Can You Smell What the Chinese Are Cooking?

ZENITH NEWS -Can You Smell What the Chinese Are Cooking?

Pepe Escobar

Independent geopolitical analyst, writer and journalist

October 30, 2020©

Less than a week before the game-changing U.S. presidential election, the real heart of the geopolitical and geoeconomic action is virtually invisible to the outside world.

We’re talking about the fifth plenum of the 19th Chinese Communist Party (CPC) Central Committee, which started this past Monday in Beijing.

The plenum congregates the 200 members – and another 100 alternate members – of the civilization-state’s top decision-making body: the equivalent, in Western liberal democracy terms, of the Chinese Congress.

The outline of what will be the 14th Chinese Five-Year-Plan (2021-2025) will be announced with a communiqué at the end of the plenum this Thursday. Policy details will be streaming in the next few weeks. And everything will be formally approved by the National People’s Congress (NPC) in March 2021.

For all practical purposes, this should be regarded as what China’s leadership is really thinking.

Meet “China’s system”

President Xi has been quite busy, delivering an extensive work report; a draft of the five-year plan; and a full outline of China’s top targets all the way to 2035.

Xi has been forcefully stressing a “dual circulation” strategy for China; to increase the focus on the domestic economy while balancing it with foreign trade and investment.

Actually a better definition, translated from Mandarin, is “double development dynamics”. In Xi’s own words, the aim is to “facilitate better connectivity between domestic and foreign markets for more resilient and sustainable growth”.

One spectacular achievement we already know about is that Xi’s goal for China to reach the status of a “moderately prosperous society” has been met in 2020, even under Covid-19. Extreme poverty has been eliminated.

The next step is to deal long-term with the absolutely critical issues of crisis of global trade; less demand for Chinese products; and varying degrees of volatility caused by the unstoppable rise of China.

The key priority for Beijing is the domestic economy – in tandem with reaching key tech targets to enhance China’s high-quality development. That implies building high-end, integrated supply chains. And then there’s the tortuous road of implementing necessary institutional reforms.

Crucially, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is “guiding” companies to invest in core technology; that means semiconductors, 5G applications, the Internet of Things (IoT), integrated circuits, biomedicine.

So everything is, once again, all about the Chip War – which is at the heart of AI, 5G, supercomputing, quantum computing, material science, biotechnology, new energy vehicles and space science.

China’s leadership is very much aware that the real high stakes revolve around the next generation of chip technology.

Enter the concept of China’s system: or how to fight the “U.S.-initiated cold war in high technology”.

“China’s system” has been developed by IT expert Ni Guangnan. It aims to “replace U.S. technologies in core areas including the key IT infrastructure, in which the U.S.-led IOE system, an acronym for an IT network based on major three supplies – IBM, Intel and Oracle – have the monopoly. With self-developed servers, database and storage, the system could be based on chipsets with lower performance with no need for 14-nanometer (nm) or 7-nanometer chip fabrication – prime targets of the U.S.-led crackdown.”

Various calculations in China roughly agree that by the end of this year the economy is set to be 72% the size of the U.S.’s. The State Council forecasts that the Chinese economy will overtake the EU in 2027 and the U.S. by 2032.

But if measured by PPP (purchasing power parity), as both the IMF and The Economist have already admitted, China is already the world’s largest economy.

The fifth plenum once again reiterates all the goals inbuilt in Made in China 2025. But there’s more: an emphasis on the “2035 vision” – when China should be positioned as a global tech leader.

The “2035 Vision” concerns the halfway point between where we are now and the ultimate target in 2049. By 2035 China should be a fully modernized, socialist nation and a superpower especially in science and technology and Defense.

Xi had already stressed it way back in 2017: China will “basically” realize “socialist modernization” by 2035. To get there, the Politburo is seeking an extremely ambitious synthesis of “scale, speed, quality, efficiency and safety”.

Beyond Westphalia

Considering that the Trump administration has been engaged on a relentless offensive since May 2018, it was only since last July that the CCP leadership has been consistently preparing China for what it considers a lengthy and fierce struggle with the U.S.

That has elicited quite a few comparisons with what the Little Helmsman Deng Xiaoping referred about Mao Zedong in 1938. Mao at the time said that China should “be on the defensive first before gathering enough strength to fight to a strategic stand-off and eventually win the ‘protracted war’” against the Japanese invasion.

Now we have a weiqi strategy all over again. Beijing will only launch what amounts to a concerted counterpunch across the chessboard when it’s able to close the tech gap and establish its own domestic and global supply chains completely independent from the U.S.

Beijing will need a major soft power P.R. operation to show the world how its drive in science and technology is aimed as a global good, with all humanity benefiting, irrespective of nations. The Chinese Covid-19 vaccine should be setting the example.

In a recent podcast discussing one of my latest columns on Lanxin Xiang’s book The Quest for Legitimacy in Chinese Politics,

Brazilian China expert Elias Jabbour came up with a stunning formulation.

Jabbour echoed top Chinese scholars when he stressed China won’t behave as an aggressive Westphalian state: “The subversion of Westphalia by China came from the fact it incorporated the Russian Revolution to 1949. China is laying out for the future an order that may subvert Westphalia.”

So what we have here is that the foremost concept of Xi’s China – whose best English translation reads as “community with a shared future for humanity” – is actually the subversion of Westphalia. A subversion from within.

Jabbour reminds us that when Mao said that only socialism may save China, he meant save it from the treaty of Westphalia, which facilitated the dismemberment of China during the “century of humiliation.”

So in the end a strategic marriage between Marx and Confucius in Xi’s China is more than feasible, transcending geopolitics as we know it, which was born as a national ideology in France, Germany and Britain.

It’s as if Xi was trying, as Jabbour noted, to “go back to original Marxism as a leftist Hegelianism”, geared towards internationalism, and mixing it with the Confucius view of tianxa, “all under heaven”. That’s the master idea behind “community with a shared future for humanity.”

One can always dream that another world is indeed possible: think of a cultural renaissance of the overwhelming majority of the Global South, with a fruitful cross-fertilization of China and Asian economies, the evolving decolonization struggle of Latin America, and the weight of the African diaspora.

But first, the next Chinese five-year plan has got to roll.

Serbia SITREP: Kosovo – the endless game

Serbia SITREP: Kosovo – the endless game

September 07, 2020

by Zoran Petrov for The Saker Blog

UPDATE!

Although I tried to predict possible outcomes from White House meeting, the results were more then a surprise! What is obvious from 2 (or 3 days) summit is that stakes of the actual three party meeting were different from those involving Belgrade-Pristina.

Thanks to coming presidential elections in US, Serbia managed to get some concessions that were impossible before (see images from proposed document as well documents signed by Albanians). But there was a price to pay for!

Vucic had rough ride in America mainly because he managed successfully to blackmail US counterparts.

From what is public information, we know that “mutual recognition” was off the proposed agreement. Despite “heroic” battles it is now clear, that “mutual recognition” was just a smoke screen that poor Pristina took it for real! The whole event was for Trump and it served his election campaign. Question of recognition of Jerusalem by the first EU country (Serbia) is important achievement for his evangelist and Jewish voters. Maybe this summit was ignored by major media but it was followed by religious TV and radio shows. The same is for Hezbollah issue.

Vucic paid humiliating price for taking advantage of situation (now famous sitting in the small chair in front of Trump) and blackmailing for changes in an agreement by stopping short of excluding Russia as supplier of gas and China from supplying 5G equipment to Serbia!

Another small revenge was change in text in regard to Jerusalem, by US side that caught Vucic by surprise when Trump announced it on press conference.

What we don´t know is what was real discussion between two delegations, especially between Vucic and Pompeo? What we know for sure, thanks to Vucic lapsus, that there were discussion about who will control sky above Kosovo. After NATO occupation of Kosovo, NATO controlled airspace above Kosovo. That space is divided in upper layer (above 8700 meters) and lower one (up to 8700 meters). In 2014 NATO transferred the authority to control the upper layer to the Hungarian Flight Control. It seems that Serbia was trying to get that control from NATO but obviously talks are not concluded yet. It is of paramount importance to mention that Serbia will, based on this agreement get rail access to deep water port in Albania (Durres -Serbia unsuccessfully tried to purchase port in Bar, Montenegro some years ago). It seems that interesting times are coming!

White House Kosovo meeting: crossing the Atlantic, for this?

White House Kosovo meeting: crossing the Atlantic, for this?

by Eric Vögelin[1] for the Saker blog

The President of Serbia and Avdullah Hoti, the Prime Minister (perhaps it would be more correct to say “self-styled Prime Minister”) of NATO’s 1999 war booty, the occupied Serbian province of Kosovo were hosted for a conference at the White House on 3 and 4 September. The ostensible purpose of the meeting was to iron out their economic relations, as if anything were there to iron out given the devastated condition of both their economies. Putting aside the sensible question of why anybody at the White House would even care about this very local issue enough to devote the good part of two days to it, and bearing in mind that nothing in the Balkans is as it appears at first glance, the real agenda was, of course, quite a bit different. It had to do with putting finishing touches on legitimizing Kosovo as a separate state with international attributes, and economic concerns only served to camouflage that intention.

When the dust settled, the Serbian President had signed what must appear as one of the weirdest documents in the history of international relations. Before making any further editorial comments, here it is:

C:\Users\hp\Desktop\Serbia-Kosovo Agreement 2020 - 1.jpg
C:\Users\hp\Desktop\Serbia-Kosovo Agreement 2020 - 2.jpg

What is so bizarre about it? It is a scrap of paper adorned with the signature of a head of state, but without any heading or logo, or place where it was signed. To add insult to injury, the signatory is identified merely as “President.” President of what, the local Rotary Club or Hunters’ Association? Would a statesman who cares about the dignity of his office or the prestige of his country sign something like this? And what is this, anyway? Is it a diplomatic document or the signatory’s private notes, written out to himself? Interesting questions, worth pondering.

For a contrast, here is President Donald Trump’s letter to his Kosovo Albanian guest, Avdullah Hoti, commemorating the occasion:

C:\Users\hp\Desktop\Trump letter to Hothi.jpg

That looks a lot better and more dignified, doesn’t it?

For an economic agreement between two Balkan entities that few in the West have heard of, care about, or could locate on the map, reached with the involvement of President Trump and members of his staff, the strangely laid out document, it must be said, contains some even stranger provisions.

It says, among other things, that the parties will “diversify their energy supplies.” What does this Aesopian language mean? Are the parties unhappy with their current sources of energy and in need of assistance to secure new ones? Hardly. In light of (a) America’s bitter opposition to North Stream 2, and (b) Secretary of State Pompeo’s recent attempts to “diversify” Belarus’ energy supplies by pushing on it US products that would have to be brought from 10,000 miles away in order to block nearby Russian energy supplies, this phrase can mean only one thing. It is an order to Serbia to abandon any thought of relying on convenient and reasonably priced Russian energy supplies. It also puts an end to Serbia’s role in the Russian European energy distribution scheme, and potentially deprives it of its lucrative position as the South Stream distribution hub. What a great deal for Serbia!

Serbia further accepts to “prohibit the use of 5G equipment supplied by untrusted vendors.” Public health advocates would at this point say “Great, the trip to Washington was not in vain after all, because the scourge of 5G will no longer endanger the health of Serbia’s population, already being decimated by dire cancer generating radioactive consequences of the 1999 NATO bombing.” But the removal of this indisputably noxious Chinese equipment (and that is the whole point of this provision) will not end the scourge but will merely lead to “other mediation efforts in a timely fashion,” e.g. to the substitution of US manufactured deadly 5G networks for those of Huawei.

So the “economic normalization agreement with Kosovo” signed by the president of Serbia’s Hunter’s Association is actually a huge slap to both Russia and China, Serbia’s important geopolitical partners, and incidentally a shot in Serbia’s own foot as well.

Next, there is a provision which Ambassador Richard Grenell, who mediated the talks, might have inserted himself: “Both parties will work with the 69 countries that criminalize homosexuality to push for decriminalization.” What has that got to do with economic relations? And why stop there and not also mandate transgender toilets in Serbian grammar schools?

Serbia is also mandated to transfer its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In parallel fashion, “Kosovo” and Israel will establish diplomatic relations, i.e. Israel recognizes Kosovo. Another great deal for Serbia. By moving its embassy to Jerusalem, Serbia will reward Israel for recognizing the illegal separation of 15% of its territory containing some of its most significant cultural and spiritual sites. That would be analogous to Israel ceding Temple Mount and the Wailing wall to the Arabs and opening embassies in their capitals. And, slap number three, this time to the Arab and Muslim world, for reasons that are impossible to rationally fathom, Serbia obliges itself to “implement measures to restrict Hizballah´s operations and financial activities” on its territory. Whatever position one chooses to take toward “Hizballah” there is nothing for Serbia to restrict because that organization does not conduct any activities on Serbian territory, unless the reference is to “Kosovo” which happens to be a Hizballah stronghold. So why aren´t things called by their real name, and why does a person purporting to represent Serbia consent to being strong-armed into signing such a ludicrous provision, needlessly putting his country in a bad light and courting the contempt of hundreds of millions of Muslims throughout the world?

The next to last point of the Agreement is highly indicative of the political context of the entire affair. It says that in return for “Kosovo” not seeking membership in international organizations for a year, Serbia will “agree to a one-year moratorium on its de-recognition campaign, and will refrain from formally or informally requesting any nation or International Organization not to recognize Kosovo as an independent state.” The formulation is ambiguous but it is framed to support the interpretation that Serbia will refrain from obstructing the recognition of “Kosovo as an independent state” without any time limitations. The sentence is cleverly written by Anglo-Saxon lawyers, including tricky punctuation, to obfuscate that point, but the comma after the word “year” gives the game away. The clause that follows is grammatically separate from the language that precedes it. If President Trump was in a hurry and retyping the whole thing was not an option, any prudent signatory on Serbia’s behalf would have quickly inserted in his own hand after the word refrain the phrase “for the duration of one year,” thus clearly matching the period of “Kosovo’s” commitment to refrain. But as the matter stands, “Kosovo’s” duty to refrain will expire in one year, while Serbia’s obligation to do the same will continue indefinitely after that. Pacta sunt servanda.

Did Serbia’s representative at this meeting have a legal team to assist him? Probably not, because he presumes to be a lawyer himself.

What is the political implication of this provision? It is that the US and EU sponsored process of “Kosovo” legitimation as an “independent state” shall continue unabated, culminating in UN membership, with Serbia renouncing in advance the right to oppose it in any effective way. It is a demonically clever scheme. In the end, Serbia’s de iure recognition of “Kosovo” will become irrelevant because there will no longer be a need to seek its consent or opinion on the subject.

The thought that President Trump arranged this meeting because he needed a foreign policy win before the elections is grossly exaggerated. In his press briefing on 4 September, the same day these discussions were concluded, he did not even mention them or intimate that some spectacular accords which might influence his electoral chances were signed in the Oval Office. That is a clue to the significance he attributes to the visit of his Balkan guests.

For the outlaw “government of Kosovo,” however, this is an important phase in the relentless process of legitimation that is being conducted under the auspices of its US deep state sponsors, whether Trump personally is aware of what is going on or not. For Serbia, the trans-Atlantic trip definitely was not worth it. It was another broad strategic retreat and humiliation. It demonstrates the readiness of Serbia’s leadership to needlessly abase themselves and trade the country’s crown jewels for another lease on their political life, betting on the foreign support they now think they have secured by brown-nosing the global powers-that-be. They better think again, however, and analyse realistically the trajectory of their Montenegrin colleagues.

  1. I thank a reader of my previous article for correctly spelling my surname, with the umlaut. I had used the English transliteration in order not to confuse some readers. 

The Future for China

Source

The Future for China

July 15, 2020

by Eric Zuesse for the Saker Blog

On July 14th, the two conjoined gangster-regimes, U.S. & UK, simultaneously started, with deadly seriousness, their aggressive economic war against China.

Business Insider headlined “US Navy warship challenges China in South China Sea as US blasts Beijing’s ‘unlawful’ claims and ‘gangster tactics’” and reported that,

After the US Department of State declared Beijing’s maritime claims in the South China Sea and efforts to assert dominance to be unlawful, the US Navy destroyer USS Ralph Johnson further challenged China with a sail-by operation.

The Navy released a couple of photos on Tuesday of the destroyer sailing near the contested Spratly Islands, and a Navy spokesman confirmed that the ship conducted a freedom-of-navigation operation in the area.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) steams near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Ralph Johnson is deployed conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts for a free and open Indo-Pacific. U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Anthony Collier

On the same day, Russia’s RT headlined “George Galloway: UK ban on Huawei is national self-harm. China’s riposte could devastate the ailing British economy”, and he reported that

Having alienated the remaining 27 members of the European Union and set Anglo-Russian relations back a century, Boris Johnson has just declared an economic war on China. … The proximate reason – that allowing Huawei into Britain’s 5G roll-out is a “security risk” – is patently false. If that were true for 5G, it would be true of 3 and 4G. If it were true then the company would have to be banished now, not in 2027 (by when, incidentally, 5G will be so last year).

There is not a shred, not a scintilla, not a jot or tittle, of evidence that Huawei has ever done anything wrong during its highly successful penetration of the British market, from which Britain has economically benefited mightily.

And if Chinese investment in 5G is not wanted – indeed, is being ejected – what of China’s powerful stake in Britain’s energy sector? What happens if China pulls the plugs on its nuclear power stations? Do all our lights go out? Has anyone thought this Chinese Kick-Away through? … BoJo’s decision to throw the Huawei 5G deal on the scrapheap shows UK poodle still obeys its US master

In this triple whammy of sanctions, gunboats and settlement, the brassy note of Jingoism plays ‘Rule Britannia’, but no one seems to have noticed that China is a vastly richer and more powerful adversary than it was when we extorted Hong Kong from them in punishment for their attempt to halt the flood of British opium into China which caused the addiction of 90 million Chinese people.

The economic sanctions imposed on China in the Huawei affair will be returned several-fold by Beijing.

Galloway might be correct, that China will be able to survive UK’s attempts to stifle China’s rise as a global economic competitor to the UK-U.S. empire, but if the U.S. is allowed to block China’s shipments through the South China Sea, then the war against China has already been won. It’s much more serious.

China has internationally been losing each one of the major rounds in its territorial disputes regarding its territorial claims in the South China Sea. It’s as if the U.S. were losing territorial claims in the Caribbean, except that the South China Sea is far more geostrategically important to China than the Caribbean is to the United States. So, China’s losses here are geostrategic ones. Those are disputes versus the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia, and the U.S. regime has played a decisive role in each case on the basis of its bilateral treaties, such as the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty, which enables the Philippines to call upon U.S. military backing in case the Philippines needs muscle in order to assert a territorial claim against another country, such as, say, China, which is the giant in their neighborhood.

U.S. President Harry S. Truman strongly disagreed with his predecessor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s, opposition to imperialism, and he went for it almost as soon as he became the U.S. President. Actually, he became President at FDR’s death on 12 April 1945, and then, less than four months later, on 26 July 1945, committed himself to the Military-Industrial Complex’s dream of establishing an all-encompassing U.S. global empire. He made that decision, on 26 July 1945, which subsequently created the coups, military invasions, importations of thousands of Nazi officials into The West, to help America’s fight against the Soviet Union, and construction of the CIA’a program to control what international ‘news’ would be off-limits to report in the U.S., and in its vassal-nations.

Elliott Roosevelt, FDR’s son who accompanied his father during crucial international meetings, felt that Truman was a traitor to his father’s anti-imperialistic legacy. FDR, according to his son, Elliott, also wasn’t too fond of Churchill, who agreed with Truman because Churchill had always been a champion of British imperialism and he needed U.S. acceptance of that.

Elliott wrote:

——

https://www.mtholyoke.edu/

Roosevelt and Churchill Discuss Colonial Questions, August 10, 1941, excerpt from Elliott Roosevelt, As He Saw It (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1946).”

Father [FDR] started it.

“Of course,” he remarked, with a sly sort of assurance, “of course, after the war, one of the preconditions of any lasting peace will have to be the greatest possible freedom of trade.”

He paused. The P.M.’s [Churchill’s] head was lowered; he was watching Father steadily, from under one eyebrow.

“No artificial barriers,” Father pursued. “As few favored economic agreements as possible. Opportunities for expansion. Markets open for healthy competition.” His eye wandered innocently around the room.

Churchill shifted in his armchair. “The British Empire trade agreements,” he began heavily, “are — ”

Father broke in. “Yes. Those Empire trade agreements are a case in point. It’s because of them that the people of India and Africa, of all the colonial Near East and Far East, are still as backward as they are.”

Churchill’s neck reddened and he crouched forward. “Mr. President, England does not propose for a moment to lose its favored position among the British Do-minions. The trade that has made England great shall continue, and under conditions prescribed by England’s ministers.”

You see,” said Father slowly, “it is along in here somewhere that there is likely to be some disagreement between you, Winston, and me.

I am firmly of the belief that if we are to arrive at a stable peace it must involve the development of backward countries. Backward peoples. How can this be done? It can’t be done, obviously, by eighteenth-century methods. Now — ”

Who’s talking eighteenth-century methods?”

Whichever of your ministers recommends a policy which takes wealth in raw materials out of a colonial country, but which returns nothing to the people of that country in consideration. Twentieth-century methods involve bringing industry to these colonies. Twentieth-century methods include increasing the wealth of a people by increasing their standard of living, by educating them, by bringing them sanitation — by making sure that they get a return for the raw wealth of their community.”

Around the room, all of us were leaning forward attentively. [Harry] Hopkins [a major FDR adviser] was grinning. Commander [C. R.] Thompson, Churchill’s aide, was looking glum and alarmed. The P.M. himself was beginning to look apoplectic.

“You mentioned India,” he growled.

“Yes. I can’t believe that we can fight a war against fascist slavery, and at the same time not work to free people all over the world from a backward colonial policy”

What about the Philippines?”

I’m glad you mentioned them. They get their independence, you know, in 1946. And they’ve gotten modern sanitation, modern education; their rate of illiteracy has gone steadily down

There can be no tampering with the Empire’s economic agreements.”

They’re artificial …”

They’re the foundation of our greatness.”

The peace,” said Father firmly, “cannot include any continued despotism. The structure of the peace demands and will get equality of peoples. Equality of peoples involves the utmost freedom of competitive trade. …”

It was after two in the morning when finally the British party said their good nights. I helped Father into his cabin, and sat down to smoke a last cigarette with him.

Father grunted. “A real old Tory, isn’t he? A real old Tory, of the old school.”

“I thought for a minute he was [you were] going to bust, Pop.”

“Oh,” he smiled, “I’ll be able to work with him. Don’t worry about that. We’ll get along famously.”

“So long as you keep off the subject of India.”

“Mmm, I don’t know. I think we’ll even talk some more about India, before we’re through. And Burma. And Java. And Indo-China. And Indonesia. And all the African colonies. And Egypt and Palestine. We’ll talk about ’em all.”

http://east_west_dialogue.

At the Casablanca Conference

A similar kind of discussion occurred between Roosevelt and Churchill at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943. The following is Elliott’s description of his father’s talk with him one evening during that meeting:

His thoughts turned to the problem of the colonies and the colonial markets, the problem which he felt was at the core of all chance for future peace. ‘The thing is,’ he remarked thoughtfully, replacing a smoked cigarette in his holder with a fresh one, ‘the colonial system means war. Exploit the resources of an India, a Burma, a Java; take all the wealth out of those countries, but never put anything back into them, things like education, decent standards of living, minimum health requirements — all you’re doing is storing up the kind of trouble that leads to war. All you’re doing is negating the value of any kind of organizational structure for peace before it begins.

‘The look that Churchill gets on his face when you mention India!

India should be made a commonwealth at once. After a certain number of years — five perhaps, or ten — she should be able to choose whether she wants to remain in the Empire or have complete independence.

As a commonwealth, she would be entitled to a modern form of government, an adequate health and educational standard. But how can she have these things, when Britain is taking all the wealth of her national resources away from her, every year? Every year the Indian people have one thing to look forward to, like death and taxes. Sure as shooting, they have a famine. The season of the famine, they call it.’

He paused for a moment, thinking.

‘I must tell Churchill what I found out about his British Gambia today,’ he said, with a note of determination.

‘At Bathurst?’ I prompted.

This morning,’ he said, and now there was real feeling in his voice, ‘at about eight-thirty, we drove through Bathurst to the airfield. The natives were just getting to work. In rags … glum-looking. … They told us the natives would look happier around noontime, when the sun should have burned off the dew and the chill. I was told the prevailing wages for these men was one and nine. One shilling, ninepence. Less than fifty cents.’

An hour?’ I asked, foolishly.

A {day!} Fifty cents a {day!} Besides which, they’re given a half-cup of rice.’ He shifted uneasily in his big bed. ‘Dirt, disease. Very high mortality rate. I asked. Life expectancy — you’d never guess what it was. Twenty-six years. Those people are treated worse than the livestock. Their cattle live longer!’

He was silent for a moment.

Churchill may have thought I wasn’t serious, last time. He’ll find out, this time.’ He looked at me thoughtfully for a moment. ‘How is it, where you are? How is it in Algeria?’ he asked.

I told him it was the same story. Rich country, rich resources, natives desperately poor, a few white colonials that lived very well, a few native princes that lived very well, otherwise poverty, disease, ignorance. He nodded.

And then he went on to tell of what he thought should be done: France to be restored as a world power, then to be entrusted with her former colonies, as a trustee. As trustee, she was to report each year on the progress of her stewardship, how the literacy rate was improving, how the death rate declining, how disease being stamped out, how. …

Wait a minute,’ I interrupted. ‘Who’s she going to report all this to?’

The organization of the United Nations, when it’s been set up,’ answered Father. It was the first time I’d ever heard of this plan. ‘How else?’ I asked Father. ‘The Big Four — ourselves, Britain, China, the Soviet Union — we’ll be responsible for the peace of the world after. …

‘… It’s already high time for us to be thinking of the future, building for it. … These great powers will have to assume the tasks of bringing education, raising the standards of living, improving the health conditions — of all the backward, depressed colonial areas of the world.

And when they’ve had a chance to reach maturity, they must have the opportunity extended them of independence. After the United Nations as a whole have decided that they are prepared for it.

If this isn’t done, we might as well agree that we’re in for another war.’

https://www.marxists.org/

Elliott’s book as quoted in the 17 September 1946 Look Magazine:

Father remarked,” says Elliott Roosevelt, “on how British and French financiers had dredged riches out of colonies. …” He continued later, “How do they belong to France? Why does Morocco, inhabited by Moroccans, belong to France? By what logic and custom and historical rule?”

——

Obviously, Winston Churchill’s dream came true when FDR died on 12 April 1945 and became replaced by Truman.

Among those statements by FDR, the one specifically regarding the Philippines has particular relevance today. The 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty violated what FDR had said to Churchill, “I’m glad you mentioned them. They get their independence, you know, in 1946.” That U.S. commitment, “freedom,” to the Philippine nation, had already been made. He promised to Churchill that it would be fulfilled, and that therefore Churchill would not be able to say that America is an imperialist power as England is. It was a basic commitment from him. Furthermore, FDR said:

No artificial barriers,” Father pursued. “As few favored economic agreements as possible. Opportunities for expansion. Markets open for healthy competition.” His eye wandered innocently around the room.

Churchill shifted in his armchair. “The British Empire trade agreements,” he began heavily, “are — ”

Father broke in. “Yes. Those Empire trade agreements are a case in point. It’s because of them that the people of India and Africa, of all the colonial Near East and Far East, are still as backward as they are.”

And: “‘The peace,’ said Father firmly, ‘cannot include any continued despotism. The structure of the peace demands and will get equality of peoples.’”

He linked bilateral, and also multilateral, trade treaties, to the creation of both World Wars. The United States, after his death, has used them in exactly the same way — building toward a WW III. Truman was the death of FDR’s plan. For example, Barack Obama’s proposed TTIP international-trade treaty for the Pacific was specifically designed against China, so as to isolate and diminish China in international trade — precisely the sorts of things that FDR had condemned in his statements to Churchill. Obama was an anti-FDR, pro-Truman, Democrat, who repeatedly emphasized, “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation.” Every other nation is “dispensable.” Hitler had agreed with Obama’s view, except that in Hitler’s mind, Germany was the only indispensable nation.

In a sense, Hitler posthumously won WW II. His ideology, imperialistic fascism certainly did.

The Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, condemns U.S. imperialism and repels any dependency of his country upon the U.S. military. He explains “I have nothing against America. They’re perfectly alright. Trump is my friend. But my foreign policy has shifted from the pro-Western one. I am now working on alliance with China, and I hope to start a good working relationship with Russia. Why? Because the Western world, the EU, and everything – it’s all this double talk.”

CONSEQUENTLY:

The path forward for China will be increasingly for China to serve as a defender of the independence of the nations in its area (such as the Philippines), so that they won’t need to accept the U.S. regime’s offers of military assistance. Either this, or else China itself will cede control of its own neighborhood over to a distant enemy-nation, the ceaselessly grasping U.S. regime, and might as well just quit altogether, and become an American pawn itself.

Either all of the nations in that area will thrive together, or else the U.S.-UK alliance will succeed at crushing and swallowing-up them all.

This means that in the conflicts that China has with its nearby nations, China must grant those nations’ interests as being also China’s interests. China must accept its obligation to defend their interests in order to become enabled to assert its own. Only if this is done will those nearby nations ally with China against the U.S. Empire, not just militarily, but also in regard to commerce and trade. For China not to take on this obligation would be unacceptable, not only for China, but for the entire world. Regardless of what China wants, China has this obligation, now, to protect its region, against America’s billionaires, and their military, and their corporations.

However, the U.S. regime’s unmistakable threat now to block China’s freight-traffic through the South China Sea will succeed if China becomes the first side to attack and tries to down any U.S. forces there. Even if the U.S. strikes without warning and with no clear excuse, China will need to hold back for a while, before retaliating. The U.S. has arrayed an awesome striking force in that area. China will have to wait until the U.S. attacks it first, in any event, but now is the time for China to negotiate with its neighbors. Otherwise China will have almost the whole world against it, if China provides the bad optics of having been the first to strike.

During this time, therefore, China needs to be negotiating with each of the other regional players in order to persuade each one that only a unified facing-down against the U.S. in that region can even possibly salvage the independence of each one of them from now on. Russia may also need to be brought into the arrangement as a protector of China, just in case the U.S. turns out to be uncompromising in its intention to take over the entire world. Either Russia will soon enter this new World War that the UK-U.S. regimes are already waging, or else Russia will be forced to enter it only after Russia’s major allies will already have been swallowed-up by the U.S. The safer choice for Russia is consequently to enter the war sooner, as a guarantor for their side, their allies, the independent nations, than to enter it after those nations have already been defeated and swallowed-up.

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Meng, Huawei and Canadian Law: Soap, Rinse and Dry-Laundered

By Harry Glasbeek

Global Research, June 25, 2020

The Bullet

Prologue

One of the graver risks for big-time criminals is that investigators will be able to identify them and their deeds by ‘following the money’. The criminals have to hide the proceeds of their crimes. This is done by depositing their monies into legitimate finance houses and businesses. It often requires some fancy book-keeping tricks and intricate transactions. This is called layering by the afficionados of this dark art. Once it is done, the criminals can draw on the accounts created and mix the ill-gotten gains with legally garnered capital. The term for this is ‘integration’ and it makes the investigators’ tasks much harder. The rotten fruit of crime will have been laundered.,

Extradition

For some time now, Hong Kong has seen massive street protests as many people want more of a say for themselves in governance and less of a say for Beijing. In the midst of the chaos, Hong Kong’s legislators proposed to ink an extradition agreement to which China would be the other signatory.

Extradition treaties are arrangements whereby a nation state agrees to return to its partner-nation to the treaty people alleged to have committed criminal acts against that other nation’s laws. It is meant to prevent alleged criminals from avoiding the consequences for their misconduct by escaping to another jurisdiction. When a request for extradition by a signatory to a treaty is received, a court there is to determine whether the application should succeed. It is not its task to question whether the person actually committed a crime. It merely has to determine whether it is the kind of crime which could lead to prosecution if the conduct had occurred in its jurisdiction. This gives the process its legitimacy because it gives effect to legal values shared by both parties to the extradition treaty. The court considering the request has no interest in whether the conduct actually amounted to a crime, either in the applicant nation or in its own. It assumes the facts as alleged by the applicant nation and then determines whether that conduct would amount to a violation of its own laws if it occurred in its jurisdiction.

It is, then, a judicial exercise which is purely formal. It does not make any findings about the issues between the applicant for extradition and the person resisting extradition.

Although this was the essential nature of the Hong Kong Bill, it met with fierce resistance: huge marches, physical fights in the legislature. The protests added fuel to the already widely burning fires of dissent and the Hong Kong government withdrew the Bill. In addition to the upheaval and violence in the streets, the government was likely somewhat influenced by the great show of support for the anti-Extradition Bill movement in countries such as the UK, the US and Canada. This anti-extradition stance by these nations seemed to sit uneasily alongside the fact that they had signed on to many similar extradition treaties themselves. But, they bought into the argument made by the Hong Kong dissidents. This was that, even though an extradition request made by China would be vetted by Hong Kong courts steeped in the principles and values of English common law, the proposed treaty would allow China to use extradition requests for crass political purposes, to help it chase down political opponents and agitators. It would lead to attacks on precious freedoms. Even though the proposed treaty ‘looked’ much like any other, it was likely to be used for unacceptable purposes. This sort of thing would never occur in the UK the US or Canada because, unlike China, they respected and lived by the Rule of Law.

The Lore and Lure of the Rule of Law

Canada’s legal system presents itself as embodying society’s shared values and norms. They are embodied in principles and the instrumental rules devised to give these fundamental principles life. This presupposes that the basic principles can be found and defined and that the rules will be appropriately fashioned and applied. The conventional view is that the judiciary is an independent institution and can be trusted to go about the finding of principles and the interpretation and application of rules in a non-partisan, in a non-political, manner.

Courts will treat all private individuals, whatever their social or economic circumstances, as legal equals whose disputes must be settled by the application of known, rational criteria. Rationality, of the legal kind, is to replace political and economic power, that is, irrational power.

The courts abide by generalizing principles and specific rules. The rules have to be spelled out clearly; citizens are to know of the existence of those rules; new rules should not apply retroactively. The principles and rules are to be applied even-handedly, regardless of status and class. The access to this justice system should be equally available to one and all. These are some of the ingredients of what is so often termed the Rule of Law. It is an attractive system because it suggests that everyone is subject to the same laws and requirements, that political or economic power is not allowed to deny anyone their entitlements or rights established in law. The UK, US and Canadian view is that it, or any equivalent, regime does not exist in China. But, while the idea of it certainly exists in our rather self-satisfied Anglo-American settings, its implementation may leave something to be desired.

While our courts are punctilious about following the procedural safeguards which make up the Rule of Law, they have an enormous amount of leeway when determining how substantive principles and rules are to be interpreted and applied. They are in a position to launder otherwise politically troubling, anti-liberal, anti-democratic, policies and decisions. What happens is a mixing of the adherence to procedural formalities which abjure bias and prejudice with the manipulation of substantive laws which incorporate bias and prejudice. The integrated outcome is analogous to the consequence of the criminals’ mixing suspect monies with legally acquired assets. It makes it hard to see whether there was a political wrong in the first place. It is a form of laundering, legalized laundering.1

The recent proceedings in Canada dealing with the US demand that the Chief Financial officer of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, be extradited to the US brings some of this into the open. The Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled that Meng’s argument that there was no legal basis for extradition was rejected. Canada’s talking heads and chattering class sighed with relief. The self-proclaimed liberal Toronto Star’s editors welcomed and characterized the virtue of the decision: “Beijing must understand: out courts don’t serve the government… It’s called ‘rule of law,’ a concept foreign to China’s Communist Party and its mouthpieces.” Apart from their evident cold war genre chauvinism, the editors undoubtedly were glad to have any doubts about the Trudeau government’s and Canada’s allegiance to the Rule of Law stilled.

The recent embarrassment caused by the tawdry behaviour of almost every cog in the ruling class’s legal engine room during the SNC-Lavalin scandal which involved the government forcing its own Minister of Justice to resign because she wanted to act independently and deny a flagrantly wrongdoing corporation any kind of soft landing, now could be pushed aside as an uncharacteristic violation of Canada’s basic principles. To them, the Meng ruling signified that, once again, Canada was entitled to be smug, to assert that it was to be envied because of its stout adherence to an unalloyed good, the Rule of Law.

The Ruling in the Meng Case

It all began with a warrant issued by a New York court for Meng Wanzhou’s arrest in August 2018. She was not there. On December 1, 2018, after an extradition request from the US, Meng was arrested by Canadian authorities when she landed in Vancouver. On 28 January 2019, formal charges were laid by the US Department of Justice, accusing Meng’s employer, Huawei, of misrepresentations about its corporate organization which had enabled it to circumvent laws that imposed economic sanctions on Iran. Huawei was also charged with stealing technology and trade secrets from T-Mobile USA. Meng, the Chief Financial Officer of Huawei, was charged with fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud. Huawei pled not guilty to the charges of violating the Iran sanction provisions in a New York court and not guilty to the stealing charges in a Seattle court. After a number of preliminary legal skirmishes, the extradition hearings against Meng began in 2020. Associate Justice Holmes issued her ruling on 27 May, 2020. Law takes its time.

Meng had told HSBC officials who met with her in the back of a Hong Kong restaurant in 2013 that, despite the allegations in a newspaper article, Huawei had not made improper use of a closely associated firm, named Skycom Tech, to supply US materiel to Iran. The reason she had made this statement to HSBC, it was alleged, was that Huawei used HSBC as a banker when transacting business. If Huawei, as alleged, was implicated in violations of the Iran sanction laws, HSBC might well be held to be complicit in such crimes. The US alleged that Meng’s representations to HSBC constituted fraud under its law.

Meng Wanzhou argued that, for a case of fraud to be made out, in both the US and Canada, it was necessary for the prosecution to prove that the fraud materially contributed to a tangible loss. This could not be made out here. For Meng’s deception of HSBC to cause it a tangible loss in the US, it was necessary for US prosecutors to invoke the impact of another law, the Iranian sanction law. Without it there would not be any harm and, therefore, no fraud in the US. As Canada did not have any such sanction provisions in place, Meng’s deception would not have led to any tangible loss in Canada and there would have been no fraud committed in Canada. This argument that the basic requirement for extradition – mirroring laws – had not been met, was rejected by Associate Chief Justice Holmes.

She deployed standard legal reasoning that is, she looked for previous holdings and used the imprecisions she found in them and in the wording of the legislation she was interpreting. Holmes found that previous decisions had held that, in order to determine whether the conduct in the applicant jurisdiction created an offence, it was necessary to assess the essential nature of that conduct. That meant evaluating the foreign conduct in its context, in its legal environment. Meng argued that looking at the legal environment required taking a foreign law, one distinct from the laws being compared, into account, something which should not be done under the Extradition Law.

The presiding judge responded that only some aspects of the legal environment, constituted by that other law, had to be taken into account, not all of it. It was her job to say which aspects could be so used. Holmes admitted that she was going out on a limb because the distinction between looking at some aspects of a foreign law and taking the actual law into consideration is fraught, both as a matter of logic and of established law. She wrote that “the issue is at what level of abstraction… the essence … of the conduct is to be described… there is little authority or precisely what may be included in ‘imported legal environment’.”

Undeterred by the lack of any known criteria (remember the Rule of Law!), she used what she likely calls her common sense and what Meng’s supporters probably think was her unconscious bias. Associate Justice Holmes decided that, in this case, it was appropriate, when looking for the essential nature of the foreign conduct, to look at the effects of that US law, the Iran sanction law. As its effects made Meng’s deceiving conduct fraudulent in the US, and as deception is the core of fraud in Canada, the essential/contextualized nature of Meng’s conduct satisfied the essence of fraud as defined under Canada’s Criminal Code. Lawyers call this sort of finessing good lawyering; in the wider community it is seen as legal chicanery. Holmes ruled that Canada was free to extradite Meng.

Laundered

All that effort to put Wanzhou Meng’s fraud into legal context and not a scintilla of regard for the political, social and economic context of the case!

Everyone, literally everyone, knew what had led the US to charge Huawei and its CFO. It was to obtain bargaining chips in its fight with China. It was to persuade its citizens that it was right for the government to deny them access to cheaper goods and a better 5G system because China would abuse its growing economic influence and enhance its spying potential. It was to make China more pliable when the US demanded better trade terms and more protection for its intellectual property, etc. There was no attempt to hide any of this.

Did the Canadian government understand this? Of course. Did it feel it had to allow the US to use Canada’s supposedly neutral legal machinery to further its political project? Of course. Could the Canadian government have said “no” and simply turned a blind eye when Wanzhou Meng landed in Vancouver? Of course.

Was Associate Justice Holmes, at the very least, in a position to guess all of this? Of course.

The Supreme Court of British Columbia had the timelines of the saga before it. All the events that led to the fraud charges occurred years before the tug-of-war between the US and China turned into a full blown version of a new cold war. Meng’s alleged misrepresentations to HSBC occurred in August 2013, several months after Reuters had published its report on the links between Huawei and Skycom Tech. that supposedly led to Iran being supplied with US materiel.

It took five years for the US to charge Huawei and Meng. It took five years for its righteous indignation about Huawei’s and Meng’s violations to reach fever pitch. It took five years for the US to decide that a deception of one set of private entrepreneurs by other private entrepreneurs ( a garden variety event in an aggressive competitive milieu), a deception which took place in a far away jurisdiction, presented a danger to the integrity of the US justice system. That integrity had not been seen as severely threatened when the masters of the universe deceived millions of people during the subprime mortgage scandals, at least not sufficiently to charge any of the more senior perpetrators. None of this was of any concern to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The court was only concerned with the narrowest of decontextualized legal issues before it. Its certainty that its only responsibility was to the Rule of Law signified to it that it should not be troubled by the possibility that it might be used as a pawn, by either the US or the Canadian government or both.

Nor was this lack of concern shaken by President Trump’s highly publicized statement to Reuters (the outfit which had written the report which started the ball rolling), made just after Wanzhou Meng was released on bail. Trump said that he would certainly intervene in her case “if I thought it necessary” to help forge a trade deal with China. Undoubtedly some people (especially lawyers) might think it right and proper for a court to ignore a blatant admission by a craven politician that the supposedly independent system of law of both the US and Canada was being used for partisan political purposes. After all, the statement had been made extrajudicially and had not been put before the court. While the judge might have known about the Trump intervention, much as she knew that the US and China were having a political tug-of-war and that Canada had been drawn into it, the wilful blindness demanded by the Rule of Law demanded that she make no reference to any off this knowledge.

This reasoning makes no sense to anyone not held in rapture by the Rule of Law fantasy. Immediately after Trump made his provocative statement, Trudeau realized that the public might draw the inference that Canada was just bowing to its Big Brother ally and permitting it to abuse the Canadian justice system. It evoked the notion that the US and Canada were just one country with two systems. He was forced to respond.

Trudeau issued the following statement: “Regardless of what goes on in other countries, Canada is and will always remain a country of the rule of law.” The message was clear: we, the elected government and its executive have nothing to do with any of this; we rule an independent country; we have an independent legal system and it makes these kinds of decisions. We respect this and abide by the results. When it comes to the extradition of Meng, we, the politicians, like Pontius Pilate, wash our hands off the whole mess. It has nothing to do with us. It is not a political matter.

This is why the editors of the Toronto Star and all other opinion moulders greeted the ruling in the Meng case with such acclaim. By ignoring all the real facts underlying the dispute, the court had given support to the Canadian government’s pretence that the Meng case had not raised questions about its participation in a complex set of political, economic and ideological controversies. Their role had been laundered. If the outcome suited the US in its struggle with China, this was incidental; Canada’s government had not pushed for such an outcome because it believed in the Rule of Law. These cheerleaders pointed out that, if Canada had interfered with the judiciary’s operations, it would certainly have pushed for a different result.

As it was, the judicial ruling could only strain relations between Canada and China, a most undesirable state of affairs as Canada hoped to have China release two Canadians accused of committing serious offences in China; more Canada had no interest in imperilling important trade relations with China, as the judicial ruling might well do. That is, the result may be a political win for Trump, but a loss for Trudeau, two Canadian citizens and, likely, some farmers and manufacturers if China uses its economic clout to punish Canada.

So viewed, the judicial outcome gives the impression that the government had not played any part in the decision-making. It should, therefore, not be held politically responsible for the consequences. The government had acted righteously, it had been true to the Rule of Law. Its conduct had been sanitized, laundered.

Of course this argument is not as strong if the judicial outcome is not seen as inimical to the government. What did Canada actually want? We can only guess. But it is to be remembered that the government did detain Wanzhou Meng; if it had not done so, the worst that would have happened is that the US might have been annoyed. Assuming, as it makes sense to do, that Canadian officials understood full well what the US was up to, the detention suggests, although it does not prove, that the government was not opposed to the obvious political and economic goals of the US. More strongly, it indicated that it was willing to support those goals. After all, it knew the risks it was taking. The headline in the Ottawa Citizen on 15 December, 2018, read: “Abelev: In the Huawei case, Trump has enlisted in a game Canada can’t win.”

Another glimpse of the Canadian government’s thinking is provided by Prime Minister’s request that John McCallum resign from his post as Ambassador to China after he had made public statements which indicated that he thought the case against Meng was trumped up and, therefore, should lead the government to reject the extradition request. This would help Canada in its negotiations with China which, in apparent retaliation, had jailed two Canadian citizens.

Implicit in McCallum’s intervention was a reference to a legal power that Canada has reserved for itself over extradition processes. The Minister for Justice can, at any moment after a request for extradition is received, abort the process. In Trudeau’s angry reaction to McCallum, he made no reference to this, pretending political interference with the judicial system was to be eschewed.2 While to some people, then, Trudeau’s publicized disapproval of McCallum’s views (and of similar ones by former Prime Minister Jean Chretien a little later), did dovetail with the claim that the government should not take a position on matters to be determined by a judge, it also suggested that the government would not object too much if the ruling went against Meng, regardless of what it might mean for Huawei, Meng and the prisoners. After all, the justification for the hands-off the justice system proffered by Trudeau should not have been given too much credence.

At that time a full-blown scandal was raging over the SNC-Lavalin affair. Trudeau was brazenly trying to get rid of an independent Minister of Justice precisely because she was thwarting his enactment of a law which was to apply retroactively (remember the Rule of Law!) to save a serial wrongdoing corporation. A curious symmetry weirdly surfaces. The Trudeau government was trying to give its rogue actor, SNC-Lavalin, the kind of gentle treatment the US had given HSBC by giving it access to a deferred prosecution agreement of the kind that the US had given that deviant bank.

There were many polluting particles in the ambient air as the Meng case was processed in the supposedly politically unpolluted atmosphere of law. Undoubtedly, Associate Justice Holmes did her best to blow all these toxic particles out of her mind, as all judges claim to do. But this does not mean that they did not influence her mind-set. We will never know. That is how laundering works: if the dirt which soiled the cloth is rinsed out, all that one is left with is clean cloth. Just what the government needed.

Epilogue

The legal processes have not ended. Meng may appeal the ruling on double criminality handed down by the Supreme Court of British Columbia, arguing the Holmes’ reading of how the essential nature of conduct in a foreign state was to be found was erroneous. Her lawyers do have some plausible arguments to proffer on this issue. Before that will take place, a hearing will be held into Meng’s allegation that, when she was detained in Vancouver, prior to being turned over to the RCMP, the border official obtained Meng’s telephone numbers and passwords and then passed these on to the RCMP. She was detained and questioned for three hours before she was told of her arrest. She claims her constitutional rights were violated and that the RCMP and Canada’s Border Services Agency acted, improperly, as US agents.

This is a claim that procedural safeguards essential to the proper operation of the Rule of Law had been breached. If successful it would make the arrest wrongful and mean that the committal process which led to Holmes’ ruling should be voided. The result of the adjudication on this action by Meng can also be the basis for an appeal. If all of it, the denial of proper process and the Supreme Court of British Columbia’s ruling on double criminality, are settled in favour of Canada, the extradition process can continue, although, as seen, the Minister for Justice can always set the whole thing aside.

There are many other hurdles to clear. The Trump Administration may be replaced, the Trudeau government (in a minority position) may fall before all this is over. It is also difficult to know what steps China will take and how this will influence political minds in Washington and Ottawa. These unknowns highlight how artificial it is to pretend that a request for extradition is a legal, non-political, struggle based on rational aseptic criteria.

To underscore this point, note that, on 4 June, 2020, the US State Department issued a threat. It will reassess its sharing of intelligence with Canada (a member of the so-called Five Eye intelligence network) if Canada chooses to let Huawei market its 5G technology in Canada. This makes it clear that the extradition case was never about a fraudulent misrepresentation to a ‘vulnerable’ foreign bank, but about furthering US efforts to ward-off the danger of an economic and political threat posed by China.

Law and its Rule of Law are convenient tools, no more no less. They should not be granted too much respect. Certainly they should not permit our governments to present themselves as unsullied, as if they have come out of the washing machine, smelling fragrantly.

And, oh yes, after its agreement with the US Department of Justice, HSBC had made much of its new approach and had spent money on better systems to inhibit wrongdoing. On 8 April, 2020, it was reported that HSBC had admitted it had engaged in money laundering in Australia. Maybe it does not require Huawei or Meng to engage in fraud to get HSBC to participate in criminality.

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Harry Glasbeek is a Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. His latest books are Class Privilege: How law shelters shareholders and coddles capitalism (2017) and the follow-up, Capitalism: a crime story (2018) both published by Between the Lines, Toronto.

Notes

  1. ‘The legalization of politics’ is the name given by Harry Glasbeek and Michael Mandel, “The Legalization of Politics in Advanced Capitalism: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms” (1984), Socialist Studies, 2:84, and by Michael Mandel, The Charter of Rights and the Legalization of Politics in Canada, rev. ed., Toronto; Thompson Educational, 1994, to a process which removes class and history from political discourse and consciousness.
  2. As well, there is a rarely used law on the books, the Foreign Extra Territorial Measures Act, that the Attorney-General can deploy to repulse measures of a foreign state that are likely to significantly affect Canadian interests. This is the legislation used to allow Canada not to comply with the US sanctions on Cuba. Arguably, but not certainly, it could be used to block the extradition of Meng.

Featured image is from The BulletThe original source of this article is The BulletCopyright © Harry GlasbeekThe Bullet, 2020

Corona, Progressives and the Agora

 BY GILAD ATZMON

agora corona.jpg

 By Gilad Atzmon

I was planning to write a long article comparing the accountability of the various possible Covid-19 culprits. I thought I would delve into a hypothetical question: who is more guilty of a mass murder – a young scientist who forgot to seal the safety latch of a laboratory coronavirus refrigerator and by failing to do so, exposed humanity to the risk of a viral pandemic, or an epidemiologist and professor who distributes a phantasmic unsubstantiated study that is not fact-based and proved to be grossly incorrect and by so doing, inflicted financial chaos leading to the destruction of the Western economy, contributed to world famine and the possible deaths of millions?

But as soon as I started to delve into it, I gathered that the topic was not as interesting as I hoped. The young scientist was negligent, a relatively minor offence in comparison with the epidemiologist who committed a conscious, wilful act following a process of so-called methodical ‘deliberation.’ The young scientist is guilty of negligence that led to many deaths, the epidemiology professor is, basically, complicit in a crime against humanity.

I realized a more interesting question is why most Western countries failed to take the right decision. Britain is particularly interesting as it initially took what seems now to be the right policy, then made a 180 after it was subject to a media blitz fuelled by the embarrassingly exaggerated ‘predictions’ from a ‘scientific study’ delivered by London Imperial College.

If we want to live in a better world, we may have to delve into the systematic failure of our media, government, dysfunctional political class, and the scientific political technocrats. Considering the crimes that are now committed by our so-called elite, a criminal investigation is likely the only way forward and may be our only hope to survive.

Other intriguing questions have surfaced amidst the Corona crisis.  While it is clear why many people supported severe lockdown measures back in February and March, it is far from clear why liberals and progressives are still supporting the ludicrous surrender of our most essential rights to operate freely and make a living? Why do the tech companies stick with a narrative that is becoming increasingly shaky? Why does Facebook deploy its robots to silence anyone who doesn’t agree with the World Health Organization? Why, in the most blatant violation of freedom of speech, has Youtube been removing  content and alternative views presented by frontline scientists and medical doctors  such as Dr. Erickson’s Covid19 Briefing? For those who don’t remember, just two months ago the same American press, that is now rallying against dissenting American doctors, was criticizing China for silencing its own medical professionals who insisted upon telling the truth.  What is it about David Icke’s message that brings to light the true authoritarian nature of Google, Facebook and Twitter? Why are the tech corporations united against those who see 5G as a global menace? Whether the 5G dissenters are right or wrong, there is no health risk to any of us from people who express their thoughts and are upset by radiation.

It may be too depressing to admit that in the West, it is the tech companies, rather than the state, that display the most authoritarian tactics. But they are not alone in this battle. What we see is a broad alliance among the so-called progressives, the liberals and the bitterest Orwellian enemies of freedom and speech rights.

The division we see in contemporary society is not of a socio-economic nature, it is not rich vs. poor, it is not political, it has nothing to do with Left or Right, it is not even cognitive, it is all about Athens and Jerusalem. Athens teaches us how to think for ourselves, while Jerusalem dictates what to think, what to say and who not to listen to. Athens pushes for an Agora: an open marketplace of ideas dominated by tolerance and pluralism while Jerusalem adheres to a set of beliefs, and as is typical with beliefs, the more they are removed from factuality and rationality the stronger the belief happens to be.  

It does not come as a surprise to many of us that some progressives and liberals are still very pessimistic, as if they try to save the ridiculously farfetched predictions made by our state ‘scientists’ two months ago. They cling to predictions that have proven to be grossly wrong and by unheard of proportions. I guess that the progressive worldview is not a political position, it is a mental state and it is actually of a very problematic supremacist nature. Progressives are those who believe that those who do not agree with them are somehow inferior: ‘reactionaries’ so to say. To be a progressive is to believe that your view isn’t just right, it is actually superior, scientifically and analytically even if the facts and the rules of logic suggest the opposite. 

In my latest book, ‘Being in Time,’ I reached the conclusion that the progressive worldview is probably choseness’ final stage. I guess that my old insight has now materialized into a public awareness. I can only thank Covid-19 for that. 

SPACEX: CAMEL’S NOSE UNDER THE TENT OF SPACE MILITARIZATION

Written and produced by SF Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson

In the last several decades, and certainly in the post-9/11 environment in which the previous restrictions on the militarization of the American society largely disappeared, the US national security establishment has expand not only by creating new programs and agencies, but also by co-opting non-state actors. Many a US think-tank is now little more than an extension of some US government agency, conducting research to validate previously arrived-at conclusions in furtherance of a specific institutional agenda. Likewise many corporations have gone beyond being mere defense or intelligence contractors. Rather, their business activities are from the outset designed to be readily weaponizable, meshing seamlessly with the armed services and intelligence agencies.

It is not entirely clear how the process works, for there does not appear to be a system of contract awards for specific deliverables. Rather, it seems these capabilities are developed on the initiative of specific businesses which speculate their efforts will be utilized by the US national security establishment ever on the lookout for technological “game-changers”. Moreover, given the unchecked growth of the US national security budget, these entrepreneurs can operate in high confidence their efforts will also be financially rewarded by the intelligence and defense establishments, even if they are not commercially viable.

There have been numerous examples of initially civilian applications being put to use for the benefit of US national security institutions. Facebook has made its databases available to various agencies to test facial recognition technologies, for example. Google and Amazon make their cloud capabilities available to the Pentagon and the intelligence communities. The opposition to China’s Huawei 5G networks and cell phones appears to be motivated by the concern these systems do not have backdoors installed for the benefit of US national security state.

Elon Musk’s business empire has benefitted from its proximity to the US national security state. Musk, an immigrant from the Republic of South Africa, has made his initial fortune by creating PayPal. While Musk has sold his remaining interest in PayPal in 2002, that entity has since then engaged in furthering US national security agendas by blocking payments to organizations which were critical of US policies. This, however, is probably more of a reflection of the subservience of US tech firms to the US government than of Musk’s original intent.

Nevertheless, the timing of Musk’s departure from PayPal and the entry into the space business is noteworthy. Already in the late 1990s, there were rumblings in the United States about the desirability of militarizing space and building up anti-ballistic missile defenses, ostensibly against the so-called “rogue states” of North Korea and Iran. These initiatives gained considerable impetus in 2001, following the election of the Bush-Cheney administration which promptly moved to end the ABM Treaty as the first step toward the future of weaponization of space.

Space-X’s establishment in 2002, the same year the ABM Treaty collapsed due to the Bush Administration abrogation, seems entirely too convenient to be a mere coincidence, even though the stated aims of the company are mainly commercial. Still, it is easy to imagine why a firm focused on the development of low-cost, possibly reusable, space launch vehicles would be useful to the Pentagon. Creating a government program with the same objective would have attracted unnecessary attention. There would be budget appropriations battles, congressional testimony, various forms of oversight, and the inevitable domestic and international opposition to such destabilizing and provocative initiatives. Providing Space-X with technological assistance, allowing it to hire government specialists, then giving it access to lucrative government space launch orders, is a far more attractive proposition. Moreover, the bypassing of the normal defense contracting system actually meant considerable cost savings, thanks to Musk’s red tape-cutting techniques. Its design bureau functioned in a fashion akin to Lockheed’s famous “skunk works” which developed extremely ambitious projects such as the U-2 and SR-71 in large part thanks to being able to fly “under the radar” (no pun intended). However, since that time Lockheed ballooned into a massive “too big to fail” defense contractor which delivers costly and poorly performing aircraft.

Musk’s fantasies about colonizing Mars and selling seats on orbital space flights proved a very effective cover for the corporation’s core military applications. Moreover, Space-X’s status as a private corporation allows it to defray some of the research and development costs through genuine commercial activities. Yet one has to wonder whether SpaceX success would have been as spectacular if it weren’t for privileged access to government facilities. SpaceX has been able to piggy-back on the massive US government investment in space launch facilities. It is able to operate out of not only Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center, but even from the Vandenberg Air Force Base. The speed with which SpaceX was able to develop, test, and deploy several different new rocket engine design of the Kestrel, Merlin, Raptor, and Draco families also may be due to privileged access to technologies developed for NASA and military space programs.

Even though SpaceX was founded in 2002, it won a $100 million USAF space launch contract in 2005 and the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) contract in 2006, even though the first orbital mission of the Falcon I rocket would not take place until 2008. USAF awarded another $1 billion contract to SpaceX in early 2008, even before the first Falcon I flight. SpaceX has become the de-facto research and development branch of NASA when it comes to manned spaceflight. The 2014 NASA contract for the Crew Dragon has so far resulted in one successful docking with the International Space Station, though without a crew on board, and was followed by a successful splashdown. The larger Starship reusable heavy manned spacecraft is expected to start flying in the 2020s.

Competition from United Launch Services and even Boeing notwithstanding, there is little doubt SpaceX is to US manned spaceflight what Boeing is to heavy commercial aircraft and Lockheed-Martin to “fifth-generation” fighters. It has become the primary go-to contractor of such systems for both commercial and military US government applications, with the competitors being maintained in existence with occasional contracts largely as insurance against spectacular failure of SpaceX.

SpaceX portfolio of reusable space launch vehicles, manned spacecraft, and most recently also satellites means that the company is well positioned to serve as a one-stop shopping center for the newly created branch of the US armed forces. Given the United States’ desire to weaponize space as part of its effort to undermine strategic nuclear deterrence of rival powers, namely the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, there is every reason to expect SpaceX will be a recipient of considerable financial largesse from the USSF.

Arguably the most intriguing project SpaceX is pursuing is Starlink, a proposed network of over four thousand miniature satellites whose ostensible aim is to provide broadband internet service to the entire planet. However, the interest in Starlink demonstrated by the US military suggests that, once again, this is at the very least a dual-use project. Articles discussing the military’s interest in Starlink cite the possibility of it becoming the replacement for the aging J-STARS airborne ground target acquisition radars, suggesting these satellites’ emissions can be used to track moving land objects.. If that is indeed the case, they could also serve the role of anti-ballistic missile warning satellites, and even be used to track stealth aircraft, since the constellation of satellites would function as a massive distributed multi-static radar array.

The mad pace of SpaceX has not been without mishaps. The Crew Dragon, in particular, suffered a number of embarrassing failures, and it may yet be that the corner-cutting hell-for-leather approach the corporation may yet lead to disaster when applied to the considerably more demanding problem of manned spaceflight. Other private entrepreneurs, such as Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, either suffered fatal accidents that greatly delayed their respective programs or prompted their shut-down. G_7 SpaceX, however, differs from them in that its main customer is the US government that is greatly interested in having the USSF dominate the Earth’s orbit in the same way as the USN dominates the global ocean by establishing large-scale permanent presence of US military personnel in space. The US government has gambled SpaceX will deliver products necessary for such domination. Whether it can do that still remains to be seen.

باي باي أميركا جغرافيا العالم تُرسَم من جديد

محمد صادق الحسيني

في سبعينيات القرن الماضي، وفي معرض حديث صحافي له حول الصراع العربي الاسرائيلي، قال مستشار الامن القومي آنذاك، زبيغنيو بريجنسكي، باي باي PLO، ايّ وداعاً منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية…!

وهو بالطبع كان يقصد وداعاً للقضية الفلسطينية وثوارها نهائياً…!

ولكن القضية الفلسطينية والمنظمة لا زالت حية وحملة راية النضال والتحرير صاروا ذوي بأس اشدّ، رغم انف بريجنسكي، وحاملي تلك الراية الهادفة الى تحرير فلسطين وإعادة شعبها الى ارضه المغتصبة وإقامة دولته المستقلة وهم باقون على هذه الارض، بينما ذهب بريجنسكي وهو يمنّي النفس بزوال المنظمة ورواد التحرير…!

وها نحن اليوم نصل الى لحظة الحقيقة، التي تعكس موازين القوى الدولية والإقليمية والمحلية، والتي تجعلنا نقول: باي باي أميركا. نودع هذا البلد الذي هزم في كلّ معاركه بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية وها هو يُهزم في معركة وباء كورونا المنتشر في أرجاء العالم، ليس فقط من خلال فشل الإدارة الأميركية في التصدي للوباء، على أرض الولايات المتحدة، وانما من خلال الفشل الأكبر، على صعيد العالم أجمع، الذي لم يفاجأ بهذا الفشل.

فعندما يقوم الملياردير الصيني، جاك ما ( Jack Ma )، مؤسس وصاحب شركة علي بابا للتسوّق الالكتروني، بتقديم ثمانين مليون دولار لحكومة أوكرانيا لمساعدتها في التصدي لوباء كورونا، في الوقت الذي لم تقدّم فيه واشنطن لهذه الدولة، التي تحتاج المساعدة، سوى مليون ومئتي الف دولار، فإنّ هذا يعني الكثير…!

اذ انّ النشاط والحضور الصينيين في أوكرانيا لا يقتصر على هذا الملياردير وانما يتكامل مع نشاط الدولة الصينية، التي تستثمر أموالا طائلة في مجالات اقتصادية عدة، في هذا البلد الأوروبي الصناعي.

علماً انّ أهمّ تلك الاستثمارات هي تلك التي لا زالت قيد التفاوض، بين الحكومة الصينية وتلك الاوكرانية، حول شراء الصين للجزء الأكبر من المجمع الصناعي الاوكراني، الغاية في الأهمية، وهو مجمع: موتور سيخ Motor Sich. علماً ان هذا المجمع يضمّ أحد أكبر وأهمّ مصانع محركات الطائرات وتوربينات الغاز، التي تستعمل في محطات الطاقة، في العالم كله.

وانطلاقاً من هذا المثال، على الدور الصيني في مساعدة الدول المحتاجة في مواجهة وباء كورونا، فلا بدّ من الاشارة الى بعض العناصر الهامة، التي أدّت الى هزيمة الولايات المتحدة في الحرب العالمية البيولوجية التي لا زالت بعض معاركها في أوْجها او على اشدّها. ومن اهم تلك العناصر ما يلي:

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ـ عدم امتلاك الولايات المتحدة لقاعدة البيانات اللازمة للتصدي لهذا الوباء، بسرعة ونجاعةٍ، كما فعلت الصين. اما سبب عدم امتلاكها لهذه القاعدة، التي تسمّى: «قاعدة البيانات الضخمة، او Big Data Base «، فيعود الى عدم امتلاكها للتكنولوجيا الضرورية لهذا الأمر. وهي التكنولوجيا التي يطلق عليها تكنولوجيا الجيل الخامس، او تكنولوجيا (5 G)، وما علينا الا النظر الى تصرفات الولايات المتحدة تجاه شركة هواوي، رائدة هذه التكنولوجيا في العالم، والحرب الشعواء التي تشنّها ضدّها على مستوى العالم. خاصة أنّ واشنطن تعلم تمام العلم انّ من يمتلك هذه التكنولوجيا هو مَن سيمتلك كرسي القيادة في العالم أجمع.

الصين استثمرت في قطاع المعرفة والعلوم وتطوير التكنولوجيا وتأهيل القوى البشرية، الضرورية لإدارة الحياة البشرية، في الصين وغيرها، مستقبلاً.

اما الولايات المتحده فقد استثمرت او استنفذت قدراتها المالية، ومنذ بداية الستينيات وحرب فيتنام في القرن الماضي وحتى اليوم، في سلسلة حروب عبثية فاشلة جعلتها أقرب الى الدولة الفاشلة غير القادرة على تأمين الكمامات حتى للأطباء الأميركيين في اهمّ المستشفيات الاميركية وليس فقط في المستشفيات الحكومية البائسة.

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ـ عدم اقتصار الفشل، في مواجهة وباء كورونا، على الولايات المتحدة فقط وإنما امتداده الى أدواتها، في العالم أجمع. وهنا نشير بشكل محدّد الى كلّ من:

*الاتحاد الأوروبي.

*حلف شمال الأطلسي.

فعلى صعيد الاتحاد الأوروبي، وعند بدء اجتياح الوباء للدول الأوروبية، وعلى رأسها إيطاليا الأكثر تضرراً، امتنعت بقية الدول الأعضاء في الاتحاد الأوروبي عن تقديم أيّ دعم للحكومة الايطالية. لا بل إنّ حكومات مثل الحكومة الألمانية والهولندية قد منعت شركات القطاع الخاص من بيع مستلزمات طبية لإيطاليا وهي في أمَسّ الحاجة اليها. وكذلك فعلت الولايات المتحدة طبعاً، والتي لم تكتفِ بذلك، بل قرصنت كميات كبيرة من المستلزمات الطبية من شركات إيطالية، ونقلتها الى الولايات المتحدة بواسطة طائرات النقل العسكرية الاميركية، التي لا تخضع لرقابة الدولة الإيطالية.

كما استخدمت دول الاتحاد الأوروبي هذه السياسة تجاه اسبانيا ودول البلطيق، التي لم تجد من يقدّم لها المساعدة سوى روسيا والصين، تماماً كما حصل مع إيطاليا، عندما أقامت روسيا والصين جسراً جوياً نقل كميات ضخمة من المساعدات الطبية، الى جانب مئات الكوادر الطبية والاختصاصيين في الحرب البيولوجية والكيماوية والنووية (مهمات تطهير وتعقيم المستشفيات والمنشآت العامة).

ولعلنا نذكر قيام الرئيس الصربي بتقبيل العلم الصيني، كتعبير عن عمق شكره للصين حكومة وشعباً، وكذلك قيام الكثير من الإيطاليين باستبدال علم الاتحاد الأوروبي بعلم الصين او روسيا.

وهو ما يعني فشل الإدارة الأميركية السياسية، في أوروبا في تثبيت او تعزيز نفوذها في هذه القارة، الأمر الذي اضطرها للطلب من المسؤولين الألمان وغيرهم من التحرّك تجاه دول البلقان لعدم إفساح المجال لمزيد من تعزيز النفوذ الصيني الروسي في هذه المنطقة من العالم. وقد أجرت المستشارة الألمانية سلسلة اتصالات مع حكومات دول البلقان ثم أعلن الاتحاد الأوروبي عن تشكيل هيئة، أسماها: حملة المجموعة الأوروبية (Europe Team Campain) لمساعدة تلك الدول.

اما على صعيد حلف شمال الأطلسي، الأداة العسكرية للولايات المتحدة في أوروبا والعالم، فلا بدّ من التأكيد على انّ فشله لم يكن أقلّ من فشل الاتحاد الأوروبي، في التصدّي لوباء كورونا، فبدلاً من قيام قواعده العسكرية، المنتشرة في كلّ الدول الاوروبية، بما في ذلك دول البلقان، بتقديم المساعدات للدول المحتاجة، وبفتح مستشفياته العسكرية لمعالجة المصابين بالوباء، فانّ هذا الحلف قد صمَّ آذانه وأغلق عيونه عما يحصل في دول تمركز قواعده.

وهو الأمر الذي جعل كلاً من الصين الشعبية وروسيا تنطلق للإمساك بزمام المبادرة في تقديم المساعدات الطبية والتقنية لكلّ الدول المحتاجة. حيث أرسلت وزارة الدفاع الروسية والصينية عشرات طائرات النقل العسكرية، محمّلة بالمساعدات، وكان من بين الدول التي تلقت مساعدات من هذا النوع الولايات المتحدة نفسها.

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ـ لكن الأمر لا يقتصر على المساعدات الطبية، المقدّمة من الصين الشعبية وروسيا وجمهورية كوبا الى الدول التي احتاجت لها، بل يتعدّى ذلك الى الأبعاد الاقتصادية والسياسية والعسكرية والاستراتيجية، على صعيد العالم كله. اذ انّ هذا الدور والحضور الدولي الواسع الذي قامت به كل من الصين الشعبية وروسيا يعزز نفوذهما ودورهما الدوليين، وعلى كلّ الأصعدة. الأمر الذي يضع الموقع الأميركي في الدرجة الثانية، من حيث التأثير على السياسات الدولية وبالتالي على طرق وأساليب حلّ الصراعات الدوليّة القائمة حالياً. كما أنّ هذا الواقع يخلق الظروف الموضوعية الضرورية لهندسة العلاقات الدولية على أسس جديدة، او تغيير قواعد الاشتباك كما يقال بلغة العسكريين، ونعني بأسس العلاقات الدولية الجديدة تلك القائمة على التعاون الاقتصادي والتفاهم المشترك واحترام قواعد القانون الدولي الناظمة لكلّ العلاقات الدولية.

وهو الأمر الذي سيقود الى تغيير جذري في كلّ مجالات حياة المجتمع البشري، والى وضع أفضل مما هو عليه الآن، خاصة أنّ التكنولوجيا المعلوماتية الجديدة سيكون لها الدور الأساسي، في كلّ الخطط والعلاقات المشتركة بين البشر في المستقبل، والتي من بينها وسائل وأدوات الإنتاج في القطاع الاقتصادي.

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ـ وبالنظر الى التراجع الذي شهده الدور الأميركي وأدواته الأوروبية، على صعيد النفوذ في العالم كما في مجال التطور العلمي التكنولوجي، فقد اقترح الكاتب الأميركي دانييل پي ڤايديخ (Daniel P. Vajdich) في موضوع نشره في مجلة

The Meaning of Corona: Gilad Atzmon at Jason Liosatos Outside The Box.

BY GILAD ATZMON

Jason & Gilad.png

In this interview I elabore together with Jason Liosatos on the prospect of a Corona paradigm shift, escalating the Coronavirus crisis into a criminal investigation. Is it a bio-lab accident, or may be a bio-weapon mutating into a mass killer? who could and should investigate the possible culprit(s)? I offer some basic mathematical tools that could help to track down and identify the possible origin of the virus. If you regard yourself as a critical being you may enjoy this conversation.

To learn more about the Corona being a possible crime scene: https://gilad.online/writings/2020/4/11/a-viral-pandemic-or-a-crime-scene

Interstate competition swallows Bolsonaro´s Government

February 18, 2020

Fabio Reis Vianna for The Saker Blog

When U.S. President Donald Trump announced on December 2 the taxation of Brazilian and Argentine steel, restoring the immediate effect of the “tariffs on all steel and aluminum sent to the United States by these countries,” the amateur members of Bolsonaro´s government were unable to hide their disbelief in their faces of disappointment.

Even with reality falling on their heads, the blindness of the upper echelons of the government regarding the current geopolitical moment is so great that the only character who has perhaps given any hint of understanding was Vice President General Hamilton Mourão, by drawing a parallel between what happened and what, according to his words, he would say about a “characteristic of this geopolitical tension that we are experiencing, which generates protectionism (and) is an anti-cyclical movement in relation to globalization.

Even if his words make sense, what seems to escape the understanding of the vice-president of the Republic and the members of the current government as a whole is the deepest reality of the multipolar world that has been gradually unveiling itself since the beginning of the new century and that, according to the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro(UFRJ) professor José Luís Fiori, intensified between the years 2012 and 2013 with the election of Vladimir Putin and the arrival to power of Xi Jinping.

It should be noted, however, that this multipolar world misunderstood by the strategists of the current Brazilian government (if they exist…), is in no way accepted by the current hegemonic power.

The comfortable hegemony in a unipolar world, conquered by the United States since the collapse of the Soviet Union, is now challenged by new actors that, as a consequence, tension and intensify interstate competition.

Demonstrating the total mismatch of the current Brazilian government with the reality of the international system at the beginning of the 21st century, the reaction of members of the team of the Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes, to Trump’s words is symptomatic.

In the words of one of Guedes’ assistants, “Trump has always been clear in saying that Brazil is very closed. You need something like: ‘Brazil has come up with a better plan for American companies, so I’m going to go back on the decision to raise the rates’”.

In the logic, at the very least, naive of Mr. Guedes’ team, it would therefore suffice to present the US authorities with a well-developed plan for trade opening, and then Trump would retreat.

The concrete fact is that the Brazilian government seems lost and without understanding the new configuration of the multipolar world order, not being aware of the depth of the fierce interstate competition between what, in the words of Professor Fiori, would be “the three great powers fighting for global power at the beginning of the 21st century.

The last meeting of Brics, held in Brasilia in November, was symptomatic of the unpreparedness of the Brazilian authorities in dealing with the current scenario of global dispute.

Symptomatic and worrying, because the events that permeated that summit and the reaction (or non-reaction) of guest presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin to those events demonstrated the subtlety and care with which Russia and China sought to place themselves in this “minefield” that is South America today. A territory so complex and essential to their expansionist interests.

Just three days before the Brics meeting began on Nov. 10, a coup d’état took place in Bolivia, one of the few countries in the region that still had a strategic relationship with the Eurasian axis, and especially Russia, which had planned with former ousted president Evo Morales the construction of a sophisticated nuclear plant in the Bolivian altiplano, as well as plans for lithium exploration and the development of local agriculture. The documents relating to the ambitious projects had been signed in July when Morales made a diplomatic visit to Moscow.

This could be mere coincidence, if the release of former President Lula had not occurred just two days earlier, on November 8.

In addition to being the biggest opponent of Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right government, Lula is directly responsible for the creation and success of Brics and the strengthening of relations among South American nations.

In short, former President Lula, besides remaining very popular among the less favored classes in Brazil, which automatically turns him into a threat, was directly responsible for raising the country to the status of a global player beyond its region and at the same time for articulating, from Brics, a more consistent entry of the Eurasian powers in the South American scenario.

On 13 November, the official opening of the Brics summit took place in the presence of Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi and Cyril Ramaphosa, who were received at the Itamaraty Palace by President Bolsonaro.

On the morning of that same day, November 13, the Venezuelan embassy in Brasilia would be invaded by a group linked to self-proclaimed President Juan Guaidó. This would somehow overshadow the beginning of the Brics summit.

In Brazil, some more hasty analysts even suggested that that invasion would have the tentacles of fundamentalist sectors of Bolsonaro´s government installed in the Brazilian chancellery, headed by the unbelievable Minister Ernesto Araújo.

However, when connecting the dots, we could suppose that there would be some connection between the events that occurred during that hectic month of November, even if this connection does not necessarily follow a linear logic or if the absence of one of the events annulled the occurrence of another.

From the perspective of the dispute for global power between competing states – which often takes off from economic logic itself – the events of November would make sense if looked at in a systemic way.

The new national security strategy of the United States – announced on December 18, 2017 – would make official what had been happening in practice since the emerging Russia, China, India and even Lula’s Brazil began the expansionist onslaughts in Africa and Latin America, and intensified when Russia, in an unprecedented show of force, decided in 2015 to intervene in Syria, defining the course of the war. For the United States it was necessary to put a brake on that. Whatever the cost.

Therefore, both the “classic” and undisguised military coup in Bolivia, the invasion of the Venezuelan embassy and even Trump’s announcement of steel taxation would be a message and would have the same subliminal message: either you move away from our opponents and align yourselves with our strategy or you will suffer the consequences.

Brazil is now at a serious historical crossroads. One of the most delicate issues in the current scenario is the technological warfare (disguised as a trade war) involving the Chinese giant Huawei.

The most visible representation of the advancement of competition in what could be called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the dispute over 5G technology has become one of the spearheads of the expansive forces that clash as power and influence disputes in the world system intensify.

After having already missed the opportunity to participate in important markets such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Taiwan, which closed their doors due to restrictions imposed by the Americans, the auction for the introduction of 5G technology in Brazil, originally scheduled for the year 2020, would be a golden opportunity for the Chinese to put into practice, and in a large and important market, all their know-how for the construction of a vast network of fifth generation mobile Internet.

As the Chinese Ambassador to Brazil, Yang Wanming, rightly said last November: “I am confident in the sense of cooperation between China and Brazil in 5G technology. Brazil will take into account the interest in the country’s development”.

The Chinese rationality expressed in Ambassador Wanming’s words would fit perfectly if we were living in a period of normality in international relations; but we are not, and the technological war that has the 5G prominence race as its backdrop hides the challenging moment of transition between long cycles of international politics. This is a moment in which the world power, no longer fully capable of exercising leadership in the world political system, finds itself challenged by one or more emerging powers.

This has been the case since when, around 1560, the hegemonic power of the time, Portugal, was challenged by Spain, who then took the lead in the newborn world system, to be challenged by the Netherlands and so on until the present day.

In the midst of the tug-of-war between the Chinese and Americans, Brazil will have no choice but to invent a good technical excuse and postpone the 5G auction until, probably, 2021. The National Agency of Telecommunications (Anatel) has already been rehearsing the postponement by claiming that the 5G network would interfere with the signal of open TV in rural areas, because the transmission is made by satellite dish.

In the end, the pressure that the brazilian government is probably suffering behind the scenes from the Trump administration makes us feel that the announcement of the taxing of brazilian steel via Twitter would have a retaliatory bias with regard specifically to the 5G issue. This possibility is even admitted by the unsuspected brazilian economist linked to the financial market André Perfeito.

The fact is that the Brics meeting revealed a much more docile and receptive Bolsonaro to the presence of Eurasian powers than one could have imagined. Facing a serious recession, the brazilian government had no choice but to take advantage of that moment to seek investments from Brics’ partners.

As old and experienced players on the global board, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping were able to position their pawns strategically from their arrival in Brasilia until the last minute on Brazilian soil.

Even with the not friendly invasion of the Venezuelan embassy (a strategic ally of Russia and China) on the day they would be received by Bolsonaro at the Itamaraty Palace, the not at all naive Eurasian heads of state skillfully did not comment on what had happened and tried to reconcile, throughout the summit, the convergent positions among all the partners.

The clear attempt to sabotage the meeting, in the end, only served to highlight the extreme care with which Xi and Putin sewed the treaties, trying to avoid displeasing Bolsonaro on delicate issues such as the Venezuelan issue – which he did until they accepted that the traditional parallel meeting with countries in the region would not occur.

This posture is in line with what Professor Alexander Zhebit of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) said about a fundamental characteristic of Brics since its creation. According to Zhebit, the elements of agreement would be essential for the maintenance of the internal harmony of the group. In this way, the differences would be smoothed out by the constant negotiation of common points.

Not by chance, in the final declaration of the meeting, besides the fact that the Venezuelan question was not touched, any mention of support for Iran (also a strategic Sino-Russian ally in the Eurasian context) was even avoided.

China and Russia are fully aware of the role of subservience to the United States that the Bolsonaro´s Government plays and, as good old players, have the wisdom to understand the relationship with Brazil as a long-term one.

Old countries know that diplomacy and patience live together, and in a way – as researcher Oliver Stuenkel rightly said – Xi and Putin, strategically, know that the more isolated Brazil is on the international scene, the more important they will be.

Fabio Reis Vianna, lives in Rio de Janeiro, is a bachelor of laws ( LL.B), writer and geopolitical analyst. He is currently a columnist in international politics for the printed version of the centennial brazilian newspaper Monitor Mercantil

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