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

August 24, 2022

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

 August 18, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What War, Mr. Kissinger?

August 13, 2022

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Will the West’s greed and hatred lead to the end of the world?

August 12, 2022

Source

By Aram Mirzaei

It can certainly be said that the risk for nuclear war is far greater today than it was less a year ago. Ever since the conflict in Ukraine began, the collective West and its vassals, also known as the “international community” have been engaged in a hybrid war against Russia, stopping just short of direct confrontation. Although some EU leaders like Borrell seem to think that the West is an active combatant in the conflict. “We must explain to our citizens that this is not someone else’s war,” Borrell said in an interview published by newspaper El Pais on Thursday. “The public must be willing to pay the price of supporting Ukraine and for preserving the unity of the EU.”

We are at war. These things are not free,” he added.

The same Borrell offered his thoughts on Western hypocrisy and double standards in international affairs, with regards to the Zionist slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza this past week. “We are often criticized for double standards. But international politics is to a large degree about applying double standards. We do not use the same criteria for all problems,” he told El Pais newspaper, as cited on Thursday. A rare piece of honesty for a man who makes his living by lying and deceiving others. Yet he failed to mention why those double standards exist. International politics is only about applying double standards when you’re an imperialist and colonizer. Of course he wouldn’t mention that they don’t “use the same criteria for all problems” when it is his masters in Tel Aviv that are the ones waging war on defenceless people.

So this proves that the West throwing tantrums to the left and right over Ukraine really has nothing to do with concern for civilian lives lost. Because when the Zionists massacre children with impunity, the “international community” is pretty silent.

Illegal sanctions, rabid Russophobia, and supplying Kiev with heavy weaponry despite the known dangers of doing so, all show the West’s deeply rooted hatred of Russia. If anyone was still delusional to think that this hatred had anything to do with President Putin only, then these past months should’ve proven that it is Russia and the Russians that the “international community” hates with a passion. Why else would they ban Russian athletes, journalists and even ordinary citizens? Of course, the case would’ve been much different had Russia given up on its sovereignty and offered its territory to Washington. Only a non-sovereign and non-independent Russia can be considered “democratic” in the eyes of this “international community.”

The same hatred can be seen towards any country that has chosen independence over subservience to the West. The self-worshipping and racist West has always hated those who resist Western attempts to colonize and ravage their countries. This is why they also hate China and Iran with a passion. Yes, yes, I am also aware that they even hate their own non-Western allies because of the racist nature of the West.

Over the years since the fall of the Eastern Bloc, China and Russia, adopted a policy of cooperation with the United States and tried to make the Americans understand that it is possible to interact instead of confronting each other. It can be said that the peak of this policy was when Putin even proposed Russia’s membership in NATO. Putin’s purpose in bringing up Russia’s membership in NATO was to determine whether NATO is still seeking to destroy Russia or not. Well, it quickly became completely clear to Russia that the Americans are looking for Russia’s destruction through the expansion of NATO right up to Russia’s borders.

The Americans are doing the same thing in East Asia, and despite the fact that China has tried to engage with them through interaction and not confrontation, they are officially and unofficially seeking to destroy China. Nancy Pelosi’s childish attempt to create tensions between China and Taiwan and setting the stage for war in this region is an example of the same type of animosity that Washington has engaged in with Russia. Maybe if there was no war in Europe, the Americans would have done something to start a war in East Asia, but it seems that they saw that currently, they cannot fight on two fronts and they preferred to delay the process of starting a war in East Asia.

This American policy is no different from the policies that caused the start of World War I and II, and the continuation of these policies can lead the world to a third world war, which due to the existence of weapons that can destroy the world many times over, it is possible to imagine that the start of such a war may be the end of humanity.

Today, it is no longer a secret or a “crazy delusion” that the West is in a state of decline. It has been for some time but the average person wouldn’t have noticed this years ago. There’s no hiding it today, and the only ones left to deny this reality are die-hard liberals – or rather die-hard Empire supporters. These people, often journalists in the West, have gone on full denial mode and make up stories and fantasy scenarios of “Russia’s imminent collapse”. Try watching German or British coverage of Ukraine and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
In their desperation, they’ve reached such pathetic lows that they are now speculating over Putin’s health, presenting sad lies made up by “anonymous former MI6 agents” with “deep insight” into what’s going on the Kremlin, as absolute truth. The same desperation can be seen among Western politicians. They don’t live under any illusions and are fully aware of the imminent collapse that the West is facing. We observers shouldn’t be under any illusions either: the West won’t just accept defeat , especially not to those it considers to he inferior.

As the West declines, concurrently new powers are rising in the world. A multi-polar world is emerging with Russia, China and Iran leading it. But with the emergence of a multi-polar world, the dangers of nuclear war also grows.

Whenever the US is desperate to prove its “superiority”, it always resorts to Hollywood style showboating in an attempt to remind the world of its “awesome powers.” Take Nancy Pelosi’s provocative and dangerous stunt in Taiwan recently, or the concurrent “assassination” of Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the Al-Qaeda leader who according to the Taliban had been dead for months before the US, in true Hollywood fashion claimed to have killed him while he was on a balcony. Washington was quick to emphasize that no other person was killed and that the building wasn’t even destroyed, despite being allegedly hit by a missile. Biden took to the press and basically threatened the entire world: “No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you’re a threat to our people, the US will find you and take you out.”

The problem with these stunts is that sooner or later nobody is going to take them seriously anymore. Thus begins a dangerous and vicious spiral where the US constantly must take more risks to project its supposed power, leading it directly into confrontation with China, Russia or Iran as Washington keeps crossing more and more red lines.
Washington’s bruised ego, together with rabid racism and self-worship is a dangerous combo for an empire that is desperate to preserve its hegemony. Remember that it is the same regime that did not hesitate to use nuclear weapons against Japan, and still takes pride in doing so.

As the West is declining and possibly collapsing, one has to wonder if their hatred for the rest of the world is greater than their sense of self-preservation. If their “world order” isn’t going to prevail, will they allow humanity to even exist?

China’s Third White Paper on Taiwan

August 10, 2022

Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient. 

Published by stephenlendman

Beijing considers its breakaway province sovereign territory for good reason.

Its newly released white paper on Taiwan leaves no ambiguity about its intent to reunite the island with the mainland — calling reunification “indispensable for the realization of China’s rejuvenation” and the CPC’s “historic mission.”

At the same time, Taiwan’s separatist Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leadership “redoubled efforts to divide the country” — with full support and encouragement from hegemon USA.

Beijing published two previous white papers on Taiwan — in 1993 and 2000.

As before, the new white paper reiterates the inevitability of reunification  — peacefully preferred, by force if the favored option is unattainable.

Make no mistake, Beijing stressed:

“Taiwan Is Part of China. This Is an Indisputable Fact.”

It’s been this way “since ancient times.”

The 1943 Cairo Declaration issued jointly by China, the US and UK affirmed that Japanese occupied territory — including Taiwan and the Penghu Islands — shall be returned to Chinese control.

According to the 1945 Potsdam Proclamation agreed to by China, the US, UK and Soviet Union:

“(T)erms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out.”

Weeks after WW II in the Pacific formally ended in 1945, China’s ruling authorities announced their restoration of sovereignty over Taiwan.

They and allied nations signed documents to affirm reunification “with international legal effect.”

On October 1, 1949, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) became the nation’s legitimate government.

Its ruling authorities are legally entitled to enforce sovereignty over Taiwan.

During civil war that ended in December 1949, the despotic Chiang Kai-shek-led Kuomintang holed up in Taiwan.

In October 1971, UN Res. 2758 recognized the PRC as China’s sole legitimate representative at the world body.

One China alone exists, including Taiwan as its legal territory.

China’s 2015 National Security Law states:

“The sovereignty and territorial integrity of China brook no violation or separation.”

“Safeguarding national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity is the common duty of all Chinese citizens, including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan compatriots.”

Any attempt to distort, circumvent or otherwise obstruct this reality “will end in failure.”

The PRC is “resolute” in intent to reunite its breakaway province with the mainland.

Since the CPC was founded in 1921, its “historic mission” has been to free Taiwan from colonial rule and achieve reunification.

Post-1949, CPC leadership “established high-level contact with Taiwan authorities through proper channels in pursuit of a peaceful solution to the Taiwan question.”

Under Xi Jinping’s leadership since 2012, Beijing “took a holistic approach to cross-Straits relations…”

“The CPC developed its overall policy for resolving the Taiwan question in the new era, and set out the overarching guideline and a program of action.”

Xi “promoted peaceful development of cross-Straits relations and integrated development of the two sides for the benefit of both the mainland and Taiwan.”

In 1978, trade between the island and mainland was $46 million.

In 2021, it was $328.34 billion.

For over the past two decades, the mainland has been Taiwan’s largest export market.

Through 2021, Taiwanese enterprises invested in nearly 124,000 projects on the mainland — valued at $71.34 billion.

In 1987, less than 50,000 visits were made between the mainland and Taiwan.

In 2019, visits totaled around 9 million.

Reunification “is a process that cannot be halted,” the PRC stressed, adding:

“Complete reunification is critical to national sovereignty.”

From the mid-19th century through WW II to the modern era, China “was gradually reduced to a semi-feudal, semi-colonial society, and went through a period of suffering worse than anything it had previously known.”

“The country endured intense humiliation.

“The people were subjected to great pain, and the Chinese civilization was plunged into darkness.”

Unfinished business of unfulfilled reunification remains “a scar” on the nation state, what’s essential to change.

China’s development and progress are key factors in mainland relations with Taiwan.

Attempts by (US-supported) separatists to prevent reunification will not be tolerated.

“External forces obstructing China’s complete reunification will be defeated.”

“China is firmly committed to peaceful development.”

“At the same time, it will not flinch under any external interference, nor will it tolerate any infringement upon its sovereignty, security and development interests.”

“Relying on external forces will achieve nothing for Taiwan’s separatists, and using Taiwan to contain China is doomed to fail.”

“Peaceful reunification and One Country, Two Systems are our basic principles for resolving the Taiwan question and the best approach to realizing national reunification.”

When achieved, Taiwan will enjoy a high degree of autonomy, according to the rule of law.

The mainland and island “have their own distinct social systems and ideologies.”

“The One Country, Two Systems principle is the most inclusive solution to this problem.”

“It is an approach that is grounded in democratic principles, demonstrates good will, seeks peaceful resolution of the Taiwan question, and delivers mutual benefit.”

US-supported and encouraged separatism “will plunge Taiwan into the abyss and bring nothing but disaster to the island.”

“Taiwan boasts a high level of economic growth, industries with distinctive local features, and robust foreign trade.”

“Its economy is highly complementary with that of the mainland.”

“After reunification, systems and mechanisms for cross-Straits economic cooperation will be further improved.”

Rights and well-being of the Taiwanese people will be “fully protected” under reunification.

The PRC “will tolerate no foreign interference in Taiwan.”

“We will thwart any attempt to divide our country, and we will combine as a mighty force for national reunification and rejuvenation.”

“The historic goal of reuniting our motherland must be realized and will be realized.”

US-dominated Western regimes aside, the vast majority of world community nations support One China.

They oppose attempts by foreign dark forces to undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The International Progress Organization is an NGO “in consultative status” with the UN.

The IPO officially recognized the legality of One China and the PRC as its sole legitimate government.

View all posts by stephenlendman

The Saker interviews Michael Hudson

August 02, 2022

Dear friends

Today I had the honor and immense pleasure to spend one hour talking to my friend Michael Hudson and I am happy to share this video with you.  I have immense respect for Michael, both as an economist and as a friend, and want to clarify this because some trolls have viciously attacked Michael in the comments section and I want to make something abundantly clear: any rude comment addressed to Michael will be sent to trash and its author banned forever.  You are totally welcome to disagree with the substance of Michael’s (or my) arguments, but I shall tolerate no ad hominems or snarky comments of any kind.

It is sad that I would have to make such points, but past experience taught me, the hard way, that trolls always pounce on those whose ideas they fear and hate the most.

One more thing: both Michael and myself would REALLY be grateful if somebody could make a transcript of our conversation.  If you can help with that, we would both be immensely grateful to you!

That being said, I now leave you to watch the conversation,

Andrei

***

First, here is the YouTube video of our discussion:

and, second, since we never can tell what the woke freaks who run YouTube might decide to do with this video, here is the exact same one on BitChute, just in case…

https://www.bitchute.com/embed/6a5zhT5ROp2U

How a missile in Kabul connects to a Speaker in Taipei

August 03 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

Source

By Pepe Escobar

This is the way the “Global War on Terror” (GWOT) ends, over and over again: not with a bang, but a whimper.

Two Hellfire R9-X missiles launched from a MQ9 Reaper drone on the balcony of a house in Kabul. The target was Ayman Al-Zawahiri with a $25 million bounty on his head. The once invisible leader of ‘historic’ Al-Qaeda since 2011, is finally terminated.

All of us who spent years of our lives, especially throughout the 2000s, writing about and tracking Al-Zawahiri know how US ‘intel’ played every trick in the book – and outside the book – to find him. Well, he never exposed himself on the balcony of a house, much less in Kabul.

Another disposable asset

Why now? Simple. Not useful anymore – and way past his expiration date. His fate was sealed as a tawdry foreign policy ‘victory’ – the remixed Obama ‘Osama bin Laden moment’ that won’t even register across most of the Global South. After all, a perception reigns that George W. Bush’s GWOT has long metastasized into the “rules-based,” actually “economic sanctions-based” international order.

Cue to 48 hours later, when hundreds of thousands across the west were glued to the screen of flighradar24.com (until the website was hacked), tracking “SPAR19” – the US Air Force jet carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – as it slowly crossed Kalimantan from east to west, the Celebes Sea, went northward parallel to the eastern Philippines, and then made a sharp swing westwards towards Taiwan, in a spectacular waste of jet fuel to evade the South China Sea.

No “Pearl Harbor moment”

Now compare it with hundreds of millions of Chinese who are not on Twitter but on Weibo, and a leadership in Beijing that is impervious to western-manufactured pre-war, post-modern hysteria.

Anyone who understands Chinese culture knew there would never be a “missile on a Kabul balcony” moment over Taiwanese airspace. There would never be a replay of the perennial neocon wet dream: a “Pearl Harbor moment.” That’s simply not the Chinese way.

The day after, as the narcissist Speaker, so proud of accomplishing her stunt, was awarded the Order of Auspicious Clouds for her promotion of bilateral US-Taiwan relations, the Chinese Foreign Minister issued a sobering comment: the reunification of Taiwan with the mainland is a historical inevitability.

That’s how you focus, strategically, in the long game.

What happens next had already been telegraphed, somewhat hidden in a Global Times report. Here are the two key points:

Point 1: “China will see it as a provocative action permitted by the Biden administration rather than a personal decision made by Pelosi.”

That’s exactly what President Xi Jinping had personally told the teleprompt-reading White House tenant during a tense phone call last week. And that concerns the ultimate red line.

Xi is now reaching the exact same conclusion reached by Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this year: the United States is “non-agreement capable,” and there’s no point in expecting it to respect diplomacy and/or rule of law in international relations.

Point 2 concerns the consequences, reflecting a consensus among top Chinese analysts that mirrors the consensus at the Politburo: “The Russia-Ukraine crisis has just let the world see the consequence of pushing a major power into a corner… China will steadily speed up its process of reunification and declare the end of US domination of the world order.”

Chess, not checkers

The Sinophobic matrix predictably dismissed Xi’s reaction to the fact on the ground – and in the skies – in Taiwan, complete with rhetoric exposing the “provocation by American reactionaries” and the “uncivilized campaign of the imperialists.”

This may be seen as Xi playing Chairman Mao. He may have a point, but the rhetoric is pro forma. The crucial fact is that Xi was personally humiliated by Washington and so was the Communist Party of China (CPC), a major loss of face – something that in Chinese culture is unforgivable. And all that compounded with a US tactical victory.

So the response will be inevitable, and it will be classic Sun Tzu: calculated, precise, tough, long-term and strategic – not tactical. That takes time because Beijing is not ready yet in an array of mostly technological domains. Putin had to wait years for Russia to act decisively. China’s time will come.

For now, what’s clear is that as much as with Russia-US relations last February, the Rubicon has been crossed in the US-China sphere.

The price of collateral damage

The Central Bank of Afghanistan bagged a paltry $40 million in cash as ‘humanitarian aid’ soon after that missile on a balcony in Kabul.

So that was the price of the Al-Zawahiri operation, intermediated by the currently US-aligned Pakistani intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). So cheap.

The MQ-9 Reaper drone carrying the two Hellfire R9X that killed Al-Zawahiri had to fly over Pakistani airspace – taking off from a US base in the Persian Gulf, traversing the Arabian Sea, and flying over Balochistan to enter Afghanistan from the south. The Americans may have also got human intelligence as a bonus.

A 2003 deal, according to which Islamabad facilitates air corridors for US military flights, may have expired with the American withdrawal debacle last August, but could always be revived.

No one should expect a deep dive investigation on what exactly the ISI – historically very close to the Taliban – gave to Washington on a silver platter.

Dodgy dealings

Cue to an intriguing phone call last week between the all-powerful Chief of Staff of the Pakistani Army, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, and US deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. Bajwa was lobbying for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to release a crucial loan at the soonest, otherwise Pakistan will default on its foreign debt.

Were deposed former Prime Minister Imran Khan still in power, he would never have allowed that phone call.

The plot thickens, as Al-Zawahiri’s Kabul digs in a posh neighborhood is owned by a close advisor to Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of the “terrorist” (US-defined) Haqqani network and currently Taliban Interior Minister. The Haqqani network, needless to add, was always very cozy with the ISI.

And then, three months ago, we had the head of ISI, Lieutenant General Nadeem Anjum, meeting with Biden’s National Security Advisor  Jake Sullivan in Washington – allegedly to get their former, joint, covert, counter-terrorism machinery back on track.

Once again, the only question revolves around the terms of the “offer you can’t refuse” – and that may be connected to IMF relief. Under these circumstances, Al-Zawahiri was just paltry collateral damage.

Sun Tzu deploys his six blades

Following Speaker Pelosi’s caper in Taiwan, collateral damage is bound to multiply like the blades of a R9-X missile.

The first stage is the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) already having engaged in live fire drills, with massive shelling in the direction of the Taiwan Strait out of Fujian province.

The first sanctions are on too, against two Taiwanese funds. Export of sable to Taiwan is forbidden; sable is an essential commodity for the electronics industry – so that will ratchet up the pain dial in high-tech sectors of the global economy.

Chinese CATL, the world’s largest fuel cell and lithium-ion battery maker, is indefinitely postponing the building of a massive $5 billion, 10,000-employee factory that would manufacture batteries for electric vehicles across North America, supplying Tesla and Ford among others.

So the Sun Tzu maneuvering ahead will essentially concentrate on a progressive economic blockade of Taiwan, the imposition of a partial no-fly zone, severe restrictions of maritime traffic, cyber warfare, and the Big Prize: inflicting pain on the US economy.

The War on Eurasia

For Beijing, playing the long game means the acceleration of the process involving an array of nations across Eurasia and beyond, trading in commodities and manufactured products in their own currencies. They will be progressively testing a new system that will see the advent of a BRICS+/SCO/Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) basket of currencies, and in the near future, a new reserve currency.

The Speaker’s escapade was concomitant to the definitive burial of the “war on terror” cycle and its metastasis into the “war on Eurasia” era.

It may have unwittingly provided the last missing cog to turbo-charge the complex machinery of the Russia-China strategic partnership. That’s all there is to know about the ‘strategic’ capability of the US political ruling class. And this time no missile on a balcony will be able to erase the new era.

Nancy braves the Chinese dragon and wins?

August 02, 2022

Source

So, it appears that Pelosi landed in Taiwan. This is a HUGE victory for the invincible USA and China with all its hollow threats has now lost face.  That is how those evil commies are – they only understand the language of force, and when faced with the united forces of democracy they cave.

Right?

Right?!

Well……

Yes, if your expertise in international relation, military matters and China (or Russia) come from reading Tom Clancy’s books, then yes.

But there is another way to look at this:

First, in objective terms, this visit is a pure provocation with no practical effects whatsoever.  Pelosi is as much a old teleprompter reading hag as President Brandon.  Whatever real dealings the USA and Taiwan had to discuss, they would have done that either remotely or by arranging a meeting between people capable of thinking.

Second, just like Russia many times in the past, the Chinese drew a red line and then let the US cross it.  Being the narcissistic civilization that it is, the West only saw this as a sign of “weakness”, “indecisiveness” or even “naivete”.  What these folks fail to even think about is this: how do you feel most Chinese will react both to the visit and to the lack of Chinese reaction (so far!)?  They will get mad and express their frustrations.  Now look at it from the Chinese government’s point of view, rather then spending billions on anti-US propaganda they, instead, let the US humiliate China and thereby solidifying the Chinese population for the day when the real confrontation will take place.

[Sidebar: there is a direct connection between years of Kremlin’s rather weak and mostly verbal protests and the “sudden” appearance of the Russian ultimatum to the West followed by the SMO: the Kremlin literally “cooked” its own public opinion to the point were IT *demanded* strong action.  Far from alienating or frightening most Russians, the SMO came as a huge relief to them: “we are FINALLY putting the foot down and taking real action”.  That would not have been possible before 2018.  Those in the West who saw Putin’s “indecisiveness” simply don’t understand the Russian mindset anymore than they understand the Chinese one.  Simply put: you cannot prepare for war without preparing your own population for it! That is what Tom Clancy does to the brains of those reading him]

Third, let me ask you a simple question: who decided on the timing of Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan?  The answer is obvious, it was the leaders of the USA.  And you can bet that they had everything carefully lined up to make that visit happen in the best of possible circumstances.  Now, a BASIC principle of warfare is that you do NOT let your enemy chose the time and place of the battle. Yes, yes, yes, in the western culture any “affront” (real or perceived) demands an immediate reaction.  But the Chinese have been at this for many millennia, not just 200 years, and they know better and you can be sure that THEY, not the USA, will chose the time, place and mode of retaliation.

In sum, the woke-soaking narcissists who run the USA can celebrate how they chose to show “them Chinese commies” who is boss.  Just like they did with Russia between 1991 and 2021.  And then, when the Russians decided to act, Uncle Shmuel was caught totally off-guard and clueless as to who to deal with this sudden and direct threat.

Last but not least.  That kind of imperial arrogance is something which not only impact (the already pretty angry Chinese population), it also infuriates all of Zone B, thereby creating the conditions for more defeats for the USA in Asia, Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, Central Asia and Latin America.

Most US Americans have absolutely no idea how offensive their condescending arrogance, constant flag waving, talks about their messianic mission for mankind and general narcissism is offensive to the rest of the planet.  But when you look objectively at the endless list of US failures pretty much anywhere on the planet, you can tell that there is something deep going on here.  For some reason, the “Yankees go home” thing seems to be very contagious.

I think that Nancy Pelosi deserves our profound gratitude.  She should get at least two medals:

  • One from the CP of China in gratitude for her endless efforts to rally the people of China around their government and
  • One from Russia, for her endless efforts into solidifying the Russian-Chinese alliance.

Truth be told, between Bliken and Pelosi the national security interests of China and Russia are in good hands 🙂

Andrei

China Slams Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan Visit As ‘Extremely Dangerous’

 August 1, 2022 

By Staff, Agencies

China slammed the visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan as “extremely dangerous,” warning that the trip was a threat to stability in the region.

Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late on Tuesday on a trip she claimed demonstrated the United States’ solidarity with the self-governed island, which China claims as its own.

Washington does not recognize Taiwan as an independent state.

Pelosi explained her reasons for visiting Taiwan in an editorial published in the Washington Post minutes after she arrived on the island.

“We cannot stand by as the CCP [the Chinese Communist Party] proceeds to threaten Taiwan – and democracy itself,” she claimed in the opinion piece.

Pelosi – the highest-ranking US official to travel to Taiwan in 25 years – arrived at Songshan Airport in downtown Taipei on a flight from Malaysia to begin a visit that risks pushing US-Chinese relations to a new low.

Her delegation was greeted by Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, and Sandra Oudkirk, the top US representative in Taiwan.

China immediately condemned Pelosi’s visit, with the foreign ministry saying it seriously damages peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

The visit “has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-US relations, and seriously infringes upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it said in a statement.

“These moves, like playing with fire, are extremely dangerous. Those who play with fire will perish by it,” the statement read.

Chinese warplanes buzzed the line dividing the Taiwan Strait before Pelosi’s arrival. The Chinese military has been put on high alert and will launch “targeted military operations” in response to her visit, the defense ministry said.

The People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theatre Command announced that it will conduct joint air and sea drills near Taiwan starting on Tuesday night, and test-launch conventional missiles in the sea east of Taiwan.

The Judgement of the Nations

July 12, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

A frequent topic among both contributors and commentators on this site is the discussion as to whether the Special Military Operation in the Ukraine will take a few months or a few years. It is a common question and there are different opinions. Let me say now that I am not qualified even to speculate on this, let alone have an opinion. I do not know the answer and I suspect that many highly-placed people in the military and among politicians do not know the answer either.

In any case why is an answer to this question so important? Originally, this was not a war, but a limited Operation, still involving a small proportion of the Russian Armed Forces. Had Russia wanted to occupy the Ukraine with massive military violence, in German, with a ‘Blitzkrieg’, in American, with ‘shock and awe’, with hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of victims, all could have been done in a couple of weeks. However, this is not Hollywood. That was not the aim.

The clear aim was to free the Russian part of the Ukraine and to demilitarise and denazify the rest, so it would no longer present a threat to the Russian World. Obviously, doing this meant not just winning the genodical war which the backers of the Kiev regime had begun in 2014, but also doing it, causing the smallest number of victims among the Russian and Allied military and Ukrainian civilians as possible, and at the same time doing the least amount of damage to civilian infrastructure as possible.

Pictures showing huge damage to civilian infrastructure, especially in Mariupol and Donetsk, show above all the enormous amount of damage done by NATO-backed Kiev regime bombardments over the last eight years. It was clear to Russian military and political planners that the Operation would take at least months, perhaps years, as the whole of the Kiev Armed Forces had been digging in here for eight years. Russia knew that in order to win a war, you have to win the peace afterwards.

It was no good doing like the Americans did in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, destroying infrastructure, making the people hate you and then, once you realise that you have lost, running away, leaving chaos and misery. The Russian authorities also knew that since NATO had already de facto declared war on Russia in 2014, the Operation to liberate the Ukraine through denazification and demilitarisation would further activate their war effort and provoke many more ‘sanctions’. Now that the Operation has become a NATO war against Russia, much as expected, it is all the more difficult to forecast the future.

Many missed the point. The Special Military Operation is not where it is at. The Ukraine is only the location, the battlefield, and the Kiev junta are only the actors on the stage, puppets. This is not primarily a battle of the military and their technologies, although they are very important, this is above all a battle of world views and ensuing realities. This battle is political and economic, spiritual and moral. Why else did the Johnson regime ban the Russian Orthodox Patriarch from visiting the UK?

Here we understand President Putin’s words of 7 July 2022 before Russian parliamentarians that Russia ‘has not even started anything in earnest in the Ukraine yet’, that the military operation in the Ukraine signifies ‘a cardinal break with the US world order, the beginning of the transition from the liberal globalism of US egocentricity to the reality of a multipolar world….the march of history is unstoppable and the attempts of the West to foist its New World Order on the world are doomed to failure’.

Whatever happens militarily in the Ukraine over the coming months, and much will happen, there are other stories, which are ultimately far more important. There was tiny Lithuania’s attempt to blockade the Russian Kaliningrad enclave, which has already failed. There was the toppling of the bankrupt UK’s Prime Minister, who wanted to wage a war without money, there was the assassination of the former Japanese Prime Minister by forces unknown, there was the occupation of the Presidential Palace in Colombo in Sri Lanka by a hungry crowd facing huge inflation and national bankruptcy.

Then there is the incipient collapse of the euro, already reaching parity with the dollar, as Europe grinds to a halt without Russian energy. There is the possible coming collapse of the dollar as the world dedollarises, under Russian impetus. There is mighty Germany’s attempt to survive without Russian oil and gas, which is already failing. There is much more that is being hidden from the populations of the Western world by worried elites – strikes, protests and the breakdown of social cohesion.

It is now July. In eight weeks’ time the weather cools. In sixteen weeks’ time winter begins. Wait until the panic begins and the palaces of leaders of the Western world also fall to hungry crowds facing huge inflation and national bankruptcy in European and North American Capitals. There may not be just a few deaths, as when the Washington Presidential Palace fell on 6 January 2021, but mass violence and fire. Wait until Chinese troops liberate Taiwan, as they will do at the right moment when the US is off guard, too busy with its own immense problems. Then shall begin the Judgement of the Nations.

Western Europe appears to go through a cycle of Judgement every 500 years or so. Round about the Year 500 (pedants mention the Year 476), Western Rome fell to the Barbarians, followed by great disruption and bloodshed. Round about the Year 1000 (pedants mention the Year 1054), there began Roman Catholicism, followed by its imperialist invasions, crusades and inquisitions. Round about 1500 (pedants mention 1517) there began Protestantism, followed by persecution of women (‘witches’) and ‘wars of religion’, both in Continental Europe and in Britain and Ireland under Cromwell. And now, round about the Year 2000 (will pedants mention the Year 2022?), there begins another Judgement.

For us, where we are, closely linked to the Ukraine, the war began already in early 2021. But that will be a story to tell another time.

CHRIS HEDGES: NATO — THE MOST DANGEROUS MILITARY ALLIANCE ON THE PLANET

JULY 12TH, 2022

By Chris Hedges

Source

PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY (Scheerpost) — The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the arms industry that depends on it for billions in profits, has become the most aggressive and dangerous military alliance on the planet. Created in 1949 to thwart Soviet expansion into Eastern and Central Europe, it has evolved into a global war machine in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

NATO expanded its footprint, violating promises to Moscow, once the Cold War ended, to incorporate 14 countries in Eastern and Central Europe into the alliance. It will soon add Finland and Sweden. It bombed Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo. It launched wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, resulting in close to a million deaths and some 38 million people driven from their homes. It is building a military footprint in Africa and Asia. It invited Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, the so-called “Asia Pacific Four,” to its recent summit in Madrid at the end of June. It has expanded its reach into the Southern Hemisphere, signing a military training partnership agreement with Colombia, in December 2021. It has backed Turkey, with NATO’s second largest military, which has illegally invaded and occupied parts of Syria as well as Iraq. Turkish-backed militias are engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Syrian Kurds and other inhabitants of north and east Syria. The Turkish military has been accused of war crimes – including multiple airstrikes against a refugee camp andchemical weapons use – in northern Iraq. In exchange for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s permission for Finland and Sweden to join the alliance, the two Nordic countries have agreed to expand their domestic terror laws making it easier to crack down on Kurdish and other activists, lift their restrictions on selling arms to Turkey and deny support to the Kurdish-led movement for democratic autonomy in Syria.

It is quite a record for a military alliance that with the collapse of the Soviet Union was rendered obsolete and should have been dismantled. NATO and the militarists had no intention of embracing the “peace dividend,” fostering a world based on diplomacy, a respect of spheres of influence and mutual cooperation. It was determined to stay in business. Its business is war. That meant expanding its war machine far beyond the border of Europe and engaging in ceaseless antagonism toward China and Russia.

NATO sees the future, as detailed in its “NATO 2030: Unified for a New Era,” as a battle for hegemony with rival states, especially China, and calls for the preparation of prolonged global conflict.

“China has an increasingly global strategic agenda, supported by its economic and military heft,” the NATO 2030 initiative warned. “It has proven its willingness to use force against its neighbors, as well as economic coercion and intimidatory diplomacy well beyond the Indo-Pacific region. Over the coming decade, China will likely also challenge NATO’s ability to build collective resilience, safeguard critical infrastructure, address new and emerging technologies such as 5G and protect sensitive sectors of the economy including supply chains. Longer term, China is increasingly likely to project military power globally, including potentially in the Euro-Atlantic area.”

The alliance has spurned the Cold War strategy that made sure Washington was closer to Moscow and Beijing than Moscow and Beijing were to each other. U.S. and NATO antagonism have turned Russia and China into close allies. Russia, rich in natural resources, including energy, minerals and grains, and China, a manufacturing and technological behemoth, are a potent combination. NATO no longer distinguishes between the two, announcing in its most recent mission statement that the “deepening strategic partnership” between Russian and China has resulted in “mutually reinforcing attempts to undercut the rules-based international order that run counter to our values and interests.”

On July 6, Christopher Wray, director of the FBI, and Ken McCallum, director general of Britain’s MI5, held a joint news conference in London to announce that China was the “biggest long-term threat to our economic and national security.” They accused China, like Russia, of interfering in U.S. and U.K. elections. Wray warned the business leaders they addressed that the Chinese government was “set on stealing your technology, whatever it is that makes your industry tick, and using it to undercut your business and dominate your market.”

This inflammatory rhetoric presages an ominous future.

One cannot talk about war without talking about markets. The political and social turmoil in the U.S., coupled with its diminishing economic power, has led it to embrace NATO and its war machine as the antidote to its decline.

Washington and its European allies are terrified of China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) meant to connect an economic bloc of roughly 70 nations outside U.S. control. The initiative includes the construction of rail lines, roads and gas pipelines that will be integrated with Russia. Beijing is expected to commit $1.3 trillion to the BRI by 2027. China, which is on track to become the world’s largest economy within a decade, has organized the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the world’s largest trade pact of 15 East Asian and Pacific nations representing 30 percent of global trade. It already accounts for 28.7 percent of the Global Manufacturing Output, nearly double the 16.8 percent of the U.S.

China’s rate of growth last year was an impressive  8.1 percent, although slowing to around 5 percent this year.  By contrast, the U.S.’s growth rate in 2021 was 5.7 percent — its highest since 1984 — but is predicted to fall below 1 percent this year, by the New York Federal Reserve.

If China, Russia, Iran, India and other nations free themselves from the tyranny of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency and the international Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a messaging network financial institutions use to send and receive information such as money transfer instructions, it will trigger a dramatic decline in the value of the dollar and a financial collapse in the U.S. The huge military expenditures, which have driven the U.S. debt to $30 trillion, $ 6 trillion more than the U.S.’s entire GDP, will become untenable. Servicing this debt costs $300 billion a year. We spent more on the military in 2021, $ 801 billion which amounted to 38 percent of total world expenditure on the military, than the next nine countries, including China and Russia, combined. The loss of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency will force the U.S. to slash spending, shutter many of its 800 military bases overseas and cope with the inevitable social and political upheavals triggered by economic collapse. It is darkly ironic that NATO has accelerated this possibility.

Russia, in the eyes of NATO and U.S. strategists, is the appetizer. Its military, NATO hopes, will get bogged down and degraded in Ukraine. Sanctions and diplomatic isolation, the plan goes, will thrust Vladimir Putin from power. A client regime that will do U.S. bidding will be installed in Moscow.

NATO has provided more than $8 billion in military aid to Ukraine, while the US has committed nearly $54 billion in military and humanitarian assistance to the country.

China, however, is the main course. Unable to compete economically, the U.S. and NATO have turned to the blunt instrument of war to cripple their global competitor.

The provocation of China replicates the NATO baiting of Russia.

NATO expansion and the 2014 US-backed coup in Kyiv led Russia to first occupy Crimea, in eastern Ukraine, with its large ethnic Russian population, and then to invade all of Ukraine to thwart the country’s efforts to join NATO.

The same dance of death is being played with China over Taiwan, which China considers part of Chinese territory, and with NATO expansion in the Asia Pacific. China flies warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense zone and the U.S. sends naval shipsthrough the Taiwan Strait which connects the South and East China seas. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in May called China the most serious long-term challenge to the international order, citing its claims to Taiwan and efforts to dominate the South China Sea. Taiwan’s president, in a Zelensky-like publicity stunt, recently posed with an anti-tank rocket launcher in a government handout photo.

The conflict in Ukraine has been a bonanza for the arms industry, which, given the humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan, needed a new conflict. Lockheed Martin’s stock prices are up 12 percent. Northrop Grumman is up 20 percent. The war is being used by NATO to increase its military presence in Eastern and Central Europe. The U.S. is building a permanent military base in Poland. The 40,000-strong NATO reaction force is being expanded to 300,000 troops. Billions of dollars in weapons are pouring into the region.

The conflict with Russia, however, is already backfiring. The ruble has soared to a seven-year high against the dollar. Europe is barreling towards a recession because of rising oil and gas prices and the fear that Russia could terminate supplies completely. The loss of Russian wheat, fertilizer, gas and oil, due to Western sanctions, is creating havoc in world markets and a humanitarian crisis in Africa and the Middle East. Soaring food and energy prices, along with shortages and crippling inflation, bring with them not only deprivation and hunger, but social upheaval and political instability. The climate emergency, the real existential threat, is being ignored to appease the gods of war.

The war makers are frighteningly cavalier about the threat of nuclear war. Putin warned NATO countries that they “will face consequences greater than any you have faced in history” if they intervened directly in Ukraine and ordered Russian nuclear forces to be put on heightened alert status. The proximity to Russia of U.S. nuclear weapons based in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey mean that any nuclear conflict would obliterate much of Europe. Russia and the United States control about 90 percent of the world’s nuclear warheads, with around 4,000 warheads each in their military stockpiles, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

President Joe Biden warned that the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine would be “completely unacceptable” and “entail severe consequences,” without spelling out what those consequences would be. This is what U.S. strategists refer to as “deliberate ambiguity.”

The U.S. military, following its fiascos in the Middle East, has shifted its focus from fighting terrorism and asymmetrical warfare to confronting China and Russia. President Barack Obama’s national-security team in 2016 carried out a war game in which Russia invaded a NATO country in the Baltics and used a low-yield tactical nuclear weapon against NATO forces. Obama officials were split about how to respond.

“The National Security Council’s so-called Principals Committee—including Cabinet officers and members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—decided that the United States had no choice but to retaliate with nuclear weapons,” Eric Schlosser writes in The Atlantic. “Any other type of response, the committee argued, would show a lack of resolve, damage American credibility, and weaken the NATO alliance. Choosing a suitable nuclear target proved difficult, however. Hitting Russia’s invading force would kill innocent civilians in a NATO country. Striking targets inside Russia might escalate the conflict to an all-out nuclear war. In the end, the NSC Principals Committee recommended a nuclear attack on Belarus—a nation that had played no role whatsoever in the invasion of the NATO ally but had the misfortune of being a Russian ally.”

The Biden administration has formed a Tiger Team of national security officials to run war games on what to do if Russia uses a nuclear weapon, according to The New York Times. The threat of nuclear war is minimized with discussions of “tactical nuclear weapons,” as if less powerful nuclear explosions are somehow more acceptable and won’t lead to the use of bigger bombs.

At no time, including the Cuban missile crisis, have we stood closer to the precipice of nuclear war.

“A simulation devised by experts at Princeton University starts with Moscow firing a nuclear warning shot; NATO responds with a small strike, and the ensuing war yieldsmore than 90 million casualties in its first few hours,” The New York Times reported.

The longer the war in Ukraine continues — and the U.S. and NATO seem determined to funnel billions of dollars of weapons into the conflict for months if not years — the more the unthinkable becomes thinkable. Flirting with Armageddon to profit the arms industry and carry out the futile quest to reclaim U.S. global hegemony is at best extremely reckless and at worst genocidal.

By making China the enemy, Nato is threatening world peace

8 July 2022  

US President Joe Biden speaks at the Nato summit in Madrid on 30 June 2022 (AFP)
Jonathan Cook is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net

Jonathan Cook

As the saying goes, if you only have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. The West has the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato), a self-declared “defensive” military alliance – so any country that refuses its dictates must, by definition, be an offensive military threat. 

That is part of the reason why Nato issued a new “strategic concept” document last week at its summit in Madrid, declaring for the first time that China poses a “systemic challenge” to the alliance, alongside a primary “threat” from Russia.

Beijing views this new designation as a decisive step by Nato on the path to pronouncing it a “threat” too – echoing the alliance’s escalatory approach towards Moscow over the past decade. In its previous mission statement, issued in 2010, Nato advocated “a true strategic partnership” with Russia.

How are Americans or Europeans suddenly under threat of military conquest from China?

According to a report in the New York Times, China would have found itself openly classed as a “threat” last week had it not been for Germany and France. They insisted that the more hostile terminology be watered down so as to avoid harming their trade and technology links with China.

In response, Beijing accused Nato of “maliciously attacking and smearing” it, and warned that the alliance was “provoking confrontation”. Not unreasonably, Beijing believes Nato has strayed well out of its sphere of supposed “defensive” interest: the North Atlantic.

Nato was founded in the wake of the Second World War expressly as a bulwark against Soviet expansion into Western Europe. The ensuing Cold War was primarily a territorial and ideological battle for the future of Europe, with the ever-present mutual threat of nuclear annihilation.

So how, Beijing might justifiably wonder, does China – on the other side of the globe – fit into Nato’s historic “defensive” mission? How are Chinese troops or missiles now threatening Europe or the US in ways they weren’t before? How are Americans or Europeans suddenly under threat of military conquest from China?

Creating enemies

The current Nato logic reads something like this: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February is proof that the Kremlin has ambitions to recreate its former Soviet empire in Europe. China is growing its military power and has similar imperial designs towards the rival, breakaway state of Taiwan, as well as western Pacific islands. And because Beijing and Moscow are strengthening their strategic ties in the face of western opposition, Nato has to presume that their shared goal is to bring western civilisation crashing down. 

Or as last week’s Nato mission statement proclaimed: “The deepening strategic partnership between the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation and their mutually reinforcing attempts to undercut the rules-based international order run counter to our values and interests.”

But if anyone is subverting the “rules-based international order”, a standard the West regularly invokes but never defines, it looks to be Nato itself – or the US, as the hand that wields the Nato hammer. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet in Beijing on 4 February 2022 (AFP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet in Beijing on 4 February 2022 (AFP)

That is certainly the way it looks to Beijing. In its response, China argued: “Thirty years after the end of the Cold War, [Nato] has not yet abandoned its thinking and practice of creating ‘enemies’ … It is Nato that is creating problems around the world.”

China has a point. A problem with bureaucracies – and Nato is the world’s largest military bureaucracy – is that they quickly develop an overriding institutional commitment to ensuring their permanent existence, if not expansion. Bureaucracies naturally become powerful lobbies for their own self-preservation, even when they have outlived their usefulness. 

If there is no threat to “defend” against, then a threat must be manufactured. That can mean one of two things: either inventing an imaginary threat, or provoking the very threat the bureaucracy was designed to avert or thwart. Signs are that Nato – now embracing 30 countries – is doing both. 

Remember that Nato should have dissolved itself after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. But three decades later, it is bigger and more resource-hungry than ever. 

Against all advice, and in violation of its promises, Nato has refused to maintain a neutral “security buffer” between itself and Russia. Instead, it has been expanding right up to Russia’s borders, including creeping furtively into Ukraine, the gateway through which armies have historically invaded Russia. 

Offensive alliance

Undoubtedly, Russia has proved itself a genuine threat to the territorial integrity of its neighbour Ukraine by conquering its eastern region – home to a large ethnic Russian community the Kremlin claims to be protecting. But even if we reject Russian President Vladimir Putin’s repeated assertion that Moscow has no larger ambitions, the Russian army’s substantial losses suggest it has scant hope of extending its military reach much further. 

Even if Moscow were hoping to turn its attention next to Poland or the Baltic states, or Nato’s latest recruits of Sweden and Finland, such a move would clearly risk nuclear confrontation. This is perhaps why western audiences hear so much from their politicians and media about Putin being some kind of deranged megalomaniac.

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The claim of a rampant, revived Russian imperialism appears not to be founded in any obvious reality. But it is a very effective way for Nato bureaucrats to justify enlarging their budgets and power, while the arms industries that feed off Nato and are embedded in western capitals substantially increase their profits.

The impression that this might have been Nato’s blueprint for handling Moscow is only underscored by the way it is now treating China, with even less justification. China has not recently invaded any sovereign territories, unlike the US and its allies, while the only territory it might threaten – Taiwan – is some 12,000 kilometres from the US mainland, and a similarly long distance from most of Europe. 

The argument that the Russian army may defeat Ukraine and then turn its attention towards Poland and Finland at least accords with some kind of geographical possibility, however remote. But the idea that China may invade Taiwan and then direct its military might towards California and Italy is in the realms of preposterous delusion. 

Nato’s new posture towards Beijing brings into question its whole characterisation as a “defensive” alliance. It looks very much to be on the offensive. 

Russian red lines

Notably, Nato invited to the summit for the first time four states from the Asia-Pacific region: Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

The creation of a Nato-allied “Asia-Pacific Four” is doubtless intended to suggest to Beijing parallels with Nato’s gradual recruitment of eastern European states starting in the late 1990s, culminating in its more recent flirting with Ukraine and Georgia, longstanding red lines for Russia.

Ultimately, Nato’s courting of Russia’s neighbours led to attacks by Moscow first on Georgia and then on Ukraine, conveniently bolstering the “Russian threat” narrative. Might the intention behind similar advances to the “Asia-Pacific Four” be to provoke Beijing into a more aggressive military stance in its own region, in order to justify Nato expanding far beyond the North Atlantic, claiming the entire globe as its backyard? 

Now, Nato is casting itself as the guardian of the Asia-Pacific region too

There are already clear signs of that. In May, US President Joe Biden vowed that the US – and by implication Nato – would come to Taiwan’s aid militarily if it were attacked. Beijing regards Taiwan, some 200 kilometres off its coast, as Chinese territory. 

Similarly, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called last week for Nato countries to ship advanced weapons to Taiwan, in the same way Nato has been arming Ukraine, to ensure the island has “the defence capability it needs”.

This echoes Nato’s narrative about its goals in Ukraine: that it is pumping weapons into Ukraine to “defend” the rest of Europe. Now, Nato is casting itself as the guardian of the Asia-Pacific region too.

‘Economic coercion’

But in truth, this is not just about competing military threats. There is an additional layer of western self-interest, concealed behind claims of a “defensive” alliance. 

Days before the Nato summit, the G7, a group of the seven leading industrialised nations that form the core of Nato, announced their intention to raise $600bn to invest in developing countries.

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This move wasn’t driven by altruism. The West has been deeply worried by Beijing’s growing influence on the world stage through its trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, announced in 2013.

China is being aggressive, but so far only in exercising soft power. In the coming decades, it plans to invest in the infrastructure of dozens of developing states. More than 140 countries have so far signed up to the initiative.

China’s aim is to make itself the hub of a global network of new infrastructure projects – from highways and ports to advanced telecommunications – to strengthen its economic trade connections to Africa, the Middle East, Russia and Europe. 

If it succeeds, China will stamp its economic dominance on the globe – and that is what really worries the West, particularly the US and its Nato military bureaucracy. They are labelling this “economic coercion”.

This week, the heads of the FBI and MI5 – the US and UK’s domestic intelligence services – held an unprecedented joint news conference in London to warn that China was the “biggest long-term threat to our economic and national security”. Underscoring western priorities, they added that any attack on Taiwan would “represent one of the most horrific business disruptions the world has ever seen”.

Unilateral aggression

Back in the Cold War era, Washington was not just, or even primarily, worried about a Soviet military invasion. The nuclear doctrine of mutually assured destruction meant neither had an interest in direct confrontation. 

Instead, each treated developing nations as pawns in an economic war over resources to be plundered and markets to be controlled. Each side tried to expand its so-called “sphere of influence” over other states and secure a larger slice of the planet’s wealth, in order to fuel its domestic economy and expand its military industries. 

The West’s rhetoric about the Cold War emphasised an ideological battle between western freedoms and Soviet authoritarianism. But whatever significance one attributes to that rhetorical fight, the more important battle for each side was proving to other states the superiority of the economic model that grew out of its ideology. 

US soldiers patrol an area near the Syria-Iraq border on 12 January 2021 (AFP)
US soldiers patrol an area near the Syria-Iraq border on 12 January 2021 (AFP)

In the early Cold War years, it should be recalled, communist parties were frontrunners to win elections in several European states – something that was starkly evident to the drafters of the Nato treaty.

The US invested so heavily in weapons – today, its military budget exceeds the combined spending of the next nine countries – precisely to strong-arm poorer nations into its camp, and punish those that refused. That task was made easier after the fall of the Soviet Union. In a unipolar world, Washington got to define who would be treated as a friend, and on what terms, and who a foe. 

Nato chiefly served as an alibi for US aggression, adding a veneer of multilateral legitimacy to its largely unilateral militarism.

Debt slavery

In reality, the “rules-based international order” comprises a set of US-controlled economic institutions, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, that dictate oppressive terms to increasingly resentful poor countries – often the West’s former colonies – in desperate need of investment. Most have ended up in permanent debt slavery.

China is offering them an alternative, and in the process it threatens to gradually erode US economic dominance. Russia’s apparent ability to survive the West’s economic sanctions, while those sanctions rebound on western economies, underscores the tenuousness of Washington’s economic primacy.

The US looks only too ready to drag Nato into a military sequel to the Cold War – and risk taking the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation

More generally, Washington is losing its grip on the global order. The rival BRICS group – of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – is preparing to expand by including Iran and Argentina in its power bloc. And both Russia and China, forced into deeper alliance by Nato hostility, have been seeking to overturn the international trading system by decoupling it from the US dollar, the central pillar of Washington’s hegemonic status.

The recently released “Nato 2030” document stresses the importance of Nato remaining “ready, strong and united for a new era of increased global competition”. Last week’s strategic vision listed China’s sins as seeking “to control key technological and industrial sectors, critical infrastructure, and strategic materials and supply chains”. It added that China “uses its economic leverage to create strategic dependencies and enhance its influence”, as though this was not exactly what the US has been doing for decades. 

Washington’s greatest fear is that, as its economic muscle atrophies, Europe’s vital trading links with China and Russia will see its economic interests – and eventually its ideological loyalties – shift eastwards, rather than stay firmly in the western camp. 

The question is: how far is the US willing to go to stop that? So far, it looks only too ready to drag Nato into a military sequel to the Cold War – and risk pushing the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation. 

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Europe’s Third Attempt at Suicide and Generation Z+

June 27, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

‘The next war in Europe will be between Russia and Fascism, except that Fascism will be called Democracy.’

Fidel Castro, c. 1992

Introduction

Europe is a serial suicide. The first attempt began in Sarajevo in 1914 and finished in Versailles in 1919. The second began a generation later in Warsaw in 1939 and ended in Berlin in 1945. Having very nearly succeeded at the second attempt (it missed atomic bombs by mere months), Europe sobered up and slowed down, waiting till the centenary of 1914 before it tried for the third time. This attempt began in Kiev, again in Eastern Europe, in 2014 and is continuing in the Special Military Operation (SMO). At every attempt Europe has lost. The first time it lost three empires (the Russian, the Austro-Hungarian and the German), the second time two Empires, the fatally weakened British and French, so ensuring the supremacy of the American Empire in Europe, as in the rest of the world.

What will Europe lose this time? It will lose the only Empire remaining – the EU. When? Only some time after the conclusion of the SMO. Now, it would be foolish to predict with exactitude when that, which is the culmination of Europe’s third attempted suicide, will be. It could all be over in early July. Alternatively it could drag on for years. However, both those outcomes are extreme possibilities and there are other possibilities inbetween. Nevertheless, some tendencies are clear. It is only the extent and speed at which they will progress that is uncertain. In any case, whatever happens in the Ukraine, Europe will be reformatted. It will never be the same again. The seed sown by the Western elite in Kiev in 2014 is being reaped today in the harvest of division, discontent and poverty in Europe.

If we look at the three aims of the Special Military Operation, we can see that the first and second aims, the liberation of the Donbass and demilitarisation, are both 75% done, despite new arrivals of Western arms to prolong the agony. However, the reality is also that the operation has had to be much extended from the Donbass to the east and south of the Ukraine and there we are not even 50% done. However, the third aim, the denazification of the Ukraine, has not even begun and cannot begin until the murderous Zelensky regime has been replaced with a government which actually cherishes the independence and cultural traditions of the Ukraine. Then it will no longer be a servile chimpanzee of the LGBT West and its Nulands who, very politely speaking, have no time for Europe.

Military

Some have criticised the Allied Special Operation in the Ukraine. After four months, they say, not even the whole of the Donbass has yet been liberated. Such critics should get out of their armchairs and go and fight against NATO. We would soon see how fast they would go. Why has progress been ‘slow’? Firstly, because though the Allied Forces are small in size, they are fighting against the vast bulk of the Kiev Army, which has been trained, retrained, supplied and resupplied and dug into its fortified positions by NATO over eight years. Secondly, because the Allies are trying to avoid civilian casualties and of course casualties to themselves. That is not easy when Kiev is using civilians as human shields and shelling from residential areas. The Allies will not carpet-bomb like the West. There is no hurry.

However, with the very recent events in Severodonetsk and Lisichansk, the gateway to the whole of Central and Western Ukraine is being opened. Thus, we read the report on 25 June: ‘The Office of the President ordered the transfer of all reserves from the Mykolaiv/Odessa/Kharkiv direction for a counterattack in the Severodonetsk direction’. In other words, Kiev has only reserves left and it wants to transfer all of them. This sounds like desperation – the end is near. Judging by the quality of Kiev’s reserves so far, this will be a walkover. And that firstly presumes that the reserves will be willing to be massacred. And that secondly presumes that they can be transferred when all around the roads are occupied by Allied troops, or are controlled by Russian radar, artillery, drones and aircraft.

Most significantly of all, this means that Mykolaiv/Odessa/Kharkiv will be left more or less defenceless, without even reserves. According to serious Western data, Ukrainian military losses are about 200,000 killed with nearly three quarters of military equipment and ammunition destroyed. In just four months. This is catastrophic. If even Western spies from MI6, the BRD and Poland say this, then there is little future or hope for the US puppets in Kiev. We can only expect military collapse and the formation of a new government, authentically pro-Ukrainian (that is anti-American) and therefore pro-Russian. What happens after the liberation of the Ukraine? The liberation of Moldova? Of the Baltics? We do not know. But if aggressive NATO/EU sabre-rattling continues, all is possible.

Economic, Political and Ideological

As we know, the Western anti-Russian sanctions, have been a self-imposed economic disaster, an own goal. Blowback has been nasty. Dedollarisation is happening. Pay in roubles, please. Now. Food, fertiliser, oil, gas, all are rocketing in price, and it is not winter. Popular discontent and street demonstrations in Western Europe are mounting. In France the Rothschild candidate Macron has lost control of the French Parliament to the left and to the right. In the UK the ‘delusional’ (the word of members of his own Party) Johnson (a man condemned by his own as ‘an opportunistic journalist who has at his heart a moral vacuum’) is seen as a liability, who will lead the Tory Party to annihilation in any election. We will not speak here of other nonentities like Scholz, Draghi, Trudeau and Biden.

Then there is the formation of alternatives to the Western bloc. A new G8/BRICS+? Russia has seen plenty of discreet and not so discreet support from China, India, Kazakhstan, Brazil, Iran, Indonesia, Africa (from Egypt to South Africa), Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Argentina, Hungary…. That is, from the aptly-named ‘emerging’ world on all five Continents, from those who have raw materials and manufacturing infrastructure. They want to emerge from the ruins of colonialism and neo-colonialism. The isolated West, the US, Canada, UK, EU, Australia, has few friends outside its inward-looking little world. There are just a few occupied vassals in Asia, like Israel, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, who are forced to buy Western arms in order to stop themselves being liberated from themselves, and that is it.

Even the mercenaries of the State-controlled Western media are beginning to go back on their State-paid lies. They are used to turning everything on its head, to inverting it all. Thus, the Russian Army was composed of ‘demoralised and untrained raw conscripts’, who had suffered ‘massive losses’ and ‘lacked fuel and ammunition’, ‘raped children and murdered’, were ‘in full retreat’ and bombed and shelled ‘residential areas and civilians’. Just change the word ‘Russian’ to ‘Kiev’ and we are a lot nearer the truth. Does anybody believe these media lies any more? Surely only the living dead? It must be embarrassing for these hacks who have been telling, or rather were ordered to tell, the opposite of the truth. They used to report their dreams as reality. Now they have to report reality – their worst nightmares.

Conclusion: The Age of Empires Is Over

After the Western defeats, or rather routs, in Iraq and Afghanistan, NATO has no military or political future. In fact, it should have been abolished after the fall of the USSR. The Ukraine (or whatever it will be called in whatever borders it will have when its liberation is complete) is Russian. Just forget it, NATO. You have already lost. The expansion of NATO into Asia? What a joke. Taiwan is Chinese, as will be all the Western Pacific. Just forget it, NATO. You have already lost. The American Century which began in February/March 1917 with the palace revolt by corrupt aristocrats and generals in the Russian Empire, carefully orchestrated from London and New York, is over. Europe no longer needs to attempt suicide, let alone succeed. You are free to restore the sovereignty of your nation states.

The fact is that the Age of Empires is over. 1917 signalled the beginning of this. In 1991 the Red Star (USSR) Empire collapsed. Today the White Star (USSA) Empire, with its Twelve-Star EU (USSE) vassal Empire in tow, is collapsing, and for exactly the same reason: because nobody believes in their ideologies any more. Both Communism and Capitalism have failed. Now is the Age of Free Alliances of Sovereign Nations. What is the future of Europe after its third failed attempt at suicide? It is in reintegrating the Sovereignty of Eurasia, protected by the Russian resource umbrella. The Atlantic never united Europe, it divided Europe. If those who live across the Atlantic want to rediscover from us how to start living normal lives again, they can. But it will be on our terms, those of our Sovereignty, not on theirs.

We have spoken of the Special Military Operation as the culmination of Europe’s third attempted suicide. We have said that Europe will never be the same again after it. This is because, unless Europe is really serious this time about suicide (and it has managed to avoid it twice before), this Operation Z is going to split up the tyrannical Western world, EU and UK Europe, from the USA. It is Operation Z+. And who are we, those who will survive? We are Generation Z+. We are those who will come ‘out of great tribulation’ and survive. We are those who are going to live in the real Global world, not in the Western bubble Globalist world. We are the real Europeans of ancient and new European history, who refused to commit suicide, the Sovereign Europeans. Reality is dawning at last.

The BRICS+ show themselves as an alternative to the current international financial system, but still with caution

June 25, 2022

By Guilherme Wilbert

Since the beginning of Operation Z in Ukraine, unfortunately interpreted as an invasion or an occupation of Ukrainian territory by the Russians, realpolitik has accelerated integration among economic blocs of emerging countries, with several speeches by BRICS regional leaders speaking openly about the weight of emerging economies in global economic development.

Source

The last BRICS meeting on 06/23, with open criticism of western sanctions by China and Russia, showed well what the emerging economies are discussing at the moment: how to escape dollarized debt? Or better yet: how to implement an alternative system to the one established at Bretton Woods?

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president who overnight became “persona non grata” in Europe, is already talking openly about a possible basket of BRICS own currencies as an alternative to strengthen the national economies, with the most advanced countries, for example Russia itself or China, working openly with an economy of real production based on resource ballast for their national currencies, in the Russian case the Gaso-Ruble becomes a character, in the Chinese case, the PetroYuan emerges as an alternative to strengthen the Chinese currency.

Caution is walking hand in hand with haste for the emerging countries

While emerging countries are trying to gain international prominence through economic blocs that can prove to be alternative to the current international financial system, the members of these blocs, especially China, despite acting as a kind of leadership in this global turn towards de-dollarization, do not show imperialistic intentions as seen in the U.S. within their geopolitical blocks. For example, NATO, where it is clearly an aggressive military alliance led by the US to impose its policies and state interests. On the other side, this is not seen within the BRICS or Mercosur for example with a military alliance led by China or with groupings supported by the Chinese establishment for color revolutions in non-aligned countries.

Therefore the caution: BRICS cannot emerge as an alternative to do the same things in the same ways committing the same Western mistakes, in fact the opposite, if negotiating with Westerners you would be willing one day to have to deal with Uncle Sam carrying out a lawfare in its territory to overthrow a legitimate government, with China the concern is much more diplomatic regarding Taiwan for example, with criticism much more focused on humanitarian aspects by some analysts.

Brazilian diplomacy has shown concern with the political intentions of the BRICS, wanting the strategic partnership to continue in a win-win system and not to mix geopolitical meanings in order to face the old system, but this is due to the fact that Brazil is still strongly influenced by Washington, despite its recent independent foreign policy.
We are witnessing a paradigm shift in all senses with this Russian police operation in Ukraine, which revealed the face of the irresponsible weak western leaders that have hurt the global economy by causing 1. sanctions to have the reverse effect to the desired one (of breaking the Russian economy) and 2. sanctions to have the opposite effect to the desired one (of breaking the Russian economy). Many countries that carry out military offensives on their neighbors (like Saudi Arabia in Yemen) even though supported by international law and ratifying humanitarian conventions on the battlefield saw that Westerners, unfortunately, can still simply loot the wealth of some countries they consider non-aligned like Russia, Iran, Venezuela… And given this the emerging countries logically seek an alternative, with the difference being that for Westerners to do what was accomplished in Libya when Gaddafi attempted the same, they will now have to deal with a bear sitting on just over 5,000 nuclear warheads. The conversation is now essentially different.


Guilherme Wilbert is a Bachelor’s Law with interests in geopolitics and international law.

References: https://investogist.com/president-putin-says-that-brics-are-developing-global-reserve-currency/
https://noticias.uol.com.br/colunas/jamil-chade/2022/06/23/brasil-ve-com-preocupacao-ambicao-da-china-para-expandir-brics.html

هل اقتربت الحرب العالميّة الثالثة؟

الثلاثاء 21 حزيران 2022

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

كان لافتاً ما جاء في كلام قائد الجيش البريطاني الى جنوده غداة تعيينه في منصبه الجديد و»تنبيههم» لا بل «إنذارهم» بأنهم سيجدون أنفسهم قريباً في خضمّ حرب عالمية ثالثة بدأت تتوالد عناصر اندلاعها بسرعة منذ اللحظة التي اندلعت فيها نار حرب برية في أوروبا لأول مرة منذ العام ١٩٤١، تحذير او تنبيه يطلقه المسؤول العسكري البريطاني في لحظات أوروبية وغربية وعالمية حساسة وحرجة وفي ظلّ مشهد أوروبي عملاني بدأ بالتشكل مع بدء العملية العسكرية الروسية الخاصة في أوكرانيا، مشهد يوحي تشكله بأنه يسير في غير الاتجاه الذي أراده أو شاءه المحور الانكلوساكسوني بقيادة أميركا ودفع أوروبا والحلف الأطلسي لاعتماده نهجاً وسلوكاً في مواجهة روسيا، فهل يصدق القائد الإنكليزي وينفجر الوضع الدولي حرباً عالمية ثالثة؟

في البدء لا يمكن لأحد أن يجادل في مسألة اتساع دوائر التوتر والاحتكاك في العالم، ولا يمكن أيضاً إغفال ما نجم على الصعيد الدولي من قواعد ومفاهيم جديدة بعد الحرب الكونية التي استهدفت سورية وأعقبت الانسحاب الأميركي الفوضوي من أفغانستان والأهمّ بعد الصورة التي ارتسمت دولياً اثر العملية الروسية الخاصة في أوكرانيا.

وإنّ مراجعة موضوعية شاملة لخريطة الاشتباك او النزاع الدولي تشي بأنّ منسوب التوتر العالمي بات في مستوى متقدّم بعد أن فشل الغرب بقيادة أميركية في تحقيق أهدافه التي اعتمدها وأعلنها منذ انحلال الاتحاد السوفياتي، ذاك الانحلال الذي أنهى الحرب الباردة لصالح أميركا التي خرجت منها منتصرة بغير كلفة تذكر، انتصار جعلها ترفع سقف طموحها وتتطرف في سياستها لتظهر كما قال رئيسها بوش الابن «بأنّ الرب اختارهم ليحكموا العالم ويسيروا به وفقاً للإرادة الإلهية». قول ترجم قاعدة جديدة في القانون الدولي أطلقتها أميركا واعتمدتها ضمناً الأمم المتحدة تقول بـ «الحق في التدخل الدولي الإنساني» الذي يستبيح سيادة الأمم والدول والشعوب، وتفرض أميركا إرادتها لأنها كما ادّعى رئيسها تترجم الإرادة الإلهية.

بيد أنّ أميركا ومعها الغرب الأطلسي عجزا عن تحقيق أهدافهما رغم ما اعتمدا في سبيلها من استراتيجيات متعددة بدءاً بـ «القوة الصلبة» مروراً بالقوة الناعمة، وصولاً الى القوة الناعمة الذكية والقوة الإرهابية المركبة، كلّ هذه الوجوه في استعمال القوة لم تؤدّ إلى إرساء النظام العالمي الأحادي القطبية، لا بل حدث شيء نقيض تمثل أولاً في الشرق الأوسط بقيام محور المقاومة الذي منع المحور الآخر من تحقيق أهدافه، وبشكل خاص أفشله في كلّ من سورية واليمن، وتبلور ثانياً في الجرأة الروسية في إطلاق العملية الخاصة في أوكرانيا والتي لها خصوصية تهز هيبة الأطلسي وفعاليته.

لقد أرادت أميركا ومعها الحلف الأطلسي الذي تحوّل بالسلوك العملي من حلف دفاعي، كما ينصّ ميثاق إنشائه الى تكتل عسكري هجومي عدواني تستعمله أميركا لتنفيذ سياساتها الاستعمارية وطموحاتها العدوانية ضدّ الدول والشعوب. أرادت أميركا أن تجرّ روسيا الى حرب تستنزف فيها قدراتها وتكسر هيبتها وتشلّ اقتصادها وتشطبها عن المسرح الدولي باعتبارها دولة من الصف الأول لتحوّلها الى دولة شبه إقليمية عاجزة محاصرة، فردّت روسيا بعمل عسكري مدروس يدفع عنها الخطر ويجنّبها الوقوع في الفخّ الذي نصبته أميركا لها في أوكرانيا.

لقد عرفت روسيا كيف تستغلّ الظرف الدولي وتتعامل مع نتائج الحروب الأميركية في العالم وبخاصة الحرب الكونية التي استهدفت سورية وعجزت أميركا عبرها عن إسقاط الدولة او تفكيكها أو جعلها في الموقع الذي تريده، عرفت روسيا كيف تقتنص الفرصة لتظهر قدرتها على المواجهة وشجاعتها في القرار وعدم تهيّبها أو خوفها من التهويل الغربي، ووضعت خطة التعامل مع التهديد الأطلسي من الباب الأوكراني تمكنها من العمل المسيطر عليه، وتمنع انزلاقها بعيداً الى حيث يريد العدو، وها هي بعد أربعة أشهر من بدء العملية وعلى أبواب نهاية المرحلة الثانية منها تستطيع، أيّ روسيا، أن تدّعي وبموضوعية أنها أنجزت معظم ما ذهبت الى تحقيقه هناك والأخطر مما في الأمر أنها فضحت العجز الغربي، وأسّست لواقع دولي لا يناسب في شيء أحلام أميركا وأتباعها من شركاء أو حلفاء.

لقد شكلت نتائج العملية الروسية الخاصة في أوكرانيا حتى الآن صفعة للغرب وجعلته يعاني مما هدف الى دفع روسيا الى المعاناة منه، يعاني من الاستنزاف المتعدّد الوجوه، ومن الاختلال في دورته الاقتصادية، والتصدّع في علاقاته البينية حتى تشكل على الأقلّ محوران فيه المحور الانكلوساكسوني الذي يدعو الى إطالة أمد الحرب في أوكرانيا وإحداث بؤر توتر جديدة أيضاً مع التهويل بالحرب العالمية الثالثة، ومحور لاتيني جرماني يقرّ بالنتائج السلبية عليه للأزمة الأوكرانية وبعجزه عن الاستمرار في تغذية الصراع وتقديم المساعدات لأوكرانيا لمواجهة روسيا، ويدعو للتسليم بهذا الواقع والذهاب الى التفاوض الذي ينهي الحرب بعد الاستجابة للمصالح الأمنية والاستراتيجية الروسية.

ورغم واقعه غير المريح فإنّ المحور الغربي الانكلوساكسوني يرى انّ الأزمات الدولية تفرخ كالفطر وانّ حرباً عالمية ثالثة بات لا بدّ منها لحسم النزاعات وإرساء استقرار المنتصر في الحرب كما فعلت الحرب الثانية نوعاً ما، لكن هذا المحور الذي يهوّل بالحرب تلك ينسى او يتناسى انّ ظروف المواجهة العالمية لم تعد تخدم أهدافه في ظلّ متغيّرات أساسية ثلاثة تحكم أيّ مواجهة مستقبلية، أولها تنامي نزعة المقاومة القوية الفاعلة لدى الدول والشعوب المناهضة للغرب، وثانيها كسر احتكار الغرب لمصادر التسليح، وثالثها عجز الغرب عن التحكم بمصادر الطاقة العالمية. متغيّرات يقود الأخذ بها الى القول بعدم مصلحة الغرب في أيّ حرب ثالثة لأنها إذا وقعت لن تفضي رغم ما ستحدثه من تدمير هائل مع إمكانية تحوّلها الى مواجهات نووية، لن تفضي الى انتصار الغرب فيها.

وعليه نقول انّ بؤر التوتر الدولية رغم تعدّدها وتكاثرها من تايوان شرقاً الى الشرق الأوسط غرباً وأوكرانيا شمالاً مع ما يحتمل ظهوره من الجديد منها، فإنها تبقى دون مستوى القدرة على إحداث حرب عالمية ثالثة في ظلّ المتغيّرات الثلاثة التي ذكرت؛ ويضاف إليها التراجع الحادّ في الوضع الاقتصادي الدولي بشكل عام والوضع الأوروبي والأميركي بشكل خاص، لذلك نرى انّ البديل للحرب الثالثة هو النزاعات المتفرّقة والمتزامنة التي تتبادل التأثير دون أن تتطوّر الى صراع واسع يشمل المعمورة تحت عنوان حرب عالمية ثالثة. وانّ التحذير البريطاني الانكلوساكسوني جاء للتهويل وإظهار القوة والجهوزية وهما غير موجودين في عالم الحقيقة الفعلية الغربية.

وعلى هذا الأساس لن نستغرب كما لا نستبعد انفجاراً ميدانياً هنا او اندلاع نار هناك خاصة في قارات العالم القديم الثلاث، ولا نستبعد صراعاً أو حرباً محدودة على الطاقة او المياه او الغذاء لكن كلّ ذلك سيبقى تحت سقف السيطرة المعقولة، لأنّ الدول الأقوى عسكرياً في العالم والتي تملك السلاح النووي وتهدّد باستعماله حفاظاً على وجودها تعلم أيضاً حقائق ثلاث أوّلها حجم التدمير الهائل المتبادل في أيّ حرب عالمية شاملة، تدمير قد يكون من طبيعة الإفناء للبعض، وثانيها العجز عن الحسم وفقاً لإرادة المهاجم، وثالثها العجز عن السيطرة على دورة الاقتصاد العالمي. ومع استبعاد هذه الحرب والقول بتواصل النزاعات المتفرّقة لا بدّ من الانتباه الى انّ الخاسر في الشأن هو الذي كان يطمح للسيطرة الشاملة وسيجد نفسه في نهاية المطاف يفقد الجزء الأكبر منها مع تقدّم الدول والشعوب الصاعدة التي تكتب تاريخاً مناقضاً لتاريخ الاستعمار بوجهيه القديم والحديث.

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*أستاذ جامعي ـ باحث استراتيجي.

Economic Rent and Exploitation: Michael Hudson, Shepheard Walwyn

June 18, 2022

Michael Hudson, Shepheard Walwyn recording May 23, 2022
Part one:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDo7HykYN9k

Part two here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-xWgLertkg

Jonathan Brown
Michael, welcome to the podcast.

Michael Hudson
It’s good to be here. I’m looking forward to it.

Jonathan Brown
Michael, I think you have one the most extraordinary upbringings and journeys into economics. And I just wanted to give our listeners just some sense of how you got from being the godson of Leon Trotsky all the way to what I consider to be probably the most important economist in the world today.

Michael Hudson 00:23
There’s no direct causality there that could have been anticipated. I never studied economics in college, because I went to school at the University of Chicago. We know that there were some students at the university who were at that business school. They were such strange people that we never even thought of going near them, because there was something otherworldly about them, something abstract.

My degree was in German language and history of culture, because the head of the History of Culture Department was Matthijs Jolles, a German professor and translator of von Clausewitz, On War. And in at the time, my intention was to become a musician. And I had to learn German in order to read the works of Heinrich Schenker. In music theory, my teachers were German. And for the History of Culture, most of the books that I was reading were, were all in German. And the German professors were also heads of the Comparative Literature Department and other departments. That meant that I could take all the courses cafeteria style at the university that I wanted.

I had to go to work when I graduated. I went to work for a while for direct mail advertising for the American Technical Society, a publisher a block away from the university, and then went to work for Free Press that was headed by Jerry Kaplan, a Trotskyist follower of Max Shachtman. And he wanted to send me to New York to help set up Free Press there.

Soon after I came to New York, Trotsky’s widow died. And Max Shachtman was the executor of her estate. He thought I should go into publishing by myself. And I had already had the copyrights for George Lukacs, the Hungarian Marxist and I thought tried to get funding for a publishing company with Trotsky’s works and other works. I’ve been writing a history of music and art theory. And needless to say, I didn’t get any funding because nobody was at all interested in publishing the works of Trotsky. I even tried to get Dwight Eisenhower the write the introduction to his military papers, wouldn’t work.

I was urged to meet Terence McCarthy, the father of a girlfriend of one of my schoolmates, Gavin MacFadyen. He was the first English-language translator of the first history of economic thought that was written: Karl Marx’s Theories of Surplus Value (Mehrwert), reviewing the value theory of classical economics. Terence said that he would help guide me in economic thinking if I’d get a PhD in economics and go to work on Wall Street to see how the world works. But I had to read all of the bibliography in Marx’s Theories of Surplus Value. So I had to begin buying the books, and ended up working as a sideline with one of the reprinters, Augustus Kelly, who was reprinting many of the classical economists. He was a socialist. There were other dealers in New York: Samuel Ambaras, Sydney Millman. I began buying all of the 19th-century classical economic books that I could, sinse that was the only way that I could get copies.

I took graduate classes in the evening while working at a bank for three years, the Savings Banks Trust Company. It was a commercial bank, but was acting as a central bank for the savings banks that in America finance mortgages. All their savings are reinvested in mortgages. So for three years my job was to track the real estate market, the mortgage market, interest rates, the funding of mortgages, the growth of assets by the savings banks, all growing at compound interest. All the growth in savings in the New York savings banks in the early 1960s was simply the accrual of dividends. So you’d have a step function at dividend time every quarter, going up exponentially. There was hardly any new savings inflow. It’s as if you’ve just left a given amount of savings in 1945, and let the amount rise exponentially. All this increase in savings was recycled into the real estate market.

The New York banks wanted to extend their market so they couldn’t just keep bidding up New York housing prices. They won the right to lend out of state, especially the Florida. So my job was basically seeing that real estate prices were whatever a bank would lend. At that time, banks would not lend you a mortgage if the debt service exceeded 25% of your income. And you had to put up usually 30% of the purchase price as a down payment, but possibly 10%. So housing was affordable. You could buy a really nice house for you know, $20 or $30,000. Now, it costs $400,000 to buy just a one room apartment in a condominium.

I bought a house for $1 down – it was $45,000 total. I took out a mortgage from Chase for half the price, and the other half was a purchase-money mortgage. So it was easy. Anybody coul get a house in New York at that time. Housing was readily affordable.

After I finished my PhD courses, I changed jobs. My real interest at the time was international finance and the balance of payments. So I went to work at Chase Manhattan as their balance of payments economist. This was at a time when the balance of payments and even balance-sheet analysis was not taught in schools. It was very specialised. I realised that what I was taught, especially in monetary theory, had nothing at all to do with what I was learning in practice.

In monetary theory, for instance, that was the era of Milton Friedman in the 60s and 70s. He thought that when you create more money, it increases consumer prices. Well, I thought that obviously was not how things worked. When banks create money, they don’t lend for people for spending. About 80% of bank loans in America, as in England, are mortgage loans. They lend against property already in place. They also lend for corporate mergers and acquisitions, and by the 1980s for corporate takeovers.

The effect of this lending is to increase asset prices, not consumer prices. You could say that money creation actually lowers consumer prices, because 80% is to increase housing prices. Banks seek to increase their loan market by lending more and more against every kind of real estate, whether it’s residential or commercial property. They keep increasing the proportion of debt to overall real estate price. So by 2008 you could buy property with no money down at all, and take 100% mortgage, sometimes even 102 or 103% so that you would have enough money to pay the closing fees. The government did not limit the amount of money that a bank could lend against income. The proportion of income devoted to mortgage service that was federally guaranteed increased to 43%. Well, that’s a lot more than 25%. That’s 18% of personal income more in 2008 than in the 1960s – simply to pay mortgage interest in order to get a house. So I realised that this was deflationary. The more money you have to spend on mortgage interest to buy a house as land and real estate is financialized, the less you have left to spend on goods and services. This was one of the big problems that was slowing the economy down.

Well, it was obvious to me that rent was being paid out as interest. Rent is for paying interest. If I talked with various developers about buying buildings, they said, “Well, we try to buy our buildings without any money at all. The banks will lend us the money to buy a building, and they calculate how much is your rental income going to be? That rental income will carry how much of a bank loan at a given interest charge, and lend the money to buy it.” That is how real estate rent was financialized.

Democratization of real estate on credit means turns rental income into interest, not taxes
This meant that the role that had been played in the 19th century by landlords is now played by banks. In the 19th century, the problem was absentee landlords, the heirs of the warlords who conquered England or other European countries in the Middle Ages. You had hereditary rent. Well, now our rent has been democratised. But it’s been democratised on credit, because obviously, the only way that a wage earner can afford to buy is is on credit. For an investor you can buy whole buildings on credit.

Finance has transformed real estate into a financial vehicle. So that that’s what rent is for paying interest means. There’s a symbiotic sector, Finance, Insurance and Real Estate – the FIRE sector. It’s the key to today’s financialised economy. Most real estate tax in America is at the local level, because after the income tax was introduced, commercial real estate was made tax exempt by the pretence that buildings depreciate in value, as if they don’t in fact rise in price. The pretence is that they wear out, even though landlords normally pay about 10% of the rental income for repairs and upgrades to keep the building from wearing out.

Today in New York, and I’m sure in London too, the older a building is, the better it’s built. Real-estate developers have crapified building codes so that the newer the building, the more shoddily it’s built. They call shoddy buildings “luxury” real estate, meaning is built with really not very thick walls. I think the junkiest building in New York is Trump Tower, which is sort of the model of shadiness which they call luxury. It’s very high-priced.

The academic economics curriculum finds unproductive credit to embarrassing to acknowledge
While I saw the importance of finance and real estate, none of that was discussed in the university’s economics courses at all. The pretense is that money is created by banks lending to investors who build factories and employ labour to produce more. All credit is assumed to be productive, and taken on to finance productive investment in the form of tangible capital formation. Well, that that was the hope in the 19th century, and actually was the reality in Germany and in Central Europe, where you had banking becoming industrialised. But after World War I, you had a snap back to the Anglo-Dutch-American kind of banking, which was really just the Merchant banking. It was bank lending against assets already in place.

Classical economics as a reform program to free economies from economic rent and rentier income

I realised that the statistics that I worked on showed the opposite of what I was taught. I had to go through the motions of the PhD orals. and avoided conflict by writing my dissertation on the history of economic thought, because anything that I would have written about the modern economy would have driven the professors nutty. Needless to say, none of the academic professors I had ever actually worked in the real world. It was all very theoretical. So that basically how I came to realise that the 19th century fight for 100 years – we can call it the long 19th century, from the French Revolution, up to World War I, and from the French Physiocrats, to Adam Smith, Ricardo and Malthus, John Stuart Mill, Marx, Simon Patton and Thorstein Veblen – was the value and price theory of classical economics to quantify economic rent as unearned income.

The purpose of value and price theory was to define the excess of market price over actual cost value. The difference was economic rent. The essence of classical economics was a reform campaign – that of industrial capitalism. It was a radical campaign, because the basic cost-cutting dynamic of industrial capitalism was radical. It realised that in order to make Britain, France or Germany, or any country competitive with others, you had to get rid of the landlord class and its demands for economic rent. You also had to get rid of monopolies and their economic rent. You had to get rid of all payments of income that were not necessary for production to take place. The aim was to bring prices in line with the actual cost value of production, to free economies from this rake-off to unproductive investment, unproductive labour and economic rent – land rent, monopoly rent and financial interest charges. Those were the three basic categories of rent on which classical political economy focused.

To translate classical rent theory into practice, you needed a political reform, You had to get rid of the landlord class’s political power to block reform. It wasn’t enough simply to say that economic rent was not a necessary cost of production, not part of real value. The landlord class would simply say, “Well, what are you going to do about it?”

The proponents of industrial capitalism saw that the constitution of England, France and America required giving governments the power to pass laws to free economies from economic rent. in order to do that, they needed democratic reform of the political system. In England they needed to empower the House of Commons over the House of Lords. That effort led to a constitutional crisis in 1909 and 1910, when the House of Commons, Parliament, passed a land tax. That was rejected, as I’m sure you know, by the House of Lords. The crisis was resolved by saying the Lords could never again reject a Revenue Act passed by the House of Commons. That political reform was part and parcel with classi9cal economic theory defining rent as an unnecessary cost of production.

But where did this leave the interests of labor – the majority of the population? As a broad social reform, classical economics began to falter by 1848. You had revolutions in almost every European country. These revolutions were not fully democratic in the sense of they weren’t really for wage labour, which was the bulk of society. They were bourgeois revolutions, including land reform. They were all for getting rid of the landed aristocracy and the special privileges that the aristocracy held. But they were not very interested in helping consumers, and labour’s working conditions, shortening the workweek, shortening the workday and promoting safety. There was nothing really about public health, or public social infrastructure spending. So things began to falter by 1848.

But they still made progress through the balance of the 19th century. By the time World War I broke out in 1914, it looked like the world was moving towards socialism. Almost everybody in the 19th century, across the political spectrum, whatever you were advocating was called socialism.

Socialism and strong government as the program of post-rentier industrial capitalism
At the broadest level, socialism meant collecting economic rent and getting rid of the landlords and the aristocracy, either by taxing away rent or nationalizing land and natural monopolies, in hope that that by itself would create a viable industrial economy. you had libertarian socialism, Marxist socialism, anarchist socialism, industrial socialism and Christian socialism. Almost every reformer wanted that as a label. The question is, what kind of socialism were are you going to have?

That was what the aftermath of World War I was fought about. The fight was largely shaped by the Russian Revolution, which unfortunately went tragically wrong under Stalin and gave socialism and communism a bad name. But it still had a good name in England after World War II. And also in America in the 1930s, as a result of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal that saved capitalism by investing in public infrastructure.

I can give you an example of where pro-capitalist theory was in the 1890s. In the United States. The industrial interests in America faced a problem once the Civil War ended in 1865. They wanted to create an industrial society – ideally, a fair society with rising living standards. How do you do that without training people to administer such an economy? You need to train people in a university. You have to teach them how economies worked. But the main universities in America were religious colleges, founded to train the clergy. Yale, Harvard, Princeton and most taught British free-trade theory, which trivialized economic theory.

So the business interests and the government saw the need to teach reality-based economics. They saw that there was little hope in trying to reform the existing universities. Their economics departments – called moral philosophy – were unreformable. So it was necessary to create new universities. All through America, each state was given a land grant to enable it to create a new university and teach reality economics. They also would teach economic history and how the world actually works. Most of all, they would teach protectionist trade theory and how to create a society and economy that is more efficient than other economies?

Well, the first business school in America was the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Its first economics professor was Simon Patton, a protectionist. And he explained that if you’re going to make industrial products at prices that outcompete those of England, you need public infrastructure spending. You need as much of the cost of living as possible to not to be paid by the employers to factor into the price of their products, but to be paid by the government.

Patten cited public roads and canals to lower the cost of doing business. He also noted that every time you build a road or railroad, you’re going to raise the land value along these routes – and lower land prices for areas replaced by the now-more-accessible producers. You can simply self-finance the cost of these by taxing the rent.

You also need public education, and that should be free so that you don’t have like today, to earn enough money to pay an enormous student debt – and receive a high salary to afford to pay that. If the government would provide free education, you wouldn’t have to pay workers enough to pay this student debt, so they wouldn’t need such high wages simply to break even.
Today 18% of America’s national income is from medical insurance. If you have a public health system and socialized medicine, as England had after World War II and as Bernie Sanders advocates today, then you wouldn’t have to pay workers a high enough salary to afford this enormous medical expense. England realised this already in the 1870s and ‘80s, when Benjamin Disraeli campaigned as a conservative for health.

So the movement towards public infrastructure towards government spending was led by the industrialists. It was they themselves who wanted strong government. The common denominator of politics from Adam Smith through all of the 19th century was to free economies from the unnecessary economic rent, to free them from unearned income, from the free lunch. To do that, you have to have a government strong enough to take on the vested interests – first the landlord class in the House of Lords, and then the financial class behind it.

Jonathan Brown 26:00
Well, just to clarify that, Michael, I think what you’re, what you’re saying is, I know in some of your writing you talk about the view of government or the public sector was it was a fourth means of production. So you got land, labour, capital and the public sector.

Michael Hudson 26:16
That was the term that Simon Patten used. Government infrastructure is a fourth means of production. But what makes it different from profits and wages is that if you’re a wage earner, you want to make as high a wage as possible. If you’re a capitalist, you want to make as high a profit as possible. But the job of public investment is not to make an income, not to do what was done under Thatcher and Tony Blair, not to treat public utilities, education and health as profit making opportunities. Instead, Patten said, you should measure their productivity by how much they lower the cost of doing business and the cost of living for the economy at large.

Jonathan Brown 27:03
And what that allows a country to do, so if you’re good at it, is to get together and ask how to educate our people, lower the cost of transportation so we’ve got we’ve got a mobile workforce, all those things. We can then start to compete against other nations who are ahead of us, who may have more expensive means of production, and we can maintain that advantage. We’re not stuck in a lower level of the economy where we’re basically working for someone else. We’re able to develop ourselves as a nation. And I guess the benefit of us doing it collectively is that we can minimise the cost, then use a natural monopoly power in government hands to provide efficient services across the board. Is that right?

Michael Hudson 27:46
Yes, but they went further. Protectionists in America said the way to minimise costs – and it may seem an oxymoron to you – the way you minimise costs is to have high-wage labour. You raise the wages of labour, or more specifically, you want to raise the living standards, because highly paid labour, highly educated labour, well fed labour, well rested labour is more productive than pauper labour. So they said explicitly, America’s going to be a high wage economy. We’re not like Europe. Our higher wages are going to provide high enough living standards to provide high labour productivity. And our higher labour productivity, shorter working day, better working conditions, healthy working conditions, public health, well educated labor will undersell that of countries that don’t have an active public sector.

Jonathan Brown 28:45
and Henry Ford being the poster boy for that approach, of doubling his employees’ salaries and so on.

Michael Hudson 28:53
Yes.

Jonathan Brown 28:54
Amazing.

<h4>The fight against classical economics and its concept of rent as unearned income</h4>
Michael Hudson 28:55
Needless to say, the fight for the kind of democracy that will free economies from economic rent was not easy. By the late 1880s, and especially the 1890s, you had the rentiers fighting back. In America the fight was led by John Bates Clark. There was a movement, which today is called neoliberalism, to deny the entire thrust of classical economics. Clarke said that there is no such thing is unearned income. That meant that economic rent does not exist. Whatever a businessman makes, he is said to earn. Whatever a landlord makes, he earns – so there was no unearned income.

This came to a head around 1890 the Journal of Ethics. Clark wrote the first essay, and it was refuted by Simon Patton. There was a fight against the concept of economic rent by academic economics, especially in New York City at Columbia University, where Clark ended up, This is really the dividing line: You recognise that much of the economy is unearned income and you want to get rid of it. To do that, you have to pass laws that will tax away the unearned income, or better yet, you put land and other natural resources and natural monopolies in the public domain where the public sector directly sets prices. That was what Teddy Roosevelt did with his trust busting.

Jonathan Brown 31:13
Michael, I just want to say reading your work is something of a revelation. I’ve got a degree in economics for what it’s worth. And I would say the only valuable thing that I found from a getting a degree in economics is that I know, resolutely when an economist is talking bullshit. How do you know that? It’s when his lips move.

Michael Hudson 31:32
If it’s an economist, they’re talking bullshit – let me make it easy, right!

Jonathan Brown 31:36
And then the thing is, that reading your work, for example, going back to Thorstein Veblen, his work, which only made it into the mainstream when I was getting a degree in the 90s, was conspicuous consumption. It had nothing to do with absentee landlords or, and the profound importance of that, and then I’m looking in J is for Junk Economics, and you talk about the free lunch, and how Milton Friedman said that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

When you look at your work, you prove that actually there is, and that he’s having it! And you say, “Most business ventures seek such free lunches not entailing actual work or real production costs, and to deter public regulation or higher taxation of rent-seeking recipients of free lunches. They have embraced Milton Friedman’s claim that there’s no such thing as a free lunch”.

And you talk about: “Even more aggressively rent extractors accused governments of taxing their income to subsidise freeloaders, pinning the label of free lunches on public welfare recipients, job programs, beneficiaries of higher minimum wage, when the actual antidote to free lunches is to make governments strong enough to tax economic rent, and keep the potential rent extracting opportunities and natural monopolies in the public domain.”

Michael Hudson 32:51
Veblen was indeed was the last great classical economist. He coined the term neoclassical economics. I think that’s an unfortunate term. When I went to school in my 20s, I thought neoclassical meant ‘Oh, it’s a new version of classical economics’. It’s not that at all. What Veblen meant was there used to be the old classical economics of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and Marx, all about economic rent and exploitation. “Neo” means there’s a new body of completely different, post-classical economics aiming to make classical economics obsolete. That is the new mainstream economics of today, trying to make itself “classical.” So Veblen he should have used the terms post-classical or anti-classical economics.

Jonathan Brown 33:44
Or even pseudo classical?

Michael Hudson 33:49
It’s antithetical, because the root of classical value and price theory was to isolate and define economic rents statistically. To deny economic rent is to deny the whole point of classical value and price theory. That is where economics became untracked.

Unfortunately, it became untracked largely by Henry George, who rejected classical economics and very quickly followed J.B. Clark and accepted his mushy value and price theory. Removing all elements the cost of production from value theory, analysing prices simply in terms of consumer demand and what people want, and not analysing what determines land and other asset prices, loses focus.

George became very popular as a journalist. He wrote wonderful journalism to expose the railroads in California as landlords, and he wrote a wonderful book on the Irish land question. But when he tried to talk about the whole economy, he didn’t want any competition. He said, in effect, “Economics begins and ends with me. Forget everything, Adam Smith and classical economics.” He’s sort of an early Margaret Thatcher. There’s no such thing as society or the economy. Only “tax the landlords.”

Jonathan Brown 35:35
What are you doing? You’re destroying my view of Henry George! He’s an early Margaret Thatcher? How, how could that possibly be?

Michael Hudson 35:47
Well, in two ways. The first way is that in the 19th century, in order to tax the land rent, you had to take on the most powerful vested interests of all: the real estate interests and the financial interests. But Henry George was a libertarian. He was for small government. He broke with the socialists, because he warned that socialism had a potential for authoritarianism. Well, we know that he was right in that warning, because we saw what happened in Stalinist Russia. But obviously, what you want is a government that is strong and democratic, and with enough authority to tax and regulate the vested interests. (That term is Veblen’s, by the way.) That was the ideal in America, but it needed a strong enough government so that Teddy Roosevelt could come in and be able to bust the trusts.

The government was strong enough in 1913-14 to impose an American income tax that fell just on 1% of the population, almost entirely on economic rent, on land rent, mineral rent on monopoly rent of the big corporations. If you’re a libertarian, your government is too small to take on these vested interests. And you’ll never win. You’ll end up like the Social Democrats or like today’s Labour Party under Mr. Starmer, not able to be very efficient. So that was George’s first problem.

The second problem was when he said that all you have to do is tax the land and everything else will take care of itself. Well, as you know, he was nominated as a celebrity candidate by the socialist and labour groups in New York City in 1876 to run for mayor. They gave him their programme – safe housing, workers housing, safe working conditions, food laws that protect people from poison, like you don’t want to use chromium for cake frosting to make it yellow.
Well, George threw out the whole labour programme and said that there’s only one thing that mattered: If you tax the land rent, the cakes will take care of themselves, worker safety conditions will take care of themselves. You don’t need socialism; just tax land rent.

Well, the word “panacea” came into popular use in the English language at that time, because George didn’t see the economy as a whole. That was a tragedy. He was great as a journalist describing rent and the machinations of the railroads. But once he tried to talk about the economy, without really describing how it worked as a system, saying there really isn’t any economic system, it’s just about land rent. That separated him from the other reformers.

By the 1890s you had many of reformers in America, who had been inspired by George’s journalism in the 70s and early 80s, including attacks on the oil monopoly and the Rockefellers. They asked what happened to George? Well, he became a sectarian. He formed his own party and said, we’re only going to talk about land rent. This diverted attention away from how the overall economy works. And if you don’t understand how the economy is all about providing a free lunch in one way or another, not only to landlords but to the financial sector primarily, then you’re really not going to address the interests of most of the population.

So his sectarian party shrank. Still, in the first decade of the 20th century you had followers of Henry George and socialists going around the country debating each other. They had great debates, they spelled out the whole problem. I wanted to reprint all these debates somewhere, what both the socialists and the Georgists said: “One thing we can agree on is that society is going to get go either your way or our way. We’re talking about how is the future of the political system and the economic relations and taxes that follow from this system. How are they going to evolve?”

The socialists focused on labour’s working conditions, because these were getting worse and worse. In America the fight for labour unionisation got quite violent, and corrupt. The abuse of consumers, the growth of monopolies, all these were growing problems. The socialists focused on these problems – and decided to leave the discussion of rent to followers of George. I think that was very unfortunate, because George had pried the discussion of economic rent away from the classical value theory and its political dimension, which was socialist.

I find little interest in today’s socialist movement or the socialist movement 50 years ago about land rent. They are more concerned about international issues, about war, about almost everything except land rent. And today I find the greatest interest in rent theory as a guide to a tax system in the context of an overall economic system to be in China. So that’s really where the debate over how to keep the price of housing down by keeping the financial sector from trying to capitalise the land rent into a bank loan.

That’s a big fight in China today. It should have been also in Russia. Fred Harrison, in the early 1990s, brought a group of people including me over to Russia. We made two trips to the Duma and did everything we could to explain that Russia could have a great advantage to rebuild its industry into a productive economy. The first thing that it should have done was to keep housing prices down. It could have given everybody their houses, free and clear, without any debt. Of course, some places would be more valuable than others, but Russia would have had the lowest-priced economy in the world. In America, the rent can take up to 43% of a home buyer’s income.

Well, there was pushback from the Russians. They had no rent in a socialist economy. Ted Gwartney, an American real estate appraiser, walked down the streets of St. Petersburg with the local mayor, I think on a fall or winter days. He pointed out that one side of the street was very sunny. The other street was in the shade. That’s how the sun is in the northern latitudes in the winter. Most people were walking on the sunny side of the street. That means that if you’re going to have a store, whether it’s a bakery, a food store or a restaurant, the store on the sunny side of the street is going to be able to attract more customers. Their site has more economic rent than the dark side of the street. Same thing with buildings near a subway. They will be worth more than sites far away from transportation.

The mayor said understood the point, and asked how to actually make a land value tax so to collect this rent? Ted explained that St. Petersburg’s layout was much like that of Boston, where a land map was easy to make. It showed that there was a peak centre of values near the subway, with rents tapering off further away. He suggested to apply Boston as a scale model to St. Petersburg. Just plug in a few prices, and you have a land-valuation map.

Russia could have been a low-cost economy. It could have kept the oil and gas, Yukos, GazProm, nickel and platinum resources all in the public domain to finance investment in re-industrialization, to become independent of the West. But as we all know, Ted and the people that Fred Harrison bought were completely overwhelmed by the billions of dollars that U.S. diplomats spent on promoting kleptocracy and shock therapy in Russia. Its officials and insiders worked for themselves, not Russia.

And it wasn’t only Russia that missed opportunities. I brought Ted Gwartney and his mathematical model-maker to Latvia, where I was Economic Research Director of the Riga Graduate School of Law. I was asked by the leading political party of Latvia, the Centre Party – basically the party of Russian speakers, with 1/3 of the population and votes – to draw up a model for how Latvia could restructure its post-Soviet economy and industry. Ted met with the tax authorities and housing authorities and explained how to use land rent as the tax base. They were amazed and said, “This is great. We can hire a separate appraiser for every single building. This will create a lot of employment”. No he said. He had been the appraiser for Greenwich, Connecticut, the state’s wealthiest city. He said, “We can do a whole city in about one week.” They couldn’t believe this in Latvia.

Around the time of his visit there was a meeting in Boston of the Eastern Economics Association. It was largely created by John Kenneth Galbraith to go off the economic mainstream. I think the Schalkenbach Foundation had a session on political critics of Henry George, so there were a lot of Georgists. Other people who came to the Eastern Economic Association meeting were socialists, including Alan Freeman who was the assistant to Ken Livingston, the Mayor of London.

When everybody was having lunch after the economic meetings, I brought Alan over to sit down with Ted Gwartney. Ted explained what he did, and Alan said, “Oh, I’ve never heard of this! I’ve got to come and meet you some more.’ So he came to New York and we went up to visit Ted in Connecticut. He explained how to make a land value map. Alan said, “You should win the Nobel Prize for this! This is amazing! There’s nothing like this in England.”

Ted explained that there are about 20,000 appraisers in America that do what he did. There are abundant statistics. Every city has a map of land and building appraisals: here’s the value of the building, here’s the value of the land. So smoothing out a land value map is pretty easy to do. Alan could hardly believe it.

Well, I went back to London shortly and met with Alan. It turned out that political pressures in England, especially from the Labour Party, led London to hire Weatheralls, a real estate company, do appraisals. So we never got to do our version of a real estate appraisal of London to calculate land rent.

But this is what all of the theories of the Physiocrats, Adam Smith, Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, Marx, Veblen, Alfred Marshall, all of them were focusing on. Yet this idea is so alien that from London to St. Petersburg, they don’t have any idea of how the simple concept can be done. The economics profession is in denial. It’s followed the idea that there’s no such thing as unearned income, everybody gets what they make.

The National Income and Product Accounts treat rent as a product, not a subtrahend
A byproduct of this value-free doctrine is how countries calculate their national income and product accounts. And if you look at the GDP accounts for the United States (and I’ve published a number of articles on my website and in major economic journals), rent is counted as part of GDP.

This is easiest to see in real estate and finance. The Bureau of Labor Statistics sends its employees around to ask homeowners what the rental income of their home would be if they had to rent it. If you were a landlord and rented yourself how much rent would that be? This appears in the NIPA statistics as “homeowners imputed rent.” That’s 8% of GDP. But it is not really income, because it is not actually paid. Nobody gets it. But value-free designers of GDP want to describe all of the income that landlords make as contributing to GDP. They say that landlords provide a productive service, they provide housing to people who need it, and they provide commercial properties to businesses that need it. Well, that’s not exactly how John Stuart Mill put it. He said that rent is what landlords make ‘in their sleep’. So how can you rationalize how productive landlords are?

Another element of American GDP is financial services. I called up the Commerce Department where they make the NIPA statistics and asked what happens when credit card companies increase their interest charges. And where do penalty charges for late payments appear? Credit card companies in America make billions of dollars in interest a year and even more billions in fees, late fees and penalties. Most of the income that credit card companies make are actually on these fees and penalties. So where does that appear in that GDP? I was told, in “financial services.’ So the “service” of calculating how far the debtors must pay for falling behind in their payments. They typical charge 29%. That’s all counted as a contribution to GDP. But in reality it is a subtrahend, leaving less to spend on real “product.”

This raises the question of just what income and product actually mean. Well, this brings us back to what classical economics is all about. The “product” should be measured by what its actual necessary cost of production is. But there’s a lot of income over and above this necessary cost of production. Namely, economic rent, that’s unearned income. But the income and product accounts don’t say how much is “earned” and how much is “unearned” land rent, monopoly rent, natural resource rent, interest and financial charges.

A classical economic accounting format would show how much of the prices for what our society produces is actually necessary, and how much is a subtrahend. Classical economists treat the land rent that you pay, interest charges and monopoly prices as a rake-off. So not all of your income is income equals “product,” because only a portion of that income represents a real product.

In America, the head of Goldman Sachs a few years ago said Goldman Sachs partners – a financial management firm – make more money than almost anyone else in America, because they’re the most productive. If you make a lot of money, by definition, you make it by being productive. That’s the false identity.

Jonathan Brown 55:25
That’s really the John Bates Clark idea that if you make the money, you’ve earned it. And it’s not just because you control the gate. You’re the gatekeeper, to stop people and make them pay the toll. You’re the troll under the bridge, taking people’s money as they cross, which is essentially what financial economics is about.

Michael Hudson 55:48
Right. I have spoken with a number of political advisors, many of whom were followers of Henry George. They’ve described to me how political all of this definition of the economy is. A number of friends of mine have been trying to show how much of what the United Nations calculates as income and product is actually economic rent. Steve Keen, Dirk Bezemer and Jacob Assa are in this group. There are a number of others who do it. We publish in places like the Review of Keynesian Economics, Journal of Economic Issues and other not-mainstream journals. A lot of this was taught where I was a professor for decades, at the University of Missouri in Kansas City.

Our graduates had problems getting jobs, because in order to get an appointment at a university, you have to publish articles in prestige journals. The University of Chicago, the Milton Friedman boys, the Chicago Boys control the editorial boards of all these prestige magazines, just like they control the Nobel Economics Prize Committee. The prize basically is given to Chicago Boys every year for not explaining how the economy works.

A precondition for what you call an economist, especially a Nobel Prize winning economist, is not to understand how the economy works. Because if you understand that, you’re going to threaten the vested interests that are getting the free lunch. You have to say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, everybody earns whatever they can get. Robbers and criminals like that idea. “Yeah, we stole it fair and square!”

Crime pays, and rent seeking also pays.

You can get much more money quicker by extractive means – by rent extraction – than you can by investing in plant and equipment and developing products and marketing them and making a profit over time, and spending on research and development. That’s why in today’s United States, 92% of corporate revenue, called earnings, (although not all of it is earned – that’s a euphemism) is spent on stock buybacks and dividend payouts, not on new capital investment.

So the way that the economy works today is no longer industrial capitalism; it is finance capitalism. Instead of Industrial Engineering, making society produce more with all of the environmental protection cost included, you have financial engineering, making wealth by increasing stock-market prices. Wealth is not achieved by earning it. You don’t save up your earnings and get wealthy. I think half of Americans are unable to raise $400 In an emergency. They have no savings at all.

For most people it’s very hard to save up money, especially if they have student debt, credit-card debt, medical debt and mortgage debt. After paying this, there’s really no income left to be saved. So you have the 1% of society, the rentier portion that had to pay income tax back in 1914, getting huge amounts of income and the rest of the society getting less and less. The result is economic polarisation. The dynamics of society are financial and basically rely on rent seeking that has been financialized.

I’ll give you another example of the GDP. One of the problems that makes GDP statistics meaningless is depreciation, the idea that buildings depreciate. When Ronald Reagan came in, the real estate interests and their banks basically took over the government. Henry George and the Libertarians oppose central planning by elected democratic governments, and that leaves central planning to Wall Street’s financial interests. Every economy is planned, and if you don’t have a government strong enough to do the planning, then the planning is done by the financial sector and the real estate sector, and they were given free rein under Ronald Reagan.

Under Reagan’s 1981 tax “reform” you could pretend that if you buy a big commercial building, you can write off 1/7 of the entire costs every single year as tax deductible income. At the end of seven years, you change your ownership from one name to another name, and you start all over again. The same building can be re depreciated again and again and again.

Donald Trump wrote in his autobiography, he loves depreciation, because he said thanks to the pretence of depreciation, his buildings are all going up in value, but he gets to pretend they’re falling, and deduct all of that fictitious over-depreciation from his taxable income. It’s actually economic rent. But if you look at the national income statistics, you can’t find economic rent in them at all. I was able to piece it together by adding up what goes into economic rent: Real estate taxes are part of economic rent, and also interest payments, because interest is paid out of economic rent. But fictitious depreciation tax loopholes also should be there.

But nowhere in the national income statistics is a report of how much income real estate owners actually claim as depreciation. They haven’t done that because if they showed this, people would think, ‘Wait a minute, this is a giveaway. This is utterly unrealistic.” So they only put in a figure for how much they [think] buildings are actually depreciating over a period of decades. So you have a fictitious national income accounting format that makes it impossible to calculate what land rent is – and that was the major focus of classical economics.

How are you going to get a statistical system that actually reflects this? Well, one associate of mine, Jacob Assa, has written a few books on this criticising economic rent. He worked in the United Nations here in New York until quite recently. But as I said, our graduates can’t publish in the University of Chicago economic journals whose party line is that ‘there’s no such thing as economic rent’, just like there’s no such thing as society is beyond “the market.”

I wanted to publish statistics on this and in 1994 the Henry George School in New York asked me to calculate what rent was and the land value. I found out that the value of land, the market price of land in the United States was twice what the government reported.

The government pretends that real estate prices rise mainly because buildings keep growing in value, even though they’re supposed to depreciate. They pretend that buildings grow in value by taking the original cost of the building, and multiplying it by the Construction Price Index. Whatever is left is reported as land value. Well, in 1994 the Federal Reserve reported that the land value of all of the commercially owned real estate in the United States was negative $4 billion. This is crazy.

The statistics are drawn up by a methodology that the real estate interests lobbied for. When I calculated this, the Georgists in America got furious. They said that I was showing that land value and rents were much higher than they thought. They worried that this might lead people to want to tax real estate. Lowell Harriss of Schalkenbach explained that Georgists today represent mainly real estate developers, and that their major audience was local mayors, whose biggest campaign funders are the real estate interest.

These Georgists called themselves “two raters,” wanting to keep overall real estate taxes unchanged (“revenue-neutral”) but shift the tax from commercial landlords onto homeowners by taxing land, not buildings – e.g., electric utilities, office buildings and other capital-intensive structures.

By representing the developers, Georgists proposed to save society by having the developers build up those slums, build up those vacant lots. Like George, they said that there was no need to worry about ecology or any problem except cutting property taxes for large real estate owners. You don’t need to worry about workers conditions or anything else. Let’s just give an economic incentive (i.e., a tax cut) to help contractors build up those vacant lots.

I was told if I published a new explanation of my statistics showing that most rent was paid out as interest, I could never have any relations with Schalkenbach and the Henry George school again. So I published them in a Harper’s Magazine cover story and have lived happily ever after.

Jonathan Brown 1:06:13
And was that “The New Road to Serfdom”?

Michael Hudson 1:06:22
Yes. I chose that title because the purpose of industrial capitalism was to free economies from the legacy of feudalism. And the legacy of feudalism was the landlord-warrior class collecting hereditary rent and the predatory banks that were not making loans for industry. None of the industrialists got their money to invest in banks. The inventors of the steam engine couldn’t get loans except by mortgaging their houses. Banks don’t lend money to create capital, only for the right to foreclose on it.

Jonathan Brown 1:07:02
This is all included in your in your latest book that just came out, The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial capitalism, or Socialism, which I gather was a series of lectures to a Chinese University. Is that correct?

Michael Hudson 1:07:16
Yes. There were 160,000 viewers for the first lecture, and there’s a huge interest in this in China, because they realise that higher housing prices make them poorer and more highly indebted, not richer. What is pushing up housing prices in China is the amount of credit that banks will lend against the property.

A land tax would keep housing prices down, because the rent could not be available, to be capitalized into a bank loan. As China gets more productive and more prosperous, people obviously are going to be able to afford housing, which is how most people define their status. If a site gets more valuable because of public investment in transportation, or schools or parks nearby, that’s going to make it more valuable. But if you tax this rental income, then you’re going to keep the housing price down.

I think Fred Harrison and Don Riley wrote a book Taken for a Ride where they show that the money that London spent on extending the Jubilee Line increased real estate prices by twice as much as the line cost. London could have simply collected the land’s increase in rental value that this public investment created and made it self-financing.

Instead it was a giveaway.

They ended up taxing labour and business, and the effect was to increase Britain’s cost of living and hence the cost of production, which is why Britain is de-industrialising. It’s been de-industrialising because despite the attempts through 1909 and 1911, to free itself from landlordism, the bankers have taken the place of the landlords. They are the class today that the landlords were in the 19th century. So we’re back on the revival of what really was feudalism – a rake-off by a hereditary privileged class.

America’s monetary imperialism coming to an end with de-dollarization
Jonathan Brown 1:09:47

I’m wondering where we go next. I want to get into the conversations that you started with the 1972 first edition of Super Imperialism. I know we had a third edition fairly recently, with your prescience of the predictions in analyzing the situation for America, and how the balance of payments deficit was a result of U.S. expenditure by the military. Getting into the current manifestation of the de-dollarization challenge that seems to be accelerating through the Ukraine and Russia crisis, I wonder what background we need to give the listeners just to tell them about how that system works.

Michael Hudson 1:10:39
One of the things that most people don’t understand is money, largely because of the academic discussion confusing matters. Until 1971, countries running a balance of payments deficit would have to settle it either in gold or by selling off their industry to investors in the payments-surplus countries. Well, beginning with the war in Korea in 1950-1951, the U.S. balance of payments moved into deficit. The entire U.S. balance of payments deficit from the Korean War to the 1970s was a result of its foreign military spending.

By the time the Vietnam war was ending, the Americans had to sell its gold every month. Vietnam had been a French colony, so the banks there were French. As America spent more dollars in Southeast Asia, these dollars were sent from local French bank branches to their head offices in Paris. The Paris bank would turn over these dollars to the central bank for francs, and the central bank, under General de Gaulle, would cash in these dollars for gold.

Germany was doing the same thing, using its export proceeds that were paid in dollars to buy gold. So America’s gold stock was steadily going down, until finally it had to withdraw from the London Gold pool and stop making the dollar gold convertible. Back in 1950 when the Korean War began, the American Treasury had 75% of the world’s monetary gold. It had used this monetary power to control diplomacy in other countries. The basis of America’s political power was its gold stock.

Once they left the gold-exchange standard there was hand wringing. How was the United States going to dominate the world if it didn’t have gold anymore, if the military spending abroad had made it run out of gold? My Super Imperialism pointed out that henceforth when foreign central banks got more dollars, what were they going to use them for? Well, there’s only one thing that central banks at that time did: That was to buy government securities. So the central banks of France, Germany and other payment-surplus countries had little option except to buy U.S. Treasury bills and bonds. Some of these were special non-marketable bonds that they couldn’t sell, but they were stores of value.

So the money that America was spending abroad was simply recycled to the United States. It didn’t mean that America had to devalue the dollar through running a balance-of-payments deficit, like today’s Global South countries do, or do as England had to do with its’ stop-go policies, always raising interest rates to borrow when its deficits threatened to force the pound sterling to depreciate.

Jonathan Brown 1:13:57
Michael, this insight was that was that when you were working at Chase Manhattan, and you were advising the State Department on what to do with the fact that they were having these balance of payments problem, because of military spending?

Michael Hudson 1:14:07
My job at Chase was to analyse basically the balance of payments of Third World countries and then of the oil industry. I had to develop an accounting format to find how much does the oil industry actually makes in the rest of the world. I had to calculate natural-resource rent, and how large it was. I did that from 1964 till October 1967. Then I had to quit to finish my dissertation to get the PhD. And then I developed the system of balance-of-payments analysis that actually was the way it had been calculated before GDP analysis.

I went to work for Arthur Andersen and spent a year calculating the whole U.S. balance of payments. That’s where I found that it was all military in character, and I began to write in popular magazines like Ramparts, warning that America’s foreign wars were forcing it to run out of gold. That was the price that America was paying for its military spending abroad.

I realised as soon as it went off gold in 1971 that America now had a cost-free means of military spending. Suppose you were to go to the grocery store and just pay in IOUs. You could just keep spending If you could convince the owner, the grocer to use the IOU to pay the farmers and the dairy people for their products. What if everybody else used these IOUs as money? You would continue to get your groceries for free.

That’s how the United States economy works under the dollar standard, at least until the present. This is what led China, Russia, Iran and other countries to say that they don’t want to keep giving America a free ride. These dollarized IOUs are being used to surround them of military bases, to overthrow them and to threaten to bomb them if we don’t do what American diplomats tell them to do.

That led already a few years ago to pressure to de-dollarize the world economy and make it multipolar, not simply an extension of the U.S. military, U.S. investors, mining and oil companies. The post-dollar aim was for other countries to keep their economic surplus among themselves to promote their own economic growth, instead of imposing IMF dictated austerity programmes to impose austerity so that they can pay foreign dollarized bondholders.

Just about everybody thought that it would take many years for China, Russia, Iran, India, Indonesia and other countries to get their act together and create an alternative. But this year the Biden administration itself destroyed America’s free ride for the dollar. First the United States grabbed Venezuela’s foreign exchange, then Biden grabbed all of the foreign exchange of Afghanistan, just confiscated it. And then a month ago he confiscated $300 billion of Russia’s foreign exchange reserves. He said, in effect, that we are the leading democracy in the world, and global democracy means that America’s military gets to appoint foreign presidents.

And so we don’t like the person you’ve voted in as president for Venezuela. We’re going to hire this little nitwit that we bought out, Juan Guaido, and appoint him president. To force you to accept this, we’re going to take away all of your gold reserves held in the Bank of England, and we’re going to give it to Mr. Guaido as our nominee for the bastion of democracy, to do what a democratic regime is supposed to do: hiring terrorist groups to kill all land reformers and labour leaders, to finance a neo-Nazi takeover like we did in Chile under Pinochet, and just like we’ve done in democratic Ukraine with our funding of neo-Nazis to fight against the Russians there.

This confiscation of foreign reserves and foreign money held in U.S. banks shocked the rest of the world. Nobody had believed that countries would actually grab other countries’ financial savings. If you go back to the wars in the 19th century, the Crimean War and others, countries would continue to pay their foreign debts.

All this was ended by President Biden rejecting the international rule of law. He said that “We have a ‘rules-based’ order, in which we can make up the rules. Number one, we are exempt from the rules. Only you have to follow them. Number two, the rules or whatever we say.” China, Russia and India would have taken years by themselves to denominate their trade in their own currencies. Biden’s money grab has impelled them to create a new economic order independently of the United States and Europe, whose euro and sterling are satellite currencies of the United States.

Jonathan Brown 1:19:54
So Michael, this is a crazy situation that we’ve got. Even If you have deposits in a bank, the deposits don’t really belong to you, but they used to be respected.

Michael Hudson 1:20:07
Well they belong to you, but they can be stolen.

Jonathan Brown 1:20:09
Yeah, but then they don’t belong to me, do they? They’re kind of mine, but not. Likewise, if I annoy the wrong person, I could have my car impounded, because I’ve just annoyed the local politician, which is essentially what’s happened to a Russian oligarch. Now, whether or not the oligarch deserved that $500 million yacht, obviously, they didn’t, but it was technically theirs. So what Americans are doing is showing that if you piss them off, they will take all your resources, which has happened in other countries, right? We’ve stolen it.

The British did that, right? We appropriated resources and stole resources from other nations. If you want the best example of that, you can just go into the very beautiful British Museum and see all the artefacts that we’ve appropriated, one of which was a Rosetta Stone, which I know you write about.

So we’ve got this situation now that the Americans have declared the most profound economic war on Russia, threatening China that we can do the same. China’s got trillions of U.S. dollars. And one of the things that I don’t quite understand, looking at your philosophy and Super Imperialism, was in demonstrating that the Americans can have a free lunch by getting people to buy U.S. Treasury bonds. How is it that the U.S. dollar has gone up against all currencies pretty much other than the rouble since declaring war in Ukraine?

Michael Hudson 1:21:43
Europe has committed economic suicide, United States offered its leaders a lot of money in their offshore accounts, and made sure that their kids got free education in the United States. But in return, they would have to represent the United States, not Germany, France or other countries. The Americans have been meddling in European politics for years. European politicians do not represent their own countries. They represent the American State Department and American diplomacy. And they were told to lock their countries into the U.S. economy.
For instance, European businesses had a hope that Americans really hated. The Europeans hoped that after 1991, now that communism was over, they could invest in Russia to make money. They could sell exports to Russia and make mutual gains from each other. But the Americans wanted to make all the money off Russia for themselves, mainly by using the kleptocrats they backed to sell the natural resources that they grabbed to U.S. investors. The Harvard Boys wanted to make sure that rent-yielding natural resources were given the kleptocrats – who could only make their money in hard currency by selling shares abroad in the assets they grabbed, keeping their payments in England or the United States.

So they’ve asked Europe not to buy Russian gas, but to spend seven times as much buying American liquefied natural gas, and spend $5 billion to build the ports to accept this gas – while going without gas for about three or four years…let their pipes freeze… stop making fertiliser… Don’t feed your land, we’ll take it on the chin for America. Your standard of living is going to have to drop by 20%, but it’s all for American democracy. And the European heads said that’s fine.

America said that you Europeans are bothering them by trying to stop global warming. That’s a direct attack on a major arm of U.S. diplomacy, the oil industry. American companies control almost all the world’s oil trade. It’s the highest rent-yielding sector in the world. And it’s income-tax free. It’s politically powerful, and as long as America can control the oil trade, it can talk to Latin American countries or African countries and say if they elect a leader that U.S. officials don’t like, it can impose sanctions and stop exporting oil to them to freeze them out. They won’t get fertilizer, so the U.S. can starve you out. It can put a sanction on their food trade. 

Agriculture is Americans biggest trade surplus.

Jonathan Brown 1:25:14
That’s what they’re doing with the conflict in Ukraine to Russia, and also China as well. Are there other major sources of grain, wheat and rice?

Michael Hudson 1:25:26
Yes. But President Biden has blamed Putin for creating a world food shortage and threatening to cause a famine, because Ukraine can’t export its grain. Ukraine, at American direction, has put mines all over the Black Sea. So the Black Sea’s ports have mines around them. If a ship hits them, it’ll blow a hole in the hull and will sink.
As a result, if you’re a shipping company and want to transport grain, you have to get insurance, because if you don’t have insurance, then you’re in danger of going bust if your ship goes under. But no insurance company will insure it until the Ukrainians remove the mines that they put. You need minesweepers for that. Needless to say, Russia doesn’t want American minesweepers in, because they may very well attack as there’s a war on.

So you have the United States blocking Ukrainian grain exports, which was a huge export. You’ve had the American dollar area, the NATO countries, refusing to import food from Russia, which is the world’s largest agricultural exporter. This is creating a crisis for Global South countries, for Latin America and Africa.

Meanwhile, global warming is causing droughts that are reducing the harvest. The Green Party in Germany has a pro-war policy that is making global warming rise faster. By supporting military warfare against Russia, and U.S. military adventurism in general, they are becoming major lobbyists for the air polluters. The largest air polluter is the American military. The Green Party in Germany advocates fighting Russia more, providing it with more arms, and thus supporting the military that is now the largest new contributor to global warming. In effect, this means that Europe is willing to say, ‘Okay, we are willing to have the sea levels rise another 10 feet, as long as we can help America dominate Russia’.

Europe even is letting America keep the Trump tariffs on its exports, in place, so it can’t export more for America. It looks like Europe will have to de-industrialize, maybe we’ll go back to the 19th century and become a country of farmers. That basically is the situation that its subservience is imposing.

Jonathan Brown 1:28:49
I’d like to come back to the just what China and Russia can do, given their reserves. They understand they’ve got… they’ve got lots of reserves of gold, and also large grain stores, China having the most as I understand it, but can you help me understand why all these nations around the world have U.S. dollar reserves in some form or other, most of it in bonds? Why is the dollar still increasing at this moment in time?

Michael Hudson 1:29:28
Because the Euro was going down. The Japanese Yen is going down. The Yen is the worst performing currency, because they’ve held their interest rates very low. Their aim is for banks to make money by borrowing low at low rates and lending to foreign countries at a higher rate. Europe is also keeping its interest rates low. The American Federal Reserve is raising the interest rate, and that is money from low interest rate countries. Capital from Europe and Japan is flowing to America.

Currency values are primarily set by relative interest rates and capital flows. They’re not set by the cost of production for imports and exports. They are not caused by trade, unless there’s a radical breakdown of trade. All these zigzags that you see are short-term capital movements. America tells other countries to keep their interest rates low, so that money will flow from their banks and financial to the United States to buy American securities that yield higher returns. As long as the Euro is a satellite currency to the dollar, it’s going to continue to go down. So the both the euro and the British Sterling are now moving towards $1 per pound and $1 per euro.

Jonathan Brown 1:28:49
That’s a short-term measure. The long-term measure is that countries have to start selling the bonds that they’ve got in U.S. currency. So long term, it has to come down. Is that right?

Michael Hudson 1:29:28
Yes. They’re going to hold each other’s currencies. Especially now that Russia is denominating its exports, in roubles instead of dollars. The American banks have lost the trade financing of the world oil trade, certainly Russian oil and agricultural trade. Instead of holding dollars, countries will hold rouble reserves to stabilise their currencies via the rouble, China is holding rouble reserves, and Russia is holding Chinese yuan reserves.

The balance will be held more in gold and some kind of assets without a liability attached to them. I think the logical direction in which this is moving is that the non-dollar countries will create their own version of the International Monetary Fund, their own World Bank, their own trade organization. So there will be one set of trade and financial and development organisations and military organisations in the U.S. and Europe, in NATO, that is, in the white countries, and another set of relations and the non-white countries that are actually developing while America and Europe shrink.

Jonathan Brown 1:33:06
So what’s your idea of how much gold China actually holds, because there’s the published numbers [which] are really extraordinarily small aren’t they for an economy that’s so big.

Michael Hudson 1:33:18
I don’t know. Governments can hold gold not only through their own treasury, but through some subordinate agency. I no longer go into the financial statistics like I used to, because it takes a whole year to do a balance sheet that is comprehensive. All I know is that they saw how America simply grabbed Russia’s dollar holdings, and they don’t want the same thing done to them. President Biden has said China is America’s number one long-term enemy, and he wants to destroy the Russian economy first and then attack China after prying them apart.

Obviously, China is reading the newspapers and wants to avoid that fate.

Jonathan Brown 1:34:16
The other thing that I find utterly remarkable, for example, is that Biden in his speech said that he wants to get rid of Putin. I think if it was a U.S. Defence Secretary or Secretary of State saying that he wants to arm Taiwan……. If I ran China and I said I want to arm Mexico, or if anyone in South America wants any weapons then my doors open to you, I would expect the Americans to be very upset with that because I’m breaching the Monroe Doctrine. Can you help me understand, having been in the corridors of power, whether Chase Manhattan or the contacts you’ve got, how can …. how can politicians be so delusional to think they can say stuff like that without having a negative consequence?

Michael Hudson 1:35:18
Well you know who’s really upset by that? The Taiwanese! They say, Oh, they want to make Taiwan into another Ukraine, to fight to the last Taiwanese, just like the Ukrainians have been used. They see two choices before them. If they do arm and get weapons that can hit China, then China is likely to bomb them. On the other hand, I’ve met Taiwanese officials for 40 years, and many have said that their long-term hope is to be reintegrated. They want to be investors in China, but they want to merger under terms where they can be sort of like Hong Kong, able to have a merger that will make them prosperous too.

So Taiwan’s choice is between following the Americans and becoming the Ukraine of the Pacific, or joining with China. Given the fact that China is growing and America is shrinking, what are they going to choose? Well, I would imagine that you will see a strong, peaceful integrationist movement with China. But China remembers that Chiang Kai Shek massacred the communists in 1927.

Jonathan Brown 1:36:47
So what are we looking at then, who is in charge, President Biden or other people?

Michael Hudson 1:36:56
President Biden is a front man. They’re all the front men for the faceless people in the State Department, the neocons who are controlling things. Biden has always been right-wing, just a corrupt party politician. He does what he’s paid to do. He’s unimaginative. He’s brought in some real Russia haters – people who have a visceral hatred of Russia because of their family background under the tsars or under Stalin. Blinken said that his family was Jewish and lost under the tsars, and maybe under Stalin. He wants to kill Russians because he’s so angry at what they did to his ancestors. That is the neocon mentality in a nutshell. It’s a crazy mentality.

The Federal Reserve and the Treasury officials say they were not consulted in the political moves that Biden and Blinken and the neocons are making. There is the kind of single-minded tunnel vision at work. They really are Russia haters and China haters. There is a lot of racism you’re seeing in New York, where it’s very dangerous for Asian women to take a subway. Almost every week, the lead news item is yet another Asian woman attacked or pushed in front of a subway. There’s a there’s a new race hatred in America. And they are treating Russians as the Ukrainians do, as if Slavic speaking people are a separate race.

Jonathan Brown 1:38:49
Extraordinary. So Super Imperialism came out, as I understand it, and was used by the State Department to figure out how to continue running their economics …

Michael Hudson 1:39:04
At first U.S. officials thought that going off gold was going to be a disaster. Herman Khan told me, “You’ve shown that we’ve run rings around the British Empire.” He hired me for the Hudson Institute, which is a national security institute, and brought me to the State Department for meetings and to Army War colleges and Air Force war colleges to talk about it. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the main people who wanted to learn how imperialism works were the imperialists themselves. I had thought that the anti-imperialists were going to be my main audience, but the imperialists really needed to know what was new.

Jonathan Brown 1:39:50
They took your book, Super Imperialism and they read it as a love letter, right.

Michael Hudson 1:39:56
Not a love letter. They saw it as a “how to do it” book. I was a technician.

Jonathan Brown 1:40:04
Right. And working for Herman Kahn, he’s a powerful guy that people don’t talk about so much anymore, but he was, he was extraordinarily influential at the time, right?

Michael Hudson 1:40:14
Yes, he had a great sense of humour. He was a great speaker. He was absolutely brilliant. He wrote a book on thermonuclear war, saying that even if there were to be a war, somebody would be left to survive. That made him one of the models for Dr. Strangelove in the movies. I would sit and hear Herman talk about military strategy, and was awed by how he thought it all through. He was a brilliant military tactician. He would bring me and sit down with generals, and they would explain things. I don’t have a good military sense, or any military training at all. He wrote that, personally, he wanted to be right under the first hydrogen bomb. He didn’t want to live in the post-nuclear world. But there would be some survivors somewhere. That made him notorious. He was so reviled for even having brought up discussion of the topic that needed to be discussed, that he wanted to have ideas that people liked. And that was the corporate environment study. That was what I was pretty much in charge of. I was the economist, he was the military. We had the same salary there.

We would go around the world disagreeing with each other. It would be like a show. He’d talk about the world being a cup half full. I talked about the cup being half-empty, as he put it. I talked about the debt overhead, and how debt was growing and would ultimately stifle the economy. He talked about how productivity would be sufficient to pay debt, although productivity doesn’t necessarily give you the money to pay the debt. Productivity does not grows exponentially, but tapers off. As debt grows, any rate of interest is a doubling time. And it doubles quicker than the economy can double.

Jonathan Brown 1:42:24
And this is really coming back to one of your initial questions from Terrence McCarthy, which was to focus on productivity, wasn’t it?

Michael Hudson 1:42:33
Yes. And the idea was focusing on productivity, you realise that it all comes down to labour ultimately. How do you make labour more productive? How do you make industry more productive? You get rid of what is unproductive – and the unproductive overhead is rent. So how much corporate spending is just plain overhead? How much is unnecessary for corporate industry to take place? That line of questioning brings you back into the classical economics.
Marx is really the last great classical economist who pushed it all to its logical end. His contribution was to explain that just as the landlord exploits by taking rent, the industrial capitalist exploits labour by charging more for the products of labour than it costs to hire labour to produce.

However, unlike the rentier, unlike the landlord, the capitalist uses this economic surplus value to expand production, to build yet more factories, to employ yet more labour. This is an expanding society, whereas the rent paid to landlords is a kind of exploitation that is pure overhead and shrinks industrial capitalism. That’s why Marx said that the political aim of industrial capitalism was to free society from the landlords, predatory bankers and monopolists. That’s why the Communist Manifesto‘s program begins with collecting rent for the public sector. You can tax the land as a transition to socialising it. That was the Communist Manifesto’s classical economics.

Jonathan Brown 1:44:26
You have these views, and yet you were still a valued member of the team at the Hudson Institute.

Michael Hudson 1:44:33
Yes, because I was explaining how the world worked. Herman and I disagreed so much, we were genuine friends. I liked him, and we couldn’t believe that the other would actually believe something so different. But we said okay, if the arguments that we’re having is the “big argument,” it’s going to determine where the economy is going. Either he’s right or I’m right.
This is like the debates between Henry George’s followers and the socialists in the early 1900s. It was going to be one world or another.

What is the key to analysing the economy? Is it to focus on rent and finance, or on technological potential? My point is that technological potential can be smothered by so much overhead paid to the rentier class via the FIRE sector – finance, insurance and real estate – that there’s no money left to invest, no income left for wage earners to spend on buying the goods and services that they produce.

Jonathan Brown 1:45:48
And yet the technology sector in my opinion is actually the new monopolist. Instead of having a competition, in that sense they’re the new landowners. So Google is a spectrum landowner. If I want to host these videos, then I’ve got to negotiate or accept the terms of the landowner YouTube. I’m posting them there, but I won’t be making any money on it. Because I’m one of the serfs on YouTube.

Michael Hudson 1:46:16
This is the problem that China is dealing with in its own way. What do you do when Jack Ma and other IT specialists end up as billionaires? Well, China did not have an anti-monopoly group. It let 100 flowers bloom and let billionaires develop, but would then have them transfer their money to the government in one way or another. They haven’t done this in the way that Western economies do, by an anti-monopoly tax, but by a political consensus way.

In countries like Russia, I’m trying to get them to formalise this into formally calculating the magnitude of economic trends. You want innovation to take place, you want people to make the fortune, but at a certain point they can’t somehow make so big a fortune that it ends up crashing the economy.

Jonathan Brown 1:47:37
But looking at your writing from the Byzantine times and the ancient Near East, is the importance of the leader of that particular economy or society to make sure that no one got so rich that they could overthrow the leader? Which is really what you’ve got with someone like Zuckerberg, the power that he was able to wield in the election, whether you agree with him or not, was extraordinary. And likewise, if you look at the fight that’s currently going on with Elon Musk and Twitter, is to recognise that actually we want, we want our people to own these resources that we pretend are private, but actually have tremendous social power.

Michael Hudson 1:48:24
Yes, they financialized politics in America, by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. Anyone can contribute as much as they want, if you’re a corporation. The rentier interests give to pro-rentier politicians to act as their puppets. The money goes for advertising airtime on television and the media to overwhelm all the people who normally would want to minimise the rentier class. So essentially, you’ve financialized politics in America much more than has occurred in Europe. But in Europe, it’s the right wingers who basically control the press, commercial television and media. So if the media are controlled by the right wing with their own agenda, they frame the economic issues from the vantage point of the rentier class instead of from the vantage point of how an economy actually develops and grows wealthier in a fair manner.

Jonathan Brown 1:49:48
I know we need to need to wrap up. Just thinking about the scenarios for Russia and China currently. Everybody who is part of the original white economies of Europe, realises that if they don’t side with America, they get overthrown. But also right now they have a short-term challenge that the Americans are going to let them starve because they’re stopping wheat exports coming through the European ports. But then you’ve also got Russia with resources, you’ve got China with grain resources.

So there is a potential that when people start to starve, and you look at the challenges in Sri Lanka, with politicians being murdered and people running out of food, there’s a chance for China to step in and say, we can send you grain exports. And by lucky coincidence, because of the all the lock downs that China’s got right now, a lot of the world’s boats and ships are currently waiting outside ports in China.

Michael Hudson 1:50:54
[Missing part here] Computer chips are part of the problem. And that’s probably going to make them friendlier with Taiwan. Taiwan has the computer chips.

Jonathan Brown 1:51:03
And by your assessment, because Taiwan do not want to be another Ukraine, American actions are likely to accelerate the reintegration.

Michael Hudson 1:51:12
There’s a bell shaped curve, I haven’t met with the Taiwanese in quite a few years so I don’t know, up to date what the dynamic is. But just by logic, you can see the international environment in which they’re operating. You wonder how they are going to calculate the plusses and minuses of the U.S. versus China? What economy do they want to attach themselves to so that they can get richer fastest?

Jonathan Brown 1:51:46
And also stay safe and not get involved in unnecessary wars. When you look at the tragedy in Ukraine, all these people dying when you’ve got such a strong opponent in Russia, how can you go to war with them for any period of time?

Michael Hudson 1:52:07
Well, that’s what the world is divided into. The U.S. and European society is built on war. It’s the only foreign policy they have, because they don’t have an economic power anymore. They’ve de-industrialised and the rest of the world that is trying to industrialise and trying to feed itself. China, Russia, India, the Global South are the anti-war part of the world. So the world is dividing into two parts: a rentier part supporting finance capitalism [that] is trying to impose it on other countries, to financialize China and Russia to make them put a Margaret Thatcher or Boris Yeltsin in charge of China. While they try to put their own candidates in charge, a la General Pinochet, the rest of the world is trying to defend itself against this terrorism.

So the Western world that calls itself democracy is the terrorist military world. The nations that it calls authoritarian are any authority strong enough to control and tax the financial interests – that is, any government strong enough to regulate finance and real estate. Such an economy is by definition authoritarian as opposed to a democracy, where Wall Street and the financial centres are the democratically elected central planners. So what’s at issue is who’s going to plan society: the financial sector, or the people as in China and other countries.

Jonathan Brown 1:53:41
I think that says it. From a Western lens it’s a different type of democracy.

Michael Hudson 1:53:48
Yes. But democracy really means an economy run to benefit the great bulk of the population, who happen to be wage earners? Or is it going to be for the 1%? Is the economy run for on behalf of the 99% and the 1%? Well, the 99% need a strong government to run it in their own interests and cope with the counter-revolutionary policies, the neo-feudal rentier policies of the 1%.

Jonathan Brown 1:54:22
Okay, so knowing China, then your take on its zero-COVID policy that the authorities are implementing in some parts of the country?

Michael Hudson 1:54:32
The more I read about long COVID here, the worse it seems. I’m 83 years old, so my wife and I have not gone to a restaurant since 2020. We haven’t even gone to our friends’ houses for dinner. We’re isolating ourselves. China has isolated itself at great cost, but it saved the population not only from having COVID itself, but from having long COVID. There are now a million Americans with long COVID. They also say that long COVID lowers your, your IQ by 10%.

It’s almost as dangerous is inheriting a trust fund when it comes to impairing your IQ. It’s debilitating.

My webmaster in Australia and his family have COVID. So I’m very sympathetic with what China’s doing, even though it means that I can’t go there, because I’d have to be isolated in a hotel room for two weeks just to give a few days’ meeting – and then be isolated again when I come back. So China is making a huge effort not to sicken its population with COVID. And now of course, since the Russians have began to publish all their findings of the US bio-warfare labs in Ukraine that were designed to spread a COVID like diseases by migrating birds and bats and manmade aircraft over Russia.

Now, they’ve reopened the question ‘was COVID a US bio-warfare from the very beginning’? And the Chinese are looking at it and saying ‘was it engineered’? If the Americans are trying to engineer COVID to affect mainly Slavic population and their DNA signatures, could they have been doing the same thing against Asians? So all of this is suddenly opened up. The World Health Organisation has refused to divulge any of the USA biowarfare efforts, and the U.S. has stonewalled all efforts to find out about the bio-warfare. This is isolating America and Europe.

If American Europe is left with its current foreign policy, biowarfare and atomic bombs, NATO will be shunned by the civilised world. As Rosa Luxemburg said a century ago, the choice is between socialism or barbarism. NATO, Europe and America represent the new barbarism. The alternative is socialism. That is how the world seemed to be developing in Europe and America until World War I untracked everything. The rest of the world now has a chance to get back on track. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the West.

Jonathan Brown 1:57:47
Michael, as always, you always get more into your stuff than I expected. Are there any things that you’d like to say to our listeners, before we finish up,

Michael Hudson 1:57:56
I’ve probably said too much. And I hope you can edit out anything that’s embarrassing.

Jonathan Brown 1:58:01
I may get thrown off YouTube for publishing some of your comments. So you may have to go back and review a few of them. But as always, Michael, thanks so much your time what we’ll do is we’ll send a link to everybody for the website and also for the new book, as well which I think and those series of lectures when I was researching for this conversation were the single best economic lectures I’ve ever listened to – truly extraordinary levels of insight and real economics rather than theoretical or textbook stuff. So as always from ShepherdWalwyn, thanks so much for your time and for your contribution.

Michael Hudson 1:58:41
Well, if you transcribe it all in will be worth it. \

Jonathan Brown 1:58:45
That’s, that’s our promise 100%. So thanks very much.

Michael Hudson 2:00:05
Thanks a lot.

The ‘New G8’ Meets China’s ‘Three Rings’

June 15, 2022

The coming of the new G8 points to the inevitable advent of BRICS +, one of the key themes to be discussed in the upcoming BRICS summit in China.

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

The speaker of the Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, may have created the defining acronym for the emerging multipolar world: “the new G8”.

As Volodin noted, “the United States has created conditions with its own hands so that countries wishing to build an equal dialogue and mutually beneficial relations will actually form a ‘new G8’ together with Russia.”

This non Russia-sanctioning G8, he added, is 24.4% ahead of the old one, which is in fact the G7, in terms of GDP in purchasing power parity (PPP), as G7 economies are on the verge of collapsing and the U.S. registers record inflation.

The power of the acronym was confirmed by one of the researchers on Europe at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Sergei Fedorov: three BRICS members (Brazil, China and India) alongside Russia, plus Indonesia, Iran, Turkey and Mexico, all non adherents to the all-out Western economic war against Russia, will soon dominate global markets.

Fedorov stressed the power of the new G8 in population as well as economically: “If the West, which restricted all international organizations, follows its own policies, and pressures everyone, then why are these organizations necessary? Russia does not follow these rules.”

The new G8, instead, “does not impose anything on anyone, but tries to find common solutions.”

The coming of the new G8 points to the inevitable advent of BRICS +, one of the key themes to be discussed in the upcoming BRICS summit in China. Argentina is very much interested in becoming part of the extended BRICS and those (informal) members of the new G8 – Indonesia, Iran, Turkey, Mexico – are all likely candidates.

The intersection of the new G8 and BRICS + will lead Beijing to turbo-charge what has already been conceptualized as the Three Rings strategy by Cheng Yawen, from the Institute of International Relations and Public Affairs at the Shanghai International Studies University.

Cheng argues that since the beginning of the 2018 U.S.-China trade war the Empire of Lies and its vassals have aimed to “decouple”; thus the Middle Kingdom should strategically downgrade its relations with the West and promote a new international system based on South-South cooperation.

Looks like if it walks and talks like the new G8, that’s because it’s the real deal.

The revolution reaches the “global countryside”

Cheng stresses how “the center-periphery hierarchy of the West has been perpetuated as an implicit rule” in international relations; and how China and Russia, “because of their strict capital controls, are the last two obstacles to further U.S. control of the global periphery”.

So how would the Three Rings – in fact a new global system – be deployed?

The first ring “is China’s neighboring countries in East Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East; the second ring is the vast number of developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America; and the third ring extends to the traditional industrialized countries, mainly Europe and the United States.”

The basis for building the Three Rings is deeper Global South integration. Cheng notes how “between 1980-2021, the economic volume of developing countries rose from 21 to 42.2 percent of the world’s total output.”

And yet “current trade flows and mutual investments of developing countries are still heavily dependent on the financial and monetary institutions/networks controlled by the West. In order to break their dependence on the West and further enhance economic and political autonomy, a broader financial and monetary cooperation, and new sets of instruments among developing countries should be constructed”.

This is a veiled reference to the current discussions inside the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), with Chinese participation, designing an alternative financial-monetary system not only for Eurasia but for the Global South – bypassing possible American attempts to enforce a sort of Bretton Woods 3.0.

Cheng uses a Maoist metaphor to illustrate his point – referring to ‘the revolutionary path of ‘encircling the cities from the countryside’”. What is needed now, he argues, is for China and the Global South to “overcome the West’s preventive measures and cooperate with the ‘global countryside’ – the peripheral countries – in the same way.”

So what seems to be in the horizon, as conceptualized by Chinese academia, is a “new G8/BRICS+” interaction as the revolutionary vanguard of the emerging multipolar world, designed to expand to the whole Global South.

That of course will mean a deepened internationalization of Chinese geopolitical and geoeconomic power, including its currency. Cheng qualifies the creation of a “three ring “ international system as essential to “break through the [American] siege”.

It’s more than evident that the Empire won’t take that lying down.

The siege will continue. Enter the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), spun as yet another proverbial “effort” to – what else – contain China, but this time all the way from Northeast Asia to Southeast Asia, with Oceania thrown in as a bonus.

The American spin on IPEF is heavy on “economic engagement”: fog of (hybrid) war disguising the real intent to divert as much trade as possible from China – which produces virtually everything – to the U.S. – which produces very little.

The Americans give away the game by heavily focusing their strategy on 7 of the 10 ASEAN nations – as part of yet another desperate dash to control the American-denominated “Indo-Pacific”. Their logic: ASEAN after all needs a “stable partner”; the American economy is “comparatively stable”; thus ASEAN must subject itself to American geopolitical aims.

IPEF, under the cover of trade and economics, plays the same old tune, with the U.S. going after China from three different angles.

– The South China Sea, instrumentalizing ASEAN.

– The Yellow and East China Seas, instrumentalizing Japan and South Korea to prevent direct Chinese access to the Pacific.

– The larger “Indo-Pacific” (that’s were India as a member of the Quad comes in).

It’s all labeled as a sweet apple pie of “stronger and more resilient Indo-Pacific with diversified trade.”

BRI corridors are back

Beijing is hardly losing any sleep thinking about IPEF: after all most of its multiple trade connections across ASEAN are rock solid. Taiwan though is a completely different story.

At the annual Shangri-La dialogue this past weekend in Singapore, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe went straight to the point, actually defining Beijing’s vision for an East Asia order (not “rules-based”, of course).

Taiwan independence is a “dead end”, said General Wei, as he asserted Beijing’s peaceful aims while vigorously slamming assorted U.S. “threats against China”. At any attempt at interference, “we will fight at all costs, and we will fight to the very end”. Wei also handily dismissed the U.S. drive to “hijack” Indo-Pacific nations, without even mentioning IPEF.

China at it stands is firmly concentrated on stabilizing its western borders – which will allow it to devote more time to the South China Sea and the “Indo-Pacific” further on down the road.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi went on a crucial trip to Kazakhstan – a full member of both BRI and the EAEU – where he met President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and all his counterparts from the Central Asian “stans” in a summit in Nur-Sultan. The group – billed as C+C5 – discussed everything from security, energy and transportation to Afghanistan and vaccines.

In sum, this was all about developing much-needed corridors of BRI/ New Silk Roads – in sharp contrast to the proverbial Western lamentations about BRI reaching a dead end.

Two BRI-to-the-bone projects will go on overdrive: the China-Central Asia Gas Pipeline Line D, and the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway. Both have been years in the making, but now have become absolutely essential, and will be the flagship BRI projects in the Central Asian corridor.

The China-Central Asia Gas Pipeline Line D will link Turkmenistan’s gas fields to Xinjiang via Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. That was the main theme of the discussions when Turkmen President Berdimuhamedow visited Beijing for the Winter Olympics.

The 523 km China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway for its part will crucially link the two Central Asian “stans” to the China-Europe freight rail network, via the existing rail networks in Turkmenistan.

Considering the current incandescent geopolitical scenario in Ukraine, this is a bombshell in itself, because it will enable freight from China to travel via Iran or via Caspian ports, bypassing sanctioned Russia. No hard feelings, in terms of the Russia-China strategic partnership: just business.

The Kyrgyz, predictably, were ecstatic. Construction begins next year. According to Kyrgyz President Zhaparov, “there will be jobs. Our economy will boom.”

Talk about China acting decisively in its “first ring”, in Central Asia. Don’t expect anything of such geoeconomic breadth and scope being “offered” by IPEF anywhere in ASEAN.

US, China Military Chiefs Trade Barbs at 1st Meeting

June 11, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

US War Secretary Lloyd Austin has met with Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe amid heightened tensions between the two countries over recent remarks regarding the Taipei regime.

US President Joe Biden stoked tensions when he said in May that Washington would defend Taipei if China were to attack the wayward island.

Two days later, China conducted a military drill near the island.

Speaking at the military leaders’ first face-to-face meeting on Friday on the sidelines of the annual Shangri-La Dialog in Singapore, Austin said that the “US remains committed to our longstanding one-China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three US-China Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances.”

According to a statement from the Pentagon, Austin also warned his Chinese counterpart that Beijing must “refrain from further destabilizing actions toward Taiwan.”

“The Secretary reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability across the Strait, opposition to unilateral changes to the status quo, and called on the PRC [People’s Republic of China] to refrain from further destabilizing actions toward Taiwan,” according to the statement.

A US military official present at the meeting told CNN that Austin warned his Chinese counterpart that the People’s Liberation Army had become increasingly aggressive, unsafe, and unprofessional in the region.

“Secretary Austin also raised concerns about … statements by PLA officials that the Taiwan Strait is not international waters. [People’s Republic of China] officials have said that multiple times to the United States over the last several months and that’s deeply concerning,” the US official said. Austin also asked his Chinese counterpart not to provide any material support to Russia, the official added. In China’s post-meeting press conference, Senior Col. Wu Qian insisted China had not provided Russia with material support. “China did not provide military assistance to Russia. That is for sure.” However, Wu described the meeting, which last nearly an hour, almost twice as long as planned, as having a “good effect.” It was “candid’ but “positive and constructive,” he pointed out. Chinese leaders have repeatedly warned the United States’ officials that Taiwan is an inseparable part of the mainland, and Beijing will not hesitate to start a war over the region.

The Very Special Operation

June 07, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

The special operation in Ukraine has brought the confrontation between Russia and Western countries, led by the United States, to a climax. Battles are going on not only in the vast spaces of the Ukraine, but also in the economic, political and cultural spheres. The style of the Anglo-Saxons has not changed for centuries. And so today they continue to dictate their terms to the world, boorishly trampling on the sovereign rights of States.

Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation,

3 June 2022

What the Ukrainian crisis has shown us is that….the West is isolated from the rest of the world and this is an alarm call for the present and especially for the future.

Silvio Berlusconi, Il Giornale, 4 June 2022

Introduction

A Russian Orthodox priest and cultural historian, who has lived in several Western and Eastern European countries, including Russia and the Ukraine, I cannot fail to feel great sorrow at the events unfolding today. But I also feel great hope. The process of barbarous injustice that began in 1914 and ended the Old Europe and has been through all manner of fateful dates, 1917, 1929, 1939, 1945, 1968, 1989, 1991, 2014, to name but a few, is now further unfurling and reaching a global crescendo. As Nikolai Patrushev has stated, the Special Operation is not just a military event, it is far, far more profound than that, this is military, political, economic and cultural. This is why it took so long, eight years, to carry out the necessary painstaking preparations for the Operation, in view of the high probability that the West would refuse to get off its high horse of hubris and negotiate like reasonable people do.

Military Self-Destruction

Since the West did refuse to negotiate, the battleground is for now the ultra-militarised Eastern Ukraine. However, the War is not between brother Ukrainians and brother Russians, but between Washington with its NATO/EU vassals and Moscow with its Donbass Allies. There is no doubt that Russia will win in the Ukraine, as it has complete air and naval superiority. The Russian-speaking East and South of the Ukraine, Novorossija, part of Russia until 1922, is being liberated by a smallish expeditionary force of the Russian Army together with local troops. However, the Operation was never planned to be a short one, most knew that it would take months and perhaps, on account of possible NATO meddling, a year or more.

The War is longer because the Kiev Army has been preparing for it for eight long years. It has been building trenches and fortifications, arming itself with a huge amount of NATO training and weaponry, which the Russian Armed Forces are being forced to destroy, together with Ukrainian Nazis, Western mercenaries and NATO instructors. From this conflict a new Ukraine will be born. Perhaps it will once more be called Malorossija or perhaps it will keep its ‘Borderlands’ name. In any case it will be a smallish country, with a population of perhaps some 15 million, centred on Kiev. Whatever its name, it will effectively be the Kievan Protectorate, part of the Union State with the Russian Federation, Belarus and probably others.

Political Death

Those opposed to the Special Operation and its consequences have been revealed. The Russian and other traitors in our midst, of whom we have continually warned and not been heeded, have shown themselves. Many, though by no means all (though we will not here name names), have run away from Russia and elsewhere been removed. They did not understand the words that the struggle in the Ukraine is a ‘metaphysical one’. The oligarchs and all who treasure dollar bills and the approval of Western Establishments above all else will never understand this – that we have values that are higher than gold. Today the seven billion people of the Non-Western world are ranged against the one billion of the Western world. All the international foundations, the UN, IMF, WHO etc, are going to be remade. Why should some of them at least not be headquartered in Russia? Either in Saint Petersburg, or in Ekaterinburg, or in the Crimea.

The UN, perhaps to be renamed ‘The Union of the Peoples’ or something similar, should be supported by the greatest nations from all Continents and Civilisations: China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Russia, Mexico, Japan, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Egypt and Vietnam. Perhaps there would be other nations which have yet to be reformed from the relics of the present. For example, at the ultimate conclusion of this Special Operation, there is no reason why the USA or the EU should continue to exist. Once they have collapsed and been denazified and reformed, then a new nation or group from North America and Western Europe, for instance, a North American Confederation or a Gaullist-style Federation of the Sovereign Nations of Europe, could be allowed to join and take part in the new World Symphony of Nations. Its anthem could perhaps be taken appropriatey From the New World, the Ninth Symphony by Dvorak.

Economic Suicide

Apart from raw material extraction, technological corporations, weapons industries and vast service sectors (services servicing services), the Western world relies on ‘funny money’ in order to survive. In other words, it lives off printing presses that print banknotes. These create unpayable debt and systemic inflation. For decades the Western world has been living in a fool’s paradise of debt. However, it is now reaching a point when it can no longer even pay off the interest on that debt. Bankruptcy beckons.

On the other hand, the real world relies not on speculation in ‘derivatives’ and ‘futures’, but on solid things, commodities, food to eat (grain, maize and the fertilisers to grow them), oil and gas to power and heat, raw materials and minerals to manufacture with. In other words, for several decades the Western world has been living in a bubble. That bubble is now bursting: the chickens are coming home to roost, perhaps already this winter, if not before. Expect widespread protests throughout the Western world and against the Western world.

Cultural Nihilism

For several decades now, especially since the 1960s, the Western world appears to have abandoned its cultural foundations and educational systems. The signs then were hordes of young girls screaming about their hormones, as they listened to the musical sounds of longish-haired young men. However, the first signs of this cultural nihilism had already appeared long before, by 1914, in various artistic and literary isms, but they were esoteric, very limited in size and much-mocked by the general public. Yet by 1949 the renowned English artist, Sir Alfred Munnings, could excoriate members of the British Royal Academy for practising modern art, calling Picasso and Matisse ‘foolish daubers’.

The infantilisation of the Western educational system – the primary that has become the nursery, the secondary that has become the primary and the tertiary (university) that has become the secondary – reveals it. A doctorate is now really no longer very meaningful, for children are told that they are geniuses just for being able to recognise the letters of the Latin alphabet. This degeneration has produced an infantilised society, as is clearly visible from the level of politicians and journalists in particular, but it is everywhere visible in the illiteracy and innumeracy of contemporary Western societies. Little wonder that we have come to the Nazism of ‘Cancel Russia’, meaning cancel Pushkin, cancel Dostoyevsky, cancel Tchaikovsky, that is, cancel culture.

Conclusion

We are now at a turning-point, not just in European history, but in world history. The prophecies of saints are being realised. For example, the Russian saint Aristocleus, speaking in 1917, foretold: ‘The end will come through China. There will be some unusual outburst and a miracle of God will be revealed’. Only a few years ago that prophecy seemed meaningless. Now we can begin to think that perhaps he was referring to coronavirus, or else perhaps to the coming return of Taiwan to China? Or perhaps something else, which we have not at all foreseen. Time will show us, but here are curious possibilities.

Let us be honest. Either Russia is victorious in this Very Special Operation or else we shall enter a Dark Age, from which there will be no end because it will be an Orwellian One World Government. Such One World Dictatorship will brook no opposition, all who challenge it will be repressed. This is our last chance to resist and strike back against the aggression that began in 1914, aggression that was military, political, economic and cultural, a totalitarian aggression that leads to total death, the death of body and soul. But according to all the military reports, let alone the prophecies, Russia will be victorious.

6 June 2022, 78th Anniversary of D-Day

Chen Wenlin (陈文玲), chief economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges

June 07, 2022

Support Russia, take back Taiwan (https://www.guancha.cn/chenwenling/2022_06_06_643134.shtml)

As far as the current Sino-US relationship is concerned, I would single out four crucial aspects.

Firstly, if China and the United States can ease their hostile relationship, it will make a huge difference to overall world peace.

But now American politicians, who have lost their minds, have taken a course towards a new Cold War towards China

So we can have no illusions, we must prepare to fight.

Secondly, most of the world is not willing to choose sides.

Since the Sino-US trade war initiated by Trump, virtually all countries have expressed a very clear general trend, they are not willing to choose between China and the United States.

Thirdly, American politicians are schizophrenics.

From Biden to Blinken, to Catherine Tai and Janet Yellen, almost all high-ranking officials suffer from “schizophrenia.”

There really are no mature politicians in the United States, no politicians who are consistent in word and deed. High-ranking American officials and leading think-tanks have given the country no good ideas, have corrupted the orderly world and the rules created after World War II.

Fourthly, China should be prepared not only for short-term confrontation, but also for long-term strategic preparation to counter the US plans to suppress China.

If the US and the West impose destructive sanctions against China, similar to those against Russia, we must take back Taiwan, we must take over TSMC, the company that was originally owned by China. TSMC is forcing the transfer of its technology to the US to build six factories there, we must not let that happen.

We must support Russia openly, reasonably and to the best of our ability. We can also do more in terms of trade so that China and Russia can connect through the Belt and Road and the Eurasian Union proposed by Putin.

– Chen Wenlin (陈文玲), chief economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges

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