حلف «أوكوس» وأبعاده الإستراتيجيّة…

الجمعة 19 تشرين الثاني 2021

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

عمرو علان

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

مقالات سابقة


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

NOVEMBER 17, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

China selling advanced warships to Pakistan is bad news for India – and America

By VT Editors -November 10, 2021

RT: As the first frigate for Islamabad’s navy was launched this week, Beijing sent a statement of intent that it has various ways and means to stop the US and its allies encircling it.https://twitter.com/RGR15051618/status/1458331241967546371?s=20

Over the past several years, India and China have increasingly become geopolitical competitors.

While the Galwan Valley border clash last year was epitomized as the biggest trigger, the mutual distrust runs much deeper and wider, not least as the United States has used India as a strategic counterweight to China’s growing power, as part of its ‘Indo-Pacific’ strategy.

In response, Beijing has solidified its economic, strategic and military partnership with Pakistan, India’s primary adversary.

While China and India continue to trade at a high level, surpassing $100 billion recently, this strategic game is firmly locked in place, and the newest development affirms this.

It has tilted from China feigning neutrality on India-Pakistan disputes, to it being much more explicit in backing Islamabad against New Delhi. Yesterday, China’s state run tabloid the Global Times announced that Beijing had “delivered to Pakistan the largest and most advanced warship China has ever exported,” selling them a Type 054A/P frigate built by the China State Shipbuilding Corporation Limited (CSSC).

The PNS Tughril is the first of four frigates being constructed for the Pakistan Navy. The ship is a highly capable platform with large surface-to-surface, surface-to-air and underwater firepower, as well as possessing stealth and surveillance capabilities.

While Pakistan has long been integrated with China’s military-industrial complex, this naval deal marks a new milestone, not only in the message it sends to India, but also in being yet another step Beijing is taking to offset Western efforts of maritime military containment around it. These efforts were accelerated with the launch of the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal earlier this year. In doing so, Pakistan’s contribution to this contest now cannot be ignored.

On paper, the People’s Republic of China has only one true ‘treaty ally’ – a country it guarantees to defend militarily – and that is North Korea, even though its relationship with Pyongyang has not functioned as a complete alliance since the end of the Cold War.

Beyond this, Beijing has maintained a longstanding foreign policy tradition of ‘non-alignment’, which crystalized during the Sino-Soviet split in the 1950s and 1960s and saw Mao Zedong pivot to support the developing world. In the decades since, China has maintained this position, at least at face value, in an effort to not antagonize the United States (which worked for a long period) and to not divide the world into dangerous Cold War blocs.

However, the world is changing. Some commentators, such as Chinese-American political scientistMinxin Pei, have argued that the inauguration of initiatives like AUKUS meant China would “lose” an arms race.

The US has indeed attempted to rally allies against Beijing anyway, with the specific focus being in the maritime sphere, with the ‘Quad’ grouping of India, Australia, Japan and the UK. All of this has involved ramping up naval exercises in the South China Sea and around China’s periphery. With China not having as many formal allies, and Beijing’s foreign policy anxiety of ‘encirclement’, the key strategic question for their policymakers has been, “How do we respond to this strategic reality in the maritime domain?”

It is China’s emerging response to this question that shows that commentators such as Pei are being short-sighted. Beijing has moved to utilize a growing number of differing strategic partnerships, inviting other countries into the game to focus on countering specific adversaries where there is a common interest.

For example, this included its first ever joint maritime patrol with Russia last month around Japan. Few contemplated that China would also play the ‘Pakistan card’, giving New Delhi and Washington pause for thought in the western Indian Ocean. The relationship between Beijing and Pakistan, which is often known as ‘China’s Iron brother’ is a formal alliance in all but name, tailored for power projection, yet informalized for strategic flexibility.

Away from the military sphere, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will become a primary strategic and commercial route to bypass the Indian subcontinent, access the Red Sea and make China’s supply routes less vulnerable to maritime attack in the East, and to avoid being “cut off” during any conflict.

Pakistan is a very important military counterweight to India. While the country is regarded in the West for being poor and often unstable, it is wrong to call it weak. Sometimes, the size comparison with an even larger India can make it seem weaker than it is. Pakistan is a nuclear power with the world’s sixth largest army and a population of over 220 million. If China can succeed in developing it, it has more economic potential than many countries in the West. And its long running conflicts with India make it almost indispensable to Beijing.

Beijing is drawing in specific quasi-allies, for specific purposes in pushing back against the US-led coalition. Traditionally, Pakistan is a land power, due to the strategic realities of its wars with India in the disputed Jammu & Kashmir territories of the northeast. For a country of its size, Pakistan’s navy is tiny. It has just two destroyers, five frigates, and two corvettes. Bar some submarines, the rest are just patrol boats.

The UK’s Royal Navy has two aircraft carriers, six destroyers and 12 frigates, while India has more than 150 ships. So what is China’s plan? It’s to help build up Islamabad’s navy as a regionally targeted strategic counterweight that ensures that India, the US, and its allies do not gain hegemony over the western Indian ocean. Beijing can then focus its own resources on the South and East China Seas and Taiwan straits, while drafting in other players.

The trend is quite clear. If the US is going to encircle China with foreign navies, then China will seek to counter that by not just building up its own navy, but also enticing other countries to do so too in their areas of interest.

It’s easy to dismiss this week’s news as no big deal, ‘China sold a ship to Pakistan, so what’, but it’s certainly not true. It marks a strategic shift by Beijing to sell bigger and stronger state-of-the-art ships to de facto allies; it was not willing to do so in the past but circumstances have changed. The more China arms and builds up Pakistan, the more difficult it becomes for New Delhi to focus on joining containment efforts against Beijing, and the weaker its geopolitical hand becomes, as it is bogged down in its own neighbourhood.

For now, it is uncertain as to whether China can upgrade alliances with any other countries, bar its partnership with Russia. Attempting to do so with Iran would rock the boat regionally in the Middle East; they are likewise prohibited from doing so with North Korea because of UN sanctions. But using its informal method of technically non-aligned, strategic partnerships, Beijing has found an answer to the US-led militarization against it, while it continues to ramp up its own capabilities.

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The U.S. Moral Superiority Complex Is Accelerating Its Decline

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Laura Ruggeri

November 4, 2021

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Someone should tell the Biden team.

Soon after the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, David Ignatius, Washington Post columnist and Deep State insider, remarked “The reversals in Afghanistan are confounding for a Biden national security team that has rarely known personal failure (…) These are America’s best and brightest, who came to the messy endgame of the Afghanistan war with spotless résumés.

Though his criticism of the national security team is understandably guarded, anyone taking a dispassionate look at the establishment liberals who are deemed America’s “best and brightest” in Washington circles would reach the conclusion that they are stronger on slogans than substance, which leads to a disconnect between ideas and implementation, and lack overseas experience: there is only one career diplomat in a senior position on the National Security Council, the director for Africa.

Their ability to display ideological cohesion at the expense of a reflexive process of dialogical thinking is remarkable but not surprising: establishment liberals do see themselves as the centre of political enlightenment. If they appear vainglorious and self-righteous it is because they are part of a power structure that produces and perpetuates these character traits. Those who entertain the possibility of failure are side-lined as bearers of bad news, the centre-stage is reserved for those who project confidence and a sense of moral superiority. As to considering opposing viewpoints, that is entirely optional.

In the same Washington Post article Ignatius observed “Failure can shatter the trust and consensus of any team, and that’s a danger now for the Biden White House. This group has been extraordinarily close and congenial during Biden’s first seven months. But you can already see the first cracks in Fortress Biden.

Are these the kind of cracks that appear when reality hits delusions, when ‘what is’ collides with ‘what ought to be’, when military logic makes a dent in the fairy tale of a benign power successfully exporting “freedom, democracy and human rights”?

Trained for hybrid warfare, Biden’s aides were suddenly dealing with a conventional military crisis and looked out of their depth. As we have seen, managing a retreat and putting a spin on it require a completely different set of skills.

There is no doubt that the optics of one of the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history damaged the reputation of the U.S. both at home and overseas and that’s why we should expect new and more aggressive initiatives to harden American soft power and tighten control of the narrative through underhand methods.

Carefully crafted narratives are crucial for the U.S. because it is selling the world a failed model of development. Trumpeting it as inclusive, gender equal, green and sustainable is like putting lipstick on a pig, it looks grotesque. Managing perceptions, denigrating alternative civilizational and economic models, and demonizing the competition is no longer working, an increasingly large segment of the world population is developing stronger antibodies to the virus of American propaganda. That’s why traditional soft-power tools — trade, legal standards, technology — are increasingly being used to coerce rather than convince.

After the Afghanistan disaster former French ambassador to Israel, UN and U.S. Gérard Araud shared his dismay on Twitter: “The absence of self-examination in the West is seen elsewhere with disbelief. Wars waged by the West have recently cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians for no result and we still lecture the world about values. Do you have any idea about how we are seen abroad?

If even allies are growing tired of America’s preaching, guess how it is going down in the rest of the world.

At the end of August, when U.S. allies were weighing what the shambolic, badly-coordinated retreat means for Western power and influence, Biden delivered a speech in which he explained “This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan. It is about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries.”

His statement signalled the intention to extricate the U.S. army from a war that had exhausted itself, politically, militarily and epistemically, but didn’t suggest that the U.S. will renounce its imperialistic ambitions. In the last twenty years there have been tectonic shifts: cyber, biological, information, cognitive and economic warfare are changing the way wars are being fought. Putting boots on the ground is no longer the best nor the only option to subjugate an adversary.

The reconfiguration of the geopolitical landscape and rapidly changing power relations also required a reassessment of priorities. Now that all eyes are on the Asia-Pacific region the question is whether Biden’s team is the best fit for the challenges U.S. power is facing.

Biden’s closest aides never learned the fundamentals of realpolitik, they hold the belief that liberal values are universally valid and the use of force (rebranded “humanitarian interventionism”) morally motivated. They never doubted that the Western model would conquer the world because they grew up at the end of the Cold War, a time that was indeed characterized by a “unipolar moment”. This period is well and truly over and the Western liberal order in its present form is a fraying system.

While the U.S. allocated resources to the destruction and destabilization of sovereign countries, and ignored the widening income gap at home, their main competitor, China, lifted millions of its citizens out of poverty and kept building state-of-the-art infrastructure at home and abroad, that is projects that make a tangible difference in people’s livelihoods. No wonder concealing the truth has become a matter of national security.

Democrats openly admit their intent to co-opt Silicon Valley to police political discourse and silence the bearers of inconvenient truths. They effectively sowed the seeds for a future where everything and everyone can be(come) a national-security threat. Glenn Greenwald revealed that Congressional Democrats have summoned the CEO’s of Google, Facebook and Twitter four times in the last year to demand they censor more political speech. They explicitly threatened the companies with legal and regulatory reprisals if they did not start censoring more. Pulling the plug on dissenting opinions and de-platforming people who challenge the dominant discourse makes a mockery of free speech, one of the rights that the U.S. claims to be defending when it selectively condemns alleged violations of human rights in other countries. Increasing censorship is also an indication that control of the narrative both at home and overseas has become vital for the U.S.

The conviction that “for America, our interests are our values and our values are our interests’’, one of the tenets of NeoCons, has been revamped by the liberal Left to aggressively promote a different kind of values and causes. A sort of symbolic capital that would allow the U.S. to maintain dominance as rights defender while its own constitutional rights are being eroded at home. Moral grandstanding can only compound the hypocrisy, but that is not stopping liberal totalitarians who are trading off freedom of speech for a child’s right to gender self-identification or for a binding gender or race quota on corporate boards.

History shows that declining empires tend to produce incompetent, self-delusional and divisive leaders who unwittingly accelerate the inevitable fall. That’s exactly what seems to be happening now. Not only the radical liberalism embraced by the Biden administration and Western elite has already antagonized millions of Americans leading to social and political polarization, it is also antagonizing foreign leaders, including the leaders of allied countries such as Hungary and Turkey who are being labelled as ‘authoritarian’. As the U.S. system of alliances is becoming increasingly fragile, dogmatic progressives in the current administration look more and more like Aesop’s donkey in a pottery shop, or a bull in a China shop, if you prefer.

The current National Security Council (NSC) is staffed with advisers who are the product of the kind of groupthink that has long been dominant in Anglo-American universities, those madrassas of the liberal Left where debate is stifled by ideological purges. The opinions and worldviews that are shaped and reinforced in these echo chambers are disseminated and amplified by the media and other industries. Countless careers depend on exporting simulacra of freedom, democracy and human rights, not only because these “experts” have internalized a conviction that these immaterial goods possess an intrinsic moral value, but also because the U.S. has little else to offer the world and leverage on, unless you count assured mutual destruction as leverage.

A case in point is The Summit for Democracy that Biden will convene in virtual mode on December 9–10, 2021, while a second meeting will take place a year later. The plan is to bring together over 100 leaders from selected governments (some of the choices have already stirred controversy among democracy advocates) plus various NGOs, activists (regime change actors) and corporations to “rally the nations of the world in defence of democracy globally” and “push back authoritarianism’s advance”, “address and fight corruption”, “advance respect for human rights”.

Though this initiative is mainly a way to strengthen ideological cohesion among allies by appealing to “common values” and conjuring up yet another global threat, namely “authoritarianism”, it effectively divides the international community into two Cold War-style blocks, friends and foes. On one side countries that earned a seal of approval for toeing the line and therefore deserve to be labelled “democratic”; on the other side a basket of deplorables that refuse to recognize the superiority of the U.S. model of governance and civilizing mission. Basically, the politically correct version of neocolonialism.

The Summit for Democracy will take place against the backdrop of AUKUS, the new Anglo-Saxon alliance that effectively joins NATO to the Asia-Pacific through Britain. What is clearly intended as an alliance against China severely damages regional peace and stability, intensifies the arms race, and jeopardizes international efforts against the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

On one hand the U.S. is flexing its military muscle, on the other hand is flexing the ideological muscle that, in the intentions of the Summit organizers, will provide the impetus to renew and strengthen the liberal international order that has served U.S. interests since the end of WW2.

The Summit for Democracy may have a higher profile convener than similar events held in the past but its premise sounds just as tone-deaf and over-ambitious. Take for example The Copenhagen Summit for Democracy that was organized in May by the “Alliance of Democracies”, a foundation set up by former NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen in 2017. Its objective was to create a Copenhagen Charter, modelled on the Atlantic Charter, having a Clause 5 similar to NATO’s Article 5, whereby “a state coming under economic attack or facing arbitrary detentions of its citizens due to its democratic or human rights stance could ask for unified support including retaliatory measures of fellow democracies.” This and other creative proposals included in the Copenhagen Charter will likely be rehashed at the Summit to be opened by Biden in December.

Rasmussen too can boast a spotless resume as cheerleader for U.S. global leadership, and that might explain why he seems trapped in a time warp and blind to the actual state of that leadership. If the reader needs further confirmation of Rasmussen’s complicated relationship with reality, here is an excerpt from an article titled ‘The Right Lessons From Afghanistan’ that he wrote for Foreign Affairs a few weeks after the Afghanistan fiasco, “The world should not draw the wrong lessons from Afghanistan. This fiasco was far from inevitable. It would also compound the folly if the world’s developed democracies stopped supporting the quest for freedom and democracy in authoritarian states and war-torn countries. That includes Afghanistan, where the United States and its partners should lend their support to the ongoing resistance efforts to oppose the Taliban.” We all know what happened to those “resistance efforts”, but Rasmussen won’t let reality get in the way of his illusions.

It is unlikely the Summit for Democracy will achieve the unspoken objective of creating an Alliance of Democracies that could bypass the UN Security Council. But it is undeniable that international law has long been under attack and is incrementally replaced with the Atlanticist concept of a “rules-based international system”, which does not have any specific rules but allows the West to violate international law under the pretext of advancing liberal ideals and exporting democracy.

It’s expected that USAID will be called to play a major role at the summit. USAID under Samantha Powers has a seat in the NSC and has been tasked with the mission to “modernize democracy assistance across the board”. This includes “supporting governments to strengthen their cybersecurity, counter disinformation and helping democratic actors defend themselves against digital surveillance, censorship, and repression.” In typical Orwellian doublespeak the U.S. is seeking help by claiming to help. With a military budget already stretched over the limit, enlisting foreign actors (both state and non-state) to do its bidding in the information and cognitive warfare becomes imperative.

NED, USAID, USAGM, “philanthropic” organizations like Open Society Foundations and the Omidyar Network have long been grooming and bankrolling journalists, activists, politicians, various types of influencers and community leaders. Their job is to paint a negative picture of China, Russia and any country resisting U.S. diktats. In Africa, just to mention one of many examples, “independent” journalists are paid to investigate Chinese companies that are involved in mining, construction, energy, infrastructure, loans and environment and portray them as causing harm to communities, environment and workers.

At the beginning of October, Secretary of State Antony Blinken unveiled a new partnership with the OECD in Paris: the overt goal was to combat corruption and promote “high-quality” infrastructure. But the partnership is part of a broader effort to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The U.S. has also appealed to the G7 and QUAD to provide the financial muscle for its Build Back Better World initiative (BW3), a rehash of Trump’s Blue Dot Network. Since the U.S. and its partners cannot respond to BRI symmetrically — they are unable to match China dollar for dollar, project for project — they are relying on virtue-signalling both as a marketing and bullying tactic. According to this initiative, infrastructure building in developing countries should comply with a certification scheme and lending rules set by the U.S. and its partners, rules that are cloaked in the familiar jargon of social and environmental sustainability, gender equality, and anti-corruption.

In case the competition with China in Asia, Europe and Africa does turn into open confrontation, the U.S. could use the BW3 to increase pressure on investment funds, global financial institutions and insurance companies to discriminate against projects that don’t meet standards set by the U.S. in return for concessions and sweeteners. When Western companies cannot compete fairly with Chinese ones, they can always rely on friendly officials in Washington to rewrite the rules of the game in their favour.

American policymakers seem unable to abandon a Cold War mentality that is essentially utopian in expectations, legalistic in concept, moralistic in the demands it places on others, and self-righteous. Some analysts believe that the source of the problem might be the force of public opinion, deemed emotional, moralistic and binary, the old “Us vs Them.”

Classical international relations theorists have long held the assumption that American public opinion has moralistic tendencies: for liberal idealists the moral foundation of public opinion, mobilized by norm entrepreneurs, opens up the possibility of positive moral action, whereas for realists, the public’s moralism is one of the main reasons why foreign policymaking should be insulated from the pressures of public opinion.

However it is myopic to conceive of public opinion and policymaking as separate entities when in fact they are both shaped by the interests of powerful elites. Public opinion doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it is swayed by new and old media that are often controlled by the same interest groups and corporations that fund the think tanks and foundations influencing U.S. foreign policy.

For instance, not only was the collusion and revolving door between government and the tech industry a feature of the Obama administration, it characterizes the Biden administration as well. The transnational interests of these elite groups are usually cloaked in a progressive, inclusive, democratic rhetoric to make their narrow agenda appear big enough so that unsuspecting ordinary people may want to claim ownership and subscribe to it. Corporate interests and national interest are a tangled web no longer subjected to public scrutiny since national level democracy has been hollowed out. When the trilemma of democracy, state, and market becomes irreconcilable, global market players call the shots without democracy or state being able to control them, oversee unceasing technological innovation (including artificial intelligence) or curb the excessive financialization of the economy.

Though U.S. attempts at nation-building result in chaos and misery for local populations, Americans haven’t given up on trying to remake the world in their own distorted image by aggressively promoting their worldviews, exporting a simulacrum of democracy and politicizing human rights issues.

They reject true multilateralism by trying to dominate the international organizations that were created to further cooperation and harmonize national interests. For the corporate donors of both the Democratic and Republican Party other countries’ national interests are a relic of the past that should be done away with. And indeed national interests would hardly be compatible with a world order led by the U.S. in partnership with global stakeholders (global corporations, NGOs, think-tanks, governments, academic institutions, charities, etc.)

These global stakeholders and their political representatives effectively want to replace the modern international system of sovereign states that is enshrined in the United Nations Charter. Under this system, commonly referred to as Westphalian system, states exist within recognised borders, their sovereignty is recognised by others and principles of non-interference are clearly spelled out. Since this model doesn’t allow the government of one nation to impose legislation in another, the U.S. loudly promotes the idea of global governance, under which a global public-private partnership is allowed to create policy initiatives that affect people in every country as national governments implement the recommended policies. Typically this occurs via an intermediary policy distributor, such as the IMF, World Bank, WHO, but many international organizations now play a similar role.

In the Biden administration we see a dangerous convergence of the national security establishment and Silicon Valley tech giants. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines both worked for WestExec, the consulting firm that Blinken cofounded with Michèle Flournoy, a former undersecretary of defence under President Obama. Google hired WestExec to help them land Department of Defense contracts. Google’s former Chief Executive Eric Schmidt made personnel recommendations for appointments to the Department of Defense. Schmidt himself was appointed to lead a government panel on artificial intelligence. At least 16 foreign policy positions are occupied by CNAS alumni. The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is a bipartisan think tank that receives large contributions directly from defence contractors, Big Tech, U.S. finance giants.

These donors spend considerable resources shaping the intellectual environment, academic research and symposia in order to build consensus around their agenda. The Biden administration also features dozens of officials hailing from the Center for American Progress (CAP), a think tank set up by John Podesta, a longtime Clintonworld staple, with George Soros’ generous contribution. The ties between Open Society Foundations (OSF) and CAP are so strong that Patrick Gaspard, the former head of OSF, was nominated president and CEO of CAP.

When government becomes the expression of global corporate interests and channels the belief system of a small, privileged elite it can be hard to tell who is leading who, who is really making policy and setting national security strategies and goals.

Biden’s national security team is the product of this corrupt system. Its members may tone down the “freedom, democracy and human rights” rhetoric if it gets in the way of achieving a particular strategic goal, but they won’t abandon it because it has proven to be effective in providing a legitimating frame and moral justification to U.S. hegemony.

If we look at the Roman empire we see how one constant theme was “expand or die”. Expansion isn’t only to be intended as territorial or military. Expanding influence, alliances, the use of Latin, the spread of Roman laws, currency, standards, culture and religion all contributed to the cohesion of the Empire. Given the current constraints to U.S. ambitions — namely the strategic partnership between China and Russia, BRI, the more assertive role played by regional powers, nervousness and conflicting interests among U.S. allies and a large budget deficit — the room for expansion has been considerably reduced. Thus the U.S. is doubling its efforts in areas where it still has room for maneuver.

Biden’s slogan “America is Back” sought to reassure allies but cannot hide the fact that the emperor is naked. Advertisers, politicians and psyops planners are continuously manipulating people into changing their perceptions of reality and making choices that ultimately do not benefit them. But no matter how hard the power-knowledge regimes of Western intellectual production work to conceal the decline, the West no longer dominates the world and the values it advocates are not unanimous, far from it. Labelling governments that don’t embrace liberal values and U.S. standards as “autocratic regimes” is just foolish sloganeering and doesn’t take into account the changing balance of power on the ground. The world is evolving toward a multipolar system and the U.S. had better take notice of it. Those serving in the NSC are still imagining a world that no longer exists, one where America has the power to force other countries into doing its bidding. The current ideological approach blinds pragmatic thinking, thus impeding discussions and negotiations.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Someone should tell the Biden team.

Here Comes China: Xi Jinping’s speech, Major geo-political events, Joint naval patrol, Shangri-La was a novel

October 25, 2021

Here Comes China:  Xi Jinping’s speech, Major geo-political events, Joint naval patrol, Shangri-La was a novel

by Amarynth for the Saker Blog

There has been a slight pause in these sitreps. This writing became overshadowed with current events, fully covered in the Saker Blog by other writers.  Because of length, we will upgrade this one today from sitrep to guest analysis.

A shortlisting of four major events since the Sitrep paused:

1.Meng Wanzhou’s triumphant return to China and a win against the Long Arm of the Law.  Meng is back at work this morning.  https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202110/1237211.shtml

2.The failed visit (yes another failed diplomatic visit) which resulted in this comical and humorous tweet from Escobar

@RealPepeEscobar

US-CHINA IN 30 SECONDS

  • Jake Sullivan – “We wanna talk about Uyghurs, Hong Kong, Taiwan, human rights.”
  • Yang Jiechi – “No.”
  • Sullivan – “Climate change.”
  • Yang Jiechi – “Maybe. If you listen.”
  • Sullivan – “So we’re coming after you big time.”
  • Yang Jiechi – “Bring it on.”

Uhm, how did that climate change maybe thing work out? Well it turns out not so well. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are among several world leaders who will not be attending the big climate summit COP26 scheduled to begin this week in Britain. The two leaders will not even give it a pretense of legitimacy. Now, that is how to give a perfect diplomatic snub!  Or is it only a diplomatic snub?  I think both China and Russia are expressing that any attempt to do productive work with a naked insane emperor is now futile.  We will probably see light speed changes from now on into multipolarity to hopefully gain a world that is now insisting on decent human values and most of all, peaceful resolution of differences.     

3.The other big event was the forming of Aukus, obviously in an attempt to create a mini-NATO against first China and Russia.

4.At the height of all of these were and are still the Taiwan issues and we will take a look at Xi Jinping’s speech a little later in this writing.

One soon finds that it becomes almost impossible to approach China from a generalist perspective. But, we have help. On the economics side, we have Michael Hudson. On the historical side, we have writers such as Godfree Roberts, Jeff J Browne and many others. On the anti-China propaganda side, we have me and a number of reliable commentators on the Saker Blog and on the social, community, and humanity side, we have a host of excellent bloggers, documentary makers, and distributors of information as if one is walking in the streets and in the countryside with your own feet. And of course, China is now taking its rightful place in the world as a leader and has improved markedly in information dissemination; they are taking their place on the world stage as wolf warriors, (Uhm, no, I did not mean to write that, of course, I meant to write ..) diplomats.

Sidebar: China is a massive country and in landmass second only to Russia. But even in this simple measurement, the west tries quibbling techniques. Read it and weep. China is only second but Canada is bigger if we measure waterways. And really, China is really smaller than the US. Take a look at the quibble: https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/largest-countries-in-the-world

In this year, the year of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, we experience an almost complete restatement and refinement of China’s goals in our world. We see internal nomenclature such as national rejuvenation, a modern socialist country, and continual reformation with comprehensive plans and strategy, and a peaceful and united domestic environment. Toward the world, we see phrases such as maintaining a revolutionary spirit, the courage to carry out a great struggle with contemporary features, courage, and skill, safeguard sovereignty, and protect security and development interests. We hear that China intends to assume a greater role in and for the world.  Aggression and hegemony are not in the blood of the Chinese people and they will strive for a human community with a shared future. There are specific goals set out. China will:

  • endeavor to improve the global governance system
  • engender peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom
  • work to strengthen solidarity of people of all other countries
  • engage in all efforts to oppose hegemony and power politics

What is the difference between Putin’s Optimistic Reasonable Conservatism and Xi’s Human Community with a Shared Future and moderately prosperous society?  I cannot see too big of a difference as the qualitative values expressed are similar although the civilizational socialization is different.  As Putin expressed his non-acceptance of woke ‘values’ in his Valdai speech, so China in the last few months took real action.  They threw the feminine men out of their television programs.  The feminine men is an inheritance from Japan to a lesser degree and Korea, to a larger degree.  China does not want girly men to become role models for their children.    They pulled the rug out from underneath expensive additional schools, acting as funnels to expensive university programs, and tutoring that basically burdened the Chinese children.  They have strengthened the Chinese schools to offer all additional education necessary, in order to have consistent educational standards.  They simply stopped computer games for younger children and limited this to no more than 3 hours per week.  They increased physical programs and education to get the kids out and about with healthy activities.  And in stark contrast to the western sphere who wants to control the kids, China just put the responsibility by law, properly and correctly in the parents’ hands.  “On Saturday, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee adopted a new law stating that China’s parents are responsible for family education.”

On Taiwan, we see Xi Jinping expressing the following: “The Taiwan question arose from weakness and chaos and will be resolved with national reunification, the one-China principle, and 1992 resolution”.

Regarding military action; we see even Putin expressing that Xi Jinping does not need to take military action.  The verbose threats come from the US and Australia.

There are three aspects that Putin and Xi Jinping express as in one voice.

  • We are in a time of momentous changes in the world.
  • Both Russia and China are prepared and can ride the waves of change in a manner that is helpful, peaceful, and supportive in and for the world. 
  • The UN (and it has been said a number of times that it needs to be updated) is still the only venue where world problems can be discussed.  From Russia, our Law is the UN Charter and this is expressed by China as well.  The rules-based concept does not feature whatsoever.

These concepts are fully supported by Putin’s speech at Valdai, and Xi Jinping’s speech at the occasion of the 50th anniversary of China’s formal joining of the United Nations.

During the years since the cold war, another momentous alliance grew almost from a grassroots level. This is the Russia / China treaty of Good Neighborliness. Here, with subtitles is what the Chinese office of foreign affairs thinks of this treaty at its 20th anniversary. China and Russia are not allies, but closer than allies:

In this atmosphere of global chaos, Xi Jinping delivered a speech this morning at the occasion of the 50th anniversary of restoration of People’s Republic of China’s lawful seat in the UN:

(Translation)

Speech by H.E. Xi Jinping

President of the People’s Republic of China

At the Conference Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Restoration Of the Lawful Seat of the People’s Republic of China

In the United Nations

25 October 2021

Your Excellency Secretary-General António Guterres,

Your Excellencies Diplomatic Envoys and Representatives of International Organizations,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

Comrades,

Fifty years ago today, the 26th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted, with an overwhelming majority, Resolution 2758, and the decision was made to restore all rights of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations and to recognize the representatives of the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the only legitimate representatives of China to the United Nations. It was a victory for the Chinese people and a victory for people of the world.

Today, on this special date, we are here to review the past history and look to the future, and that makes our gathering all the more significant.

The restoration of New China’s lawful seat in the United Nations was a momentous event for the world and the United Nations. It came as the result of joint efforts of all peace-loving countries that stood up for justice in the world. It marked the return of the Chinese people, or one-fourth of the world’s population, back to the UN stage. The importance was significant and far-reaching for both China and the wider world.

On this occasion, I wish to express, on behalf of the Chinese government and the Chinese people, heartfelt gratitude to all countries that co-sponsored and supported UN General Assembly Resolution 2758, and to pay high tribute to all countries and people that stand on the side of justice.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

Comrades,

The past five decades since New China restored its lawful seat in the United Nations have witnessed China’s peaceful development and its commitment and dedication to the welfare of all humanity.

— For these 50 years, the Chinese people have demonstrated an untiring spirit and kept to the right direction of China’s developmentamidst changing circumstances, thus writing an epic chapter in the development of China and humanity. Building on achievements in national construction and development since the founding of New China, the Chinese people have started the new historical era of reform and opening-up, and successfully initiated and developed socialism with Chinese characteristics. We have continued to unleash and develop productivity and raise living standards, and achieved a historic breakthrough of leaping from a country with relatively low productivity to the second largest economy in the world. Through much hard work, the Chinese people have attained the goal of fully building a moderately prosperous society on the vast land of China, and won the battle against poverty, thus securing a historic success in eradicating absolute poverty. We have now embarked on a new journey toward fully building a modern socialist country and opened up bright prospects for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

For these 50 years, the Chinese people have stood in solidarity and cooperation withpeople around the world and upheld international equity and justice,contributing significantly to world peace and developmentThe Chinese people are peace-loving people and know well the value of peace and stability. We have unswervingly followed an independent foreign policy of peace, stood firm for fairness and justice, and resolutely opposed hegemony and power politics. The Chinese people are a strong supporter of other developing countries in their just struggle to safeguard sovereignty, security and development interests. The Chinese people are committed to achieving common development. From the Tazara Railway to the Belt and Road Initiative, we have done what we could to help other developing countries, and have offered the world new opportunities through our own development. During the trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic, China has been active in sharing COVID response experience with the world, and has sent large quantities of supplies, vaccines and medicines to other countries, and deeply engaged in science-based cooperation on COVID-19 origins tracing, all in a sincere and proactive effort to contribute to humanity’s final victory over the pandemic.

For these 50 years, the Chinese people have upheld the authority and sanctity of the United Nations and practiced multilateralism,and China’s cooperation with the United Nations hasdeepened steadily.China has faithfully fulfilled its responsibility and mission as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, stayed true to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and upheld the central role of the United Nations in international affairs. China has stood actively for political settlement of disputes through peaceful means. It has sent over 50,000 peacekeepers to UN peacekeeping operations, and is now the second largest financial contributor to both the United Nations and UN peacekeeping operations. China has been among the first of countries to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals. It has taken the lead in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, accounting for over 70 percent of global poverty reduction. China has acted by the spirit of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and earnestly applied the universality of human rights in the Chinese context. It has blazed a path of human rights development that is consistent with the trend of the times and carries distinct Chinese features, thus making major contribution to human rights progress in China and the international human rights cause.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

Comrades,

The trend of the world, vast and mighty, prospers those who follow it and perishes those who go against it. Over the last 50 years, for all the vicissitudes in the international landscape, the world has remained stable as a whole, thanks to the concerted efforts of people of all countries. The world economy has grown rapidly, and innovation in science and technology has kept breaking new ground. A large number of developing countries have grown stronger, over a billion people have walked out of poverty, and a population of several billion are moving toward modernization.

In the world today, changes unseen in a century are accelerating, and the force for peace, development and progress has continued to grow. It falls upon us to follow the prevailing trend of history, and choose cooperation over confrontation, openness over seclusion, and mutual benefit over zero-sum games. We shall be firm in opposing all forms of hegemony and power politics, as well as all forms of unilateralism and protectionism.

— We should vigorously advocate peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, which are the common values of humanity, and work together to provide the right guiding philosophy for building a better world. Peace and development are our common cause, equity and justice our common aspiration, and democracy and freedom our common pursuit. The world we live in is diverse and colorful. Diversity makes human civilization what it is, and provides a constant source of vitality and driving force for world development. As a Chinese saying goes, “Without achieving the good of one hundred various schools, the uniqueness of one individual cannot be achieved.” No civilization in the world is superior to others; every civilization is special and unique to its own region. Civilizations can achieve harmony only through communication, and can make progress only through harmonization. Whether a country’s path of development works is judged, first and foremost, by whether it fits the country’s conditions; whether it follows the development trend of the times; whether it brings about economic growth, social advancement, better livelihoods and social stability; whether it has the people’s endorsement and support; and whether it contributes to the progressive cause of humanity.

— We should jointly promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, and work together to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity. The human race is an integral community and Earth is our common homeland. No person or country can thrive in isolation. Humanity should overcome difficulties in solidarity and pursue common development in harmony. We should keep moving toward a community with a shared future for mankind, and jointly create a better future. To build a community with a shared future for mankind is not to replace one system or civilization with another. Instead, it is about countries with different social systems, ideologies, histories, cultures and levels of development coming together for shared interests, shared rights and shared responsibilities in global affairs, and creating the greatest synergy for building a better world.

— We should stay committed to mutual benefit and win-win results, and work together to promote economic and social development for the greater benefit of our people. As ancient Chinese observed, “The essence of governance is livelihood; and the essence of livelihood is adequacy. Development and happy lives are the common aspirations of people in all countries. Development is meaningful only when it is for the people’s interest, and can sustain only when it is motivated by the people. Countries should put their people front and center, and strive to realize development with a higher level of quality, efficiency, equity, sustainability and security. It is important to resolve the problem of unbalanced and inadequate development, and make development more balanced, coordinated and inclusive. It is also important to strengthen the people’s capacity for development, foster a development environment where everyone takes part and has a share, and create a development paradigm where its outcome benefits every person in every country more directly and fairly. Not long ago, at the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly, I proposed a Global Development Initiative with the hope that countries will work together to overcome impacts of COVID-19 on global development, accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and build a global community of development with a shared future.

We should step up cooperation, and work together to address the various challenges and global issues facing humanity. The international community is confronted by regional disputes as well as global issues such as terrorism, climate change, cybersecurity and biosecurity. Only with more inclusive global governance, more effective multilateral mechanisms and more active regional cooperation, can these issues be addressed effectively. Climate change is Nature’s alarm bell to humanity. Countries need to take concrete actions to protect Mother Nature. We need to encourage green recovery, green production and green consumption, promote a civilized and healthy lifestyle, foster harmony between man and Nature, and let a sound ecology and environment be the inexhaustible source of sustainable development.

We should resolutely uphold the authority and standing of the United Nations, and work together to practice true multilateralism. Building a community with a shared future for mankind requires a strong United Nations and reform and development of the global governance system. Countries should uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core, the international order underpinned by international law and the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. International rules can only be made by the 193 UN Member States together, and not decided by individual countries or blocs of countries. International rules should be observed by the 193 UN Member States, and there is and should be no exception. Countries should respect the United Nations, take good care of the UN family, refrain from exploiting the Organization, still less abandoning it at one’s will, and make sure that the United Nations plays an even more positive role in advancing humanity’s noble cause of peace and development. China will be happy to work with all countries under the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits to explore new ideas and new models of cooperation and keep enriching the practice of multilateralism under new circumstances.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

Comrades,

A review of the past can light the way forward. Standing at a new historical starting point, China will stay committed to the path of peaceful development and always be a builder of world peace. China will stay committed to the path of reform and opening-up and always be a contributor to global development. China will stay committed to the path of multilateralism and always be a defender of the international order.

As an ancient Chinese poem reads, “Green hills immerse in the same cloud and rain. The same moon lights up towns however far away.” Let us join hands, stand on the right side of history and the side of human progress, and work tirelessly for the lasting and peaceful development of the world and for building a community with a shared future for mankind!

Thank you.

http://www.news.cn/english/2021-10/25/c_1310267311.htm

………………………

To my great surprise, Xi Jinping did not say one word about Taiwan, but sketched out the past as a harbinger of the future while cementing the legal status of China, which is not the legal status of Taiwan.  I guess he feels that the contretemps with Taiwan is not important enough.

On the speeches, we may say that those are lofty ideals. But we also see practical and real interaction between China and Russia. The two countries just completed a first joint naval patrol in waters of the West Pacific,  between October 17th to the 23rd, according to the Chinese Ministry of Defense. The patrol was held right after China and Russia wrapped up a joint naval exercise in the Sea of Japan from October 14th to 17th.

5 Chinese vessels and 5 Russian destroyers and frigates accompanied by six carrier-based helicopters made passage through the Tsugaru Strait (which caused Japan to run for the Prozac). Yet this Strait is not territorial waters, and warships from any country have the right to transit, which means the transit of the Chinese and Russian vessels was in line with international law. The Tsugaru Strait is narrow, only 12 miles wide at its narrowest point from the Sea of Japan to the Pacific Ocean.  This RT link has the photography and videos:  https://www.rt.com/news/538265-russia-china-pacific-patrol/

What is also very interesting is that it is said that the sea lane between these two islands is specifically maintained for quick access of US submarines to the Pacific Ocean.  A Chinese expert opined as follows:

Encircling Japan, particularly sailing to the east side of Japan, is of significance because many key military installations are located on that side, including the US Navy base in Yokosuka, a Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times.

Many US military provocations on China in places like the Taiwan Straits and the South China Sea were launched from these bases, the expert said, noting that the joint patrol by Chinese and Russian vessels could be seen as a warning to the US and Japan, which have been rallying up to confront China and Russia, serves the goals of US hegemony, and undermines regional peace and stability.

“The joint maritime patrol is aimed at further developing the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for the new era, elevating the joint action capabilities of both nations and jointly maintaining international and regional strategic stability. It’s a part of the annual cooperation plan between the two nations …”

In bold are the most important words, and this is not a lofty ideal, but a very hard challenge to the western power and of course Japan. Also, if one looks at that area with a strategic eye, it breaks up the supposed ‘ring of fire’ to keep China contained. In addition, it is also a warning for Japan, which has been dragging its feet to come to an agreement with Russia on islands further North in the island chain.

So, we have to ask, was this a threat? No, not at all on the surface of it, but it was a stark reminder that the so-called freedom of navigation game that has been constant in the South China Sea and the Straight of Taiwan can be played by more than one player.

It is also notable that from 2019, air forces from China and Russia have conducted annual joint strategic air patrols over the East China Sea and Sea of Japan. We are now seeing very visibly one of the aspects of the development of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for the new era.

Did you see that? Did you see the evolution of the Russia / China treaty of Good Neighborliness to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership?

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/chinese-russian-warships-still-circling-japan-counterweight-us-destabilization-region

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202110/1237083.shtml

——————

As is usual, we look at a few of the China data points and I want to remind that you the Chinese governance is always refining, always testing, and prototyping new methods and systems across the spectrum of modern life, and always this is done on a grassroots level.

China is in trouble, clapped-out economically, and is going to bring the west down with it, is the message that we see with monotonous regularity.  The reality is different.   Chinese GDP expanded a whopping 9.8% in the first three quarters of 2021, and major indicators are within a reasonable range.

Evergrande – caused by poor management and that is all and the Chinese government will both let them burn, and also make them take responsibility to Chinese people first.  There will be no monopolies or other behemoth-type business structures in China that can challenge the state.  The Chinese people come first.   https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3152530/china-evergrande-crisis-caused-poor-management-exception?utm_source=rss_feed

(Evergrande has no option but to resume work and they did so today on 10 projects.  There is no quick bankruptcy for them, and certainly no bail-out).

Chinese banks have foreign-currency deposits of $1 trillion for the first time, an opportunity for Beijing to liberalize the country’s capital account. A resilient economy and strengthening currency have attracted record foreign purchases of bonds and stocks while surging demand for goods meant exporters brought back more dollars. The pace of the influx has tested the authorities’ tolerance for a strengthening yuan, with the currency now near a five-year high against a basket of its peers.

Exports grew 20% in September, up from 15.7% in August. September’s gain was higher than the median estimate of 13.3% in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Growth in imports slowed to 11% in September from 23.1% in the previous month.

China-Korea semiconductor industrial complex starts construction amid Beijing’s push for tech self-reliance. The municipal government of Wuxi and memory chip giant SK Hynix have teamed up to develop the China-Korea Integrated Circuit Industrial Park. The city is expected to become home to 19 new semiconductor-related projects with a combined investment of US$4.7 billion.

A Chinese herbal formula for coronavirus patients is undergoing clinical trials in the US for possible approval for people with mild-to-moderate symptoms of the disease. Qingfei Paidu, most commonly called QFPD, is a 21-herb formula whose name literally means lung cleansing and detoxification.

China, which pioneered controlling Covid-19 with lockdown orders and tight border rules, will  “wait and see” about adjusting its zero-tolerance policy. “We are discussing about the new strategy in China … everything is dynamic. We are ready for any possible reassessment”.  (Please do not consider this comment and the previous as an open sesame to start discussing Covid on the Saker Blog.  You all know the blog policy).

Between 1985 – 2019, the average height of a 19-year-old Chinese increased 3.5 inches, or 9 cm, supporting President Xi Jinping’s declaration in July that the country had achieved its goal of establishing a “moderately prosperous society” in time for the Party’s centenary.  This is a result of a relentless project to bring the Chinese people out of abject poverty.

An important question in auto showrooms: Can I sing karaoke in this car? The only acceptable answer is yes, as Nio and XPeng know well. Western rivals are scrambling, “We’ve identified this as a challenge,” said BMW’s Christoph Grote, “Chinese consumers are the most demanding when it comes to digital technology in the car.”

The dreaded Social Credit System which is abhorred in the West by most that do not have an idea what it is about: China’s social credit system is more of a bureaucratic interface for existing legal and regulatory systems than the widespread Western perception of a dystopian algorithm that uses “big-data collection and analysis to monitor, shape, and rate individual’s behavior”. Social credit includes new enforcement mechanisms but is an extension of the law rather than an independent rule-making authority, and all data collection and penalties require a legal basis.

This was mentioned before but as a reminder. When the Chinese students started being hunted and haunted specifically in the US, all the major universities opened campuses in China (they could not afford to lose the Chinese money). For Harvard, it did not take too long to become part of the propaganda war on China and they are moving their Chinese language program from Beijing to National Taiwan University, replacing a partnership with Beijing Language and Culture University. Harvard’s Jennifer Liu said the decision was made because of a perceived lack of friendliness from the host institution, Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU).

This gives a taste of what is happening in China and now we need to give the regular shout-out to Godfree Roberts’ Here Comes China newsletter that supplies these data points. Subscribe here – it is worth it!: https://www.herecomeschina.com/#subscribe

—————–

In the next few China Sitreps, I will post a selection of documentaries and information on those aspects of China’s history that remain western talking points, whether correct or not. This is Tibet, Tiananmen, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and the border skirmishes with India as a shortlist. Today we start with Tibet.

Tibet – if you have the romantic western mindset about Tibet, let’s revise that. Your knowledge most certainly comes from a book, movies, and a whole Shangri-La industry spawned in the wake.

Tibet was a dramatically brutal theocratic serfdom and never-ending debt peonage. Under the Dalai Lama in Tibet before China’s takeover:

  • 98% of the population were serfs or slaves or kept in debt peonage.
  • Disobedient serfs endured torture
  • The 14th Dalai Lama’s family owned 6,000 serfs
  • 95% of the population were illiterate
  • In 2015: 0.52% were illiterate
  • And in 2020: extreme poverty was eliminated in Tibet

From this documentary, you will learn that Tibetan Buddhism was not the sweet, and romantic Buddhist religion based on peace and high ideals and spinning colorful prayer wheels and praying in monasteries. It was based on the Indian Caste System where an extreme minority controlled the vast majority and kept them in abject poverty.

You will also learn why, on the death of a Dalai Lama (meaning God on earth), the successor, the soul boy was always found and appointed from a very poor family, in order to avoid any power struggles between the very few rich families.  The connection with the Roman Catholic Pope will astound you. And then you will see brutal sights of religious and shamanic powers whipped into inhumane forces. You will learn that Dalai Lamas regularly fled Tibet, sometimes to flee British Forces.

Tibet was the first lever that was used by at that time British forces, and this lever was seamlessly taken over by the rest of the west, to break up China, even after some territory had to be given to Japan and some even to Korea. You will learn how the Brits just simply carved out pieces of Chinese land from the Indian side. This effort to break up China is still in full swing today, by the current hegemon in its frenzied dying attempts to own the whole world using weapons, war, lawfare, internal destabilization, the appointment of external presidents, propaganda, kidnapping of high officials, outright assassinations, drugs, biological substances, and poison. Of course from the 1950s, CIA involvement around Tibet is well documented even to training ethnic Tibetans in Colorado for a planned Tibetan revolution.

You will also see one of the reasons why China will not let itself be hegemonized today, specifically with its history of never fighting a war of conquest in its 4,000 years of existence. The population stands firm and resolute. Never aired footage in the west will have you take part in the joy when religions serfdom and debt peonage was abolished in 1959 and the Tibetan Religious Serfs could burn their debt peonage documents.

If your stance in life is ‘Free Tibet’, which mine was, once upon a time before I did my homework, consider if you were romanticized by the CIA and a novel called Lost Horizon (1933) by English writer James Hilton. Two movies followed (Frank Capra directing one), a Broadway play, and the world’s first mass-produced paperback, all called Lost Horizon, set in a fictional utopian lamasery called Shangri-La, high in the mountains of Tibet. ‘Free Tibet’ for you may just be based on the fiction of Shangri-La.

The New Orwellian World Based On Control & Surveillance

14 OCTOBER 2021

Sonja van den Ende

Source

The New Orwellian World Based On Control & Surveillance

I wrote about it many times, we can see it’s progressing, but only in the so-called developed world. A dystopian society, which is doomed to fail, eventually. A world of surveillance, health-dictatorship, QR codes, cashless payments and for most people unlivable, it resembles the old systems like fascism or totalitarian communism, in a new outfit, which I will call a technocratic based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) totalitarian system, but all systems and ideologies that become totalitarian will fall, history has learned.

A lot of evidence about the dystopian new society, based on so-called pandemic, or as I would call it a new technocratic dictatorial, including health, system has been put in place in many parts of the developed world, tests for this new worldwide including social credit system has been performed in Africa, as I wrote before experiments are conducted in Africa to implement this social credit system, based on a pandemic, with the cooperation of GAVI, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and with the World Economic Forum. They ironically call it a “Wellnes-pass”, mind you in Africa, how utopian you can get! As we all know by now (I sincerely hope many are awake) it was never about a virus, but about control, smart cities, electrical cars, where Africa will be exploited again for Lithium, also Afghanistan, this is why the Western world had to withdraw, a geopolitical conflict is going on, not about Afghanistan as a territory, or pity the people, but about Lithium. Build Back Better, depopulation of the world, which Bill Gates and especially his father are experts in doing so are all part of the new dystopian world.

Even the Catholic Church is involved in this great experiment, in Africa of course since many years, but also in the Western world, after years of child abuse and pedophilia scandals, they are just continuing with their unchristian policies. But we must not forget that the Catholic Church is an outgrowth of the Roman Empire, or as many these days call it the British Empire, basically it’s the same, it’s all about the Western unipolar ideology and colonialism with all their excesses. So the church, i.e. the Catholic, is involved in this dystopian new world, because they have a lot of money and have their own state called the Vatican. The Protestant church is not in this position and is now seen as an ‘enemy’ of the state, especially in the Netherlands. The Dutch government has now started their ‘soft approach’ to persecute the Protestants, a deja-vu is emerging about the times of the Huguenots, it is actually the descendants of these Huguenots, who will suffer the same fate again, now in the countries they had chosen centuries ago, to be free and where people are tolerant. In the Netherlands these Protestants will be forced into lockdowns, because many of them, on religious grounds, won’t be vaccinated. Also, the Dutch government has started (with organizations) a research project, to establish if the Protestant church was involved into slavery in the Dutch East Indies. Of course they were, the whole of society was in these days, but the biggest criminals, just like now, are the rich, the elite and the Dutch royal family, who pretend to be Christian, but this Christianity is just a show, a performance for the ignorant citizens.

The Dutch parliament rejected a motion that various parties, including Forum for Democracy (FVD) submitted against the introduction of a social credit system in the Netherlands, the government can now legally introduce the social credit system, which they have already started, of course, by introducing the so-called QR Corona pass. The next step is the Co2 level and the measurement of eating meat and eventually censor the Internet, by introducing a digital pass, put on your existing pass to use the internet. The European Union (EU) Social Credit System will me much worse than the Chinese experiment, which was only conducted in a few cities. The EU social credit system is about total control, about your body, your behaviour, your private life and eventually about your physical life, when you don’t comply, there will be no mercy and no help, your life will be like a wanderer, without any benefits or life as you used to know it, be prepared.

In other parts of the Western world, like in Australia, the dystopian society has become reality already. Australia with its past and present and being part of the British Empire (BE) and under the influence of the US, preparing for a conflict with China, Australia is closest to China and we all know their new “AUKUS” a new so-called security pact between The UK, US and Australia, in what’s seen as an effort to counter China. To be prepared and outsmart China, they already started with their draconian social credit system and moreover and most worse their surveillance state has become reality, alarming reports come out of the country which was once called the land of the free is now the most repressive country in the Western world and I wonder where Amnesty International or Human Right are? Of course, they will not report, they are a tool from the same Western world, reporting only about non-complying countries like Russia, Syria or the underdeveloped countries. But Australia was always a ‘racist’ country built on the principles of murdering the Aboriginals and sending criminals to their conquered land. Canada is another example, in a different way than Australia but withe the same ideology. Of course, the uttermost worst country is the so-called democracy of Israel, where life is “hell” for most citizens, it was already worse for Palestinians, but now especially for the Orthodox Jews.

Conclusion

I would like to write a conclusion, but can we make a conclusion? I guess not, the world as we are experiencing it today, is unstable, full of conflict and polarization, with many geopolitical differences. I am afraid we are back, like the roaring twenties of the last century resulting in the grim thirties, unemployment, the introduction (by force) of a new system, designed by the elite of the Western world. Like now It’s ripe for conflict and most likely war, not like WWII but a different war, biological warfare (maybe we are already experiencing this), depopulation agenda, implemented by vaccinations and biological warfare and the introduction of AI. Eugenics (not new) is necessary according to the elite, like in the two world wars were eugenics happened through killing of soldiers on the battlefield and of course the holocaust. Now according to the elite there are too many mouths to feed and no jobs (AI) and of course the elite will not share their money with the poor. A dark time in human history has come again.

Allies’ Interests Matter? When Morals Fall, Money Comes First and Business Is Business!

9 October, 2021

Allies’ Interests Matter? When Morals Fall, Money Comes First and Business Is Business!

By Mohammed Sleem

Beirut – Amid the ongoing crisis over the Australian-French submarine deal, the United States and the United Kingdom coupled and betrayed France, stealing a 40 billion dollars’ worth deal in order to provide Canberra with nuclear armed submarines.

The action led to a serious diplomatic issue between France on one side and the US, UK and Australia on the other, prompting France to summon its ambassadors to Canberra and Washington. The submarine contract was signed in 2016 between Paris and Canberra and was ready to be approved between both countries.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian slammed the US and Australian governments over the deal, describing what happened as a “stab in the back”, adding that US President Joe Biden’s policy with his allies is the same as his predecessor Donald Trump.

As tension in France peaked, Le Drian considered the attitude of its NATO ally, the United State – which they regret – especially with regard to the common challenges and interests they have in the Indo-pacific area, were lacking coherency.

France expressed that Australia had committed a mistake regarding the partnership between the two sides, as trust was a key element in their relationship and it demanded an explanation over what has happened.

The alliance between the European country and the United States seems to be semi-broken, and the procedures for making amends to get things back on track might be hard, since accumulated incidents were heavy on Paris especially in the Trump era, who during presidency said that without America’s help during WWII, Parisians would be speaking German rather than French, in a reference to Macron’s call to form a European army for defending Europe against any potential threats.

The American-French trade dispute was basically triggered by an economic factor. Trump had imposed high tariffs on American exports to Paris in contrast to the low tariffs on French imports to the US – as with French wine. For their part, the French demanded fair import-export regulations.  

The real competition among major powers such as the US and France, mostly lies on the economic sectors and huge assets in countries where natural minerals are distributed among them without any disputes in an already agreed deal among all.

However, the paradox in this incident among these major powers is that one is willing to disregard alliances when ambitions are so bold and one is ready to take advantage of the situation for personal gains even if it may lead to a diplomatic issue and at sometimes to unwanted actions with ones allies. Ironically, what may seem illogical or may not happen is a betrayal as it is, and without any hesitation among allies when in fact they are supposed to have equal slices of the pie.

To sum up the unique occasion that took place, when ambitions are so bold and the competition reaches the seal, morals fall blatantly and money comes first and business is business, even with the allies of major powers.

Europa Scorned and Forsaken

October 8, 2021

By Alastair Crooke

Source

alia however, was a centrepiece to Paris’s strategy for European ‘strategic autonomy’. Macron believed France and the EU had established a position of lasting influence in the heart of the Indo-Pacific. Better still, it had out-manoeuvred Britain, and broken into the Anglophone world of the Five Eyes to become a privileged defence partner of Australia. Biden dissed that. And Commission President von der Leyen told CNN that there could not be “business as usual” after the EU was blindsided by AUKUS.

One factor for the UK being chosen as the ‘Indo-Pacific partner’ very probably was Trump’s successful suasion with ‘Bojo’ Johnson to abandon the Cameron-Osborne outreach to China; whereas the big three EU powers were perceived in the US security world as ambivalent towards China, at best. The UK really did cut links. The grease finally was Brexit, which opened the window for strategic options – which otherwise would have been impossible to the UK.

There may be a heavy price to pay though further down the line – the US security establishment are really pushing the Taiwan ‘envelope’ to the limit (possibly to weaken the CCP). It is extremely high risk. China may decide ‘enough is enough’, and crush the AUKUS maritime venture, which it can do.

The second ‘leg’ to this global inflection point – also triggered around the Afghan pivot into the Russo-Chines axis – was the SCO summit last month. A memorandum of understanding was approved that would tie together China’s Belt and Road Initiative to the Eurasian Economic Community, within the overall structure of the SCO, whilst adding a deeper military dimension to the expanded SCO structure.

Significantly, President Xi spoke separately to members of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (of which China is not a part), to outline its prospective military integration too, into the SCO military structures. Iran was made a full member, and it and Pakistan (already a member), were elevated into prime Eurasian roles. In sum, all Eurasian integration paths combined into a new trade, resource – and military block. It represents an evolving big-power, security architecture covering some 57% of the world’s population.

Having lifted Iran into full membership – Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt may also become SCO dialogue partners. This augurs well for a wider architecture that may subsume more of the Middle East. Already, Turkey after President Erdogan’s summit with President Putin at Sochi last week, gave clear indications of drifting towards Russia’s military complex – with major orders for Russian weaponry. Erdogan made clear in an interview with the US media that this included a further S400 air defence system, which almost certainly will result in American CAATSA sanctions on Turkey.

All of this faces the EU with a dilemma: Allies who cheered Biden’s ‘America is back’ slogan in January have found, eight months later, that ‘America First’ never went away. But rather, Biden paradoxically is delivering on the Trump agenda (continuity again!) – a truncated NATO (Trump mooted quitting it), and the possible US shunning of Germany as some candidate coalition partners edge toward exiting from the nuclear umbrella. The SPD still pays lip service to NATO, but the party is opposed to the 2% defence spending target (on which both Biden and Trump have insisted). Biden also delivered on the Afghanistan withdrawal.

Europeans may feel betrayed (though when has US policy ever been other than ‘America First’? It’s just the pretence which is gone). European grander aspirations at the global plane have been rudely disparaged by Washington. The Russia-China axis is in the driving seat in Central Asia – with its influence seeping down to Turkey and into the Middle East. The latter commands the lions’ share of world minerals, population – and, in the CTSO sphere, has the region most hungry and ripe for economic development.

The point here however, is the EU’s ‘DNA’. The EU was a project originally midwifed by the CIA, and is by treaty, tied to the security interests of NATO (i.e. the US). From the outset, the EU was constellated as the soft-power arm of the Washington Consensus, and the Euro deliberately was made outlier to the dollar sphere, to preclude competition with it (in line with the Washington Consensus doctrine). In 2002, an EU functionary (Robert Cooper) could envisage Europe as a new ‘liberal imperialism’. The ‘new’ was that Europe eschewed hard military power, in favour of the ‘soft’ power of its ‘vision’. Of course, Cooper’s assertion of the need for a ‘new kind of imperialism’ was not as ‘cuddly’ liberal – as presented. He advocated for ‘a new age of empire’, in which Western powers no longer would have to follow international law in their dealings with ‘old fashioned’ states; could use military force independently of the United Nations; and impose protectorates to replace regimes which ‘misgovern’.

This may have sounded quite laudable to the Euro-élites initially, but this soft-power European Leviathan was wholly underpinned by the unstated – but essential – assumption that America ‘had Europe’s back’. The first intimation of the collapse of this necessary pillar was Trump who spoke of Europe as a ‘rival’. Now the US flight from Kabul, and the AUKUS deal, hatched behind Europe’s back, unmissably reveals that the US does not at all have Europe’s back.

This is no semantic point. It is central to the EU concept. As just one example: when Mario Draghi was recently parachuted onto Italy as PM, he wagged his finger at the assembled Italian political parties: “Italy would be pro-European and North Atlanticist too”, he instructed them. This no longer makes sense in the light of recent events. So what is Europe? What does it mean to be ‘European’? All that needs to be thought through.

Europe today is caught between a rock and a hard place. Does it possess the energy (and the humility) to look itself in the mirror, and re-position itself diplomatically? It would require altering its address to both Russia and China, in the light of a Realpolitik analysis of its interests and capabilities.

Sitrep: China. Is. Dead. Serious.

October 04, 2021

Escalation?  Continuation of “Sitrep : China. Is. Dead. Serious.”

By Chris Faure for the Saker Blog

China will not be conquered again, even if every last Chinese has to join the fight.

In the past four days, China has sent first 28, then 29 fighters and bombers near Taiwan. (Taiwan itself reports different numbers). Then, the US announced on Sunday that this is provocative. So, China called the statement irresponsible and sent a massive number of 59 fighters and bombers near Taiwan in a ‘take that!’ move.

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202110/1235639.shtml

But first, why would China militarily get involved in Taiwan, as it is their own territory under the 1992 Consensus for “one-China”? Taiwan is clearly China’s internal affair.  What are their red lines?

  • Taiwan declaring a flash independence (they cannot really because they are umbilically connected to the mainland)
  • Internal turmoil inside Taiwan as we saw in Hong Kong
  • Taiwan may make a non-legal military alliance with another country
  • And any violation of the 1992 consensus.

None of these conditions are currently present, but we will need expert advice on the 1992 consensus. I do not know de jure how close Taiwan is to that red line. De facto the Taiwan announcement that they are preparing for war is completely provocative.

Currently China is not threatening, she is using her air force to deliver very strong warnings that the conditions are approaching red lines.

Lets look at Global Times. Bear in mind that the Global Times is not a bullhorn for Chinese people. It is for the dissemination of information to western people. That is its function. 

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202110/1235638.shtml

The Take Aways are:

– Time to warn Taiwan secessionists and their fomenters: war is real:

“The secessionist forces on the island will never be allowed to secede Taiwan from China under whatever names or by whatever means, and, the island will not be allowed to act as an outpost of the US’ strategic containment against China. “

– “The strategic collusion between the US and Japan and the DPP authorities is becoming more audacious, and the situation across the Taiwan Straits has almost lost any room for maneuver teetering on the edge of a face-off, creating a sense of urgency that the war maybe triggered at any time.”

Sunday, further Global times writing appeared, by a GT voice, warning the EU (GT voice should indicate to us that this is unified among the Chinese people).

EU warned not to play with fire on Taiwan question. https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202109/1235387.shtml

The Take Aways are:

– China will reconsider the European trade agreement.

“If the EU simply wants to develop normal economic and trade relations with the Taiwan island, its unusual emphasis on the latter’s role in its Indo-Pacific strategy should be viewed with suspicion. Some European politicians may think that playing the “Taiwan card” will draw more attention and could help pressure the mainland to make more concessions. But confusing the right and the wrong on China’s bottom line is a dead end.

The Chinese mainland’s position on the Taiwan question remains clear and resolute. All exchanges with the island must be handled in strict accordance with the one-China principle. They cannot exceed the scope of normal nonofficial cooperation and exchange.”

So, this is where we stand in this face-off and more analysis will follow.

October 05, 2021

Escalation? Continuation of “Sitrep : China. Is. Dead. Serious.”

by Chris Faure for the Saker Blog

Continuation of “Sitrep : China. Is. Dead. Serious.”

Let’s take a look at what China overcame in our near history.

  • The NED and similar organizations’ sponsored “Color Revolutions” in Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang all collapsed. We can also be sure that this escalation that we see now is not really about Taiwan. Taiwan is playing its role, like the dissidents in Hong Kong did.
  • The Trump Trade War collapsed and his focus on tariffs is now taking a tremendous toll on the US West Coast Ports.
  • The western propaganda war on China is collapsing because of the efforts of blogs like The Saker Blog and many others that took up writing about this.
  • The economic war is collapsing. For this, we have to follow Michael Hudson who details the butt-hurt Soros types who cannot make China dance to their tune. China has done massive work so that they do not have monopolies and internal destabilization by ‘too big to fail types’.
  • The return of Meng Wanzhou as a figure of national pride, which was a very delicate operation if one follows all of the plane routes during the sensitive exchange. Meng was exchanged for two worthless Canadian spies. There is another theory and this is that Canada tumbled to pay back the US for not including them in AUKUS.
  • The idea that the Chinese are not soldiers. They are that now because they have to be. * More about this following.

Let’s see what China gained in our near history

  • The pride, persistence, and trust of the citizens.
  • Major developments in space, like their own space station (slated to be a launching platform for? For what really? I do not know but the west has declared space a warfighting domain.) Most nations are welcome to come and hook up their own module, but the western world is not. This is a little payback for not allowing Chinese astronauts on the international space station.
  • A top US general, Milley, is so fearful of China that he called his counterpart in the late days of the Trump administration and told them that the US will not attack. (General Miley called to deliver a madman message–we have a madman at the helm and he may send nukes your way, so don’t do anything to give him an excuse. The poor general also had to deliver a contradicting message–at the same time, America is not falling apart; everything is hunky-dory and the well-oiled machine is running smoothly. ) (I know this has been taken out of perspective by almost everyone, but I am thankful, no matter that he may be a sniveling idiot. He did the rest of the world a favor).
  • China is in the process of destroying the dollar hegemony slowly but surely with Russia already having done its part and divesting from the dollar in their sovereign wealth fund. This deserves an analysis all by itself. Needless to say, China is launching its digital Renminbi, or Digital Currency Electronic Payment, commonly referred to as E-CNY, a central bank digital currency issued by China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China. It is the first digital currency to be issued by a major economy. The digital RMB is legal tender and has equivalent value with other forms of CNY, such as bills and coins.
  • The fight against a virus called Covid.
  • China is now exceeding the US in almost all economic metrics, although they still refer to themselves as the 2nd major economy.

And at this stage, China makes major military flights near Taiwan.

A few statements:

  • China has no interest in military action against Taiwan
  • Taiwan has no real desire for military action against China (it would be somewhat like swatting a fly for China and will be over in an hour whichever method China chooses).
  • Here is Taiwanese Foreign Minister warning that his country is preparing for war with China.  He asks Australia for help and Australia’s 60 minutes distributes the war propaganda.
  • https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-04/taiwan-preparing-for-war-with-china/100511294.
  • Is the US interested in a war against China over Taiwan? We simply do not know.

What do we know?

Taiwan is a smaller copy of the economic miracle of China and there is no question of its economic success and high tech ability. But China mainland purchases over 40% of Taiwan’s production in both high-tech and agricultural products.

By studying Taiwan’s financial reports, MintPress has ascertained that the semi-autonomous island of 23 million people has, in recent years, given out millions of dollars to many of the largest and most influential think tanks in the United States.

It is then easy to conclude that with this revolving door, the US decided that Taiwan is an easy ingress to their hope for regime change in China itself (stated publicly by Mike Pompeo) and the AUKUS deal started the new range of increased provocations: It looks like any of the old color revolution tactics or initiatives, just now with an added threat.

This one, could end up in a hot war with both Russia and China.

Taiwan will not have a referendum for independence, because independence is not a done deal for the Taiwanese people. The ruling class fears that such a referendum will not be successful. We all know the ‘call to democracy’ and we all know that this is invoked over and over by hegemonic powers to justify their own excesses. Well today, Taiwan’s Tsai is invoking ‘a call to democracy’ via an article in Foreign Affairs Magazine. China is not impressed as she knows as well as you and I, what that really means. https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202110/1235658.shtml

China’s interest is peace and security in the region, which is now being called Indo-Pacific. Martyanov says this terminology is hegemon speak, and I’m inclined to agree with him. It used to be Asia Pacific. I so hope someone can draw me the borders (even a dash line) where the Indo pacific and the Asia Pacific exists. Wikipedia, instead of being obscurantist as usual, this time gives the plot away.

The term first appeared in academic use in oceanography and geopolitics. Scholarship has shown that the “Indo-Pacific” concept circulated in Weimar Germany, and spread to interwar Japan. German political oceanographers envisioned an “Indo-Pacific” comprising anticolonial India and republican China, as German allies, against “Euro-America”.[2] Since 2010s, the term “Indo-Pacific” has been increasingly used in geopolitical discourse. It also has “symbiotic link” with the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or “Quad”, an informal grouping of in the region, comprising Australia, Japan, India, and the United StatesIt has been argued that the concept may lead to a change in popular “mental maps” of how the world is understood in strategic terms. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Pacific

Martyanov says that the US has clear dominance in submarine capability and he also says that escalation is something that is very hard to predict. Here we see escalation toward war, with the US using probably the only card that they have to play, trying to kick off an ocean-wide domination conflict on the shipping lanes of communications, with probably the only weapon that they have left, submarines to try and consolidate at least something of US economy and influence across the world. Right here the issue of escalation becomes complex. Russia will not stand out of this and what happens when the Zircons start flying? How soon until Japan, Australia and Taiwan are demolished? We will leave this here for professional analysts to opine.

With that as a backdrop, let’s return to China, specifically the general belief that the Chinese are not born soldiers. That is true, yet the difference is that they prefer to solve problems non-kinetically. (Which is 100% fine with me!) But, they have other abilities, one of which is that they do not give up. The Saker has often said that morale is the greatest weapon of a military force. In this case, I would add to that: preparedness. Again Martyanov said that this thinking on the dominance of sea-lanes is not new. Well, China knows that as well, and they have prepared.

Every school child and university student in China now goes through military training. For the school kids, it is part of the initiative by the Chinese leaders to relieve the school kids from absurd requirements for STEM learning and to get them outside to take part in healthy play and strengthen them physically.

Every city has a local militia and they are armed to the teeth and drill and practice continually. This alone is estimated at 1 million feet on the ground (from Chinese sources).

If kinetic action breaks out in their own backyard, they have the numbers and home team advantage.

Following are some comments from our China correspondents. I don’t have the necessary 2 sources plus another for these, but I put them here to give you an idea of the chat.

China is known to be able to set together production lines very quickly. In these comments, this one is comical and says that China is mass producing nuclear warheads like they crank out paper lanterns. The only thing on earth that is faster is the US money machine.

It may be a comical comment, but the underlying issue here is that the average Chinese person has no doubt that China will, and is able to build whatever is necessary, any war materiel of any kind, to withstand kinetic action.

Is this meaningful in discussing this escalation? I would say yes.

More comments:

If you think a war against China (and Russia – we have to call in Russia at this stage) will be a perpetual war, kindly think again. This is not a win or a lose – it is total destruction of the one that fires the first shot or shoots the first missile or positions the first submarine to destabilize sea-lanes.

This represents the average Chinese and their chat and it is not the type of barroom soldier chat. These are ordinary people.

China is a merit nation and very serious. One can expect precision and ruthlessness. You may want to believe that the Chinese are not born warriors or you may want to believe that they cannot innovate. You can believe what you want, but take a look at these comments:

They do not believe in surgical strikes should anyone attack them. They believe in pounding the source of the attack and whatever is around it, into oblivion. They have their own history as a template.

Btw, does this remind you of the Russians, who said that any strike on Russia will not only take out the strike, but also the platform where the strike comes from? The interaction between Russia and China militarily has grown tremendously as well, but again, this is another analysis.

I expect full-on military readiness as the Chinese military has been on a readiness footing for about a year now.

An outstanding question is how unified Asia is around China. Again we come up against Martyanov’s principle of escalation and this is really difficult to predict.

There is the old saying that goes like this: Do not march on Moscow!. We need to add one. Do not militarily threaten Baba Beijing!. It does not matter how for how long, they do not count their own possible dead, but they will stay the course.

Can we hope for level heads in Washington DC? Realism tells us that we have to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. China is doing that.

أكذوبة التفرّغ للصين لتغطية الانكفاء الأميركي

 أكتوبر/ 5 تشرين الأول 2021

يتشارك منظرو التسويق لسياسات الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن، مع خصومهم داخل أميركا وخارجها، بالترويج لنظرية أولوية المواجهة مع الصين بالنسبة للإدارة الأميركية، واشتقاقاً منها نظرية أخرى تقول بأنّ الانسحابات والتراجعات الأميركية ليست إلا تموضعاً جديداً عنوانه التفرّغ لمواجهة الصين، ولأن في هذا السياق قدراً من الاعتراف بالضعف يمثله العجز عن الجمع بين مواجهة الصين وخوض المعارك المفتوحة في جبهات أخرى، والاعتراف بالصعود الصيني وتصويرها كخصم تحدٍ كافٍ يستحق التفرّغ له، يحقق أصحاب النظرية شروط الإغواء لخصومهم لمشاركتهم في تسويقها، لكن أي تدقيق بعناصر هذا الزعم سيوصلنا إلى اعتباره كذبة كبيرة.

التفرغ لمواجهة الصين، كعنوان يعني توفير شروط مواجهة أفضل والانصراف عن كل إلهاء عن هذه المواجهة، والتمسك بكل تموضع سياسي أو اقتصادي أو عسكري يحسن شروط هذه المواجهة، ولأن المواجهة مركبة على المستويات السياسية والاقتصادية والعسكرية، فكل تقدم أميركي في هذه الميادين هو تسجيل نقاط تعزز فرص الفوز في المواجهة، وكل تراجع يعزز فرص الخسارة، خصوصاً عندما تكون الصين هي المرشح الأول للتموضع مكان الفراغ الأميركي، وإذا توقفنا أمام الخطوات الأميركية الأخيرة في ظل رئاسة بايدن، والتي تم تلطيف الطابع الانهزامي فيها والتخفيف من وطأته المعنوية بعبارة تجميلية اسمها التفرغ لمواجهة الصين، سنجد أمامنا ثلاثة نماذج، الأول هو الانسحاب من أفغانستان، والثاني هو السعي للعودة إلى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، والثالث هو الحلف الأميركي البحري البريطاني- الأسترالي في المحيطين الهندي والهادئ المسمى «أوكوس»، وقد تم ربط كل منها بجملة التفرغ للمواجهة مع الصين، سواء على قاعدة وقف الاستنزاف في حالة أفغانستان، أو منع ظهور قوة نووية تربك المشهد الدولي وتوازناته كمبرر للعودة إلى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، أو التقرب من خط المواجهة مع الصين كما يفترض بمهمة حلف أوكوس.

في حالة أفغانستان، يطرح السؤال عن صدقية الكلام حول كون الانسحاب العسكري، وتبعاته السياسية والاقتصادية يشكل عنصر تعزيز للوضعية الأميركية في المواجهة مع الصين، وأفغانستان كانت هدفاً أميركياً بالأساس لوقوفها جغرافياً على مثلث التقاطع بين روسيا والصين وإيران، وكانت الحرب التي مولتها ودعمتها الاستخبارات الأميركية منذ ثمانينيات القرن الماضي ضد الاتحاد السوفياتي في أفغانستان تتم تحت عنوان قطع الطريق على تنامي قوة روسيا والصين وإيران، كمصادر لتحديات للأمن القومي الأميركي، وعندما غزت القوات الأميركية أفغانستان عام 2001 كانت كل المواقف الأميركية في عهود جمهورية وديمقراطية تربط البقاء في أفغانستان باستراتيجيات المواجهة مع الثلاثي الآسيوي الصاعد، وما بعد الانسحاب الأميركي من أفغانستان، تبدو أفغانستان جائزة اقتصادية للصين، وجائزة عسكرية لروسيا، وجائزة سياسية لإيران، فكيف يكون الانسحاب منها مكسباً لمشروع التفرغ لمواجهة الصين، وعبرها تكون المواجهة من المسافة صفر، على الأقل لجهة فرص التنصت والحرب الاستخبارية والإلكترونية، إذا كانت الحرب العسكرية مستبعدة؟

في حالة إيران، يكفي التذكير بأن معاهدة التعاون الاستراتيجي بين الصين وإيران كانت سابقة لوصول بايدن إلى البيت الأبيض، والتذكير بأن إيران تمثل قلب آسيا الذي يشكل انضمامه إلى خطة الحزام والطريق التي تشكل عنوان المشروع الصيني الأول على الساحة الدولية، تمثل تحولاً نوعياً في ميزان القوى بين أميركا والصين، فعندما تصبح الصين في إيران فهي تلقائياً صارت على بوابة الخليج وبوابة قزوين وبوابة المتوسط وعلى تماس مباشر مع تقاطعات حدودية لعشرات الدول، وأي تفكير بإعادة الصين إلى ما وراء الحدود يبنى على منع الصين من التموضع في إيران، أو على الأقل بعدم تمكين إيران من تشكيل شريك فاعل للصين في توسيع نطاق نفوذها الدولي والإقليمي، وهذا ما كان أنصار الرئيس الأميركي السابق دونالد ترامب يبررون به ما يسمونه بالضغوط القصوى، وما جاء بايدن ليعلن فشله، مسلماً بأن إعاقة إيران عن التقدم أصيبت بالفشل، وأن مواصلة المواجهة تعني تكبد المزيد من الخسائر من دون جدوى، ولأن هذا صحيح، فالصحيح أيضاً أن التسليم بفوز إيران في جولة التحدي هو تسليم ضمني بأن الصين ستكون على ضفة الرابحين في كل إنجاز تحققه إيران.

في حلف أوكوس الذي قدمه أنصار بايدن كخطوة متقدمة للتقرب من البيئة الجغرافية المحيطة بالصين، بعض الخداع البصري، لأن السؤال هو هل هدف الحلف التقرب من الصين أم تأمين خط دفاعي عن الجغرافيا الأميركية من الميمنة البريطانية والميسرة الأسترالية كترجمة للانكفاء، أم خطة حشد نحو الصين، والجواب يكمن في ربط ولادة حلف أوكوس من رحم حلف الناتو، في وقت تلقى الناتو ضربة أولى بالانسحاب من أفغانستان وأصيب بتصدع لا تزال تردداته تتواصل، وجاء إعلان أوكوس بمثابة الضربة القاضية للناتو، بما أصاب فرنسا من خسارة وأذى بسببه، وبعدما أصابت شظايا صفقة الغواصات العلاقات الأميركية- الفرنسية، فهل يمكن الحديث عن التفرغ للمواجهة مع الصين من دون أولوية بناء حلف سياسي وعسكري متين تقوده واشنطن ويشاركها المواجهة، وهل أن تدمير الناتو يخدم المواجهة مع الصين، وقد كان الناتو مرشحاً أول لتشكيل خط المواجهة الدولية مثله مثل قمة السبعة، كركائز تتداعى من حول واشنطن، التي تعرف ما تفعل، لكنها تكذب بما تقول، فما تفعله واشنطن هو التخفف من أعباء سياسة الدولة الأولى في العالم للتفرغ لوضع داخلي على شفا كارثة، لا يملك ترف الدفاع عن موقع الزعامة في العالم وهو ينهار، ويشكل شعار التفرغ لمواجهة الصين ترجمة نموذجية للكذبة المطلوبة في تغطية هذا الانكفاء.

خصوم واشنطن الذين يكررون معادلة التفرغ الأميركي للمواجهة مع الصين مدعوون للمزيد من التدقيق بالعبارة قبل تردادها.

Geopolitical Shifts – A New Future Dawns in the East

September 28, 2021

Geopolitical Shifts – A New Future Dawns in the East

by Peter Koenig for the Saker Blog

A shift in the world’s power base, alliances and economic strength, will undoubtedly happen within the coming years. In fact, it’s already ongoing. But not necessarily according to Klaus Schwab’s (WEF) “The Great Reset”. “Not necessarily”, because We, The People, can stop it. Plus, there are nations and their allies, who do not agree and won’t accept the enslavement of much of the world through the self-anointed powers of an ultra-rich elite.

The Saker, in his blog “Big, huge changes, in the near future (a tentative list)” (26 September 2021)  https://thesaker.is/big-huge-changes-in-the-near-future-a-tentative-list-of-the-major-ones/ has covered most of the geopolitical transformations that are most likely taking place in the foreseeable future.

Consider the SCO – the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – has just integrated Iran as new member. This – in the west – little-talked-about organization, association of eastern countries, created by China and Russia on 15 June 2001, started out with 7 Central and East-Asian members, Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Since then, have joined, India, Pakistan and now Iran. Associated members are Malaysia and Mongolia. Which makes the SCO one of the most powerful, possibly THE most powerful, socioeconomic and defense strategy organizations in the world – with nearly half the world’s population and about one third of the world’s GDP. 

One could undoubtedly ask, what does India have to do in this club? – India is swinging from West to East to West, where ever the crumbs of fortune seem to be larger. Recent photographs of India’s PM Narendra Modi with President Biden, together smiling to the media – speaks for itself.

Well, for sure, there are macro-strategic reasons for keeping Modi’s India in the SCO-Association. The day will come when India will be India again – not just expressed by the will of the people, but also by her leaders.

As well illustrated in The Saker’s essay, the west is destined to break apart and eventually collapse. Its reminiscent of the picture of al falling airplane, where the passengers are arguing and thrashing out on each other, while the rapidly descending plane is breaking apart – and soon hitting the ground. And probably goes up in smoke. It’s most likely not going to be that dramatic – but perhaps close.

Indeed, Europe cannot decide whether they are belonging to the western AngloZion block that has also captured Australia and New Zealand – or to the much stabler, and much more peaceful and congenial mega-continent – Eurasia. Just a couple of figures to dwell about: 55,000,000 km2 (21,000,000 sq mi), and 5.4 billion population, as of October 2019 – about two thirds of the world population.

It’s actually a no-brainer. We will soon see whether Europe, the European Union, eventually will fall apart for not knowing where to belong, or make a last-minute right decision. It’s a pity, that the “system” insinuating ruling the World Order, does not see, or not want to see, that they are betting on a paper tiger – like NATO – to come to its rescue.

Let’s look at AUKUS. It stands for Australia, UK and US and aims at modernizing the primary beneficiary – Australia – over the coming decades to take up security challenges in the Indo-Pacific.

The plan is to give access to cutting edge military technology to Australia by its two partners, including futuristic capabilities like artificial intelligence and quantum technologies. This refers to the recent deal of US/UK built nuclear submarines, canceling the submarine contract Australia had with France.
See this https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/aukus-programme-an-explainer/articleshow/86282058.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

This, AUKUS deal for unprepared France, annihilated a US$ 66 billion equivalent Australian contract with French majority state-owned Naval Group to provide 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines for Australia.

And imagine, this is just one of the first “deals” of the rather new AUKUS alliance. What may follow, are more such self-centered, immediate-profit-oriented deals that help further breaking apart the once-upon-a-time so powerful western alliance.

The new AUKUS deal will provide Australia with nuclear powered submarines. But the agreement is so new, neither cost nor time frame are so far public knowledge.

France withdrew its ambassadors to the United States and Australia after U.S. President Joe Biden revealed last week a new tripartite alliance including Australia and Britain that would allow Australia to amass a fleet of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines.

Russia Today (RT) sums it up: It is no surprise, then, that the newly forged Atlantic-Pacific triple alliance between the US, Great Britain, and Australia, known as AUKUS, has caught the eye of Russian leaders and defense chiefs. Announced on 15 September, the pact was presented as targeting China. However, it’s clear its geopolitical implications won’t be felt in Beijing alone.

The New AUKUS nuclear bloc won’t just battle China, it will take the West into confrontation with Russia too, Moscow’s security chief says.

Initially cautious, Moscow’s response has quickly become more critical. Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s National Security Council, has denounced AUKUS as the “prototype of an Asian NATO,” set to expand, and directed against both China and Russia.

The essence of AUKUS is not complicated. While it covers various areas, such as cyber and artificial intelligence, its core is the transfer of technology from the USA to Australia. And not just any technology, but that of nuclear-powered submarines, which, until now, have been in the possession of only six states: China, France, Great Britain, Russia, the USA, and – in a complicated manner dependent on Russia – India. And of course, never to be mentioned: Israel.

In conclusion – Moscow may, accordingly, expand its own nuclear submarine fleet in the Pacific. In such a world, the already existing strategic partnership between China and Russia would only get stronger.

In parallel to this AUKUS treason on France, Biden is hosting a Quad summit (Quad Alliance = Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is a strategic dialogue between the United States, India, Japan and Australia). While the topic is not official news yet, it’s not difficult to guess that the subject is how to “contain” – speak “aggress” Russia and China. And again, strangely, prominent SCO member India plays along.
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There is the economic impact such a deal may have, not only in figures of hard money, but also as a precedent. No rules are respected. This is the “free market” of the New Brave World, under which not even traditional allies are respected and secure.

It is difficult to predict how France under Macron will act in response. Macron is certainly no DeGaulle. President Macron – or his aids, have insinuated that in response to the abrogation of the Aussi-French nuclear submarine deal, France may exit NATO. We can easily speculate, that’s what DeGaulle would have done. That would be something to be proud of for France and, in the long run for Europe too. But it is unlikely to happen. Macron is “guided” by darker forces.
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This socioeconomic and political break-up of the so-called western alliance, will certainly hurt a lot of people, but the world, Mother Earth, will survive, and most of those who have not betrayed their believes may too.

It is unfathomable what the onset of covid has destroyed in terms of socioeconomic wealth and simply, wellbeing. People in the Global South, about whom hardly any wester politician speaks, are dying, from hunger, despair, disease – and merely from desperation. According to the World Food Program, close to a billion people are already suffering from famine or are at the verge of seriously suffering from food scarcity.

The imminent break-up of the west will accelerate the shift of economic and political power to the east.

Europe has not much time to decide whether they belong to the Future – the east – or the defunct and decaying past, the west (self-destruction by egocentricity and self-imposed empire). It requires both, the (western) people to wake up and take back their governments, abducted by the dark invisible forces; and the human strength to survive on a level of no-revenge, non-aggression, despite enormous sacrifices that may have to be made to salvage our civilization.

Yes, it’s possible. We can do it.

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

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

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s news conference to sum up the high-level meetings week at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, New York, September 25, 2021

SEPTEMBER 27, 2021

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s news conference to sum up the high-level meetings week at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, New York, September 25, 2021

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/4867149

Question: Which opportunities and risk factors does the new Taliban’s Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan present? Does Russia fear that the presence of Taliban could somehow feed Islamic extremism in the region? If so, what can be done?

Sergey Lavrov: Of course, Afghanistan is now on everyone’s mind. We believe, and we did believe from the outset, that what has happened there is a reality. Unfortunately, the hasty pull-out, let’s call it this way, by the United States and other NATO countries of their troops was carried out without any consideration of the consequences. As you are aware, many weapons were left behind in Afghanistan. We all need to see to it that these weapons do not serve any unconstructive purposes.

The reality on the ground is based on statements made by the Taliban who proclaimed their commitment to fighting extremism and terrorism, including ISIS and Al-Qaeda, not to project instability on their neighbours. They committed themselves to respecting women’s rights and to creating an inclusive government. You know all this. What matters the most at the moment is that they fulfil their promises.

The first step to form a transitory government structure fails to reflect the whole gamut of the Afghan society in its ethnic, religious and political diversity. We remain engaged with the Taliban, and these contacts have been continuing for several years now. We are doing this, inter alia, within the expanded troika of Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan. Only recently, Russian, Chinese and Pakistani representatives travelled to Doha, and after that they visited Kabul where they engaged with the Taliban, as well as with representatives of the secular authorities. I am referring to former President Hamid Karzai and former Head of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah. These contacts primarily focused on the need to form a genuinely representative government structure. The Taliban claim to be moving in this direction, and the current architecture is only temporary. What matters the most is to make sure that they keep the promises that they made in public. For us, the top priority is precisely what you just mentioned: it is unacceptable that extremism spills over into neighbouring countries, and the terrorist threat must not persist on Afghan soil. We will do everything we can to support the Taliban in their determination, as you have said, to fight ISIS and other terrorist groups, and to try to make sure that this determination paves the way to some practical progress.

Question: Does Russia consider easing or lifting its national sanctions against the Taliban members who become part of the new Afghan government in order to facilitate contacts with them? What position will Russia take during UN talks on easing or lifting sanctions against the Taliban?

Sergey Lavrov: As things stand at the moment, nothing is restraining or hindering our contacts with the Taliban. Moreover, the UN Security Council sanctions, as set forth in the corresponding resolutions, are not preventing us from engaging in such contacts. On the contrary, UN Security Council resolutions stipulate the need to advance a political process, and without working together with the Taliban this is impossible.

We have been engaged in contacts with this movement for some years now, and these contacts have been primarily geared towards ensuring the safety ofr Russian nationals, facilitating intra-Afghan reconciliation and political process. I have not heard any suggestions within the UN Security Council about the need to ease or lift international sanctions at one of the forthcoming meetings. There is no need for this for us to be able to engage with the Taliban movement at this stage.

We all expect the Taliban to honour all the good-minded promises they made. For this reason, we will see whether the terrorist and drug trafficking threats are actually eliminated.

Question: The UN Secretary-General has warned of disastrous consequences of a putative economic collapse in Afghanistan. What do you think about the idea to unfreeze Afghan assets held by international organisations?

It appears from your remarks that your policy is to judge the Taliban by their deeds. In what way does the Taliban ideology differ from that of other Islamic groups in other parts of the world, such as the groups in Syria, which you are opposing and showering with bombs?

Sergey Lavrov: Syria, as you may know, is where the seat of terrorism is located. Practically the entire Syrian territory has been liberated, but the so-called de-escalation zone in Idlib province is under the sway of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an offspring of Jabhat al-Nusra. All the UN Security Council resolutions point out the nature of these terrorist organisations. I see no problem here from the point of view of destroying the terrorists in Syria.

We are holding talks with our Turkish partners, who signed with us, a couple of years ago now, a special agreement whereby they undertook to fight terrorists in the Idlib de-escalation zone and to separate them from armed groups that are not terrorist ones and to cooperate with the Turkish military. In just a few days from now, President of Russia Vladimir Putin will have yet another meeting with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The presidents will thoroughly analyse how this commitment is being implemented. It is being implemented at a rather slow pace. This is obvious.

As for the Taliban and comparisons between them and other groups, we cannot divide the terrorists into good guys and bad guys. There is a sufficient number of exemptions from sanctions imposed on the Taliban. This has been made on purpose to enable [the international community] to have a dialogue with them. It means that the UN Security Council recognises the Taliban as an inalienable part of Afghan society, which, for Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham are not. This is what makes the difference.

We will induce those who have seized power in Kabul following the flight of the foreign contingents to behave in a civilised way.

We have mentioned the unfreezing of the assets. We think that this matter should be given a practical consideration from the positions you have mentioned in quoting the UN Secretary-General.

Question: The Taliban Government have decided on the candidacies for their ambassador to Russia. Will Russia be prepared to issue an agreement to people proposed by the Taliban?

Sergey Lavrov: We have no information of anyone applying to us for an agrement. Serving in Moscow today is the ambassador appointed by the previous government. No one is urging an international recognition of the Taliban. We will proceed precisely from this principle if and when we receive a request regarding the appointment of a new ambassador.

Question: We have heard US President Joe Biden’s statement. He said that the period of relentless war has ended, and that the era of relentless diplomacy has been ushered in. Do you believe this?

What about Russia’s diplomatic property? Has there been any progress?

Even some of the members of the delegation had problems with their visas, let alone the fact that there was a danger that the Russian delegation would not be allowed into the UN General Assembly because of the vaccination requirements, with vaccines that were approved in the United States. Are they just trying to annoy us whenever they can?

Sergey Lavrov: I do not think that this is an attempt to annoy us in any way. Most likely they are just a bit at a loss over the resumption of in-person UN General Assembly meetings. I cannot blame the New York authorities for being overly cautious. This is a serious event, and a lot of people come here from all around the world. There are quite a few different variants of the virus already, so safety measures do not hurt.

It is another question, as you have so rightly put it, that we do not accept any attempts to discriminate against vaccines that are not registered in the United States but have proven time and again to be effective. Sputnik V is a case in point. Several EU countries, for example, Hungary and Slovakia, have approved our vaccines, and this should serve as an example for other EU and NATO members.

As for visas for our delegation, apart from the epidemiological situation, the delay in the granting of visas was obviously caused by political considerations. We have seen through this. A number of our employees have yet to obtain their visas, including State Duma members who are part of the delegation. We will see to it that the UN Secretariat leadership fulfils its duties as to ensuring compliance with all the provisions of the agreement between the UN and the United States, the headquarters host country. Instances of flagrant violation of this agreement and repeated failures to comply with the UN headquarters host country commitments have been piling up, including the confiscation of diplomatic property, as you have just mentioned. The UN Committee on Relations with the Host Country has said that this is unacceptable and wrong. The Secretary-General should have launched arbitration proceedings against the actions by the United States several years ago. We had a meeting yesterday, and I reminded him of this fact. I was glad that his Legal Counsel, Miguel de Serpa Soares, was present at this meeting, since it is his duty to initiate these steps. They have been long overdue.

United States President Joe Biden said that the United States will no longer use force to change regimes abroad. “Never say never,” as the saying goes. We have seen how the Donald Trump administration pulled out of the Iranian nuclear deal that was concluded by the Barack Obama administration. Now that talks on fully restoring the JCPOA to settle the situation around the Iranian nuclear programme are underway, one of the questions the Iranians are asking the Americans is whether the agreement to restore this plan can include a clause binding future administrations to respect it? The Americans say that they cannot do this, since this is how their system works. International law is one thing, but their law is a nose of wax, and can be twisted about any way they so desire.

United States President Joe Biden said that an era of “relentless diplomacy” has been ushered in. This means that the Americans will seek to impose on other countries what they deem right for them by other means. This could include colour revolutions. They do not require any use of force, but are equally destructive. Just look at Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine, our neighbour.

We want the United States to make the next step and move beyond the commitment not to use force for reshaping other countries by actually refraining from doing this altogether. They must recognise that we are all different. We have different cultural, civilisational roots, but we share the same planet and must respect each other.

Question: According to our information, preparations for Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria’s Nuland’s visit to Moscow are underway. Where do these talks stand at this point? Can you give us a timeline for the visit? What does Moscow expect to receive in response to the temporary lifting of restrictions from someone who is on Russia’s black list?

Sergey Lavrov: If you have sources of information that let you know about this, I encourage you to ask them this question. The Foreign Ministry and the US State Department are working on a number of contacts. This is not the only matter under discussion.

When both parties decide on a date for contact to take place in order to discuss a specific issue, we will make a corresponding announcement.

Question: I have a question about the JCPOA. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that swift action is needed, because we are running out of time. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said yesterday that they were ready for that. They appear to be receiving mixed signals from the United States, but they should come up with an agreement soon. You were involved in making this deal happen. As a negotiator, have you any idea what will happen if the United States does not return to the agreement and Iran continues its nuclear programme? What is the worst-case scenario?

Sergey Lavrov: Iran is not doing anything illegal, because it is complying with the Non-Proliferation Treaty and an additional protocol to a comprehensive safeguards agreement. Iran is not complying with most of its obligations included in the JCPOA which are now not binding, because the Americans have destroyed the agreement.

The issue is about restoring it in full so that Iran has no reason to make exceptions to its commitments. The IAEA, including in the person of its Director General, is in contact with the Iranians. They have a complete picture of what is happening there. They are not being denied access to the work that Iran is doing as part of its nuclear programme. The IAEA has no reason to believe that the 2015 findings to the effect that there were no signs of the nuclear programme being re-oriented towards military needs have become outdated. They have no reason to revise these findings. They speak about this explicitly.

Of course, we want the talks on the full restoration of the JCPOA to resume as soon as possible. But, first, the government in Iran has just been formed. They say they will need a week or two (hopefully not more) to put together their negotiating team. There have been personnel changes. Second, when the United States withdrew from the JCPOA, Iran, for over a year, had been conscientiously complying  with its commitments under this document in hope that the United States would come to its senses and return to the deal. Of all people, our counterparts in Washington are not in a position to say that time is up. Indeed, it was carried out by the administration which is now gone, but this is the legacy of the current administration, especially since the JCPOA is its brainchild. It is only fair that it deliver bold action in addressing all related issues.

There are also sanctions that the US has illegally imposed on Iran, allegedly for violating the JCPOA. But the sanctions concern not just Iran. They have also imposed sanctions on everyone who carry out legal trade with Iran, including the supply of military products, which are no longer subject to a ban. These sanctions must be lifted as part of the reinstatement of the JCPOA. And Iran’s trading partners across all areas of commercial exchange must not be affected by America’s unilateral move.

Question: Will Iran’s economy collapse if the JCPOA is not restored?

Sergey Lavrov: We are not even considering scenarios like that. There is serious hope and cautious optimism that we will be able to achieve a result. At least everyone wants it, including the United States and Iran.

Question: The calm in the northwest of Syria has changed with Russia’s intense airstrikes in recent weeks, particularly ahead of the summit between President Erdogan and President Putin. Why is Russia stepping up its attacks just ahead of this summit?

And another question on Syria as well. Is there an agreement or consensus between Russia and the US following the meeting between the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and US National Security Council Coordinator Brett McGurk, which took place in Geneva? Thank you.

Sergey Lavrov: We are using force in northwestern Syria in conformity with the requirements contained in UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which provides for an uncompromising struggle against terrorism in Syria.

I have mentioned that there was a special agreement on Idlib between President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Our Turkish colleagues have committed themselves to separating the normal and sensible opposition forces from the terrorists. This should have been done long ago. So far, this has not happened. There is slow progress, but the threats of terrorism from the militants in the Idlib de-escalation zone are constantly renewed. These people are attacking the positions of the Syrian army and have repeatedly tried to launch strike drones to attack the Russian Khmeimim Air Base.

Our Turkish friends are well aware that we will not put up with this behaviour and with these militants’ attitude to the role performed by the Turkish military in the Idlib de-escalation zone. We will have detailed discussions as part of preparations for the presidential meeting. The September 29 summit will focus on ways to achieve what we have agreed upon and prevent the terrorists from ruling the roost.

As for contacts with the US regarding the right bank of the Euphrates, they are held periodically. We draw their attention to the fact that the US presence in Syria is illegitimate, to the outrageous situation in the 55-kilometre zone called Al-Tanf, which they have occupied, and to the situation at the Rukban camp located in the US-controlled territory. This is a long story.

The contacts taking place between the foreign ministries and the security councils are mostly about the fact that the Americans are present [in Syria] illegally, illegitimately, but they are there.  This is the reality. Given their tendency to fire all their guns with or without reason, we are negotiating the so-called deconflicting mechanism with them.   It is working. Let me draw your attention to the fact that it is functioning despite the legal bans on contacts between the militaries imposed by the US Congress. Not so long ago, the heads of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff officially announced that this was unreasonable and that the bans on military contacts should be lifted. I think this will do good both to the deconflicting process in Syria and our further arms dialogue as a whole.

Question: Turkey has expressed concerns about the voting in Crimea in the recent State Duma elections. This is despite the fact that Russia has provided humanitarian assistance for COVID-19 to Turkey, as well as military cooperation. My question is: could you address the imbalance, what is your analysis of the imbalance in relations?

Sergey Lavrov: Turkey was not the only one to voice “concerns” or “denounce” the vote in Crimea. I can give you two explanations for this “commotion.” First, five years ago, when the previous State Duma elections were held, no one made any statements of this kind, at least not that strong. Had this been the case, I would have remembered it, but no such thing occurred.

However, now they are pouncing on this issue, including the hectic efforts to convene the so-called Crimea Platform in Kiev, and all the commotion around the election. I think that this is an attempt to divert attention from the fact that Kiev, under President Vladimir Zelensky’s leadership, has shamefully failed to honour its commitments under the Minsk Agreements on overcoming the intra-Ukrainian conflict in the east of the country. It is obvious. The adopted laws have been a de-facto obstacle to granting southeastern Ukraine the status required under the Minsk Agreements.

We drew the attention of our German and French colleagues, as well as the European Union to the fact that their “clients” are negating UN Security Council resolutions, because it was the Security Council that approved the Minsk Agreements. Unfortunately, they are all bashfully looking the other way, while President Vladimir Zelensky understood that all he needed to do was divert attention from his own failures and the fact that the Minsk Agreements were sabotaged. Therefore, they are now playing the Crimean card.

A lack of professionalism in foreign policy is the second reason why they are doing this. Professionals know all too well that the Crimea question is closed once and for all.

Question: My second question is regarding Mali. France has expressed concern about the presence of military contractors from Russia in Mali. They are now being joined by their European allies speaking about this concern. My question is: what is Russia’s position on this?

Sergey Lavrov: I have heard these questions. Foreign Minister of France Jean-Yves Le Drian, and EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, have raised them with me.

Mali currently has a transitional government. Those authorities are undertaking efforts to restore the constitutional order, prepare elections and return to civilian rule. The elections are scheduled to take place in February under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union.

Mali’s transitional government has emphasised its commitment to international obligations and is combatting terrorism. It has called upon a private Russian military company because, to my understanding, France intends to substantially reduce its military presence there, and these troops were tasked with fighting terrorists entrenched in the north, in an area called Kidal. But they did not succeed, and terrorist are still in control there.

The Malian authorities considered their own capabilities insufficient without support from abroad, but those who had promised to eliminate terrorism in this country decided to draw down their presence. So they went to a Russian private military company. We have nothing to do with this. This activity is legal and consists of a relationship between the host country, which is a legitimate government recognised by everyone as a legitimate transitional structure, on the one hand, and those offering their services as foreign experts.

Let me emphasise that apart from private military companies, the Russian state has been making its own contribution to ensuring Mali’s defence capability and combat readiness for eliminating the terrorist threat and other threats. We do this by supplying military equipment as part of our assistance. We also work within the UN Security Council to devise the best approaches to further peacebuilding efforts.

I do not see any reason to question this. Yesterday I had a meeting with Mali’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Abdoulaye Diop, who talked to the press on this matter. There are no questions here. In fact, the problem lies elsewhere. Our colleagues from the European Union, as Josep Borrell told me, are asking us to stop working in Africa altogether, because this is “their place.” It would be better for the EU and the Russian Federation to align their actions in fighting terrorism not only in Mali, but in the Sahara-Sahelian region in general. Claiming that “they were there first, so we must leave” is, first, an insult to the Bamako government that has invited its foreign partners, and second, it is not the way to treat anyone.

Question: Shortly before the Russian parliamentary elections, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on the European Commission to refuse to recognise the results of the vote. Did you discuss this with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell? Will the EU recognise the results of the Russian State Duma elections?

Sergey Lavrov: We have not heard any assessments from the European Union proper because the European Parliament is not a body that determines EU policy. I spoke about this with Josep Borrell; I quoted some of the assessments made during his remarks in the European Parliament, including the absolutely unacceptable statements that the European Union distinguishes between “the regime” in Moscow and the Russian people.

He made some rather awkward and vague excuses. It was quite obvious that he realised the phrasing was lame at the very least. I hope that was just a phrase, not the idea. This happens. Sometimes we let something slip only to regret it later.

We have no information about anyone officially rejecting the results of our elections, which have just been announced.

Question: France calls for a review of the recent nuclear submarine deal between the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom to verify its compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). What is your opinion on this matter? What do you generally think of this new triple alliance, which has created such a stir and runs counter to the partnership agreements in NATO and beyond?

Sergey Lavrov: This deal, signed immediately after the flight from Afghanistan, inevitably raises questions from the parties to these alliances. Probably, in addition to a commercial grievance, France is also thinking how reliable these alliances are and how this has increased the relevance of Europe’s strategic autonomy? These are big questions for the Western camp, and they have to address them.

We are not going to interfere in these matters. Yet, we might feel the consequences of what is happening there. This may affect our relations with the European Union, may spur the EU’s interest in cooperating with us, in using the obvious geopolitical and geostrategic advantages of being on one huge continent, especially since the global growth centre is shifting towards Asia.

I have discussed this with many participants here who represent the European Union and who do not like what is happening. Especially when the EU says they should “push back against, constrain, and engage” with Russia. I asked Josep Borrell how they were going to “engage with us,” exactly. Do you know what he answered? “Get out of Mali.” That is all there is to this policy, to this triad. That’s what it is worth. I am being honest. I do not think there is a violation of any ethical norms here because they are also talking about this publicly. I am just giving examples to illustrate their way of thinking.

As regards the Non-Proliferation Treaty, this matter is being discussed a lot on the sidelines in Vienna. The IAEA is responsible for the non-proliferation regime and for ensuring that nuclear research is not diverted to military needs. For a submarine, uranium must be enriched to 90 percent. This is weapons-grade uranium. We will probably have to ask for an IAEA expert review.

A similar attempt to develop such submarines by a non-nuclear country was made a few decades ago. The project was eventually scrapped then, and that settled the whole matter. But now, this deal has been signed. If the IAEA confirms it is in line with nuclear safety and non-diversion to military needs, there will be a queue for such submarines.

Question: In the lead up to the high-level week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a warning that the world might be drawn into a new vastly more dangerous cold war if the US and China fail to mend their completely collapsed relations. He called for the avoidance of a new confrontation at any cost, and also warned that it would be more dangerous than the cold war between the Soviet Union and the United States and dealing with its aftereffects would be much more difficult. What does Russia have to say to these statements?

Sergey Lavrov: Make no mistake, we had this issue on our radar screen even before UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres mentioned it. We see that tensions in China-US relations are escalating. We are aware of who is “playing the first violin” in this not too pleasant turn of events. This worries us. Confrontational schemes do not help the people of our planet to live a normal life: be it the recently announced Indo-Pacific Strategy, which explicitly proclaimed containing China, including in the South China Sea, one of its main goals, or QUAD that was formed as part of these strategies, or, by the same token, the purported AUKUS “triple alliance,” the purpose of which is to help Australia contain the “Chinese threat.”

Yesterday and today, I met with a number of ministers representing ASEAN member countries and asked them how things were going. Talks are underway between China and ASEAN to draft a legally binding code of conduct in the South China Sea. Things are not moving fast, but this is the most reliable way to ensure freedom of navigation and everything else that worries our Western partners to the extent that they keep holding provocative and non-provocative naval manoeuvres and creating anti-Chinese geopolitical schemes. We stand for mutually respectful relations between the great powers that never escalate into a nuclear war. The presidents of Russia and the United States, Vladimir Putin and Joseph Biden, confirmed the unacceptability of this at the Geneva summit. Any kind of war between nuclear powers is unacceptable, because the risks of it escalating into a nuclear conflict are enormous. Humanity has not come up with anything new in this regard. We must talk and strive to find a compromise and get along. As President Trump put it, we must “make a deal.” This is the right expression to use not only in business, but in politics as well. Politics is needed to create a proper environment for normal life, rather than for someone to promote their ambitions, so that everyone agrees that they are “the coolest guy on Earth.” This is obvious to normal people. Great powers must act responsibly with regard to their people and the rest of humanity.

President Putin proposed holding a UN Security Council permanent members’ summit. The pandemic has delayed this work. We have resumed it now. We aim to come to an agreement with our partners from China and the three Western permanent members of the UN Security Council on specific issues which will then be included in the agenda, and on the format of discussions (we may start out online). Talks are the only way to resolve the issues at hand. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council must set an example to other countries.

Question: In connection with the withdrawal of foreign contingents – official and informal mercenaries – from Libya, disputes arose about over whether it would be better to withdraw them only after the elections, upon receipt of an official request from a new government. Some say this should take place before December 24 to ensure fair and legitimate elections. The spokesman for the Presidential Council said today that you highlighted two points at a meeting with Mohammed al-Menfi: the need for a settlement between the Libyan parties and the withdrawal of foreign troops. Does Russia think it should be done before or after the elections?

Sergey Lavrov: Before or after the elections is not a critical matter. Most importantly, the final document of the second International Conference on Libya held in Berlin in June reads as follows: all foreign armed people must leave Libya. Our Turkish colleagues made a reservation saying they had been invited there by the legitimate leadership in the person of the Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord, Fayez al-Sarraj. However, the other part of Libyan society – the Tobruk Parliament – is no less legitimate. Both of these bodies were created under the Skhirat Agreement. The legitimate parliament along with the legitimate Libyan national army invited armed personnel, whom they have on their payroll, to come and join them from abroad. Concurrently, there were people who can be referred to as mercenaries. People are being transferred from Syria (to both sides), Chad and other African countries.

From the outset, the moment it came up in our discussions, we said that we were in favour of doing this. Considering that foreign military forces are on both sides of the Libyan confrontation, we must make sure that they move out in small groups and simultaneously, so as not to create a military advantage on one side at any point in time. A ceasefire has been observed in Libya for over a year now. No one should be tempted to think that they can return to military methods and try to use force to resolve that country’s problems.

Question: Is Russia facilitating the withdrawal of troops from Libya?

Sergey Lavrov: They should deal with this in their 5+5 commission. We are ready to help, but if they continue to address non-priority matters, there will be no elections on December 24, 2021. They have just adopted the legislative framework for the elections. Then the Parliament voted on the legitimacy of Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh’s Government of National Unity. They need to be pushed towards an earnest discussion about how to live on. There are already speculations about whether the current leaders can run for office (reportedly, there was an agreement that they would not participate, but they want to). Our colleagues in the Secretariat are trying to create artificial difficulties when it comes to the format of the UN presence in Libya. They had better concentrate on fulfilling what we agreed on a year ago now. Nobody expected this. They should not be trying to change this to promote someone’s interests or advance hidden agendas.

Question: At what stage are the US-Russia strategic stability talks at the moment? As for nuclear weapons, what is Russia’s reaction to the recent missile launches in North and South Korea? What could work as an incentive for Kim Jong-un to return back to the negotiating table?

Sergey Lavrov: I heard that Pyongyang is sending signals about North Korea’s interest in normalising relations with South Korea. We have always stood for a direct dialogue between the North and the South. However, it was not always supported by the previous US administration, which wanted to control the process. I hope that in the new situation, the Biden administration will be ready to make more constructive steps to encourage the resumption of normal contacts between North and South Korea.

Missile launches don’t help. We noticed that this time, Seoul tried not to over-dramatise. I think this is the right thing to do. Once we begin to resort to public condemnation and strong rhetoric, this significantly reduces our incentives for diplomatic, professional, and calm dialogue. The final agreement can only be reached through confidential and quiet negotiations, rather than mutual recriminations through loudspeakers.

As regards the strategic stability talks with the United States, the first round took place in July. The second is due next week.

Question: As the UN General Assembly is meeting in New York, the Southern District Court in New York has again denied Russian citizen Konstantin Yaroshenko’s appeal. He continues to be held in American dungeons, as does Viktor Bout. There have been occasional reports in the media about their possible exchange for Americans. Whose court is the ball in? How realistic is the exchange scenario?

Sergey Lavrov: It is difficult to make any predictions or promises on behalf of the United States. We have tried many times to change our citizens’ situation by invoking the Council of Europe Convention on Transfer of Sentenced Persons. The United States is a party to this Convention, just as we are. They categorically refuse to hear anything, including our arguments that both Yaroshenko and Bout (as well as a number of others) have been actually lured into a trap by provocations. They have been literally kidnapped, which is against the law. In Bout’s case, the Thai laws were violated – not all procedures were followed; with Yaroshenko, it was Liberia’s. There was also a case where they took Roman Seleznev in the Maldives in a gangster manner – they just put him on an aircraft and he was flown away. Nobody knew anything. Such methods of provoked attacks on our people are being used to achieve something. Either to persuade them to cooperate, or for some other reason. This is unacceptable.

About prisoner exchanges – Presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden touched upon this matter in Geneva, among other things. They agreed that the respective Russian and US security services in charge of this matter will try to negotiate some mutually acceptable options. So far, we haven’t come to any agreement. The United States is only interested in getting its citizens back and does not seem to take our interests very seriously. They are interested in Paul Whelan, who is convicted of espionage. He was caught red-handed. This crime cannot be even compared with the reasons Yaroshenko and Bout got their sentences in excess of 20 years in prison. We are ready to talk. There are other American citizens as well. For some reason, they are not of interest to the administration in Washington. But talking is always better than not talking.

Question: On the JCPOA, the United States wants to discuss [inaudible] the Middle East. Will this be included into the JCPOA?  And on Syria, why doesn’t Damascus allow the UN to have humanitarian trips there? I know that there is a compromise made in the UN Security Council, but it does not seem to make sense. Does Syria or Damascus think that UN workers are Trojan horses?

Sergey Lavrov: Regarding the JCPOA, all we want is for it to resume without any preconditions. Attempts to add them as a requirement to expand the talks to include the Iranian missile programme or to discuss Iran’s “behaviour” in the region, as our Western colleagues say, have no future. This is like comparing apples and oranges. The agreement on the nuclear programme is a separate subject. If there are any concerns as to someone’s behaviour, Iran’s regional partners are not the only ones to have such concerns. Teheran has its own misgivings regarding them, which is totally normal for any region of the world.

The Persian Gulf countries engage in far-reaching foreign policy activities far beyond their regions. This must be taken into consideration. In this connection, we noted that many years ago Russia drafted a Collective Security Concept for the Persian Gulf region suggesting a dialogue inspired to some degree by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. This included discussing confidence-building measures, military transparency and attending each other’s exercises, as well as engaging in positive joint projects. Political scientists from the region and other countries have already discussed this topic. In August 2021, we updated our collective security approach for the Persian Gulf region and released it as an official UN General Assembly and Security Council document. We believe that it is at a forum of this kind, and we hope that we will succeed in convening it, that we need to discuss concerns over the presence of missiles in this region, since Iran is not alone in this regard, and what kind of policies various parties follow. The conflict in Yemen is a case in point in terms of exposing the interests of Arab countries and Iran. There is a need to reach agreements. We believe that this forum should reach beyond the Gulf region. You cannot separate Iraq, Egypt and Jordan in terms of their engagement in shaping a new common platform for constructive dialogue. The Arab League, and the five permanent members of the UN Security must all be involved. Probably, the European Union will also be interested. We believe this approach to be concrete and realistic, at least I had the impression that our colleagues were interested in it. Yesterday, I met with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and they are interested in this topic. We agreed to make it a priority as we resume our ministerial contacts.

As for humanitarian aid to Syria, yesterday I had a lengthy conversation on this topic with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. We cannot be satisfied with a situation where double standards are being used in the most flagrant and blatant manner. There are six million refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, or maybe even more. In November 2020, Russia and 20 other countries helped Damascus hold a conference on refugees. It focused on creating conditions that would enable refugees to return home, which is what most of them want. The fact that the United States did everything to intimidate those who were expected to attend this conference in Damascus, and the fact that the UN did not take part in the conference was a real shock for us. In fact, the UN representative in Damascus was the only person representing the UN as an observer. At the time, I wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres saying that this amounted to a failure to comply with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 that provides a framework for the UN’s activity on the Syrian track. It clearly stipulates efforts to facilitate humanitarian deliveries and creating conditions that would enable refugees to return to Syria.

Early in 2021, the European Union held an annual conference on Syrian refugees in Brussels, without the Syrian Arab Republic, but co-chaired by the EU and the UN Secretary-General. How perplexing. Not only was Syria not present, which is already a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, but the funds collected at the conference went towards paying for the accommodation of refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, instead of being used to restore infrastructure in Syria. For this reason, I ask those of our friends from the media who worry about ordinary people in conflict zones, to note that initiatives of this kind make a mockery of international humanitarian law.

We adopted the compromise resolution in July. It is true that it extends the so-called cross-border humanitarian aid mechanism for another six months, with deliveries primarily coming from Turkey to the Idlib de-escalation zone. However, considering that the West clings to this mechanism that has not been agreed with Damascus and runs counter to the international humanitarian law, we have every reason to believe that there is some kind of hidden agenda there. We do not get any information on what is in the lorries heading to the Idlib de-escalation zone. The UN swears that they inspect every lorry, but there is no way this can be verified. Even more so, no one knows how this aid or whatever these boxes contain is distributed in the Idlib de-escalation zone, or whether terrorists from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other unacceptable structures benefit from this aid.

Unless specific measures are taken to unblock humanitarian aid deliveries through Damascus, as required under international humanitarian law, we will put an end to this untransparent cross-border activity. Moreover, since the adoption of the resolution requiring that aid be sent into Syria through Damascus as well, there was only one convoy, and even it was far from complete. About half of the supplies that had been waiting to be delivered for almost a year could not reach their destination. The convoy organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross together with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent back in April 2020 remained where it was. Those who care about the starving population must, first, appeal to the Western countries that can influence this situation, and second, reach out to the UN leadership so that it complies with the relevant resolution. Apart from purely the humanitarian aspects, on assisting Syria and humanitarian deliveries, this resolution calls for the so-called early recovery projects, including water supply, electricity, housing, schools and healthcare. This must be done, and the UN Secretariat knows this. Syrians currently face so much hardship. Throughout the Syrian crisis the UN Secretariat did little to create conditions facilitating the return of refugees. However, the UN Security Council Resolution is there. It has been adopted unanimously, and has to be carried out.

Question: Yesterday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared that the Palestinians would withdraw their recognition of the State of Israel, if Israel did not cease its occupation within one year.  This will lead to chaos in the Middle East. What can the Russian Federation as a friend of the Palestinians and a country maintaining good relations with Israel do to avoid this scenario? After the Palestinians lost faith in the efficacy of the peace process, do they have the right to defend themselves and resist the occupation?

Sergey Lavrov: All right, let’s talk about the Palestinian-Israeli problems. These problems are certainly grave ones. They were not helped by the “casting about” we observed during the previous US administration. I am referring to both their recognition of the Golan Heights and the attempts to promote what was actually an annexation inscribed in the context of the efforts to create a quasi Palestinian state. What is important here is that the Biden administration has confirmed its commitment to the two-state approach. But the Israeli prime minister is not confirming this commitment, although there are politicians in Israel and in the Israeli parliament, who have different views on how to ensure security of the Jewish State without living under constant strain and hitting targets threatening Israel. [According to them], the alternative is to come to an agreement and build a stable and peaceful life through a two-state safe and prosperous coexistence in keeping with the principles of a settlement endorsed by the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly. The current Israeli leaders are maintaining contacts that mostly boil down to keeping security in the Palestinian territories.

We believe that it would be a major mistake if the processes in the region – Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, etc. – make us forget about the Palestinian question. After all, it is the outgrowth of this planet’s longest-lasting modern conflict, a conflict that other powers sought to settle through the creation of two states. One state was established in no time, but the other state is still to be created.

I believe that the decision approved by the Arab League at the initiative of the King of Saudi Arabia almost 20 years ago now was a wise decision. I am referring to the Arab Peace Initiative, which said that the Arab countries would normalise their relations with Israel immediately after the creation of a viable Palestinian state conforming to all the UN-defined criteria. That was quite a specimen of statecraft. But the Trump administration attempted to turn everything upside down. The Abraham Accords promoted by a number of Arab countries were based on the logic that the first thing to do was to normalise relations between the Arabs and Israel, with the Palestinian problem to be considered afterwards. We welcome any kind of normalisation between any states. Not at the expense of Palestine in this case. It is gratifying that all the signatories of the Abraham Accords, including Bahrain, the UAE, the Sudan, and Morocco stressed that they were fully committed to the UN decisions on the Palestinian problem. This is where we should stand.

You asked whether they have the right to fight. They will not ask [for anyone’s permission]. The unregulated state of the Palestinian problem is the gravest factor feeding radical sentiments on the Arab “street.”  The extremist preachers are saying that their people have been wronged, that they were promised a state of their own 80 years ago but it was a deception. Young people, particularly uneducated ones, are highly sensitive to this sort of propaganda. But my Israeli colleagues get offended when I explain to them this aspect of the Middle East situation and the impact of the lack of a settlement of the Palestinian problem is exerting on stability in the whole of the region. They say I am wrong and that the problem is not very serious. But this is a shortsighted approach.

This is the reason why we are supporting Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas’ proposal to convene an international conference. But we are confident that it must be thoroughly prepared, for which purpose we would like to resume the activities of the Quartet of international intermediaries consisting of Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations and to recruit for joint work, for example, the foursome of Arab countries – Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, and Bahrain – that have relations with Israel.   Probably Saudi Arabia, the author of the Arab Peace Initiative, should be invited as well. This makes 4+4+1+2 (Israel and Palestine). If some parties believe that it is still too early to meet in this format, we are ready to offer our territory as a venue and support any other invitation for Israel and Palestine to meet for direct talks. The important thing is to avoid procrastination. We will seek to support this approach in every way we can.

Most importantly, while what we have just discussed depends on many factors (some depend on Israel, some on other members of regional organisations), there is one matter that depends on no one but the Palestinians themselves. I am referring to Palestinian unity. Attempts were being made to restore it a couple of years ago now. Certain agreements seemed to be reached and a circle of elections was announced. But eventually nothing came of it.  The lack of rapport between Ramallah and Gaza carries a negative charge. If the Palestinians restored their unity, it would be easier and more effective for them to talk to Israel at future negotiations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once said that he did not know who to hold talks with, when it was unclear whom Mr Abbas was representing.  It looked like he had Ramallah alone, while Gaza was controlled by other people. These matters have a strong influence on any attempts to achieve major political results. The Palestinians are unwilling to restore unity. But we are actively working with all the Palestinian factions. I repeatedly invited them to Moscow. During the discussions they agree they should reunite, but later it all somehow goes amiss.

Question (retranslated from English): This week, the European Commission accused Russia of engaging in hacker attacks against European politicians and media representatives, in particular, German politicians and officials, in the run-up to tomorrow’s election in which they are participating. What is your response to these accusations? Do you have any expectations regarding the outcome of elections in Germany?

Trevor Reed’s family believes he was unjustly indicted and sentenced to an unreasonably long term. Could you comment on these statements as well?

Sergey Lavrov: I have already covered Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan, for that matter. Paul Whelan was arrested on espionage charges. He was caught red-handed. Trevor Reed was arrested for attacking and hitting a police officer several times. I am not sure how many years in prison people in the United States would get for violent attacks against a police officer. I think, many. Konstantin Yaroshenko and Viktor Bout were simply lured by deception into a deal where they used an aircraft for some purpose, which got them implicated into a case of arms and drug smuggling. They were sentenced to over 20 years in prison without having hurt anyone or having any intention to violate international rules for trading in particular types of goods. So, our US colleagues need to be consistent, if they are offended over someone being arrested here. The same standards should be applied to all situations. In the case of an attack on police officers, see what is happening at the trial on the “Capitol attack.”

With regard to the accusations advanced by the European Commission, we are willing to review the facts, but they simply will not give us any. We are being unfoundedly charged with the alleged poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko with polonium in London in 2007. They have not yet provided a single piece of evidence, but closed the process to the public and made it “official,” meaning that the judges can now consider secret materials behind closed doors. Now, they want to do the same with the process regarding the woman who died in Salisbury in the context of the Skripal case. They also want closed hearings on the causes of her death in order to avoid disclosing some secret documents. Nobody is making them available to us, but they blame us for everything. As with the Skripal case, they are also blaming us for the Malaysian Boeing case. The court in The Hague ruled that they had reason to believe the United States, which stated it had satellite images to prove that Russia had done it. But they did not show these images to anyone. The Dutch court considers this normal. They believe whatever the Americans say. Arnold Schwarzenegger famously said “trust me” in one of his films, and Ronald Reagan added “but verify.” So, we want to conduct verification. In the case of the MH17 flight, we provided the data from the radars and much more. The Ukrainians refused to share the data from their radars. Allegedly, they “went dead” during the crash. They refuse to provide the exchange between the air traffic controller and the pilots. This speaks volumes. And much more.

We’re being accused of interfering  in the US elections. I discussed this matter with my colleagues on many occasions, in particular, with former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He once said they had irrefutable evidence of Russia’s interference in the 2016 US elections, and I asked him to show it to me. He said they would not let us see it and that we should contact our special services for they would know what it was all about. That was all that was said. Is that okay?

The same goes for cyber attacks. The US authorities accused us (President Biden brought this issue up at a meeting with President Putin) or, rather our ransomware hackers, of attacking a meat processor and a fuel pipeline in the United States demanding them to pay ransom. Nobody showed us any evidence. President Biden, however, said their data show it is not the Russian Government that is doing this, but some people who are based in  Russia.

We let them know that most (about half) of the hacker attacks on our resources over the past year were carried out from the United States. Some originated in Germany and other countries. We have sent 45 official inquiries to our US colleagues indicating concrete facts that needed investigation. We received nine replies. We have received about 10 official inquiries and answered every one of them. I am heartened to know that the Americans agreed to move away from sporadic accusations and complaints and to begin systematic work on this matter after President Putin discussed this issue with President Biden in Geneva. The services that deal with cyber security have established dedicated communication channels. We hope that things will get going now.

With regard to the election in Germany, we wish every success to all its participants.

Question: Last week, the preliminary results of an investigation conducted by Justice Department special counsel John Durham into “Russiagate” were made public in the United States. The indictment mentioned one of the probe’s initiators. It is not the first paradoxical situation reported in the United States. American officials are overturning the US accusations against Russia.

The paradox is that the sanctions adopted against Russia have not been lifted despite the refutation. What is Moscow’s position on this score and what are its American partners saying?

Sergey Lavrov: You have answered your own question. It was unreasonable to do this before pondering the matter or investigating the situation. And it is a pity that after the situation was clarified they have not retraced their steps so as not to harm our bilateral relations. This is what American manners are all about. We have become accustomed to this. We will never ask for the sanctions to be lifted. The “limit” has been exhausted by neighbouring Ukraine, which continues making requests, unable to get its bearings of what is happening.  We are not going to act in this manner.

We do not have any other partners [in the US]. However, dialogue is gradually taking shape in some spheres, such as strategic stability and cybersecurity, which gives hope that we will bit by bit develop dialogue based on mutual respect at least in some spheres of international relations.

Question (retranslated from English): My question concerns Palestine. Many people say that Palestinian settlements are occupying too much land, that there are already half a million settlers. Do you think it’s time for the international community to settle the problem by creating one state for two peoples? Could you comment on this please?

As you are aware, WFP Executive Director David Beasley said just two days ago now that at least 50,000 Yemenis are starving and millions need humanitarian aid and food. Do you think that the international community, which includes Russia, has let the Yemeni people down by failing to put sufficient pressure on all the conflicting parties, including Saudi Arabia?

Sergey Lavrov: I would not say that the international community is not doing enough to convince the conflicting parties to sit down at the negotiating table not only to exchange accusations but also to come to some agreements.  There are a number of factors involved here, which are, regrettably, absolutely subjective and have to do with the desire of certain individuals to remain in power as long as possible, which is having a negative effect on the negotiating process and the possibility of compromise. I will not go into any details right now, but Yemen is indeed a country with the world’s largest humanitarian disaster, which was pointed out long ago, when the conflict had only just started and was in the hot phase.

We are involved through our Embassy. Our ambassador to Yemen is currently working from Riyadh, where a group of ambassadors are acting together to support the process and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen. I hope that everyone will gradually come to see the futility of trying to put off the necessary agreements.

As for the [Palestinian] settlements, we have always condemned the settlement policy, saying, just as you have so rightly pointed out, that this would create facts on the ground that will prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. I have heard about the one state solution where all people would have equal rights. I believe that this is unrealistic. Many academics say that this, if this should happen, will undermine the Jewish nature of the State of Israel. But if equal rights are not granted to everyone in Israel, it might become an apartheid state.

I am quite sure that the two-state solution is the only option. I would just like to point out that many people in the Israeli political elite share this same view and believe that this option must be promoted more actively.

Big, huge changes, in the near future (a tentative list)

SEPTEMBER 26, 2021

by Andrei for the Saker blog

Note: I will be terminating the fund drive today, and I want to thank ALL those who donated, be it prayers, words of support or money.  You have made a huge difference to us in a difficult moment and I want to thank you all for this!  As for the blog, it is now doing better than ever and I have you all to thank for it.

***

Truly, tectonic changes are happening before our eyes, and today I just want to list some of them but without going to deep into specific analyses, that I plan to do later in the coming weeks.  But just looking at this list is impressive enough, at least for me.  So, here we go:

The Anglos are circling the wagons:

The planned sale of US/UK SSNs to Australia is nothing short of a HUGE game changer.  It is also just the tip of a big iceberg:

  • The US seems to have de-facto given up on Europe, not only because the UK left or because the EU is crashing and unmanageable anyway, but because the political grip the US had on the continent is now clearly slipping: NATO is a paper tiger, the “new Europeans” have outlived their utility and Russia has basically successfully diffused the threat from the West by her titanic effort to develop capabilities which make an attack on Russia suicidal for any country, including the USA, whether nukes are involved or not.
  • By screwing over France, the US has jettisoned a pretty useless ally which had a short hysterical fit, but is already going back to its usual groveling and begging (BTW – those who think that de Gaulle was the last French patriot capable of telling Uncle Shmuel to “take a hike” are wrong, Mitterrand was the last one, but that is a topic for another day).
  • Of course, in political/PR terms, the US will continue to declare itself committed to NATO and the EU, but the “body language” (actions) of the US directly contradicts this notion.
  • For all its immense progress since the 80s and 90s, China still has two major technological weak points: aircraft engines and SSNs.  It just so happens that these are also two real US strong points.  By deploying 8 more SSNs near China, the US is very intelligently maximizing the use of its best assets and hurting China were it will hurt the most.  This does come with some very real risks, however, which I will discuss below.

The BRICS is close to becoming useless:

Brazil is currently run by the US and Israel.  South Africa is in a deep crisis.  As for India, it is doing what it has been doing for decades: trying to play all sides while trying to weaken China.  So it sure looks like the BRICS are becoming the “BRICS” which really leaves us with “only” the “RC” alliance which actually has a real name: the Chinese call it the “Strategic comprehensive partnership of coordination for the new era”.

Again, I don’t think that anybody will formally dissolve what was a rather informal alliance to begin with, but de-facto the BRICS seems to be loosing much of its former glamour and illusions.  As for Russia and China, they are not going to “save” the former BRICS members out of some sense of sympathy especially not against their own will: let them save themselves, or at least try.  Then, maybe.

Also, let’s be honest here, BRICS was an economic concept which was mostly an alliance of weak(er) countries against the big economic and military powers of the North and West.

As for the Russian-Chinese alliance (let’s call it that, even though formally that is not what this is), it is, by itself, already more powerful than BRICS and even more powerful that the united West (US+NATO+EU+etc.).

The SCO is changing (thanks to Uncle Shmuel), fast

If Biden was a secret “Putin agent” (“KGB agent” is the preferred term in the US, at least by those who do not seem to realize that the KGB was disbanded thirty years ago) he could not have done “better” than what he did in Afghanistan.  Now, thanks to this galactic faceplant, the small(er) guys in the SCO (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan) are now getting seriously concerned about what will happen next.  Even better, the (very powerful) Iran will officially become a SCO member this month!  Again, neither Russia not China “need” the SCO for their defense, but it sure makes things easier for them.  Speaking of Afghanistan, Pakistan is already a SCO member, as is India.

It is important to note that the SCO will not become an “Asian NATO” or an “anti-NATO” or anything similar.  Again, why would Russia, China and other want to follow a failed model?  They have repeated ad nauseam that their alliances are of unions of (truly!) sovereign states and that this union will not impede on this sovereignty in any ways (besides, neither Russia not China need to limit the others SCO members sovereignty to begin with).

The EU is slowly committing economic and political suicide

Initially, France had a major hissy fit, but is probably not doing the only thing France should do after what happened: leave NATO and slam the door on it, very loudly.  De Gaulle or Mitterrand would have done so immediately, but Macron?  Being the ultimate spineless fake that he is, it would be miraculous if he did anything meaningful (other than brutally repressing all the riots in France).

At this time of writing the result of the elections in Germany are too close to call, but even if NS2 is allowed to function, the level of russophobic hysteria in Europe is so extreme that the following will almost certainly happen: the EU will continue with its rhetoric until the prices go even further up, at which point they will turn to the only country which the EU desperately need to survive: the much hated and feared Russia.  Don’t quote me on that, but last week I remember the following prices for 1000 cubic meters of gas in Europe (just under 1000 dollars), the Ukraine (1600 dollars) and Belarus (120 dollars).  I might have memorized this wrong (I was traveling), and this might have changed, but the bottom line is this: only Russia can’t give the EU the energy it needs, and she has exactly ZERO reasons to make those russophobic prostitutes any favors (other than symbolic).  And even if my memory played a trick on me, what is certain that the prices for energy are soaring, the EU reserves are very low, and the temperatures falling.  Welcome to the real world 🙂

I won’t even go into the “multiculturalism” “inclusivity” “positivity” and other Woke nonsense which most of the EU countries have accepted as dogmas (even Switzerland caved in).

The US is like an aircraft breaking apart in mid-air

As most of you know, I have decided to stay away from internal US politics (for many different reasons).  So I will just use a metaphor: the US is like an aircraft which, due to pilot incompetence and infighting, is breaking apart in mid-air with its passengers still arguing about who should be the next pilot as that could make any difference.  Some passengers will continue to argue until the hit the ground.  Others are engage in “mid-air fistfights” apparently believing that if they succeed in beating the crap out of the other guy, they will somehow prevent gravity from doing what it does.

The reality is much simpler: a system that is not viable AND which cannot reform itself (too busy with self-worshiping and blaming others for everything) can only do one thing: collapse and, probably, even break-apart.  Only after that can the US, or whatever the successor state(s) will be called, rebuilt itself into something totally different from the US which died chocking on its own arrogance this year (like all the other empires in history, by the way, the latest one being the Soviet one).

The Russian elections

The results are in and they are yet another galactic faceplant for the AngloZionist Empire.  The main Kremlin Party took a hit, the Communists did very well, Zhirinovski’s LDPR lost a lot and a new (moderately pro-Kremlin) party made it in for the first time.  Considering the many billions of dollars the West has spent on trying to create a Belarus-like crisis in Russia (Navalnyi, Petrov, Boshirov & Co.), this is yet another truly gigantic failure for the West.  If anything, the rise of the KPRF shows that a lot of people are fed up with two things: 1) what they see as a tepid, if not outright weak, Russian foreign policy towards the West and 2) with the liberal (economically speaking) policies of Putin and his entourage.  Absolutely NOBODY in Russia wants “better relations” or any kind of “dialog” with the rabidly russophobic West.  And to the extend that Russia and the USA simply *have* to talk to each other (being nuclear superpowers) they, of course, will.  But the EU as such is of zero interest to Russia.  And if Russia needs to get something done (like what anyway?), she will talk to the US, not its EU underlings.  For all its problems, the US still matters.  But the clowns of the EU?

[Sidebar: the word “Communist” usually elicits a knee-jerk reaction from brainwashed US Americans.  But for the rest of them, let me just say that while I don’t think the KPRF is what Russia needs and while I have nothing good to say about Ziuganov or most of the KPRF leadership, I will say that KPRF does not mean Gulags, hammers and sickles smashing Ukie babies, Russian tanks in downtown Warsaw or any such nonsense.  There are several “Communist” parties in Russia, and none of them are even remotely similar to the kind of party the bad old CPSU was.  So while US politicians feel very witty to speak of the CCP-virus and that kind of nonsense (Ted Cruz is officially my “favorite idiot” in Congress now), this is so far detached from any reality that I won’t even bother explaining it here.]

The COVID pandemic

Wow, just wow.  Where do I even begin???  Biden’s speech on this topic was hateful declaration of war on all those who don’t fully accept the “official” White House line.  The fact that many (most?) of those who do not accept the official party line DO accept an even dumber version of events does not make it right to force them into choosing between their beliefs and, say, their job, or their right to move around.  Again, after listening to Biden I kept wondering if he was a “Putin agent” as his actions are only accelerating the breakup of the “US aircraft” I mentioned above.  You can say many things about COVID-dissidents, but you can’t deny them two things: 1) a sincere belief in their ideas and 2) an equally sincere belief that their core freedoms, values and rights are trampled upon by pathological liars and crooks (aka politicians + BigPharma).

They will resist and, yes, violently if needed.  Because for them it is a both a matter of personal human dignity and even survival!

At least, and so far, the US still has a powerful Constitution which will make it very hard for the current nutcases in the White House to do what they apparently want to do (force 80M US Americans to obey “or else”).  Furthermore, Federal courts cannot be simply ignored.  Also, US states still have a lot of power.  Finally, most US Americans still hold dear the ideals of freedom, liberty, small government, privacy, etc. But EU countries have no such protections from governmental abuse: true, in the US these are all rights are weakened by the day if not the hour, but at least they have not been *officially* abrogated (yet?).

If you want to see how bad things can get without such rights, just look at the pandemic freak show in Canada, Australia or New Zealand!

Finally, and irrespective of its actual origin (I am still on the fence on that), the COVID pandemic wiped all the make-up and has showed the entire world the true face of the West and its rulers: weak, ignorant, arrogant, hypocritical cowards whose only true concern is to cover their butts and “grab whatever can be grabbed” before the inevitable and final explosion (nuclear, economic or social).

Now back the the Aussie SSNs

The sale/lease of these SSNs is not only a danger for China, but also one for Russia.  Simply put, Russia cannot and will not allow the Anglos to strangle China like they did with Japan before WWII.  The good news is this: the latest Russian SSNs/SSGNs are at least as good as the latest Seawolf/Virginia class, if not better.  Ditto for ASW capabilities.  What Russia does lack is the needed numbers (and Anglo submarine fleets are much lager, even “just” the USN alone) and funds, both of which China has (or can have).  From the Kremlin’s point of view, the Anglos are trying to create an “Asian NATO”, something which neither China nor Russia will allow.  The Chinese already informed the Aussies that they are now a legitimate target for nuclear strikes (apparently, Australia wants to become the “Poland of the Pacific”), while the Russians only made general comments of disapproval.  But take this to the bank: the Russian General Staff and the Chinese (who both probably saw this coming for a while) will jointly deploy the resources needed to counter this latest “brilliant idea” of the Anglos.  In purely military terms, there are many different options to deal with this threat, which ones China and Russia will chose will become apparent fairly soon because it is far better to do something prevent that delivery from actually happening than to deal with eight more advanced attack submarines.

By the way, the Russians are also semi-deploying/semi-testing an advanced SSK, the Lada-class, which has both very advanced capabilities and, apparently, still many problems.  SSKs are not capable of threatening SSNs in open (blue) waters, but in shallower (green/brown) waters such as straits or littorals, they can represent a very real threat, if only by “freeing up” the SNNs to go and hunt into the deep (blue) waters.  Also, the main threat for subs comes from the air, and here, again, China and Russia have some very attractive options.

Conclusion: interesting times for sure…

Like the Chinese curse says, we are living in very interesting times.  The quick collapse of the Empire and the US is, of course, inherently very dangerous for our planet.  But it is also a golden opportunity for Zone B nations to finally kick the Anglos out and regain their sovereignty.  True, the US still has a lot of momentum, just like a falling airliner would, but the fact  remains that 1) they ran from Afghanistan and 2) they are circling their Anglo wagons shows that somebody somewhere does “get it” and even understood that in spite of the huge political humiliation both of these development represent for narcissistic politicians and their followers, this was a price which absolutely HAD to be paid to (try) to survive.

In my article (infamous) analysis ” Will Afghanistan turn out to be US imperialism’s “Last Gleaming”?” (it triggered even more hysterics and insults than usual, at least on the Unz review comments section) I wrote this: “the British Empire had the means of its foreign policies. The US does not.

This is now changing.

Yes, what the Anglos (aka 5 eyes) are doing is a retreat.  But it is a *smart* one.  They are cutting off all the “useless imperial weights” and going for the “smaller but stronger” option.  We might not like it, I certainly don’t, but I have to admit that this is pretty smart and even probably the only option left for the AngloZionist Empire. At the very least, it is now clear that the Anglos have no allies, and never had them.  What they had where colonial coolies who imagined themselves as part of some “community of civilized, democratic and peace-loving, nations”.  These coolies are now left in limbo.

So, who will be the next one to show Uncle Shmuel to the door?  My guess is the Republic of Korea.  And, frankly, since the DPRK is not a country the Empire can take on, and since China will only increase its (already major) influence on both the DPRK and the ROK, the US might as well pack and leave (maybe for Australia or occupied Japan?).

Okay, end of this overview of developments.

Now it’s your time to chime in as I am pretty sure that I missed quite a few things while in a short trip.

Cheers

Andrei

Eurasian consolidation ends the US unipolar moment – Part 2 of 2

SEPTEMBER 24, 2021

Eurasian consolidation ends the US unipolar moment – Part 2 of 2

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

Part 1 is here

The 20th anniversary summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, enshrined no less than a new geopolitical paradigm.

Iran, now a full SCO member, was restored to its traditionally prominent Eurasian role, following the recent $400 billion-worth trade and development deal struck with China. Afghanistan was the main topic – with all players agreeing on the path ahead, as detailed in the Dushanbe Declaration. And all Eurasian integration paths are now converging, in unison, towards the new geopolitical – and geoeconomic – paradigm.

Call it a multipolar development dynamic in synergy with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The Dushanbe Declaration was quite explicit on what Eurasian players are aiming at: “a more representative, democratic, just and multipolar world order based on universally recognized principles of international law, cultural and civilizational diversity, mutually beneficial and equal cooperation of states under the central coordinating role of the UN.”

For all the immense challenges inherent to the Afghan jigsaw puzzle, hopeful signs emerged this Tuesday, when Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah met in Kabul with the Russian presidential envoy Zamir Kabulov, China’s special envoy Yue Xiaoyong, and Pakistan’s special envoy Mohammad Sadiq Khan.

This troika – Russia, China, Pakistan – is at the diplomatic forefront. The SCO reached a consensus that Islamabad will be coordinating with the Taliban the formation of a government also including Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras.

The most glaring, immediate consequence of the SCO not only incorporating Iran but also taking the Afghan bull by the horns, fully supported by the Central Asian “stans”, is that the Empire of Chaos has been completely marginalized.

From Southwest Asia to Central Asia, a real reset has as protagonists the SCO, the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), BRI and the Russia-China strategic partnership. The missing links so far, for different reasons – Iran and Afghanistan – are now fully incorporated to the chessboard.

In my frequent conversations with Alastair Crooke, one of the world’s foremost political analysts, he evoked once again Lampedusa’s The Leopard: everything must change so everything must remain the same. In this case, imperial hegemony, as interpreted by Washington: “In its growing confrontation with China, a ruthless Washington has demonstrated that what matters to it now is not Europe, but the Indo-Pacific region.” That’s Cold War 2.0 prime terrain.

With very little potential to contain China now that it’s been all but expelled from the Eurasia heartland, the fallback position had to be a classic maritime power play: the “free and open Indo-Pacific”, complete with Quad and AUKUS, the whole set up spun to death as an “effort” attempting to preserve dwindling American supremacy.

The sharp contrast between the SCO continental integration drive and the “we all live in an Aussie submarine” gambit (my excuses to Lennon-McCartney) speaks for itself. A toxic mix of hubris and desperation is in the air, with not even a whiff of pathos to alleviate the downfall.

The Global South is not impressed. Addressing the forum in Dushanbe, President Putin remarked that the portfolio of nations knocking on the SCO’s door was huge, and that was not surprising at all. Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are now SCO dialogue partners, on the same level with Afghanistan and Turkey. It’s quite feasible they may be joined next year by Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Serbia and a cast of dozens.

And it doesn’t stop in Eurasia. In his meticulously timed address to CELAC, Xi Jinping no less than invited 33 Latin American nations to be part of the Eurasia-Africa-Americas New Silk Roads.

Remember the Scythians

Iran as a SCO protagonist and at the center of the New Silk Roads restores it to a rightful historic role. By the middle of the first millennium B.C., Northern Iranians ruled the core of the steppes in Central Eurasia. By that time the Scythians had migrated into the Western steppe, while other steppe Iranians made inroads as far away as China.

Scythians – a Northern (or “East”) Iranian people – were not necessarily just fierce warriors. That’s a crude stereotype. Very few in the West know that the Scythians developed a sophisticated trade system, as described by Herodotus among others, linking Greece, Persia and China.

And why’s that? Because trade was an essential means to support their sociopolitical infrastructure. Herodotus got the picture because he actually visited the city of Olbia and other places in Scythia.

The Scythians were called Saka by the Persians – and that leads us to another fascinating territory: the Sakas may have been one of the prime ancestors of the Pashtun in Afghanistan.

What’s in a name – Scythian? Well, multitudes. The Greek form Scytha meant Northern Iranian “archer”. So that was the denomination of all the Northern Iranian peoples living between Greece in the West and China in the East.

Now imagine a very busy international commerce network developed across the heartland, with the focus on Central Eurasia, by the Scythians, the Sogdians, and even the Xiongnu – who kept battling the Chinese on and off, as detailed by early Greek and Chinese historical sources.

These Central Eurasians traded with all the peoples living on their borders: that meant Europeans, Southwest Asians, South Asians and East Asians. They were the precursors of the multiple Ancient Silk Roads.

The Sogdians followed the Scythians; Sogdiana was an independent Greco-Bactrian state in the 3rd century B.C. – encompassing areas of northern Afghanistan – before it was conquered by nomads from the east that ended up establishing the Kushan empire, which soon expanded south into India.

Zoroaster was born in Sogdiana; Zoroastrianism was huge in Central Asia for centuries. The Kushans for their part adopted Buddhism: and that’s how Buddhism eventually arrived in China.

By the fist century A.D. all these Central Asian empires were linked – via long-distance trade – to Iran, India and China. That was the historical basis of the multiple, Ancient Silk Roads – which linked China to the West for several centuries until the Age of Discovery configured the fateful Western maritime trade dominance.

Arguably, even more than a series of interlinked historical phenomena, the denomination “Silk Road” works best as a metaphor of cross-cultural connectivity. That’s what is at the heart of the Chinese concept of New Silk Roads. And average people across the heartland feel it, because that’s imprinted in the collective unconscious in Iran, China and all Central Asian “stans”.

The Revenge of the Heartland

Glenn Diesen, Professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway and an editor at the Russia in Global Affairs journal, is among the very few top scholars who are analyzing the process of Eurasia integration in depth.

His latest book practically spells out the whole story in its title: Europe as the Western Peninsula of Greater Eurasia: Geoeconomic Regions in a Multipolar World.

Diesen shows, in detail, how a “Greater Eurasia region, that integrates Asia and Europe, is currently being negotiated and organized with a Chinese-Russian partnership at the center. Eurasian geoeconomic instruments of power are gradually forming the foundation of a super-region with new strategic industries, transportation corridors and financial instruments. Across the Eurasian continent, states as different as South Korea, India, Kazakhstan and Iran are all advancing various formats for Eurasia integration.”

The Greater Eurasia Partnership has been at the center of Russian foreign policy at least since the St. Petersburg forum in 2016. Diesen duly notes that, “while Beijing and Moscow share the ambition to construct a larger Eurasian region, their formats differ. The common denominator of both formats is the necessity of a Sino-Russian partnership to integrate Eurasia.” That’s what was made very clear at the SCO summit.

It’s no wonder the process irks the Empire immensely, because Greater Eurasia, led by Russia-China, is a mortal attack against the geoeconomic architecture of Atlanticism. And that leads us to the nest of vipers debate around the EU concept of “strategic autonomy” from the US; that would be essential to establish true European sovereignty – and eventually, closer integration within Eurasia.

European sovereignty is simply non-existent when its foreign policy means submission to dominatrix NATO. The humiliating, unilateral withdrawal of Afghanistan coupled with Anglo-only AUKUS was a graphic illustration that the Empire doesn’t give a damn about its European vassals.

Throughout the book Diesen shows, in detail, how the concept of Eurasia unifying Europe and Asia “has through history been an alternative to the dominance of maritime powers in the oceanic-centric world economy”, and how “British and American strategies have been deeply influenced” by the ghost of an emerging Eurasia, “a direct threat to their advantageous position in the oceanic world order”.

Now, the crucial factor seems to be the fragmentation of Atlanticism. Diesen identifies three levels: the de facto decoupling of Europe and the US propelled by Chinese ascendancy; the mind-boggling internal divisions in the EU, enhanced by the parallel universe inhabited by Brussels eurocrats; and last but not least, “polarization within Western states” caused by the excesses of neoliberalism.

Well, just as we think we’re out, Mackinder and Spykman pull us back in. It’s always the same story: the Anglo-American obsession in preventing the rise of a “peer competitor” (Brzezinski) in Eurasia, or an alliance (Russia-Germany in the Mackinder era, now the Russia-China strategic partnership) capable, as Diesen puts it, “of wrestling geoeconomic control away from the oceanic powers.”

As much as imperial strategists remain hostages of Spykman – who ruled that the US must control the maritime periphery of Eurasia – definitely it’s not AUKUS/Quad that is going to pull it off.

Very few people, East and West, may remember that Washington had developed its own Silk Road concept during the Bill Clinton years – later co-opted by Dick Cheney with a Pipelineistan twist, and then circling all back to Hillary Clinton, announcing her own Silk Road dream in India in 2011.

Diesen reminds us how Hillary sounded remarkably like a proto-Xi: “Let’s work together to create a new Silk Road. Not a single thoroughfare like its namesake, but an international web and network of economic and transit connections. That means building more rail lines, highways, energy infrastructure, like the proposed pipeline to run from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan, through Pakistan and India.”

Hillary does Pipelineistan! Well, in the end, she didn’t. Reality dictates that Russia is connecting its European and Pacific regions, while China connects its developed east coast with Xinjiang, and both connect Central Asia. Diesen interprets it as Russia “completing its historical conversion from a European/Slavic empire to a Eurasian civilizational state.”

So in the end we’re back to…the Scythians. The prevailing neo-Eurasia concept revives the mobility of nomadic civilizations – via top transportation infrastructure – to connect everything between Europe and Asia. We could call it the Revenge of the Heartland: they are the powers building this new, interconnected Eurasia. Say goodbye to the ephemeral, post-Cold War US unipolar moment.

Australian submarines: an immature and potentially devastating move

September 23, 2021

Australian submarines: an immature and potentially devastating move

by Jean-Luc BASLE  for the Saker Blog

In a September 20th interview with French newspaper Ouest France, France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian explains that the Australian submarine contract was part of France’s Indo-Pacific strategy – a strategy which included India* and whose objective was to ensure stability in a region critically important to world peace and prosperity and, incidentally, where two million French people live. This tripartite de Gaulle-type initiative on the part of France in an area the United States regard as its private reserve since the late 19th century, could not be tolerated. Washington DC had to put an end to it. It did it in a rather abrupt and inimical way, considering France is its oldest ally.

In practical terms, what will come out of this new AUKUS alliance? Nothing, if we believe Scott Ritter, former US Marine Corps intelligence officer which views it as a “dangerous joke”. Why a joke? Because Australia has neither the industrial nor the financial wherewithal not to mention the personnel necessary to build (partially) and fully manage a fleet of nuclear submarines. Why dangerous? Because Chinese leaders see AUKUS as a threat directed at China, and also because other countries may follow suit Australia’s example.

Noting that “a US ally could be armed with nuclear weapons anytime” and that the international community has reason to question Joe Biden’s sincerity when he states that the Australian submarines will not be equipped with nuclear weapons, Yang Sheng observes that: “a nuclear submarine is one tasked to launch a second-round nuclear strike in a nuclear war”. Furthermore, Chinese leaders consider the submarine contract as a violation of the non-proliferation treaty and a de facto legalization of “the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines by all countries”. In a rather corrosive article, the Bulletin of American Scientists stigmatize the members of the AUKUS Alliance, especially the United States, for facilitating “the proliferation of very sensitive military nuclear technology in the coming years”. It further notes that there is little the International Atomic Energy Agency can do to stop Iran from acquiring “enriching uranium to HEU levels** to pursue a submarine program”.

 Will this lead to a new arms race between the United States and China, as some people fear? Hopefully not. China knows it is winning its competition with the United States. Why waste useful resources in such a race? Chinese are patient people – a virtue Westerners lack.

 In his bi-weekly foreign policy video, geopolitical analyst Alexander Mercouris sees AUKUS as further proof of U.S. amateurish foreign policy. Amateurish, indeed, but potentially devastating for world peace coming after George W. Bush’s cancelation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. In its January 2020 bulletin, the board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists move the Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds to midnight – the closest to midnight it has ever been in 75 years. In their January 2021 bulletin, the board left it there. Where will it be in January 2022? The French initiative, for all its shortcomings and challenges, had the advantage of not upsetting the global apple cart. Brutally left in the cold by its Anglo-Saxon friends, the French should waste no time in offering its nuclear-powered Barracuda submarines to India in replacement of the nuclear-powered submarines the Indian Navy leases from Russia. What a sweet victory this would be.

*India is a long-time client of France’s armament industry.

** Highly Enriched Uranium

Strategic Stupidity… Biden Torpedoes French & NATO Relations With Aussie Sub Deal to Target China

September 21, 2021

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Finian Cunningham

It’s not only France that is stunned by the Anglo-American skullduggery. The other European NATO allies were also left in the dark, Finian Cunningham writes.

The Gallic gall erupting between France and the United States, Britain and Australia has overshadowed the new military alliance that U.S. President Joe Biden announced last week for the Indo-Pacific region.

That alliance was supposed to signal a U.S.-led initiative to challenge China. But the strategic move is turning out rather stupid and shortsighted as it has backfired to slam a hole in Washington’s alliance with France and wider NATO partnerships.

French President Emmanuel Macron has ordered the recall of ambassadors from the U.S. and Australia in a sign of the intense anger in Paris over the newly unveiled alliance known as AUKUS – standing for Australia, United Kingdom and the United States. The return of French envoys from these allied nations has never happened before.

What’s at stake is a €56 billion contract to build a fleet of 12 submarines for Australia by France that was first signed in 2016. That deal has been scrapped and replaced by a contract with the U.S. and Britain to supply Australia with eight nuclear-powered submarines. The French subs that were on order were diesel-electric powered.

That’s a huge loss in financial revenue for France as well as a hammer blow to French naval jobs and ancillary industries. But what’s more damaging is the stealth and a palpable sense of betrayal. The French were evidently hoodwinked by the Americans, British and Australians over the whole backroom deal.

France’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian did not beat around the bush to express the rage being felt in Paris at the highest level. “I am outraged… this is a stab in the back,” he fumed to French media on news of the new Anglo-American military alliance in the Indo-Pacific and the consequent cancellation of the French sub contract.

“There has been duplicity, contempt and lies – you cannot play that way in an alliance,” he added referring to the NATO military organization of which France is a prominent member.

Apart from the recall of its ambassadors, France has also cancelled a scheduled summit in London this week between French and British defense ministers.

Sir Peter Ricketts, a former British national security advisor and past ambassador to France, said the growing row was “just the tip of the iceberg”. He said it was much worse than when France fell foul of the United States and Britain back in 2003 over the Iraq War.

Ricketts told the BBC as quoted by The Guardian: “This is far more than just a diplomatic spat… this puts a big rift down the middle of the NATO alliance.”

What is particularly galling for the French is that the new U.S. alliance with Britain and Australia was obviously under private discussion for several months to the exclusion of Paris and other NATO members. The French only found out about the pact when it was announced on September 15 in a joint virtual press conference between Biden and his British and Australian counterparts, Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison.

When Biden made his first overseas trip as president in June this year to attend the G7 summit in Cornwall, England, and later to meet other NATO leaders in Belgium, there was no mention of the AUKUS plan. Biden even held a bilateral and apparently cordial meeting with Macron in Cornwall without any hint of the new alliance under formation nor the impending impact on the French submarine contract. More bitterly in hindsight, Biden also held a closed meeting with Johnson and Morrison during the G7 summit even though Australia is not a member of the forum. They must have discussed AUKUS in secret. No wonder the French are aggrieved by the contempt shown.

But it’s not only France that is stunned by the Anglo-American skullduggery. The other European NATO allies were also left in the dark.

Last week, European foreign policy chief Josep Borrell presented a new EU strategic vision for the Indo-Pacific region the day after the AUKUS alliance was announced. Borrell had metaphorical egg dripping off his face when he answered media questions about the U.S., UK, Australia initiative. “We were not informed, we were not aware… we regret not having been informed.”

The brutal irony is that Biden came to the White House promising that he would repair transatlantic partnerships with Europe and NATO which had been ravaged by Donald Trump and his browbeating over alleged lack of military spending by allies. When Biden visited England and Belgium in June it was something of a love-in with European leaders who swooned over his vows of “America is back”.

After Biden’s unilateral withdrawal from Afghanistan last month when European NATO partners were not consulted and their apprehensions were brushed aside, now we see Biden poking France in the eye and kicking it in the coffers with €56 billion pain.

“Political trust has been shattered,” said Frederic Grare of the European Council for Foreign Affairs as quoted by the Euronews outlet.

But the whole sordid betrayal and bickering have more than money and loss of trust involved – far-reaching though that those issues are.

Washington’s willingness to supply nuclear-powered submarines to Australia with British collaboration shows that the United States is moving ahead with a more reckless offensive policy towards China. Biden is explicitly declaring a strategic move to confront China more openly and provocatively, ramping up the hostility of previous administrations under Trump and Obama.

Beijing condemned the new AUKUS alliance as a harbinger of more “Cold War”, saying that it would bring insecurity to the region and lead to a new arms race. That may be an understatement as the Anglo-American alliance spells move to a war footing.

China warned that despite Australia’s insipid assurances to the contrary, the nuclear-powered submarines could be armed with nuclear missiles in the future. Beijing said Australia would be targeted for a nuclear strike in the event of any future war with the United States.

Biden’s strategic move to engage with Britain and Australia in order to threaten China is proving to be a loose cannon in relations with France and other European NATO allies. That speaks of Washington’s desperation to confront China. 

عالم ينهار عالم ينهض ومركز ثقل العالم ينتقل إلى الشرق

 محمد صادق الحسيني

«‏العالم ليس سوى غابة… هذه مقولة كنا قد نسيناها

‏لكن الخنجر الذي طعنتنا به أميركا في الظهر

‏يعيد تذكيرنا بها اليوم مجدداً».

‏هذا الكلام لسفير فرنسا السابق في واشنطن ‏(في إشارة إلى إلغاء صفقة الغواصات الأسترالية لفرنسا بضغط من الولايات المتحدة الأميركية).‏

لا يزال العالم يعيش تحت صدمة فسخ صفقة الغواصات التي تعمل بالوقود التقليدي بين أستراليا وفرنسا واستبدالها بأخرى مع أميركا تعمل بالوقود النووي.

وهو ما اعتبره القادة الفرنسيون خيانة أميركية للشراكة الأطلسية وتواطؤاً بريطانياً ذميماً وانقياداً أسترالياً بغيضاً، سيرمي بظلاله على كل العمل المشترك في حلف الناتو.

وهو ما أثار بالفعل تساؤلات عميقة لدى المتابعين والخبراء والمراقبين على حدّ سواء.

ويعتقد مطلعون أنّ العاصفة الهوجاء من النقد اللاذع التي انطلقت مع هذه الواقعة لدى الفرنسيين لها ما يبرّرها بسبب سوابق أميركية تعود لأيام حكم ترامب.

فقد سبق للأميركيين أن وجهوا انتقادات لاذعة للفرنسيين كما للألمان، متهمين إياهم بأنهم لم يقوموا بواجباتهم كما ينبغي تجاه حلف الأطلسي فيما يدفع الأميركيون من خزانتهم لحماية أوروبا والدفاع عنها، وهو خلاصة الكلام الذي أسمعه ترامب للأوروبيين في اجتماعه الشهير بقادتهم في الأشهر الأخيرة من عهده على هامش اجتماع عالي المستوى في فرنسا.

ومن يومها تحسّس قادة أوروبا رؤوسهم وبدأوا يتحدثون عن ضرورة تشكيل قوة دفاعية خاصة بهم.

واليوم مع القرار المفاجئ لأستراليا بإلغاء ما عُرف بصفقة القرن (ما قيمته 56 مليار دولار) مع فرنسا واستبدالها بأخرى أميركية مع إعلان مفاجئ لجو بايدن عن تحالف ثلاثي يضمّ بلاده وبريطانيا وأستراليا، تكون الرواية الفرنسية عن الخيانة الأميركية تجاه باريس والطعن في الظهر قد اكتملت.

لعلّ من المفيد هنا الإشارة إلى أنّ حلف شمال الأطلسي وهو الحلف القائم بين أميركا وأوروبا إنما تشكل بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية من أجل حماية أوروبا من الاتحاد السوفياتي سابقاً.

الأوروبيون يشعرون بقوة منذ زمن ليس بالقليل بأن واشنطن تعيش موسم الهجرة إلى الصين، وأنها لم تعد ترى في موسكو عدوها الأساس بقدر ما ترى ذلك في الصين، خصوصاً بعد أن انتقل الصراع برأيهم من الميدان والحروب العسكرية إلى الاقتصاد، وهو المجال الذي سبقتهم فيه الصين مسافات طويلة.

بالتالي فإنّ ما بات مطلوباً بالنسبة لواشنطن إنما هو تحالفات جديدة تقوم على ضرورة الانتقال من ضفتي الأطلسي إلى ضفتي الهادئ وبحر الصين.

في هذه الأثناء فإنّ تحوّلاً مهماً آخر أيضاً قد طرأ في موازين القوى العسكرية أيضاً في النطاق الأوروبي.

حيث يجمع المتخصصون والعالمون بتقنيات القوة العسكرية الروسية الراهنة، وهو ما يعرفه جنرالات الناتو وكذلك جنرالات البنتاغون جيداً بأنّ قدرات العسكر الروسي المتطورة جداً باتت قادرة على سحق القوة العسكرية الغربية والسيطرة على الميدان فيها من لينينغراد إلى النورماندي (أقصى غرب فرنسا) خلال 24 ساعة.

وهذا التحول المهم في الموازين هو الذي دفع ألمانيا مبكراً للتوجه شرقاً باتجاه موسكو والتفاهم معها لإنجاز مشروع السيل الشمالي 2 للغاز، لتأمين ألمانيا من الطاقة، والتزام الحذر الشديد تجاه أيّ مخطط مقترح من واشنطن قبل أن يتطابق مع المصلحة القومية الألمانية العليا.‏

واليوم يأتي الدور على فرنسا للتفكير ملياً في ما إذا كان المطلوب منها التفكير جدياً بالتوجه شرقاً في إطار حماية أمنها القومي واستجرار الطاقة مثلاً من الروس أيضاً عبر ألمانيا.

تجدر الإشارة بالطبع هنا إلى أنّ باريس هي الأخرى قامت مع ذلك بترتيب أمورها مبكراً مع الجزائر (المحسوبة حليفاً قوياً لروسيا) لاستجرار خط الغاز من نيجيريا عبر ربط خطوطه بخطوط نقل الغاز الجزائري وهو المشروع الذي تعمل عليه الجزائر منذ مدة والذي يكلف نحو 13 مليار دولار.

في هذه الأثناء جاءت واقعة فرار الأميركيين من أفغانستان وهروبهم المذلّ والمستعجل منها، وكذلك واقعة استكمال تشكل تجمع الشرق الجديد الرباعي في إطار منظمة شانغهاي للتعاون الدولي في العاصمة الطاجيكية قبل أيام (روسيا والصين وإيران وشبه القارة الهندية) بعد الإعلان عن انضمام إيران إليه كعضو كامل الصلاحية، بمثابة القشة التي قد تقصم ظهر البعير الأوروبي الآيل إلى الترهّل والتراجع في الوزن الدولي.

وهو يعني في ما قد يعني تلخيصاً وفي المجمل أنّ العالم بعد التضحية الأميركية بأفغانستان وإلغاء صفقة الغواصات الفرنسية مع أستراليا لصالح واشنطن وتغيير أميركا لعقيدتها العسكرية، يتحوّل عملياً في الموازين العامة نحو آسيا.

‏ وبهذا تكون أميركا قد جمّدت عملياً دور أوروبا في استراتيجيتها العامة ‏مستبدلة الدور الأوروبي الناتوي ضدّ روسيا لصالح ناتو جديد في مواجهة الصين.

‏في هذه الأثناء فإنّ ما سيتعزز في المقابل هو تحالف شانغهاي الآسيوي الجديد وإن لم يكتمل بعد كحلف عسكري رسمياً.

إنها موازين القوى الدولية الجديدة التي تشي بأنّ مركز ثقل العالم ينتقل من الغرب إلى الشرق.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

بعد التضحية بأفغانستان… أميركا تلفظ أوروبا تأهّباً لمقارعة التنين الصيني

سبتمبر 17, 2021 

 محمد صادق الحسيني

بينما كان الاتحاد الأوروبي يناقش استراتيجيته الجديدة، في المحيطين الهندي والهادئ، كما أعلن مسؤول السياسة الخارجية في الاتحاد جوزيب بوريل، قام الرئيس الأميركي بالإعلان المفاحئ عن إقامة حلف آوكوس AUKUS  بين بلاده وبريطانيا وأستراليا من دون إعلام الاتحاد الأوروبي بأي شيءٍ.

وأكد بوريل للصحافيين بأنهم علموا بذلك (من وسائل الإعلام) لكنهم لم يستشاروا أبداً. كما أعرب عن أسفه أن لا يكون الاتحاد الأوروبي جزءاً من هذا التحالف.

صحيح أن أزمات الدول الغربية، وعلى رأسها الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، هي أزمات بنيوية تتعلق بالنظام الرأسمالي، المحكوم عليه بالزوال، لأسباب موضوعية ليس لها مكان في هذا المقام، ولكن الأزمة الحالية التي تعصف بالعلاقات الأوروبية الأميركية، بشكل عام وتلك الفرنسية الأميركية بشكل خاص، تأتي في هذا الظرف الدولي الحالي، في ظل موازين القوى الدولية، التي تختل بشكل واضح ومتسارع لصالح القوى المعادية للامبريالية والهيمنة الأميركية الأوروبية، على مقدرات شعوب العالم، بالتالي فهي تشكُل تعبيراً جلياً على أن الصراعات الحادة والتناقضات المتزايدة بين الدول الأوروبية والولايات المتحدة الأميركية، سببها التناقض الموضوعي لمصالح الطرفين، الاقتصادية والسياسية والعسكرية، على صعيد العالم.

وهذا يعني أن الصراع الدولي يزداد تصعيداً ويشي بتغيرات محتملة في التحالفات الدولية، لنقل الاصطفافات الدولية القائمة حالياً في العالم من جهة لجهة أخرى.

ونقول اصطفافات لأن الولايات المتحدة لا تتعامل مع أية دولة في العالم، بما في ذلك أعضاء حلف شمال الأطلسي وكبريات هذه الدول، مثل فرنسا وبريطانيا وألمانيا واليابان على أنها دول مستقلة، وإنما هي تتعامل معها كدول محتلة (منذ نهاية الحرب العالميه الثانية، كدول تابعة لواشنطن) وهي بالتالي لا ترقى إلى مستوى الحليف.

من هنا فإن واشنطن، وانطلاقاً من هذه القاعدة، تتعامل مع تلك الدول، إضافة إلى أذناب الولايات المتحدة الأميركية في “الشرق الأوسط”، بما فيها “إسرائيل”، على أنها أدوات لخدمة المصالح الأميركية، يجب أن تعمل طبقاً للأوامر التي يتلقونها من سيد البيت الأبيض لا أكثر.

أما مناسبة المقدمة هذه، فهي موجة الغضب الهستيري التي ظهرت على لسان وزير الخارجية الفرنسي، جان إيڤ لودريان، والهجوم الحاد الذي شنه، خلال مؤتمر صحافي عقده يوم 16/9/2021، على الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن وقوله عنه إن تصرفاته المفاجئة لا تختلف عن تصرفات سلفه، دونالد ترامب. وذلك في تعقيبات له على قيام أستراليا (جزء من التاج البريطاني وليست دولة كاملة الاستقلال كما كندا ونيوزيلاندا) بإلغاء صفقة الغواصات مع بلاده.

فما هي هذه الصفقة وما هو سبب حالة الهستيريا، التي يعيشها رأس الديبلوماسية الفرنسية هذه الأيام، وماذا يمكن لها أن تفرز من تداعيات؟

بدأت القضية بقيام لودريان نفسه، عندما كان وزيراً للدفاع في فرنسا عام 2016، كسمسار لشركات الصناعات العسكرية الفرنسية، حيث نجح، آنذاك، بإقناع رئيس وزراء أستراليا في حينه، مالكولم تيرنبول، بشراء 12 غواصة فرنسية، تعمل بالوقود التقليدي (الديزل) تقوم بصناعتها شركة  “دي سي أن أس” الفرنسية للتعاقدات البحرية.

وقد اختارت الحكومة الأسترالية، في شهر نيسان عام 1916، هذه الشركة الفرنسية ووقعت معها عقوداً رسمية، للبدء في تصنيع الغواصات، حيث قام رئيس الوزراء الأسترالي لاحقاً بزيارة لمقر هذه الشركة الفرنسية، في ميناء شيربورغ الفرنسي، وافتتح مشروع صناعة الغواصات الاثنتي عشر، التي كان يفترض أن تنتهي الشركة من تسليمها، لأسطول شبه الدولية في أستراليا، عام 2030.

علماً أن القيمة الإجمالية لهذه الصفقة كانت تساوي 90 مليار دولار أسترالي، أي ما قيمته 56 مليار دولار أميركي، وهي بذلك من الصفقات العملاقة التي تعقد بين الدول، والتي لها تأثيرات مباشرة في الاقتصاد الفرنسي، سواءً من جهة تشغيل اليد العاملة أو من جهة قيمة الضرائب التي تحصل عليها الدولة الفرنسية، في صورة ضرائب دخل للعاملين في شركة التصنيع وشركات الدعم التي تمدها بالمواد نصف المصنعة أو غيرها من شركات التصميم والتزويد والإمداد.

كما أن لمثل هكذا صفقة كبيرة تأثيراً جديداً في السمعة الدولية للصناعات العسكرية الفرنسية، التي يعمل السياسيون الفرنسيون بشكل متواصل لتسويق منتجاتها. وعليه فإن ما حدث يعد ضربةً اقتصاديةً وماليةً وسياسيةً كبرى وجهتها. واشنطن لباريس.

يعزو المراقبون السبب وراء الهيجان، الذي يعاني منه وزير الخارجية الفرنسي، لودريان، والذي أدى به للإدلاء بهذه التصريحات النارية، ضد الرئيس الأميركي بايدن وضد الولايات المتحدة وأستراليا نفسها إلى قيام الرئيس الأميركي، يوم 15/9/2021، بعقد مؤتمر صحافي في البيت الأبيض، تناقلت وقائعه جميع وكالات الأنباء العالمية، ومن بينها وكالة الأنباء الفرنسية.

حيث أعلن الرئيس الأميركي، خلال المؤتمر الصحافي، عن قيام تحالف أمني واسع النطاق، بين بلاده وبريطانيا وأستراليا، تحصل أستراليا بموجبه على 12 غواصة حديثة تعمل بالوقود النووي (مقابل الغواصات الفرنسية التي كانت ستتسلمها من فرنسا تعمل بوقود الديزل التقليدي)، لمواجهة العداء المتزايد تجاه الصين، بحسب تعبير وكالة الأنباء الفرنسية.

وقد كانت النتيجة الأولى لهذا الإعلان هو فسخ أستراليا لعقد شراء الغواصات الفرنسية، الأمر الذي دفع وزير الخارجية الفرنسي ووزيرة الجيوش الفرنسية بإطلاق تلك التصريحات غير المعهودة تجاه واشنطن ورئيسها.

إذ قال وزير الخارجية الفرنسية إنّ هذا القرار، الذي أعلن عنه بايدن، يُعتبر طعنة في الظهر (لفرنسا) وأن بايدن اتخذ قراراً مفاجئاً كما كان يفعل ترامب (و. ص. ف.)، بينما قالت وزيرة الجيوش الفرنسية، فلورانس بارلي، أن فسخ العقد (من قبل أستراليا) أمر خطير من الناحية الجيوسياسية وعلى صعيد السياسة الدولية (إشارة الى إمكانية تغيّر التحالفات او الاصطفافات الدولية الحاليّة – توجه دول أوروبية باتجاه الصين وروسيا). يضاف إلى ذلك ما قالته وزيرة الجيوش الفرنسية، عن احتمال مطالبة فرنسا بتعويضات عن فسخ عقود رسمية، في الوقت الذي لم تفصح فيه ما إذا كانت المقصودة هي الحكومة الأسترالية فقط وإنما بريطانيا والولايات المتحدة أيضاً، وهما اللتان تسببتا في فسخ تلك العقود، بعد إعلان الرئيس الأميركي، عن تشكيل التحالف الدولي الجديد، بين الولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا و”شبه الدولة الأسترالية”، والذي أطلق عليه اسم “آوكوس / AUKUS /، وهو اختصار ودمج لأسماء أستراليا والمملكة المتحدة والولايات المتحدة الأميركية باللغة الإنكليزية …. Australia / United Kingdom / USA ….، والهادف إلى مواجهة الصين في آسيا والمحيط الهادئ، كما أعلن الرئيس بايدن نفسه، بحسب ما أوردته هيئة الإذاعة البريطانية.

وفي خطوة، من قبل الرئيس الأميركي، اعتبرها المحللون الاستراتيجيون محاولة من قبله لمراضاة فرنسا، قال الرئيس بايدن: “نتطلع للعمل بشكل وثيق مع فرنسا وشركاء رئيسيين آخرين في هذه المنطقه الاستراتيجية… وأضاف أن باريس شريك وحليف أساسي” (لواشنطن)، بحسب ما نقلت وكالة الصحافة الفرنسية.

ومن نافل القول أيضاً إن العديد من المسؤولين الصينيين قد اعلنوا إدانتهم لهذا الحلف الأمني العسكري الجديد، الذي يعكس استمرار تحكم عقلية الحرب الباردة بسياسات الولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا (التي لم تعد عظمى)، وتؤجج الصراع في بحار الصين والبحار والمحيطات القريبة من الصين وروسيا معاً وتزيد سباق التسلح بشكل كبير جداً، كما صرح الناطق باسم وزارة الخارجية الصينية، شاو لي جيان، الذي قال: “إنّ هذا (الحلف) يقوّض بشكل جدي السلام والاستقرار الاقليميين (يعني في منطقة بحار الصين وآسيا) ويزيد من حدة سباق التسلح”.

إذن فها هي الولايات المتحدة الأميركية تتعامل مع الدولة النووية العظمى، فرنسا، والعضو في حلف شمال الأطلسي منذ تأسيسه، تتعامل معها وكأنها أقلّ من جمهورية موز. لا بل على أنها ليست موجودة، إذ يقوم الرئيس الأميركي بإعلان تحالف أمني عسكري، بين بلاده ودولتين أطلسيتين أخريين، من دون أن يقوم حتى بإعلام الحكومة الفرنسية أو الرئيس الفرنسي بذلك…!

وهنا يجب أن يطرح السؤال الجدي على إمارات نفط الجزيرة العربية، من صغيرهم إلى كبيرهم، كيف سيتعامل معكم الرئيس الأميركي في كل شؤون المنطقة؟ وكيف سيتعامل مع آمر الحاجز الطيار “الإسرائيلي” في فلسطين المحتلة وغيره في المنطقة؟ هل تعتقدون أنه سيعاملكم معاملة أفضل من معاملته لفرنسا، الدولة النووية؟ وهل ما زلتم تعتقدون أن الحاجز الإسرائيلي الطيار في فلسطين المحتلة قادر على حمايتكم، بعد رفع الغطاء الأميركي عنكم جميعاً، بمن فيكم عناصر الحاجز الطيار؟

إن الجهة الوحيدة القادرة على حمايتكم، هي عودتكم إلى رشدكم والتخلي عن عباءات المحتلين الصهاينة والإميركان وغيرهم، وفتح آفاق التعاون الواسعة، مع دول ومنظمات حلف المقاومة المنتصر، الذي ها هو يرغم سادة البيت الأبيض على كسر الحصار الاقتصادي والمالي على كل من إيران وسورية ولبنان، وجعل ما يطلق عليه قانون قيصر الأميركي لخنق سورية، فعلَ ماضٍ ناقص…!

استخلصوا العبر قبل أن تستخلص شعوبكم حقوقها منكم بطريقة مختلفة جداً هذه المرة وتخلصوا من هذا السيد المنافق إلى الأبد وافتحوا آفاق التعاون الإقليمي مع جيرانكم من الدول الشقيقة ومع بقية دول الجوار العربي ودول العالم المختلفة، سعياً وراء التطور والتنمية وتأمين الحياة الكريمة والمستقبل الزاهر لشعوب عربية عانت من التبعية للأجنبي منذ أكثر من مئة عام منذ نهاية الحرب العالمية الأولى وتقسيم العالم العربي إلى إمارات وكيانات ضعيفة ممزقة.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

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