in Syria and Libya – the US military could be arming even more terrorists.

And predictably, it’s all bipartisan. Rabid neo-con and former Trump national security adviser John Bolton, in December 2018, at the Heritage Foundation, made it crystal clear: the US in Africa has nothing to do with supporting democracy and sustainable development. It’s all about countering Russia and China.

When it learned that Beijing was considering building a naval base in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, the Biden White House sent power envoys to the capital Malabo to convince the government to cease and desist. To no avail.

In contrast, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was received like a superstar in his recent extensive tour of Africa, where it’s widely perceived that global food prices and the fertilizer drama are a direct consequence of western sanctions on Russia. Uganda leader Yoweri Museveni went straight to the point when he said, “How can we be against somebody who has never harmed us?”

On 13-15 December, the White House plans a major US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington to discuss mostly food security and climate change – alongside the perennial lectures on democracy and human rights. Most leaders won’t be exactly impressed with this new showing of “the United States’ enduring commitment to Africa.” Well, there’s always YALI. So many young leaders to indoctrinate, so little time.

Biden: Nuclear war cannot be won, must never be fought

21 Sep 2022 20:53

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The US President claims that the United States does not seek conflict with China or a new Cold War.

US President Joe Biden during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York (Reuters)

    US President Joe Biden accused Wednesday Russia of violating the core tenets of membership in the United Nations over the war in Ukraine, claiming that Moscow was making “irresponsible” threats to use nuclear weapons.

    During his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Biden criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin over the war.

    “Again, just today, President Putin has made overt nuclear threats against Europe, in a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of the nonproliferation regime,” Biden said.

    “A permanent member of the United Nations Security Council invaded its neighbor, attempted to erase a sovereign state from the map. Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations Charter,” the US President claimed.

    Earlier, Putin announced a partial mobilization in Russia as the war in Ukraine has now lasted for almost seven months.

    “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” Biden said.

    The US President claimed that Russia was not threatened by any side and that Moscow had sought conflict, vowing that the United States would stand in solidarity with Ukraine.

    US does not seek ‘Cold War’ or ‘conflict’ with China

    Regarding the ongoing tensions with China, Biden told the United Nations that the United States does not seek “conflict” with China or a new Cold War.

    “Let me be direct about the competition between the United States and China. As we manage shifting geopolitical trends, the United States will conduct itself as a reasonable leader,” he said.

    He also claimed that “we do not seek conflict. We do not seek a Cold War. We do not ask any nation to choose between the United States or any other partner.”

    Nuclear wars ‘cannot be won,’ US ready to negotiate arms treaties

    In a different context, Biden warned that nuclear wars “cannot be won” and claimed that Washington is ready to pursue arms control measures.

    “A nuclear war cannot be won, and must never be fought,” Biden told the UN General Assembly, saying that Moscow made “irresponsible nuclear threats.”

    “The United States is ready to pursue critical armed control measures,” said Biden, vowing that Washington will not allow Tehran to obtain atomic weapons, which the Iranian President denied seeking only a few hours earlier at the same session. 

    Americans ‘stand with the brave women of Iran’

    Regarding the case of young Iranian journalist, Mahsa Amini, Biden claimed that Americans “stand with the brave women of Iran.”

    “Today we stand with the brave citizens and the brave women of Iran who right now are demonstrating to secure their basic rights,” the US President told the UNGA, completely disregarding Iranian reports and CCTV footage which clearly show that Amini was not touched by the police officer and that her death was the result of a medical condition she is suffering from. 

    Biden supports expanding UN Security Council

    Furthermore, Biden indicated that Washington supports the expansion of the UN Security Council to better represent areas including Africa and Latin America.

    “The United States supports increasing the number of both permanent and non-permanent representatives of the council,” he said, adding that “this includes permanent seats for those nations we’ve long supported — permanent seats for countries in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean. The United States is committed to this vital work.”

    Biden calls for the extension of grain deal

    During his speech, Biden said, “The United States will work with every nation, including our competitors, to solve global problems like climate change. Climate diplomacy is not a favor to the United States or any other nation and walking away hurts the entire world.”

    Biden said that US sanctions allow Russia to export food and fertilizer, claiming that it was “Russia’s war that is worsening food insecurity.”

    He also called for the extension of the July grain deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, which allowed Ukraine to resume Black Sea food and fertilizer exports.

    Read more: Iran that was a victim of terrorism became a haven of security: Raisi

    MORE ON THE TOPIC:

    Full text of Xi’s speech at SCO Samarkand summit

    September 17, 2022

    SAMARKAND, Uzbekistan, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the 22nd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) here on Friday.

    The following is the full text of the speech:

    Ride on the Trend of the Times and Enhance Solidarity and Cooperation to Embrace a Better Future
    Statement by H.E. Xi Jinping
    President of the People’s Republic of China
    At the 22nd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of The Shanghai Cooperation Organization
    Samarkand, Sept. 16, 2022

    (Emphasis added by me, Andrei)

    Your Excellency President Shavkat Mirziyoyev,

    Colleagues,

    I am delighted to attend the meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). I would like to thank you, President Mirziyoyev, for your warm hospitality and thoughtful arrangements. I salute Uzbekistan for the great job it has done to promote SCO cooperation in various fields during its presidency over the past year.

    Samarkand, renowned as the pearl on the Silk Road, witnessed the glory of the ancient Silk Road, a route that greatly boosted the flow of goods, spread of science and technology, interaction of ideas, and integration of diverse cultures on the Eurasian continent. Indeed, the ancient Silk Road has remained a historical source of inspiration for us SCO member states as we pursue peace and development.

    This year marks the 20th anniversary of the SCO Charter and 15th anniversary of the Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation Between the SCO Member States. Over the years, guided by these two founding documents, we have succeeded in exploring a new path for the development of international organizations, and there is much we can draw on from SCO’s rich practices.

    — Political trust. Guided by the vision of forging enduring friendship and peace among the SCO member states, we respect each other’s core interests and choice of development path and support each other in achieving peace, stability, development and rejuvenation.

    — Win-win cooperation. We accommodate each other’s interests, stay true to the principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits, enhance synergy between our respective development strategies, and keep to the path of win-win cooperation toward common prosperity.

    — Equality between nations. We are committed to the principle of equality among all countries regardless of their size, consensus-based decision-making, and addressing issues through friendly consultations. We reject the practice of the strong bullying the weak or the big bullying the small.

    — Openness and inclusiveness. We stand for harmonious coexistence and mutual learning between different countries, nations and cultures, dialogue between civilizations and seeking common ground while shelving differences. We are ready to establish partnership and develop win-win cooperation with other countries and international organizations that share our vision.

    — Equity and justice. We are committed to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter; we tackle major international and regional issues on the basis of their merits, and oppose the pursuit of one’s own agenda at the expense of other countries’ legitimate rights and interests.

    These five points fully embody the Shanghai Spirit, namely, mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diversity of civilizations and pursuit of common development. It has been shown that this spirit is the source of strength for the development of the SCO. It is also the fundamental guide we must continue to follow in the years to come. We owe SCO’s remarkable success to the Shanghai Spirit. And we will continue to follow its guidance as we forge ahead.

    Colleagues,

    Human society, like the natural world, has both sunny and rainy days in its development. Our world today is undergoing accelerating changes unseen in a century, and it has entered a new phase of uncertainty and transformation. The once-in-a-century pandemic has continued unabated. Regional conflicts keep flaring up. The Cold War mentality and group politics are resurfacing, so are unilateralism and protectionism. Economic globalization has encountered headwinds. Deficit in peace, development, trust, and governance has grown. Human society has reached a crossroads and faces unprecedented challenges.

    Under these new conditions, the SCO, as an important constructive force in international and regional affairs, should keep itself well-positioned in the face of changing international dynamics, ride on the trend of the times, strengthen solidarity and cooperation and build a closer SCO community with a shared future.

    First, we need to enhance mutual support. We should strengthen high-level exchanges and strategic communication, deepen mutual understanding and political trust, and support each other in our efforts to uphold security and development interests. We should guard against attempts by external forces to instigate “color revolution,” jointly oppose interference in other countries’ internal affairs under any pretext, and hold our future firmly in our own hands.

    Second, we need to expand security cooperation. A proverb in Uzbekistan goes to the effect that “With peace, a country enjoys prosperity, just as with rain, the land can flourish.” The Global Security Initiative put forward by China is to address the peace deficit and global security challenges. It calls on all countries to stay true to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture. We welcome all stakeholders to get involved in implementing this initiative.

    We should continue to carry out joint anti-terrorism exercises, crack down hard on terrorism, separatism and extremism, drug trafficking as well as cyber and transnational organized crimes; and we should effectively meet the challenges in data security, biosecurity, outer space security and other non-traditional security domains. China is ready to train 2,000 law enforcement personnel for SCO member states in the next five years, and establish a China-SCO base for training counter-terrorism personnel, so as to enhance capacity-building for law enforcement of SCO member states.

    We should ensure that the SCO-Afghanistan contact group and the mechanism of coordination and cooperation among Afghanistan’s neighbors continue to play their roles; and we should encourage Afghan authorities to establish a broadly-based and inclusive political structure and remove the ground that breeds terrorism.

    Third, we need to deepen practical cooperation. To deliver a better life for people of all countries in the region is our shared goal. The Global Development Initiative launched by China aims to focus global attention on development, foster global development partnership, and achieve more robust, greener and more balanced global development. China is ready to work with all other stakeholders to pursue this initiative in our region to support the sustainable development of regional countries.

    We need to implement the two statements on safeguarding international energy and food security to be adopted by this summit and better protect energy and food security. China will provide developing countries in need with emergency humanitarian assistance of grain and other supplies worth 1.5 billion RMB yuan.

    We welcome the Comprehensive Plan for the Implementation of the SCO Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation for 2023-2027 to be adopted at this summit. We should fully implement the cooperation documents in such areas as trade and investment, infrastructure building, protecting supply chains, scientific and technological innovation and artificial intelligence to be adopted within the framework of the summit. It is important to continue our efforts to achieve the complementarity of the Belt and Road Initiative with national development strategies and regional cooperation initiatives, expand sub-multilateral cooperation and sub-regional cooperation, and create more growth drivers in cooperation.

    We need to ensure implementation of the roadmap for SCO member states to expand shares of local currency settlement, better develop the system for cross-border payment and settlement in local currencies, work for the establishment of an SCO development bank, and thus speed up regional economic integration. Next year, China will host an SCO ministers’ meeting on development cooperation and an industrial and supply chains forum, and will set up the China-SCO Big Data Cooperation Center to create new engines of common development. China stands ready to carry out space cooperation with all other parties and provide satellite data service to support them in agricultural development, connectivity and disaster mitigation and relief.

    Fourth, we need to enhance people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Exchanges promote integration among civilizations, which, in turn, enables civilizations to advance. We should deepen cooperation in such areas as education, science and technology, culture, health, media, radio and television, ensure the continued success of signature programs such as the youth exchange camp, the women’s forum, the forum on people-to-people friendship and the forum on traditional medicine, and support the SCO Committee on Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation and other non-official organizations in playing their due roles. China will build a China-SCO ice and snow sports demonstration zone and host the SCO forums on poverty reduction and sustainable development and on sister cities next year. In the next three years, China will carry out 2,000 free cataract operations for SCO member states and provide 5,000 human resources training opportunities for them.

    Fifth, we need to uphold multilateralism. Obsession with forming a small circle can only push the world toward division and confrontation. We should remain firm in safeguarding the UN-centered international system and the international order based on international law, practice the common values of humanity and reject zero-sum game and bloc politics. We should expand SCO’s exchanges with other international and regional organizations such as the UN, so as to jointly uphold true multilateralism, improve global governance, and ensure that the international order is more just and equitable.

    Colleagues,

    The Eurasian continent is home to us all. Upholding its peace and development is the shared goal of countries both in our region and the world at large, and the SCO shoulders an important responsibility in meeting this goal. In recent years, an increasing number of countries have applied to join our SCO family. This fully demonstrates the power of SCO’s vision and the widely shared confidence in its future. By promoting the development and expansion of the SCO and giving full play to its positive impact, we will create strong momentum and new dynamism for ensuring durable peace and common prosperity of the Eurasian continent and the whole world. China supports advancing SCO expansion in an active yet prudent manner, and this includes going through the procedure to admit Iran as a member state, launching the procedure for Belarus’ accession, admitting Bahrain, the Maldives, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Myanmar as dialogue partners, and granting the relevant applying countries the legal status due to them. We need to seize the opportunity to build consensus, deepen cooperation and jointly create a bright future for the Eurasian continent.

    Here I wish to express China’s congratulations to India on assuming the next SCO presidency. We will, together with other member states, support India during its presidency.

    Colleagues,

    This year, facing a complex and challenging development environment both at home and abroad, China has stayed committed to the general principle of making advances while maintaining stable performance, and it has striven to ensure both effective COVID-19 containment, economic stability and development security. We have continued to respond to COVID-19 and promote economic and social development in a well-coordinated way. Thus, to the greatest extent possible, we have both safeguarded the life and health of the people and ensured overall economic and social development. The fundamentals of China’s economy, characterized by strong resilience, enormous potential, ample room for policy adjustment and long-term sustainability, will remain sound. This will greatly boost the stability and recovery of the world economy and provide more market opportunities for other countries.

    Next month, the Communist Party of China will convene its 20th National Congress. It will be an important meeting to be held at a critical time as China embarks on a new journey toward its second centenary goal of building a modern socialist country in all respects. At this national congress, the Communist Party of China will fully review the major achievements made and valuable experience gained in China’s reform and development endeavors. It will also formulate programs of action and overarching policies to meet China’s new development goals on the journey ahead in the new era and the new expectations of the people. We will continue to follow the Chinese path to modernization to achieve the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and we will continue to promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. By doing so, we will create new opportunities for the world with new advances in China’s development and contribute our vision and strength to world peace and development and human progress.

    Colleagues,

    Long as the journey is, we will surely reach our destination when we stay the course. Let us act in the Shanghai Spirit, work for the steady development of the SCO, and jointly build our region into a peaceful, stable, prosperous and beautiful home!

    Thank you

    Source

    ‘Samarkand Spirit’ to be driven by ‘responsible powers’ Russia and China

    The SCO summit of Asian power players delineated a road map for strengthening the multipolar world

    September 16 2022

    Photo Credit: The Cradle

    By Pepe Escobar

    Amidst serious tremors in the world of geopolitics, it is so fitting that this year’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) heads of state summit should have taken place in Samarkand – the ultimate Silk Road crossroads for 2,500 years.

    When in 329 BC Alexander the Great reached the then Sogdian city of Marakanda, part of the Achaemenid empire, he was stunned: “Everything I have heard about Samarkand it’s true, except it is even more beautiful than I had imagined.”

    Fast forward to an Op-Ed by Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev published ahead of the SCO summit, where he stresses how Samarkand now “can become a platform that is able to unite and reconcile states with various foreign policy priorities.”

    After all, historically, the world from the point of view of the Silk Road landmark has always been “perceived as one and indivisible, not divided. This is the essence of a unique phenomenon – the ‘Samarkand spirit’.”

    And here Mirziyoyev ties the “Samarkand Spirit” to the original SCO “Shanghai Spirit” established in early 2001, a few months before the events of September 11, when the world was forced into strife and endless war, almost overnight.

    All these years, the culture of the SCO has been evolving in a distinctive Chinese way. Initially, the Shanghai Five were focused on fighting terrorism – months before the US war of terror (italics mine) metastasized from Afghanistan to Iraq and beyond.

    Over the years, the initial “three no’s” – no alliance, no confrontation, no targeting any third party – ended up equipping a fast, hybrid vehicle whose ‘four wheels’ are ‘politics, security, economy, and humanities,’ complete with a Global Development Initiative, all of which contrast sharply with the priorities of a hegemonic, confrontational west.

    Arguably the biggest takeaway of this week’s Samarkand summit is that Chinese President Xi Jinping presented China and Russia, together, as “responsible global powers” bent on securing the emergence of multipolarity, and refusing the arbitrary “order” imposed by the United States and its unipolar worldview.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pronounced Xi’s bilateral conversation with President Vladimir Putin as “excellent.” Xi Jinping, previous to their meeting, and addressing Putin directly, had already stressed the common Russia-China objectives:

    “In the face of the colossal changes of our time on a global scale, unprecedented in history, we are ready with our Russian colleagues to set an example of a responsible world power and play a leading role in order to put such a rapidly changing world on the trajectory of sustainable and positive development.”

    Later, in the preamble to the heads of state meeting, Xi went straight to the point: it is important to “prevent attempts by external forces to organize ‘color revolutions’ in the SCO countries.” Well, Europe wouldn’t be able to tell, because it has been color-revolutionized non-stop since 1945.

    Putin, for his part, sent a message that will be ringing all across the Global South: “Fundamental transformations have been outlined in world politics and economics, and they are irreversible.” (italics mine)

    Iran: it’s showtime

    Iran was the guest star of the Samarkand show, officially embraced as the 9th member of the SCO. President Ebrahim Raisi, significantly, stressed before meeting Putin that “Iran does not recognize sanctions against Russia.” Their strategic partnership will be enhanced. On the business front, a hefty delegation comprising leaders of 80 large Russian companies will be visiting Tehran next week.

    The increasing Russia-China-Iran interpolation – the three top drivers of Eurasia integration – scares the hell out of the usual suspects, who may be starting to grasp how the SCO represents, in the long run, a serious challenge to their geoeconomic game. So, as every grain of sand in every Heartland desert is already aware, the geopolitical pressure against the trio will increase exponentially.

    And then there was the mega-crucial Samarkand trilateral: Russia-China-Mongolia. There were no official leaks, but this trio arguably discussed the Power of Siberia-2 gas pipeline – the interconnector to be built across Mongolia; and Mongolia’s enhanced role in a crucial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) connectivity corridor, now that China is not using the Trans-Siberian route for exports to Europe because of sanctions.

    Putin briefed Xi on all aspects of Russia’s Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine, and arguably answered some really tough questions, many of them circulating wildly on the Chinese web for months now.

    Which brings us to Putin’s presser at the end of the summit – with virtually all questions predictably revolving around the military theater in Ukraine.

    The key takeaway from the Russian president: “There are no changes on the SMO plan. The main tasks are being implemented.” On peace prospects, it is Ukraine that “is not ready to talk to Russia.” And overall, “it is regrettable that the west had the idea to use Ukraine to try to collapse Russia.”

    On the fertilizer soap opera, Putin remarked, “food supply, energy supply, they (the west) created these problems, and now are trying to resolve them at the expense of someone else” – meaning the poorest nations. “European countries are former colonial powers and they still have this paradigm of colonial philosophy. The time has come to change their behavior, to become more civilized.”

    On his meeting with Xi Jinping: “It was just a regular meeting, it’s been quite some time we haven’t had a meeting face to face.” They talked about how to “expand trade turnover” and circumvent the “trade wars caused by our so-called partners,” with “expansion of settlements in national currencies not progressing as fast as we want.”

    Strenghtening multipolarity

    Putin’s bilateral with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi could not have been more cordial – on a “very special friendship” register – with Modi calling for serious solutions to the food and fuel crises, actually addressing the west. Meanwhile, the State Bank of India will be opening special rupee accounts to handle Russia-related trade.

    This is Xi’s first foreign trip since the Covid pandemic. He could do it because he’s totally confident of being awarded a third term during the Communist Party Congress next month in Beijing. Xi now controls and/or has allies placed in at least 90 percent of the Politburo.

    The other serious reason was to recharge the appeal of BRI in close connection to the SCO. China’s ambitious BRI project was officially launched by Xi in Astana (now Nur-Sultan) nine years ago. It will remain the overarching Chinese foreign policy concept for decades ahead.

    BRI’s emphasis on trade and connectivity ties in with the SCO’s evolving multilateral cooperation mechanisms, congregating nations focusing on economic development independent from the hazy, hegemonic “rules-based order.” Even India under Modi is having second thoughts about relying on western blocs, where New Delhi is at best a neo-colonized “partner.”

    So Xi and Putin, in Samarkand, for all practical purposes delineated a road map for strengthening multipolarity – as stressed by the final  Samarkand declaration  signed by all SCO members.

    The Kazakh puzzle 

    There will be bumps on the road aplenty. It’s no accident that Xi started his trip in Kazakhstan – China’s mega-strategic western rear, sharing a very long border with Xinjiang. The tri-border at the dry port of Khorgos – for lorries, buses and trains, separately – is quite something, an absolutely key BRI node.

    The administration of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Nur-Sultan (soon to be re-named Astana again) is quite tricky, swinging between eastern and western political orientations, and infiltrated by Americans as much as during the era of predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s first post-USSR president.

    Earlier this month, for instance, Nur-Sultan, in partnership with Ankara and British Petroleum (BP) – which virtually rules Azerbaijan – agreed to increase the volume of oil on the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline to up to 4 million tons a month by the end of this year. Chevron and ExxonMobil, very active in Kazakhstan, are part of the deal.

    The avowed agenda of the usual suspects is to “ultimately disconnect the economies of Central Asian countries from the Russian economy.” As Kazakhstan is a member not only of the Russian-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), but also the BRI, it is fair to assume that Xi – as well as Putin – discussed some pretty serious issues with Tokayev, told him to grasp which way the wind is blowing, and advised him to keep the internal political situation under control (see the aborted coup in January, when Tokayev was de facto saved by the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization [CSTO]).

    There’s no question Central Asia, historically known as a “box of gems” at the center of the Heartland, striding the Ancient Silk Roads and blessed with immense natural wealth – fossil fuels, rare earth metals, fertile agrarian lands – will be used by the usual suspects as a Pandora’s box, releasing all manner of toxic tricks against legitimate Eurasian integration.

    That’s in sharp contrast with West Asia, where Iran in the SCO will turbo-charge its key role of crossroads connectivity between Eurasia and Africa, in connection with the BRI and the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC).

    So it’s no wonder that the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait, all in West Asia, do recognize which way the wind is blowing. The three Persian Gulf states received official SCO ‘partner status’ in Samarkand, alongside the Maldives and Myanmar.

    A cohesion of goals

    Samarkand also gave an extra impulse to integration along the Russian-conceptualized Greater Eurasia Partnership  – which includes the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) – and that, just two weeks after the game-changing Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) held in Vladivostok, on Russia’s strategic Pacific coast.

    Moscow’s priority at the EAEU is to implement a union-state with Belarus (which looks bound to become a new SCO member before 2024), side-by-side with closer integration with the BRI. Serbia, Singapore and Iran have trade agreements with the EAEU too.

    The Greater Eurasian Partnership was proposed by Putin in 2015 – and it’s getting sharper as the EAEU commission, led by Sergey Glazyev, actively designs a new financial system, based on gold and natural resources and counter-acting the Bretton Woods system. Once the new framework is ready to be tested, the key disseminator is likely to be the SCO.

    So here we see in play the full cohesion of goals – and the interaction mechanisms – deployed by the Greater Eurasia Partnership, BRI, EAEU, SCO, BRICS+ and the INSTC. It’s a titanic struggle to unite all these organizations and take into account the geoeconomic priorities of each member and associate partner, but that’s exactly what’s happening, at breakneck speed.

    In this connectivity feast, practical imperatives range from fighting local bottlenecks to setting up complex multi-party corridors – from the Caucasus to Central Asia, from Iran to India, everything discussed in multiple roundtables.

    Successes are already notable: from Russia and Iran introducing direct settlements in rubles and rials, to Russia and China increasing their trade in rubles and yuan to 20 percent – and counting. An Eastern Commodity Exchange may be soon established in Vladivostok to facilitate trade in futures and derivatives with the Asia-Pacific.

    China is the undisputed primary creditor/investor in infrastructure across Central Asia. Beijing’s priorities may be importing gas from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and oil from Kazakhstan, but connectivity is not far behind.

    The $5 billion construction of the 600 km-long Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan (Pakafuz) railway will deliver cargo from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean in only three days instead of 30. And that railway will be linked to Kazakhstan and the already in progress 4,380 km-long Chinese-built railway from Lanzhou to Tashkent, a BRI project.

    Nur-Sultan is also interested in a Turkmenistan-Iran-Türkiye railway, which would connect its port of Aktau on the Caspian Sea with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea.

    Türkiye, meanwhile, still a SCO observer and constantly hedging its bets, slowly but surely is trying to strategically advance its own Pax Turcica, from technological development to defense cooperation, all that under a sort of politico-economic-security package. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did discuss it in Samarkand with Putin, as the latter later announced that 25 percent of Russian gas bought by Ankara will be paid in rubles.    

    Welcome to Great Game 2.0

    Russia, even more than China, knows that the usual suspects are going for broke. In 2022 alone, there was a failed coup in Kazakhstan in January; troubles in Badakhshan, in Tajikistan, in May; troubles in Karakalpakstan in Uzbekistan in June; the non-stop border clashes between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (both presidents, in Samarkand, at least agreed on a ceasefire and to remove troops from their borders).

    And then there is recently-liberated Afghanistan – with no less than 11 provinces crisscrossed by ISIS-Khorasan and its Tajik and Uzbek associates. Thousands of would-be Heartland jihadis have made the trip to Idlib in Syria and then back to Afghanistan – ‘encouraged’ by the usual suspects, who will use every trick under the sun to harass and ‘isolate’ Russia from Central Asia.

    So Russia and China should be ready to be involved in a sort of immensely complex, rolling Great Game 2.0 on steroids, with the US/NATO fighting united Eurasia and Turkiye in the middle.

    On a brighter note, Samarkand proved that at least consensus exists among all the players at different institutional organizations that: technological sovereignty will determine sovereignty; and that regionalization – in this case Eurasian – is bound to replace US-ruled globalization.

    These players also understand that the Mackinder and Spykman era is coming to a close – when Eurasia was ‘contained’ in a semi-disassembled shape so western maritime powers could exercise total domination, contrary to the national interests of Global South actors.

    It’s now a completely different ball game. As much as the Greater Eurasia Partnership is fully supported by China, both favor the interconnection of BRI and EAEU projects, while the SCO shapes a common environment.

    Yes, this is an Eurasian civilizational project for the 21st century and beyond. Under the aegis of the ‘Spirit of Samarkand.’

    The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

    A Turning-Point Once Every 500 Years

    September 14, 2022

    Source

    By Batiushka

    Introduction: The Old Queen

    I recall some forty years ago meeting an elderly English lady, a farmer’s wife called Mrs Dove, who had been present as a schoolgirl at the funeral of Queen Victoria. ‘When the old Queen died all those years ago’, she reminisced nostalgically, ‘everything was draped in black and everyone was dressed in black’. Now Victoria’s great-great-granddaughter, the new ‘old Queen’, is dead, the news announced beneath a rainbow over Windsor Castle. This is the town whose name the Queen’s grandfather, George V, had adopted as the family name, instead of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The Windsor name was officially adopted on 17 July 1917, just after the British-orchestrated Russian ‘Revolution’ of 1917, one year to the day before the Tsar and his Family were murdered in Ekaterinburg, on the very frontiers of Europe and Asia. The Russian Tsar had been betrayed by his look-alike cousin, King George V.

    Whatever you say about Queen Elizabeth II, she personally had modesty, she had dignity, she had presence, she actually believed in something, she had all that her descendants seem utterly to lack. Perhaps her end was hastened by the behaviour of her son Prince Andrew, her grandson Prince Harry and the imbeciles who inhabit 10 Downing Street, the latest of whom she had to appoint Prime Minister only two days before she died. Why live any longer? She must have been fed up with it all. This is the final, final end of the Protestant Empire of Great Britain (1522-2022) (1), whose collapse began exactly three generations ago in 1947 in India. Perhaps the decline will go swiftly now under the disliked King Charles III (called in Russian Karl III) (2), who finds himself without Queen Diana, the only one who could have saved him. Expect the break-up of the UK to be rapid.

    The 96 year-old Queen Elizabeth II died in Scotland, in Victoria’s castle at Balmoral, a relic of the 19th century and its British Empire. Her curious, clipped Germanic accent – no English people talk like that – betrayed the Queen’s foreign origins as the last of the rulers shaped by German Protestantism, imported by the City of London merchant and financial class just over 300 years before. However, it is not only her, it is the other leaders of the Western world, relics of the 20th century, who are dying out too. They are gerontocrats. In the USA Biden, born in the first half of the 20th century and soon to be 80, should really be in an old folk’s home. It is cruel to keep parading him in front of the media like that and asking him to remember things. As for Pope Francis, aged 85, he can hardly walk and says that he too might go early, like his predecessor, still alive at 95, a relic forced to serve in the Hitler Youth.

    Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front

    After the humiliating debacle in Afghanistan in August 2021, when the Americans were kicked out and NATO was routed, the Asian century arrived. While Queen Elizabeth II was dying, senior representatives from sixty-eight countries were gathering at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok on Russia’s Pacific coast, a centre of the new multipolar world. They were there to listen to Moscow’s economic and political vision for the Asia-Pacific after the fall of the obsolete unipolar Western Empire. President Putin declared: ‘The new world order is based on the fundamental principles of justice and equality, as well as the recognition of the right of each state and people to their own sovereign path of development. Powerful political and economic centres are being formed right here in the Asia-Pacific region, acting as a driving force in this irreversible process’.

    The Russian future is marked by the development of the Russian Arctic and of the Northern Sea Route through the Arctic. On the Northern Sea Route the emphasis is on building a powerful, modern fleet of icebreakers, some nuclear-powered. There is a long-term plan up to 2035 to create infrastructure for safe shipping navigation and a transformation in Arctic navigation and shipbuilding that has been under way for the last few years. A second development for Russia is the International North-South Transportation Corridor with one of its main ports in Chabahar in Iran. Now for the first time India will be directly connected to Central Asia. An Iranian shipping line with 300 vessels which link to Mumbai is taking part in the development of this Transportation Corridor. The creation of such a transport corridor is also leading to the integration of national transit systems in several countries.

    In one week’s time the Samarkand Summit of the multipolar Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) will take place. Apart from the current full members – Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and now Iran – no fewer than eleven more countries wish to join, including Afghanistan and Turkey, making potentially twenty in all. The SCO Summit is to examine economic cooperation with the aim of solving health, energy, food security and poverty reduction issues. India too wants an Asian century, for which close cooperation between India, China and Russia is necessary. For now India is not competitive and needs to diversify to obtain improved access to Eurasia, thanks to logistical help from Russia. Russia will also play a vital role in the Indian Ocean with the need for close co-operation between ‘The Big Three’, Russia, India and China.

    We must recall that Asia alone has over 25% of the world’s GDP and 50% of the world’s population. Asia is no longer a series of countries subject to colonisation by Europe and the USA, but the agent for planetary change. The Asian century is here. There is also a global movement to join the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan and Argentina. It all means that the Global Majority is no longer the US/CA/UK/EU/AUS/NZ and a few US colonies like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. It is Afro-Eurasia-Latin America, 87.5% of the world. Someone is going to have to find a snappy new name for this alphabet soup, EEF, SCO, BRICS, perhaps something like G2022 or simply ‘The Alliance’? All trade in it will be in bilateral currencies, not in the dollar. The centre has passed from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the Atlantic is becoming a backwater. This is a New Age.

    Meanwhile, on the Western Front

    The Eastern Economic Forum showed how most Asian nations are ‘friendly’ or ‘neutral’ towards the Russian Special Military Operation (SMO) in the Ukraine. They know that the Russian Armed Forces and the Russian State had been seeking peace and protection for those of Russian speech and culture in the Ukraine for eight years. The Operation was imposed on them by the incredible belligerence and arrogance of the West. Recently the US-backed and mercenary-led Kiev Armed Forces launched a counter-offensive to the south and east of the Ukraine towards Kherson and took many casualties for minor success. Kiev has been trying to compensate for that counter-offensive, where they lost two motorised brigades and over 300 tanks, armoured vehicles and artillery, with strikes to the north-west of Kharkov. But here too Kiev has been suffering such heavy losses that they have had to send reserves. The Allied forces have trapped the Kiev Army and its mercenaries in the open. Do not believe the absurd propaganda that Russia is losing.

    According to a document signed by the Commander of the Armed Forces of the Ukraine, General Zaluzhny, by the beginning of July 2022, 76,640 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed (ten weeks on, it must be nearly 100,000). With the seriously wounded generally at a ratio of 1 to 1, this means that up to 200,000 Kiev troops may have been put out of action permanently. And that does not include deserters, captured and missing in action, which could make another 50,000. This confirms earlier reports that total Kiev casualties, those permanently out of the fighting, are a horrendous 250,000. In any case Ukrainian hospitals are overflowing, as friends from the Ukraine on Telegram and Whatsapp tell me every day. Indeed, a great many wounded have had to be sent to hospitals in Poland, which are also crowded, at least in Eastern Poland.

    On the other hand, in all the Allies appear to have lost about 10,000 killed, most of them from the Donbass militias. This could mean up to 25,000 out of the fight permanently on their side. That is one tenth of Kiev’s casualties. With such huge Kiev losses, many are suggesting that Zelensky and his puppeteers in Washington and London are in fact guilty of war crimes. Nobody in his right mind sends his troops to the slaughter like this. Hitler proved that. Most analysts and observers consider that the conflict could end towards the end of next year or it could be slowed down till early 2024. By then the Allied Armed Forces could have liberated the nine provinces of Eastern Ukraine and demilitarised the nine provinces of Central Ukraine. This would leave the seven provinces of Western Ukraine, the real ‘borderlands’ (the meaning of the word ‘Ukraine’), 20% of the whole, to be returned to other countries, with five provinces going to Poland, one (Chernovtsy) to Romania and one (Zakarpat’e) to Hungary.

    The New Ukraine, or whatever it may be called, may well become a Russian Protectorate, as may Belarus after Lukashenko (it already is in effect just that), and also Kazakhstan, which needs Russia, if only for military and economic reasons. We believe that the three collapsing and heavily depopulated Baltic States will also end up the same way, once their American puppet elites have gone. We would expect that Serbia, Serbian Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbian Kosovo, Montenegro and North Macedonia, though remaining fully independent, will also loosely ally themselves with the Russian Federation, if only for energy reasons. And we would say the same of Orthodox Moldova, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Cyprus, and perhaps also of Catholic Hungary. Such an alliance in a very loose Confederation is what Stalin failed to do in 1945. In such a context we foresee the collapse of EU tyranny.

    Conclusion: The Eurasian Future

    Time is running out for the Combined West as a United World Power. It is formed from a parasitical elite and the peoples, zombified, hoodwinked and betrayed by that elite’s lying propaganda (remember that Goebbels too was a Westerner). All its front organisations, the UN, the EU, the G7, the G20, NATO, the WEF, the IMF, the World Bank etc, have failed. Today, the USA is bitterly divided, some would say, it is on the brink of a Civil War. Australia has become China’s mine. Most of the bankrupt EU and UK look like failed states. Japan is also bankrupt. Taiwan is inevitably returning to China. Korea will be reunified.

    The only future for Western Europe is in an alliance with its natural partner, Asia, or rather Eurasia, which means Europe eating humble pie and going through Russia and accepting its leadership and respecting its culture. After reintegrating with Asia, from which it had artificially cut itself off in history, and coming out of its arrogant, navel-gazing isolation, Europe will next have to integrate Afro-Eurasia. This is the sense of the three generations of immigration to Western Europe from Asia and Africa. For Europe it is all about reintegrating the world and realising that it is now on an equal footing with it.

    What a time to be alive! I remember so very well the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and all that followed in Romania, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union soon after. That was a turning point, 50 years after 1939 such a one as happens every 50 years. However, that was just the first part of a much greater change, that which is happening now. For what we are living through now via the Ukraine is a turning-point that happens once every 500 years. And the death of Queen Elizabeth II is the very symbol of this huge sea-change as we move with hope away from the Western mistakes of the past towards the next 500 years.

    14 September 2022

    Notes:

    1. It is true that if we are to give a date to the English Reformation, then 1533 would be more exact. That was when the Pope of Rome excommunicated Henry VIII, who had made himself ‘Head of the Church’. However, we use the date 1522, because that was when Anne Boleyn arrived at the English court as a maid-in-waiting to the sonless Spanish Queen Catherine of Aragon. That was the start of it all. By 1533 Henry, who had been infatuated with Anne for years, was secretly married to her and she gave birth to a daughter in that same year.

    Meanwhile, the London Parliament had passed an Imperial Act, which outlawed appeals to Rome on Church matters and proclaimed that: ‘This realm of England is an Empire (our emphasis), and so hath been accepted in the world, governed by one Supreme Head and King having the dignity and royal estate of the Imperial Crown of the same, unto whom a body politic compact of all sorts and degrees of people divided in terms and by names of Spirituality and Temporality, be bounden and owe to bear next to God a natural and humble obedience’.

    2. In Russian tradition, Karl, the German form of the name Charles, is used. The name Karl is taken from Charlemagne, in German, Karl der Grosse, who gave rise to the Slavic word for king (kral, kral’, kráľ, król, korol’).

    A footnote

    13 Sep 2022 16:32

    Source: Al Mayadeen English

    Bouthaina Shaaban 

    Because they cannot stop igniting wars in one part of the globe or another, that is the most pending danger NATO countries constitute to the welfare of human beings everywhere. 

    Professor John Mearsheimer said the war in Ukraine will be a footnote in the history books written about the world changes this war has triggered. This remark may provide the best explanation of the huge noise the NATO countries have made about providing Ukraine with more sophisticated armaments and with billions of dollars in order to prevent a Russian victory. It also explains the big media campaign led by the West about the so-called advance made by the Ukrainian army against the Russians in Kharkov area. The press conference by NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, and the US Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, has to be seen and understood in light of the dire economic crisis which is biting into Europe. 

    Despite the iron fist laid on Western media, it is an open secret today that the sanctions imposed by the West against Russia have backfired on the West itself, and it has become clear that Western people are the ones suffering because of these sanctions, and not the Russian people as the western governments planned. In addition, the Eastern rapprochement between China and Russia is treading fast steps toward an alliance, and the Shanghai organization is attracting more member states, which in a short while, will become one of the most important world alliances that NATO countries do not want to see at all. Both China and Russia have announced that their future dealings and trade are going to be in Yuans and Rubles, which will start to weaken the dollar and shake its world status. 

    During the week and contrary to the expectations of Western media, the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, announced that he is going to Kazakhstan for a Shanghai meeting with the aim of meeting with President Putin. Every time these two leaders meet, they add another brick to the fortified base of their alliance whose grand announced aim is to change the world system into a multipolar system after getting rid of Western hegemony once and for all.

    Of course, western experts and planners know all this and dread it, but instead of mentioning it or trying to address it in the real world, these jumped to the domain that they know best; i.e. the military claiming to their audiences that “Ukrainian forces have been able to stall Moscow offensive in the Donbass strike back behind Russian lines and retake territory.” On this narrative, they built the argument that NATO countries should send more support to Ukraine, with more billions of dollars and with the most sophisticated arms. Their imagination was set free to imagine that this is a very important moment for the Ukrainian people and army, and we should support them in order to prevent a Russian victory in Ukraine, as per their illusions.

    First, there is no doubt that the press conference and all the media fever that came in its aftermath hailing progress made by Ukrainian forces against Russian forces was meant to change the focus of the Western people’s attention from the horrible consequences of the war on Ukraine on their daily lives and to stop the masses from taking to the streets to forcefully object to these policies, which proved to be disastrous to most of them.

    Second, NATO countries have a history of supporting wars that have nothing to do with their geography or history. They now claim that they have to send hundreds of thousands of soldiers to protect the Eastern borders of NATO. What about Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria; are those also bordering NATO, or threatening its power? And what about Taiwan now; is it on the borders of NATO too?

    The history of these countries proves without a shadow of a doubt that the military industry is at the core of its survival and continuity, and that is why they cannot survive and keep their hegemony over the world without this industry being well and prosperous, knowing that for this industry to be well and prosperous, it can only feed on wars. That is why they cannot stop igniting wars in one part of the globe or another, and that is the most pending danger NATO countries constitute to the welfare of human beings everywhere. 

    What we have to remember is that we are dealing with two different worlds, two different systems of thinking, two different histories, and two very different objectives. The West, which has subjugated and colonized many countries across the world over centuries, has perfected the usage of media and psychological wars to keep people as its subject. Throughout history, Western colonial powers gave no thought to civilian casualties. A reminder of the answer of Madeleine Albright about millions of Iraqi children being killed; she said, “But it was worth it,” whereas Eastern powers represented by Russia in this war pay so much attention to avoiding unnecessary loss of civilian lives. They change their plans and their tactics if they can save lives in their military or on the adversary’s civilian lives. In fact, the Eastern attitude always believes in taking time. They are not in a hurry, and they do not rush to launch a media or psychological campaign because their objectives are far-reaching and by far nobler than those of the party whose main concern is to sell arms and accumulate more capital. 

    For those reasons and many others unlisted here, we have to take the Hollywood postures made by the NATO Secretary-General and the US Secretary of State with a huge pinch of salt. Their major aim was to divert attention from the huge disaster they have created to their people through this uncalculated and misconceived adventure. It would have been much wiser and historically correct to review their decisions and decide whether they should continue in this futile endeavor or acknowledge the new realities on the ground born from the rise of the East and its determination, supported by the majority of people on Earth, to put an end to Western hegemony and remap the world on the basis of equal integrity and mutual respect. This may take a bit more time than what most people desire, but the train has left the station and it will undoubtedly reach its abode. The rest are insignificant details that no one will mention in the future.

    The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

    We the Silent Majority

    September 08, 2022

    Source

    by Asia Teacher

    History has an unfortunate habit of repeating itself, invariably drawing the minority into the same world of beliefs as those who previously fell for them. Removing moral, spiritual and intellectual values, aka traditions and replacing them with woke ideologies, green agendas and cultural equality follows a well-trod political path to disaster. As we head for collapse, can or will the silent majority stop the decline?

    We’re not statesmen or diplomats and we don’t know Russia’s battle plans, nor are we ever going to be president of anything. We’re famous, but unknown, who are we?

    We’re the silent majority!

    If you’re over forty you’ll probably remember us. We’re the ones who told you not to put your finger in the fire as it would hurt. However, if you’re under forty you’ll have met us at the ballot box every four years as we try to stop the crazies among you from voting in the demagogues promising you a utopia.

    We’re an odd lot and believe in things others find strange, such as God and think Justin Bieber is something found in a tissue after blowing your nose. We don’t get our news from twitter which is probably why we’re a bit behind the new-age times and we don’t believe Generation Z when they tell us Shakespeare was an African. However, we do remember the warnings from former dissidents Solzhenitsyn, Bukovsky and even President Putin who warned you not to go down the road you’re on now.

    We the silent majority were laughing at the ‘Woke’ Cultural Revolution and diversity obedience training years before it became fashionable. It was already obvious what would happen way back in 1993, coincidently, shortly after the collapse of the USSR when the European Union emerged offering the gullible an unhealthy dose of Gramscian Cultural Marxism disguised as freedom. As the vocal minority now scratch their collective heads at the mess they’ve created, we’re the silent majority occasionally heard muttering “I told you so.”

    Likewise, we are not responsible for the current political, economic and moral decline around you. We did not support corporate fascism in minimum wage gig-economies, lock downs, non-existent alternative energy sources, or an unhealthy obsession with homosexuality believing it had anything to do with freedom and democracy.

    As attention spans wane due to a lack of sensationalism and the Ukraine becomes just another ongoing news item, the next self-inflicted crisis is an energy one. We silent majority raise an eyebrow as we’re told that Russia is an unreliable energy supplier sanctioned from supplying the oil needed and the reason behind rising food prices is the fault of a European drought as we had two weeks of hot sun in the summer.

    In our brave new world, everyone’s smiling but no one’s happy. Moreover, when we glance around us we all know something is wrong. The only difference between us is who we point our fingers at. Currently, it’s all Biden’s fault but yesterday Trump was to blame. Today it’s Russia, tomorrow it will be China (again). Russian and Chinese societies aren’t collapsing, ours are and we’ve got nowhere to flee as the stupid lash out in all directions to prolong the agony of indoctrinated beliefs they’re hiding behind.

    Our political system is broken, our multicultural societies are in chaos, inflation is soaring, we’re bankrupt and awaiting possible mass civil protests in the near future; that’s if the fools in charge don’t lead us into a nuclear conflict first.

    Yet whilst muttering “here we go again”, nevertheless we the silent majority are prepared to join the coming mass civil disobedience protests as the minority complain about the agents of social programming they not so long ago cheered for and are too stupid to realize they’re the cause of, but think more of it is the solution.

    Asia Teacher is a UK citizen, retired teacher of English plus Social and Political Science.

    Ten years of Chinese Research and Development: 2005-2015, the decisive decade to the top

    September 05, 2022

    Source

    by Jean-Pierre Voiret

    After the beginning of the millenium, China started investing huge amounts of money in scientific research and development. With millions of engineers and scientist working to develop the country and its science and technology this effort will, in the long term, bring about a tremendous quantum jump in science and technology for the whole planet.

    Acronyms:

    Atimes Asia Times online, Hong Kong
    BjRev Beijing Review online, Beijing
    CASS Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing
    EinNews Ein News online, Washington DC
    GT Global Times online, Beijing
    Hirn Wolfgang Hirn: Angriff aus Asien. Fischer, 2007, Germany
    NZZ Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zürich
    Sieren Frank Sieren: Der Chinaschock. Econ, Berlin, 2008.
    Spieg Der Spiegel, Hamburg
    StZ Stuttgarter Zeitung, Stuttgart
    VDI VDI Nachrichten, Düsseldorf
    WiWo Wirtschaftswoche, Düsseldorf
    Xinhua China’s State News Agency, online edition, Beijing

    With seven-league-boots in R+D

    General Trend: „The Chinese scientists walk with seven-league boots to the top positions in the field of Research and Development (R+D)“ wrote the German Wirtschaftswoche (‘Economic week’) as early as 2005 in a “China” special issue. And China’s expenditures on R+D reached a record high of 869 billion Yüan (US$ 140 billion) in 2011, up 23% year on year and accounting for 1.84% of GDP (1.76% in 2010). In the same year, fiscal spending on science & technology development rose by 19.2% to reach 490 billion Yüan or 4.5% of the State’s total expenditures (GT, 2012.10.26). In 2012, China’s R+D spending overtook the mark of one trillion Yüan (US$ 162.3 billion) after a growth of 17.9% year on year, now representing 1.97% of GDP. This situation is based on a healthy development of education: “The 6th [national population] census shows us that the average education level for Chinese citizens has been greatly raised, and its speed [of development] exceeds the population growth, [a fact] which had never been seen in human history before” said Hu Angang at a CASS-Qinghua seminar in May, 2011. Five years after the Wirtschaftswoche statement, B. Bartsch wrote in the Stuttgarter Zeitung: „In many fields, the Chinese are already reaching their target of technological independence“ (StZ, 2010.9.17). The State’s role is very important: private companies spend only 3.5% of China’s total R+D expenditures, whereas State companies spend 34% of them. The rest is spent by research institutions like the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which owns 90 different research institutes. The framework for the State’s activity is the Outline national programme for the medium and long-term development of science and technology 2006-2020 with 16 key areas. This plan is supported by the Indigenous Innovation National Campaign of 2006. According to the UN, China was investing in 2007 the third highest sum in R+D after the USA and the EU, before Japan. It should however be noted in this comparison that the USA spend an over-the-average high percentage of their R+D money in largely unproductive military R+D. This may be one of the reasons why OECD’s Economic Research saw the situation differently: According to their estimate, China had already spent in 2006 over 136 billion Yuan more for R+D than any other countries with exception of the USA (Sieren, Chinaschock, p. 393). If one takes into account the excessive (and economically unhealthy) US spending in weaponry R+D, this means that the Middle Kingdom is already the N° 1 in the field of civil research and development. As a matter of fact, China’s R+D spending grows currently at the rate of around 20% yearly, so that even if the OECD’s estimate was overrated, China will soon overtake all other countries anyway. Here are the R+D spending data for the leading countries in 2019 according to Wikipedia Germany:

    USA: 612.7 billion US$ = 3.1 % of GDP.

    China: 514.8 billion US$ = 2.2% of GDP.

    Japan: 172.6 billion US$ = 3.2% of GDP.

    India: 158.7 billion US$ = 1.3% of GDP.

    Germany: 131.9 billion US$ = 3.2 % of GDP.

    Investments: According to the Beijing Review, China boosted her R+D investments from 1.34% of GDP in 2005 to 1.84% of GDP in 2011, 1.97% of GDP in 2012, and plans to reach 2.2% of GDP until 2015 and 2.5% of GDP by 2020 (BjRev., 2012.12.24). ”China’s Gross Domestic expenditure on R+D (GERD) tripled between 2000 and 2006“ (Atimes, March, 2010). Companies investing in research enjoy important tax rebates. Alone in the year 2006, China had been pumping around US $ 37 billion in R+D (Xinhua, January, 2007) and, among others, huge sums in the building of laboratories and research institutes in the universities of the country. By 2012, this sum had grown, as we said, to the amount of US$ 162 billion. This growth has not been checked by the economic crisis. For instance the building of the World’s biggest earthquake simulation laboratory was started in July, 2009 at the Shanghai Tongji University[1]. In the same month, the first National Aerodynamic Laboratory for Advanced Space Technology was opened in Sichuan, where China already has several wind tunnels and aircraft development corporations. In the 12th five-year plan of China (2011-2015), the aircraft industry’s growth plays an important part. The building of a research and development centre for the country’s large capacity aircraft programme began in 2009. Bejing Review informed on the 1st of Feb., 2010, that AVIC Commercial Aircraft Engine Co. has started the building of an R+D centre for the development of engines for the future Chinese large cabin aircrafts. The yearly Chinese air show, during which China presented its new middle range passenger aircraft ARJ21 for 70 to 110 passengers in Sept., 2009, is to day by far the most important air show in Asia. The State owned Commercial Aircraft Corp. (ComAC), which manufactures the ARJ21 with the help of different international contractors (GE for the engines, Rockwell-Collins for the electronic equipment), delivers the aircrafts since 2011. The company already had 208 orders in 2010, 25 of which came from GE Commercial Aviation Services. ComAC also prepares the production lines for the manufacturing of the future large cabin aircraft for 190 passengers C919, which flew at the 2012 air show. The maiden flight took place in 2010, mass production is planned to start in 2014. Hundred and two C919 were already ordered by the end of 2010. Airbus A320 airplanes are currently assembled in series in Tianjin, where Airbus built a copy of her Hamburg assembly line for US$ 1.2 billion[2]. Eleven A320 were produced there in 2009, 26 in 2010 and 36 in 2011.

    Universities, institutes of technology, patents: The number of officially approved universities and institutes of technology grew by 70% to over 1700 between 1998 and 2004. In the same period, the number of students exploded from 3.6 to 14.2 million (2004) and reached over 20 million by the end of 2007 (Wiwo, China special issue, 2007). The private industry also invests huge sums in R+D. For instance, telecom giant Huawei (Shenzhen) invests 10% of its income into its R+D in the frame of a very long term company policy planning. In 2007, almost 50% of the 70’000 Huawei employees were busy with R+D activities. No wonder this company is granted the highest number of patents each year (for instance 2734 patents in 2012, as against 2727 patents for Chinese competitor ZTE (Xinhua, 2013.02.22). By the End of 2007, the company had already applied for a total of 26,880 patents (ATimes, 2008.8.16). By the way: at the end of 2012, Huawei had 140,000 employees world wide (NZZ, 2012.11.27). In a more general way, one should note that since 2002, the number of Chinese and South-Korean patent applications at the European Patent Office EPA grew by 34% yearly on the average (StZ, N° 138/2007). In 2008, the number of Chinese patent applications at EPA kept growing at the rate of almost 30% in spite of the economic crisis (StZ., 2009.4.2). In Germany, Chinese companies applied for 160 patents in 2000, but for 12,700 patents in 2010 and for 16,000 in 2011 (StZ, 2012.1.21). The growth rate in patent applications by Chinese from 2009 to 2010 in Munich was 54% year on year (StZ, 2011.5.2). In Beijing itself, China has organised a state of the art patent office along newest Western patterns. The number of patent applications from all provinces of the country is growing at high speed. In spite of the young age of the new patent and copyright law (enacted 1984), the number of patent applications has grown by more than 20% per annum in the five years from 2002 on, to reach a total of 4 million applications for the 2002-2007 period. “More than 900,000 new patent applications are awaited for 2008” wrote the China daily on the 30th of October, 2008, whereas a NZZ graphic of July 26th, 2011, indicates roughly 800,000 applications for 2010[3] (this means that the yearly number of patent applications of the USA could be overtaken by China in a few years from now); on these applications, around 200,000 invention patents are granted in China each year (for instance 217,105 in 2012 according to Xinhua, 2013.2.22). The third revision of the 1984 patent law was put in force on the 1st of October, 2009. The new rules now meet the requirements of the corresponding international agreements (TRIPS) and thus comply with most international standards. Just as these developments take place, Thomas L. Friedman tells us in his book “The World is flat“ (NY, 2005) that the number of American patents and of American scientific publications regularly decreases since a number of years. The US Patent Office itself is stuck in a lasting crisis (VDI, 2007.2.16). Who knows in the USA to day that the 19th century reformer Kang Youwei considered the USA as the most innovative country on Earth in his memorandum of 1895 to the young emperor of China: “The positive interaction between inventiveness and education”, he wrote, “is most evident in the USA, where thousands of new patents for industrial inventions are applied for each year.” Tempi passati! By the Way, China’s largest technology imports no longer come from the United States, but from Europe (39.3%); Japan takes the second place (23.8%) whereas the USA are now just third (19.2%). The successes of the efficient Chinese R+D policy are showing quickly: At the beginning of 2007, China’s first self manufactured high speed train was put into service on the Shanghai-Hangzhou line. At Christmas 2009, the Wuhan-Guangzhou high speed line was also opened to high speed service, reputedly with a routine average speed of 320 km/hour. “The World’s first high-speed railway in areas with extremely low temperatures, the Harbin-Dalian railway, started operations in Northeast China on Dec. 1st, 2012” (BjRev., 2013.1.21). As soon as 2009, Premier Putin declared on the 12th October meeting in Beijing that Russia would now buy its high speed trains from China – no longer from Europe: “They are as fast or even faster, and cheaper” (GT, 12.10.09). China is also technologically independent – and even leading on automation – in the underground train technology. In 2007, China also put a bus with hydrogen drive on trial. It is also since 2007 that the Middle Kingdom owns an independent caesium time-measuring system (integral atomic clock). In 2010, the World also heard for the first time that China had the World’s fastest Supercomputer – a computer of the Tianhe 1A Type.

    Technology parks: In China, the preparation of the scientific and technological future is advanced by a formidable group of remarkably well planned high technology parks; W. Hirn writes for instance about the Zhongguangcun technology park: „On the level of equipment and support, you cannot find anything comparable in Germany. The Martinsried technology park outside of Munich, which is often labelled the German “Silicon Valley” of biotech industries, looks rather like a miniature edition of a Chinese technology park. Here [near Beijing], a huge science landscape was built with State assistance around the Beida and Qinghua mother universities. On about 100 square kilometres, more than 400,000 researchers are working in more than 200 research institutes and in some fifty new universities. Between them, you’ll find many high-tech enterprises and start-ups. Lenovo, China’s most famous IT company, originated for instance in Zhongguancun.” (Hirn, p. 176). Zhonguancun was the first technology park of this type. In the meantime, each Chinese big city owns an institution and/or an R+D conglomerate of this sort. GT wrote that at the end of 2012, China had more than 100 high-tech zones. The first four best ones were Beijing’s Zhongguangcun, Shanghai’s Zhangjiang, Shenzhen’s SHTZ and Chengdu’s HTIZ (GT, 2012.12.21). And this is just Mainland China. If you take „global China“ under your microscope, then you must add Taiwan’s (for instance the famous Hsinchu Technology Park) and Singapore’s technology parks (like the incredible Biopolis) to the coming Chinese R+D empire. And because R+D is much cheaper in China (and in Asia in general) than in the USA or Europe (in 2007, you could employ five Chinese engineers and ten Indian ones for the cost of one US engineer), more and more Western multinational companies outsource their research centres to China. One can thus understand why The President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology wrote the following words in its report to the US government: „China’s rise to the status of a high-tech area is definitely one of our biggest worries” (quoted in Hirn, p. 55).

    Conquering space

    Space and geo-sciences: China’s successes in space and in the geo-scientific research are equally impressive: successful launch of three ocean surveying satellites (the third one launched in 2010), successful implementation of the China-Brazil satellite-based Earth sensing programme[4] (CBERS, China-Brazil Earth Research Satellite: N°1 Satellite: 1999; N° 2 sat.: 2003; N° 3 sat.: 2007; N° 4 sat.: 2011), successful launch of Shenzhou 5 into space in 2003 with astronaut Yang Liwei on board, successful launch of Shenzhou 6 in 2005, then of Shenzhou 7 (with extra vehicular activity) in 2008. China launched the unmanned Space module Tiangong 1 („Heavenly Palace 1“) of its prototype space lab in 2011. With 8.5 tons of weight, it will eventually be transformed into a manned space laboratory after experimental dockings of three Shenzhou spacecrafts: Shenzhou N° 8, 9 and 10. The automatic docking of Shenzhou 8 and the manned docking of Shenzhou 9 took place in 2011 and 2012 respectively. On June 18th, 2012, Shenzhou 9 completed its manual docking with Tiangong 1 with 3 astronauts on board, one of them a female. On board, they executed different experiments during ten days. Shenzhou 10 was successfully launched in mid-June, 2013. This time, the crew remained 15 days on board Tiangong 1. The permanent manning of the Chinese space lab took place in 2021. Taking part to the ISS work by Chinese astronauts, a Chinese wish supported by the EU and Russia, is refused by the USA under the pretext of „dual use danger” (use of scientific findings for military aims).

    Lunar programme: Successful launch of the Chang’e-1 moon orbiter in the fall of 2007, successful launch of the 2nd Chang’e satellite on the 1st of October, 2010, to take photos of the moon and especially of Sinus Iridium, the future landing zone of Chang’e-3. Chang’e-2 photos of the moon and moon maps have been published on Feb. 6, 2012 (China sent Chang’e-3 and a lunar rover to the moon in 2013. Chang’e-3’s mission was to achieve a soft landing and rove the surface. Chang’e-4 rose in 2017 and returned to Earth with lunar soil and stone samples); after photographing the moon surface in low orbit in early 2011, Chang’e-2 was sent in outer space to orbit the 2nd Lagrange point L2; Chang’e-2 entered L2’s orbit in August, 2011, so that China’s SASTIND was the World’s third agency after ESA and NASA to put a spacecraft into orbit around L2. China was also successful with its Compass navigation system programme (programme duration: 2008-2011) with the launch of 2nd generation Beidou navigation Satellites on April the 15th, 2009, then January the 16th, 2010. Second generation Beidous contain an in-built atomic clock. The Beidou system also implements two-way text messaging, a function which GPS and Glonass cannot ensure; it is particularly useful in remote areas where mobile phone services are unavailable (BjRev, 2011.5.23). In October, 2012, the 16th Beidou satellite was added to the navigation system, making it ready for Asia-Pacific service, which started in the 1st half of 2013. Now Chinese mobile phones get Beidou access (BjRev, 2013.5.23). Total satellite number was 35 in 2020, providing world-wide service.

    Remote sensing and more: China was also successful with the launch of the first Chinese Mars probe in the second half of 2009, and the launch of the seventh remote sensing satellite Yaogan VII from the new Jiuquan launch centre (uses: “Land resources survey, crop yield estimate, disaster reduction & prevention, etc.“); then came Yaogan VIII and Yaogan IX (2010.3.5). China also uses these satellites for the digital cartography of the whole of China – a project that was completed in the year 2015. China’s first space telescope was launched into space in 2012. China was not quite so successful with her communication satellites and had different problems at the beginning of the programme: After the loss of Sinosat-2 in 2006, the Nigerian communication satellite Nigcomsat-1, which was financed and supplied by China, also got blind in November, 2008, after only 18 months of service[5]. In all events, Beijing decided in July, 2008, to raise its aerospace research and production capacity by 100%. In the meantime, China manufactured a replacement satellite for Nigeria. It also launched successfully a communication satellite for Venezuela and one for Bolivia. The launch of a satellite for Laos also took place (2010). In the field of its own communication satellites, China launched its communication satellite Zhongxin 11 in May, 2013, to ensure commercial communication in the Asia-Pacific region. On the level of launchers, China successfully tested in July, 2012, its 120 ton-thrust liquid oxygen/Kerosene engine for its new generation of carrier rockets, the Long March-5 (BjRev., 2013.1.21). In the southern island of Hainan, as close to the equator as possible, the Chinese started in September, 2009, the building of their fourth space flights guiding centre with start ramps and flight control station. The Chinese Plan for the development of space industry of the eleventh 5-years plan and the Three stage plan for manned space research anticipate the following activities among other things: Until 2020, as we said, a space station exclusively manned by Chinese astronauts, then between 2025 and 2030 a manned landing on the moon, and until 2040 a manned station on Mars. “More than 5,000 Chinese firms and organisations are now involved in the applications and services of satellite navigation, and the industry generated more than 50 billion Yüan of output value in 2010 according to the report published by the Social Sciences Academic Press” (GT, 2012.1.24). With 22 successful launches, “the number of China’s space launches in 2011 surpassed that of the US, which sent only 18 satellites into orbit” (Pang Zhao in GT, 2012.1.20). What a contrast to the USA where the Spaces shuttles went into retirement in 2011, so that for many years, the USA will not have any own means of sending astronauts into space. Another fact is interesting: As soon as 2010, China succeeded in completing its nation-wide network of three satellites-monitoring ground stations: The stations in Miyun and Kashkar were already operational in 2009, the station in Sanya was then ready at the beginning of 2010. This net allows a China-wide 100% reception of satellite data. In April, 2013, China launched successfully her first high-definition earth observation satellite Gaofen-1. And in May, 2013, China conducted her first space science active experiment to obtain in-situ measurements of the vertical distribution of space environments.

    “From pole to pole”

    Antarctic and Arctic research: The Chinese Antarctic and Arctic research is also an astonishing success story. With the World’s largest non-nuclear research icebreaker, Xue long (Snow dragon), China has embarked on four Arctic research expeditions in recent years. The Chinese scientists are even more active in the Antarctic: There, they have since 2003 a big base station at their disposal. This base has been entirely modernised in 2009. They also have two smaller stations, the Kunlun-Station on Dome A, the highest Antarctic summit at 4093 m above sea level, and the Zhongshan Station in the Grove Mountains. They operate a sensor station on Dome A. China will build two more Antarctic research stations by 2015. In 2012, China has organised twenty eight Antarctic research expeditions since 2003, the most recent one (28th) ended in April, 2012 after 163 days voyage. In July, 2009, the Chinese also began the building of a new and stronger telescope network at the South Pole. The CAA (China Arctic and Antarctic Administration, under the State Oceanic Administration) launched 5 new Antarctic expeditions from 2011 to 2015.

    Exploration: In the course of the last decade, China also organised several high-level geo-scientific explorations/expeditions in the Amazon basin (2004), in the Himalayas (2007) and in Ethiopia (Great Rift Valley, 2008). In Tibet, which seemed to be particularly hit by global warming (the permafrost layer was said to be thawing), China built up a network of 48 soil observatories and 4 radar stations in order to be able to record permanently the data measured around the clock. Tibet is also a centre for cosmic ray research under the Institute of High Energy Physics. In the field of astrophysics, the Chinese government opened officially on June 4th, 2009, its new Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fibre Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST) in Xinglong, Hebei Province: „The largest of its kind in the World, it will scan 10 million celestial spectra in the coming five years, one of the World’s most ambitious astronomical endeavours to record key data betraying how the universe was formed“. In Tibet, China built in collaboration with Germany a conventional optical observatory near Lhasa. On Oct. 28th, 2012, China unveiled Asia’s biggest radio telescope in Shanghai; it is used to track & collect data from satellites and space probes.

    Underwater activities: For underwater exploration (for instance oceanographic, archaeological, geological, oil, etc.), China built a submersible – the Jiaolong – designed for exploring to 7,000 meters’ depth. In early 2010, the Jiaolong planted a Chinese flag in a South China Sea canyon at 3,759 meters below sea level, then reached 5188 meters in July, 2011. A dive to 7062 meters took place in June, 2012 (BjRev., 2013.1.21). A new Deep-sea base with wharves, deep-sea equipment maintenance workshops, large scale experimental pools and training facilities for oceanauts is being built (commissioned end of 2014); it also provides ground support for the Jialong and for other large scale deep-sea equipment. In early 2013, a Chinese research vessel started an undersea resources survey of the Pacific Ocean. We would also like to mention a border area of Chinese research because it shows how fast the country’s scientists are able to reach top level: Until 1987, nothing had ever happened in China in the field of underwater archaeology. The Underwater Archaeological Research Office, a branch of the National History Museum, was founded in 1987. In 1990, the first research dives took place with foreign colleagues. In 1991-1997, the Chinese archaeologists carry out alone several underwater excavations on five Ming dynasty (1368-1644) ships sunk outside the Coast of Liaoning-Province. In 2007, a Song dynasty (960-1279) ship, Nanhai I, is entirely salvaged out of the South China Sea and then preserved, showing that the Chinese now have a perfect command of the preservation technologies. In Mai, 2009, the Baiheliang underwater Museum is opened in Chongqing with all the underwater exhibits salvaged during the Three Gorges dam construction. Other highlight: In 2010, the ocean going ship Nan’ao I of the Ming Dynasty, is entirely salvaged with tons of Ming Chinaware.

    Oil and gas exploration: Deputy director Zhong Ziran of the National Geological Survey told reporters in January, 2011, that his agency’s annual spending for oil and gas exploration will rise tenfold, to 500 million Yuan (US$ 60 million): “Sixty percent of this amount will support offshore projects”, he added. Until now, China’s offshore drilling has been limited to relatively shallow waters near its coasts, employing “jack-up rigs” that are planted on the sea bed. Now, CNOOC announced plans to deploy its first floating drilling platform: The $ 30 billion behemoth, Marine Oil 981, is designed to drill 800 deep water wells. They will produce $ 50 billion worth of oil annually by 2020. In the meantime, a similar floating rig was also built for PetroChina (Atimes, 2011.7.15).

    Priorities: Within the framework of its World Crisis management package, the Chinese Cabinet decided in mid-May 2009 to finance with a sum of Yuan 62.8 billion (US$ 9.2 billion) 11 national research programmes which were planned to ensure breakthroughs in different fields. The promoted areas are CNC machining, civil aircraft development, („China to rival Boeing/Airbus with C 919 big plane”, titled EinNews of Washington on the 2009.10.13), pressurized water, high temperature and gas cooled nuclear reactors, broadband mobile communication, high-end central data treatment and software[6], development of big oil and gas fields, water purifying and water treatment technology, trans-genetic products and new medicines & Aids/Viral hepatitis therapies. The corresponding intellectual property (patents, etc.) will not belong to the State, but will be the property of the promoted universities, institutes and companies. In the field of water technology, the ministry of agriculture reported in April, 2013 the development of a new water-saving capillary-based irrigation method saving 50% water as compared to drip irrigation technology. In the field of water treatment, Boying Co. in Xiamen developed a new ‘Nanometer Catalyst Electrolysis’ (NCE) process with extremely promising applications. In a more general way, Xiamen is the centre of Chinese marine economy development; the administration is building there the South Marine Research Centre, which will house high-calibre researchers in oceanography. “China’s marine economy totalled 4.55 trillion Yüan ($ 722 billion) in 2011. The country’s marine output will reach 10% of the country’s GDP by 2015,” said Liu Cigui, Minister of the State Oceanic Administration (BjRev., 2012.12.17). In an interview on the 2009.12.27, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao told a Xinhua reporter of the following general targets for the national research package:

    „Our efforts must be focussed on the development of the Internet, of the green economy, of the low carbon economy, of the environment protection technology and of bio medicine“. In the field of Internet, fast broadband internet will access 18,000 more rural villages and 5,000 more schools in just one year (2013). These aims have all been reached. In the field of bio medicine, “The Ministry of Science & Technology announced on Jan. 11th, 2012, that it has approved a hepatitis-E vaccine developed by Xiamen University and Xiamen Innovax Biothech Co.

    Robotics: China is still comparatively weak in robotics, owning only 21 robots for every 10,000 workers, compared with an average of 55/10,000 for the World and a peak of 339/10,000 for Japan. But China is pulling up very quickly because of its one child policy-induced growing labour scarcity and of the correspondingly rising wages: according to the International Federation of Robotics, the growth of industrial robotics in China in the past few years has been exceeding 40% to 50% a year, an unprecedented level of growth (Atimes, 2013.3.5).

    From particle physics to Atomic energy and related fields

    Particle physics: In the field of particle physics, Chinese research takes place under the responsibility of the IHEP (Institute of High Energy Physics), Beijing. IHEP’s main research centres are the Electron positron collider in Beijing, the Daya Bay neutrino research centre with the new Spallation neutron source in Shandong province and the Cosmic ray research centre in Tibet. R+D until 2020 focuses on the accelerator-driven sub-critical system (ADS) and the Beijing light source (BLS). IHEP is also heavily involved in space projects (see http://english.ihep.cas.cn/au/). In 2012, IHEP scored a great success at Daya Bay where physicists solved some problems of the so-called neutrino oscillation in their cave lab. At the same time, we hear that the US DoE (Department of Energy) must scrap a new neutrino experiment by Fermilab because of insufficient funding: “The long baseline neutrino experiment of Fermilab is not affordable” said W. Brinkman, director of DoE’s Office of Science.

    Nuclear energy: In the field of nuclear energy, the Atomic Energy Administration selected and assessed 14 reactor locations in the framework of the middle and long term National nuclear energy development plan (2005-2020). In 2010, China already exploited 13 nuclear reactor blocks in four nuclear power stations with a total production capacity of 10.8 GW, which is not quite 2% of the total electrical energy production (coal power stations produced 75% of the total energy production; their share then sank to 60% within ten years). Ten locations with a power capacity of 70 to 90 GW have been built with Chinese 2nd and 3rd generation technology between 2010 and 2020 (by comparison, India plans a nuclear power production capacity of 20 to 25 GW by 2020). Near Weihai, Shandong Prov., China was also building since the summer of 2011 her first 4th generation reactor inspired by the German “Kugelhaufen” (ball-heap) technology high temperature reactor, but also based on own developments. It produced 210 MW of electricity by 2015. If this reactor works satisfactorily, 18 more modules will be built for a production of 3.8 GW of electricity. In 2012, China also announced the commissioning of its first experimental fast neutron reactor, permitting to increase the utilisation rate of uranium to 60% (GT, 2012.10.31). In the meantime, China also started tackling the final storage problem in Beishan (Gansu Prov.), where miles of tunnels are being drilled into compact granite rock. Final storage in this location should start around 2050 (Sieren 2011, p. 71-2). China’s own uranium ore reserves should be sufficient until 2020. “Later, we shall rely on the market and on specific co-operation agreements with other countries” said Zhao Chengkun of the Chinese Nuclear Energy Association. Chinese State companies own shares of several uranium mines in central Asia and Africa. By comparison: In the USA, almost 45 reactors are currently missing according to specialists (EinNews, 2009.8.4).

    Power transportation: For power transportation, China learnt the High Voltage DC (HVDC) power transport technology (for the so called HGÜ “power highways”) from Siemens, Germany, and now owns the World’s most up to date “intelligent” current transport grid. SGCC, the State-owned power distribution company operating 88% of the Chinese power grid, which is upgrading China’s grid with HVDC technology and IT management to accommodate varying renewable inputs, expressed in 2012 the wish to join the EU’s Desertec project. However, this project was given up by Europe for reasons of insecurity in North Africa. It is in Shanghai that Siemens, the World leader for sea-located wind parks, opened one of its 3 central offices for wind energy (the other two locations are Hamburg, Germany, and Orlando/Fa., USA). Finally, Asiatimes online published on the 26th of August, 2010, spectacular news: „A team of fifteen Chinese researchers from the Beijing Qinghua University and from the Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences, a government-directed research centre, published in May [2010] a research paper announcing a successful demonstration of “quantum teleportation” (liangzi yinxing chuan) over 16 kilometres of free space. This should give China a clear advantage on the USA in the field of cryptography and in the field of security between communication networks. Employing quantum teleportation over a satellite network allows for complete secure communications without optical fibre infrastructure, even in sensitive and remote areas. In the meantime, the Chinese have mastered a 100 kilometers teleportation (StZ, 2012.8.10). Last but not least, China obtained the project management for the US$ 1.5 billion glass fibre optic cable network agreed upon at the 2013 Vladivostok BRICS Summit. This network, which will link the five BRICS countries with 21 African countries, will make the BRICS bloc independent of the Western world’s spying greed.

    Successes

    To close this study, let us note some important Chinese successes in science and technology mentioned in different Global Times issues.

    Chinese IHEP physicists have confirmed and measured in the presence of foreign physicists a 3rd type of neutrino oscillation in their cave laboratory near the Daya Bay reactor in Guangzhou Province (GT, 2012.3.9). China has completed the construction of a powerful test bench for train braking systems setting a World record by allowing a maximal test-speed of 530 km/h (GT 2012.3.11). Two more weather stations have been added to the network of monitoring stations on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. End total will be 23 monitoring stations (GT, 2012.3.16). The Chinese ocean research ship Dayang yihao (Ocean One) set sail on a new global research voyage (GT, 2012.4.18). The first megawatt-level tower-type solar thermal power station in Asia was built in NW-Beijing. It uses a 1.5 MW steam turbo generator and generates 1.95 million Kwh of electricity annually in stable condition (GT, 2012.11.14). An amendment to the Chinese copyright law will enhance punitive measures against IPR piracy (GT, 2012.12.21). Within the framework of the National Research package announced in 2009 by Prime minister Wen Jiabao (see higher up), the IME (Institute of Micro-Electronics) of the CAS announced that they made a break through in shrinking integrated circuits (ICs), producing a field effect transistor (FET) with a gate length of only 22 nanometers. 22 nanometers IC technology will afford huge savings for China in importing foreign technology and will boost China-made IC products’ competitiveness (Xin hua). On Sept. 11, 2012, “the Chinese Sunway ‘Blue Light’ Supercomputer, built with domestically produced microprocessors and capable of one thousand trillion operations per sec. passed the examination of the experts panel of the Ministry of Science & Technology (BjRev, 2013.1.21). As soon as Feb., 2012, Prof. Pan Jianwei had demonstrated experimentally a topological correction with a 8-photon cluster state, thus securing a breakthrough in quantum information processing research (BjRev., 2013.1.21). In March, 2013, China’s strongest biogenetic Institute, BGI of Shenzhen, founded by Wang Jian, acquired its strongest American competitor for US$ 118 Million (Spiegel, N° 19, 2013). By the way: early in 2013, China reported the successful unlocking of the key genetic code of wheat.

    Further Developments and records in Chinese R&D since 2015

    (according to Global times, August 2022)

    China’ ZK-1 solid propellent rocket made successful maiden flight from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre, sending six satellite into pre-set orbits.

    Shenzhou-14 crew receives 1st lab module Wentian at China Space Station, verifying country’s ability to assemble ultra-large spacecraft in orbit.

    A new record for horizontal drilling technology under complex geological conditions was set by a Chinese hydropower company on Wednesday, with the termination depth reaching as deep as 775 meters below the ground under complex geological conditions.

    China begins construction on world’s most far-reaching radar system to boost defence against near-Earth asteroid impact as well as sensing capability for the Earth-Moon system.

    Chinese scientist make significant breakthrough in hyperfine wind observation with coherent Doppler effect wind-Lidar.

    China unfolds deorbiting sail for in-orbit spacecraft, thus deploying a deorbiting sail system for the first time in the world. Deorbiting sails slow-down unused space objects or debris to bring them back on earth in a planned way within a much shorter time than usual.

    Chinese scientists find high-pressure minerals in Chang’e-5 samples for the first time.

    China’s world-largest radio telescope detects first persistently active repeating fast radio burst from 3b light-years away.

    China’s Shenzhou-14 crewed spaceship successfully docks with the Tianhe space station core module.

    BRICS countries establish joint commission on space cooperation.

    Let us end with two interesting notices by the Beijing Review of August, 2022:

    Protection of intellectual property: China’s progresses in this field are now widely recognized. In this respect, China jumps from the 22nd to the 12th place in the newest corresponding world ranking.

    The opinion of most young Chinese on the West has changed in the course of the last ten years. The West’s reputation has been sinking and the respect for China’s own successes has been growing.

    Jean-pierre Voiret, 1936, first received an engineer’s degree, and four years later a doctorate in metallurgy at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Nine years later, he started studying sinology at the University of Zurich. He has lectured on history of Chinese science at the Federal Institute of technology in Lausanne, and on general Chinese history at the University of Zurich.

    1. After the terrible Earthquake of May, 2008, researchers of the Chinese Laboratory for the Study of Continental Plates Dynamics immediately started series of drillings along the Sichuan faults in order to assess the stress of the geological strata afflicted by the quake. These systematic measurement campaigns went on during more than one year. 
    2. The Chinese middle class flies more and more, so that air transports will more than double within the next 15 years. China’s airlines transported 230 million passengers in 2009 (by comparison: Number of transported passengers in India, 2010: 56 million). In 2015, China will operate 220 airports. Boeing and Airbus already fear the competition of China’s future huge civil aircraft assembly lines. Others than Airbus are also already working in China: Embraer produces her ERJ145 130-seater in Harbin, Bombardier produces the fuselage of her Q400 130-seater in Shenyang. AVIC produces electricity supply systems for aircrafts together with Hamilton-Sundstrand in Xian and manufactures avionics together with General Electric. 
    3. Concerning patents: the NZZ speaks of 800,000 and WiWo of 314,000 patent applications in China for 2011! Did WiWo mean granted patents? Then it seems too many! At least, all agree on the huge rates of growth… 
    4. An impressive success of the CBERS & Yaogan VII earth sensing programs was the discovery, at the end of 2009, of a huge iron ore deposit in the central Chinese province of Hebei (Reserves: About 10 billion tons iron ore). 
    5. The competitors also have problems: for instance Boeing with its 702-series satellites, or Russia with KAZSAT-1. 
    6. 1. On December 25th, 2009, BjReview reported that China’s new first petaflop-Supercomputer Tianhe (Milky Way) opened „a full world of new potentials“. This computer is able to carry out one Quadrillion Operations per second. 2. The first Chinese high temperature research reactor was demonstrated to foreigners in Huyu near Beijing in the fall of 2004: Deliberate stopping of the reactor’s cooling induced no melting down of the reactor’s core. 

    Iran and the Persian Gulf monarchies: Diplomacy remains their only option

    Reconciliation between Iran and the GCC will reap vast mutual benefits, while conflict only serves those outside the Persian Gulf

    September 07 2022

    Photo Credit: The Cradle

    By Mohammad Salami

    In mid-August, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states the UAE and Kuwait announced the return of their respective ambassadors to Iran after a six year hiatus.

    The move represents the latest sign of warming ties between Iran and the Persian Gulf sheikhdoms since the controversial execution of prominent, outspoken, Saudi Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr in 2016 interrupted relations.

    Nimr’s killing prompted angry protestors to storm the Saudi diplomatic mission in Tehran, leading to a concerted action by several GCC states to sever or downgrade relations with the Islamic Republic.

    The reconciliation of two GCC countries with Iran last month was a result of negotiations stretching back several years. These advances also come amid on-going – sometimes stalled – talks between Tehran and Riyadh, hosted by neutral mediators in Baghdad. So far, five rounds of discussions have been held, with the last one held in April and a sixth one looming on the horizon.

    Deescalation and diplomacy

    Over the past two years, tensions in the Persian Gulf region deescalated as regional states began to seek alternative options to wind down their various proxy fights in West Asia.

    The UAE has been at the forefront of these efforts, normalizing relations with Syria – another battleground against Iran – and agreeing to reset relations with Turkey last year after a decade of divergent ideological stances over the wider region.

    Following Abu Dhabi’s lead, Riyadh also markedly improved its own relations with Ankara after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s two-day trip to Saudi Arabia, which was reciprocated by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s (MbS) visit to the Turkish capital in June.

    Most important for the region, however, is the thorny issue of the longstanding, mutually-perceived threat between Iran and the ‘Saudi camp’ within the GCC. For various reasons, including defeats and setbacks in Syria and nearby Yemen, Iran’s Arab neighbors have come to realize that the continuation of hostilities with Tehran is no longer in their national security interest.

    “[Iran and Saudi Arabia] are neighbors. Neighbors forever. We cannot get rid of them, and they can’t get rid of us. So, it’s better for both of us to work it out and to look for ways in which we can coexist,” MbS said in an abrupt about-turn earlier this year.

    Such conciliatory views are shared by Tehran, as conveyed by Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani who told reporters on 22 August: “We are optimistic that a positive regional atmosphere is fostering a path of communication and dialogue, and ultimately better relations.”

    Rapprochement between Iran and the UAE was preceded by a similar trajectory; after four years of negotiations and five phone calls between Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the two countries concluded that their interests can be better resolved through dialogue.

    “Short of confronting Iran, it is wiser to reach out to Mr. [Ebrahim] Raisi. One way to deal with Iran is to continue the conversation and find common ground for good neighborly relations,” AbdulKhaleq Abdulla, the former advisor to the UAE government wrote in an opinion article, in reference to the Iranian president.

    The diplomatic moves make sense considering that the UAE and Iran are economically interdependent; trade between Iran and the UAE is extensive, and Abu Dhabi is the largest exporter of goods to Iran. It is worth noting that despite tensions between the two countries, trade never completely ceased during the toughest times.

    Motivating factors

    Several factors have motivated this wholesale revision of policies towards Iran. Chief among these is the concern that GCC states can no longer depend on unconditional protection from unreliable allies outside the region.

    Certainly, US President Joe Biden’s focus on reentering the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement with Iran – unilaterally abandoned by his predecessor – is a strong indicator that Washington seeks to defuse its own decades-long standoff with Tehran to address more pressing national security priorities elsewhere.

    As the US military and foreign policy establishments recalibrate their focus onto major peer adversaries like China and Russia, Washington has reduced its defense and security commitment to its long-time allies in the Persian Gulf.

    This eroding ‘security guarantee,’ which began under former President Barack Obama and his “Pivot to Asia,” became strikingly evident in the 2019 Yemeni attack on Saudi’s Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq and subsequent attacks on ships anchored in the UAE port of Fujairah, including two Saudi oil tankers.

    After the unprecedented strikes by Yemen’s resistance movement Ansarallah, Washington’s utter failure to provide material support to its closest Persian Gulf allies – who have spent billions to procure US military protection – strongly influenced the GCC’s decision to engage with Iran.

    “When the US didn’t follow through on defending its Arab partners following the Aramco attacks “it became imperative [for the UAE] to secure itself without relying on others – the US in particular – and engaging with Iran is a part of that,” Dina Esfandiary, a Middle East adviser at the International Crisis Group think tank explained.

    The US’ faltering pledge to safeguard the Arab states of the Persian Gulf was heavily criticized by the Senate Republican Policy Committee. In a statement in early August, it accused Biden of undermining his commitment to Persian Gulf allies and missing an opportunity to take advantage of developments in West Asia and the US-brokered Abraham Accords for a united front against Iran.

    Additional factors that accelerated dialogue with Iran include the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic – which encouraged further economic diversification away from reliance on oil revenues – the crisis in Ukraine, global energy shortages, and the issue of regional food security.

    Conflict with Iran is ‘off the table’

    The 2020 Abraham Accords presented an opportunity for Israel and its new Arab partners to form an anti-Iranian front aimed at reducing Iran’s geopolitical reach. But two years of inactive bluster about an “Arab NATO” has instead demonstrated that none of the Persian Gulf’s monarchies – despite plenty of encouragement from Tel Aviv and Washington – have the political will to take that confrontational regional step.

    Instead, in the aftermath of normalization, Arab states such as the UAE sought to gain economic and commercial benefits from Israeli IT technologies and clean energy companies, rather than crow for open confrontation with Iran. For this reason “Middle East NATO was a ‘theoretical’ concept and … for Abu Dhabi confrontation [with Iran] was not an option,” says Anwar Gargash, senior diplomatic advisor to the UAE president.

    Other GCC member states like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar have thus far opposed full normalization with Israel. They know that any overt anti-Iranian front – encouraged by the US and centered on Israel – serves primarily to rehabilitate Tel Aviv’s image within Arab countries, where populations remain hostile to Israel.

    They are also now painfully aware that the US will not waste its limited and valuable resources in West Asia when the strategic geography of the China Sea and East Asia are of infinitely more intrinsic value to Washington.

    Following the Jeddah Summit, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud said decisively: “There’s no such thing as Arabic NATO.”

    Pragmatism in the Persian Gulf

    Furthermore, for many Arabs, Iran acts as a valuable counterbalance to Israel in the region. The Persian Gulf – Levant and North Africa too – have a shared interest in obstructing Israel’s many troublesome and disruptive regional ambitions. Iran is a useful tool in this respect, as it absolves Arab states from doing the heavy lifting themselves, which would earn Washington’s ire.

    In turn, reconciliation with its Arab neighbors will help Iran mitigate the effects of US-imposed sanctions and isolation efforts. Tehran also wants to keep these diplomatic channels open should the nuclear negotiations in Vienna not come to fruition.

    Since his election in 2021, Iran’s President Raisi has repeatedly stressed that regional relations are the primary foreign policy focus of his administration. At the same time, Iran has introduced proposals on a mutually-beneficial regional security architecture that would exclude the need for external military forces in the Persian Gulf and its environs.

    Tehran believes a region-first approach can strengthen relations with neighbors across all fields and, importantly, build years of depleted trust. The question is whether its Arab neighbors, many of whom rose to power on the back on western colonial projects, can extract themselves from this dependency and forge independent security strategies.

    The timing is not bad. GCC states have concluded that the US will not guarantee security in the way they once perceived, and that Washington is – possibly permanently – distracted elsewhere. These events coincide with a global hike in oil and gas prices because of western sanctions on Russia. As a key member of OPEC+, Russia has thus far managed to keep influential Persian Gulf producers onside on production and pricing policies. China is investing billions in the Persian Gulf states on connectivity and infrastructure. Heavily dependent on Gulf energy resources, China – as well as Iran and Russia – is pushing for a new Persian Gulf security architecture run by regional states.

    While the moment may be ripe to advance these new ideas, Iran’s reconciliation with its Arab neighbors is contingent on all parties understanding their mutual interests and threats, which is essential to reduce conflict.

    The benefits will be game-changing for all. Ensuing stability in the Persian Gulf will bring about a more prosperous regional economy through interdependence, in addition to enhanced political, security, and geopolitical cooperation in the longer term.

    The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

    US economic decline and global instability Part 2: Rise of BRICS

    September 01, 2022

    Source

    by Phillyguy

    Summary

    The US emerged from WWII as the world’s preeminent military and economic power. All of the pillars supporting US power are now threatened by decades of neoliberal economic policies, spending vast sums of taxpayer money propping up financial markets, the military and attainment of economic/military parity by the Russia-China-Iran axis. In this essay, I link the continuing economic and social decline in the US/EU (collectively referred to as the ‘west) to an increasingly reckless US foreign policy, the role corporate media serves in promoting these policies to the American/EU public and the rise of Russia, China and other countries in the global south.

    Introduction

    This is a continuation or my previous article, linking US economic decline and global instability [1]. Briefly, the US emerged from WWII as the world’s leading economic and military power. Since that time, US global power has rested on: 1) unrivaled military and economic power, 2) control of world’s energy reserves (primarily in the Middle East), and 3) maintaining the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Following the conclusion of WWII in 1945, the US had the world’s largest economy and was the major ‘growth engine’ for western capitalism for the next 3 decades. In the mid-1970s, this began to change as US corporate profits began to stagnate/decline, a direct consequence of spending large amounts of taxpayer money on wars on the Korean Peninsula (1950-1953) and Vietnam (1955-1975) and increased competition from rebuilt economies in Europe, primarily Germany (Marshall Plan) and Asia- Japan, South Korea (Korean and Vietnam wars) and more recently China. Starting in the early 1980s, the US financial elite began pressuring policy makers to pursue neoliberal economic policies, including multiple tax cuts for the wealthy, financial deregulation, austerity, attacks on the poor and labor and outsourcing manufacturing jobs to Mexico, China and other low-wage platforms. The Soviet Union officially dissolved on Dec 26, 1991. This was viewed by the US ruling elite as the removal of the major rival to US global power and would allow unrestrained actions of the American military to invade and occupy countries which are rich in natural resources and/or occupy geo-strategic locations and expand NATO into Eastern Europe up to the Russian border. Since 1991, US/NATO have been involved in conflicts in Yugoslavia, Persian Gulf/Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Ukraine [2].

    Role of Corporate Media

    First Amendment of the US constitution-

    ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’

    It is commonly stated that the press (aka the proverbial ‘4th estate’) in the US is ‘free’ and ‘independent’ and ‘essential for the functioning of a free society’, serving as a ‘watchdog’ on government actions and policies and vital to protect the ‘liberty’ of American citizens. As is often the case, things are not always as they seem.

    In a recent interview with Brian Berletic, Mark Sleboda commented that “Western media is in ‘lockstep’ with government on foreign policy to a degree that would make real dictators blush” [3]. While there is no doubt that Western (read corporate) media is indeed promoting US foreign policy, it is not the US government that formulates these polices, rather they are formulated and developed by the ruling elite, using corporate-funded foundations and ‘think tanks’, academic institutions and prominent politicians. These include the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Rand Corporation, Rockefeller Foundation, American Heritage Foundation, Atlantic Council, Brookings, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Academic institutions such as The Kennedy School (Harvard), Hoover Institution (Stanford), Walsh School of Foreign Service (Georgetown) and School of Advanced International Studies (Johns Hopkins) not only provide ‘experts’ and government officials, such as Wendy Sherman (Kennedy School) current US Deputy Secretary of State in the Biden Administration, they serve as training grounds for government officials and corporate management, some of whom are employed by above listed universities and foundations.

    Once formulated, these policies are ‘sold’ to the American public by a compliant and well-disciplined media. Approximately 90% of US media is controlled by six large corporations- Comcast, Walt Disney, AT&T, Paramount Global, Sony, and Fox, with a combined market cap of circa $500 billion [4] [5]. Like other large corporations, media conglomerates have the same class interests as the financial elite, i.e., promoting policies which increase corporate power and profits and maintain US global hegemony. So called ‘public’ media, such as National Public Radio (NPR) and the BBC, in the UK, function in a similar manner. Corporate media is closely integrated with large financial interests and serves as a ‘cheerleader’ for the Pentagon and US foreign policy.

    Not surprisingly, major broadcasters, the paper of record (NYT), Wall St. Journal (WSJ), Washington Post, etc. are little more than a sounding board for the US ruling elite and thus, function primarily as the ‘ministry of propaganda’ for large financial interests. Any reporter, military analyst, aka ‘TV General’, etc. who ‘steps out of line’, such as telling the truth about the military debacle facing Ukraine will either be severely reprimanded or find themselves out of a job. Some examples-

    1) CBS recently ran a documentary claiming that only 30% of ‘military aid’ sent to Ukraine actually arrived. The video was removed following complaints from the Ukrainian government. [6] [7].

    2) David Sanger (Harvard graduate) is chief Washington correspondent for the NYT and also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) [8], whose members include corporate executives, bankers, and other representatives of the ruling elite.

    3) David Ignatius (Harvard graduate) is a foreign affairs columnist for the WaPo and has close ties to the intelligence community- CIA and Pentagon.

    Sanger and Ignatius serve as pundits for US global power, promoting the use of military force to promote American interests.

    When you do not toe the corporate line…………

    4) Gary Webb was a journalist working for the San Jose Mercury News. In 1996, Webb published a series of articles, “Dark Alliance”, describing how Nicaraguan Contra rebels, working closely with the CIA, supplied crack cocaine to the Black community in Los Angeles and used proceeds from these sales to purchase weapons to overthrow the government of Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista National Liberation Front. Following publication of the Dark Alliance series, corporate media became hysterical, denouncing Webb, effectively ruining his career; he committed suicide in 2004 [9]

    5) Julian Assange- In 2010, Wikileaks, founded by Julian Assange, published a series of leaks obtained from Chelsea Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst, documenting US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Following publication of these leaks, the American government began a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks. In 2010, Sweden issued an arrest warrant for Assange over allegations of sexual misconduct. To avoid extradition, Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. In 2019, Assange was arrested by British police at the Ecuadorian embassy and transferred to Belmarsh, a Category-A men’s prison in London. Up to this point, Julian Assange had not been formally charged. However, on May 23, 2019, the United States government charged Assange with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and is currently awaiting potential extradition to the US [10].

    The US has been almost continuously involved in overt and covert military conflicts since 1940 and as a result, war and associated violence has been normalized and institutionalized by corporate media to the point, where these policies are readily accepted by a relatively docile and ignorant American public. When foreign governments deemed hostile to US corporate interests limit press ‘freedom’, they are immediately labeled as repressive/terrorist regimes and potential candidates for direct attack and ‘regime’ change by the US State Department. Apparently, what is ‘good for the goose’ is ‘not good for the gander’. As pointed out above, any journalist that threatens the American empire risks losing their job, imprisonment and/or death.

    Accelerating Decline of late-stage American Capitalism

    Multiple factors have contributed to the decline of American economic power. These include economic policies, spending astronomical amounts of taxpayer money on the military and war, social instability and rise of China-Russia-Iran axis.

    Economic policies

    Since the mid-1970s, US policy makers have pursued neoliberal economic policies- financial deregulation, austerity, tax cuts for the wealthy, attacks on labor and job-outsourcing, which has resulted in the massive growth of the FIRE sector of the economy composed of finance, insurance, and real estate. These polices precipitated the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) 2007-2008, the largest financial shock since the Great Depression. Rather than resolve the severe structural problems confronting American capitalism which created this crisis, the FED used the Treasury as a de facto taxpayer-supported ‘piggy bank’ (the FED cannot print money) to prop up equity markets, bonds, over-priced real estate and [still] insolvent banks. To put this in perspective, since 2009, the FED has injected over $40 trillion into financial markets, increasing the wealth of the financial elite, the proverbial ‘1%’. Not surprisingly, over the last 5 years, US government deficits have increased circa $2 trillion annually, currently exceeding $30 trillion (Fig. 1); this figure does not include municipal, corporate or consumer debt. This begs the obvious question of how long can the FED continue this orgy or money printing and debt? Note- for comprehensive background information on the FED’s financial activities, see Wall Street on Parade [11].

    Military Spending and War

    Since its inception, the US has been built on theft and violence, justified by ‘Christian’ religion and ‘White man’s burden’. The first permanent British settlement in North America was established in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. A decade later, African slaves were introduced by Dutch slave traders. Over the next 250 years, the US government would continue stealing land and displace/murder circa 90% of the indigenous population. In the mid-19th century, the US had the world’s leading economy, largely built on cotton produced by Black slaves [12]. Fast forward 150 years, the US has been almost continuously at war since 1940. 911 was a godsend for the military- US taxpayers have spent circa $21 trillion ($7.2 trillion going to military contractors) on post-911 militarization [13] [14]. The military appropriation for 2023 exceeds $760 billion. Despite this taxpayer largess, the Pentagon has not ‘won’ a war since 1945, was forced out of Afghanistan after spending $2 trillion, and confronts looming strategic debacles in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Ukraine. This has vividly shown the rest of the world the limits of American military power. Unfortunately, after expending so much financial and human capital, the Pentagon appears incapable of extricating itself from these conflicts as doing so is an admission of failure and by extension military weakness. This was clearly seen following Joe Biden’s decision to remove US troops from Afghanistan in 2021 and the push-back he received from corporate media and people in Congress.

    Political Chaos and Social Instability

    We frequently hear that US society has progressed to the point, where the country appears to be increasingly ungovernable. Indeed, American society is plagued by economic inequality, racism and ubiquitous violence. The American working class has watched their standard of living plummet- a result of decades of neoliberal economic policies, including job outsourcing, austerity, stagnant income growth and since the Covid 19 pandemic, high inflation, reflected by increasing costs for rent, transportation, energy, groceries, medical care and other necessities. To put this in perspective, 60% of Americans do not have $500 in savings and thus are one expensive car repair, medical emergency or job loss away from financial ruin. At the same time the wealth of American billionaires has increased circa $1 trillion during the Covid19 pandemic. Not surprisingly in 2016, Donald Trump skillfully exploited the justifiable anger and frustration of working people, stating that he would ‘Make American Great Again’, blaming American economic problems on immigrants from Mexico and Latin America and China’s economic rise.

    Rise of BRICS/SCO and US/NATO debacle in Ukraine

    We are seeing the continued rise in the global power and influence of Russia, China and allied nations, on multiple fronts, including organizational, economic and militarily. The BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) are expanding. Original BRICS members included Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Iran and Argentina have applied for admission, while the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Turkey and Egypt are applying for entry next year. SCO is the largest regional economic institution in the world, covering 60% of Eurasia with a population > 3.2 billion and combined GDP of member states circa 25% of global total. Trade between BRICS and SCO member states is increasingly being carried out using local currencies.

    The Mir payment system operated by the Russian National Card Payment System [15] is a direct competitor to Visa and Mastercard and now accepted throughout the Russian Federation and in 13 countries including India, Turkey and South Korea and will soon be used in Iran. BRICS nations are developing a global currency for international trade that will directly compete with the dollar [16]. Russia is developing a new international trading platform for precious metals: the Moscow World Standard (MWS) [17]. The Russian Finance Ministry believes this new independent international structure will ‘normalize the functioning of the precious metals industry” and serve as an alternative to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA; https://www.lbma.org.uk), [18] which for years has been accused of systematically manipulating the price of precious metals markets to depress prices [19]. Collectively, these policies have been designed to significantly reduce the dependence of economies in Russia, China, India and other countries in the Global South on the US/EU and eliminate dependence on the US dollar and Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) system [20] for international trade. No doubt this is being done in close collaboration with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) whose goal is to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks with the aim of improving regional integration, increasing trade and stimulating economic growth [21] [22]. This trajectory has been accelerated following enactment of US/EU sanctions on Russia, Iran and China.

    Over the last decade, the military power of Russia, China and Iran has greatly strengthened. The Russian military is a global leader in air-defense systems and hypersonic weapons, which are impermeable to any air-defense systems currently deployed by the US/NATO [23]. Over the last 25 years, China has modernized its military, focusing on People’s Liberation Navy and Army Air Force [24] [25]. China has developed a robust missile arsenal including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) [26]. The Pentagon now considers China a ‘formidable military force’ and a ‘major challenge’ to the US Navy in the Western Pacific. The Islamic Republic of Iran has also developed a formidable defensive military capability, which has positioned Iran as a major power broker in the region. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has concluded- ‘Iran possesses the largest and most diverse missile arsenal in the Middle East, with thousands of ballistic and cruise missiles, some capable of striking as far as Israel and southeast Europe.’ [27]. Iran has repeatedly warned the US/NATO that it can target US military bases in the region, including Al Udeid base in Qatar, the largest US base in the Middle East. We are seeing increased assertiveness from the Russia-China-Iran axis in Syria, Ukraine and Western Pacific. This was clearly articulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June, declaring an end of “the era of the unipolar world” [28]. The Pentagon is being increasingly challenged by the Russia-China-Iran axis in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Western Pacific.

    Ukraine- another US/NATO debacle

    For background and historical information covering Ukraine and her relationship with Russia, see [29]. Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe after Russia and occupies a strategic location in Eastern Europe, sharing a circa 2300 km (1227 mi) border with Russia [30] (Fig. 2). As of 2021, Ukraine had the second largest military (circa 200,000 military personnel), after the Russian Armed Forces, in Europe and has the dubious distinction of being one of the most corrupt countries in the world [31]. Historically, the predominantly Russian speaking population in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine has maintained close ties with Russia.

    In February 2014, the US- instigated Maidan coup took place, replacing the democratically-elected President Victor Yanukovych with a Russia-phobic and far-right politician/economist/lawyer, Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Not surprisingly, the Ukrainian government was soon dominated by an alliance of far-right/fascistic organizations including the Right Sector and Svoboda and oligarchic parties, such as Fatherland. This was predictable, as these groups were the most virulently anti-Russian factions in Ukraine [32] and are still very active in the government and military [33] [34]. Soon after the coup took place, the Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republics declared their independence, initiating the war in the Donbas. Over the next 8 years, the US/NATO would train circa 100,000 Ukrainian troops and channel $ billions in military aid [35], which was used to equip Ukrainian army and fortify positions adjacent to the Donetsk and Luhansk Republics [30] (Fig. 3). This buildup was accompanied by increased shelling of residential areas in the Donbas region by the Ukrainian military [36] [37], setting up a potential invasion of this region [38]. In response to the escalating attacks by Ukrainian forces. Russia recognized the Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republics as sovereign states on Feb 21, 2022, just prior to the Russian invasion on Feb 24, 2022, describing this campaign as a Special Military Operation (SMO) [39]. For an excellent overview of why Russia made the decision to invade Ukraine, see [40].

    Going up against a well-trained, well equipped and an entrenched Ukrainian army, Russian forces have managed to take control of circa 20% (~47,000 square miles) of southern Ukraine and are incrementally removing Ukrainian forces from this region [38] (Fig. 3). Significantly, this territory contains prime agricultural and resource-rich land. It appears that Russia is planning on annexing littoral territory extending from the Donetsk/Luhansk region to Odesa [41]. Once this happen, any future Ukrainian state will not only be land-locked and lack direct access to the Black Sea, it will also lose valuable land as well. Military analyst Andrei Martyanov [42] has pointed out the ‘combined West doesn’t have material and technological means of fighting Russia in Eastern Europe without losing catastrophically. Western weapons turned out to be nothing more than commercial items not designed to fight the modern war, plus–no Western economy, including the United States has the capability to produce them in needed quantities anyway.’

    The collective west has responded to the Russian invasion by blocking the opening of the Nord Stream 2 energy pipeline, which would directly supply Russian natural gas to Germany, imposed sanctions on Russian energy exports and disconnected Russian banks from the SWIFT system. To the dismay of the US/NATO, these actions have led to large increases in EU energy costs while strengthening the Russian economy [43]. Indeed, the paper of record (NYT) published a recent OpEd bemoaning the fact that despite western sanctions, Russia is making more money than ever on energy exports to China, India and other countries [44]. Despite nonstop condemnation from the US and EU of Russia’s SMO in Ukraine, many nations have not criticized the war [45]; only 1/3 of UN members supported a new anti-Russia resolution this August [46]. Thus, dwindling international support for Ukraine, coupled with success of the Russian SMO indicates that the country will not exist in its current form.

    Concluding Remarks

    The decline of late-stage American capitalism has been ongoing since the mid-1970s, but has been accelerated by the GFC, Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and Russian SMO in Ukraine. Not surprisingly, the ruling elite and their representatives in Washington have responded by shifting the costs of this decline onto the public, who have watched their living standard plummet, homelessness increase [47], imposed reactionary legislation such as the criminalization of pregnancy by the US Supreme Court, ratcheted up state violence against working people and people of color, while engaging in an astronomically expensive and reckless foreign policy. It appears the ruling elite view the Russia-China-Iran axis as an intolerable obstacle to US global power, reflected in the ongoing war in Ukraine, which is a de facto proxy war between the US and Russia. US-imposed sanctions on Russian energy have driven global energy prices higher; natural gas prices in the EU are 14-fold higher than the 10-year average. As a result, the UK/EU are at risk of not having sufficient quantities of natural gas for the winter, while EU industry will not be competitive with their rivals in Asia, who are being supplied with cheaper Russian energy. This is going to lead to increasing unemployment and social instability in the Eurozone.

    The continued presence of US troops in Iraq and Syria is a desperate attempt to maintain control over Middle East energy reserves. The continued recklessness of this occupation can be seen from the constant Israeli attacks on Syrian and Iranian-allied forces by Israel/US, increasing the chances of a war with Iran, which can rapidly escalate, potentially incinerating the entire Persian Gulf region. It appears the US is abandoning the ‘one-China’ policy’ that has guided relations between the two countries for nearly 5 decades and is preparing to recognize Taiwan as an ‘independent’ state, a redline for the Peoples Republic of China. No doubt, this was one motivation for sending House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, from ‘’liberal’ San Francisco, with a net worth exceeding $100 million, to visit Taiwan. The Pentagon is actively encouraging Japan, which is little more than a US stooge/vassal and still occupied by circa 50K US troops, to join in this effort [48]. This begs the obvious question- did Japan learn anything from their defeat in WWII? As Glen Ford has pointed out, hegemons do not have ‘allies’ they only have subordinates [49].

    The decline of late-stage American capitalism has progressed to the point where the very survival of the American empire is now contingent upon endless money printing to prop up financial markets and the military. This is becoming increasingly tenuous as this orgy of money printing and debt has created gigantic bubbles in every asset class- ‘everything bubble’, increasing inflation and threatening to derail the dollar’s role as world reserve currency and viability of western capitalism. Considering the weak state of US/EU economies, what economic incentives does the US have to encourage countries in the Indo-Pacific to reduce trade with China? Obviously, this is a nonstarter [50]. The ruling oligarchy are well aware of US economic decline and in desperation, are attempting to directly confront the Russia-China-Iran axis, which has attained economic and military parity (superiority?) with US/NATO. Perilous times ahead.

    Notes

    1. US economic decline and global instability. The Saker Jan 19, 2021; https://thesaker.is/us-economic-decline-and-global-instability/

    2. American Involvement in Wars from Colonial Times to the Present- Wars From 1675 to the Present Day By Martin Kelly Nov 4, 2020; https://www.thoughtco.com/american-involvement-wars-colonial-times-present-4059761

    3. Ukraine’s Growing Dependency on Terrorism w/Mark Sleboda The New Atlas Aug 25, 2022; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgiRKbTYbZQ&t=1997s

    4. The Big 6 Media Companies By Adam Levy Jun 10, 2022; https://www.fool.com/investing/stock-market/market-sectors/communication/media-stocks/big-6/

    5. The 6 Companies That Own (Almost) All Media; https://www.webfx.com/blog/internet/the-6-companies-that-own-almost-all-media-infographic

    6. Why military aid in Ukraine may not always get to the front lines. By Adam Yamaguchi and Alex Pena CBS News Aug 7, 2022; https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ukraine-military-aid-weapons-front-lines/

    7. CBS censors its own report on Ukraine weapons corruption Multipolarista Aug 14, 2022; https://soundcloud.com/multipolarista/cbs-ukraine-weapons-corruption

    8. Council on Foreign Relations; https://www.cfr.org/

    9. How Gary Webb Linked the CIA to the Crack Epidemic — and Paid the Ultimate Price by Marco Margaritoff Feb 18, 2022; https://allthatsinteresting.com/gary-webb

    10. Julian Assange, Wikipedia; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Assange#Seth_Rich

    11. Wall Street on Parade Pam Martens and Russ Martens; https://wallstreetonparade.com/

    12. Half Has Never Been Told by Edward E. Baptist 2016 (Book)

    13. State of Insecurity- The Cost of Militarization Since 9/11 by Lindsay Koshgarian, Ashik Siddique and Lorah Steichen Institute for Policy Studies; Link: https://ips-dc.org/report-state-of-insecurity-cost-militarization-since-9-11/

    14. Costs of war; https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/

    15. The exponential rise of Russia’s Mir payment system by James King The Banker

    July 20, 2021; https://www.thebanker.com/Transactions-Technology/FX-Payments/The-exponential-rise-of-Russia-s-Mir-payment-system?ct=true

    16. Russia and China are brewing up a challenge to dollar dominance by creating a new reserve currency by George Glover Markets Indiser Jun 24, 2022; https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/currencies/dollar-dominance-russia-china-rouble-yuan-brics-reserve-currency-imf-2022-6

    17. Precious Metals: Russia Proposes New Standard to Compete with LBMA Goldbroker Aug 17, 2022; https://goldbroker.com/news/precious-metals-russia-proposes-new-standard-to-compete-with-lbma-2826

    18. London Bullion Market Association (LBMA); https://www.lbma.org.uk

    19. Rigged Gold Price Distorts Perception of Economic Reality by Paul Craig Roberts and Dave Kranzler Sept 22, 2014; https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/09/22/rigged-gold-price-distorts-perception-economic-reality-paul-craig-roberts-dave-kranzler/

    20. Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) system; https://www.swift.com/

    21. China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the global trade, investment and finance landscape 2018;

    22. Belt and Road Initiative; https://www.beltroad-initiative.com/belt-and-road/

    23. Trends in Russia’s Armed Forces- An Overview of Budgets and Capabilities by Keith Crane, Olga Oliker and Brian Nichiporuk Rand Corporation 2019; https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2573.html

    24. China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress. Congressional Research Service Mar 8, 2022; https://sgp.fas.org/crs/row/RL33153.pdf

    25. An Interactive Look at the U.S.-China Military Scorecard Rand https://www.rand.org/paf/projects/us-china-scorecard.html

    26. China is building more than 100 new missile silos in its western desert, analysts say

    Image without a caption By Joby Warrick Washington Post June 30, 2021; https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/china-nuclear-missile-silos/2021/06/30/0fa8debc-d9c2-11eb-bb9e-70fda8c37057_story.html

    27. Missile Defense Project, “Missiles of Iran,” Missile Threat, Center for Strategic and International Studies; https://missilethreat.csis.org/country/iran

    28. President Putin’s St. Petersburg International Economic Forum Speech, June 17, 2022. Defense Info; https://defense.info/global-dynamics/2022/06/president-putins-st-petersburg-international-economic-forum-speech-june-17-2022

    29. Ray McGovern: Historical Context for Conflicts in Ukraine Consortium News Jul 10, 2022; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gLzsQA3UGY

    30. Map Explainer: Key Facts About Ukraine By Bruno Venditti, Graphics/Design: Nick Routley Feb 23, 2022; https://www.visualcapitalist.com/map-explainer-ukraine/

    31. Welcome to Ukraine, the most corrupt nation in Europe by Oliver Bullough The Guardian Feb 6, 2015; https://www.theguardian.com/news/2015/feb/04/welcome-to-the-most-corrupt-nation-in-europe-ukraine

    32. How and why the U.S. Government Perpetrated the 2014 Coup in Ukraine by Eric Zuesse Modern Diplomacy June 4, 2018; https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2018/06/04/how-and-why-the-u-s-government-perpetrated-the-2014-coup-in-ukraine/

    33. Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are on the March in Ukraine- Five years after the Maidan uprising, anti-Semitism and fascist-inflected ultranationalism are rampant.

    By Lev Golinkin The Nation Feb 22, 2019;

    34. Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies Fair Observer Mar 11, 2022; https://www.fairobserver.com/region/europe/medea-benjamin-nicolas-js-davies-ukraine-war-russia-ukranian-neo-nazi-fascists-azov-battalion-89292/

    35. Ukraine- World Socialist Website; https://www.wsws.org/en/topics/country/ukraine

    36. Ukrainian Army terror bombings By Laurent Brayard Jun 6, 2022; https://mronline.org/2022/06/06/ukrainian-army-terror-bombings/

    37. Donbass Update: Ukraine Continues to Shell Residential Areas Telesur Feb 24, 2022; https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Donbass-Update-Ukraine-Continues-to-Shell-Residential-Areas-20220224-0004.html

    38. Important — A Message for Americans Gonzalo Lira June 18, 2022; https://www.strategic-culture.org/video/2022/06/20/2022-06-18-important-a-message-for-americans/

    39. Putin Announces Start to ‘Military Operation’ Against Ukraine by Anton Troianovski and Neil MacFarquhar NYT Feb. 23, 2022; https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/23/world/europe/ukraine-russia-invasion.html

    40. Why Russia Invaded Ukraine by Eric Zuesse The Duran Sept 1, 2022; https://theduran.com/why-russia-invaded-ukraine/

    41. All the way to Odessa by Pepe Escobar The Unz Review Aug 26, 2022; https://www.unz.com/pescobar/all-the-way-to-odessa/

    42. Reminiscence of the Future (Andrei Martyanov); http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/

    43. Europe’s Markets and Energy Security Disrupted by Russia Sanctions by Kenneth Rapoza Forbes Aug 23, 2022; https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2022/08/23/europes-markets-and-energy-security-disrupted-by-russia-sanctions/?sh=6d2312b45097

    44. Russia Is Making Heaps of Money from Oil, but There is a Way to Stop That

    July 29, 2022; https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/29/opinion/russia-oil-sanctions-biden.html

    45. Why have many nations not condemned the war in Ukraine? by Bernd Debusmann News Decoder Apr 4, 2022; https://news-decoder.com/why-have-many-nations-not-condemned-the-war-in-ukraine/

    46. Only one in three UN members back new anti-Russia resolution- International support for Ukraine has dropped dramatically since March RT Aug 26, 2022; https://www.rt.com/russia/561627-un-ukraine-resolution-support/

    47. Census Bureau: 3.8 million renters will likely be evicted in the next two months — why the rental crisis keeps getting worse by Brian J. O’Connor Yahoo Sun, Aug 28, 2022; https://www.yahoo.com/video/census-bureau-3-8-million-100000978.html

    48. U.S. presses Japan to cancel Constitution’s peace-clause. China and Japan must thus finally agree now, to avoid a war by Eric Zuesse The Duran Aug 25, 2022; https://theduran.com/why-a-deal-is-needed-now-between-china-and-japan/

    49. Glen Ford’s Ukrainian Crystal Ball Black Agenda Report Jul 27, 2022; https://www.blackagendareport.com/glen-fords-ukrainian-crystal-ball

    50. A New World Order is Looming and the West Doesn’t Like it by James ONeill Aug 24, 2022; https://journal-neo.org/2022/08/24/a-new-world-order-is-looming-and-the-west-doesn-t-like-it/

    3 Figures

    Figure 1: Total US Public Debt

    Figure 2. Map of Ukraine

    Figure 3. Military situation in Ukraine Aug 31, 2022

    Figure 1. Total US public debt. Note that debt in Q1 2020 was $ 23.2 trillion while in Q2 2022 was $ 30.5 trillion, an increase of $7 trillion.

    FRED Graph

    Source: Total Public Debt; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GFDEBTN

    Figure 2. Map of Ukraine

    Ukraine Map

    Source: US Department of Defense

    Figure 3. Military Situation in Ukraine for Aug 31, 2022. Areas in Red are controlled by the allied forces of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Militia and Russian military.

    Source: Ukraine interactive map; https://liveuamap.com

    Macron Insulted Africans’ Intelligence by Claiming That Multipolar Powers Manipulate Them

    Global Research, August 29, 2022

    By Andrew Korybko

    Region: Europesub-Saharan Africa

    Theme: Intelligence

    All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

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    ***

    The shameless ethno-nationalist supremacy associated with his hateful remark will result in Africans doubling down on their anti-imperialist and Pan-Africanism activism since no self-respecting person would ever capitulate in the face of such blatantly racist pressure and thus voluntarily submit themselves to being dominated by their abuser.

    French President Macron claimed during his latest trip to Algeria that “Many of the (information) networks that are covertly pushed (in Africa) – … by Turkey… by Russia… by China – have an enemy: France.” This was a supreme insult to all Africans’ intelligence since it channeled the discredited racist trope that they’re supposedly so stupid as to be easily manipulated by multipolar powers. Instead of acknowledging the genuinely grassroots and politically legitimate reasons why many Africans are actively rebelling against French influence in its self-proclaimed “sphere of influence” in so-called “Françafrique” like Turkiye’s Foreign Ministry suggested that he do, Macron chose to once again spew unsubstantiated smears similar in spirit to those malicious ones that it earlier made against Mali.

    The reality is that the global systemic transition to multipolarity that unprecedentedly accelerated since the latest US-provoked phase of the Ukrainian Conflict has served to inspire the entire BRICS-led Global South to push back against the US-led West’s Golden Billion at this pivotal moment in the New Cold War between those two polar opposite models of socio-economic and political development. Moreover, many Africans felt emboldened to further intensify their efforts after President Putin unveiled his global revolutionary manifesto in late July that was followed shortly thereafter by Foreign Minister Lavrov pledging that Russia will help Africa fully complete its decolonization processes ahead of his successful trip to the continent.

    Video: Freedom Convoy Solidarity in Alberta. Agreement with RCMP

    Africa’s Role In The New Cold War” is destined to be that of a major battleground between the Golden Billion and the Global South precisely because its people refuse to be subjugated any longer by the former after having ruthlessly been exploited by them for half a millennium. France, which is among the most powerful of the Golden Billion’s hegemons in Africa and even surpasses the US’ influence in some parts of the continent, isn’t even hiding its neo-colonial intentions anymore after Macron ripped off his mask and started insulting Africans’ intelligence in the extremely racist way that he just did. The so-called “battle for hearts and minds” has already been won by the Global South’s multipolar Great Powers like Russia and China, who are helping to liberate all African countries with no strings attached.

    They’d never dare disrespect their partners, let alone in the crude way that Macron just did, especially because they themselves have been victimized by similar forms of verbal abuse. Africans are well aware not only of those two and others’ proud anti-colonial histories, but also of just how sincerely they respect all others in contrast to the behavior exemplified by Western leaders like the French one and his peers. Macron’s racist insult of all Africans’ intelligence isn’t just rude, but also suggests that the Golden Billion is done “playing nice” after having abandoned all pretenses of their faux “politeness” that they unconvincingly attempted to practice in the past. As Western “thought leaders” never tire of reminding everyone, “might makes right” in their eyes, hence why they’re now sowing chaos across Africa.

    This isn’t speculation either but documented fact after Mali recently accused France of supporting those Al Qaeda-connected terrorists that declared war on its Russian partner in late June and then the joint US- and Egyptian-led but TPLF-driven Hybrid War of Terror on Ethiopia resumed shortly thereafter on the other side of the continent. In fact, that second-mentioned conflict that first went hot in November 2020 after years of multilateral planning can be seen in hindsight as the new template that the West and its regional vassals like Egypt are employing since it was hatched as punishment for Ethiopia’s principled neutrality in the New Cold War between the US-led West’s Golden Billion and the BRICS-led Global South. It therefore follows that similarly multipolar states like Mali and others will be punished too.

    Macron made a major mistake though by letting his mask slip after spewing his racist innuendo about Africans supposedly lacking the intelligence to not be manipulated by foreign powers. The shameless ethno-nationalist supremacy associated with his hateful remark will result in Africans doubling down on their anti-imperialist and Pan-Africanism activism since no self-respecting person would ever capitulate in the face of such blatantly racist pressure and thus voluntarily submit themselves to being dominated by their abuser. Far from helping the Golden Billion’s hegemonic cause like his twisted mind imagined that his crude insult would supposedly do, the French leader’s public embrace of racist tropes against Africans will only serve to accelerate the decline of the US-led West’s hegemony over that continent.

    *

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    This article was originally published on OneWorld.

    Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

    He is a regular contributor to Global Research.

    Featured image is from OneWorld

    The original source of this article is Global Research

    Copyright © Andrew Korybko, Global Research, 2022


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    You will answer for Taiwan, China began to beat the USA

    August 24, 2022

    Six months into Ukraine’s collapse, the world has changed forever

    The inevitable transfer of power away from the west is leading to a surge in state-sponsored terrorism, but this will do little to reverse the trend

    August 24 2022

    By Pepe Escobar

    Six months after the start of the Special Military Operation (SMO) by Russia in Ukraine, the geopolitical tectonic plates of the 21st century have been dislocated at astonishing speed and depth – with immense historical repercussions already at hand.

    To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, this is the way the (new) world begins, not with a whimper but a bang.

    The cold-blooded assassination of Darya Dugina – terrorism at the gates of Moscow – may have fatefully coincided with the six-month intersection point, but will do nothing to change the dynamics of the current, work-in-progress, historical shift.

    Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) appeared to have cracked the case in a little over 24 hours, designating the perpetrator as a neo-Nazi Azov operative instrumentalized by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) – itself a mere tool of the CIA/MI6 combo that de facto rules Kiev.

    The Azov operative is just a patsy. The FSB will never reveal in public the intel it has amassed on those that issued the orders, and how they will be dealt with.

    One Ilya Ponomaryov, an anti-Kremlin minor character granted Ukrainian citizenship, boasted he was in contact with the outfit that prepared the hit on the Dugin family. No one took him seriously.

    What is manifestly serious, however, is how oligarchy-connected organized crime factions in Russia would have a motive to eliminate Alexander Dugin, the Christian Orthodox nationalist philosopher who, according to them, may have influenced the Kremlin’s pivot to Asia (he didn’t).

    These organized crime factions blamed Dugin for a concerted Kremlin offensive against the disproportional power of Jewish oligarchs in Russia. So these actors would have both the motive and the local know-how to mount such a coup.

    If that’s the case, it potentially spells out a Mossad-linked operation – especially given the serious schism in Moscow’s recent relations with Tel Aviv. What’s certain is that the FSB will keep their cards very close to their chest – and retribution will be swift, precise and invisible.

    The straw that broke the camel’s back

    Instead of delivering a serious blow to Russia’s psyche that could impact the dynamics of its operations in Ukraine, the assassination of Darya Dugina only exposed the perpetrators as tawdry killers who have exhausted their options.

    An IED cannot kill a philosopher – or his daughter. In an essential essay, Dugin himself explained how the real war – Russia against the US-led collective west – is a war of ideas. An existential war.

    Dugin correctly defines the US as a “thalassocracy,” heir to “Britannia rules the waves.” Yet now the geopolitical tectonic plates are spelling out a new order: The Return of the Heartland.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin himself first spelled it out at the Munich Security Conference in 2007. China’s Xi Jinping put it into action by launching the New Silk Roads in 2013. The Empire struck back with Maidan in 2014. Russia counter-attacked by coming to the aid of Syria in 2015.

    The Empire doubled down on Ukraine, with NATO weaponizing it non-stop for eight years. At the end of 2021, Moscow invited Washington for a serious dialogue on “indivisibility of security” in Europe. That was dismissed with a non-response response.

    Moscow took no time to assess that a dangerous US-led trifecta was instead in the works: an imminent Kiev blitzkrieg against Donbass; Ukraine flirting with acquiring nuclear weapons; and the work of US bioweapon labs. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    A consistent analysis of Putin’s public interventions these past few months reveals that the Kremlin – as well as Security Council Yoda Nikolai Patrushev – fully realize how the politico/media talking heads and shock troops of the collective west are directed by the rulers of Finance Capitalism.

    As a direct consequence, they also realize how western public opinion is absolutely clueless, Plato cave-style, totally captive to the ruling financial class, who cannot tolerate any alternative narrative.

    So Putin, Patrushev, and their peers will never presume that a senile teleprompter reader in the White House or a cokehead comedian in Kiev “rule” anything.

    As the US rules global pop culture, it is fitting to borrow from what Walter White/Heisenberg, an average American channeling his inner bad, states in Breaking Bad: “I’m in the Empire business.” And the Empire business is to exercise raw power, maintained with ruthlessness, by all means necessary.

    Russia broke that spell. But Moscow’s strategy is way more sophisticated than leveling Kiev with hypersonic weapons, something that could have been done at any moment, starting six months ago.

    Instead, what Moscow is doing is talking to virtually the entire Global South, bilaterally or to groups of actors, explaining how the world-system is changing right before our eyes, with the key actors of the future configured as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), BRICS+, the Greater Eurasia Partnership.

    And what we see is vast swathes of the Global South – or 85 percent of the world’s population – slowly but surely becoming ready to engage in expelling the finance capitalists from their national horizons, and ultimately taking them down: a long, tortuous battle that will imply multiple setbacks.

    The facts on the ground

    On the ground in soon-to-be rump Ukraine, Khinzal hypersonic weapons launched from Tu-22M3 bombers or Mig-31 interceptors  will continue to be employed.

    Piles of HIMARS will continue to be captured. TOS 1A Heavy Flamethrowers will keep sending invitations to the gates of hell. Crimean Air Defense will continue to intercept all sorts of small drones with IEDs attached. Terrorism by local SBU cells will eventually be smashed.

    Using essentially a phenomenal artillery barrage – cheap and mass-produced – Russia will annex Donbass, very valuable in terms of land, natural resources and industrial power. And then on to Nikolaev, Odessa, and Kharkov.

    Geoeconomically, Russia can afford to sell its oil with fat discounts to any Global South customer, not to mention strategic partners China and India. Cost of extraction reaches a maximum of $15 per barrel, with a national budget based on $40-45 for a barrel of Urals, whose market value today is almost double that.

    A new Russian benchmark is imminent, as well as oil in rubles following the wildly successful gas for rubles scheme.

    The assassination of Darya Dugina provoked endless speculation about the Kremlin and the Ministry of Defense finally breaking their discipline. That’s not going to happen. Russian advances along the enormous 1,800-mile battle front are relentless, highly systematic, and deeply invested in a Greater Strategic Picture.

    A key vector is whether Russia stands a chance of winning the information war with the west. That will never happen inside NATO’s realm – even as success after success is unfolding across the Global South.

    As Glenn Diesen has masterfully demonstrated in his latest book, Russophobia, the collective west is viscerally impervious to admitting any social, cultural, historical merits by Russia.

    They have already catapulted themselves into the irrationality stratosphere: the grinding down and de facto demilitarization of the imperial proxy army in Ukraine is driving the Empire’s handlers and its vassals literally nuts.

    But the Global South should never lose sight of the ‘Empire business.’ That industry excels in producing chaos and plunder, always supported by extortion, bribery of local elites, and assassinations on the cheap. Every trick in the Divide and Rule book should be expected at any moment. Never underestimate a bitter, wounded, deeply humiliated, declining Empire.

    Fasten your seat belts for more of this tense dynamic for the remainder of the decade.

    But before that, all along the watchtower, get ready for the arrival of General Winter, whose riders are fast approaching. When the winds begin to howl, Europe will be freezing in the dead of dark nights, lit up occasionally by its finance capitalists puffing on fat cigars.

    The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

    Geopolitical tectonic plates shifting, six months on

    August 24, 2022

    by Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely cross-posted

    Six months after the start of the Special Military Operation (SMO) by Russia in Ukraine, the geopolitical tectonic plates of the 21st century have been dislocated at astonishing speed and depth – with immense historical repercussions already at hand. To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, this is the way the (new) world begins, not with a whimper but a bang.

    The vile assassination of Darya Dugina – de facto terrorism at the gates of Moscow – may have fatefully coincided with the six-month intersection point, but that won’t change the dynamics of the current, work-in-progress historical drive.

    The FSB may have cracked the case in a little over 24 hours, designating the perpetrator as a neo-Nazi Azov operative instrumentalized by the SBU, itself a mere tool of the CIA/MI6 combo de facto ruling Kiev.

    The Azov operative is just a patsy. The FSB will never reveal in public the intel it has amassed on those that issued the orders – and how they will be dealt with.

    One Ilya Ponomaryov, an anti-Kremlin minor character granted Ukrainian citizenship, boasted he was in contact with the outfit that prepared the hit on the Dugin family. No one took him seriously.

    What’s manifestly serious is how oligarchy-connected organized crime factions in Russia would have a motive to eliminate Dugin as a Christian Orthodox nationalist philosopher who, according to them, may have influenced the Kremlin’s pivot to Asia (he didn’t).

    But most of all, these organized crime factions blamed Dugin for a concerted Kremlin offensive against the disproportional power of Jewish oligarchs in Russia. So these actors would have the motive and the local base/intel to mount such a coup.

    If that’s the case that spells out a Mossad operation – in many aspects a more solid proposition than CIA/MI6. What’s certain is that the FSB will keep their cards very close to their chest – and retribution will be swift, precise and invisible.

    The straw that broke the camel’s back

    Instead of delivering a serious blow to Russia in relation to the dynamics of the SMO, the assassination of Darya Dugina only exposed the perpetrators as tawdry operatives of a Moronic Murder Inc.

    An IED cannot kill a philosopher – or his daughter. In an essential essay Dugin himself explained how the real war – Russia against the collective West led by the United States – is a war of ideas. And an existential war.

    Dugin – correctly – defines the US as a “thalassocracy”, heir to “Britannia rules the waves”; yet now the geopolitical tectonic plates are spelling out a new order: The Return of the Heartland.

    Putin himself first spelled it out at the Munich Security Conference in 2007. Xi Jinping started to make it happen when he launched the New Silk Roads in 2013. The Empire struck back with Maidan in 2014. Russia counter-attacked coming to the aid of Syria in 2015.

    The Empire doubled down on Ukraine, with NATO weaponizing it non-stop for eight years. At the end of 2021, Moscow invited Washington for a serious dialogue on “indivisibility of security” in Europe. That was dismissed with a non-response response.

    Moscow took no time to confirm a trifecta was in the works: an imminent Kiev blitzkrieg against Donbass; Ukraine flirting with acquiring nuclear weapons; and the work of US bioweapon labs. That was the straw that broke the New Silk Road camel’s back.

    A consistent analysis of Putin’s public interventions these past few months reveals that the Kremlin – as well as Security Council Yoda Nikolai Patrushev – fully realize how the politico/media goons and shock troops of the collective West are dictated by the rulers of what Michael Hudson defines as the FIRE system (financialization, insurance, real estate), a de facto banking Mafia.

    As a direct consequence, they also realize how collective West public opinion is absolutely clueless, Plato cave-style, of their total captivity by the FIRE rulers, who cannot possibly tolerate any alternative narrative.

    So Putin, Patrushev, Medvedev will never presume that a senile teleprompter reader in the White House or a cokehead comedian in Kiev “rule” anything. The sinister Great Reset impersonator of a Bond villain, Klaus “Davos” Schwab, and his psychotic historian sidekick Yuval Harari at least spell out their “program”: global depopulation, with those that remain drugged to oblivion.

    As the US rules global pop culture, it’s fitting to borrow from what Walter White/Heisenberg, an average American channeling his inner Scarface, states in Breaking Bad: “I’m in the Empire business”. And the Empire business is to exercise raw power – then maintained with ruthlessness by all means necessary.

    Russia broke the spell. But Moscow’s strategy is way more sophisticated than leveling Kiev with hypersonic business cards, something that could have been done at any moment starting six months ago, in a flash.

    What Moscow is doing is talking to virtually the whole Global South, bilaterally or to groups of actors, explaining how the world-system is changing right before our eyes, with the key actors of the future configured as BRI, SCO, EAEU, BRICS+, the Greater Eurasia Partnership.

    And what we see is vast swathes of the Global South – or 85% of the world’s population – slowly but surely becoming ready to engage in expelling the FIRE Mafia from their national horizons, and ultimately taking them down: a long, tortuous battle that will imply multiple setbacks.

    The facts on the ground

    On the ground in soon-to-be rump Ukraine, Khinzal hypersonic business cards – launched from Tu-22M3 bombers or Mig-31 interceptors – will continue to be distributed.

    Piles of HIMARS will continue to be captured. TOS 1A Heavy Flamethrowers will keep sending invitations to the Gates of Hell. Crimean Air Defense will continue to intercept all sorts of small drones with IEDs attached: terrorism by local SBU cells, which will be eventually smashed.

    Using essentially a phenomenal artillery barrage – cheap and mass-produced – Russia will annex the full, very valuable Donbass, in terms of land, natural resources and industrial power. And then on to Nikolaev, Odessa, and Kharkov.

    Geoeconomically, Russia can afford to sell its oil with fat discounts to any Global South customer, not to mention strategic partners China and India. Cost of extraction reaches a maximum of $15 per barrel, with a national budget based on $40-45 for a barrel of Urals.

    A new Russian benchmark is imminent, as well as oil in rubles following the wildly successful gas for rubles.

    The assassination of Darya Dugina provoked endless speculation on the Kremlin and the Ministry of Defense finally breaking their discipline. That’s not going to happen. The advances along the enormous 1,800-mile front are relentless, highly systematic and inserted in a Greater Strategic Picture.

    A key vector is whether Russia stands a chance of winning the information war with the collective West. That will never happen inside NATOstan – even as success after success is ramping up across the Global South.

    As Glenn Diesen has masterfully demonstrated, in detail, in his latest book, Russophobia , the collective West is viscerally, almost genetically impervious to admitting any social, cultural, historical merits by Russia.

    And that will extrapolate to the irrationality stratosphere, as the grinding down and de facto demilitarization of the imperial proxy army in Ukraine is driving the Empire’s handlers and its vassals literally nuts.

    The Global South though should never lose sight of the “Empire business”. The Empire of Lies excels in producing chaos and plunder, always supported by extortion, bribery of comprador elites, assassinations, and all that supervised by the humongous FIRE financial might. Every trick in the Divide and Rule book – and especially outside of the book – should be expected, at any moment. Never underestimate a bitter, wounded, deeply humiliated Declining Empire.

    So fasten your seat belts: that will be the tense dynamic all the way to the 2030s. But before that, all along the watchtower, get ready for the arrival of General Winter, as his riders are fast approaching, the wind will begin to howl, and Europe will be freezing in the dead of a dark night as the FIRE Mafia puff their cigars.

    The Conflict Between The West And Russia Is A Religious One

    August 23, 2022

    Source

    by Emmet Sweeney

    The war currently underway in Ukraine, which pits Ukraine as a proxy for the collective West against Russia, is primarily an ideological or religious one, with Russia representing what is left of Christian Europe, and “the West” representing a totalitarian ideology that abhors religion in general and Christianity in particular. This statement may sound strange, given the fact that some Westerners – though fewer every day – still see “the West,” (basically Europe and North America) as Christian, and Russia as Communist, or crypto-Communist. But this is no longer the case, and has not been for some considerable time. In fact, the thirty years that have passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Union, has seen a complete reversal of roles; the collective West is now a totalitarian and aggressively anti-religious power-block that seeks to export its anti-Christian and anti-human ideology onto the rest of the world. And Russia is loathed by the West’s ruling elite precisely because it has resisted this process and moreover has gone in the opposite direction: having once been an active proponent of “scientific materialism” and atheism, Russia has reverted to its Orthodox Christian roots and has rolled back the more pernicious policies and attitudes of the Soviet era.

    In order to demonstrate the truth of this, we need to look at the history of Russia and its interaction with the West since the early 1990s.

    By 1991, when the Soviet Union was officially abolished, it was clear that the West had won the Cold War. Russia itself, under its new president Boris Yeltsin, openly proclaimed the end of all hostilities. Russia’s satellites in Eastern Europe were permitted to go their own way, and autonomous republics within the Soviet Union were allowed to declare themselves independent countries. The old Soviet system of state ownership was officially abolished, and almost everything was privatised. The press and media in general were freed of all censorship and could now say whatever they wanted. Russia under Yeltsin reached out the hand of friendship to the West – a gesture that was not reciprocated and ultimately snubbed by the West.

    The euphoria of 1991 soon gave way and the1990s turned out to be a catastrophic decade for Russia and her people. First and foremost, the policy of privatisation turned out to be disastrous. A law was passed which forbade foreigners from buying Russian utilities and industries; only Russians could do so. Unfortunately, nobody in Russia, hitherto a Communist country, had any money. However, certain groups within the country – mainly ethnic Jews – had important and wealthy connections abroad. These arranged to have funds sent into Russia for the purpose of purchasing the country’s state-owned industries. Desperate for any dollars and euros it could lay its hands on, the Yeltsin administration sold these industries for a tiny fraction of their true value. (Russia’s natural resources alone make it potentially one of the wealthiest countries on the planet). The buyers of said industries became the notorious “oligarchs,” who systematically plundered the country for almost ten years, in what has been described as the biggest act of looting in history. Rather than plow some of the profits back into the businesses, the oligarchs exported almost all of them, impoverishing both their employees and the country in general. The result was that large segments of the population began to experience severe hardship. Many came close to starvation and many died of hypothermia during the bitter Russian winters. Some state employees were paid in cabbages, and it is estimated that Russia suffered over five million excess deaths between 1991 and 2000. The majority of these were caused by simple diseases such as influenza, which developed into pneumonia for want of funds to buy an antibiotic. But deaths from all causes, including murder, suicide, alcoholism, and drug addiction, rocketed. Russia was a country falling apart, and the population began to plummet.

    During this time, a Chechen independence movement, spurred on by funds from Saudi Arabia and (allegedly) the West, launched a violent campaign against the Russian authorities. A savage war followed, which claimed tens of thousands of lives, and eventually resulted in 1997 in Yeltsin’s recognition of a semi-independent Chechnya. Independence movements began to appear in other autnomous regions and it was clear that Russia itself stood on the verge of disintegration.

    During all of this, the attitude of the West, or of those who control the West, was striking. Western media, by that time in the hands of a few mega-corporations, was almost gleeful in its reporting of Russia’s trauma. In their suffering, the Russian people became the butt of the West’s shadenfreude. And it should be borne in mind that it was precisely in the 1990s that American corporations commenced massive “outsourcing” of their industries to other, and less expensive, locations. Entire factories, together with their machinery and technology, were exported en masse, primarily to China. Almost nothing went to Russia. This in spite of the fact that China continued to be a Communist and indeed totalitarian country. Not even the massacre of Tiananmen Square (1989) and the subsequent brutal repression could halt the American plutocracy’s enthusiasm for exporting work and business. So Russia, which had held out the hand of friendship to the West, and had permitted the subjugated peoples to go free, continued to be treated as an enemy, and was effectively plundered by Western interests, whereas China, which did no such thing, was now treated as a favored trading and business partner. How to explain such an astonishing disparity?

    There seems to be no logical explanation other than to assume an underlying cultural/religious antipathy towards Russia and her people on the part of a very large segment of the West’s ruling plutocracy. I suggest that this is the case, and it is Russia’s religion that is at the root of it.

    During the Communist era, Christianity was suppressed in Russia and throughout the Soviet block. At its worst, under Lenin and Stalin, the Communist regime massacred millions of Christians. Victims were mainly Orthodox, but Christians of every denomination suffered. Even after the death of Stalin and into the 1980s religion continued to be persecuted. All children were required to attend lessons in atheism, during which Christianity and religious faith in general was mocked. By the end of Communism, the Orthodox Church was a small remnant of its former self under the Tsars, but that soon began to change. Hardship birthed a spiritual revival; by the mid-1990s the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as other branches of Christianity, began to experience noticeable growth. It was not however until the first decade of the twenty-first century, and the presidency of Vladimir Putin, that this movement became really significant.

    Putin had occupied a senior position in the Yeltsin administration, and he was no doubt viewed by the oligarchs, at that time the real rulers of Russia, as a safe pair of hands who could be relied upon to continue the policies which had allowed them to plunder the country for almost a decade. He was appointed Prime Minister on 9th August 1999 and, just four months later, in December, acting President of Russia, following the unexpected resignation of Boris Yeltsin. A presidential election on 20th March 2000 was easily won by Putin with 53% of the votes. One reason for Putin’s popularity was that he was seen as a strong leader during the Second Chechen War, which commenced on 7th August 1999, just two days before his appointment as Prime Minister. The war ended in April 2000, with Chechnya again part of the Russian Federation, a victory which enhanced Putin’s reputation as a strongman, willing and able to restore stability and enforce the law.

    Over the next five years, Putin showed that the ruling plutocrats were very much deceived had they imagined him to be under their control and part of their team. On the contrary, the new president set about breaking their power. The next decade witenessed a series of legal cases and trials which left some of the oligarchs in prison and others forced to pay substantial compensation. Others, arguably the most criminal, fled the country and their assets were confiscated. The breaking of the oligarchs’ power, together with that of the “Russian mafia” which enforced their corrupt rule, began to restore some form of normality.

    In parellel with his economic reforms, Putin oversaw a revival of the Russian Orthodox faith. In an act heavy with symbolic import, he made a visit to the great Orthodox monastic settlement of Mount Athos in Greece in 2001, just one year into his presidency. Although this attempt had to be aborted owing to a storm which grounded his helicopter, and a second attempt in 2004 similarly shelved when he had to return to Russia to deal with the Beslan School siege, he finally made it to the Holy Mountain in 2005. There he established a bond with the monks that transformed their community and impacted the lives of ordinary Russians. A major program of church-construction commenced, and the numbers attending church began to grow. Putin made it clear that he regarded Orthodoxy as Russia’s national religion and the Church was accorded a favored legal position. And such symbolic gestures were backed by new legislation which began to transform Russian society: the country’s abortion laws, hitherto some of the most liberal in the world, were tightened. In October 2011, the Russian Parliament passed a law restricting abortion to the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, with an exception up to 22 weeks if the pregnancy was the result of rape. The new law also made mandatory a waiting period of two to seven days before an abortion could be performed, to allow the woman to “reconsider her decision.”

    During this period, the portrayal of Russia in the Western media moved from one of condescension to outright hostility. As early as 2005, scholars Ira Straus and Edward Lozansky remarked upon a pronounced negative coverage of Russia in the US media, contrasting negative media sentiment with largely positive sentiment of the American public and US government. As Russia displayed increasing signs of a Christian revival, so the media reporting in the West became increasingly hostile. Only rarely however did journalists openly attack Russia for its “Christianization”; normally, columnists, conscious of the fact that large numbers of people in the West continued to describe themselves as Christian, portrayed their anti-Russian commentary as a result of Russia’s “aggression,” “corruption,” or “lack of democracy.” All that however changed with the new abortion law of 2011. Now the attacks against Russia became explicitly ideological. The Russians, we were told, were oppressing women and turning their backs on “progress.”

    It was not until 2013 however that the anti-Russian rhetoric went hyperbolic. In that year, the Russian parliament passed its so-called “Gay Propaganada” law. The bill, described as “Protecting Children from Information harmful to their Health and Development,” explicitly banned Gay Pride parades, as well as other forms of LGBT material, such as books and pamphlets, which attempted to normalize homosexuality and to influence children in their attitudes to homosexuality. In actual fact, since around 2006 many districts in Russia had been imposing their own local bans on such material, though these rules had no power outside their own jurisdiction. The bill, which was signed into law by Putin on June 30 2013, was extremely popular, and passed through the Russian Parliament unanimously, with just one abstention. But the impact upon the Western nomenklatura who form the gatekeepers of acceptable opinion, was immediate. Almost unanimously, Western media outlets now began to compare Putin with Adolf Hitler; he was a “thug,” a “fascist,” a “murderer.” Between bouts of seething rage, he became the butt of scathing satire. He was cast in the role of a caricature James Bond villain, routinely murdering and torturing those he held a grudge against. There is even evidence, admittedly somewhat circumstantial, that Western Intelligence bodies, such as the CIA and MI5, became actively involved in anti-Russian propaganda.

    The effect of this deluge of demonization upon ordinary Westerners soon began to show: Whereas in 2006 only 1% of Americans listed Russia as “America’s worst enemy” by 2019 32% of Americans, including 44% of Democrat voters, shared this view. Only 28% of Republicans however agreed; a remarkable reversal of opinion. During the Cold War, Republican voters, traditionally the more religious and nationalistic element of the American political divide, viewed the Russians as the major threat; now it was the less or non-religious (and more pro-LGBT) Democrats who held this opinion.

    But the Western elites did not confine its efforts to irate editorials in the London Times or the Washington Post: Economic sanctions now began to be discussed. There were immediate calls to boycott the Winter Olympics, held in February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Whilst the call to boycott was generally resisted by athletes, many Western politicians refused to attend, and the Russophobic temperature in the Western media ratcheted up. And things were about to get much worse.

    In 2010 Viktor Yanukovych, a native of Russian-speaking Donetsk, was elected President of Ukraine, defeating Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko, in what was judged by international observers to be a free and fair election. In November 2013 Yanukovych delayed signing a pending European Union association agreement, on the grounds that his government wished to maintain economic ties with Russia, as well as with the European Union. Russia had in fact offered a more favorable loan bailout than the European Union was prepared to offer. This led to protests and the occupation of Kiev’s Independence Square, a series of events dubbed the “the Euromaidan” by those in favor of aligning Ukraine with the European Union. Whilst at times it looked as if the protests would fizzle out, there is no question that almost from the beginning there was a concerted effort on the part of Western politicians to keep them going. Beginning early in December, several politicians from Berlin and Brussels paid “morale-boosting” trips to the square, and these were followed, on December 15, by the arrival of American Senators John McCain and Chris Murphy. To the assembled crowds, McCain announced that “we are here to support your just cause.” The Russians, for their part, condemned America’s “crude meddling” in Ukraine’s affairs.

    Victoria Nuland, at that time Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in the Obama administration, arrived in Ukraine shortly afterwards, and immediately set about fanning the flames of an already volatile situation. In speech after speech she promised the protestors and rioters that America was behind them. The result was the by early February 2014 Ukraine appeared to be on the brink of civil war; violent clashes between anti-government protestors and police left many dead and injured. Fearing for his life, on February 21 Yanukovych fled the capital, initially travelling to Crimea and ultimately to Russia. A new interim government, handpicked by Nuland, and virulently anti-Russian, was immediately installed in Kiev.

    When considering the actions of America and the collective West at this time we have to remember that Ukraine was and is a deeply divided society. Half the country, roughly the north and west, regards itself as Ukrainian and is historically antagonistic towards Russia. The other half, predominantly the south and east, is pro-Russian and views itself as simultaneously Ukrainian and Russian. A glance at the electoral map of the country demonstrates this division in a most graphic way, for it was the Russian part of the country, the south and east, which overwhelmingly put Yanukovych into power. In supporting a violent overthrow of the latter, the American government quite deliberately threw its weight behind the anti-Russian half of the population. And it is impossible to believe that the political elite in Washington did not understand what they were doing. They had to have known that they were making civil strife – if not outright civil war – an absolute certainty.

    The civil strife was not long in coming. As the anti-government mobs in Kiev were in the process of throwing out Yanukovych, major protests against the coup began to occur in the south and east. Crimea, which was overwhelmingly Russian and had only been transferred to the jurisdiction of Kiev in 1954 by Khruschev, held a referendum, resulting in a 97% vote for reunion with Russia. Putin, infuriated by American actions in Kiev, accepted the result of the vote, and formally announced the return of Crimea to the Russian Federation. Simultaneous with this, cities and towns throughout the south and east of the country, saw massive “anti-Maidan” protests, with many people calling for secession from Ukraine and union with Russia. The new Washington-appointed regime in Kiev reacted with force. Forty-seven pro-Russian demonstrators in Odessa were besieged in the city’s Trade Union building and burned to death by a Neo-Nazi mob. Seeing the way things were going, the ethnically-Russian provinces (“Oblasts”) of Lugansk and Donetsk declared independence and prepared to defend themselves. This quickly escalated into full-scale war, and over the next two years or so around 14,000 people, mainly ethnic Russian civilians, died, as the Kiev government fought to return the two provinces to Ukraine.

    The fighting in Lugansk and Donetsk (the “Donbas”) de-escalated after the signing of the so-called Minsk 2 Accord in 2015. This deal, brokered by Russia, the US and the UN, provided for a degree of autonomy for the two breakaway provinces, as well as recognition and respect for their Russian language and culture. The deal also called for the immediate halting of all military action.

    Had the Minsk agreement been fully implemented, it is quite possible that all hostilities would have ended, but this was never the case. The new government in Kiev, which from May 2014 was headed by Petro Poroshenko, made no attempt whatsoever to abide by the Accord’s provisions. On the contrary, the Russian language, hitherto one of the official languages of Ukraine, was demoted, and Russian culture in general denigrated. Even worse, none of those who had committed murder in Odessa and elsewhere were brought to justice, and the Neo-Nazi militias responsible for these atrocities were actually integrated into the Ukrainian army. Worst of all, sporadic shelling of civilian targets in Lugansk and Donetsk continued – for the next six years.

    To repeat; the collective “West” could not have been unaware of the dangers of its interference in the affairs of Ukraine. This was a deeply divided country; to intervene on behalf of one section of the country at the expense of the other could not fail to deepen divisions and ultimately cause the disintegration of the state. That the West took the side of the anti-Russian half of the population was entirely in harmony with the increasingly hysterical tone of anti-Russian rhetoric in the Western media in the years leading up to the Maidan Revolution. And we can take with a pinch of salt the idea that Nuland and the Obama Adminstration was concerned with “corruption” in the Yanukovych regime: America is and always has been on very friendly terms with governments far more corrupt, violent and totalitarian than that of Yanukovych.

    I would suggest that the real reason, or certainly an extremely important though unspoken reason, for Nuland’s mission was that Yanukovych’s pivot towards Russia was seen by the “woke” establishment in Washington as a sign that Ukraine would follow Russia into adopting an increasingly Christian-friendly social culture; one that the “liberals” and “progressives” in Washington despised. We should note too that one of Poroshenko’s first actions as President of Ukraine was to provide openings for George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, and to simultaneously support the establishment of LGBT input into the educational system. Gay “Pide” parades became a regular feature of life in Kiev where, though distinctly unpopular with the great majority of the population, they received massive support and protection from the security forces.

    Emmet Sweeney is the author of several works dealing with problems in the history of the ancient Near East.

    Two Lives: Victoria and Victorine

    August 20, 2022

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    By Batiushka

    Victoria

    Victoria Jane Nuland was born in 1961 to Sherwin Nudelman, the son of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, and a British-born mother, Rhona Goulston. Already in his teens Nudelman had changed his name to Nuland in order to carve out a career. With the British-named Victoria, an Anglo-Zionist was clearly in the making.

    Indeed, she duly studied at an elite private boarding school in Connecticut, whose alumni include many US politicians. Then she went to Brown University, where she studied Russian literature, political science and history. She married Robert Kagan, the future leading Jewish neocon.

    Her worldview relects exactly the folly of the US since 1990 under the influence of the neo-imperialist neocons and Blairite-Clintonian ‘liberal interventionists’. This has resulted in mass poverty in the USA, as well as 9/11, and millions of deaths in wars and tensions outside the US with the Islamic world, Iran, Russia, China and anyone else that resists US imperialism.

    From 2003 to 2005, during the US rape of defenceless Iraq and the theft of its oil and gas, Mrs Kagan was a foreign policy advisor to the notorious Cheney. She must have many deaths on her conscience from that particular mess. The Iraq catastrophe led to terrorism and counterterrorism and disastrous new wars in Libya and Syria. Meanwhile, her husband was demanding an ever more warlike foreign policy against the background of US fears of the coming multipolar world, a world which it would no longer be able to dominate.

    So Mrs Kagan, who yearned for permanent NATO expansion and the encirclement of Russia, was deeply involved in the US ‘regime-change’, that is, the plot to overthrow Ukraine’s democratically-elected government by violence in 2014. This led to America’s responsibility for the ensuing civil war that had killed at least 14,000 people, women and children among them, even before 24 February 2022 and had left Ukraine the poorest country in Europe.

    Her $5 billion coup in 2014 in the wretched Ukraine, a strategic candidate for NATO on Russia’s border, was implemented through Oleh Tyahnybok’s neo-Nazi Svoboda Party and the new Right Sector militia. We do not forget that it was Tyanhnybok who had delivered a speech praising Ukrainians for fighting Jews and ‘other scum’ during World War II. In February 2014 their protests in Kyiv’s Maidan Square turned into running battles led by neo-Nazis and extreme right-wing forces that the US had financed and orchestrated. A mob led by the Right Sector militia marched on Parliament and the President and others fled for their lives.

    Facing the possible loss of its naval base in Sevastopol in the Crimea, Russia accepted the overwhelming result (a 97% majority) of an internationally-observed referendum in which Crimea voted to leave the Ukraine and rejoin Russia, of which it had been a part from 1783 to 1954. The Russian provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, part of Russia until the terrorist Communists had given them away to the Ukraine in 1922, similarly declared independence from Neo-Nazi Kiev. This starting a bloody war between US-backed separatists in Kiev and the local Eastern Ukrainian people.

    Mrs Kagan wants an ever-more dangerous War with Russia and China to justify her militarist foreign policy and Pentagon budgets. She relies on her mythical version of Russian aggression and US ‘democratic’ intentions. She claims that Russia’s military budget, one-tenth of that of the US, is proof of ‘Russian confrontation and militarisation’. She wants ‘permanent bases along NATO’s eastern border’ and sees Russia’s desire to defend itself after so many successive (and failed) Western invasions as an obstacle to NATO’s expansionism. In short, the deluded Mrs Kagan has with others unleashed intractable violence, chaos and the risk of nuclear war. How does she sleep at night?

    Victorine

    The other day I went over from Paris and put flowers on a grave in a small, unheard-of town in Brittany, in the hills near Loudeac. It was the first days of autumn, the trees had begun turning colour and there was a slight chill in the early morning and evening air – in northern France the weather always changes after 15 August.

    Tante (Aunt) Victorine had been born in the straw on the dirt floor of a cowshed in a hamlet of six houses, which still bore the name of its Breton founder, Brehan, 1300 years later. Literally. The tiny one-floor home-built house had a dining room/kitchen/bedroom on one side and the cow lived on the other side and was sent out to the field during the day. It had changed but little in 1981 when I first met her. Living in Upper (Eastern) Brittany, she spoke not Breton, but ‘Gallo’, the local dialect of French. Or, as the locals will tell you, French is the local (Parisian) dialect of Gallo.

    Victorine had been born on 22 November 1918 and inevitably, after the Armistice of 11 November 1918, she had been named Victorine. So many sturdy Breton peasants had gone out to fight the dirty ‘Boches’ and not come back. The Boches were the German enemy of the Paris elite, the elite who had so depised Bretons as ‘yokels’ (‘ploucs’) in peacetime and had banned their language. The victory, after which Victorine had been named, was not that of France, it was the victory of peace for the peasants who had lost many of their best sons fighting against so many of the best sons of Bavarian and Saxon peasants in the futile quagmires and the deadly trenches of World War I.

    That was why, like so many women of her generation, Victorine did not marry: there was no-one to marry. Indeed, in 1941 her sister had had a child by a reluctant German soldier who had been forced to join the German Army and had then been sent to patrol the wilds of Brittany. It was the great taboo of the village, but we will leave the condemnation to the sour-faced village pharisees. The illegitimate child, Jean-Pierre, her great-nephew, was my friend.

    Victorine did not go to church very often. She did not much like that hard, stony building where hard, stony faces condemned human-beings for loving life. She preferred the hills and streams, woods and fields of God’s Cathedral, where she passed her life, growing vegetables on her patch in the spring, picking fruit in the little orchard in summer and autumn, for eating, cooking, bottling and jam, chopping logs for winter heating, looking after her cow for milk and the best salted butter you have ever tasted, and the pig at the bottom of the garden, that would be slaughtered by the village-slaughterer, Michel, every December and sold for pork at the village butcher’s.

    So Victorine eked out a living. She would have liked to have had a man and children, but it was not to be. She passed away peacefully, a smile on her face, as she went to meet her Maker in November 1989, aged just 71. It had been a hard life, spent in her little house and on its piece of land, whitening her soul, like some early Christian hermit. She had made the best of a life that, on the surface at least, had already in 1914 been wrecked before she had even been born by the war-loving elites of Berlin and Vienna and Paris and London. But if I had to choose between the life of the similarly-named Victoria and Victorine, I would prefer ten thousand times over to have the life and clear conscience of Tante Victorine. God bless her.

    20 August 2022

    China Warns ‘Israel’ against Harming Relations Due to US Pressure

     August 18, 2022

    News that last week, China warned “Israel” not to damage relations with Beijing as a result of US pressure.

    According to the Israeli news outlet, China’s message was conveyed last week by a top Chinese diplomat, Liu Jinchao, to the Israeli ambassador to China, Irit Ben-Abba. Jinchao leads the international relations department of the Chinese Communist Party, which is a minister-level position in the government.

    “Senior officials at the Foreign Ministry said that this is the first time that ‘Israel’ has received such a sharp and direct message from China on the issue of the ‘Israel’-US-China trilateral relations,” the paper wrote.

    “We don’t want the relationship between ‘Israel’ and the US to depend on Israel moving away from China,” said Liu. “China and Israel share long-term interests and a positive future.”

    According to the officials, Liu stressed that ‘Israel’ should not follow suit with Washington when it comes to criticizing China’s human rights situation, particularly when it comes to US allegations that China has been waging genocide against the Uyghur Muslim minority in Xinjiang.

    The Israeli officials noted that they do not know what is the reason behind the “unusually harsh Chinese message,” speculating that the issue may be related to tensions between the US and China regarding Taiwan.

    A senior Israeli official remarked that “Relations with China are stable and good, but they know that the US is our closest ally.”

    In June, “Israel” joined a group of Western states in the UN Human Rights Council to condemn China’s policy against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.

    Last June, due to increasing pressure from Washington, ‘Israel’ joined the announcement of the group of member states of the UN Human Rights Council, which condemned the Chinese policy towards the Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region.

    This wouldn’t be the first time China threatens to downgrade ties with ‘Israel’.

    A diplomatic spat occurred in May over an article published in the Jerusalem Post that called China “authoritarian”, suggesting that ‘Israel’ should not have economic ties with an authoritarian country otherwise it will be jeopardizing its national security.

    Following the publication of this article, The Jerusalem Post’s Editor-in-Chief tweeted that he received a call from the Chinese embassy, asking him to take down the article, or Beijing will cut ties with the paper, and downgrade ties with ‘Israel’, the reason ostensibly being giving the ‘breakaway region’ of Taiwan a voice that would lend it legitimacy amid the US’ push to arm it with weapons to combat China.

    Source: Agencies (edited by Al-Manar English Website)

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