Al Qaeda Terrorists Protesting Turkey’s Rapprochement with Syria

JANUARY 7, 2023

 ARABI SOURI

NATO-sponsored Al Qaeda terrorists in Idlib took to the streets in angry protests against the latest rapprochement steps by the Turkish madman Erdogan toward Syria.

Euronews, a strong propaganda state-controlled arm of NATO and its financial arm, the European Union, shared a video clip showing a few dozen of all males protesting somewhere in the Al Qaeda stronghold in the Turkish-occupied and controlled Idlib province.

In the accompanying news, the EU propaganda outlet claimed that similar protests took place in a number of towns in the countryside of Idlib.

The video is also available on Rumble, and BitChute,

The protest shared by the EU propaganda arm Euronews showed protests spewing slogans with improper language reminiscent of the 2011 NATO-promoted protests in most remote villages and towns across Syria calling for NATO bombing of Syria to spread freedoms and democracy. These protests also witnessed the killings of dozens of Syrian policemen and civilians by 5th column instigators planted by foreign powers and funded by the US-led coalition which included Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the most retard political regimes in the whole world.

Without naming him, the al Qaeda fighters shown in the above video clip with their sons were expressing their anger toward their main sponsor, the Turkish madman Erdogan, after the recent steps taken by him to mend the ties with Syria and their fear he would drop his role in the regime change in Damascus which he played the central part in ever since he was assigned that task by George W. Bush years before the NATO-sponsored Arab Spring was initiated.

The Turkish madman Erdogan is in desperate need to speed up his rapprochement with Syrian President Bashar Assad before the upcoming elections in Turkey, all his policies during his very long reign in Turkey have brought draconian measures against freedoms in his own country, the jailing of tens of thousands of public workers and journalists under the pretext of supporting an opposition movement to him and the failed coup of 2016, in addition to the countless debacles in foreign interventions earning him zero friends in contrast to the policy of zero troubles with neighboring countries which he fooled his people with to vote for him.

Any meeting and agreement with President Assad would help Erdogan in his bid to be reelected, again, as it would give the Turkish people the impression of solving the refugee crises in their country, the crisis they blame for their deteriorating economy.

The main losers of such rapprochement with Damascus are the al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists in northern Syria, the Turkish madman Erdogan considers them, like his NATO colleagues, as moderate opposition; Syria and the normal world consider them as terrorists. The other losers of a Turkish rapprochement with Syria are the US-sponsored Kurdish SDF separatist terrorists. Both these terrorist entities share the same goals of creating cantons carving them out of Syria and placing a foothold of NATO and Israel where Syria’s main food basket farmlands and oil fields are.

It’s no surprise that al Qaeda terrorists would express their anger toward any rapprochement between Turkey and Syria, however insincere their main sponsor Erdogan is, they fear they will be abandoned like all cheap cards are in the bigger strategic political game.

Syria’s main condition for any rapprochement with Turkey is exactly that, Turkey must drop its support to Al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists in their numerous groups and return to the Adana Accords of 1998 which only Turkey under Erdogan has breached every article of it.

It’s also no surprise that the NATO propaganda arms would return to promoting those same terrorists who wreaked havoc across Syria and all the countries that were infested with the Arab Spring, and even the countries that sponsored the Arab Spring and had their terrorists return home and carry out terrorist attacks, mainly in western European countries.

There are somewhere between 60,000 and 120,000 terrorists of al Qaeda, ISIS, and their affiliates controlling a Syrian population of around 4 million Syrians across the regions under the Turkish occupation in northern Syria including Idlib province, parts of Aleppo, Raqqa, Deir Ezzor, and Hasakah provinces, a large number of those terrorists are foreign terrorists brought into Syria from across the world all the way from the Chinese Uighur and their families through Central Asia to western Europe, literally wherever the anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabism doctrines have influence, the first is the twisted version of Islam followed by the Turkish AKP ruling party with Erdogan as its supreme leader, a number of radical parties empowered across the Arab world, and the latter is the main twisted version of Islam followed by the Saudi and Qatari rulers.


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The Most Important Question (Andrei Martyanov)

December 29, 2022

Please visit Andrei’s website: https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/ and support him here: https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=60459185

Michael Hudson gives an interview to a German magazine

December 16, 2022

Posted with the author’s permission

Boos German interview Dec 15 2022

Dear Prof Hudson,

Once again: Herzliche Grüße aus Berlin!

Last time we spoke for German print magazine “Four” in June. Right now I also work for MEGA Radio, a radio news station for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. We broadcast from Vienna and are located in Berlin, Bavaria and Austria.

Hereby I would like to invite you to another interview via ZOOM to record it for our radio program. It would be an update on our last interview. Maybe around 20-30 Minutes long.

See also our last talk: https://www.vierte.online/2022/06/03/ukraine-a-trojan-for-germanys-us-dependence/

I don’t know if that’s too short notice, but would you have time for such a conversation next week or the week after?

Otherwise, also at the beginning of January.

Here are my questions:

(1.) You made some predictions in our last interview for “Four” magazine which became true.

You talked about crisis for German companies in the production of fertilizer. This just hit the headlines weeks after our interview.

You also said: “What you characterize as “blocking Nord Stream 2” is really a Buy-American policy.” This now also became more than clear after the destroyed Nord Stream pipelines.

Could you comment that?

MH: U.S. foreign policy has long concentrated on control of the international oil trade. This trade is a leading contributor to the U.S. balance of payments, and its control gives U.S. diplomats the ability to impose a chokehold on other countries.

Oil is the key supplier of energy, and the rise in labor productivity and GDP for the leading economies tends to reflect the rise in energy use per worker. Oil and gas are not only for burning for energy, but are also a basic chemical input for fertilizers, and hence for agricultural productivity, as well as for much plastic and other chemical production.

So U.S. strategists recognize that cutting countries off from oil and its derivatives will stifle their industry and agriculture. The ability to impose such sanctions enables the U.S. to make countries dependent on compliance with U.S. policy so as not to be “excommunicated” from the oil trade.

U.S. diplomats have been telling Europe for many years not to rely on Russian oil and gas. The aim is twofold: to deprive Russia of its major trade surplus, and to capture the vast European market for U.S. oil producers. U.S. diplomats convinced German leaders not to approve the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and finally used the excuse of the NATO war with Russia in Ukraine to act unilaterally to arrange the destruction of both Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines.

(2.) For our audience, our listeners: In your new book “The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism, or Socialism”

You state that the world economy is now fracturing between two parts, the United States and Europe is the dollarized part.

And this Western neoliberal unit is driving Eurasia and most of the Global South into a separate group. You just stated this in an interview from November.

Could you explain this for our outlet?

MH: The split is not only geographic but above all reflects the conflict between Western neoliberalism and the traditional logic of industrial capitalism. The West has deindustrialized its economies by replacing industrial capitalism with finance capitalism, initially in an attempt to keep its wages down by moving abroad to employ foreign labor, and then to try and establish monopoly privileges and captive markets or arms (and now oil) and high-technology essentials, becoming rentier economies.

A century ago, industrial capitalism was expected to evolve into industrial socialism, with governments providing subsidized basic infrastructure services (such as health care, education, communication, research and development) to minimize their cost of living and doing business. That is how the United States, Germany and other countries built up their industrial power, and it also is how China and other Eurasian countries have done so more recently.

But the West’s choice to privatize and financialize its basic infrastructure, dismantling the role of government and shifting planning to Wall Street, London and other financial centers, has left it with little to offer other countries – except or the promise not to bomb them or treat them as enemies if they seek to keep their wealth in their own hands instead of transferring it to U.S. investors and corporations.

The result is that when China and other countries build up their economies in the same way that the United States did from the end of its Civil War to World War II, they are treated as enemies. It is as if U.S. diplomats see that the game is lost, and that their economy has become so debt-ridden, privatized and high-cost that it cannot compete, that it simply hopes to keep making other countries dependent tributaries for as long as it can until the game finally is over.

If the U.S. succeeds in imposing financial neoliberalism on the world, then other countries will end up with the same problems that the United States is experiencing.

(3.) Now the first terminals for LNG from the US are opened in Germany. How will this effect trade and interdependence / dependency between Germany and United States?

MH: The U.S. sanctions and destruction of Nord Stream 1 and 2 have made Europe dependent on U.S. supplies, at so high a cost of LNG gas (about six times what Americans and Asians have to pay) that Germany and other countries have lost their ability to compete in steel making, glass making, aluminum and many other sectors. This creates a vacuum which U.S. affiliates home to fill from their investments in other countries or even from the U.S. itself.

The expectation is that German and other European heavy industry, chemical and other manufacturing will have to move to the United States to obtain oil and other essentials that they are told not to buy from Russia, Iran or other alternatives. The assumption is that they can be blocked from relocating in Russia or Asia by imposing sanctions, fines and political meddling European politics by U.S. NGOs and National Endowment for Democracy satellites in, as has been the case since 1945. We can expect a new Operation Gladio to promote politicians willing to sustain this Global Fracture and the shift of European industry to the United States.

One question is whether Germany’s skilled labor will follow. That typically is what occurs in such situations. This kind of demographic shrinkage is what the Baltic states have experienced. It is a byproduct of neoliberal policies.

(4.) What is your view on the current military situation in the Russian/Ukrainian war?

MH: It looks like Russia will easily win in February or March. It probably will create a Demiliarized Zone to protect the Russian-speaking areas (probably incorporated into Russia) from the pro-NATO West in order to prevent sabotage and terrorism.

Europe will be told to continue to boycott Russia and its allies instead of seeking mutual gains by reciprocal trade and investment. The U.S. may urge Poland and other countries to “fight to the last Pole” or Lithuanian, emulating Ukraine. It will put pressure on Hungary. But most of all, it will insist that Europe spend an immense sum to re-arm, mainly with U.S. arms. This expense will crowd out social spending to help Europe cope with its spreading industrial depression or subsidies to revive its industry. So a militarized economy will become a rising overhead – while consumer and industrial debt increase, along with government debt.

As this occurs, Russia may demand that NATO roll back its borders to pre-1991 boundaries. That is the most likely flash point of conflict.

(5.) What is your view on the current financial situation in this war. The G7 and EU governments talk already about rebuilding and reconstruction of Ukraine after the war. What does this mean for Western businesses and finance capitalism?

MH: Ukraine hardly can be rebuilt. First of all, much of its population has left, and is unlikely to return, given the destruction of housing and infrastructure – and husbands.

Second, Ukraine is owned mainly by a narrow group of kleptocrats – who are trying to sell out to Western agricultural investors and other vultures. (I think you know who they are.)

Ukraine is already debt-ridden, and has become a fiefdom of the IMF (meaning in practice, of NATO). Europe will be asked to “contribute,” and the foreign reserves seized from Russia may be spent on hiring U.S. companies to make a financial killing rebuilding a pretense of an economy in Ukraine – leaving the country even more debt ridden.

A new Democratic Party secretary of state will echo Madeline Albright and say that the killing of Ukraine’s economy, children and soldiers “was all worth it” as the cost of spreading democracy U.S.-style.

(6.) I’ve read lots of background reports on the sanctions against Russia. It seems more and more the sanctions hit Russia hard, because they cannot produce all products, esp. technology, by themselves. On the other hand Russia have now more stable business and buyers with and in China, India.

What real effect do the sanctions have according to your analysis?

MH: The U.S. sanctions have turned out to be an unanticipated godsend for Russia. In agriculture, for instance, sanctions against Lithuanian and other Baltic dairy exports has led to a flowering of a domestic Russian cheese and dairy sector. Russia is now the world’s largest grain exporter, thanks to the Western sanctions that have had much the same effect as protective tariffs and import quotas of the sort that the United States used in the 1930s to modernize its agricultural sector.

If President Biden were a secret Russian agent, he hardly could have helped Russia more. Russia needed the economic isolation of protectionism, but was still too entranced by neoliberal free-trade policy to do this by itself. So the U.S. did it for it.

Sanctions oblige countries to become more self-reliant, at least in basic needs such as food and energy. This self-reliance is the best defense against U.S. economic destabilization to force regime change and similar compliance.

One effect is that Russia will need to buy much less from Europe even after the fighting in Ukraine ends. So there will be less need for Russia to export raw materials to Europe. It can work these up themselves. The industrial core that was Europe may end up more in Russia and its Asian allies than in the United States.

That is the ironic result of NATO’s new Iron Curtain.

(7.) How would you describe China, Russia and India: Do you see Industrial Capitalism or Socialism there?

MH: RIC was the original core of the BRICS, now greatly extended to include Iran and much of Central Asia and the roads involved with China’s Belt and Road initiative. The goal is for Eurasia no longer to have to rely on Europe or North America.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld often referred to “Old Europe” as a shrinking dead zone. It failed to follow its plans a century ago to evolve into an increasingly socialized economy with government subsidy of rising living standards and labor productivity, science and industry. Europe rejected not only Marxism but the basis of Marxist analysis in the classical economics of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and their contemporaries. That path has been followed in Eurasia, while the right-wing anti-government liberalism of the Austrian and Chicago Schools has destroyed the NATO economies from within.

As the locus of industrial and technological leadership moves eastward, European investment and labor probably will follow.

The Eurasian countries will still visit Europe as tourists, as Americans like to visit England as a kind of theme park of post-feudal gentry, the posting of the palace guards and other quaint memories of the days of knights and dragons. European countries will look more like that of Jamaica and the Caribbean, with hotels and hospitality becoming the main growth sectors, with Frenchmen and German waiters dressed in their quaint quasi-Hollywood costumes. Museums will do a thriving business as Europe itself turns into a kind of museum of post-industrialism.

(8.) Currently we saw the collapse and bankruptcy of the crypto exchange FXT. The management of this company seems to be highly criminal. How do you judge that?

MH: Crime is what made crypto a growth sector for the past few years. Investors bought crypto because it is a vehicle for the fortunes being made in international drug dealing, the arms trade, other crime and tax evasion. These are the great post-industrial growth sectors in Western economies.

Ponzi schemes often are good investment vehicles in their take-off stage – the pump-and-dump stage. It was inevitable that criminals would not only use crypto to transfer funds, but actually set up their own currencies “free of oppressive government regulation.” Criminals are the ultimate Chicago School free market libertarians.

Anyone can create their own currency, much as U.S. wild-west banks did in the mid-19th century, printing currency at will. When one went shopping in the early 20th century, the stores still had lists of the shifting valuations of various bank notes. The best designed ones tended to be the most successful.

(9.) Do you have any knowledge about business relations between FTX and Ukraine, the government in Kyiv? There were some rumours and press articles in the alternative media about it?

MH: The IMF and Congress have paid large amounts of money to the Ukraine government and its kleptocrats in charge. Newspapers report that much of this money has been turned over to FTX – which has become the second largest funder of the Democratic Party (behind George Soros, who also is said to be trying to buy up Ukrainian assets). So a circular flow seems to be at work: U.S. Congress votes for funding for Ukraine, which puts some of this money in FTX crypto to pay or the political campaign of pro-Ukrainian politicians.

(10.) Some months ago there were articles in the US press about plans by the FED: They are planning to establish a digital Dollar, a Central Bank Digitcal Currency (CBDC). Also in Europe ECB president Madame Lagarde and the German minister for finance, Lindner, talk about an introduction of the digital Euro.

Here in Germany some critical experts are warning this will only push the total surveillance of the population and customers.

What is your take on digital currencies?

MH: It’s not my department. All banking is electronic, so what does “digital” mean? To libertarians, it means no government oversight, but in government hands, the government will have a record of everything that anyone spends.

(11.) What is your view on the current weakness or strength of the US dollar, the Euro, the British Pound, Gold and Silver?

MH: The dollar will remain in demand, thanks to its success in making the Eurozone dependent on it. The British pound has little means of support, and little reason for foreigners to invest in it. The euro is a junior satellite currency to the dollar.

Without a dollar or other currency to hold their monetary reserves in, governments will continue to increase the proportion held in gold, because it doesn’t have government liabilities attached to it – so U.S. officials can’t simply grab it, as they did with Russia’s foreign reserves. Eurozone countries cannot be trusted not to follow U.S. orders to grab foreign countries’ reserves, so it will be shunned.

As the euro’s exchange rate declines against the dollar, foreign investment will decline, because investors will not want to invest in (1) a shrinking market, and (2) companies that earn domestic euros that are worth fewer and fewer dollars or other hard currency for head offices.

Of course, gold will have to be kept at home, so that it can’t simply be grabbed, as the Bank of England grabbed Venezuela’s gold and gave it to the right-wing U.S. proxy. Germany would be wise to accelerate its airlift of its own gold supply from the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank vaults in New York City.

(12.) What is your current analysis of the energy and financial crises in the world?

MH: No real crisis as much as a slow crash. Rising prices paid for what America exports: oil, food and IT monopoly goods, with living costs for consumers rising faster than wages. So there will be a tightening squeeze or most families. The middle class will discover that it really is the wage-earning class after all, and will go deeper into debt – especially if it tries to protect itself by taking out a mortgage to buy a home.

I’ve been studying the 11th and 12th centuries for my history of debt, and I came across a story that may have relevance to the questions that you’ve asked. NATO keeps claiming that it is a defensive alliance. But Russia has no desire to invade Europe. The reason is obvious: No army can invade a major country. More important, Russia does not even have a motive to destroy Europe as a U.S.-puppet adversary. Europe already is self-destructing.

I am reminded of the battle of Manzikert in 1071, when the Byzantine Empire lost to the Seljuk Turks (largely because its general on whom the emperor had depended, Andronikos Doukas, defected, and then overthrew the Emperor. Crusade of Kings, a game supplement, covers the battle extensively, and claims the following conversation took place between Alp Arslan and Romanos:[52]

Alp Arslan: “What would you do if I were brought before you as a prisoner?”

Romanos: “Perhaps I’d kill you, or exhibit you in the streets of Constantinople.”

Alp Arslan: “My punishment is far heavier. I forgive you, and set you free.”

That is the punishment that Europe will receive from Eurasia. Its leaders have made their choice: to be a U.S. satellite.

Germany arrests far-right group planning coup

December 7, 2022 

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

German police detain 25 people who were members of a far-right terror cell, as per the German Prosecutor General.

German police are conducting searches in more than 130 homes. (Reuters)

Federal prosecutors reported that German police conducted nationwide searches and detained 25 people, including members of a “terror organization,” who were thought to be plotting an attack on the parliament.

Prosecutors stated in a statement that members of the “Citizens of the Reich” (Reichsbuerger) movement are suspected of “having made concrete preparations to force their way into the German parliament with a small armed group.”

As part of the operation, searches are being conducted in more than 130 houses, offices, and other locations.

Extremists anticipated that some security personnel would show their support for the group, which would result in a coup, as per the statement.

Prosecutors added in a statement that the suspects have formed “a terrorist group by the end of November 2021 at the latest, which had set itself the goal of overthrowing the existing state order in Germany and replacing it with their own kind of state.”

Of the 25 arrests, two were overseas in Italy and Austria.

Neo-Nazis, conspiracy theorists, and gun enthusiasts who disagree with the validity of the contemporary German republic make up the Reichsbuerger movement.

The Reichsbuerger, once looked down upon as misfits and oddballs, have grown more radical in recent years and are now viewed as a significant security danger.

According to federal authorities, members of the freshly formed terror group are former soldiers.

“The accused are united by a deep rejection of state institutions and the free, democratic basic order of the Federal Republic of Germany,” they said.

The suspects were aware that their plan “could only be realized by using military means and violence against state representatives,” they added.

On his account, Justice Minister Marco Buschmann hailed the dismantling of the “suspected terror cell” on Twitter, claiming that it illustrated that “Germany was able to defend its democracy”.

It is worth noting that Italy, Austria, and Germany recently voted against Russia’s resolution on countering Nazi glorification.

Voting was conducted during a meeting of the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee in November. A majority of votes were cast in favor of the resolution.

This is happening as neo-Nazim has been gaining more ground, as it saw an increase in popularity, as was evident in Europe; the war in Ukraine was a peaking point for the far-right. 

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The Goldilocks War

December 02, 2022

by Dmitry Orlov for the Saker blog

Are you happy with the way the war in the former Ukraine is going? Most people aren’t—for one reason or another. Some people hate the fact that there is a war there at all, while others love it but hate the fact that it hasn’t been won yet, by one side or the other. Bounteous quantities of both of these kinds of haters are found on both sides of the new Iron Curtain that is hastily being built across Eurasia between the collective West and the collective East. This seems reasonable; after all, hating war is standard procedure for most people (war is hell, don’t you know!) and by extension a small war is better than a big one and a short war is better than a long one. And also such reasoning is banal, trite, platitudinous, vapid, predictable, unimaginative and… bromidic (according to the English Thesaurus).

Seldom is to be found a war-watcher who is happy with the progress and the duration of the war. Luckily, Russian state television shows a very significant one these almost daily. It is Russia’s president, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. Having paid attention to him for over twenty years now, I can confidently state that never has he been so imbued with calm, self-assured serenity leavened with droll humor. This is not the demeanor of someone who feels at any risk of losing a war. The brass at the Ministry of Defense appear dour and glum on camera—a demeanor befitting men who send other men to fight and possibly to be wounded or to die; but off-camera they flash each other quick Mona Lisa smiles. (Russian men don’t give stupid American-style fish-eyed toothy grins, rarely show their teeth when smiling, and never in the presence of wolves or bears).

Given that Putin’s approval rating stands firm at around 80% (a number beyond reach of any Western politician), it is reasonable to assume that he is just the visible tip of a gigantic, 100-million-strong iceberg of Russians who calmly await the successful conclusion of the special military operation to demilitarize and denazify the former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (so please don’t even call it a war). These 100 million Russians are seldom heard from, and when they do make noise, it is to protest against bureaucratic dawdling and foot-dragging or to raise private funds with which to remedy a shortage of some specialty equipment requested by the troops: night vision goggles, quadrocopters, optical sights, and all sorts of fancy tactical gear.

A great deal more noise is being made by the one or two percent whose entire business plan has been wrecked by the sudden appearance of the New Iron Curtain. The silliest of these thought that fleeing west, or south (to Turkey, Kazakhstan or Georgia) would somehow magically fix their problem; it hasn’t, and it won’t. The people we would expect to scream the loudest are the LGBTQ+ activists, who thought that they were going to use Western grant money to build East Sodom and East Gomorrah. They’ve been hobbled and muzzled by new Russian laws that label them as foreign agents and prohibit their sort of propaganda. In fact, the very term LGBTQ+ is now illegal, and so, I suppose, they will have to use PPPPP+ instead (“P” is for “pídor”, which is the generic Russian term for any sort of sexual pervert, degenerate or deviant). But I digress.

It can be observed rather readily that those who are the least happy with the course of the Russian campaign are also the least likely to be Russian. Least happy of all are the good folks at the Center for Informational and Political Operations of the Ukrainian Security Service who are charged with creating and maintaining the Phantom of Ukrainian Victory. These are followed by people in and around Washington, who are quite infuriated by Russian dawdling and foot-dragging. They have also been hard-pressed to show that the Ukrainians are winning while the Russians are losing; to this end, they have portrayed every Russian tactical repositioning or tactical withdrawal as a huge, humiliating defeat personally for Putin and every relentless, suicidal Ukrainian attack on Russian positions as a great heroic victory. But this PR tactic has lost effectiveness over time and now the Ukraine has become a toxic topic in the US that most American politicians would prefer to forget about, or at least keep out of the news.

To be fair, the Russian tactical cat-and-mouse games in this conflict has been nothing short of infuriating. The Russians spent some time rolling around Kiev to draw Ukrainian troops away from the Donbass and prevent a Ukrainian attack on it; once that was done, they withdrew. Great Ukrainian victory! They also spent some time tooling around the Black Sea coastline near Odessa, threatening a sea invasion, to draw off Ukrainian forces in that direction, but never invaded. Another Ukrainian victory! The Russians occupied a large chunk of Kharkov region that the Ukrainians left largely undefended, then, when the Ukrainians finally paid attention to it, partially withdrew behind a river to conserve resources. Yet another Ukrainian victory! The Russians occupied/liberated the regional capital of Kherson, evacuated all the people who wanted to be evacuated, then withdrew to a defensible position behind a river. Victory again! With all these Ukrainian victories, it is truly a wonder that the Russians have managed to gain around 100km2 of the former Ukraine’s most valuable real estate, over 6 million in population, secured a land route to Crimea and opened up a vital canal that supplies irrigation water to it and which the Ukrainians had blocked some years ago. That doesn’t seem like s defeat at all; that looks like an excellent result from a single, limited summer campaign.

Russia has achieved several of its strategic objectives already; the rest can wait. How long should they wait? To answer this question, we need to look outside the limited scope of Russia’s special operation in the Ukraine. Russia has bigger fish to fry, and frying fish takes time because eating undercooked fish can give you nasty parasites such as tapeworm and liver fluke. And so, I would like to invite you to Mother Russia’s secret kitchen, to see what’s on the cutting board and to estimate how much thermal processing will be required to turn it all into a safe and nutritious meal.

Mixing our food metaphors, allow me to introduce Goldilocks with her three bears and her porridge not to hot and not too cold. What Russia seems to be doing is keeping their special military operation moving along at a steady pace—not to fast and not too slow. Going too fast would not allow enough time to cook the various fish; going too fast would also increase the cost of the campaign in casualties and resources. Going too slow would give the Ukrainians and NATO time to regroup and rearm and prevent the proper thermal processing of the various fish.

In an effort to find the optimal pace for the conflict, Russia initially committed only a tenth of its professional active-duty soldiers, then worked hard to minimize the casualty rate. It opted to start turning off the lights all over the former Ukraine only after the Kiev regime tried to blow up the Kerch Strait bridge that linked Crimea with the Russian mainland. Finally, it called up just 1% of reservists to relieve the pressure from the frontline troops and potentially prepare for the next stage, which is a winter campaign—for which the Russians are famous.

With this background information laid out, we can now enumerate and describe the various ancillary objectives which Russia plans to achieve over the course of this Goldilocks War. The first and perhaps most important set of problems that Russia has to solve in the course of the Goldilocks War is internal. The goal is to rearrange Russian society, economy and financial system so as to prepare it for a de-Westernized future. Since the collapse of the USSR, various Western agents, such as the National Endowment for Democracy, the US State Department, various Soros-owned foundations and a wide assortment of Western grants and exchange programs have made serious inroads into Russia. The overall goal was to weaken and eventually dismember and destroy Russia, turning it into a compliant servant of Western governments and transnational corporations that would supply them with cheap labor and raw materials. To help this process along, these Western organizations did whatever they could to drive the Russian people toward eventual biological extinction and replace them with a more docile and less adventurous race.

Starting well over 30 years ago, Western NGOs set to corrupting the minds of Russia’s young. No effort was spared to denigrate the value of Russian culture, to falsify Russian history and to replace them both with Western pop culture and propaganda narratives. These initiatives achieved limited success, and the USSR, and Soviet-era culture, has remained ever-popular even among those who were too young to have experienced life in the USSR firsthand. Where the damage has been most severe is in education. Excellent Soviet-era textbooks that taught students how to think independently were destroyed and replaced with imports. These were at best useful for training experts in narrowly defined fields who can follow previously defined procedures and recipes but can’t explain how these procedures and recipes were arrived at or to create new ones. Russian teachers, who saw their job not just in educating but in bringing up their students to be good Russians who love and cherish their country, were replaced by Western-trained educationalists who saw their mission as providing a competitive, market-based service in bringing up qualified, competent… consumers! Who are these people? Well, luckily, the Internet remembers everything, and there are plenty of other jobs for these people such as shoveling snow and stoking furnaces. But identifying and replacing them takes time, as does finding, updating and reproducing the older, excellent textbooks.

But what of the young people left behind by this wave of destruction? Luckily, not all is lost. The special military operation is providing them with some very valuable lessons that their ignorant educationalists left out: that Russia—a unique, miraculous agglomeration of many different nations, languages and religions—has been preserved and expanded over the centuries through the efforts of heroes whose names are not just remembered but venerated. What’s more, some of them are alive today, fighting and working in the Donbass. It is one thing to visit museums, read old books and hear stories about the great deeds of one’s grandfathers and great-grandfathers during the Great Patriotic War; it is quite another to watch history unfold through the eyes of your own father or brother. Give it another year or two, and Russia’s young people will learn to look with disdain on the products of Russia’s Western-oriented culture-mongers. Their elders do already: opinion polls show that a large majority of Russians see Western cultural influence as a negative.

And what of these Russian culture-mongers who have been worshiping all things Western for as long as they can remember? Here, a most curious thing happened. When the special military operation was first announced, they spoke out against it and in favor of the Ukrainian Nazis—a stupid thing to do, but they thought it good and proper to keep their political opinions harmonized with those of their Western patrons and idols so as to stay in their good graces. Some of them protested against the war (ignoring the fact that it had been going on for eight long years already). And then quite a few of them fled the country in unseemly haste.

Keep in mind that these are neither brain surgeons nor rocket scientists: these are people who prance around on stage while making noises with their hands and mouths; or they are people who sit there while makeup artists do things to their faces and hair, then endlessly repeat lines written for them by someone else. These are not people who have the capacity to analyze a tricky political situation and make the right choice. In an earlier, saner age their opinions would be steadfastly ignored, but such is the effect of the Internet, social media and all the rest, that any hysterical nincompoop can shoot a little video and millions of people, having nothing better to do with their time, will watch it on their phones and make comments.

The fact that these people are voluntarily cleansing the Russian media space of their presence is a positive development, but it takes time. If the special military operation were to end tomorrow, there is no doubt that they would attempt to come back and pretend that none of this ever happened. And then Russian popular culture would remain a Western-styled cesspool full of vacuous personae who seek to glorify every single deadly sin for the sake of personal notoriety and gain. Russia has plenty of talented people eager to take their place—if only they would keep out long enough for everyone to forget about them!

Particularly damaging to Russia’s future has been the emergence and preeminence of pro-Western economic and financial elites. Ever since the haphazard and in many cases criminal privatization of state resources in the 1990s, there was brought up an entire cohort of powerful economic agents who does not have Russia’s interests in mind. Instead, these are purely selfish economic actors who until quite recently thought that their ill-gotten gains would allow them to enter into posh Western society. These people usually have more than one passport, they try to keep their families in some wealthy enclave outside of Russia, they send their children to schools and universities in the West, and their only use for Russia is as a territory they can exploit in creating their wealth extraction schemes.

When in response to the start of Russia’s special military operation the West mounted a speculative attack on the ruble, forcing Russia’s central bank to impose strict currency controls, these members of the Russian elite were forced to start thinking about making a momentous choice. They could stay in Russia, but then they would have to cut their ties to the West; or they could move to the West and live off their savings, but then they would be cut off from the source of their wealth. Their choice was made easier by Western governments which worked hard to confiscate the property of rich Russian nationals, freeze their bank accounts and subject them to various other indignities and inconveniences.

Still, it’s a hard choice for them to make—realizing that, in spite of their sometimes fabulous wealth, for the collective West they are just some Russians that can be robbed. Many of them are mentally unprepared to throw in their lot with their own people, whom they have been taught to despise and to exploit for personal gain. A quick victory in Russia’s special military operation would allow them to think that their troubles were temporary in nature. Given enough time some of them will run away for good while others will decide to stay and work for the common good in Russia.

Next in line are various members of the Russian government who, having been schooled in Western economics, are incapable of understanding the economic transformation that is occurring in Russia, never mind helping it along. Most of what passes for economic thought in the West is just an elaborate smokescreen over this fundamental dictum: “The rich must be allowed to get richer, the poor must be kept poor and the government shouldn’t try to help them (much).” This worked while the West had colonies to exploit, be it through good old-fashioned imperial conquest, plunder and rapine, or through financial neocolonialism of Perkins’s “economic hit men,” or, as has recently been grudgingly admitted by several top EU officials, by taking advantage of cheap Russian energy.

That doesn’t work any more—not in the West, not in Russia or any place else, and mindsets have to adjust. There is a great deal of inertia in appointments to government positions, where there are many vested interests vying for power and influence. It takes time for such basic ideas to percolate through the system as the fact that the US Federal Reserve no longer has a planet-wide monopoly on printing money. Therefore, it is no longer necessary for Russia’s central bank to have dollars in reserve to cover their ruble emissions to defend it against speculative attack since it is no longer necessary for Russia’s central bank to allow foreign currency speculators to run rampant and stage speculative attacks.

But some results have already been achieved, and they are nothing short of spectacular: over the past few months, just a few well-chosen departures from Western economic orthodoxy have made the ruble the world’s strongest currency, have allowed Russia to earn more export revenue by exporting less oil, gas and coal, and have allowed it to drive inflation down to almost zero. Since the start of the special military operation, Russia has been able to reduce its national debt by a large amount and increase government revenues. A swift end to Russia’s special military operation may spell the end of such miracles and a most unwelcome return to the untenable status quo ante.

Beyond the intangible world of finance, equally significant changes have been occurring throughout the physical Russian economy. Previously, many economic sectors, including car sales, construction and home improvement, software development and many others, were foreign-owned and the profits from these activities left the country. And then a decision was made to block the expatriation of dividends. In response, foreign companies sold off their Russian assets, taking a huge loss and depriving themselves of access to the Russian market. The change has been quite stunning. For example, at the beginning of 2022, Western car companies owned a large share of the Russian auto market. Many of the cars that were sold had been assembled within Russia at foreign-owned plants and the profits from these sales were expatriated. Now, less than a year later, European and American automakers are pretty much gone from Russia, replaced by a swiftly reborn domestic auto industry. Chinese automakers have immediately grabbed a large market share for themselves, while South Korea continued to trade with Russia and has held on to its market share.

Equally stunning have been changes in the aircraft industry. Previously, Russian airlines were flying Airbuses and Boeings, most of them leased. After the start of the special operation Western politicians demanded that these leases be rescinded and the aircraft returned to their owners, neglecting to take into account the fact that this would be ruinous financially (glutting the market for used aircraft for years to come and destroying demand for new aircraft) and, furthermore, physically impossible, given that there was no way to effect the transfer of the aircraft. In response, the Russian airlines nationalized the aircraft registry, stopped flying to hostile destinations where their aircraft might be arrested, and started making lease payments in rubles to special accounts at the Russian central bank.

Then came the news that Aeroflot is panning to buy over 300 new passenger jets, all Russian МС-21s, SSJ-100s and Tu-214s, all before 2030, with the first deliveries slated for 2023. There has been a scramble to replace almost all Western-sourced components, such as composites for the carbon fiber wing of the MC-21 and jet engines, avionics and much else for all of the above. Over this period many of the previously leased Boeings and Airbuses will be phased out, but these companies’ market share in the largest country on Earth will be gone forever. Damage to Western aircraft manufacturers will be matched by the damage to Western airlines. At the outset of hostilities, the collective West closed its airspace to Russia, and Russia reciprocated. The problem is that Europe is small and easy to fly around while Russia is huge and flying around it takes a whole day. European airlines suddenly found that theу can’t compete on routes to Japan, China or Korea.

Following the closing of the airspace came other sanctions, from both the European Union and from the United States, all of them illegal, since the UN Security Council is the only body empowered to impose sanctions. Right now the European Union is working on the ninth packet of sanctions, all of which have been dubbed “sanctions from hell”. Speaking of hell, Dante Alighieri’s “Inferno” there are nine circles of hell, so perhaps the sanctions juggernaut is about to run its course.

These sanctions were supposed to have swiftly destroyed the Russian economy and have caused so much social upheaval and suffering that the people would gather on Red Square and overthrow the dread dictator Putin (or so thought Western foreign policy experts). Clearly, nothing of the sort has happened and Putin’s approval rating is as high as ever. On the other hand, the good people of the European Union are indeed starting to suffer. They can no longer afford to heat their homes or to take regular hot showers, food has become outrageously expensive for them, and so much else is going wrong that huge crowds of protestors have been gathering all across Europe and demanding, among other things, an end to anti-Russian sanctions, normalization of relations with Russia and a return to business as usual. Their demands are unlikely to be met, since this would mean a major loss of face for the European leaders.

But there is a more important reason why the sanctions will stay: a return to business as usual would mean that Russia would once again provide energy and raw materials to Europe cheaply while allowing European companies to profit from the labor of Russians. This is quite unappealing and is therefore unlikely to happen. Russia is using the sanctions as an opportunity to rebuild its domestic industry and reorient its trade away from hostile nations and toward friendly nations that are fair and sympathetic in their dealings with Russia. It is also working hard to phase out the use of currencies that Dmitry Medvedev called “toxic”; namely, the US dollar and the euro.

Add to this list a wonderful new Russian innovation called “parallel import.” If some company, in complying with anti-Russian sanctions, refuses to sell its products to Russia or to service or upgrade its products in Russia, then Russia will buy these products and upgrades from a third or fourth or fifth party without permission from the US, the EU or the manufacturer. If a certain brand-name product becomes unavailable, the Russians simply rename the brand and make the same product themselves, or have the Chinese or another trade partner do it for them. And if the West refuses to license its intellectual property to Russia, then that intellectual property becomes free in Russia.

This works particularly well with software: free copies of brand-name software are just as good as the paid-for copies, and if tech support, training or other associated services become unavailable from the West, the Russians simply organize their own. Intellectual property of various sorts makes up a large portion Western notional wealth, and Western sanctions are having the effect of letting Russia make use of it free of charge. Thanks to modern digital technology, it works rather well with hardware too. Instead of painstakingly reverse-engineering products, now the same effect can be achieved by buying the 3D models on a thumb drive and 3D-printing them or automatically generating the mill and drill paths to create them on an NC mill. Putin likes to use the expression “tsap-tsarap” to describe this process. It is hard to translate directly but pertains to the act of a cat snatching its prey with its claws. The short of it is, what Russia previously had to pay for is now, thanks to sanctions, free to it.

Since the Goldilocks War is, after all, a sort of war, we need to briefly discuss its military aspects. Here, too, a steady-as-she-goes approach seems to be the most copacetic. The stated goal is to demilitarize and denazify the former Ukraine, and to some extent this has already been achieved: most of the armor and artillery that the Ukraine had inherited from the USSR has already been destroyed; most of the diehard Nazi battalions are either dead or a shadow of their former selves. Gone too are most of the volunteers that once fought on the Ukrainian side. After over 100000 Ukrainian soldiers “have been killed” since February 2022 (as forthrightly stated, then sheepishly denied, by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen), and after perhaps as many as half a million casualties, scores of service-age men bribing their way out of the country and several rounds of the draft, it is slim pickings. With well over a hundred Ukrainian casualties a day the pickings are bound to get even slimmer over time. Foreign mercenaries have been used to fill the gap—Anglos, Poles, Romanians—but there is a major problem with them: as Julius Caesar pointed out, lots of people are willing to kill for money but nobody wants to die for money—except an idiot, I would add. And on NATO’s Russian front an idiot and his life are soon parted. Up-to-date information on Russian casualties is a state secret and the only number divulged by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in late September 2022 was 5937 killed since the start of the campaign. Casualty rates are said to have been significantly lower since then.

At present, there is still no shortage of idiots on the Ukrainian side—yet—and neither is there a shortage of donated Western weaponry. First came used Soviet-era tanks and other weapons systems donated from all over Eastern Europe; then came actual Western weapons systems. And now throughout NATO one hears plaintive cries that they have nothing left that they can give to the Ukrainians: the cupboard is empty. Nor can they manufacture more weapons in a hurry. To start churning out weapons at the same rate as Russia is doing, these NATO members would first need to reindustrialize, and there are neither the human resources, nor the money to do so. And so the Russian army grinds away, demilitarizing the Ukraine, and the rest of NATO with it. In the process, it is perfecting the art of fighting a land war against NATO—not that a single NATO country would even entertain such an idea.

Perhaps this is mission creep, or perhaps this has been the plan all along, but what Russia is doing at this point is destroying NATO. You may recall that a year ago Russia demanded that the US honor certain security guarantees it made as a condition for allowing the peaceful reunification of Germany; namely, that NATO would not expand eastward. “Not an inch to the east” was how the official record of the meeting reads. Gorbachev and Shevardnadze failed to get this deal on paper and signed, but a verbal deal is a deal. A year ago Russia’s offer was quite moderate: that NATO withdraw to its pre-1997 borders, when it expanded to Eastern Europe.

But, as usually happens when negotiating with the Russians, their initial offer is usually the best. For all we know, based on how things are going in the Ukraine, Russia’s best and final offer may require NATO to disband altogether. After all, the Warsaw Pact disbanded 31 years ago but NATO is still around and bigger than ever; what for? To fight Russia? Well, then, what are they waiting for? Come and get it! This may not even take the form of a negotiation. For example, Russia could say, take a quick whack at Latvia (it richly deserves a whack or two for abusing its large native Russian population Nazi-style) and then stand back and say, “Come on, NATO, come and die heroically on our doorstep for poor little Latvia!” At this, NATO officials will stand united but very quiet, thoughtfully examining their own and each others’ shoes. Once it becomes clear that there will be no offers to launch World War III to avenge Latvia, NATO will quietly dry up and blow away.

Finally, we come to what is perhaps the least important reason for the Goldilocks War: the former Ukraine itself. In view of Russia’s other strategic goals, it seems more of the nature of a sacrificial piece in a chess gambit. Given what Russia has already achieved over the past nine months—four new Russian regions, six million new Russian citizens, a land bridge to Crimea, irrigation water supply to Crimea—there isn’t much left for Russia to achieve militarily before its military campaign reaches the stage of diminishing returns. The addition of Nikolaev and Odessa regions and full control of the Black Sea coastline would, of course, be most valuable; control of Kharkov and Kiev somewhat less so. Control of the entire Dniepr hydroelectric cascade is a definite nice-to-have. As for the rest, it could be left to languish for ages as a deindustrialized, depopulated wasteland, labeled “Mostly harmless.”

Let me divulge a personal detail or two. Two of my grandparents were from Zhitomir, my father was born in Kiev, my first romantic interest was a girl from Odessa, and over the years I’ve had as many friends from Odessa, Kharkov, Lvov, Kiev, Donetsk, Vinnitsa and elsewhere as anywhere else in Russia. Russia? You read that right: there is no way to convince me that so-called “Ukrainian territory” somehow isn’t Russia or that the people who live there somehow aren’t Russian—regardless of what some of them have been recently brainwashed to think. What’s more, none of these people I have known over the years ever thought of themselves as the least bit Ukrainian and they would probably view the very idea of a Ukrainian nationalist identity as symptomatic of a mental condition. The label “Ukrainian” was to them some Bolshevik nonse; since then, Ukrainianness has been turned into a Western method for exploiting minor ethnic variations in order to make one group of Russians fight another group of Russians.

In case you are doubtful, let’s apply the good old duck test: Do the people there walk, quack and look like Russians? All of that territory, with one minor exception in the far west, was part of Russia for anywhere between ten and three centuries; most of the people there, and virtually the entire urban population, speaks Russian as their native language; their religion is predominantly Russian Orthodox; they are genetically indistinguishable from the rest of the Russian population. So, what happened to them?

Unfortunately, a small piece of this Russian land spent three centuries in captivity to the Austro-Hungarian Empire or as part of Greater Poland, and this poisoned their minds with foreign ideas such as Catholicism and ethnic nationalism. Unlike Russia, which is a multinational, multi-ethnic, religiously diverse monolith, the West is a mosaic of ethnic nationalisms, and where there are nationalists there may be Nazis, ethnic cleansing and genocide.

As one drop of poison infects the whole tun of wine, these Western Ukrainians, with lots of help and funds from the German Nazis, then the Americans and the Canadians, managed to infect a large part of the formerly Ukrainian territory with a fake nationalism based on a forged history and a haphazardly concocted culture. Official bans on the teaching and, eventually, the use of Russian have brought up a generation of young people who are essentially illiterate in their native Russian. They are taught in Ukrainian, but Ukrainian literacy is close to an oxymoron, since nothing of any great consequence has ever been written or published in that language and the vast majority of Ukrainian literary works are, you guessed it, in Russian.

The Russian special military operation that’s been ongoing since February 2022 has polarized the entire population. Those who had decided to be with Russia back in 2014 were, obviously, overjoyed to finally get some help from Russia. The now Russian regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson gladly voted to join Russia. But as far as the rest of the former Ukrainian territory, the polarization is mostly in the opposite direction. Those who wanted to be with Russia mostly voted with their feet and are now living somewhere in Russia.

This is something that time alone can fix. Eventually the population of the former Ukraine will be forced to make a choice: they can be Russian, or they can be refugees somewhere in Europe, or they can die fighting Russians at the front. Note that even Donetsk and Lugansk didn’t make this choice right away, the way Crimea did. At that time, only some 70% of their population was in favor of leaving the Ukraine and rejoining Russia. It took eight years of relentless Ukrainian bombing to convince them to make this choice.

Over these intervening years, the diehard “Ukrainians” filtered out, leaving behind a population that was close to 100% pro-Russian. It was only then that the Kremlin granted them official recognition, sent in troops to defend them from imminent invasion and, soon after, accepted them into the Russian Federation. And now the same sort of sorting operation has to take place throughout the rest of the former Ukraine. How long will it take? Only time will tell, but it is already clear that, as far as Russia is concerned, there is no compelling reason to rush.

Please download my books of essays:

Ready… Set… Bolt!, 2022
The Arctic Fox Cometh, 2021
The Meat Generation, 2020
Collapse and the Good Life, 2018
Collapse Chronicles, Volume V, 2017
Everything is Going According to Plan, 2016
Emergency Eyewash, 2015
Societies that Collapse, 2014
Absolutely Positive, 2012

Supply and Demand in Real War (Andrei Martyanov)

November 23, 2022

The Middle East and US global power: Fossil Fuel- Lifeblood of the American Empire

November 22, 2022

Source

by Phillyguy

Summary

Among all of the events shaping post-civil war US economic development, one of the most prominent was the establishment of Standard Oil by John D. Rockefeller in 1870. Working with other US industrialists, along with domestic and international financial and banking interests, including the Rothschild’s London banking cartel, Standard oil decedents have dominated the fossil fuel industry and shaped US economic and social development and foreign policy to the present day.

Introduction

The current world security architecture arose following WWII, which established the US as the dominant global power. Since that time, US global supremacy has rested on unrivaled military and economic power, control of world’s energy reserves (primarily in the Middle East), and maintaining the dollar as the world’s reserve currency [1]. There has been much current discussion about promoting ‘green’ policies, including sustainable development and increasing the use of renewable energy sources, clearly articulated during the UN Conference on Environment and Development (aka ‘Rio Conference’; ‘Earth Summit’), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Jun 3-14, 1992) [2], and Greta Thunberg’s speech to the UN on Sept 23, 2019 [3], where she accused world leaders of failing younger generations by not taking more aggressive actions to stop climate change. Despite this push for Green policies, fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) are still the dominant source of energy, currently supply over 80% of the world’s energy [4]. In addition, the dollar (aka ‘petrodollar’) is the primary reserve currency held by foreign central banks [5] and main currency used for commercial energy transactions [6] [7].

In 1863 John D. Rockefeller joined Maurice B. Clark and Samuel Andrews in an oil-refining business in Cleveland, Ohio, which was subsequently expanded and incorporated as Standard Oil of Ohio in 1870. Rockefeller was a shrewd and aggressive industrialist, acquiring additional refining capacity by “buying up and squeezing out of rivals by every device at hand—legal or illegal’ and as a result, Standard Oil would soon control over 90% of American oil refining capacity. Facing increasing resistance from the business community and the Ohio legislature, Rockefeller incorporated the Standard Oil Trust in New Jersey in 1982. This Trust consisted of seven subsidiaries- Standard Oil of Kentucky, Standard Oil of California, Standard Oil of New York, Standard Oil of New Jersey, Standard Oil of Indiana, The Standard Oil Co (Ohio) and The Ohio Oil Company. In Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States (1911), the US Supreme Court found the Standard Oil Trust guilty of engaging in anti-competitive practices, a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, breaking the company up into 34 separate entities, some of which the Rockefellers held major stakes [8] [9]. Ironically, decades after the Standard Oil Trust was ‘broken up’, these separate firms would subsequently merge into Chevron [10], ExxonMobil [11], British Petroleum (BP) [12] and Marathon [13], which are currently among the top 10 global energy companies [14]. The Rockefellers reach was vast- David Rockefeller, grandson of John D. Rockefeller, was Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations (1970-1985) and Chairman and CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank (1969–1981) [15] [16].

The geographic location of the US, circa 8000 km (5000 miles) from major war theaters in Europe and 9700 km (6000 miles) in Japan shielded the US from the massive devastation that took place in Europe and Asia during WWII. As a result, many large US corporations were able to profit handsomely by supplying the War Department with fuel, aircraft, ships, motor vehicles, armaments and ammunition to equip American soldiers and allied forces. Some of these firms were working both sides of the conflict, supplying Nazi Germany with financial backing and war material; some of these firms include Alcoa, Brown Brothers Harriman, Coca-Cola, Dupont, Kodak, Chase Bank, Dow Chemical, Ford, IBM, General Electric, General Motors, Woolworth, Random House and Standard Oil [17]. Prescott Bush, father of George HW Bush (41st President) and grandfather of George W. Bush’s (43st President), was a partner of A. Harriman & Co Investment bank and later served as Senator from Connecticut (1952-1963). Prescott Bush was directly involved with companies that profited from their commercial involvement with Nazi Germany [18] [19]. It should be pointed out the WWII is the most expensive war in American history, costing taxpayers more than $4 trillion, adjusted for inflation [20].

To the victor go the spoils

The US emerged from WWII as the world’s foremost military and economic power, the dollar was anointed the status of world reserve currency at the Bretton Woods Conference (1944) and established as the primary currency used for energy transactions following the meeting between US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Saudi King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, aboard the USS Quincy, in the Suez Canal on Valentine’s Day, 1945 [21].

Post-WWII US economic development saw the continued rise of the American economy which translated into robust corporate profits and better living standards for many working people. In 1956, President Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act (aka National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956) described as the ‘Greatest Public Works Project in History’, allocating $25 billion (circa $274 billion in inflation- adjusted dollars) from taxpayers to develop a 41,000-mile system of interstate highways that Eisenhower promised would eliminate unsafe roads, inefficient routes and all of the other things that got in the way of “speedy, safe transcontinental travel.” [22] [23]. The Highway act would enrich the ‘pro-highway coalition of energy companies, automobile manufactures, truckers, bus operators, tiremakers, insurance companies, auto clubs, etc. It directly led to increased use of private automobiles for transportation and the systematic dismantling of energy- efficient public transportation, creation of suburbs, shopping centers, ‘strip malls’, and proliferation of McDonald’s and other ‘fast-food’ outlets, which have led to the current health crisis in the US- increased obesity, type II diabetes and related health problems [24] [25]. In addition, some of these highways were literally built through urban neighborhoods and frequently minority communities [26] [27], such as the Cypress Freeway in Oakland, CA, I95 in Chester, PA and the Cross Bronx Expressway in NYC [28] [29].

As a result, the functioning of the American economy and society has become very dependent on fossil fuel consumption (for more detail see [30]).

1. Energy consumption & generation– the US has 4.25% of world’s population (339 million people) but consumes ~17% of the world’s energy and has the highest per capita energy consumption and is the largest total energy consumer. In 2021, approximately 60% of US electricity was generated from fossil fuels- coal, natural gas and oil [31].

2. Suburban development– as described above, passage of the Highway act of 1956 [22], accelerated the development of low-density housing suburbs, which were only accessible by automobiles using fossil fuel.

3. Transportation– The average American relies on energy-inefficient automobiles and jet airplanes for transportation. Most US cities lack a comprehensive, energy-efficient public transportation system. Indeed, the US does not have 1 mile of high-speed rail lines. By contrast, China has 40,000 km (24,855 mi), Spain has 3,100 km (1,926 mi) and Japan has 2,830 km (1758 mi) of high-speed rail.

4. American agriculture is very energy-intensive, requiring 15 calories of energy to produce 1 calorie of food. The average food commodity transits 1500 miles from production to consumption point- e.g., California-grown produce, shipped to the US east coast, usually via diesel fueled trucks.

5. Information technology– US society is heavily reliant on information flow. This system encompasses local computers, the internet and fiber optic cables serving as data pipelines, computer server farms and “cloud” storage facilities, all of which consume lots of electricity.

6. Military– The Pentagon is the largest single consumer of fossil fuel and polluter in the world. To give this some perspective, on average, the US military consumes 12,600,000 gallons (48,000,000 L) of fuel per day. One F-16 fighter jet consumes over 20K gallons of Kerosene per hour (333 gal/min) [32].

American capitalism is dependent on fossil fuel consumption to function and serves as the lubricant for American power projection around the world. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have approximately 57% and 41% of proven oil and natural gas reserves, respectively (see Table 1 and [33]). Thus, it is not surprising that the US ruling elite have a major interest in this region and the energy reserves therein [34]. US attempts to control oil in the MENA region has been carried out in several ways. This has involved setting up client regimes in countries with vast energy deposits, such as the Gulf monarchies in the Persian Gulf (Figure 1), attacking and/or invading countries who attempt to follow an independent energy policy, such as Iraq and Libya or issuing frequent verbal threats, seizing assets and imposing economic sanctions on countries that the US has been unable to achieve regime change or are capable of defending themselves, such as the Islamic Republic of Iran [35] and Venezuela.

As part of this effort, the US has set up military bases in multiple ME countries including Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Turkey (Türkiye), UAE and Syria (See Figure 1 and Table 2) [36]. Due to its geographic location, Israel is crucial to US foreign policy goals. The ‘state’ of Israel/Zionist project was the creation of British imperialism (Balfour Declaration, 1918) [37], was driven, at least in part, by the desire of the British ruling elite to establish a reliable (read non-Muslim) proxy force that would assist the UK in controlling the region and its abundant hydrocarbon reserves [38]. The US emerged from WWII as the world’s leading military and economic power and assumed the role of Israel’s benefactor, providing $152 billion since 1949; $3.8 billion in 2020 [39] [40]. While Israel does not host a formal US base, she is a de facto appendage of the Pentagon, is fully integrated into NATO and serves as a reliable and well-armed US proxy in the region [41] [42], ranking 18th in global military power [43]. Israel conducts regular attacks on Syria [44] and estimated to have a stockpile of circa 90 nuclear weapons (likely a low estimate).

This effort has become all the more urgent as: the Russia-China-Iran axis has attained economic and military parity with the West, Iran is now a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) [45], has applied for membership to the BRICS [46] and recently announced that it has developed a hypersonic missile, that is ‘capable of penetrating all defense systems’ [47]. One would infer that Iran received technical help developing this weapon system. As Iran’s ties with Russia and China continue solidifying, they are becoming increasingly ambivalent about rejoining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA; aka Iran nuclear deal) [46], which was negotiated during the Obama Administration [48]. Trump unilaterally exited the JCPOA in 2018, stating ‘We cannot prevent an Iranian bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement’ [49].

We hear a lot about ‘Green’ energy, the ‘Green new deal’, reducing our ‘carbon footprint’ and ‘sustainable development’, policies which are being promoted by a wide range of extremely committed environmental and conservation groups such as the Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Clean Air Council in the US and many international organizations and prominent politicians. ‘Green’ polices have been promoted by US Vice President Kamala Harris, encouraging Americans to purchase [expensive] electric cars and endorsed by the paper of record (NYT) and other corporate media outlets. Any policy that reduces the production of ‘greenhouse’ gasses, such as CO2, is certainly a noble and worthwhile objective, that should be supported. Unfortunately, most of these groups, at least in the US, where I live, are missing the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’. This includes:

1. The entire structure of American society has been built around fossil fuel consumption. This includes the use of automobiles and jet airplanes for transportation. The profits of very powerful corporate interests, including energy corporations, automobile manufactures and their suppliers, banks and insurance companies and law firms to name a few, are highly dependent on fossil fuel consumption and ‘greenhouse’ gas production. They are not about to give this up without a big fight, including going to war.

2. The military is a key pillar of a [declining] American empire, with the Pentagon serving as the ‘enforcer’ of US global power, but is also the largest of consumer of fossil fuels and largest polluter in the world [32]. The Pentagon is supported by all factions of the ruling elite, readily apparent from the near-unanimous bipartisan support for every military appropriation in Congress (appropriation for 2023 is $773 billion). Not surprisingly, most environmental groups, which are dependent on funding from corporate-backed foundations, such as the Ford Foundation, Home Depot Foundation, etc. [50] are not going to ‘bite the hand’ that feeds them. Likewise, US corporate media is controlled by 6 large corporations whose class interests reflect those of the petrochemical companies and other large corporations [51] [52] [53]. Any reporter who steps out of line- i.e., criticizes the functioning of the US empire, including fossil fuel consumption, is immediately reprimanded and/or fired. 1) Reporter Emily Wilder was fired from AP because she had posted pro-Palestinian material on social media [54]. 2) In 1996, investigative reporter Gary Webb published a series of articles entitled ‘Dark Alliance’ in the San Jose Mercury News, linking the crack cocaine trade in Los Angeles with the Nicaraguan Contra rebels and the CIA. Not surprisingly, Webb’s story was met with outrage by MSM outlets such as the LA Times and Washington Post. Webb committed suicide in 2004 [55].

Concluding remarks

The survival of the American Empire is highly dependent on fossil fuel consumption and control of global energy reserves. This dependency has created irresolvable problems and led to a chaotic and at times, contradictory foreign policy. While there has been a lot of ‘whining’ about energy prices in the US and EU, the oil industry is reaping record profits. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter levied a “windfall” profits tax on the American oil industry in response to increasing gas prices and corporate profits [56]. While these taxes have had mixed results, no doubt a result of aggressive industry lobbying, there has been little discussion of taxing high corporate profits at the present time. Indeed, petrochemical industry profits were barely addressed in the recent US ‘midterm’ elections, as many candidates receive campaign contributions from energy companies. Fossil fuels still dominate US foreign policy. This can be seen from the enduring presence of military bases throughout the ME and maintaining generous financial support for Israel and the ruling families of Gulf Monarchies [57]. At the same time, these ruling families have watched the US/UK/NATO ferment coups in Iran (1953) [58] [59] and steal resources, invade and/or destroy Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen; impose crippling economic sanctions and/or confiscate the assets of countries deemed a threat to US global power such as Iran, Venezuela and Russia and sabotage energy infrastructure (see below). Not surprisingly, KSA and other Gulf Monarchies have been reaching out to Russia and China; multiple reports indicate that KSA is ‘eager’ to join the BRICS Bloc [60]. No doubt, this was a motivation for President Biden’s trip to KSA in July of this year, meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) at Al-Salam Palace in the Red Sea port of Jeddah. On Nov 18, the State Department recommended that MBS be granted ‘legal immunity’ for the brutal assassination of Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on Oct 2, 2018 [62] [63]. It should be noted that while campaigning for President, then candidate Joe Biden stated: he would “cancel the blank check” the Trump administration had given Saudi Arabia during its war in Yemen and during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) that “America’s priorities in the Middle East should be set in Washington, not Riyadh” and advocated making Saudi Arabia an international “pariah” for butchering Jamal Khashoggi [61]. Rhetoric notwithstanding, Biden’s polices towards the MENA region are largely a continuation of those of Trump and the ruling elite they represent. Biden has not rejoined the JCPOA and has continued Trump’s bellicose position towards the Islamic Republic of Iran. The US continues supporting Israel, the US Embassy in Israel remains in Jerusalem (Al-Quds in Arabic), which is not Israeli land and thus, a blatant violation of International law [64], US troops remain in Iraq and Syria while the Pentagon continues assisting KSA in their genocidal war on Yemen [65]. Trump continues his financial dealings with KSA, recently signing a $1.6 billion deal with a Saudi real estate developer [66]. It will be interesting to see how the US reacts when KSA joins BRICS [67].

On Sept 26, 2022, Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines, carrying natural gas from Russia to Germany, under the Baltic Sea were blown up [68] [69]. Shortly after the explosions, erstwhile British Prime Minister Liz Truss allegedly sent a message to US Sec of State Anthony Blinken stating ‘it’s done’ [70]. While the actual perpetrators of this attack have not been identified, it is likely that the US at a very minimum was aware of this action, as pointed out by Professor Jeffrey Sachs (Columbia University) during a Bloomberg interview [71]. The end result is that Germany and other countries in the EU will no longer have access to cheap and plentiful Russian energy, but will now be forced to purchase much more expensive liquified natural gas from the US or other countries. It should also be noted that nearly 8 decades following the conclusion of WWII, the Pentagon maintains circa 900 foreign military bases worldwide [72] [73]. Europe is still occupied by circa 100K troops [74], 35K in Germany alone [75]. Thus, Germany is not really a US ‘ally’ but rather a subordinate. This begs the question; will Germany and other countries in the EU continue serving as de facto US vassals or begin following a more independent foreign policy? One could argue their very survival as functional states depends on this.

Notes

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

2. UN Conference on Environment and Development (aka ‘Rio Conference’, ‘Earth Summit’), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Jun 3-14, 1992); https://www.un.org/en/conferences/environment/rio1992

3. Read climate activist Greta Thunberg’s speech to the UN By Gretchen Frazee PBS News Hour Sep 23, 2019; https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/read-climate-activist-greta-thunbergs-speech-to-the-un

4. World Energy Balances: Overview (2020); https://www.iea.org/reports/world-energy-balances-overview/world

5. The International Role of the U.S. Dollar by Carol Bertaut, Bastian von Beschwitz and Stephanie Curcuru US Fed Reserve Oct 6, 2021; https://www.federalreserve.gov/econres/notes/feds-notes/the-international-role-of-the-u-s-dollar-20211006.html

6. What Is the Petrodollar? Petrodollar Explained in Less Than 5 Minutes By Kimberly Amadeo. the balance June 4, 2022; https://www.thebalancemoney.com/what-is-a-petrodollar-3306358

7. US economic decline and global instability Part 3: Money printing, debt and increasing international isolation. The Saker Blog Oct 31, 2022; https://thesaker.is/us-economic-decline-and-global-instability-part-3-money-printing-debt-and-increasing-international-isolation/

8. How Rockefeller Built His Trillion Dollar Oil Empire. By Jeremy Dyck Oct 8, 2019;

9. John D. Rockefeller and the Oil Industry- John D. Rockefeller changed the oil industry forever with his company Standard Oil. but that was by no means the only interesting thing about him. By Burton W. Folsom Foundation for Economic Education Sat Oct 1, 1988; https://fee.org/articles/john-d-rockefeller-and-the-oil-industry/

10. Chevron; https://www.chevron.com

11. ExxonMobil; https://corporate.exxonmobil.com

12. British Petroleum (BP); https://www.bp.com

13. Marathon Oil; https://www.marathonoil.com

14. Top 20 Oil and Gas Companies in the World in 2021; https://www.visualcapitalist.com/ranked-the-largest-oil-and-gas-companies-in-the-world

15. David Rockefeller Sr., steward of family fortune and Chase Manhattan Bank, dies at 101 By Timothy R. Smith Washington Post Mar 20, 2017; https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/david-rockefeller-sr-steward-of-family-fortune-and-chase-manhattan-bank-dies-at-101/2017/03/20/f2385f8a-0d7c-11e7-ab07-07d9f521f6b5_story.html

16. JPMorgan Chase & Co: Who We Are/History Of Our Firm; https://www.jpmorganchase.com/about/our-history

17. Top 10 American Companies that Aided the Nazis. By Dustin Koski Feb 18, 2016; https://www.toptenz.net/top-10-american-companies-that-aided-the-nazis.php

18. How Bush’s grandfather helped Hitler’s rise to power- Rumors of a link between the US first family and the Nazi war machine have circulated for decades. Now the Guardian can reveal how repercussions of events that culminated in action under the Trading with the Enemy Act are still being felt by today’s president By Ben Aris and Duncan Campbell The Guardian Sat Sep 25, 2004; https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/sep/25/usa.secondworldwar

19. The Holocaust and the Bush family fortune Bill Van Auken Dec 5, 2018; https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/12/05/intr-d05.html

20. The Cost of U.S. Wars then and now. By Norwich University Online Oct 20th, 2020; https://online.norwich.edu/academic-programs/resources/cost-us-wars-then-and-now

21. ORDER FROM CHAOS- 75 years after a historic meeting on the USS Quincy, US-Saudi relations are in need of a true re-think By Bruce Riedel Brookings Mon Feb 10, 2020; https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2020/02/10/75-years-after-a-historic-meeting-on-the-uss-quincy-us-saudi-relations-are-in-need-of-a-true-re-think/

22. History of the Interstate Highway System; https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/interstate/history.cfm

23. The Interstate Highway System History.Com Jum 7, 2019; https://www.history.com/topics/us-states/interstate-highway-system

24. Tabish SA. Is Diabetes Becoming the Biggest Epidemic of the Twenty-first Century? Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2007 Jul;1(2): V-VIII;

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3068646/

25. Obesity? Diabetes? We’ve been set up By Alvin Powell Harvard Gazette Mar 7, 2012; https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/03/the-big-setup/

26. A Brief History of How Racism Shaped Interstate Highways By Noel King NPR Apr 7, 2021; https://www.npr.org/2021/04/07/984784455/a-brief-history-of-how-racism-shaped-interstate-highways

27. How Interstate Highways Gutted Communities—and Reinforced Segregation

America’s interstate highway system cut through the heart of dozens of urban neighborhoods. By Farrell Evans History.com Oct 20, 2021; https://www.history.com/news/interstate-highway-system-infrastructure-construction-segregation

28. Robert Moses’s Negative Impacts By SAFAA Feb 7, 2018 BY SAFAA; https://eportfolios.macaulay.cuny.edu/alonso2018/2018/02/07/robert-mosess-negative-impacts/

29. The Cross Bronx Expressway and the Ruination of the Bronx By lbennett Nov 10, 2019; https://pages.vassar.edu/realarchaeology/2019/11/10/the-cross-bronx-expressway-and-the-ruination-of-the-bronx/

30. War Essay- The consequences of nuclear war on US society The Saker Blog Jan 13, 2019; https://thesaker.is/war-essay-the-consequences-of-nuclear-war-on-us-society/

31. Electricity in the United States US Energy Information Administration;

https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/electricity/electricity-in-the-us.php

32. Pentagon Fuel Use, Climate Change and the Costs of War By Neta Crawford Watson Institute June 12, 2019; https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/files/cow/imce/papers/2019/Pentagon%20Fuel%20Use,%20Climate%20Change%20and%20the%20Costs%20of%20War%20Final.pdf

33. How Much Oil in the Middle East? By Rasoul Sorkhabi, Ph.D. GoExPro Vol. 11, No. 1 – 2014; https://www.geoexpro.com/articles/2014/02/how-much-oil-in-the-middle-east; iea; https://www.iea.org/regions/middle-east

34. Michael Hudson: A New Bipolar World. US finance capitalism vs. China’s mixed public/ private economy Nov 7, 2022; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_zY44YClCY

35. Missiles of Iran- 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. CSIS Aug 10, 2021; https://missilethreat.csis.org/country/iran/

36. US military bases and facilities in the Middle East. American Security Project https://www.americansecurityproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Ref-0213-US-Military-Bases-and-Facilities-Middle-East.pdf

37. Balfour Declaration History.Com Aug 21, 2018; https://www.history.com/topics/middle-east/balfour-declaration

38. More than a century on: The Balfour Declaration explained. More than 100 years since Britain’s controversial pledge, here is everything you need to know about it. By Zena Al Tahhan Aljazeera Nov 2, 2018; https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2018/11/2/more-than-a-century-on-the-balfour-declaration-explained

39. Israel-Gaza: How much money does Israel get from the US? BBC May 24, 2021; https://www.bbc.com/news/57170576

40. U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel: Total Aid (1949 – Present) Jewish Virtual Library;

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/total-u-s-foreign-aid-to-israel-1949-present

41. Towards a World War III Scenario? The Role of Israel in Triggering an Attack on Iran? Part II The Military Road Map By Prof Michel Chossudovsky Global Research, July 30, 2018; http://www.globalresearch.ca/towards-a-world-war-iii-scenario-the-role-of-israel-in-triggering-an-attack-on-iran-2/20584

42. Understanding NATO- Ending War By Robert J. Burrowes Economy and Politics June 8, 2019; https://www.meer.com/en/54967-understanding-nato

43. 2022 Military Strength Ranking; https://www.globalfirepower.com/countries-listing.php

44. Israeli Attacks Continue to Kill Syrians, Iranians. Southfront Nov 16, 2022; https://southfront.org/israeli-attacks-continue-to-kill-syrians/

45. Iran signs memorandum to join Shanghai Cooperation Organization. As leaders meet in Uzbekistan, the eight-member regional body is poised to add Iran to its ranks. Aljazeera Sept 15, 2022; https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/9/15/iran-signs-memorandum-join-shanghai-cooperation-organisation

46. India, China, Iran: the Quad that really matters By Pepe Escobar Nov 15, 2022; https://thesaker.is/russia-india-china-iran-the-quad-that-really-matters/

47. Iran claims it has developed a hypersonic missile CBS News Nov 10, 2022;

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/iran-claims-it-has-developed-a-hypersonic-missile/

48. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) at a Glance. Kelsey Davenport, Director of Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association Mar, 2022;

https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/JCPOA-at-a-glance

49. Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, explained. The Iran nuclear deal isn’t dead — yet. By Zack Beauchamp Vox May 8, 2018;

https://www.vox.com/world/2018/5/8/17328520/iran-nuclear-deal-trump-withdraw

50. Society for Nonprofits; https://www.snpo.org/publications/fundingalert_bycategory.php?cs=ENVI

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

52. These 6 corporations control 90% of the media outlets in America- The illusion of choice and objectivity. By Nickie Louise Tech Startups Sept 18, 2020;

https://techstartups.com/2020/09/18/6-corporations-control-90-media-america-illusion-choice-objectivity-2020/embed/#?secret=bL4ldPvDPR

53. Index of US Mainstream Media Ownership- The Future of Media Project, Harvard University; https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/futureofmedia/index-us-mainstream-media-ownership

54. The Real Problem with the AP’s Firing of Emily Wilder- When one young journalist was fired, the incident revealed a problem deeper than bad social media policies. By Janine Zacharia May 26, 2021; https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/05/26/emily-wilder-fired-ap-490892

55. How the CIA Watched Over the Destruction of Gary Webb- Freshly-released CIA documents show how the largest U.S. newspapers helped the agency contain a groundbreaking exposé. By Ryan Devereaux The Intercept Sept 25, 2014; https://theintercept.com/2014/09/25/managing-nightmare-cia-media-destruction-gary-webb/

56. Windfall profit taxes have benefits. But the devil is in the details. In times of crisis, the U.S. government has taxed excess profits — with mixed results Perspective by Ajay K. Mehrotra Washington Post Oct 24, 2022; https://www.washingtonpost.com/made-by-history/2022/10/24/windfall-profit-taxes/

57. List of current monarchs of the Arabian Peninsula; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_monarchs_of_the_Arabian_Peninsula

58. The Collapse Narrative: The United States, Mohammed Mossadegh, and the Coup Decision of 1953. By Gregory Brew Texas National Security Review. Vol 2, Issue 4 Nov 2019 | 38–59; https://tnsr.org/2019/11/the-collapse-narrative-the-united-states-mohammed-mossadegh-and-the-coup-decision-of-1953

Stable URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.26153/tsw/6666

59. The CIA in Iran- Key Events in the 1953 Coup; https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/041600iran-coup-timeline.html?scp=1&sq=mossadegh%252520coup&st=cse

60. BRICS to expand soon, Saudi Arabia keen to join. BRICS represents more than 40 percent of the global population and nearly a quarter of the world’s GDP and if it is expanded it will help in bolstering the BRICS bloc’s global influence. By Huma Siddiqui Oct 27, 2022; https://www.financialexpress.com/defence/brics-to-expand-soon-saudi-arabia-keen-to-join/2737102/

61. Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia is the right thing to do, even if it feels wrong

The U.S. president has rightly come to the conclusion that a strategy of isolating the crown prince isn’t feasible. By Daniel R. DePetris NBC News July 15, 2022;

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/joe-biden-visits-saudi-arabia-bow-reality-rcna38419

62. U.S. declares Saudi crown prince immune from Khashoggi killing lawsuit

Biden administration cites executive powers, international law in shielding Mohammed bin Salman from legal responsibility. By Karen DeYoung and Missy Ryan Washington Post Nov 18, 2022; https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/11/18/saudi-crown-prince-immunity-khashoggi-murder/

63. WaPo slams Biden’s move to shield MBS in Khashoggi killing suit. By Rebecca Falconer and Shawna Chen Nov 18, 2022; https://www.axios.com/2022/11/18/biden-admin-saudi-prince-immunity-khashoggi-killing-lawsuit

64. The Status of Jerusalem United Nations 1997; https://www.un.org/unispal/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/The-Status-of-Jerusalem-Engish-199708.pdf

65. Strategic Importance of the Indian Ocean, Yemen and Bab-el-Mandeb Strait Saker Blog Aug 5, 2020; https://thesaker.is/strategic-importance-of-the-indian-ocean-yemen-and-bab-el-mandeb-strait/

66. Trump family signs $1.6bn branding deal with Saudi real estate developer. Wed, Nov 16, 2022; https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/11/16/692846/US-Donald-Trump-Saudi-Arabia-Dar-Al-Arkan-deal-Oman-MbS-Biden-

67. The Roundtable #34 The Kherson Withdrawal with Gonzalo Lira, Brian Berletic and Andrei Martyanov Thurs, Nov 10, 2022; https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2022/11/roundtable.html

68. Who Attacked Nord Stream 2? Maybe it was Russia, though that doesn’t make much sense. There are better candidates. By Doug Bandow Cato Institute Oct 14,

2022; https://www.cato.org/commentary/who-attacked-nord-stream-2

69. A journey to the site of the Nord Stream explosions- Prosecutors in Sweden say explosions on a gas pipeline between Russia and Europe were the result of sabotage. The explosions in the Baltic Sea targeted pipelines carrying natural gas from Russia to Europe. Russia denies any involvement. Before the announcement, Katya Adler travelled to the site, and was separately told by Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg that the west could go to war if Russia attacked infrastructure providing critical energy supplies. By Katya Adler BBC News Nov 18, 2022; https://www.bbc.com/news/world-63636181

70. ‘It’s done’: Putin fumes after Liz Truss ‘message’ to Blinken over Nord Stream attack ‘revealed’ Hindustan Times Nov 4, 2022; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxzBqghRs5k

71. Jeffrey Sachs: Rest of the World Thinks the U.S. Probably Sabotaged the Nord Stream Pipeline, But it Doesn’t Show up in our Media By Tim Hains Real Clear Politics Oct 3, 2022; https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2022/10/03/jeffrey_sachs_most_of_the_world_doesnt_view_the_ukraine_war_the_way_the_us_media_does.html

72. A List of All 900 U.S. Foreign Military Bases. By Eric Zuesse Nov 18, 2022; https://theduran.com/a-list-of-all-900-u-s-foreign-military-bases/

73. USA’s Military Empire: A Visual Database. World Beyond War;

https://worldbeyondwar.org/no-bases/

74. US likely to keep 100,000 troops in Europe for foreseeable future in face of Russian threat, US officials say By Ellie Kaufman and Barbara Starr, CNN Fri May 20, 2022; https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/20/politics/us-troops-in-europe/index.html

75. Where 100,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Europe. By Zachary Basu Axios Mar 22, 2022; https://www.axios.com/2022/03/23/where-100000-us-troops-are-stationed-europe

Figure 1. Map of the Middle East

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Maps_of_the_Middle_East#/media/File:%22Political_Middle_East%22_CIA_World_Factbook.jpg

Table 1. Middle East Energy Reserves by Country

(TJ, tera joules; 1 TJ= 163 barrels of oil)

Source: iea; https://www.iea.org/regions/middle-east

CountryOil (TJ)Natural Gas (TJ)
Iran3,497,3477,738,423
KSA5,624,3503,357,725
Iraq1,626,278626,792
UAE190,4002,302,508
Qatar131,2591,599,572
Kuwait705,461846,450
Oman23,864957,632
Bahrain81,132563,867
Total12,477,03318,260,133

Table 2. US Military Bases and Facilities in Middle East [36]

*Numbers in parenthesis, estimated total number of US troops (thousands) deployed in each country; ** Estimated number of US troops (thousands)

Country*BaseTroops**
Bahrain (9K)US Naval Forces Central Command/ US 5th Fleet4.7
Shaikh Isa Air Base
Muharraq Air Base (Navy)
Iraq (2.5K)Al Asad Air Base
IsraelDimona Radar Facility
Mashabim Air Base / Bisl’a Aerial Defense School
JordanMuwaffaq Salti Air Base (Azraq)
Kuwait (13.5)Ali Al Salem Air Base1.5
Camp Arifjan9
Camp Spearhead Army Base
Camp Buehring
Camp Patriot3
Oman (<1K)RAFO Masirah
Muscat International Airport
RAFO Thumrait
Al-Musannah Air Base
Port of Duqm
Port of Salalah
Qatar (10K)Al Udeid Air Base- Special Operations Command Central10
Camp As Sayliyah
KSA (3K)Eskan Village
Turkey (5K)Incirlik Air Base5
Izmir Air Station
UAE (2K)Al Dhafra Air Base2
Port of Jebel Ali
Fujairah Naval Base
Syria (<0.2K)Al-Tanf garrison (ATG)

Rewiring Eurasia: Mr. Patrushev goes to Tehran

The meeting this week between two Eurasian security bosses is a further step toward dusting away the west’s oversized Asian footprint.

November 10 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

Two guys are hanging out in a cozy room in Tehran with a tantalizing new map of the world in the background.

Nothing to see here? On the contrary. These two Eurasian security giants are no less than the – unusually relaxed – Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.

And why are they so relaxed? Because the future prospects revolving around the main theme of their conversation – the Russia-Iran strategic partnership – could not be more exciting.

This was a very serious business affair: an official visit, at the invitation of Shamkhani.

Patrushev was in Tehran on the exact same day that Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu – following a recommendation from General Sergey Surovikin, the overall commander of the Special Military Operation – ordered a Russian retreat from Kherson.

Patrushev knew it for days – so he had no problem to step on a plane to take care of business in Tehran. After all, the Kherson drama is part of the Patrushev negotiations with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Ukraine, which have been going on for weeks, with Saudi Arabia as eventual go-between.

Besides Ukraine, the two discussed “information security, as well as measures to counter interference in the internal affairs of both countries by western special services,” according to a report by Russia’s TASS news agency.

Both countries, as we know, are particular targets of western information warfare and sabotage, with Iran currently the focus of one of these no-holds-barred, foreign-backed, destabilization campaign.

Patrushev was officially received by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who went straight to the point: “The cooperation of independent countries is the strongest response to the sanctions and destabilization policies of the US and its allies.”

Patrushev, for his part, assured Raisi that for the Russian Federation, strategic relations with Iran are essential for Russian national security.

So that goes way beyond Geranium-2 kamikaze drones – the Russian cousins of the Shahed-136 – wreaking havoc in the Ukrainian battlefield. Which, by the way, elicited a direct mention later on by Shamkhani: “Iran welcomes a peaceful settlement in Ukraine and is in favor of peace based on dialogue between Moscow and Kiev.”

Patrushev and Shamkhani of course discussed security issues and the proverbial “cooperation in the international arena.” But what may be more significant is that the Russian delegation included officials from several key economic agencies.

There were no leaks – but that suggests serious economic connectivity remains at the heart of the strategic partnership between the two top sanctioned nations in Eurasia.

Key in the discussions was the Iranian focus on fast expansion of bilateral trade in national currencies – ruble and rial. That happens to be at the center of the drive by both the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS towards multipolarity. Iran is now a full SCO member – the only West Asian nation to be part of the Asian strategic behemoth – and will apply to become part of BRICS+.

Have swap, will travel

The Patrushev-Shamkhani get together happened ahead of the signing, next month, of a whopping $40 billion energy deal with Gazprom, as previously announced by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mahdi Safari.

The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has already clinched an initial $6.5 billion deal. All that revolves around the development of two gas deposits and six oilfields; swaps in natural gas and oil products; LNG projects; and building more gas pipelines.

Last month, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak announced a swap of 5 million tons of oil and 10 billion cubic meters of gas, to be finished by the end of 2022. And he confirmed that “the amount of Russian investment in Iran’s oil fields will increase.”

Barter of course is ideal for Moscow and Tehran to jointly bypass interminably problematic sanctions and payment settlement issues – linked to the western financial system. On top of it, Russia and Iran are able to invest in direct trade links via the Caspian Sea.

At the recent Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, Raisi forcefully proposed that a successful “new Asia” must necessarily develop an endogenous model for independent states.

As an SCO member, and playing a very important role, alongside Russia and India, in the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), Raisi is positioning Iran in a key vector of multilateralism.

Since Tehran entered the SCO, cooperation with both Russia and China, predictably, is on overdrive. Patrushev’s visit is part of that process. Tehran is leaving behind decades of Iranophobia and every possible declination of American “maximum pressure” – from sanctions to attempts at color revolution – to dynamically connect across Eurasia.

BRI, SCO, INSTC

Iran is a key Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) partner for China’s grand infrastructure project to connect Eurasia via road, sea, and train. In parallel, the multimodal Russian-led INSTC is essential to promote trade between the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia – at the same time solidifying Russia’s presence in the South Caucasus and the Caspian Sea region.

Iran and India have committed to offer part of Chabahar port in Iran to Central Asian nations, complete with access to exclusive economic zones.

At the recent SCO summit in Samarkand, both Russia and China made it quite clear – especially for the collective west – that Iran is no longer going to be treated as a pariah state.

So it is no wonder Iran that is entering a new business era with all members of the SCO under the sign of an emerging financial order being designed mostly by Russia, China and India. As far as strategic partnerships go, the ties between Russia and India (President Narendra Modi called it an unbreakable friendship) is as strong as those between Russia and China. And when it comes to Russia, that’s what Iran is aiming at.

The Patrushev-Shamkhani strategic meeting will hurl western hysteria to unseen levels – as it completely smashes Iranophobia and Russophobia in one fell swoop. Iran as a close ally is an unparalleled strategic asset for Russia in the drive towards multipolarity.

Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) are already negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in parallel to those swaps involving Russian oil. The west’s reliance on the SWIFT banking messaging system hardly makes any difference to Russia and Iran. The Global South is watching it closely, especially in Iran’s neighborhood where oil is commonly traded in US dollars.

It is starting to become clear to anyone in the west with an IQ above room temperature that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal), in the end, does not matter anymore. Iran’s future is directly connected to the success of three of the BRICS: Russia, China and India. Iran itself may soon become a BRICS+ member.

There’s more: Iran is even becoming a role model for the Persian Gulf: witness the lengthy queue of regional states aspiring toward gaining SCO membership. The Trumpian “Abraham Accords?” What’s that? BRICS/SCO/BRI is the only way to go in West Asia today.

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

The Real Progressive interview of Michael Hudson (with transcript!)

November 08, 2022

RP Live with Michael Hudson: The Destiny of Civilization

Real Progressive webinar Sept 2022

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Intro

[00:00:06] Luke Parcher: All right. For those who might not know me, I’m Luke Parcher, I’m a student and activist. I volunteer with Real Progressives. I’m on our leadership team and I also do a show on Sundays covering politics and current events, and I do some interviews throughout the week and things which you guys can find on Real Progress in Action.

I want to quickly talk about Real Progressives. If you’re interested in learning more about us, you can go to realprogressives.org. We have articles, content, podcasts, all sorts of things. And if you’re interested in helping us out, we are a nonprofit. You can go to realprogressives.org/donate. I also want to plug our founder and CEO, Steve Grumbine’s shows. He does the Rogue Scholar on YouTube on Real Progress in Action. He also does the Macro N Cheese podcast, where you can find our guest today, Michael Hudson, as one of many fantastic guests on that podcast.

So without further ado, I’d like to introduce our guest today. Michael is an economist, a professor of economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He’s also a researcher at the Levy Institute at Bard College. He’s a former Wall Street analyst, political consultant, and commentator and author. Michael, thank you so much for taking the time.

[00:01:06] Michael Hudson: Well, thanks for inviting me.

Question | Luke Parcher

[00:01:08] Luke Parcher: I wanted to kick things off for the first question. The title of your book is The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism, or Socialism.

Can you just explain how you came to such an all-encompassing title?

[00:01:20] Michael Hudson: Well, the world economy is now fracturing between two parts, the United States and Europe is the dollarized part. And this Western neoliberal unit is driving Eurasia and most of the Global South into a separate group. The conflict really is between finance capitalism in the United States and Europe against other countries – China, Russia, Iran, India – that are following the more traditional ethic and strategy of industrial capitalism.

The question is: how are countries going to be economically planned? Because every economy is planned by somebody. In the United States, the central planning has been taken out of the hands of government and put in Wall Street. In the City of London. A very rightwing philosophy. In other countries, there is a mixed economy – China and the rest of Eurasia – and their objective of planning and money creation and credit is to create industrial capital to create the means of production.

Obviously, also environmental cleanup now, not merely the means of production but an overall economic system, not simply to make fictitious capital, finance capital, without any reference to the industrial capital base, the earning of labor and industry together.

So there are two economic philosophies and I began the book by contrasting the dynamics of industrial capitalism with finance capitalism. And industrial capitalism in the United States, Germany, England, and every country where it took off, was to promote a public investment in basic infrastructure monopolies in transportation, communication, education, healthcare.

The idea is that if the government would provide these basic services and basic human rights at subsidized rates – or freely, as in the case of education and healthcare – then employers would not have to pay labor a high enough basic wage to make labor pay for healthcare – as in the United States where 18% of GDP is for healthcare – or to pay for education, the 1.7 trillion that goes for student debt in the United States, not mentioning the education that is not debt-financed.

Finance capitalism basically sought to break away all of the public infrastructure. Most financial fortunes and financial fortunes in history were made just in the way that Zola had described, by prying thefts from the public domain.

But the financial capitalism doesn’t say… You don’t have to steal it; you actually make it your policy, giving away the financial domain in the way that President Yeltsin gave away all of Russia’s natural resources, public utilities, electric companies, anything that yields an economic rent that can be just easy income without any investment. And you financialize it.

You’ve had, for the last – really since the 1980s, but even since World War 1 – this movement to prevent industrial economies from being low cost. But the objective of finance capitalism, contrary to what’s taught in the textbooks, is to make economies high cost, to raise the cost every year.

That actually is the explicit policy of the Federal Reserve in the United States. Turn over the central planning to the banking system to essentially inflate the price of housing, with government guaranteed mortgages, up to the point where buying a home is federally guaranteed up to absorbing 43% of the borrower’s income.

Well, you take that 43%, you take the wage withholding for social security and healthcare, you take the taxes; the domestic market shrinks and shrinks. And the finance capital strategy is exactly what it is in the United States today, in Europe. Shift all of the money away from the profits of industrial capital that are reinvested in making new means of production. To expand capital into a shrinking economy where the financial sector intrudes more and more into the economy of production and consumption and shrinks the economy.

The rest of the book all spells out how this transformation from industrial capitalism to finance capitalism occurred and how the fight between the United States and Russia, China, Iraq, Iran, and India – it’s really a conflict of economic systems. There’s no rivalry because they’re not trying to do the same thing. The objectives of the U.S. and Europe are completely different from the economic objectives of Eurasia. It’s a war of economic systems. And that’s why the United States is trying to prevent other countries from following the same path to industrial prosperity that made the United States, Germany and other countries originally rich.

So you have on the one hand a high productivity, high standard of living economy that used to be in the West and is now in Eurasia, as opposed to an economy of austerity planned by the IMF and central banks, as you’re finding in Europe.

Question | Virginia Cotts

[00:06:38] Luke Parcher: Fantastic. Thank you for that. First here we have Virginia Cotts, one of the people helping us backstage, has a question – if Virginia wants to come on screen and ask.

[00:06:47] Virginia Cotts: Michael, I’m not an economist. Can you explain debt deflation – but also how debt siphons money away from the real economy.

I once heard you say that the finance sector is the overhead of the real economy. I think these questions are related? If you could explain that.

[00:07:09] Michael Hudson: Well, the classic discussion of debt deflation was in Volume 3 of Capital, by Marx. And Marx said that debts tend to grow by compound interest.

He gave a citation of everybody from Martin Luther onwards about how any interest rate is a doubling time, it doubles in a given number of years. And it grows exponentially in an up-curve, like X equals Y squared. But the economy grows in the shape of an S-curve; it tapers off.

And one of the reasons that it tapers off in the business cycle is that as the cycle gains momentum, people go further and further into debt. And if you have to pay debt to a banker, if you have to pay student loans, if you have to pay credit card debt, if you have to pay mortgages on rising house prices, then the money you pay to the banker is not available to be spent on goods and services.

So as you have the debt ratio growing in every economy, that crowds out the ability to spend your income on goods and services. So right now many graduate students – you graduate from school, you have a student debt, and you have to live at home with your parents because you can’t get a mortgage to buy a house because the banks say, “Well, you’re already paying so much of your income for student debt that you don’t have any money left over to buy a mortgage, so you can’t buy a mortgage.”

Right now, you’re having the debt-ridden American economy being squeezed. More and more money is paid, not only for debt, but also for other overhead, like healthcare and various monopoly services that are not available to buy goods and services.

Debt deflation is when the growth of debt exceeds the rate of growth of the economy. And that’s true of every economy. The most sophisticated mathematical models that I’ve seen were the ones that were taught to every student in Babylon in 1750 BC.

We have the models that they were told. They say, how fast does a debt at the going rate of interest, at 20%, double? Well, it’s five years. How long does it take to redouble? Well, that’s 10 years. How long to quadruple? Well, that’s 15 years. You see how fast it is. They also would have students calculate the growth of a herd of sheep for instance, and it would all taper off. And when Assyriologists began to translate these cuneiform tablets, they thought, well, this must be an actual report of how the herd actually grew.

But then they found out that the Sumerians already in the third millennium had quadratic equations and very sophisticated mathematics. The mathematics that they used 5,000 years ago were far in advance of what the National Bureau of Economic Research uses.

The National Bureau here is officially in charge of explaining when there’s a recession, when there’s a boom, and explaining the business cycle. The basic theory was outlined and traced by Joseph Schumpeter. It’s a sign curve going up and down regularly, up and down. And the whole philosophy of the National Bureau is a right wing anti-government philosophy saying the economy has automatic stabilizers.

It can never get out of balance because the free market is always going to prevent any kind of chronic downturn. If you have a boom, well, prices will rise and that will cut into profits and that’ll slow investment. And that’ll means that wages will fall until it’s more profitable to begin employing labor again. And you’ll have a recovery, and things go on and on and on, like a sign curve, at a given frequency, forever and ever.

Well, what this deliberately leaves out of account, deliberately expurgates, is the fact that every recovery in the United States and every other Western economy since 1945, has occurred with a rising level of debt. And as debt grows each time, each recovery has been slower. And the reason it’s slower is because as the volume of debt rises, this leaves less and less income available to spend on goods and services. And so, the so-called recovery is weaker until finally it grinds to a halt.

Well, Ricardo anticipated something like that in 1817 in his Principles of Political Economy. He said: well, look at what’s going to happen to land rent. If we don’t prevent the landlords from being the planners of the economy, then the more and more population increases, the price of food will rise, the rents to the landlords will rise more and more until the entire economic surplus is paid for rent and there won’t be any opportunities available to industrial employers. And Marx said, well, this was the Armageddon of capitalism.

In Ricardo’s day, people didn’t borrow to buy housing. It was still hereditary landlords. If your ancestors conquered England and killed enough Englishmen to become aristocrats, you’d inherit it and you didn’t have to borrow. But now that real estate has been democratized in the United States, England and Europe, you have to go into debt in order to buy a house.

And the largest amount of debt in every economy is for real estate, which accounts for 80% of bank loans in the United States and England. Essentially, if you want to buy a house you go to a bank they’ll calculate — well, here’s the rental value of that house. The winner, if you’re trying to bid for a house or an apartment against somebody else, the winner is the buyer who promises to pay the most for the property by taking out a bank loan that absorbs most of the rent as interest. So today, the rent that Ricardo said was going to drive industrial capitalism to a halt, is turned into interest. So it’s the rise in interest that is the Armageddon of industrial capitalism driving the economy to a halt.

I chart most of these in my book Killing the Host, where I give a history of compound interest. But basically the Western economies are all subject to debt deflation today.

And that’s why they’re shrinking. And living standards here are not rising and the economy is not growing, in contrast to China, Russia, Iran, India, and the other countries that don’t have this kind of financial sector doing their planning.

Question | Luke Parcher

[00:13:47] Luke Parcher: I was hoping you could expand on a point you actually mentioned just before we went live, distinguishing between different kinds of debt and which kinds of debt are parasitic and need to be rid of and which ones do not. Can you just quickly distinguish between different types of debt?

[00:14:00] Michael Hudson: Well, in textbooks that students read, corporations will borrow from a bank and they will use this borrowing to build a factory, and to buy machinery, and to produce something.

And the profits will be paid – shared 50/50 or so – with the creditor. So a productive debt is debt which, actually, enables the creditor to repay the loan with the interest and still keep something for himself. Banks don’t lend money to build factories. The stock market does that. The money the banks lend is unproductive debt.

Unproductive debt is when the debt doesn’t enable you to earn more money to pay the creditor. In an unproductive debt, you have to earn the money elsewhere and take money that you may earn as wages or profits and pay the bank. And it’s your loss. It’s a zero sum game, not a positive sum game.

Now this distinction between productive and unproductive debt was built into Sumerian and Babylonian laws. Only unproductive debts were canceled under the Jubilee year the rulers announced. Their word was, andurarum and, the Hebrew, cognate was deror and that was the word used for the Jubilee year.

It meant the rural debts – that when there was a crop failure, and the borrower could not pay the advance of the land rent and the other means of production. Obviously, if the borrower couldn’t repay because there was a crop failure, or a drought, or a disease, or a flood, then the debts were wiped out because that debt did not enable anyone to repay.

And if you didn’t cancel the debt, then the poor cultivator would be forced into a debt bondage to the creditor. And if he did that, then his labor would belong to the creditor and he couldn’t serve in the army. He couldn’t go to work on building public infrastructure. The business debts were all left in place. Debt denominated in silver were left in place and not canceled. The debts denominated in grain were canceled.

Well, in the 12th and 13th century, crusades flooded Europe with money. The Christian Church saw that commerce was reviving. You needed credit. The church theorists said, okay, there’s a productive debt. You’ll make loans to a merchant to trade. He’ll have the money to repay you, that’s productive. But, a debt to a consumer who can’t, is usury. And so ancient languages had no words to distinguish interest from usury.

But the churchmen said, okay, usury is unproductive debt. Interest is a productive debt. Those two words, those were the original meanings of the distinction between interest and usury. That’s been eradicated today when everything is considered productive and part of the free market. And, if it makes the billionaire class rich, it’s productive. That’s basically the thing today.

And the only debts that are supposed to be canceled are debts that the financial sector owns. The banks don’t have to pay the billionaires. Only people with less than a billion dollars have to pay debt. The poorer you are, the more debt you have to pay. They’ve reversed the whole last thousand years of Christian morality as the church has become privatized and financialized.

Question | L Lewis

[00:17:21] Luke Parcher: Fantastic. We have a question here in the chat. This is from L Lewis. It says China has opted for industrialization and the U.S. corporate class clearly has not. Why is the U.S. so belligerent if it doesn’t even want an industrial system?

[00:17:35] Michael Hudson: Because it doesn’t want any other country to have an industrial system. Just like the West fought against communism threatening a new social system after the 1917 revolution, America’s terrified that if China can succeed by following the exact same policy that the United States got rich on in the late 19th century, then they might try to make America rich. And, oh my God, if they do that then there’s no more free lunch for the billionaires.

This is life and death for the billionaires. They make their money by exploiting the economy without producing. The Chinese billionaires make their money by producing and exploiting the economy. But they also produce a lot. And then they have to give up much of what they exploit. So the United States doesn’t want there to be any success in any country achieving prosperity in a way that doesn’t siphon off all of the income to the 1%.

Question | Andy Kennedy

[00:18:28] Luke Parcher: And we have a question here from Andy Kennedy.

[00:18:32] Andy Kennedy: Michael, I believe that you coined the phrase monetary hegemony. I believe it was in Super Imperialism, a book that you wrote a while back. But I think that’s something that a lot of people really have a hard time grasping what that even means. Can you talk a little bit about how the U.S. dollar hegemony has been a large part of why the U.S. became de-industrialized.

[00:19:01] Michael Hudson: Well, that is what my book, Super Imperialism, was all about, that I published in 1972. Dollar hegemony really began in 1972. Hegemony is a word that I can never really work into conversation very easily. It was actually Henry Liu that emphasized that term. He’s a friend of mine and we were colleagues for many years. The dollar hegemony means the United States can issue dollar bonds, IOUs, and it never has to repay them. If we run a balance of payments deficit in the United States, the dollars end up in the foreign central banks. Most of the U.S. balance of payments deficits since the Korean war have been for military spending.

While America is spending money on creating military bases all over the world, these countries will end up with the dollars that we spend to build the bases and buy off client oligarchies. And these dollars are turned over to the local central bank for domestic currency. And the central bank is going to say, “What do we do with the dollars?” Well, they will tend to hold the dollars in the form of buying a U.S. Treasury bond because central banks aren’t supposed to take risks.

So they will essentially buy the Treasury bonds and the United States has no intention of ever paying the Treasury bonds. How is it going to pay? It was paying in gold until 1971. So when the United States would spend money in Vietnam, the dollars that were spent in Southeast Asia, in Japan, in other countries, would be sent from Vietnam to their head office in Paris.

And General de Gaulle would say, “Well, here are these dollars. Now give us gold.” And the U.S. gold stock was going down and down and down. The American strategists worried that this was going to really hurt the country’s ability to dominate the world. So when they went off gold in 1971, everybody thought that this was going to end American financial leadership.

Instead, it was a great increase. It created dollar hegemony because there was nothing for foreign central banks to hold their reserves in except U.S. Treasury bills, Treasury bonds. In other words, Treasury IOUs. So the more money that America would spend abroad in a balance of payments deficit, this money would end up being recycled to the United States in the form of Treasury securities. And so it was actually the balance of payments deficit by military spending that helped finance the U.S. domestic budget deficit. Other countries really didn’t have an alternative. And so when the United States took the lead in creating the Eurozone, it made sure that the Eurozone would never make the Euro an alternative currency to the U.S. dollar because it limited the Eurozone’s ability to run a budget deficit to just 3% of GDP.

Well, what that means is that when Europe goes into a recession and needs to increase government spending like the United States does when it’s in a recession, or like the United States is doing today, running a budget deficit way in excess of 3% of the GDP, Europe is not. So there are not enough Euro bonds by the central bank to ever become a rival for the United States dollar.

Well, all of this is now being changed by Russia and China that they have discussed for the last few years. “In order to stop U.S. hegemony, we have to avoid financing our own military encirclement by lending to the U.S. Treasury that turns it over to the military industrial complex and Pentagon to build bases here.So we’re going to have an alternative to the U.S. dollar.”

Well, they were talking about it – Russia, China, other countries – really for five years. And amazingly enough, the end of dollar hegemony occurred last year when the United States itself said if any country pursues a policy that we don’t like, we can grab all of the dollar reserves that they hold in the United States.

We can grab all of the Treasury bonds they hold. We can just take them. All the bank deposits they have, we can grab. They grabbed that of Venezuela first. They grabbed that of Iran. They grabbed that of Afghanistan. And then they grabbed the $300 billion of Russia. So now the United States has told any country, if you do anything that we don’t like, if you do not let our companies buy control of your economy, or if you try to sue one of our oil companies that pollutes your land, we will grab all of your money and you’ll be isolated.

Well, this ends other countries’ ability to finance the American empire anymore. Other countries are terrified now. If they’re all saying “Let’s not denominate our trade in dollars. Let’s not use the dollars. Let’s use each other’s currencies. We will finance other governments’ treasuries.”

And these treasuries that they’re financing – between China, Russia, Iran, India, and their neighboring countries – are loans to help their treasuries build infrastructure and internal improvements to actually increase the economy growing. Well, the United States itself has brought this about by all the sanctions that it’s imposing. It’s an example of the self-defeating character of the U.S. strategists.

Fortunately, none of them understand how an economy actually works anymore than they understand how military strategy really works. So we’re having armchair amateurs essentially ending a whole system that was giving America a free lunch for the last 50 years.

Question | Jordan S

[00:24:54] Luke Parcher: So we have one here in the chat from Jordan Soreff. He asks, how do you see the interaction between major shareholders of large financial institutions and major shareholders of industrial enterprises? Do you see a lot of common ownership between these kinds of institutions? And if so, wouldn’t they collaborate in order to avoid starving industrial enterprises of access to credit and guarantee some basic form of growth, not only for financial institutions, but also for industrial enterprises.

[00:25:20] Michael Hudson: Not at all. They’re collaborating in destroying the industrial sector. They collaborate in turning industrial corporations into financial firms. and when you turn the management of a corporation away from the engineers and turn it over to the chief financial officer, the chief financial officer says, “Our job is not to increase our industrial production. Our job is to increase the stock’s price. And we can maximize the stock’s price by, instead of spending on research and development that’ll take years to pay off, we can spend our income on buying the shares.”

92% of the profits of the Fortune 500 are spent on share buybacks and dividend payouts, not on new investment. Once you financialize an industrial corporation, you’re trying to make money by financial engineering, not industrial engineering. And you do this by essentially using your income to buy up the share price. This is short term – and finance lives in the short term. The reason finance has no interest in building up industrial power is that that takes years and years to actually plan a factory, plan the production. You have to develop a whole marketing system.

How are we going to sell the product once we produce it? How are we going to distribute it? It takes a lot of planning. It’s beyond the ability of the financiers. You don’t need brains to be a financier. All you need is greed. And you really don’t need a business school. All you need is greed.

And greed is short term. I want it now. Greed is not long term planning. And so, you have a completely different mentality of a financial corporate leader, as opposed to an industrial leader. Someone like, let’s say, Henry Ford, or like the old type of industrial leaders that would try to increase the overall profits to expand production more and more. Today the objective is to shrink production more and more.

Question | Jonathan Kadmon

[00:27:18] Luke Parcher: And we have a question here from Jonathan.

[00:27:21] Jonathan Kadmon: There’s a concept you mentioned in the book that’s also very near and dear to my heart. The commodification of essential goods and services, and extortionist incentives that come when you…

[00:27:32] Michael Hudson: Is that the title of a book?

[00:27:33] Jonathan Kadmon: No, it’s definitely a theme you touch on a bunch of times in your book.

[00:27:37] Michael Hudson: Oh, okay.

[00:27:37] Jonathan Kadmon: And I was hoping you could talk a little bit about how the hostage situation created by commodifying things like housing, healthcare, food, transportation, fuel, things like that – that people need rather than want – is used to extract rents and siphon wealth out of the productive economy to service the wealth demand of the FIRE sector [Finance, Insurance, Real Estate]

[00:28:00] Michael Hudson: Well, the free trade ideology that backs monopolies says that all markets are a function of choice. But the way to control a market is not to give the consumers a choice. And when you say hostage, what that means is people don’t have a choice between whether to eat or to pay a bank.

If they have to buy food or if they have to buy medical care, they have to pay whatever the going price is. Anatole France said that the rich person was as free as the poor person to sleep under the bridge when he didn’t have a house. So the objective of rent seeking is to essentially create a situation where people have no alternative but to buy the service or the good that you’re producing.

If they have no alternative, then you can charge whatever you want. This is the case with most public infrastructure. If you want to mail a letter, you have to pay whatever the going postage is, or whatever parcel service costs. Well, this is why, for about a thousand years leading up to the late 20th century, all governments kept basic services in the public domain – the post office, education, healthcare. You don’t want to privatize them and leave them to the market because if you leave them to the market, then it really isn’t a matter of choice at all.

It’s a matter of letting a monopolist take something that everybody needs, no matter what the price, and charge as much as the market will bear. And that’s a rent-seeking monopoly. That basically is the philosophy that Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and the free marketers developed since the 1980s, when you had a privatization of basic needs, especially in housing. And the most important utility that’s been privatized of course has been money and credit creation – the banking system. What has enabled China to avoid the financialization that’s occurred in the United States is because the Central Bank of China is run by the government, not by a financial oligarchy of bankers that get together to run the credit system for their own benefit. But if the government treats money as a public utility, everybody needs money, everybody needs credit, and the government will provide the credit as needed for the economy to grow.

And if the economy has a slowdown, or if a company runs into a financial problem, if you’re the government as a creditor, you can write down the debt. In the United States, if you’ve made loans to a company like General Electric and all of a sudden it can’t pay, the company either goes bankrupt or begins to sell off its assets piece by piece to other people and you have industry being turned into gentrified luxury housing.

So the same thing with healthcare. If you privatize healthcare, everybody needs to go to the hospital. Everybody needs doctor care. If you privatize it then in the United States, 18% of your GDP is going to go to healthcare. The objective is to make healthcare as inefficient and cheap as possible to maximize the profits of the health insurance companies. And the sicker you get, the more money they make.

Also, by the way, the sicker you get, the more GDP goes up. GDP goes up because you have to spend more money healing yourself. So, that’s, a growing part of the American GDP – along with rent and debt service and interest. Well, if you keep healthcare in the public sector, the public sector is going to try to actually keep people healthy instead of sick. And they’re trying to minimize the expense of getting sick so that you leave more money in the hands of households to spend on the real economy of production and consumption, not on giving money to the monopolies.

But in the United States the main utility beside money that’s been privatized is government. Under the Citizens United ruling, the government is now really up for sale and auctioned off to the highest campaign contributors. In the Democratic Party, for instance, every Democratic representative has to raise a given amount of money from campaign contributors to give to the Democrat National Committee.

So whoever can raise the most money gets to be the committee heads. Well, you’ll have the pharmaceuticals industry giving a lot of money to some representative they want to be head of the health committee. You’ll have the bankers giving money to whoever they want to be the head of the banking committee and so on. So, the function of government itself once it’s privatized is to make money for the donor class, which basically is the financial class and the monopoly class that finance creates. Banks have always been the mother of monopolies and the financial sector’s largest business market is in creating monopolies. So, you have basically the privatization of monopolies.

And the monopoly rent of these monopolies is used for paying interest to the banks that finance the corporate raiders, or whoever wants to take over and buy these monopoly privileges.

Question | Luke Parcher

[00:33:14] Luke Parcher: We have a question here from Paul Birtwell. Paul, go ahead.

[00:33:18] Paul B: Hi, Dr. Hudson. Could you briefly touch on the concept of economic rent and unearned income as well as how the establishment became established by conquering Europe, privatizing the commons all the way up through colonialism, and how they use all these little privileges through copyrights, patents, formula, and it’s not really through effort or innovation, but it’s through rake off.

I remember you in an interview, I’m paraphrasing, saying something like: For the crime of being conquered, the 99% and all of the descendants are obligated to take care of the 1% and all of their descendants into perpetuity.

But it would be great if you could touch on those historical elements because most folks think, “Hey, these folks that are really rich are smarter, they worked harder.” And as we know, it’s not based on effort or individual contribution but rather just milking society.

[00:34:16] Michael Hudson: Well, it’s very hard to answer that question very briefly in a question and answer. I’ve written two chapters of the Destiny of Civilization describing exactly what you’ve asked: economic rent. All classical economics – from Adam Smith through Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, Marx, Alfred Marshall – was all about value and price theory in order to segregate how much of the price is not reflected by a real cost of production. Economic rent is unnecessary income.

Economic rent is what you’re able to charge more than just the cost of producing goods and service with a profit. It’s “What is a free lunch?” And the free marketers say, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” That’s what Milton Friedman said. But a rentier economy is all about a free lunch. The concept of economic rent in the 19th century was aimed at landlords because they inherited the land. The land does not have a cost of production. And yet, if you have an ownership right to the land, a privilege of legal ownership of the land, you have a legal boundary and you can charge rent without any effort of your own.

John Stuart Mill said economic rent is what landlords make in their sleep. They don’t have to make a productive effort. Well, actually a theory of rent went way back to the churchmen in the 13th century describing what is a fair return to bankers. The economy needs credit, all economies work on credit, traders need credit. They need the money exchange from one currency to another. The value of banking services is the cost of living, the cost of doing business, the cost to have a certain lifestyle that’s becoming of a banker.

But everything that’s over and above normal living prosperity and costs is called usury. That’s not a valid cost. And so that was deemed illegal already in the 13th century. Well, Ricardo in the 19th century used the landlords as the main rent recipients of the hereditary landed aristocracy. Rent is what a landlord would get just for the ownership privilege of having a land. And so if you go out and buy a house today and the price of land goes up because the city will increase bus service or a transportation service. For instance, in New York City, a few years ago, they extended and built the Second Avenue subway that went uptown, along Second Avenue. Real estate prices all soared for real estate on Second Avenue. That was a free lunch.

The landlords didn’t do anything at all to increase the real estate rents that they were charging. Rents went way up. If you lived on Second Avenue or First Avenue, even Third Avenue, you had to pay much higher rent because you no longer had to walk half a mile to get to the Lexington subway that was very overcrowded. You could have the nice uncrowded, Second Avenue subway.

And yet, this rent increased not by the expenditure of any cost. It was rent without value. It was the price of housing without cost value. So rent is the unnecessary element of price over and above what it actually costs to produce something. And rentier income is the income that is unnecessary.

To actually pay a industrialist for building a factory… industrialists would be happy with making the normal rate of profit. But if you have a special technology monopoly like the drug companies, then you can make super-profits. So rents are super-profits, basically. That’s the difference. Anyway, that’s to your question.

Question | Roxanne D

[00:37:58] Luke Parcher: Right on. We have, a question here from Roxanne Devereaux. She says, if you’ve answered this, maybe just elaborate on your answer, but in a perfect world where government actually served the people, what would a debt jubilee look like and how could it reverberate through society?

Most examples I’m familiar with happened before the industrial revolution.

[00:38:14] Michael Hudson: Well, the best example is the German financial miracle of 1947, 1948, the allied monetary reform. All internal debts were canceled except for people’s bank accounts up to a given amount and except for the money that employers owed their employees.

And the reason is that most of the wealth, most of the bank deposits, most of the creditors’ claims, were by the Nazis. And the American occupation said, well, we don’t want the Nazis to get rich. So the good thing about canceling debts is you cancel the savings of bad guys. In 1947 it was the Nazis; today it’s the 1%.

If you cancel the debts that I’ve said should be canceled – the sort of bad debts that are not necessarily production – then you cancel all of this vast accumulation of savings by the 1%. For instance, if you cancel student debts, that would free income for spending on democracy.

If you cancel all the debts that US banks owe to the offshore banking centers in the Caribbean, Panama, Liberia. All of this is flight capital. This is criminal capital. Cancel out all the debt of criminal capital and fraud. When Greece was running into its financial crisis seven years ago, Greece owed 50 billion euros of debt that it was trying to write down.

And the IMF produced a list called the Lagarde List that had deposits of Greek crooks and tax evaders in Switzerland were $50 billion. That 50 billion could have been wiped out. One of the first debt cancellations that went wrong was in Sparta in the third century, BC, under Agis and Cleomenes. When they canceled the debts, the people who wanted to cancel the debts were people who’d bought land on credit and they wanted their debt.

They wanted to own the land free and clear and cancel the mortgages. So some debts you don’t want to write down. If you were to write down mortgage debts, Donald Trump and real estate speculators would be the richest people in the country. So you don’t want to write down their debts.

Their debts will remain on the books. But if they were written down, well, first of all then, their debts are the banking systems assets. So Citibank would be even more insolvent than it is already and the banks would go under. They would be taken over by the public sector because if you have the mortgage debt wiped out, there’s still economic rent. Because people are willing to pay more money for a well-situated property that would, uh, in place of the banks getting the rental value as mortgage debt, the government would get the same rental value in the form of a land tax. That was what classical economics was all about. That was Adam Smith. That was John Stuart Mill. That was the whole reform movement of the late 19th century. So you want to cancel the bad debts, but you don’t want to make debtors who are just speculators rich in the process.

You want to make sure that you only cancel the bad debts and you don’t create a new rentier class. The idea is to look at the economy as a system and see what should the government receive as economic rent. And it can decide what is it going to receive for healthcare. The government… if the government took over the healthcare industry, it probably would not charge the prices that healthcare charges today. It would charge less. Same thing for housing. If housing were run like England ran its council housing before Margaret Thatcher, it would be very low. In Germany, Germany pays only 10% of its average family income for rent, not 30 or 40% as in the case of the United States.

That’s what used to make Germany, until last month, so competitive an economy. So, you’d restructure the economy so that it would only have debts that were socially necessary to keep the economy operating. Debts will begin to grow all over again.

Debts will always begin to grow over and over again. If you don’t ban interest, you permit debts to grow, but when they get so problematic that they threaten economic growth, then you have to write them down to a level where they will no longer prevent economic growth from occurring as they’re doing today.

Question | Doug G

[00:42:45] Luke Parcher: So we have one from Doug Greer here. He says many people seem to confuse the lessons of MMT with the super imperialism of the US dollar being the reserve currency of the world. Is the ability to create dollars to finance domestic needs of the US, like healthcare and infrastructure, dependent on the US dollar being the reserve currency?

Can you clarify?

[00:43:05] Michael Hudson: They’re completely separate. Any country can use its credit creation, either by the central bank or by commercial banks, to create credit. It doesn’t have to be linked to the balance of payments, except that if a country’s running a balance of payments deficit its currency will fall, unless it can balance the payments somehow.

So they are different questions.

Question | Fabiano D

[00:43:30] Luke Parcher: We have one from Fabiano D. Being that politicians, therefore government, are in the pockets of the rentier class, how do you think we could get rid of such rentier influence in order to implement socially oriented policies?

[00:43:43] Michael Hudson: That has never happened without a revolution. That’s the problem. How do you get rid of them? Well, I don’t see any way for the United States to get rid of them. It took a revolution in China. It took a revolution in Russia. That’s the problem right there.

You did have the beginning of a peaceful revolution in England in the 19th century and, leading to a constitutional crisis in 1909 and 1910, when the House of Commons actually passed the land tax and the House of Lords, being the landed aristocracy, canceled it. That caused a crisis.

And the upshot was the House of Lords was never, again, going to be able to negate a revenue act passed by the House of Commons. So that was actually a peaceful resolution of a constitutional crisis. Then World War I came and changed everything. But today I don’t see that kind of a peaceful resolution occurring in the United States.

They’re not going to repeal the Citizens United act, and, from what it looks like to me, the economy is going to get more and more highly squeezed and more polarized between the 1% and the 99%. I would say it’s a class war except finance isn’t really a class because everybody is a creditor as well as a debtor in some sense or another. So it’s really a financial dynamic against the rest of the economy. One of the points that Marx made in Volume 3 of Capital was that finance grows by purely mathematical laws of its own, having no relation to the growth of the economy. It’s an autonomous economic system.

And I think that autonomous economic system is independent of the government here and yet, unless you have a study of economics as an economic system – understanding what’s causing the polarization and the poverty in the United States – you’re not going to be able to have a reform movement to change the system.

The role of economics departments is to dumb down the understanding of the economy. You’re not going to have any kind of a peaceful reform movement here.

Question | Cristina

[00:45:47] Luke Parcher: We have a question here from Cristina who asks, what are the steps we can take to fix the housing crisis? Kind of a broad question, but if you have any policy prescriptions there, that would be great.

[00:45:57] Michael Hudson: There’s very little that individuals can do. The 19th century dealt with this question increasingly. And their solution was if you have a calculation of the land rent, as opposed to what it costs to build a building – we all know that if you build a building the contractor and the builder or developer have to make a profit, but if the government will tax the land rent, then it will not be available to the banks to charge as interest.

So, if you tax the land rent, then the land rent is not going to be capitalized into a bank loan, and housing prices will be kept down to the actual cost of construction plus normal profits. And as housing becomes more desirable, or as the economy becomes more profitable, or as cities build more Second Avenue subways and the rental value goes up, the taxes will go up. That will prevent this increased rent from taking a financial form and will simply be the source of a government revenue. It requires a tax system to tax away the economic rent, so that housing does not reflect the speculation and the economic rent that is caused by the privatization that’s been occurring. Especially since 2008.

Question | Tim

[00:47:11] Luke Parcher: So this one is from Tim. Tim says one argument against de-dollarization is the liquidity and stability of the US dollar. For example, oil is based in dollars and many OPEC countries have their currencies pegged to the dollar, such that they benefit from a strong dollar. At this age, the transition into trade in local currency pairs against these advantages of dollar as reserve currency.

[00:47:32] Michael Hudson: Well, that’s exactly what this last weekend’s Shanghai cooperation meetings were all about. Any country that holds its central bank reserves in dollars has a stake and in wanting to lose the money. China has the largest dollar holdings of any government and its currency has gone down and down and down.

China’s willing to take a loss on this by moving out of the dollars. The solution is, as both President Xi and President Putin pointed out, we’re going to move out of the dollar so we don’t have a stake in the dollar. It can go up or down. It is not going to bother us. They’re not buying or selling to us anymore.

Anyway, they’re sanctioning us. So let’s go with what president Biden wants. He says, you go your way, we’ll go our way. Fine. Let’s go our own ways and use each other’s currency, and that way, it won’t matter. So, it won’t matter to them. If moving out of the dollar means that there’s less demand for the dollars and it goes down, what they’re gaining is freedom.

So, this is the price of their economic liberty from dollar diplomacy.

[00:48:34] Luke Parcher: We have another question here from Virginia Cotts.

Question | Virginia Cotts

[00:48:36] Virginia Cotts: Michael, I feel like we have… some people have a lot of nostalgia for the post World War II social democracies of Europe. I can’t remember if it was in your book or in an interview you described Thatcher’s process of privatizing in England. Could you talk about that? Because I didn’t know a lot of that.

[00:49:00] Michael Hudson: Well, Margaret Thatcher said that her greatest contribution was Tony Blair. And Tony Blair was an opportunist who got enough support from the United States to move the British Labour party to the right of the Conservative Party and do what Margaret Thatcher never could have done. By even privatizing the railroads, by being more viciously anti-labor, the social democratic parties in every country have been so pushed by what the CIA called “the mighty Wurlitzer of public opinion” – meaning bribes to the politicians – that they’ve financed the campaigns of neoliberals to pretend to be pro-labor, to pretend to be socialist, while actually they’re the far right wing of the political spectrum. I won’t call them fascist. But let’s just say there’s nothing the fascists would not like in the social democratic parties. So, here you have the most right wing parties in Europe are the social democratic parties. Way to the right.

I guess the most right wing neofascist party is, of course, the Greens in Germany that are the pro-war party. And anti-labor. But basically, there is no longer a real labor party representing the interests of labor. They’ve all been co-opted by demagogues. The social democratic parties in a way have been like the peace parties.

The first thing that every peace party does when there’s a war is they’re at the head of the pro-war patriotism parade. That was what Trotsky noted about World War One. The peace parties jumped on the bandwagon in Germany, Austria, England, America. Social democratic parties have done the same thing when there’s a neoliberal right wing corporatist financialization. They’ve all been persuaded to do it.

The equivalent was like what the Clintons did to the United States since the 1990s. In the United States, the Democratic Party is the far right wing party now. And I guess when I answered the question about what can Americans do to help the housing crisis… You cannot solve the housing crisis until you end the Democratic Party. You cannot solve the labor problem without ending the Democratic Party. Because that is the party of Wall Street. That is the party of the 1%. Its function is to make sure that there cannot be any left wing opposition to block the Republican Party’s program.

What Bill Clinton did, the Republicans never could have done. Backing Alan Greenspan and the right wingers in getting rid of the acts preventing banks from owning insurance companies and brokerage houses. Getting rid of the Glass Steagall Act. And no Republican could have done anything as viciously anti-black and anti-Hispanic as President Obama, whose policies are basically identical with those of the Ku Klux Klan.

Obama’s role was essentially to reverse the attempt by blacks and hispanics to become homeowners. His objective was to replace black home ownership and hispanic home ownership with ownership by private capital companies. His role in 2009 was to bail out the banks – the fraudulent banks that had written the junk mortgages – and to keep the junk mortgages on the hook to evict almost 10 million American families. And not fine the banks, not throw a single crooked banker in jail. This ended the hopes of the low income Americans – and especially the minorities – to have housing.

If you say, what can we do about housing? Well, if you’re black or Hispanic, you must avoid the Democratic Party like the plague. And you must come to terms with the fact that it was Obama that was the most anti-black president of the 20th century, except of course for Woodrow Wilson. The damage that he’s done has not been widely recognized here.

And, he has put in place a Democratic Party leadership that is so anti-labor, so white racist. and so pro-Wall Street that I don’t think it is reformable.

Question | Luke Parcher

[00:53:18] Luke Parcher: And just to build on what you were just talking about there, Michael, I’m kind of stunned by the extent to which people buy into the partisan false dichotomy in this country and seem to think there are all these massive differences between the parties.

And that obviously is an issue-by-issue thing, but I’m curious where you think that buy-in comes from and how we might be able to cut into it. The fear mongering about Trump is I think overstating the differences between Trump and Biden on these issues. Can you talk a little bit about that?

[00:53:43] Michael Hudson: Yes. The Republican Party’s role is to say to Wall Street, “Yes, please.” And the Democratic Party’s policy is to say “Yes, thank you.” But that’s basically it. You’ll notice, like in Ohio, the Democratic National Committee is backing a right-winger who is going to play the role of West Virginia Senator Manchin or Arizona’s Sinema. The Democrats want to make sure that it has enough Republicans running as Democrats, that if there’s ever a danger of promoting a bill that is good for the working class or the racial minorities or ethnic minorities, that you’ll have the Republicans running as Democrat to cancel it, to play the role.

There’ll always be many senators right behind Manchin and Sinema in the wings to prevent the Democrats from doing anything that does not serve the short-term immediate interests of their Wall Street bankers… Backers.

Question | Bruce W

[00:54:39] Luke Parcher: Rotating villain is a very real concept for sure. We have a question here from Bruce Wall who asks, which of the public banking and monetary reform movements do you support, if any? I have in mind Public Banking Institute, American Monetary Institute, the Alliance of Just Money, Christine Desan’s Just Money. What about figures like Robert Hockett?

[00:54:58] Michael Hudson: Well, I’m on the board of directors of the Public Banking Institute. Steve Zarlenga was a good friend of mine.

I was at all of his early conferences. So they both have very good ideas. And… I’m blocking out the name. Who’s the head of the public banking?

[00:55:15] Virginia Cotts: That’s not Ellen Brown, is it?

[00:55:17] Michael Hudson: Yeah. Ellen Brown. Ellen would be all in favor of many of the things I’ve talked about, but she doesn’t think that a debt cancellation is politically feasible right now. And of course, she’s right. So she’s said that, well, public banks can provide the model for what could be. The result of what happens if Obama would have let Citibank go bankrupt.

The Republican head of the FDIC [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation] urged that Citibank, being run by crooks… but, Obama put an even bigger crook in charge. Geithner, who was working for his banker Robert Rubin, basically did not let Citibank go bankrupt because that would’ve wiped out the stockholders.

And as Sheila Bair, the head of FDIC, said, well, it was all about the bond holders. And Sheila said, if Citigroup would’ve gone under, then that meant the government would’ve had the biggest bank in the country, and it could actually run a commercial bank along making good loans instead of making loans to corporate raiders. Instead of making crooked mortgage loans and fake loans, it could actually make loans to help the economy grow. Well, she’s quite right. That would’ve been a good idea.

So she’s concentrated.on public banks for what they can do. And she said, at least by having a public bank, you’ll keep the deposits of the public sector – the government, the state agencies, and hopefully the local city agencies – in the public domain, out of the hands of, the commercial bankers and Wall Street, so that you can use the money for a good purpose.

So, I’m all in favor of what she’s doing. Steve Zarlenga at American monetary Institute was for the hundred percent reserve plan that was proposed in the 1930s. And that is, commercial banks would actually be reduced to the status of savings banks.

A hundred percent reserves. Could not create credit. They could only make loans from deposits. Of course, if they had a productive loan made, the government, the Treasury, would act as the depositor – simply increase the deposits in the bank to enable them to make productive loans.

And that also, in principle, is a very good idea. That’s why I supported that. And of course that was the program that was introduced by Dennis Kusinich in his presidential run. I was Kusinich’s economic advisor. So those are the two groups that I’m most familiar with and the most in favor of.

Question | Rasha 

[00:57:41] Luke Parcher: We have a question here from Rasha. What role does defining money play in shaping the economy? How do you define money? Is it a record of value transferred between economic actors or is it a commodity? If you agree that money is a record of value transferred between two or more economic actors, isn’t it possible to create money on demand by any two or more economic actors in a decentralized manner, as opposed to central private banks providing there is a scientific formula by which value of goods and services is assigned.

[00:58:10] Michael Hudson: Oh, my God. I can’t even begin to answer that. The jargon is so misleading. Money has nothing to do with value. Money is debt. That’s the opposite of value. It’s a transfer of debt among people, it’s not a transfer of value. You’re using a very right wing, quite frankly, a fascist economic terminology, maybe without meaning to. But it’s not value, it’s debt created out of thin air. It’s credit.

When you go into a bank and you take out a loan the bank doesn’t say let me see how much money I have on deposit to lend you. They will just write you a loan. They’ll create a bank deposit and in exchange you’ll give them an IOU. It’s debt, loans, that create deposits, not the other way around. Anyone who talks about money and value, you want to stop talking to them immediately. Because you know that it’s just going to be patter talk for propaganda.

Question | Tom

[00:59:03] Luke Parcher: So we have one here from Tom. Tom asks: all prices of all things for sale are not rising. Therefore, the term inflation is not what we are experiencing. For example, the market is working. Money is moving from those without oil to those with oil.

Why does no trained economist understand and label this a normal market redistribution period or some term listed in textbooks for reference? And why is the concept called inflation, which scares unknowing economists and today’s consumers who needlessly suffer from money famine, so poorly taught and so poorly understood?

[00:59:33] Michael Hudson: The question is so bizarre, I cannot answer it. It’s just how do you, how do you answer a swamp and straighten out what they’re saying to give them an answer? It’s a swamp. I can’t answer that.

[00:59:42] Luke Parcher: I suppose in general, what would you prescribe the price increases that we’ve seen today to?

[00:59:47] Michael Hudson: Very largely monopoly positions. The reason oil prices are going up is not because there’s an oil shortage. It’s because the oil companies find an excuse to use the newspaper reports that there will be an oil shortage at some point to raise the prices right now. Adam Tooze wrote a good article a few days ago, comparing the inflation in Europe to the inflation in the United States. In Europe, the price inflation is almost exclusively for energy and for oil and gas derivatives. In the United States, the inflation is much broader – it’s over the whole course.

Again, you want to look at the economy as a system. You don’t want to reduce everything to one-dimensional “here’s the price level”. You want to look at the multi-layered economy. What are the cost prices? What are the economic rents? What are the monopoly prices? What’s the tax system? You have to look at the economy as a system, not in a one-dimensional way. So, I can’t untangle all of the jumble any clearer than that.

Question | Paul B

[01:00:55] Luke Parcher: We have one here from Paul Birtwell again. Could Dr. Hudson touch on and acknowledge the validity of MMT? What do you think is the importance of MMT and how does it apply to this discussion?

[01:01:04] Michael Hudson: Well, I was on the faculty of the UMKC, which is MMT center for many years. I’m all in favor of MMT. The point of MMT is that just as banks create endogenous credit on their own computers, the government can create credit. The government doesn’t have to borrow money from the 1% or from bond holders in order to spend it; the government can simply print it as it did under the greenbacks.

The government can create its own credit. And there’s nothing wrong with running a budget deficit because a budget deficit does not have to be paid by taxpayers paying taxes. A government deficit can be funded by simply creating the money on your own computer – not by taxes. That’s the point that Stephanie Kelton has been making again and again in what she writes.

And that really is the essence of MMT. But of course the leading exponent of MMT was Donald.Trump, when he said deficits don’t matter, we can just create whatever we want. And I think, Vice President Cheney also said we can spend whatever we want. It doesn’t matter. George Bush said, you know, it’s all really fictitious anyway; we can do it.

The difference between Donald Trump and the Republicans and the MMTers is, we want the government to run deficits to actually spend into the economy. We do not want deficits to be run for $9 trillion to subsidize quantitative easing for the 1% to promote real estate prices and stock and bond prices.

We want them to actually employ workers and to promote full employment. So the difference is that the MMTers are basically in favor of tangible economic growth, not creating money bad MMT of Cheney and Donald Trump style.

Question | Luke Parcher

[01:02:51] Luke Parcher: Can you talk a little bit about how the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and financialization have contributed to what’s going on right now in Ukraine? I know that’s a little bit broad, but if you could tie in what we’ve been talking about here to the situation in Ukraine.

[01:03:02] Michael Hudson: The IMF’s job is to make sure that the economy is impoverished and that all the money that it gives is to support the currency – to enable the kleptocrats, Kolomoyskyi and others, to take the Ukrainian currency they have and transfer it into dollars and pound sterling at a high exchange rate.

So they will lend Ukraine the dollars – essentially to support the hryvnia, however you pronounce its currency – and enable the kleptocrats to make money and then pull the rug out from under them if any alternatives to the Nazis take power. They want.to make sure that, once the kleptocrats have emptied out the economy, they can let the economy collapse.

They’re of course backing the new labor law president Zelensky has pushed, abolishing labor unions, abolishing the rights of labor to negotiate, and making basically the most fascist labor law in any country’s history. So the role of the IMF is to support client oligarchy, to get their money out of a country before there is a possibility of a leftwing government coming in, and then to deny all credit and organize a currency raid on the leftwing government, to say, “You see, socialism doesn’t work”.

The IMF is one of the institutions that is the arm of American hegemony, preventing economic growth occurring outside of the United States. Essentially the IMF is a… it’s a small office in the basement of the Pentagon, run by the neocons, to make sure that other countries cannot have any policy that would not let American firms come in and buy their raw materials and their natural resources and their monopolies.

So, think of the IMF as a tool of the military, but much more right wing than any general would dare to be.

[01:04:55] Luke Parcher: Thank you so much, Michael. We really appreciate you taking the time today.

I also, once again, want to remind people to please go to realprogressives.org to learn more about us, or find our podcasts and articles, including again, Michael, as a guest on Macro N Cheese. With that, we will go ahead and call it a discussion here. Virginia, did you have anything you wanted to add?

[01:05:12] Virginia Cotts: Yes. I wanted to ask Michael where people can find his work.

[01:05:17] Michael Hudson: Well, Amazon, I guess, is the easiest place to go. It’s all available there.

On my website, michael-hudson.com. And you can go to that and join me on Patreon. I do have a Patreon group, and if you’re a contributor at a given level, then you get to talk to me directly every few months.

[01:05:36] Virginia Cotts: Well, we can all use support. Real Progressives also has a Patreon. So, support us all, please.

I just want to say, Michael, you wrote an article with the greatest title I’ve ever seen, which was something like the US Defeats Germany for the Third Time in a Century. I just thought that was such a perfect title. I think you wrote it right when the Ukraine war was beginning.

[01:06:02] Michael Hudson: Right. It was apparent what was going to happen at the very beginning. And I’m amazed that nobody else was writing about that. I’m not very good on military analysis. I can follow what Andrei Raevsky at the Saker says, and Moon of Alabama, and Andrei Martyanov. The one thing I can tell about military operations is the balance of payments aspects and how it all is spelled out.

[01:06:24] Virginia Cotts: Well… and you talked about how the three main sectors benefited.

[01:06:30] Michael Hudson: Yes. Oil is the key to American diplomacy. And I guess if we’re talking about American hegemony, it comes from America’s control of the oil trade. That was one of the reasons that America wanted to isolate first Venezuela, and then Russia, because if the only source of oil are companies controlled by the American oil majors, then…

Every economy needs energy to grow. And in every economy since the beginning of the industrial revolution, there’s a connection between the growth of GDP and energy use per capita. So I talk about the monopoly rent and the victim economy. If you can control oil then you can control, basically, the world economy.

That has been a key to the American policy. The Americans realized that if Europe cannot buy Russian oil anymore, or Venezuelan oil, then it’ll have to spend 10 times as much buying American liquified natural gas. This means the sanctions against Russia have ended German industrial supremacy. It has ended the German steel industry. It has ended German heavy industry.

They’re now going to be dependent thoroughly on the United States. And the euro is going to become a weakening satellite currency of the US dollar as a result of killing off the German economic and industrial leadership of the European economy, along with that of Italy and France.

[01:07:53] Virginia Cotts: Oh, thank you. I hope we didn’t abuse your generosity with your time.

[01:07:59] Michael Hudson: No. I assume if I said anything controversial, you’ll just take it out.

[01:08:03] Virginia Cotts: Oh, no, we like it. We will actually clip it and plaster it all over the internet.

[01:08:12] Luke Parcher: Oh… [laughs]

[01:08:13] Virginia Cotts: Michael Hudson isn’t controversial, is he?

[01:08:18] Luke Parcher: Well, you certainly don’t mince words, and we very much appreciate that about you. Michael, thanks again for giving us so much time today. And I want to give a brief shout out to Jonathan Kadmon, Andy Kennedy, and Virginia Cotts, who’ve been helping behind the scenes today to make this happen.

Thanks to all involved. Great.

[01:08:31] Michael Hudson: Thanks for having me. I liked the discussion.

Super-States in Core Eurasian Geopolitics – Utopian Proposition?

November 08, 2022

Source

by Straight-Bat

  1. Introduction

A question that troubled me often involves different kinds of “state apparatus” witnessed in the history of core Eurasia – principalities, city-states, kingdoms, empires, nation-states etc. Every possible combination of a geographical region (within core Eurasia) and a particular epoch represents a specific historical manifestation of a particular type of geopolitical entity – hence, in the 18th century while Caspian Sea region hosted a number of principalities like emirates/khanates, the Chinese mainland hosted an empire. The question I struggled with: is there a particular form of geopolitical entity that can be termed as better (or worse) for the society compared to the others? An extension of the same question would be whether the history of humankind follows any particular trajectory so far as development of political institutions are concerned. An offshoot of that question is what Marx famously referred to as the ultimate destination of the destiny of humankind – (class-less) ‘stateless’ society. While searching for a plausible response to my query, I also discovered an interesting phenomenon: a specific geopolitical entity can be beneficial and detrimental to the interests of a society at the same time, and with passage of time its impacts on the society transforms dynamically. Thus, an ‘empire’ could be destroyer of the society in a small principality while acting as a facilitator for trade and commerce for the rest of empire – Mongol empire in 13th century was a classic example of this. Russian empire elicits an example of how the positive role of the ‘state apparatus’ in providing arable land in central Asia to the peasants during 18th-19th century transformed into state repression (guided by the large land-owning kulaks) in the second half of the 19th century. Yet another interesting case study could be how the central Asian region around Caspian Sea-Aral Sea-Amu Dariya-Syr Dariya acted as the trade routes (a significant part of the famous Silk Route stretched from eastern China to Mediterranean Sea) that benefitted its aristocracy much more profoundly than the commoners who would actually execute the physical process of goods transportation and arrangements of other logistics. So, there is no straight answer to the basic question I mentioned in the beginning. Rather, I am happy to put the question in an altogether different format – assuming the Marxist idea of a stateless (class-less) society as inevitable, my quest would be to explore which kind geopolitical entity is suitable for bringing about such revolutionary change in the society to transform the selfish unjust and unequal society into a just and equitable society where 90% of the population, the plebs not only gained equal rights legally but, more importantly, they exercise those rights.

Another question, not completely unrelated, that has been bothering me relates to the geography, and history of the single geographic landmass that is known in academic books in two parts – Asia, Europe. To be specific, I have been deliberating on the question whether core Eurasia could really be treated as the ‘heartland’, control of which is a prerequisite to exercise total control over the world? Before one could sincerely take up the issue for a discussion, he/she must be able to grasp the definition of ‘core Eurasia’. Geologically, ‘Eurasia’ is a tectonic plate that lies under much of Europe and Asia. However, there is no well-defined geographic boundary of ‘core Eurasia’ in international politics. The European (geopolitical) strategists and Asian intellectuals converge on this subject remarkably well — the landmass that lies between Pacific Ocean in the east and river Vistula plus Carpathian mountain range in the west, and between Arctic Ocean in the north to the line joining Arabian Sea coast-Himalayan mountain range-South China Sea coast in the south can be termed as ‘core Eurasia’. This particular question has a definite answer – ‘core Eurasia’ indeed can be assumed as heartland because of two reasons. Firstly, the countries that dot the entire landscape of core Eurasia are not only home to 25% of the global population currently but has enough arable land, water, and forest resources for a healthy and continuous population growth. Secondly, the entire landmass of core Eurasia hold deposits of minerals, fossil fuels, rare earth, and gems in disproportionately high quantities compared to its share of total surface area of earth. Hence, the human civilization can grow, sustain, and flourish as a stand-alone phenomenon in core Eurasia even if civilizations in other regions of the world fail to sustain – this, in my opinion, is the single most important characteristic of core Eurasia why it may be considered as the ‘heartland’. Readers who are conversant with the works of geopolitics pundits like Brzezinski will easily conclude that I don’t subscribe to Brzezinski’s thought on this issue which was centred around ‘exercising power to control the world’ as he noted, “The control over Eurasia would almost automatically entails Africa’s subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent.

Having established the fact that there is ample justification for treating core Eurasia as the heartland and having identified the objective of my primary quest as finding out the most appropriate type of geopolitical entity that would facilitate a just exploitation-free society, let me clarify why I’m spending time and effort to author this article. There is a specific background why I’m inclined to get into such a subject. Three to four thousand years back my ancestors roamed in the vast Eurasian steppes with an objective of finding a large inhabitable space to settle down – destiny called them to move to the Indus valley from where they finally spread across the entire south Asian subcontinent. Till now, in our community, when a member passes away, the (direct) descendants have to tie a piece of kush (i.e. long grass) to our body during the grieving period – thus, during the most difficult days of life when one’s parent departs, we remember our origin, the steppe grassland! Apart from that, during the initial 1200 years of current era, my region and people were intellectually involved with the Chinese and Tibetan scholars in a two-way exchange of knowledge, spirituality, religion, trade, and martial art. Buddhist scholars from eastern region of Indian subcontinent traveling to Chinese mainland (including Tibet) were as common as scholars from Chinese mainland staying in Buddhist universities located in the eastern region of Indian subcontinent. Needless to say then, I am concerned about core Eurasia and all those people who inhabit these lands now.

This article is fundamentally based on my thoughts, and I don’t claim to anchor these thoughts on any academic mooring. However, I will present facts based on historical and current affairs and apply rational logic (with minimum role of sentiment) to present my hypothesis. I don’t intend to hurt anybody’s sentiments or sense of patriotism or sense of duty towards own community. I ONLY wish that this article should settle down in the collective memory of all core Eurasian citizens as an abstract idea – may be a ‘utopian’ one – which, in future by 2050 CE, should be discerned by the wise people of all countries and communities, across core Eurasian landmass.

  1. What is Wrong with core Eurasia Currently?

Quite in disagreement with many alt-media reporters and commentators, I would like to argue that core Eurasia presently is going through a seemingly end-less turmoil – economic, political, social, cultural – majority part of which is orchestrated by the Zionist-Capitalist global oligarchy. I will only list down the current disorders in core Eurasia that has geopolitical and geo-economic implications:

  1. South Korea – not only South Korea (a phantom-state that got created after WW-II) has been turned into a low-cost military-industrial complex to supply military machinery to countries that can’t afford American and European weapons, but the entire South Korean society also has been infested with immoral vulgar and decaying influence of ‘Jewish’ Christianity [link 🡪 https://www.zerohedge.com/medical/scariest-halloween-my-life-120-dead-south-korea-after-crowd-crushing-incident ]. South Korea is a malignant cancer in core Eurasia that has been growing phenomenally with the capital investment by the Zionist-Capitalist global oligarchy during past 5 decades protected by USA military bases. Unless appropriate treatment is carried out, it will remain a consistent threat to security of core Eurasia
  2. Taiwan – not only Taiwan (a phantom-state that got created after WW-II) has been turned into a ‘giant weapons depot’ by the Zionist-Capitalist global oligarchy to cause major destruction of industrial belts and technology hubs along the south-east coastal regions of Chinese mainland, but the elite Taiwanese society has also been thoroughly westernized along with tie-up with USA on manufacturing of weapons [link 🡪 https://www.newdelhitimes.com/us-considering-joint-weapons-production-with-taiwan/ ]. Taiwan is another malignant cancer in core Eurasia that has been growing no less remarkably than South Korea (with the capital investment by global oligarchy). Unless appropriate treatment is carried out, it will remain a consistent threat to security of core Eurasia
  3. Kazakhstan – largest of the artificial-states that came into existence in central Asia after the Soviet stooges of the global Zionist-Capitalist clique demolished the USSR in 1991. Over the decades Kazakhstan has become the anchor state for NATO expansion into core Eurasia – in order to develop the interoperability between elements of its armed forces and those of NATO countries, since 2006 Kazakhstan has hosted annual military exercises called “Steppe Eagle”. ‘Kazakhstan’s PfP Training Centre was accredited by NATO as a Partnership Training and Education Centre in December 2010’. The most dangerous activity on the soil of Kazakhstan is the research on biological warfare by USA funding [link 🡪 https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202203/1254486.shtml ]. If Taiwan and South Korea are malignant tumors on the periphery of core Eurasia, Kazakhstan is right at the centre! It will certainly become a future threat to the stability and prosperity of core Eurasia
  4. Kyrghizstan-Tajikistan-Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan – other phantom-states that came into existence in central Asia after the planned demolition of the USSR. Significant social-political-environmental issues exist in these 4 state-lets – (i) Wahhabism, the version of Sunni Islamic extremism is rampant in all these 4 phantom-states coordinated by Turkey plus Saudi Arabia based oligarchy, and the most preposterous matter being that in each of these 4 phantom-states the citizens are instigated on the basis of ‘nationalism’ (against other 3 nationalities) and ‘religion’ (against secular state policy, forcing the government to initiate policies that would force the people adopt Arab-Islamic names, wear hijab for women, abstain from music and sports, exclude women from public life, teach only religious education in Arabic language, preach religious militancy through Islamic jihad, etc.); (ii) Decades of extremely high rate of water consumption have taken their toll on these societies – rapid environmental degeneration; (iii) elites from politics, judiciary and bureaucracy have been involved in operating drug trafficking business in order to extract illicit profit from the drug trade (which primarily originated in Afghanistan coordinated by the Zionist-Capitalist oligarchy mostly based out of Anglo countries and Israel). Undoubtedly these ‘four sisters’ can create more headache for core Eurasia in future
  5. Mongolia – A country where the society apparently loathes to deliberate on modernization of education, industry, and communication. Along with Kazakhstan, Mongolia adds to the geopolitical uncertainties right in the centre of core Eurasia. Till date Moldova offers minimum destabilization to core Eurasia as compared to other regions listed here. However, the local oligarchy is working hand in glove with the global Zionist-Capitalist clique to control the government and force it towards joining NATO block. This country might become a future threat to the security of core Eurasia
  6. Afghanistan – A country where poverty and lawlessness are the general norms, Zionist-Capitalist clique has been running world’s largest drug cartel since past three decades. During the same period, Wahhabism took a new name in Afghanistan – Taliban. These two problems got exacerbated with collapse of government services, and curtailment of foreign aid. Sudden and unilateral withdrawal of USA and NATO military forces from Afghanistan was NOT really sudden – the entire game was planned well in advance. USA based Zionist-Capitalist oligarchy hoped that the ‘Islamic Wahhabism’ will continue to flourish in Afghanistan and Talibani ideology and militants will become the largest export of Afghanistan [link 🡪 https://www.fpri.org/article/2022/05/northern-afghanistan-and-the-new-threat-to-central-asia/ ] Even if the current Taliban government appears to be taking governance seriously, there is every possibility that in the near future, Afghanistan will become the hotbed of ‘Islamic movements’ which will be utilized to overthrow or destabilize governments across core Eurasia
  7. Transcaucasia region –apart from the central Asian artificial countries, Transcaucasia was another region where dissolution of Soviet Union created ‘unstable states’. Unlike other 8 regions listed here, this is a region where two rounds of war were fought resulting in much destruction. Subversion is a norm here rather than exception. A deep analysis would indicate that the intra-regional politics is compelling Georgia-Armenia-Azerbaijan to engage in bitter struggle among themselves to diminish each other thereby fettering countries like Russia and Iran with the problem of refugee and migrants. Undoubtedly Turkey (as a coordinator of Islamic militant gangs that directly/indirectly work for the Zionist-Capitalist global oligarchy) and USA governments are managing the puppet show staying behind the curtain, but it is doubtful to what extent that will cause rupture in the Eurasian fabric. Having said that, it must be noted that an unstable Transcaucasian region can create troubles for the trade-routes that crisscross this region used by core Eurasia and other countries in Asia and Europe
  8. Moldova – along with Ukraine, Moldova adds to the geopolitical uncertainties in the eastern side of core Eurasia. Till date Moldova offers minimum destabilization to core Eurasia as compared to other regions listed here. However, Zionist-Capitalist clique works overtime here also to control the government and force it towards joining NATO block. The country might become a future threat to the security of core Eurasia
  9. Ukraine – another large artificial-state that witnessed a territorial expansion entirely due to historical undercurrents. Ukraine has been converted into a ‘giant fortress’ by the Zionist-Capitalist global oligarchy which would have joined NATO to host missile bases (if Russia not made its geopolitical demands that Ukraine will never join NATO clear to the Ukraine government in 2021 end). But, the most dangerous situation for the entire planet is: Ukraine is rushing ahead with research and development of (i) biological, (ii) chemical, (iii) nuclear warfare with funding and technology tie-up with institutions based out of USA, and other Anglo countries. on manufacturing of weapons [link 🡪 https://www.unz.com/mwhitney/uncle-sams-bio-weapons-extravaganza/ ]. If an iota of sanity was left with Ukraine government, they would have concluded a treaty with Russian government within one month of special military operation accepting the terms set by Russia. Instead, the skeletons are coming out of the Ukrainian closet – the Ukrainian government for a long time has been 100% owned by the Jewish oligarchy who wants to mobilize the last citizen of Ukraine because the USA and Anglo countries wish to fight and destroy Russian land and society. Russia and core Eurasia must not allow continuation of such a toxic entity in core Eurasia
  10. Baltic region – region of 3 phantom-states that got created due to the dissolution of the USSR. This region is special because the Zionist-Capitalist global oligarchy has been driving the government policies such that during past three decades, depopulation across the entire Baltic region became a continuous and consistent social phenomenon. There is a robust background to this – the Hegemon wanted the region absolutely free from any settlement in order to (i) convert the entire Baltic Sea coast into a giant naval and land army base, (ii) restrict Russian access to Baltic Sea as much as possible, (iii) invade Kaliningrad (old Konisberg) and destroy the Russian military base. The USA government has been pursuing policies on these (unstated but obvious) objectives for decades [link 🡪 https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Falling-In_Deterrent-Value-of-HNS-in-the-Baltic.pdf ]. Unless appropriate actions are taken, it will transform into a nightmare for the security of Russian society and land impairing core Eurasian architecture considerably.

Except Mongolia and Afghanistan, all other entries in the above mentioned list have been identified as phantom-state / artificial state – Eurasian history corroborates my statement. Few common traits exhibited by the listed entities are: (i) local oligarchy has been in the drivers’ seat to control power and wealth to the detriment of the common population, (ii) an inward-looking religious / nationalist posturing is a common thread across the region, (iii) global Zionist-Capitalist forces are using the local oligarchy to foment socio-political tensions that will divert the people’s hatred towards core Eurasian powers like Russia and China, (iv) USA, Israel, Anglo countries and NATO countries use Turkey and Japan as the spearheads to control these regions, (v) through multilateral institutions like SCO, EAEU, CSTO and geo-economic programmes like BRI China and Russia try to influence the political and economic viability of these regions. Even though (iv) and (v) balance each other, the entire core Eurasia may become an extremely unstable region if the Zionist forces succeed to set a conflagration simultaneously across 3 / 4 entities (which is a wet dream of the Zionists).

Since this article deals only with core Eurasia, I won’t raise geopolitical and geo-economic problems that beset Asia and Europe. However, countries like Japan, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Syria, Turkey, Balkan countries, Poland, Germany, France, Italy, and the UK present two types of problems through their hard and soft power: (a) presently all of them participate (most of them willingly) in the common global conspiracy hatched by the Zionist-Capitalist oligarchy against core Eurasian countries and societies, (b) historical role played by almost all of them to foment geopolitical instability in their own region with/without involvement of the global Zionist-Capitalist oligarchy.

  1. Political-Economic Integration in Core Eurasia Initiated by the Mongol Empire

Like it or dislike it, loathe it or love it, romanticize it or demonize it, one can’t simply ignore the role of Mongol empire in shaping the core Eurasian landmass – it is a well-established historical fact that, the Mongol empire shattered the medieval era geopolitics in the core Eurasian region applying ruthless force wherever they faced resistance. Though a united Mongol empire didn’t last even fifty years in the 13th century after demise of Chinghis Khan, the remnants of Mongol khans remained rulers in many smaller regions across core Eurasia for another five centuries as ‘Khanate’ entered the lexicon of modern political studies. If the current doldrums in core Eurasia is put under scanner, a strange observation can’t be avoided – many a current geopolitical trouble has its root in the Mongol-instigated geopolitics during the late medieval-cum-early modern era. That indicates we can’t avoid to briefly explore the geopolitical contour of the Mongol empire during the 13th century. (It will be a splendid historic inquiry if the evolution of Mongol empire is analyzed from 1227 CE when Chinghis Khan died till 1911 CE when Mongolia declared independence as a ‘modern’ state – but that is beyond the scope of this article).

While Chinghis Khan was the creator and the first emperor of Mongol empire, after his death at 1227 CE, the descendants while expanding the boundaries to cover entire core Eurasia also engaged in internecine warfare among themselves – after the death of Mongke Khan, by 1260 CE the empire was transformed into a confederacy of 4 empires, and by end of the 14th century each of those empires again got split into multiple khanates ruled by Chinghis Khan’s successors or non-Mongol rulers with kinship to Mongol aristocracy. The following table 3.1 provides a brief tentative geopolitical summary of 13th century core Eurasian landmass:

Table: 3.1 >

1227 CE1300 CE
<< UNIFIED MONGOL EMPIRE >>– Regions of current Peoples Republic of China >Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Tianjin, Beijing, Hebei, Shanxi, north-east part of Shandong, north-west part of Gansu, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region except south-east part.– Currently Mongolia– Currently Kazakhstan– Currently Uzbekistan– Currently Turkmenistan– Currently Kirghizstan– Currently Tajikistan– Regions of current Afghanistan >Northern part (one-third of state)– Regions of current Pakistan >Northern part (one-fifth of state)– Regions of current Russian Federation >— Far Eastern Federal District >Primorsky Krai, Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Khabarovsk Krai (except one-third part in the north), Amur Oblast, Zabaykalsky Krai, Republic of Buryatia, Sakha Republic (except two-third part in the north)— Siberian Federal District >Irkutsk Oblast, Tuva Republic, Altai Republic, Altai Krai, Novosibirsk Oblast, Omsk Oblast (except northern half), Kemerovo Oblast, Republic of Khakassia, one-third in south of Krasnoyarsk Krai— Ural Federal District >Southern half of Kurgan Oblast, southern half of Tyumen Oblast, one-fourth of Chelyabinsk Oblast in south<< YUAN EMPIRE >>– Regions of current Peoples Republic of ChinaAll except three-fourth of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region– Currently Mongolia– Currently North Korea, South Korea– Currently Taiwan– Regions of current Russian Federation >— Far Eastern Federal District >Primorsky Krai, Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Khabarovsk Krai (except one-third part in north), Amur Oblast, Zabaykalsky Krai, Republic of Buryatia, Sakha Republic (except two-third part in north)— Siberian Federal District >Irkutsk Oblast, Tuva Republic, Republic of Khakassia, southern half of Krasnoyarsk Krai– Regions of current Myanmar >North-eastern part (half of the state)– Regions of current India >A sizeable stretch of land in north-east abutting south Tibet
<< CHAGATAI KHANATE >>– Regions of current Peoples Republic of ChinaThree-fourth of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region– Regions of current KazakhstanTwo-fifth of the state in east and south– Currently Kyrghizstan– Currently Tajikistan– Regions of current UzbekistanAlmost entire state except land around Aral Sea– Regions of current AfghanistanOne-fourth of the state in the north-east
<< GOLDEN HORDE >>– Regions of current Russian Federation >— Siberian Federal District >Altai Republic, Altai Krai, Novosibirsk Oblast, Omsk Oblast, western half of Tomsk Oblast— Ural Federal District >Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug (except a small strip in north-east), Kurgan Oblast, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Tyumen Oblast, Chelyabinsk Oblast— Volga Federal District— North Caucasian Federal District— Southern Federal District— Central Federal District >One-third land in south of the district— Crimea– Regions of current BelarusAll except northern one-fourth of landmass– Currently Ukraine– Currently Moldova– Regions of current Romania >One-third land in the east abutting Moldova border
<< ILL KHANATE >>– Currently Iran– Regions of current IraqHalf of the state in eastern and northern side bordering Iran, Syria– Regions of current SyriaOne-third of the state in north-eastern side– Regions of current TurkeyHalf of the state in eastern side– Currently Armenia– Currently Azerbaijan– Currently Turkmenistan– Regions of current Afghanistan >All except one-fourth of the state in the north-east– Regions of current Pakistan >Baluchistan province in the south-west side

It can be noted from Table 3.1 presented above and Figure 3.1 given below that by 1300 CE, core Eurasia (except unpopulated northern most lands of Russia near arctic) was under the sway of the Mongol aristocrats – scholars estimated that the Mongol confederacy was spread over around 24,000,000 km2 of land creating the largest land empire in history [Link 🡪 https://maps.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/shepherd_1911/shepherd-c-092.jpg ].

Fig 3.1 >

As Morris Rossabi mentioned in the article ‘Mongol Impact on China: Lasting Influences with Preliminary Notes on Other Parts of the Mongol Empire’ (refer ACTA VIA SERICA Vol. 5, No. 2, December 2020) “perhaps the Mongols’ most important contribution was to bring East Asia, the Middle East, and Europe in touch with each other and that Eurasian history began with the Mongols’ creation of the largest contiguous land empire in world history. The Mongols also built splendid cities, promoted the economies, fostered the sciences, technologies, and the artistic advances in their domains.” Discerning readers can’t deny this observation by Rossabi. During the course of past half century, other scholars from different countries also conclusively proved that the Mongol empire facilitated trade and commerce across all regions of Asia and Europe while contributing quite substantially towards propagation of the Sciences and the Arts.

  1. Why Super-States and Key States in core Eurasia?

Question: What is the mission I’m talking about? Why can’t the current state of affairs in core Eurasia fulfill the mission? Why a reorganization of geopolitical framework of core Eurasia is a necessity?

Answer: ‘The ultimate objective will be to bring complete dignity, widest possible freedom, and maximum possible development for every citizen of the communities in core Eurasia. Every human being (irrespective of his/her background identity like age, sex, ethnicity, language, religion, region, state) will become free from hunger-disease-insecurity-injustice, will spend time in socially useful productive work, can indulge in literature-art-music-cinema, can do research in science-mathematics-life science’, can be at ease equally with technology as well as social studies, ‘can seek knowledge of ‘life’-‘society’-‘world’-‘universe’, can seek entertainment and pleasure at leisure time, without any of these things being morally or physically harmful to any section or people’ of the proposed super-states and key states in core Eurasia.

Most of the existing states are unable to offer such environment to its people not because the countries are poor, (on the contrary core Eurasia is the richest zone of the earth) – the oligarchy which is well-entrenched in the ruling edifice of every country, have been exploiting the population ruthlessly with the help of Zionist-Capitalist globalist clique. Zionist-Capitalists would love if core Eurasia becomes uninhabited and they become the master of the land and its natural resources so that the planet earth nourishes only the ‘golden billion’ (one billion population in Anglo countries, Jews, Europeans). Hence current geopolitical setup is not conducive to such humanitarian missions.

For fulfilling the mission, I mentioned above, core Eurasia should be free from the self-serving elites-aristocrats-oligarchs who misuse their political power to achieve their personal objectives – to gain power and to gain wealth. Most of the artificial-states should be dissolved and made part of one/two super-states. Without geopolitically balanced architecture destabilization in all conceivable and unconceivable forms will continue to ruin core Eurasia. Thus the current borders between so-called states should be reoriented so that,

  1. The historical background of (mid-19th century) landmass-and-community relationship gets due importance
  2. ‘Fake states’ don’t act as Zionist-Capitalist agents for destabilization in core Eurasia
  3. Core Eurasian state-actors can always remain united to become a ‘role model’ for all other regions.

In core Eurasia, during my lifetime, most of the old geopolitical issues resurfaced – some through crude bloody incidents while some others in a very subtle way. So, whether such a dispute is currently a burning issue or a dormant dispute, leaders need to look into those and try proactively to resolve it so that geopolitically balanced architecture can be achieved. Let me list down the key issues, and key actors, and suggest the resolutions considering the historical timeline from the Mongol Empire in 1227 CE to the 1848 Revolution as the ‘age of empire building’ in core Eurasia beyond which change of borders through war would not be considered as ‘valid’ (for setting our benchmark we assumed such validity). There will be certainly a question asked from every quarter – on what basis such a logic is being considered? As such, there can be no definite answer that would please everyone, rather I would like to say, that there will be no basis that is acceptable to everyone! So, I chose 1848 CE as the historical watershed because in the early modern era 1848 CE was the year when plebeians of different societies across entire Europe and some parts of Asia really did stand up against centuries old exploitation-injustice-inequality inflicted by the patricians (even if the commoners were beaten back everywhere, the patricians were forced to start counting its probable demise since then). So a reorganisation of core Eurasia into super-states and key states is suggested as below:

Table: 4.1 >

Geopolitical Restructuring Issue in Core EurasiaProposed Resolution
Significant Actor – Super-state in Russia
At the time of the dissolution of the USSR in 1991 CE, USSR encompassed the following geographical regions apart from Russia:1. Baltic Europe – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania2. Eastern Europe – Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova3. Transcaucasia – Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan4. Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, TurkmenistanThere were some remarkable aspects of the territorial evolution of Tsarist Russian empire and the USSR:(a) NONE of the above mentioned regions/sub-regions were annexed into the Tsarist empire with their 1991 borders. Reorganization of the administrative zones within the empire was a regular exercise for ALL heads of state at different points of time. Few of those were:(i) In 1708 CE Tsar Peter the Great divided the empire into eight administrative divisions called guberniyas (Archangelgorod, Azov, Ingermanland, Kazan, Kiev, Moscow, Siberia, Smolensk)(ii) In 1727 CE Catherine I enacted another reform – a total of 166 uyezds was established(iii) By 1910 CE 104 administrative governorate units (Oblast and Governorate) were formed(iv) After 1922 CE Bolshevik Party undertook a series of restructuring that transformed the earlier architecture of administrative organization(b) Historically, some regions have been under the Russian influence (political, cultural, economic) for a very long time before the proposed the cut-off year of 1848 CE — in 1721 CE Livonia, Estonia, Ingria, and Karelia were annexed from Sweden; through second and third partitions in 1793 CE and 1795 CE, Russia acquired southern part of current Latvia (south of Riga), most part of current Lithuania including Wilno (Vilnius), most part of current Belarus including Minsk, Pinsk, Brest, most part of Right Bank Ukraine that forms current Ukraine including Lutsk, Rovno, Zhytomyr, Bratslav, and Galicia from Poland-Lithuanian Commonwealth; Bessarabia (two-thirds of which lies within modern Moldova) was taken over by Russian Empire in 1812 CE defeating Ottoman Empire; parts of Georgia, Dagestan, parts of northern Azerbaijan, and parts of northern Armenia were annexed from Persian Empire by Russian Empire in 1813 CE; in 1828 CE, Persian Empire ceded Caucasian region (present-day Armenia, Azerbaijan) to Russian Empire; Kazakh-Junior Horde and Kazakh- Middle Horde declared to be loyal Russian citizens in 1732 and 1740 respectively, but full control of Russia got established by 1798 CE; Kazakh-Great Horde khanate was annexed into the Russian empire in the 1820s, when the Great Horde khans choose Russian protection against Kokand Khanate(c) On the other hand it can be easily noted that, the Tsarist empire continued with invasions and annexations after 1848 CE in the central Asia and Pacific ocean coast regions (refer the map given in Fig:4.1 that is copied from Encyclopaedia Britannica: Link 🡪 https://www.britannica.com/place/Russian-Empire ) – Sakhalin island was seized from Japanese kingdom in 1875 CE by Alexander II; khanates of Khiva (1873 CE), Bukhara (1866 CE), Kokand (1876 CE) were annexed by Alexander II; Alexander III annexed Pamir plateau in 1893 and land of Teke Turkomans in 1881 CE; Alexander III annexed the coastal and northern part of Manchuria through a series of unequal treaties forced upon Qing China (the Treaty of Aigun in 1858 and the Treaty of Peking in 1860)1. All countries / regions of a country that were part of Russian empire in 1848 CE should move back to the Russian super-state:– Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania– Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova,– Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan,– Kazakhstan (except south-eastern part – Dzungaria)2. Russia should hand over such territories to other countries that were annexed from them after 1848 CE:– Outer Manchuria i.e. modern-day Russian areas of Primorsky Krai, Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Khabarovsk Krai (southern two-thirds), Amur Oblast, Zabaykalsky Krai to China3. Regions which were part of Russian empire/USSR between 1849 and 1991, and became independent since 1991, should continue their current geopolitical identity as ‘state’:– Four Central Asian countries i.e. Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan were formed as administrative regions within Russian empire / USSR out of the lands from five annexations by Tsars after 1848 CE – Khanate of Khiva, Khanate of Bukhara, Khanate of Kokand, Pamir plateau, and land of Teke Turkomans
Significant Actor – Super-state in China
By 1848 CE the Qing empire territories included the following regions apart from (directly) Ming-ruled mainland China including Hainan and Taiwan islands:1. East Asia – Manchuria (Nurgan RMC of Ming empire), Inner and Outer Mongolia2. South-central Asia – Qinghai (Dokham RMC of Ming empire)3. Central Asia – Xinjiang (that included some parts of eastern Kazakhstan land from Lake Balkhash up to the current international border with China in the north-east, east and south direction, this region was annexed by Russia in 1860, 1881)4. South Asia – Tibet (U-Tsang RMC and Elis military-civilian Marshal of Ming empire; it included Aksai Chin region of Ladakh and south-eastern regions of Tibet which were seized by British after 1860 CE)The key aspects of the territorial evolution of Qing Chinese empire are:(a) The policy of partitioning the empire into several administrative regions underwent substantial change when the Qing empire replaced the Ming empire. While Ming emperors governed peripheral regions like Tibet, Manchuria through setting up Regional Military Commission, Qing empire established administrative regions across the entire empire.(b) Unlike Russian Tsarist empire, the Chinese Qing empire ceased expansion by 1800s. When in 1911 CE the Qing empire was abolished (refer the map given in Fig:4.2 that is copied from Wikipedia: Link 🡪 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qing_dynasty#/media/File:China_1911_es.svg ) the following regions were found to be parts of neighbouring states, not China:(i) a part of western Xinjiang of Qing China (some parts of currently eastern Kazakhstan land from Lake Balkhash up to the current international border with China in the north-east, east and south directions)(ii) Outer Manchuria, a part of Manchuria of Qing China (currently part of the Far Eastern District of Russia)(iii) Outer Mongolia, a part of Qing China (currently Mongolia state)(iv) western Ladakh and south-eastern Tibet, both part of Qing China (part of modern-day India)(v) Taiwan island, a part of Qing China (currently Taiwan state)1. All countries / regions of a country that were part of Chinese empire in 1848 CE should be transferred back to the Chinese super-state:– Taiwan– The islands in South China Sea– Outer Manchuria– Western Xinjiang (Dzungaria)– Aksai Chin and South-eastern Tibet2. Regions which were part of Chinese empire between 1848 and 1911, and became independent since 1911, should continue their current geopolitical identity as ‘state’:– Mongolia which declared independence from China in 1911 occupies outer Mongolian regions of Qing China
Significant Actor – Key State in Iran
Hardly any change in borders happened in Iran after 1848 CE. Hence the country, centre of one of the oldest empire in the history of humankind doesn’t pose any geopolitical challenge.Not Applicable
Significant Actor – Key State in Korea
One of the biggest geopolitical tragedy happened in the Korean Peninsula. Following Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905 Korea became the protectorate of Imperial Japan. After Japan’s surrender in 1945 in September People’s Republic of Korea was established by Lyuh Woon-hyung. In February 1946 Lyuh Woon-hyung was murdered by USA led oligarchy. Thereafter in the south of 38th parallel Syngman Rhee established Republic of Korea in August 1948 while in the following month Kim Il-sung established Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the north. China and North Korea lost about 1 million people as KIA and MIA. A divided Korea is a continuous reminder about creation and growth of a malignant tumour that was implanted in core Eurasia by the USA and Anglo oligarchy after WW II.USA needs to pull out military forces lock, stock, and barrel; a united Korean government to be formed with representation from ALL regions, professions, and parties. Both the military should combine into a single force. China and Russia to ensure peace during the transition period.

Looking at the above table 4.1, one would conclude that I have identified only four entities as ‘significant actor’ in core Eurasia. Yes, if one looks into this essay in 2122 i.e. hundred years from now, the reader will find the accuracy and appropriateness of this essay in both its assumptions (that, across this humongous landmass named as ‘core Eurasia’ there are only 4 communities who are not spineless flunkies of Zionist-Capitalist oligarchy and who are not mindless followers of Anglo-Jewish culture) and its suggestions (that, in order to bring out the best possible environment for a community to survive and thrive, geopolitical fabric needs to be reorganized in terms of two super-states and two key states, all of whom will maintain very close coordination among themselves on all geopolitical and geo-economic matters). Finally, the proposed geopolitical restructuring should seriously consider (this is the first time that I’m mentioning this point as an IMPORTANT task) a formal alliance among the 4 significant actors in core Eurasia.

Fig: 4.1 🡪

Fig: 4.2 🡪

Table: 4.2 >

Geo-economic Restructuring Issue in Core EurasiaProposed Resolution
1. Any community, any country, any state can be built ONLY with a population that is large enough to sustain the cultural, economic, political, and technological progress achieved by it. Russia, Iran, North Korea in its current form don’t show healthy population growth, it doesn’t generate hope for future – I will rate this problem as severity 1 for all 3 actors.China, with world’s largest population till 2022, has been beset with continuously reducing rate of population growth – I will rate this as severity 2 for China.2. Any country, any state can organise itself ONLY on the basis of own currency or currency of a neighbour with whom two-way trade is normal. Apart from that, the dependence on Dollar (as exchange currency) must be brought down to a minimum level to avoid the fate of Russia.for China, USA debt holding over 1 trillion is a problem of severity 1, for USA will certainly weaponize the debt at the earliest ‘opportunity’ (like, China re-establishes its control over Taiwan).3. Russia-Iran-China all 3 actors are very rich in terms of natural resources. Energy, metal and mineral, rare earth elements – all three types of deposits are present in substantial quantities in core Eurasia.Import and export of such ‘natural resources’ should be aimed at enriching the commoners in Asia-Africa-South America continents as much as possible.4. SCO-BRI-EAEU should be coordinated simultaneously for economic rejuvenation of core Eurasia as well as Asia-Africa-South America continents as much as possible.As a parallel activity, encourage non-Anglo non-Jewish communities/ countries (like Germany, Japan, Italy, France, Sweden etc.) to enhance their participation in trade and commerce with core Eurasia through multilateral global platforms like RCEP.5. Minimize use of technology, hardware, and applications owned by the Zionist-Capitalist oligarchy in the areas of international finance, defence, aerospace, and social networking.As a parallel activity, encourage non-Anglo non-Jewish communities/ countries (like Germany, Japan, Italy, France, Sweden etc.) to enhance their participation in trade and commerce.Government should move on two fronts:(i) encourage early marriage and childbearing at social and cultural platforms(ii) introduce new rules and laws to facilitate marriage and childbearing for working persons, professionals, even unemployed(i) A gold-backed currency or a basket of Eurasian currencies needs to be pushed(ii) Reduce holding of US treasury rapidly by increasing central bank holding of gold to maximum level(i) These countries should restrict export of raw material and processed minerals to Europe, North America, Australia(ii) They should also ensure that other countries in core Eurasia do the same as much as possible(i) Transform the BRI format so that organizations from the participating countries get around 40% share of the capital expenditure.(ii) Bring in German, Japanese, Italian, French companies into BRI projects for supply of some machinery etc.(i) Identify areas where all 4 actors or any 3 actors will join hands to form business entities. Invest in research and development jointly.(ii) Bring in German, Japanese, Italian, French companies selectively.

Obviously a logical question will arise – ‘how such a massive transformation will happen’ and ‘when’. Local oligarchy, nationalist intelligentsia, bureaucracy, business people, and military forces are the groups who have vested interests in perpetuating the current geopolitical framework. In normal situations (where international relations follow unipolar world order) such geopolitical transformation can hardly be talked about. But major upheavals in politics, economics, and environment will compel the 90% population (the plebs) to think and accept such transformation that will bring momentous change in their lifestyle. It will be the responsibility of ALL patriotic leaders, communist party members, community elders in ALL countries to prepare themselves and their countries/communities towards accepting positive transformation.

It can be found in history that, time and again strong leaders created new geopolitical reality (sometimes because of moral high ground and in other times using superior political economy) that created new rules and orders tearing apart the existing order – I will strongly advocate such occurrence if and only if the common people of a country / region find better standard of living in the newly created architecture. Living in the 21st century I won’t criticize Chinghis Khan’s brutality against his adversaries – on the contrary, I would ask two simple questions – (i) was there a single king/emperor in the medieval era across the world who didn’t resort to mind-blowing violence to create a psychological defeat in the opponent camp? (ii) wasn’t it that the Mongol empire brought a new era in trade and commerce across the entire continents of Asia and Europe benefitting the living standard of the inhabitants? Hence I proposed here that the creation of super-states in core Eurasia in the near future – Eurasian Union of Russia and Asian Union of China – would go a long way to create a better society that ushers a new dawn of humanity! Unless the above mentioned territorial reorganizations are undertake, in my opinion, the construction of those super-states can’t really take-off!

Since I’m only discussing about core Eurasia, I’m not mentioning the case of a super-state in the Indian subcontinent. Actually India should be viewed as a super-state which should include half of what is currently Pakistan (Punjab and Sindh regions are truly such historically ‘Indian’ regions without which Indian map can’t be even be thought of! Since the beginning of ancient civilization Punjab and Sindh were the core of all Indian kingdoms/sultanates/empires until 1947 CE when British power connived with ALL key political parties like Congress, Muslim fundamentalists, and Hindu fundamentalists to divide India). But we are not discussing that.

  1. Conclusion

By now, most of the esteemed readers have already formed an opinion about this article and my objectives. To conclude this write-up, let me handle those probable clarifications from an ideological perspective:

1) An “expansionist and empire-apologist”: To be frank, this is the most significant stigma that could be assigned to this article. For a while, this article can truly create such a sentiment among the readers. Fundamentally, I’m a Marxist, and one of the final objectives of a Marxist socialist society is borderless society! Hence, on an ideological platform, I actually condemn ‘empire-building’ as a process of geopolitics. Let me state that, ‘Empire’, as a concept, is the most reactionary, naked, and violent form of ‘state apparatus’. Hence, I can never become an apologist for empire building. If so, the question still remains: what is the objective of this article?

Well, every historic ‘empire’, in reality, has different background and different characteristics. While Spanish, Portuguese, British and French empires built after 1496 CE across the world basically attempted to ‘get rid of’ the aboriginal population as much as possible, and pillaged the foreign land and resources to enrich the elites and oligarchy of those invading powers, completely contrasting behaviour could be noticed in case of the Chinese, and Russian empires. Russian and Chinese empires not only brought order and security to the people of the region they annexed but the trade and commerce got invigorated across the Eurasian landmass benefitting the commoners. Essentially while the European powers brought colonial imperialism, the Eurasian powers acted as the agents of change towards win-win modernisation.

I foresee that before different countries could even imagine a borderless landmass and a society free from exploitation (as the ultimate objective of Marxism), a country would require:

(a) A ‘state’ that ensures education, healthcare, housing, and employment for ALL citizens

(b) A ‘state’ that brings ALL races, religions, languages living in a landmass under an umbrella with an objective of shared security

(c) A ‘state’ that creates enough of social capital as a harbinger of economic prosperity while sustaining the fragile environment

Let me confess, while looking back into the history, I find ONLY Chinese and Russian super-states as the agents who would provide framework for achieving the above results. So, I propose building of such super-states as the prelude for state-less society.

2) A “reactionary feudalist pseudo-Marxist”: There will be certainly a group of dogmatic Marxists who would suggest that this article is actually a step backward which point towards rejuvenation of medieval feudal era political environment. This article doesn’t discuss the ‘class struggle’, neither this speaks about a ‘proletarian revolution’. Actually, looking everything under the sun through the prism of Marxism doesn’t help any Marxist – neither a revolutionary communist party member nor a revolutionary communist state. Abolition of ‘state apparatus’ was never identified by Marx as an immediate objective for a socialist society! On the other hand, if a truly welfare state apparatus can arrange education, healthcare, housing, and employment to all citizens of core Eurasia, people would actually gain through better living standard. And they would further realise how a state apparatus based on Marxist socialist socio-economic political thoughts would transform the current society into a more egalitarian society ensuring truth, justice, and equality and that prevail over deception, injustice, and inequality.

These readers, mostly from Europe and North America, are NOT bothered about a real democracy where the freedom of speech goes hand-in-hand with the freedom from hunger and malnutrition, and right to vote a political party is coupled with right to education and employment. They are actually bothered about the re-emergence of core Eurasia as the centre of global trade, commerce, science, and technology – instead of expressing that point categorically which otherwise would smack of racism and racial hatred (towards Asians), they wrap it up with half-baked politically correct jargons (like democracy, human rights, blah blah).

For these type of readers, I have two simple questions:

(a) What did the Greek city-states mean by ‘democracy’? (Clue – slaves who toiled ceaselessly in ancient Greek city-states or Roman Empire were never counted as citizens). It was not certainly meant for all people of their society, so what do the pseudo-socialists and lapdog-intellectuals licensed by the Zionist-Capitalist clique wish to achieve through the so-called democracy?

(b) What did the European aristocrats and oligarchs mean by ‘human rights’? Most of the regions in North America, South America and Australia continents were subjected to genocide by those same sociopath-cum-psychopath European (aristocrat and elite) marauders who, apparently set up world’s ‘finest’ democratic state apparatus like the ‘USA’, ‘Canada’, ‘Australia’, so why shouldn’t they pay respect to the concept of human rights and leave those continents lock stock and barrel one fine morning (better late than never)?

Anyway, by promoting super-states like Russia and China, I’m looking forward to a future reinstatement of Marxist ideas and philosophies among the people of core Eurasia. And, please don’t say that Marxist ideas and organisation could flourish in liberal capitalist democratic countries in Europe and North America (where the entire leftist/socialist political spectrum has been hijacked by the opportunist corrupt labour aristocracy since early 1890s) – those entities can’t be termed as ‘country’ or ‘democracy’, they are simply a bunch of oligarchs thriving in their respective ‘estate’ using lies and deception that can be termed as ‘demon-cracy’!

3) A “utopian arm-chair strategist”: To those readers who would identify me as such, I have a simple counter question – could anybody in 1942 even dream of the boundaries of USSR and PRC that were internationally accepted in 1950? What appears as ‘utopian idea’ may become a reality just 10 years from now – history of core Eurasia time and again proved it! After all, exactly hundred years back the foundation was laid for the first super-state in the history of humankind – USSR.

By and large, there are another two categories of shaming which would be applicable to the readers who consider themselves as ‘nationalist’:

i) A “Russian stooge and Chinese agent”: many readers who hail from countries – Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Moldova etc. – that have been proposed here as phantom-states would like to curse me as a ‘Russian’ agent and/or a ‘Chinese’ agent. This is another stigma that fits in with this narrative. Particularly, many of the readers find any statement that talks in favour of China and Russia, as support to ‘authoritative and despotic foreign regimes’. Let me respond to this – on the face of it, my proposition appears as a simple ancient trick of ‘annexation of more landmasses. But, it isn’t so – I consider the people as the primary subject of ‘patriotism’ and the landmass as the secondary subject. Let me elaborate on this through a historical example. Alexander Nevsky served as the Prince of Novgorod (1236–56 and 1258–1259), Grand Prince of Kiev (1236–52) and Grand Prince of Vladimir (1252–63) during the most difficult times in medieval Rus’ history. He paid a tribute to the Mongol Golden Horde while fighting against ALL European powers approaching from north-west. In my opinion, Nevsky revealed the finest expression of ‘patriotism’ that flowers in the well-being of the people of his kingdoms while paying less importance to geographical expansion of the landmass he dominated! Nevsky was bothered about his society, culture and commerce, hence as soon as he identified that European powers would destroy exactly those aspects he stood as a rock against such invasions.

Let me again acknowledge, while looking back into the medieval and modern history, I find ONLY Chinese and Russian super-states as the institutions that can ensure exchange of ideas, knowledge, goods, and services among different regions and different societies across the world without pontificating.

ii) An enemy to Russia and China: many readers who hail from current RF and PRC, would stand exactly opposite to the readers from say, Kazakhstan or Ukraine! They would come back asking why (his/her) country should give away even an inch of land to the neighbouring country. Ultimate tragedy of human life is that they always seek ‘ownership’ of almost everything under the Sun, we forget that everything – land, water body, forests, mountains, deserts – belong to mother earth. Humankind is nothing but a small part of the nature – we don’t own anything; we need to be grateful to nature for providing ALL means for living our life! If giving away some part of one country to another country proves beneficial for both the communities, why not? True patriots ALWAYS bother about the advancement of economy and culture of the people if required with little adjustments. Every society has a memory and every community has a tradition centred on some regions which they consider as inalienable part of their history – Ukraine and Belarus are such regions for the Russian society, south Korea is such a region for the Koreans, Manchuria and Tibet are such regions for the Chinese, Punjab and Sindh provinces of Pakistan are such regions for the Indians!

I’m certainly not an enemy of any country or any society or any people! On the contrary, (as I laid out in the introduction) I consider myself as a part of the people of core Eurasian landmass. I’m against hypocrisy, insanity, deception, vulgarity and above all, inequality and injustice – history alone proves that ALL these banes witnessed by the humanity since ‘civilization’ dawned, were caused by the 1% aristocracy-elite-oligarchy in EVERY region across the world! The proposed two super-states, in my opinion, will go a long way to provide a stable environment and opportunity for amelioration of the plebeian lives in core Eurasia. It will usher the beginning of a new era!

Short profile:

Straight-Bat is an Engineer by profession, currently pursuing higher study in Economics. A keen observer of global affairs, Straight-Bat enjoys being an analyst of history, politics, economy, and geopolitics.

One of the few decade-old members of The Saker blog-site, Straight-Bat finds this website as a capstone entity that is dedicated to focus on truth and justice in public life across the world.

Berlin Goes to Beijing: The Real Deal

NOVEMBER 4, 2022

PEPE ESCOBAR

The Scholz caravan went to Beijing to lay down the preparatory steps for working out a peace deal with Russia, with China as privileged messenger.

With his inimitable flair for economic analysis steeped in historical depth, Professor Michael Hudson’s latest essay, originally written for a German audience, presents a stunning parallel between the Crusades and the current “rules-based international order” imposed by the Hegemon.

Professor Hudson details how the Papacy in Rome managed to lock up unipolar control over secular realms (rings a bell?) when the game was all about Papal precedence over kings, above all the German Holy Roman Emperors. As we know, half in jest, the Empire was not exactly Holy, nor German (perhaps a little Roman), and not even an Empire.

A clause in the Papal Dictates provided the Pope with the authority to excommunicate whomever was “not at peace with the Roman Church.” Hudson sharply notes how US sanctions are the modern equivalent of excommunication.

Arguably there are Top Two dates in the whole process.

The first one would be the Third Ecumenical Council of 435: this is when only Rome (italics mine) was attributed universal authority (italics mine). Alexandria and Antioch, for instance, were limited to regional authority within the Roman Empire.

The other top date is 1054 – when Rome and Constantinople split for good. That is, the Roman Catholic Church split from Orthodoxy, which leads us to Russia, and Moscow as The Third Rome – and the centuries-old animosity of “the West” against Russia.

A State of Martial Law

Professor Hudson then delves on the trip by “Liver Sausage” Chancellor Scholz’s delegation to China this week to “demand that it dismantle its public sector and stops subsidizing its economy, or else Germany and Europe will impose sanctions on trade with China.”

Well, in fact this happens to be just childish wishful thinking, expressed by the German Council on Foreign Relations in a piece published on the Financial Times (the Japanese-owned platform in the City of London). The Council, as correctly described by Hudson, is “the neoliberal ‘libertarian’ arm of NATO demanding German de-industrialization and dependency” on the US.

So the FT, predictably, is printing NATO wet dreams.

Context is essential. German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in a keynote speech at Bellevue Castle, has all but admitted that Berlin is broke: “An era of headwinds is beginning for Germany – difficult, difficult years are coming for us. Germany is in the deepest crisis since reunification.”

Yet schizophrenia, once again, reigns supreme, as Steinmeier, after a ridiculous stunt in Kiev – complete with posing as a unwitting actor huddled in a bunker – announced an extra handout: two more MARS multiple rocket launchers and four Panzerhaubitze 2000 howitzers to be delivered to the Ukrainians.

So even if the “world” economy – actually the EU – is so fragilized that member-states cannot help Kiev anymore without harming their own populations, and the EU is on the verge of a catastrophic energy crisis, fighting for “our values” in Country 404 trumps it all.

The Big Picture context is also key. Andrea Zhok, Professor of Ethical Philosophy at the University of Milan, has taken Giorgio Agamben’s “State of Exception” concept to new heights.

Zhok proposes that the zombified collective West is now completely subjugated to a “State of Martial Law” – where a Forever War ethos is the ultimate priority for rarified global elites.

Every other variable – from trans-humanism to depopulation and even cancel culture – is subordinated to the State of Martial Law, and is basically inessential. The only thing that matters is exercising absolute, raw control.

Berlin – Moscow – Beijing

Solid German business sources completely contradict the “message” delivered by the German Council on Foreign Relations on the trip to China.

According to these sources, the Scholz caravan went to Beijing to essentially lay down the preparatory steps for working out a peace deal with Russia, with China as privileged messenger.

This is – literally – as explosive, geopolitically and geoeconomically, as it gets. As I pointed out in one of my previous columns, Berlin and Moscow were keeping a secret communication back channel – via business interlocutors – right to the minute the usual suspects, in desperation, decided to blow up the Nord Streams.

Cue to the now notorious SMS from Liz Truss’s iPhone to Little Tony Blinken, one minute after the explosions: “It’s done.”

There’s more: the Scholz caravan may be trying to start a long and convoluted process of eventually replacing the US with China as a key ally. One should never forget that the top BRI trade/connectivity terminal in the EU is Germany (the Ruhr valley).

According to one of the sources, “if this effort is successful, then Germany, China and Russia can ally themselves together and drive the US out of Europe.”

Another source provided the cherry on the cake: “Olaf Scholz is being accompanied on this trip by German industrialists who actually control Germany and are not going to sit back watching themselves being destroyed.”

Moscow knows very well what the imperial aim is when it comes to the EU reduced to the role of totally dominated – and deindustrialized – vassal, exercising zero sovereignty. The back channels after all are not lying in tatters on the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Additionally, China has not provided any hint that its massive trade with Germany and the EU is about to vanish.

Scholz himself, one day before his caravan hit Beijing, stressed to Chinese media that Germany has no intention of decoupling from China, and there’s nothing to justify “the calls by some to isolate China.”

In parallel, Xi Jinping and the new Politburo are very much aware of the Kremlin position, reiterated again and again: we always remain open for negotiations, as long as Washington finally decides to talk about the end of unlimited NATO expansion drenched in Russophobia.

So to negotiate means the Empire signing on the dotted line of the document it has received from Moscow on December 1st, 2021, focused on “indivisibility of security”. Otherwise there’s nothing to negotiate.

And when we have Pentagon lobbyist Lloyd “Raytheon” Austin advising the Ukrainians on the record to advance on Kherson, it’s even more crystal clear there’s nothing to negotiate.

So could this all be the foundation stone of the Berlin-Moscow-Beijing trans-Eurasia geopolitical/geoeconomic corridor? That will mean Bye Bye Empire. Once again: it ain’t over till the fat lady goes Gotterdammerung.

(Republished from Strategic Culture Foundation by permission of author or representative)

← No Pain, No Grain: Putin’s Black Sea …

Putin: ‘The Situation Is, to a Certain Extent, Revolutionary’

Putin in fact did nail where we are: on the edge of a Revolution.

October 31, 2022

Global Research,

By Pepe Escobar

In an all-encompassing address to the plenary session of the 19th annual meeting of the Valdai Club, President Putin delivered no less than a devastating, multi-layered critique of unipolarity.

From Shakespeare to the assassination of Gen Soleimani;

from musings on spirituality to the structure of the UN;

from Eurasia as the cradle of human civilization to the interconnection of BRI, SCO and the INSTC;

from nuclear dangers to that peripheral peninsula of Eurasia “blinded by the idea that Europeans are better than others”, the address painted a Brueghel-esque canvas of the “historical milestone” facing us, in the middle of “the most dangerous decade since the end of WWII.”

Putin even ventured that, in the words of the classics, “the situation is, to a certain extent, revolutionary” as “the upper classes cannot, and the lower classes do not want to live like this anymore”. So everything is in play, as “the future of the new world order is being shaped before our eyes.”

Way beyond a catchy slogan about the game the West is playing, “bloody, dangerous and dirty”, the address and Putin’s interventions at the subsequent Q&A should be analyzed as a coherent vision of past, present and future. Here we offer just a few of the highlights:

“The world is witnessing the degradation of world institutions, the erosion of the principle of collective security, the substitution of international law for ‘rules’”.

“Even at the height of the Cold War, nobody denied the existence of the culture and art of the Other. In the West, any alternative point of view is declared subversive.”

“The Nazis burned books. Now the Western fathers of ‘liberalism’ are banning Dostoevsky.”

“There are at least two ‘Wests’. The first is traditional, with a rich culture. The second is aggressive and colonial.”

“Russia has not and does not consider itself an enemy of the West.

Russia tried to build relations with the West and NATO – to live together in peace and harmony. Their response to all cooperation was simply ‘no’.”

“We do not need a nuclear strike on Ukraine, there is no point – neither political nor military.”

“In part” the situation between Russia and Ukraine can be considered a civil war: “When creating Ukraine, the Bolsheviks endowed it with primordially Russian territories – they gave it all of Little Russia, the entire Black Sea region, the entire Donbass. Ukraine evolved as an artificial state.”

Russia and China Haven’t Even Started to Ratchet Up the Pain Dial. Pepe Escobar

“Ukrainians and Russians are one people – this is a historical fact. Ukraine has evolved as an artificial state. The only country that can guarantee its sovereignty is the country which created it – Russia.”

“The unipolar world is coming to an end. The West is incapable of single-handedly ruling the world. The world stands at a historical milestone ahead of the most dangerous and important decade since World War II.”

“Humanity has two options – either we continue accumulating the burden of problems that is certain to crush all of us, or we can work together to find solutions.”

What do we do after the orgy?

Amidst a series of absorbing discussions, the heart of the matter at Valdai is its 2022 report, “A World Without Superpowers”.

The report’s central thesis – eminently correct – is that “the United States and its allies, in fact, no longer enjoy the status of dominant superpower, but the global infrastructure that serves it is still in place.”

Of course all major interconnected issues at the current crossroads were precipitated because” Russia became the first major power which, guided by its own ideas of security and fairness, chose to discard the benefits of ‘global peace’ created by the only superpower.”

Well, not exactly “global peace”; rather a Mafia-enforced ethos of “our way or the highway”. The report quite diplomatically characterizes the freezing of Russia’s gold and foreign currency reserves and the “mop up” of Russia’s property abroad as “Western jurisdictions”, “if necessary”, being “guided by political expediency rather than the law”.

That’s in fact outright theft, under the shadow of the “rules-based international order”.

The report – optimistically – foresees the advent of a sort of normalized “cold peace” as “the best available solution today” – acknowledging at least this is far from guaranteed, and “will not halt the fundamental rebuilding of the international system on new foundations.”

The foundation for evolving multipolarity has in fact been presented by the Russia-China strategic partnership only three weeks before imperially-ordered provocations forced Russia to launch the Special Military Operation (SMO).

In parallel, the financial lineaments of multipolarity had been proposed since at least July 2021, in a paper co-written by Professor Michael Hudson and Radhika Desai.

The Valdai report duly acknowledges the role of Global South medium-sized powers that “exemplify the democratization of international politics” and may “act as shock absorbers during periods of upheaval.” That’s a direct reference to the role of BRICS+ as key protagonists.

On the Big Picture across the chessboard, the analysis tends to get more realistic when it considers that “the triumph of ‘the only true idea’ makes effective dialogue and agreement with supporters of different views and values impossible by definition.”

Putin alluded to it several times in his address. There’s no evidence whatsoever the Empire and its vassals will be deviating from their normative, imposed, value-laden unilateralism.

As for world politics beginning to “rapidly return to a state of anarchy built on force”, that’s self-evident: only the Empire of Chaos wants to impose anarchy, as it completely ran out of geopolitical and geoeconomic tools to control rebel nations, apart from the sanctions tsunami.

So the report is correct when it identifies that the childish neo-Hegelian “end of history” wet dream in the end hit the wall of History: we’re back to the pattern of large scale conflicts between centers of power.

And it’s also a fact that “simply changing the ‘operator’ as it happened in earlier centuries” (as in the U.S. taking over from Britain) “just won’t work.”

China might harbor a desire to become the new sheriff, but the Beijing leadership definitely is not interested. And even if that happened the Hegemon would fiercely prevented it, as “the entire system” remains “under its control (primarily finance and the economy).”

So the only way out, once again, is multipolarity – which the report characterizes, rather vaguely, as “a world without superpowers”, still in need of “a system of self-regulation, which implies much greater freedom of action and responsibility for such actions.”

Stranger things have happened in History. As it stands, we are plunged deep into the maelstrom of complete collapse. Putin in fact did nail where we are: on the edge of a Revolution.

This article was first published by Strategic Culture Foundation

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Pepe Escobar, born in Brazil, is a correspondent and editor-at-large at Asia Times and columnist for Consortium News and Strategic Culture. Since the mid-1980s he’s lived and worked as a foreign correspondent in London, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Singapore, Bangkok. He has extensively covered Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia to China, Iran, Iraq and the wider Middle East. Pepe is the author of Globalistan – How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War; Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad during the Surge. He was contributing editor to The Empire and The Crescent and Tutto in Vendita in Italy. His last two books are Empire of Chaos and 2030. Pepe is also associated with the Paris-based European Academy of Geopolitics. When not on the road he lives between Paris and Bangkok.

He is a regular contributor to Global Research.

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The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Pepe Escobar, Global Research, 2022

Everybody wants to hop on the BRICS Express

Eurasia is about to get a whole lot larger as countries line up to join the Chinese and Russian-led BRICS and SCO, to the detriment of the west

October 27 2022

By Pepe Escobar

Photo Credit: The Cradle

Let’s start with what is in fact a tale of Global South trade between two members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). At its heart is the already notorious Shahed-136 drone – or Geranium-2, in its Russian denomination: the AK-47 of postmodern aerial warfare.

The US, in yet another trademark hysteria fit rife with irony, accused Tehran of weaponizing the Russian Armed Forces. For both Tehran and Moscow, the superstar, value-for-money, and terribly efficient drone let loose in the Ukrainian battlefield is a state secret: its deployment prompted a flurry of denials from both sides. Whether these are made in Iran drones, or the design was bought and manufacturing takes place in Russia (the realistic option), is immaterial.

The record shows that the US weaponizes Ukraine to the hilt against Russia. The Empire is a de facto war combatant via an array of “consultants,” advisers, trainers, mercenaries, heavy weapons, munitions, satellite intel, and electronic warfare. And yet imperial functionaries swear they are not part of the war. They are, once again, lying.

Welcome to yet another graphic instance of the “rules-based international order” at work. The Hegemon always decides which rules apply, and when. Anyone opposing it is an enemy of “freedom,” “democracy,” or whatever platitude du jour, and should be – what else – punished by arbitrary sanctions.

In the case of sanctioned-to-oblivion Iran, for decades now, the result has been predictably another round of sanctions. That’s irrelevant. What matters is that, according to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), no less than 22 nations – and counting – are joining the queue because they also want to get into the Shahed groove.

Even Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, gleefully joined the fray, commenting on how the Shahed-136 is no photoshop.

The race towards BRICS+

What the new sanctions package against Iran really “accomplished” is to deliver an additional blow to the increasingly problematic signing of the revived nuclear deal in Vienna. More Iranian oil on the market would actually relieve Washington’s predicament after the recent epic snub by OPEC+.

A categorical imperative though remains. Iranophobia – just like Russophobia – always prevails for the Straussians/neo-con war advocates in charge of US foreign policy and their European vassals.

So here we have yet another hostile escalation in both Iran-US and Iran-EU relations, as the unelected junta in Brussels also sanctioned manufacturer Shahed Aviation Industries and three Iranian generals.

Now compare this with the fate of the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drone – which unlike the “flowers in the sky” (Russia’s Geraniums) has performed miserably in the battlefield.

Kiev tried to convince the Turks to use a Motor Sich weapons factory in Ukraine or come up with a new company in Transcarpathia/Lviv to build Bayraktars. Motor Sich’s oligarch President Vyacheslav Boguslayev, aged 84, has been charged with treason because of his links to Russia, and may be exchanged for Ukrainian prisoners of war.

In the end, the deal fizzled out because of Ankara’s exceptional enthusiasm in working to establish a new gas hub in Turkey – a personal suggestion from Russian President Vladimir Putin to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

And that bring us to the advancing interconnection between BRICS and the 9-member SCO – to which this Russia-Iran instance of military trade is inextricably linked.

The SCO, led by China and Russia, is a pan-Eurasian institution originally focused on counter-terrorism but now increasingly geared towards geoeconomic – and geopolitical – cooperation. BRICS, led by the triad of Russia, India, and China overlaps with the SCO agenda geoeconomically and geopoliticallly, expanding it to Africa, Latin America and beyond: that’s the concept of BRICS+, analyzed in detail in a recent Valdai Club report, and fully embraced by the Russia-China strategic partnership.

The report weighs the pros and cons of three scenarios involving possible, upcoming BRICS+ candidates:

First, nations that were invited by Beijing to be part of the 2017 BRICS summit (Egypt, Kenya, Mexico, Thailand, Tajikistan).

Second, nations that were part of the BRICS foreign ministers’ meeting in May this year (Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand).

Third, key G20 economies (Argentina, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Turkiye).

And then there’s Iran, which has already already shown interest in joining BRICS.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has recently confirmed that “several countries” are absolutely dying to join BRICS. Among them, a crucial West Asia player: Saudi Arabia.

What makes it even more astonishing is that only three years ago, under former US President Donald Trump’s administration, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MbS) – the kingdom’s de fact ruler – was dead set on joining a sort of Arab NATO as a privileged imperial ally.

Diplomatic sources confirm that the day after the US pulled out of Afghanistan, MbS’s envoys started seriously negotiating with both Moscow and Beijing.

Assuming BRICS approves Riyadh’s candidacy in 2023 by the necessary consensus, one can barely imagine its earth-shattering consequences for the petrodollar. At the same time, it is important not to underestimate the capacity of US foreign policy controllers to wreak havoc.

The only reason Washington tolerates Riyadh’s regime is the petrodollar. The Saudis cannot be allowed to pursue an independent, truly sovereign foreign policy. If that happens, the geopolitical realignment will concern not only Saudi Arabia but the entire Persian Gulf.

Yet that’s increasingly likely after OPEC+ de facto chose the BRICS/SCO path led by Russia-China – in what can be interpreted as a “soft” preamble for the end of the petrodollar.

The Riyadh-Tehran-Ankara triad

Iran made known its interest to join BRICS even before Saudi Arabia. According to Persian Gulf diplomatic sources, they are already engaged in a somewhat secret channel via Iraq trying to get their act together. Turkey will soon follow – certainly on BRICS and possibly the SCO, where Ankara currently carries the status of extremely interested observer.

Now imagine this triad – Riyadh, Tehran, Ankara – closely joined with Russia, India, China (the actual core of the BRICS), and eventually in the SCO, where Iran is as yet the only West Asian nation to be inducted as a full member.

The strategic blow to the Empire will go off the charts. The discussions leading to BRICS+ are focusing on the challenging path towards a commodity-backed global currency capable of bypassing US dollar primacy.

Several interconnected steps point towards increasing symbiosis between BRICS+ and SCO. The latter’s members states have already agreed on a road map for gradually increasing trade in national currencies in mutual settlements.

The State Bank of India – the nation’s top lender – is opening special rupee accounts for Russia-related trade.

Russian natural gas to Turkey will be paid 25 percent in rubles and Turkish lira, complete with a 25 percent discount Erdogan personally asked of Putin.

Russian bank VTB has launched money transfers to China in yuan, bypassing SWIFT, while Sberbank has started lending out money in yuan. Russian energy behemoth Gazprom agreed with China that gas supply payments should shift to rubles and yuan, split evenly.

Iran and Russia are unifying their banking systems for trade in rubles/rial.

Egypt’s Central Bank is moving to establish an index for the pound – through a group of currencies plus gold – to move the national currency away from the US dollar.

And then there’s the TurkStream saga.

That gas hub gift

Ankara for years has been trying to position itself as a privileged East-West gas hub. After the sabotage of the Nord Streams, Putin has handed it on a plate by offering Turkey the possibility to increase Russian gas supplies to the EU via such a hub. The Turkish Energy Ministry stated that Ankara and Moscow have already reached an agreement in principle.

This will mean in practice Turkey controlling the gas flow to Europe not only from Russia but also Azerbaijan and a great deal of West Asia, perhaps even including Iran, as well as Libya in northeast Africa. LNG terminals in Egypt, Greece and Turkiye itself may complete the network.

Russian gas travels via the TurkStream and Blue Stream pipelines. The total capacity of Russian pipelines is 39 billion cubic meters a year.

Photo Credit: The Cradle
Map of Russian gas route via Turkey

TurkStream was initially projected as a four-strand pipeline, with a nominal capacity of 63 million cubic meters a year. As it stands, only two strands – with a total capacity of 31,5 billion cubic meters – have been built.

So an extension in theory is more than feasible – with all the equipment made in Russia. The problem, once again, is laying the pipes. The necessary vessels belong to the Swiss Allseas Group – and Switzerland is part of the sanctions craze. In the Baltic Sea, Russian vessels were used to finish building Nord Stream 2. But for a TurkStream extension, they would need to operate much deeper in the ocean.

TurkStream would not be able to completely replace Nord Stream; it carries much smaller volumes. The upside for Russia is not being canceled from the EU market. Evidently Gazprom would only tackle the substantial investment on an extension if there are ironclad guarantees about its security. And there’s the additional drawback that the extension would also carry gas from Russia’s competitors.

Whatever happens, the fact remains that the US-UK combo still exerts a lot of influence in Turkey – and BP, Exxon Mobil, and Shell, for instance, are actors in virtually every oil extraction project across West Asia. So they would certainly interfere on the way the Turkish gas hub functions, as well on determining the gas price. Moscow has to weigh all these variables before committing to such a project.

NATO, of course, will be livid. But never underestimate hedging bet specialist Sultan Erdogan. His love story with both the BRICS and the SCO is just beginning.

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

Fake Reporting on the Blown-up Pipelines and Russia’s “Annexation

Open Letter to the New York Times

September 30, 2022

Global Research,

By Peter Koenig

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***

Dear Editor of the once-upon-a-time Famous-for-truth New York Times,

With headlines like this, Sabotaged Pipelines and a Mystery: Who Did It? (Was It Russia?), even suggesting that Russia may have blown up their own pipeline, the NYT is killing its last vestige of credibility.

You know exactly this is a lie.

The only force that has a vital interest in doing so is the US / NATO conglomerate – to make sure, there is no way Germany could change their mind and go back on their decision to let their people freeze to death this winter, and to economically destroy Germany, THE economic force and leader of Europe.

You, and your analysts know that.

Unfortunately, there is no common people’s influence on our reporting. There are stronger forces that have bought into your mind-bending journalism.

Still, once a supporter of the NYT, I feel I want to tell you.

The Same with this reporting

Enormous U.S. Military Spending, EU Dragged into Abyss of War against Russia. Italy Out of the War!

Russian Proxies in Ukraine Push Moscow to Annex Occupied Regions

and

Vladimir Putin will sign agreements on Friday to take over four Ukrainian regions, the Kremlin said, after votes widely denounced as a sham

Here too, these are not “proxy” Russians who signed a sham petition to be annexed to Russia. You know it very well.

These are real Russians, living in the far Eastern part of Ukraine, the Donbas area mostly, who have been discriminated ever since the US instigated the Maidan coup on 22 February 2014 – when a neo-Nazi government was installed that let the Nazi Asov Battalions literally slaughter Ukraine’s own people in Donbas — at least 14,000 were reported killed – about half of them children – in the eight years since the “Victoria Nuland” (“Fuck Europe”) coup. See this.

We are talking about the same Asov Battalions, that helped Hitler during WWII fight against Russia.

Already in 2014 / 2015 the Donbas districts wanted to join Russia. President Putin did not allow it, because at that time he still believed in the “Minsk” Agreements, sponsored by France and Germany.

These agreements were principally meant to protect the Donbas people, as well as to demilitarize – de-Nazify – Ukraine, and to keep NATO out of Ukraine. None of the conditions of the Minsk Agreements (September 2014 and April 2015) were ever adhered to.

If truth-seeking geopolitical analysts around the globe know the real background, you, Editor-in-chief of the NYT, and your journalists, know the real story too. Still, you report lies and half-truths to further influence and promote people’s opinion against Russia.

The New York Times has become weaponized against Russia and China, by your mere reporting.

Don’t you think that this will eventually backfire?

*

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Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he worked for over 30 years around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and  co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020)

Peter is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He is also is a non-resident Senior Fellow of the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University, Beijing.

Featured image is from FAIR

The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Peter Koenig, Global Research, 2022


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

A Eurasian jigsaw: BRI and INSTC interconnectivity will complete the puzzle

Shrugging off western obstacles, Eurasia’s ambitious connectivity projects helmed by China and Russia are now progressing deep into Asia’s Heartland

August 17 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

SAMARKAND – Interconnecting Inner Eurasia is an exercise in Taoist equilibrium: adding piece by piece, patiently, to a gigantic jigsaw puzzle. It takes time, skill, vision, and of course major breakthroughs.

A key piece was added to the puzzle recently in Uzbekistan, bolstering the links between the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC).

The Mirzoyoyev government in Tashkent is deeply engaged in turbo-driving yet another Central Asian transportation corridor: a China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan-Afghanistan railway.

That was at the center of a meeting between the chairman of the board of Temir Yullari – the Uzbek national railways – and his counterparts in Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan, as well as managers of the Chinese Wakhan Corridor logistics company.

In terms of the complex intersection of Xinjiang with Central and South Asia, this is as groundbreaking as it gets, as part of what I call the War of Economic Corridors.

The Uzbeks have pragmatically spun the new corridor as essential to cargo transport under low tariffs – but that goes way beyond mere trade calculations.

Imagine, in practice, cargo containers coming by train from Kashgar in Xinjiang to Osh in Kyrgyzstan and then to Hairatan in Afghanistan. Annual volume is planned to reach 60,000 containers in the first year alone.

That would be crucial to develop Afghanistan’s productive trade – away from the “aid” obsession of the US occupation. Afghan products will finally be able to be easily exported to Central Asian neighbors and also China, for instance to the bustling Kashgar market.

And that stabilizing factor would bolster the Taliban’s coffers, now that the leadership in Kabul is very much interested in buying Russian oil, gas and wheat under vastly attractive discounts.

How to get Afghanistan back in the game

There’s also the possibility of spinning off a road project from this railway that would cross the ultra-strategic Wakhan corridor – something that Beijing has already been contemplating for a few years.

The Wakhan is shared by northern Afghanistan and the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan: a long, barren, spectacular geological strip, advancing all the way to Xinjiang.

By now it’s clear not only to Kabul, but also to members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), that the humiliated Americans will not restitute the billions of dollars ‘confiscated’ from the Afghan Central Bank’s reserves – something that would at least mitigate Afghanistan’s current, dire economic crisis and imminent mass famine.

So Plan B is to bolster the – for the moment devastated – Afghan supply and trade chains. Russia will be in charge of security for the whole Central-South Asian crossroads. China will provide the bulk of the financing. And that’s where the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan-Afghanistan railway fits in.

China sees a road across the Wakhan – a very complicated proposition – as an extra BRI corridor, linking to the China-repaved Pamir highway in Tajikistan and China-rebuilt Kyrgyzstan roads.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has already built an 80 km access road from the Chinese stretch of the Karakoram Highway – before it reaches the Pakistan border – to a mountain pass in the Wakhan, currently only available for cars and jeeps.

The next Chinese move would be to proceed further on down that road by 450 km, all the way to Fayzabad, the provincial capital of Afghan Badakhshan. That would constitute the roadside back-up corridor to the China-Central Asia-Afghanistan railway.

The key point is that the Chinese, as much as the Uzbeks, fully understand the extremely strategic location of Afghanistan: not only as a Central/South Asian crossroads, connecting to key ocean ports in Pakistan and Iran (Karachi, Gwadar, Chabahar) and to the Caspian Sea via Turkmenistan, but also helping landlocked Uzbekistan to connect to markets in South Asia.

That’s all part of the BRI corridor maze; and at the same time interlocks with the INSTC because of the key role of Iran (itself increasingly linked with Russia).

Tehran is already engaged in building a railway to Herat, in western Afghanistan (it already rebuilt the road). Then we will have Afghanistan inbuilt in both BRI (as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, CPEC) and the INSTC, giving momentum to yet another project: a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan (TAT) railway, to be linked to Iran and thus the INSTC.

From the Karakoram to Pakafuz

The Karakoram highway – the northern part of which was rebuilt by the Chinese – may sooner or later get a railway sister. The Chinese have been thinking about it since 2014.

By 2016, a railway from the China-Pakistan border to Gilgit, in the northern areas and then further down to Peshawar, was enshrined as part of the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) blueprint. But then nothing happened: the railway is not included  in the 2017-2030 CPEC Long Term Plan.

That may eventually happen in the next decade: the engineering and logistics are an enormous challenge, as they were for the building of the Karakoram highway.

And then there’s the “follow the money” angle. The top two Chinese banks financing BRI – and thus CPEC – projects are the China Development Bank and the Export Import Bank. Even before Covid they were already toning down their loans. And with Covid, they now have to balance foreign projects with domestic loans for the Chinese economy.

The connectivity priority instead shifted to the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan (Pakafuz) railway.

The key stretch of Pakafuz links Peshawar (the capital of the tribal areas) to Kabul. When it’s finished, we’ll see Pakafuz directly interacting with the upcoming China-Central Asia-Afghanistan railway: a new BRI maze directly connected with the INSTC.

All of the above developments reveal their true complexity when we see they are simultaneously inserted into the interaction of BRI and the INSTC and the harmonization between BRI and the Eurasia Economic Union  (EAEU).

Essentially, in geopolitical and geoeconomic terms, the relation between BRI and EAEU projects allows Russia and China to cooperate across Eurasia while avoiding a race to reach a dominant position in the Heartland.

For instance, both Beijing and Moscow agree on the supreme need to stabilize Afghanistan and help it to run a sustainable economy.

In parallel, some important BRI members – like Uzbekistan – are not members of the EAEU, but that is compensated by their membership in the SCO. At the same time, the BRI-EAEU entente facilitates economic cooperation between EAEU members such as Kyrgyzstan and China.

Beijing de facto got full approval from Moscow to invest in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, all EAEU members. A future currency or basket of currencies bypassing the US dollar is being jointly discussed between the EAEU – led by Sergei Glazyev – and China.

China focuses on Central/West Asia

There’s no question that the proxy war in Ukraine between the US and Russia has been creating serious problems for BRI expansion. After all, the US war on Russia is also a war against BRI.

The top three BRI corridors from Xinjiang to Europe are the New Eurasian Land Bridge, the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor, and the China-Russia-Mongolia Economic Corridor.

The New Eurasian Land Bridge uses the Trans-Siberian and a second link through Xinjiang-Kazakhstan (via the dry land port of Khorgos) and then Russia. The corridor via Mongolia is in fact two corridors: one from Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei to Inner Mongolia and then Russia; and the other from Dalian and Shenyang and then to Chita in Russia, near the Chinese border.

As it stands, the Chinese are not using Land Bridge and the Mongolian corridor as much as before, mainly because of western sanctions on Russia. The current BRI emphasis is via Central Asia and West Asia, with one branch then bisecting toward the Persian Gulf and on the Mediterranean.

And this is where we see another – highly complex – level of intersection quickly developing: how the increasing importance for China of Central Asia and West Asia mixes with the increasing importance of the INSTC for both Russia and Iran in their trade with India.

Call it the friendly vector of the War of Transportation Corridors.

The hardcore vector – real war – is already being deployed by the usual suspects. They are predictably bent on destabilizing and/or smashing any node of BRI/INSTC/EAEU/SCO Eurasia integration, by any means necessary: be it in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Balochistan, the Central Asian “stans” or Xinjiang.

As far as the major Eurasian actors are concerned, that’s bound to be an Anglo-American train to nowhere.

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

Going to Samarkand

July 31, 2022

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

The SCO and other pan-Eurasian organizations play a completely different – respectful, consensual – ball game. And that’s why they are catching the full attention of most of the Global South.

The meeting of the SCO Ministerial Council  in Tashkent this past Friday involved some very serious business. That was the key preparatory reunion previous to the SCO summit in mid-September in fabled Samarkand, where the SCO will release a much-awaited “Declaration of Samarkand”.

What happened in Tashkent was predictably unreported across the collective West and still not digested across great swathes of the East.

So once again it’s up to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to cut to the chase. The world’s foremost diplomat – amidst the tragic drama of the American-concocted Era of Non-Diplomacy, Threats and Sanctions – has singled out the two overlapping main themes propelling the SCO as one of the key organizations on the path towards Eurasia integration.

  1. Interconnectivity and “the creation of efficient transport corridors”. The War of Economic Corridors is one of the key features of the 21st
  2. Drawing “the roadmap for the gradual increase in the share of national currencies in mutual settlements.”

Yet it was in the Q@A session that Lavrov for all practical purposes detailed all the major trends in the current, incandescent state of international relations. These are the key takeaways.

How comfortable are you with the US dollar?

Africa: “We agreed that we will submit to the leaders for consideration proposals on specific actions to switch to settlements in national currencies. I think that everyone will now think about it. Africa already has a similar experience: common currencies in some sub-regional structures, which, nevertheless, by and large, are pegged to Western ones. From 2023, a continental free trade zone will start functioning on the African continent. A logical step would be to reinforce it with currency agreements.”

Belarus – and many others – eager to join the SCO: “There is a broad consensus on the Belarusian candidacy (…) I felt it today. There are a number of contenders for the status of observer, dialogue partner. Some Arab countries show such interest, as do Armenia, Azerbaijan and a number of Asian states.”

Grain diplomacy: “In regard to the issue of Russian grain, it was the American sanctions that did not allow the full implementation of the signed contracts due to the restrictions imposed: Russian ships are prohibited from entering a number of ports, there is a ban on foreign ships entering Russian ports to pick up export cargo, and insurance rates have gone up (…) Financial chains are also interrupted by illegitimate US and EU sanctions. In particular, Rosselkhozbank, through which all the main settlements for food exports pass, was one of the first to be included in the sanctions list. UN Secretary General A. Guterres has committed to removing these barriers to addressing the global food crisis. Let’s see.”

Taiwan: “We do not discuss this with our Chinese colleague. Russia’s position on having only one China remains unchanged. The United States periodically confirms the same line in words, but in practice their ‘deeds’ do not always coincide with words. We have no problem upholding the principle of Chinese sovereignty.”

Should the SCO abandon the US dollar? “Each SCO country must decide for itself how comfortable it feels to rely on the dollar, taking into account the absolute unreliability of this currency for possible abuses. The Americans have used this more than once in relation to a number of states.”

Why the SCO matters: “There are no leaders and followers in the SCO. There are no situations in the organization like in NATO, when the US and its closest allies impose one line or another on all other members of the alliance. In the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the situation that we are currently seeing in the EU does not arise: sovereign countries are literally being ‘knocked out’, demanding that they either stop buying gas or reduce its consumption in violation of national plans and interests.”

Lavrov was also keen to stress how “other structures in the Eurasian space, for example, the EAEU and BRICS, are based and operate on the same principles” of the SCO. And he referred to the crucial cooperation with the 10 member-nations of ASEAN.

Thus he set the stage for the clincher: “All these processes, in interconnection, help to form the Greater Eurasian Partnership, which President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly spoken about. We see in them a benefit for the entire population of the Eurasian continent.”

Those Afghan and Arab lives

The real big story of the Raging Twenties  is how the special military operation (SMO) in Ukraine de facto kick-started “all these processes”, as Lavrov mentioned, simultaneously leading towards inexorable Eurasia integration.

Once again he had to recall two basic facts that continue to escape any serious analysis across the collective West:

Fact 1: “All our proposals for their removal [referring to NATO-expansion assets] on the basis of the principle of mutual respect for security interests were ignored by the US, the EU, and NATO.”

Fact 2: “When the Russian language was banned in Ukraine, and the Ukrainian government promoted neo-Nazi theories and practices, the West did not oppose, but, on the contrary, encouraged the actions of the Kyiv regime and admired Ukraine as a ‘stronghold of democracy.’ Western countries supplied the Kyiv regime with weapons and planned the construction of naval bases on Ukrainian territory. All these actions were openly aimed at containing the Russian Federation. We have been warning for 10 years that this is unacceptable.”

It’s also fitting that Lavrov would once again put Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya in context: “Let us recall the example of Afghanistan, when even wedding ceremonies were subjected to air strikes, or Iraq and Libya, where statehood was completely destroyed, and many human lives were sacrificed. When states that easily pursued such a policy are now making a fuss about Ukraine, I can conclude that the lives of Afghans and Arabs mean nothing to Western governments. It’s unfortunate. Double standards, these racist and colonial instincts must be eliminated.”

Putin, Lavrov, Patrushev, Madvedev have all been stressing lately the racist, neocolonial character of the NATOstan matrix. The SCO and other pan-Eurasian organizations play a completely different – respectful, consensual – ball game. And that’s why they are catching the full attention of most of the Global South. Next stop: Samarkand.

From Balkh to Konya: Discovering Rumi’s spiritual geopolitics

July 30 2022

By Pepe Escobar

Source

While Jalal al-Din Rumi is synonymous with Islamic mysticism, a deeper dig brings to light the West Asian political changes and upheaval that shaped his world and other-worldly view.

KONYA – Mystic poet, Sufi, theosophist, and thinker, Jalal al-Din Rumi remains one of the most beloved historical personalities in history, east and west. A wanderer in search of the light, he famously characterized himself thus: “I am nothing more than a humble lover of God.”

The era of Rumi’s father – Sultan Bahaeddin Veled (1152-1231) and son (1207-1273) – was an extraordinary socio-political rollercoaster. It’s absolutely impossible for us today to understand the ideas, allusions and parables that trespass Rumi’s magnum opus, the six-volume Masnevi , in 25,620 couplets, without delving into some serious time travel.

In the Masnevi , written in Persian – the prime literary language in West and Central Asia in those times – Rumi used poetry essentially as a tool for teaching divine secrets, explaining them via parables. The Rumi Project is to show Man the path to Divine Love, leading him from a low stage to the highest. Squeezed and subdued by the techno-feudalism juggernaut, we may now need to heed these lessons more than ever in history.

The Masnevi became hugely popular across Eurasia immediately after Rumi’s death in 1273 – from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan to Central Asia, Iran and Turkey. Then, slowly but surely, the man and the opus ended up reaching even the collective west (Goethe was mesmerized) and inspiring a wealth of learned commentaries, in Persian, Ottoman Turkish, Urdu and English.

“The master from Anatolia”

Let’s start our time travel in the 11th century, when some Turkish tribes, after crossing Transoxiana, began to settle in northern Persia. These new Turkish tribes – from the Ghaznavids to the Seljuks (actually the branch of a Turkoman tribe) – constituted fabulous dynasties that played a key role in the inter-mixing of Turkic and Persian culture (what the Chinese today, applying it to the New Silk Roads, call “people to people contacts”).

Islam spread very fast in Persia under the rule of the religiously tolerant Samanids. That was the foundation stone for Mahmud of Ghazna (998-1030) to form a great Turkish empire, from northeastern Persia to very remote parts of India. Mahmud made a great impression on Rumi.

While the Ghaznavids remained powerful in eastern Persia, the Seljuks established a powerful empire not only in parts of Iran but also in the remote lands of Anatolia (called Arz-I Rum). That’s the reason why Rumi is called Mavlana-yi Rum (“the master from Anatolia”).

Rumi as a kid lived in legendary Balkh (part of Khorasan in northern Afghanistan), capital of the Khwarazm empire. When he and his father were still there, the king was Ala al-Din, who came from a dynasty established by a Turkish slave.

After a series of incredibly messy kingdom clashes, Ala al-Din saw himself pitted in battle against the king of Samarkand, Osman Khan. That ended up in a massacre in 1212, in which Ala al-Din’s soldiers killed 10,000 people in Samarkand. The young Rumi was shocked.

Ala al-Din wanted to be no less than the absolute ruler of the Muslim world. He refused to obey the Caliph in Baghdad. He even started entertaining designs on China – where Genghis Khan had already conquered Pekin.

Ala al-Din sent an envoy to China who was very well treated by Genghis, who had an eye on – what else – good business between the two empires (the Silk Road bug, again). Genghis sent his ambassadors back, full of gifts. Ala al-Din received them in Transoxiana in 1218.

But then the governor of one of his provinces, a close relative, robbed and killed some of the Mongols. Genghis demanded punishment. The Sultan refused. Well, you don’t want to pick up a fight with Genghis Khan. He duly started a series of massacres in Persia, and inevitably the Khwarazm empire – along with its great cities, Samarkand, Bukhara, Balkh, Merv – collapsed. By then, Rumi and his father had already left.

Like Baghdad, each of these fabulous cities was a center of learning. Rumi’s Balkh had a mixed culture of Arabs, Sassanians, Turks, Buddhists and Christians. After Alexander The Great, Balkh became the hub of Greco-Bactria. Just before the coming of Islam, it was a Buddhist hub and a center of Zoroastrian teaching. All along, one of the great centers of the Ancient Silk Roads.

On the road with 300 camels

The hero of Rumi’s Masnevi, Ibrahim Adham, like the Buddha, had relinquished his throne for the love of God, setting the example for the Sufism that later came to flourish across these latitudes, known as the Khorasani school.

As Prof Dr Erkan Turkmen, who was born in Peshawar and today is a top scholar at Karatay University in Konya, and author, among others, of a lovely volume, ‘Roses from Rumi’s Rose Garden’ says, there are two top reliable sources for the extraordinary pilgrimage of Rumi’s father Bahaeddin and his family from Balkh to Konya, with books, food and house ware loaded on the back of 300 camels, accompanied by 40 religious people. The sources, inevitably, are father and son (Rumi’s account is written in verse).

The first major stop was Baghdad. At the entrance gates, the guards asked who they were. Rumi’s father said, “We are coming from God and shall go back to Him. We have come from the non-existent world and shall go there again.”

Caliph al-Nasir summoned his top scholar Suhreverdi, who immediately gave the green light to the newcomers. But Rumi’s father did not want to stay under the protection of the Caliph, who was noted for his cruelness. So after a few years he left for Mecca on a Hajj and then to Damascus – which was an extremely well organized city at the time of the Abbasids and the Seljuks, crammed with 660 mosques, more than 40 madrassas, 100 baths and plenty of famous scholars.

The final steps on the family journey were Erjinzan in Anatolia – already a center of trade and culture – and then Larende (now Karaman), 100km south of Konya. Today, Karaman is only a small Turkish province, but in those times extended as far as Antalya to the south. It housed a lot of Christian Turks, who wrote Turkish using the Greek alphabet.

That’s where Rumi got married. Afterwards, his father was invited by Sultan Ala al-Din Kayqubad I (1220-1237) to Konya, finally establishing himself and the family until his death in 1231.

The Seljuks in Anatolia erupted into history in the year 1075, when Alp Arslan defeated the Byzantines in the legendary battle of Manzikert. A century later, in 1107, Qilich Arslan defeated the Crusaders, and the Seljuk empire began to spread very fast. It took a few decades before Christians started to accept the inevitable: the presence of Turks in Anatolia. Later, they even started to intermix.

The golden era of the Seljuks was under Sultan Ala al-Din Kayqubad I (the one who invited Rumi’s family to Konya), who built citadels around Konya and Kayseri to protect them from the coming Mongol invasion, and spent his winters at the beautiful Mediterranean coast in Antalya.

In Konya, Rumi did not get into politics, and does not seem to have had close relations with the royal family. He was widely known either as Mevlana (our master) or Rumi (the Anatolian). In Turkey today he is simply known as Mevlana, and in the west as Rumi. In his lyrical poetry, he uses the pseudonym Khamush (Silent). Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP – a highly materialistic enterprise wallowing in dodgy businesses – is not exactly fond of Rumi’s Sufism.

Under the Green Dome

As we’ve seen, Rumi spent most of his childhood on the road – so he never attended regular school. His early education was provided by his father and other scholars who followed the family to Karaman. Rumi also met many other famous scholars along the way, especially in Baghdad and Damascus, where he studied Islamic history, the Quran, and Arabic.

When Rumi was about to finish the 6th volume of the Masnevi, he fell ill, under constant fever. He passed away on 17 December, 1273. A fund of 130,000 dirhams was organized to build his tomb, which includes the world-famous Green Dome (Qubbat ul-Khazra), originally finished in 1274 and currently under renovation.

The tomb today is a museum (Konya holds astonishing relics especially in the Ethnography and Archeology museums). But for most pilgrims from all lands of Islam and beyond who come to pay their spiritual tributes, it is actually regarded as a lover’s shrine (Kaaba-yi Ushaq).

These lines, inscribed in his splendid wooden sarcophagus, may be a summary of all that Rumi attempted to teach during his lifetime:

“If wheat is grown on the clay of my grave, and if you bake bread of it, your intoxication will increase, the dough and the baker will go mad and the oven will also begin to recite verses out of madness. When you pay a visit to my tomb, it will seem to be dancing for God has created me out of the wine of love and I am still the same love even if death may crush me.”

A Sufi is by definition a lover of God. Islamic mysticism considers three stages of knowledge: the knowledge of certainty, the eye of certainty, and the truth of certainty.

In the first stage, one tries to find God by intellectual proof (failure is inevitable). In the second stage, one may be tuned in to divine secrets. In the third stage, one is able to see Reality and understand It spiritually. That’s a path not dissimilar to reaching enlightenment in Buddhism.

In addition to these three stages, there are paths to follow toward God. Choosing a path – Tarikat – is a very complicated business. It can be any Sufi order – such as Mavleviya, Kadriya, Nakshbandiya – under the guidance of a sheikh of that particular Tarikat.

In these absurdist times of grain diplomacy barely able to remedy the toxic effects of imperial sanctions, part of a proxy war of civilizations, a Rumi verse – “The celestial mill gives nothing if you have no wheat” – may open unexpected vistas.

Rumi is essentially saying that if one goes to a flour mill without wheat, what shall we gain? Nothing but the whiteness of one’s beard and hair (because of the flour). In the same vein: “If we have no good deeds to take with us to the other world, we will gain nothing but pain in the heart, while if we have developed our spiritual being, we will gain honor and Divine Love.”

Now try to explain that to a crusading collective west.

India-Russia-Iran: Eurasia’s new transportation powerhouses

No longer just an ‘alternative route’ on a drawing board, the International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) is paying dividends in a time of global crisis. And Moscow, Tehran and New Delhi are now leading players in the Eurasian competition for transportation routes.

July 19 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Matthew Ehret

Tectonic shifts continue to rage through the world system with nation-states quickly recognizing that the “great game” as it has been played since the establishment of the Bretton Woods monetary system in the wake of the second World War, is over.

But empires never disappear without a fight, and the Anglo-American one is no exception, overplaying its hand, threatening and bluffing its way, right to the end.

End of an order

It seems no matter how many sanctions the west imposes on Russia, the victims most affected are western civilians. Indeed, the severity of this political blunder is such that the nations of the trans-Atlantic are heading towards the greatest self-induced food and energy crisis in history.

While the representatives of the “liberal rules-based international order” continue on their trajectory to crush all nations that refuse to play by those rules, a much saner paradigm has come to light in recent months that promises to transform the global order entirely.

The multipolar solution

Here we see the alternative security-financial order which has arisen in the form of the Greater Eurasian Partnership. As recently as 30 June at the 10th St Petersburg International Legal Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin described this emerging new multipolar order as:

“A multipolar system of international relations is now being formed. It is an irreversible process; it is happening before our eyes and is objective in nature. The position of Russia and many other countries is that this democratic, more just world order should be built on the basis of mutual respect and trust, and, of course, on the generally accepted principles of international law and the UN Charter.”

Since the inevitable cancellation of western trade with Russia after the Ukraine conflict erupted in February, Putin has increasingly made clear that the strategic re-orientation of Moscow’s economic ties from east to west had to make a dramatically new emphasis on north to south and north to east relations not only for Russia’s survival, but for the survival of all Eurasia.

Among the top strategic focuses of this re-orientation is the long overdue International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC).

On this game-changing mega-project, Putin said last month during the plenary session of the 25th St Petersburg International Economic Forum:

“To help companies from other countries develop logistical and cooperation ties, we are working to improve transport corridors, increase the capacity of railways, trans-shipment capacity at ports in the Arctic, and in the eastern, southern and other parts of the country, including in the Azov-Black Sea and Caspian basins – they will become the most important section of the North-South Corridor, which will provide stable connectivity with the Middle East and Southern Asia. We expect freight traffic along this route to begin growing steadily in the near future.”

The INSTC’s Phoenix Moment

Until recently, the primary trade route for goods passing from India to Europe has been the maritime shipping corridor passing through the Bab El-Mandeb Strait linking the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea, via the highly bottlenecked Suez Canal, through the Mediterranean and onward to Europe via ports and rail/road corridors.

Following this western-dominated route, average transit times take about 40 days to reach ports of Northern Europe or Russia. Geopolitical realities of the western technocratic obsession with global governance have made this NATO-controlled route more than a little unreliable.

Map of the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), linking Russia, Iran, India
The International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC)

Despite being far from complete, goods moving across the INSTC from India to Russia have already finished their journey 14 days sooner than their Suez-bound counterparts while also seeing a whopping 30 percent reduction in total shipping costs.

These figures are expected to fall further as the project progresses. Most importantly, the INSTC would also provide a new basis for international win-win cooperation much more in harmony with the spirit of geo-economics unveiled by China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013.

Cooperation not competition

Originally agreed upon by Russia, Iran and India in September 2000, the INSTC only began moving in earnest in 2002 – albeit much more slowly than its architects had hoped.

This 7,200 km multimodal megaproject involves integrating several Eurasian nations directly or indirectly with rail, roads and shipping corridors into a united and tight-knit web of interdependency. Along each artery, opportunities to build energy projects, mining, and high tech special economic zones (SEZs) will abound giving each participating nation the economic power to lift their people out of poverty, increase their stability and their national power to chart their own destinies.

Beyond the founding three nations, the other 10 states who have signed onto this project over the years include Armenia, Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, Syria and even Ukraine (although this last member may not remain on board for long). In recent months, India has officially invited Afghanistan and Uzbekistan to join too.

While western think tanks and geopolitical analysts attempt to frame the INSTC as an opponent to China’s BRI, the reality is that both systems are extremely synergistic on multiple levels.

Map of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), The 'One Belt One Road' (OBOR)
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

Unlike the west’s speculation-driven bubble economy, both the BRI and INSTC define economic value and self-interest around improving the productivity and living standards of the real economy. While short term thinking predominates in the myopic London-Wall Street paradigm, the BRI and INSTC investment strategies are driven by long-term thinking and mutual self-interest.

It is no small irony that such policies once animated the best traditions of the west before the rot of unipolar thinking took over and the west lost its moral compass.

An integrated alternative

The INSTC’s two major bookends are the productive zone of Mumbai in India’s Southeast region of Gujarat and the northern-most Arctic port of Lavna in Russia’s Kola Peninsula of Murmansk.

This is not only the first port constructed by Russia in decades, but when completed, will be one of the world’s largest commercial ports with an expected capacity to process 80 million tons of goods by 2030.

The Lavna Port is an integral part of Russia’s Arctic and Far East Development vision and is a central piece to Russia’s current Comprehensive Plan for Modernization and Expansion of Main Infrastructure and its Northern Sea Route which is expected to see a five-fold increase of Arctic freight traffic over the coming years. These projects are integrally linked to China’s Polar Silk Road.

Between these bookends, the INSTC moves freight from India into Iran’s Port of Bandar Abbas where it is loaded onto double-tracked rail to the Iranian city of Bafq and then to Tehran before coming to the Anzali Port on the southern Caspian Sea.

‘Be like water’

Because the INSTC is based on a flexible design concept capable of adapting to a changing geopolitical environment (very much like the BRI), there are a multitude of connecting lines that branch off the main North-South artery before goods make it to the Caspian Sea.

These include an eastern and western corridor branching off from the city of Bafq towards Turkey and thence Europe via the Bosporus and also eastward from Tehran to Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and thereafter into Urumqi in China.

Railway is still relevant

From the Anzali Port in the north of Iran, goods may travel by the Caspian Sea towards Russia’s Astrakhan Port where it is then loaded onto trains and trucks for transport to Moscow, St Petersburg and Murmansk. Inversely goods may also travel over land to Azerbaijan where the 35 km Iran Rasht-Caspian railway is currently under construction with 11 km completed as of this writing.

Once completed, the line will connect the Port of Anzali with Azerbaijan’s Baku, offering goods a chance to either continue onwards to Russia or westward toward Europe. A Tehran-Baku rail route already exists.

Additionally, Azerbaijan and Iran are currently collaborating on a vast $2 billion rail line connecting the 175 km Qazvin-Rasht railway which began operations in 2019 with a strategic rail line connecting Iran’s Rasht port on the Caspian to the Bandar Abbas Complex in the south (to be completed in 2025). Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development Rostam Ghasemi described this project in January 2022 saying:

“Iran’s goal is to connect to the Caucasus, Russia, and European countries. For this purpose, the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway is in the spotlight. During the Iranian president’s visit to Russia, discussions were conducted in this regard, and construction of the railway line is expected to begin soon with the allocation of needed funds.”

In recent months, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lobbied to incorporate the joint Iran-India built Chabahar Port into the INSTC which will likely occur since another 628 km rail line from the port to the Iranian city of Zahedan is currently under construction.

Once completed, goods will easily move onward to the city of Bafq. While some critics have suggested that the Chabahar Port is antagonistic to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, Iranian officials have constantly referred to it as Chabahar’s twin sister.

Since 2014, a vast rail and transportation complex has grown around the co-signers of the Ashkabat Agreement (launched in 2011 and upgraded several times over the past decade). These rail networks include the 917.5 km Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan route launched in 2014, and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan rail/energy project launched in 2016 which is currently seeing extensions that could easily go into Pakistan.

In December 2021, the 6540 km Islamabad to Istanbul rail line (via Iran) recommenced operations after a decade of inaction. This route cuts the conventional sea transit route time of 21 days by half. Discussions are already underway to extend the line from Pakistan into China’s Xinjiang Province linking the INSTC ever more closely into the BRI on yet another front.

Map of Islamabad to Istanbul rail line (via Iran)
Islamabad to Istanbul rail line (via Iran)

Finally, June 2022 saw the long-awaited unveiling of the 6108 km Kazakhstan-Iran-Turkey rail line which provides an alternative route to the under-developed Middle Corridor. Celebrating the inaugural 12 day voyage of cargo, Kazakhstan’s President Kasym-Jomart Tokayev stated: “Today, we welcomed the container train, which left Kazakhstan a week ago. Then it will go to Turkey. This is a significant event, given the difficult geopolitical conditions.”

Despite the fact that the INSTC is over 20 years old, global geopolitical dynamics, regime change wars, and ongoing economic warfare against Iran, Syria and other US target states did much to harm the sort of stable geopolitical climate needed to emit large scale credit requisite for long term projects like this to succeed.

Caspian Summit Security breakthroughs

As proof that necessity truly is the mother of invention, the systemic meltdown of the entire post-WW2 edifice has forced reality to take precedence over the smaller-minded concerns that kept the diverse nations of Sir Halford John Mackinder’s “World Island” from cooperating. Among these points of endless conflict and stagnation which has upset great economic potential over the course of three decades, the Caspian zone stands out.

It is in this oil and natural gas rich hub that the five Caspian littoral states (Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan) have found a power to break through on multi-level security, economic and diplomatic agreements throughout the June 29-30, 2022 Sixth Caspian Summit in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

This summit placed a high priority on the INSTC with the region becoming both a north-south and east-west transportation hub. Most importantly, the leaders of the five littoral states made their final communique center around the region’s security since it is obvious that divide-to-conquer tactics will be deployed using every tool in the asymmetrical warfare tool basket going forward.

Chief among the agreed-upon principles were indivisible security, mutual cooperation, military cooperation, respect for national sovereignty, and non-interference. Most importantly, the banning of foreign military from the land and waters of the Caspian states was firmly established.

While no final agreement was reached over the disputed ownership of resources within the base of the Caspian, the stage was set for harmonization of partner states’ security doctrines, a healthy environment was established for the second Caspian Economic Summit which will take place in Autumn of this year and which will hopefully resolve many of the disputes pertaining to Caspian resource ownership.

Although geopolitical storms continue to intensify, it is increasingly clear that only the multipolar ship of state has demonstrated the competence to navigate the hostile seas, while the sinking unipolar ship of fools has a ruptured hull held together by little more than chewing gum and heavy doses of delusion.

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

Andrei Martyanov: SAS and BRICS

July 14, 2022

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