China’s Economy of Peace

China’s Economy of Peace

December 14, 2020

by Peter Koenig for the Saker Blog

In the context of China’s webinar on 14 December 2020, on the topic of “China’s New Development Paradigm and High-Quality Belt and Road Cooperation”, organized by the China Center for Contemporary World Studies, International Department of CPC Central Committee and the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China, my presentation was on China’s Economy of Peace.
—–
China, about a decade ago, has deliberately embarked on an Economy of Peace. A strategy that China pursues, unimpressed by constant aggression from the west, which are mostly led by the United States. Is it perhaps this Chinese steadfast, non-aggressive way of constant forward-creation and embracing more and more allies on her way – that has made China such a success story? Overcoming violence by non-violence is engrained in 5000 years of Chinese history.

Despite relentlessly repeated assertions by the west, China’s objective is not to conquer the world or to “replace” the United States as the new empire. Quite to the contrary. The alliance China-Russia and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is seeking a multipolar world, with more justice for all – i. e. fairer trade in the sense of “win-win”, where all parties are benefitting equally. This is also a policy pursued by the recently signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, the 15-country trade agreement signed at the 37th ASEAN Summit – 11 November 2020, in Vietnam, as well as by President Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched in 2013 by the President himself.

China does not coerce cooperation – but offers peaceful cooperation. In 2014, Mr. Xi traveled to Germany to offer Madame Merkel for Germany to become – at that time – the western most link to the BRI, or the New Silk Road. This would have been an opening for all of Europe. However, Madame Merkel, having to follow Washington’s mandates – did not respond positively. President Jinping returned to Beijing, no hard feelings. And China continued her persistent course of connecting the countries of our Mother Earth with transport infrastructure, inter-country industrial ventures, education and research projects, as well as cultural exchanges to enrich the world – all the while respecting individual countries’ monetary and political sovereignty.

Many country leaders from Africa and the Global South in general express openly their contentment and satisfaction to have China as a partner and for dealing with China on the basis of equals. With the west, especially the US, there is bullying and coercion, unequal contracts, and often total disrespect for legally signed contracts.
——

Meanwhile, the west lives in a permanent state of hypocrisy. It bashes China – actually without any reason, other than that the dying Anglo-Saxon-American empire mandates it to its partners, especially the European NATO allies – under threats of sanctions. Unfortunately, spineless Europe mostly complies.

Yet, having outsourced – for economic and profit reasons – most production processes to reliable, efficient and cheaper-labor China, the west depends very much on China for its supply chains. The covid-crisis, first wave, has clearly shown how dependent the west is on goods produced in China from sophisticated electronic equipment to pharmaceuticals.

As an example: About 90% or more of antibiotics or ingredients for antibiotics are Made in China. Similar percentages apply to other vital western imports. – But China does not “punish” or sanction. China creates and moves forward offering her alliance to the rest of the world.

China has also developed a new digital international Renminbi (RMB) or Yuan that may soon be rolled out for use of monetary transactions – of all kinds, including transfers, trade and even as a reserve currency. The yuan is already an ever-stronger reserve currency. This trend will be further enhanced through the RCEP and BRI.

Of course, the US is afraid that their dollar-hegemony they have built up since WWII with Fiat money backed by nothing, may suffer as international trading currency which the Anglo-American banking cartel practically imposed on the world, will come to an end; and the US-dollar’s standing as a reserve currency may rapidly decline.

And yes, the yuan will gradually replace the US dollar as reserve currency – and this – because countries’ treasurers realize that the yuan is a stable, gold-backed currency, also supported by a solid economy – the only economy of any importance in the world that will grow in the covid-year 2020, by perhaps as much as 3.5%, while western economies will falter badly. Predictions are dire for the US and Europe, between 12% (EU predictions) and up to 30% / 35% (US FED prediction).

The US dollar and its dominion over the international transfer system through SWIFT – has been used massively for sanctioning non-compliant countries, including totally illegal confiscation of assets – even countries reserve assets – case in point is Venezuela.

Escaping this coercive dollar dominion is the dream of many countries. Therefore, trading, investing and dealing with the Chinese currency, will be a welcome opportunity for many sovereign nations.
—-
China’s economic achievements and forward-looking perspectives may be summarized in two major events or global programs, the just signed free trade agreement with 14 countries – the 10 ASEAN countries, plus Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, altogether, including China 15 countries. The so-called Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, was in negotiations during eight years – and achieved to pull together a group of countries for free trade, of some 2.2 billion people, commanding about 30% of the world’s GDP. This is a never before reached agreement in size, value and tenor.

In addition to the largest such trade agreement in human history, it also links to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), or One Belt, One Road (OBOR), which in itself comprises already more than 130 countries and more than 30 international organizations. Also, China and Russia have a longstanding strategic partnership, containing bilateral agreements that too enter into this new trade fold – plus the countries of the Central Asia Economic Union (CAEU), consisting mostly of former Soviet Republics, are also integrated into this eastern trade block.

The myriad of agreements and sub-agreements between Asian-Pacific countries that will cooperate with RCEP, is bound together by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), founded on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai as an intergovernmental organization, composed of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The SCO is little known and little talked-about in the west.

The purpose of the SCO is to ensure security and maintain stability across the vast Eurasian region, join forces to counteract emerging challenges and threats, and enhance trade, as well as cultural and humanitarian cooperation.

Much of the funding for RCEP and BRI projects may come in the form of low-interest loans from China’s Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) and other Chinese and participating countries’ national funding sources. In the hard times emerging from the covid crisis, many countries may need grant assistance to be able to recover as quickly as possible from their huge socioeconomic losses, created by the pandemic. In this sense, it is likely that the new Silk Road may support a special “Health Road” across the Asian Continent.

The RCEP may, as “byproduct”, integrate the huge Continent of Eurasia that spans all the way from western Europe to what is called Asia and covering the Middle East as well as North Africa, of some 55 million square kilometers (km2), and a population of about 5.4 billion people, close to 70% of the world population – See map (Wikipedia).

The crux of the RCEP agreement’s trade deals is that they will be carried out in local currencies and in yuan – no US-dollars. The RCEP is a massive instrument for dedollarizing, primarily the Asia-Pacific Region, and gradually the rest of the world.

Much of the BRI infrastructure investments, or New Silk Road, may be funded by other currencies than the US-dollar. China’s new digital Renminbi (RMB) or yuan may soon become legal tender for international payments and transfers, and will drastically reduce the use of the US-dollar.

The US-dollar is already in massive decline. When some 20-25 years ago about 90% of all worldwide held reserve-assets were denominated in US-dollars, this proportion has shrunk by today to below 60% – and keeps declining. The emerging international RMB / yuan, together with a RCEP- and BRI-strengthened Chinese economy, may further contribute to a dedollarization, as well as dehegemonization of the United States in the world. And as said before, the international digital RMB / yuan may progressively also be replacing the US-dollar, as well as euro reserves in countries’ coffers around the globe. The US-dollar may eventually return to be just a local US-currency, as it should be.

Under China’s philosophy, the unilateral world may transform into a multi-polar world. The RCEP and New Silk Road combination are rapidly pursuing this noble objective, a goal that will bring much more equilibrium into the world.

Maybe for a few years more to come, the west, led by the US – and always backed by the Pentagon and NATO, may not shy away from threatening countries participating in China’s projects, but to no avail. Under Tao philosophy, China will move forward with her partners, like steadily flowing water, constantly creating, avoiding obstacles, in pursuit of her honorable goal – a world in Peace with a bright common future.

*****
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 such as Global Research; New Eastern Outlook (NEO), Information Clearing House (ICH) and more. He 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)

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at the 28th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, Moscow, December 10, 2020

Source

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at the 28th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, Moscow, December 10, 2020
File Photo

11 December 202000:22

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at the 28th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, Moscow, December 10, 2020

Colleagues, friends,

Fyodor Lukyanov spoke about the role of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy. Who would have thought at the time when the Council was created, and I was invited to join in as a co-founder, that the Council would live to this day. The experience gained over the decades of its functioning is instrumental in our work and makes it possible to bounce ideas off the expert community, which is deeply versed in international matters and is keenly interested in them. This is important.

This year was truly challenging and pivotal. Humanity was unprepared for the differences and mixed trends that had been piling up on the agenda over years and exacerbated confusion in international affairs. The habitual way of life of hundreds of millions of people and states, as well as ordinary citizens, has been upended, many sectors of the economy found themselves on the verge of collapse, business activity has significantly decreased, global cooperation chains were disrupted and the unemployment rates went up. Closed borders abruptly reduced the chances for maintaining multifaceted contacts between the countries and the people.

The scale and inertia of the events that we are witnessing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic make it impossible to say when life will get back to normal. I hope Mr Lukyanov was right when he confidently stated, albeit with reservations, that we will be able to meet in person in the spring. So far, humanity and its best representatives in the person of healthcare professionals are just trying to understand where we are and when this might end. Many people are saying that this will never end, and we will have to live with it just like the annual flu, but with much more severe consequences. One of the key lessons of the pandemic is that no one can secure themselves against these cross-border threats.

The pandemic affected literally everyone. Clearly, this kind of global cataclysm can only be overcome by uniting and rising above fleeting differences. President Putin has repeatedly stated this firm position adopted by Russia. Unfortunately, a number of countries, primarily the United States and its allies, are trying to take advantage of this situation in their geopolitical interests and ignore the needs that are common to humanity.

The term “common to humanity” does not at all mean an average, consensus-based or accommodating understanding of how the inter-civilisational diversity should be respected. This manifests itself in way too many areas of modern international life, including the interpretation of multilateralism energetically promoted and propagated by our Western colleagues. This is also happening in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, despite the fact that people in America and Europe are suffering from COVID-19 as badly as people in other countries.

The need for conducting a mutually respectful dialogue and rejecting artificially created confrontational schemes is nowhere to be seen. Just think of the indiscriminate accusations against China regarding the spread of the disease. There was an attempt to blame the PRC for everything that happened. This undermined the efforts to achieve unity, including of the research capacities, in order to come up with effective responses. In addition to healthcare aspects, we must take a closer look at the international bodies in charge of the health and well-being of the people. The WHO-related developments are quite telling in his regard. Ideas are being put forward to create some non-governmental institutions mandated to determine the international community’s policy. This is a clear attempt to sideline the World Health Organisation. These developments are reminiscent of neo-colonial approaches and habits and show the attempts to restrain the formation of new global centres and to punish those who pursue an independent foreign policy. This can also be seen in the “vaccine race.” We are well aware of attempts to oppose the new concept of the so-called rules-based international order to everything that has been created after establishing the UN and forming a large block of universal international legal instruments.

Russia believes it is imperative to look for ways to unite countries and governments, to look for a constructive agenda relying on the principles of collegiality and equality, which should contribute to de-escalating international tensions and ensuring the predictability of global processes. Later, we will discuss the initiatives that Russia has been promoting to this end. A CSTO summit and a Collective Security Council meeting took place on December 2. Among other decisions, the participants adopted a statement by the heads of state on forming a just and sustainable international order. Among other initiatives, this document proposes setting up a meeting of authorised representatives of the CSTO, the CIS, the SCO, the OSCE, NATO and the EU and seeing if these organisations can sit down and form a common agenda, jointly identify problems and, ideally, outline ways to overcome them. This is not something radically revolutionary. In 1999, the Platform for Co-operative Security was adopted at the OSCE Summit in Istanbul. It proclaimed the unification of the efforts of the OSCE and other sub-regional organisations in the Euro-Atlantic space. Some time ago, before the pandemic, we told our Western partners that it would be nice to take advantage of that consensus and try to build bridges between these organisations, instead of watching them build up confrontational potential, but our Western colleagues chose to step aside. Cooperative security and engagement of the bodies created in the post-Soviet space were important in the 1990s (in this case, in 1999), when the West still hoped that we would follow the path charted by the winners of the Cold War. Now, we have officially submitted a proposal on behalf of the CSTO heads of state. Let’s see how the West will respond to it.

Our goal is clear. We seek stability, fair opportunities for all states, including, of course, Russia. Gunboat diplomacy or democratic or any other sort of messianism is hardly an option if we want to accomplish this. I mentioned the rules which the West wants to base the international order on. There’s an “effective multilateralism” initiative which is openly opposed to multilateralism within the UN. There’s a tendency to interpret it as the need to return to Euro-Atlantic solidarity without exemptions. We are seeing this. I believe that more positive and sustainable results can be achieved through joining efforts based on the observance of the norms and principles of the UN Charter. We are upholding this consistently. President Putin’s initiative to hold a summit of the UN Security Council’s permanent members is part of our policy. It is imperative that they realise their responsibility under the UN Charter and act upon this responsibility. We must do our best to defuse this tension acting together. Heads of all UN Security Council permanent member states gave their consent. The coronavirus pandemic thwarted our efforts to agree on specific dates. However, we are working on it and agreeing on the concept and the potential outcomes of this summit.

We realise that the UN is not a static structure. It needs reform, including the reform of the UN Security Council. Our position is absolutely clear and consistent. It is necessary to increase the representation of the developing countries of Asia, Latin America and Africa if we want to make this body more representative. Only this approach will add value to reforming the UN Security Council. Everything else is up for discussion, but it is unlikely that an increase in Western representation on the Security Council will add diversity of opinions to this central body, which is in charge of peace and security on the planet. In any case, it is necessary to strive for the broadest possible agreement between the member states, so everything will depend on compromises. We are ready to discuss these compromises based on a balance of interests. In principle, this is the key to what needs to be accomplished if we want to ensure stability and harmony in the world inasmuch as this harmony is possible.

We believe that respect for the cultural and civilisational specifics of the modern world and refusal to impose one development model and values on everyone is an absolutely necessary step if we want to calm down the current situation. We see that this approach is shared by the overwhelming majority of participants in international communication. We disagree with the Western attempts to portray Russia as a country in isolation or a geopolitical loner. The viewpoint of our Western colleagues whereby everyone who disagrees with them is a lonely state probably has the right to exist.

However, we can see how the positions that we share are promoted within BRICS, the SCO, the CSTO and the CIS. The EAEU is actively working to align its plans with China’s Belt and Road Initiative. There is the G20. It has been in existence for quite a while, but was brought to the highest level and its meetings were made regular after the 2008 crisis. At first they met twice a year, then once a year. The G20 is the recognition of the fact that the G7 (and even the G8 in its old format) is not capable of resolving all international problems. The G20 includes the G7, the BRICS countries and a number of other like-minded states. The recognition that the G20 is necessary in order to develop generally acceptable approaches based on the balance of interests is a highly symptomatic trend.

Reviewing peace problems should not be driven by ideology, but rather be approached on the basis of equality. President Putin’s initiative to form a Greater Eurasian Partnership is going in the same vein. The partnership is supposed to unite continental efforts with the participation of the EAEU, the SCO and ASEAN and be open to all countries of our vast continent, including the EU states in the long run. This is a long process, but it is crucial to set this goal.

Russia’s proposals regarding strategic stability, arms control and European security are indicative of our constant readiness to achieve mutual understanding. You are aware of our position on renewing the Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty (START), a moratorium on deploying ground-based intermediate and shorter-range missiles and de-escalating tensions along the Russia-NATO contact line. We came up with a proposal to agree on an arrangement that the exercises on both sides are conducted at a distance from the contact line, and also agree on the minimum distances that may not be violated by military aircraft and warships of Russia or NATO.

Conceptually, we came up with a proposal a long time ago (and failed to see any reciprocity on the part of the United States) to confirm, in the statement made by our countries, and perhaps in the Russia-NATO format, the unacceptability of nuclear war. Many of you have probably seen the recent remarks by US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea, where he almost ridiculed our proposal and called on any future US Administration to never agree with the statement on the unacceptability of nuclear war.

We believe that implementing these initiatives or, at least, a professional straight-to-the-point and substantive discussion of the subject, possibly along with other steps, would help improve the overall atmosphere in Russia-West relations.  Dialogue itself on these matters would improve it. But so far these ideas have been hanging in the air.

Leaving behind almost everything that has been achieved so far, including our proposals, Mr Billingslea puts forward confrontational ideas, including sanctions against all buyers of military products from Russia and China. This is a fairly telling philosophy, which, unfortunately, has not met any serious opposition in Washington so far.

If we take a close look at what we have heard from the North Atlantic camp so far, we can come to a conclusion that it has consciously opted for not just a policy of containment, but confrontation. Perhaps this approach underlies its unwillingness to admit that the world must change. We are now witnessing two opposite trends in Europe. French President Emmanuel Macron is strongly promoting the EU’s strategic autonomy. The trend embodied by Germany is based on the assumption that defending Europe without the United States is impossible. We have already asked about whom they want to defend it from, but haven’t received a clear answer yet. Given this, multipolarity, which Yevgeny Primakov foresaw many years ago, has shown its objective nature. In an effort to stop it, they are doing whatever it takes in order to minimise the number of potential poles that have the strength and courage to uphold national interests.

One of Washington’s primary goals is to make the EU lose its strategic independence and return to the fold of Euro-Atlantic unity, where everyone is aware of who pays the piper and calls the tune.

Despite the above, we are open to an equal dialogue. Most importantly, our counterparts must be willing to engage. We will keep the communication channels open until they are. Our proposals and initiatives remain on the negotiating table. They have been reiterated many times. It is enough for our partners to know that they remain valid. However, in order to move ahead, we need our Western colleagues to respond to them.

Keeping open the channels for a dialogue on all matters, we will continue to work on the newly available opportunities in the economy, culture, science and people-to-people contacts. We do not fence ourselves off from this. Those who want to impose their agenda on us and ignore our status of a subject in international affairs must understand that we are not going to either make excuses or seek approval for our actions. Threats, sanctions or attempts to come up with other punishments are absolutely pointless and counterproductive. It is strange that the West has not realised this so far.

We do not need interaction with the West any more than the West needs Russia and what it has to offer. If our Western colleagues prefer to stick to certain rules and concepts that they themselves invented when they talk with each other, this is up to them. They can build a dialogue with other participants in international life, including Russia, solely on the basis of a generally accepted code of conduct. You can call it the rules enshrined in the UN Charter, namely, respect for the sovereign equality of states, the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

We are pursuing our own foreign policy, which has taken shape over the past two decades. It is aimed at ensuring the country’s security and creating the most favourable external environment for achieving our internal development goals. We are aware that the goal of the West is to prevent us from creating this particular external environment that is beneficial for our internal development. Everything that is being done to contain Russia is clearly done to this end. Attempts to destroy external opportunities that can be used to promote Russia’s growth continue unabated, but, in any case, there’s more to the world than the West. In the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, we wanted to become part of something, but we now realise that there isn’t much we can become part of. At least, the West is not building anything of its own. Indeed, President Macron has come up with a proposal to conduct an analytical and philosophical dialogue about whether modern capitalism can meet the needs of the people and resolve related problems.

If we take Western development models, we have no place to fit in. The coronavirus, as if everything else wasn’t enough, showed it very convincingly. We need to build something ourselves. This is a fairly ambitious and complex goal, but it calls for immediate action.

US hits Search and Destroy against the New Silk Roads

US hits Search and Destroy against the New Silk Roads

December 09, 2020

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

Seven years after being launched by President Xi Jinping, first in Astana and then in Jakarta, the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) increasingly drive the American plutocratic oligarchy completely nuts.

The relentless paranoia about the Chinese “threat” has much to do with the exit ramp offered by Beijing to a Global South permanently indebted to IMF/World Bank exploitation.

In the old order, politico-military elites were routinely bribed in exchange for unfettered corporate access to their nations’ resources, coupled with go-go privatization schemes and outright austerity (“structural adjustment”).

This went on for decades until BRI became the new game in town in terms of infrastructure building – offering an alternative to the imperial footprint.

The Chinese model allows all manner of parallel taxes, sales, rents, leases – and profits. This means extra sources of income for host governments – with an important corollary: freedom from the hardcore neoliberal diktats of IMF/World Bank. This is what is at the heart of the notorious Chinese “win-win”.

Moreover, BRI’s overall strategic focus on infrastructure development not only across Eurasia but also Africa encompasses a major geopolitical game-changer. BRI is positioning vast swathes of the Global South to become completely independent from the Western-imposed debt trap. For scores of nations, this is a matter of national interest. In this sense BRI should be regarded as the ultimate post-colonialist mechanism.

BRI in fact bristles with Sun Tzu simplicity applied to geoeconomics. Never interrupt the enemy when he’s making a mistake – in this case enslaving the Global South via perpetual debt. Then use his own weapons – in this case financial “help” – to destabilize his preeminence.

Hit the road with the Mongols

None of the above, of course, is bound to serenade the paranoid volcano, which will keep spitting out a 24/7 deluge of red alerts deriding BRI as “poorly defined, badly mismanaged and visibly failing”. “Visibly”, of course, only for the exceptionalists.

Predictably, the paranoid volcano feeds on a toxic mix of arrogance and crass ignorance of Chinese history and culture.

Xue Li, director of the Department of International Strategy at the Institute of World Economics and Politics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, has shown how “after the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed in 2013, China’s diplomacy has changed from maintaining a low profile to becoming more proactive in global affairs. But the policy of ‘partnership rather than alliance’ has not changed, and it is unlikely to change in the future. The indisputable fact is that the system of alliance diplomacy preferred by Western countries is the choice of a few countries in the world, and most countries choose non-aligned diplomacy. Besides, the vast majority of them are developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.”

Atlanticists are desperate because the “system of alliance diplomacy” is on the wane. The overwhelming majority of the Global South is now being reconfigured as a newly energized Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) – as if Beijing had found a way to revive the Spirit of Bandung in 1955.

Chinese scholars are fond of quoting a 13th century imperial handbook, according to which policy changes should be “beneficial for the people”. If they only benefit corrupt officials, the result is luan (“chaos”). Thus the 21st century Chinese emphasis on pragmatic policy instead of ideology.

Rivaling informed parallels with the Tang and Ming dynasties, it’s actually the Yuan dynasty that offers a fascinating introduction to the inner workings of BRI.

So let’s go for a short trip back to the 13th century, when Genghis Khan’s immense empire was replaced by four khanates.

We had the Khanate of the Great Khan – which turned into the Yuan dynasty – ruling over China, Mongolia, Tibet, Korea and Manchuria.

We had the Ilkhanate, founded by Hulagu (the conqueror of Baghdad) ruling Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, parts of Anatolia and the Caucasus.

We had the Golden Horde ruling the northwestern Eurasian steppe, from eastern Hungary to Siberia, and most of all the Russian principalities.

And we had the Chaghadaid Khanate (named after Genghis Khan’s second son) ruling Central Asia, from eastern Xinjiang to Uzbekistan, until Tamerlane’s rise to power in 1370.

This era saw an enormous acceleration of trade along the Mongol Silk Roads.

All these Mongol-controlled governments privileged local and international commerce. That translated into a boom in markets, taxes, profits – and prestige. The khanates competed to get the best trading minds. They laid out the necessary infrastructure for transcontinental travel (13th century BRI, anyone?) And they opened the way for multiple East-West, trans-civilizational exchanges.

When the Mongols conquered the Song in southern China they even expanded overland Silk Roads trade into Maritime Silk Roads. The Yuan dynasty was now controlling China’s powerful southern ports. So when there was any kind of turbulence overland, trade switched to the seas.

The key axes were through the Indian Ocean, between south China and India, and between India and the Persian Gulf or the Red Sea.

Cargo was traveling overland to Iran, Iraq, Anatolia and Europe; by sea, through Egypt and the Mediterranean, to Europe; and from Aden to east Africa.

A slave trade maritime route between the Golden Horde’s ports on the Black Sea and Egypt – run by Muslim, Italian and Byzantine traders – was also in effect. The Black Sea ports transited luxury merchandise arriving overland from the East. And caravans traveled inland from the Indian coast during dangerous monsoon seasons.

This frantic commercial activity was the proto-BRI, which reached its apex in the 1320s and 1330s all the way to the collapse of the Yuan dynasty in 1368 in parallel to the Black Death in Europe and the Middle East. The key point: all the overland and maritime roads were interlinked. 21st century BRI planners benefit from a long historical memory.

“Nothing will fundamentally change”

Now compare this wealth of trade and cultural interchange with the pedestrian, provincial, anti-BRI and overall anti-China paranoia in the US. What we get is the State Dept. under exiting Mike “We Lie, We Cheat, We Steal” Pompeo issuing a paltry diatribe on the “China challenge”. Or the US Navy recommissioning the First Fleet, probably to be based in Perth, to “have an Indo-Pac footprint” and thus maintain “maritime dominance in an era of great power competition”.

More ominously, here is a summary of the humongous, 4,517-page, $740.5 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2021, just approved by the House by 335 to 78 (Trump threatened to veto it).

This is about funding for the Pentagon next year – to be supervised in theory by the new Raytheon General, Lloyd Austin, the last “commanding General” of the US in Iraq who run CENTCOM from 2013 to 2016 and then retired for some juicy revolving door gigs such as the board of Raytheon and crucially, the board of ultra-toxic air, water, soil polluter Nucor.

Austin is a revolving door character who supported the war on Iraq, the destruction of Libya, and supervised the training of Syrian “moderate rebels” – a.k.a. recycled al-Qaeda – who killed countless Syrian civilians.

The NDAA, predictably, is heavy on “tools to deter China”.

That will include:

1. A so-called “Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI), code for containment of China in the Indo-Pacific by boosting the Quad.

2. Massive counter-intel operations.

3. An offensive against “debt diplomacy”. That’s nonsense: BRI deals are voluntary, on a win-win basis, and open to renegotiation. Global South nations privilege them because loans are low-interest and long-term.

4. Restructuring global supply chains which lead to the US. Good luck with that. Sanctions on China will remain in place.

5. Across the board pressure forcing nations not to use Huawei 5G.

6. Reinforcing Hong Kong and Taiwan as Trojan Horses to destabilize China.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe has already set the tone: “Beijing intends to dominate the US and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically”. Be afraid, very much afraid of the evil Chinese Communist Party, “the greatest threat to democracy and freedom worldwide since World War II”.

There you go: Xi is the new Hitler.

So nothing will fundamentally change after January 2021 – as officially promised by Biden-Harris: it’s gonna be Hybrid War on China all over again, deployed all over the spectrum, as Beijing has perfectly understood.

So what? China’s industrial production will continue to grow while in the US it will continue to decline. There will be more breakthroughs by Chinese scientists such as the photonic quantum computing – which performed 2.6 billion years of computation in 4 minutes. And the 13th century Yuan dynasty spirit will keep inspiring BRI.

The Clash of Empires in Xi Jinping’s Speech and Joe Biden’s Essay صراع الإمبراطوريات في كلمة شي ومقال جو بايدن

The Clash of Empires in Xi Jinping’s Speech and Joe Biden’s Essay

First appeared In Arabic on Al-Akhbar Friday, December 4, 2020

Amro Allan

عربى 21-الرئيسية
Writer and political researcher

**Machine translation**

The Clash of Empires in Xi Jinping’s Speech and Joe Biden’s Essay

It is worthy to compare Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the recent 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit with the recently republished article by President-elect Joe Biden in Foreign Affairs Mmagazine, in which Joe Biden outlined the most important features of his policies if elected as the 46th president of the United States.

In his speech, President Xi Jinping outlined the aspects of China’s foreign policies, the most important of which was the emphasis on the idea of multipolarity in the management of world affairs under the umbrella of the international law in the face of unipolarity. The speech emphasized the importance of supporting countries in their efforts to implement their local agendas which will insure their political and social stability. He also highlighted the importance of preventing any foreign interference in the local affairs of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation members under any pretext. The Chinese President stressed in his speech that all human civilizations are equal and unique, and encouraged interrelation between nations and good neighbourly relations between countries. President Xi Jinping added that China cannot achieve development in isolation from the world, and that the world needs China to achieve prosperity, calling on all nations to build on and benefit from china’s economic growth, perhaps based on its call to benefit from the China Belt and Road Initiative and the extent to which china’s economy has reached and its growth rates have reached. Compared to the economies of other countries of the world. 

These determinants presented by the Chinese President are not fundamentally different from those presented in the final statement of the summit, which represents the policies of the Shanghai Organization countries in general.

While the most prominent idea in Joe Biden’s essay “Why America Must Lead Again” is his determination during the first year of his administration to hold an international summit, and invite to it the leaders of those countries, which are considered by America as democraciesand “free world”, these classifications, as it has become known, means in the Western dictionary the colonial powers, and American allies. Civil society organizations will also be invitedto that summit, these organizations are the preferred tool of western and American intelligence agencies to tamper with the internal affairs of sovereign states and create political instability, and this summit aims, according to the article, to confront the (autocratic regimes), promote democracy and the liberal ideology that are threatened, according to Biden. The article adds that the United States of America will take its natural seat at the head of the table to organize the affairs of the world, because otherwise the world could plunge into chaos As Biden claimed, President-elect Joe Biden vowed in the article ” As president, I will take immediate steps to renew U.S. democracy and alliances, protect the United States’ economic future, and once more have America lead the world”. 

The colonial tone in the language of Biden’s article towards the world and the cultures and civilizations of other nations can easily be observed. This language is consistent with the history of successive American administrations and the colonial West in general. The difference between the Shanghai Organization Group’s rhetoric calling on human civilizations to get to learn from each other, and a Western-American discourse seeking to impose its own ideology on the rest of the earth, while striking, is not new. But what was remarkable  was the Chinese president’s call in his speech to invest in Chinese economic opportunities, which It will help those countries achieve prosperity, he said, while Biden wanton to talk about the importance of liberal ideology and the need to confront countries that don’t embrace the liberal approachlike China  or those that he considers a threat to the liberals like Putin’s Russia, without talking about the economic temptations for those countries that will adopt the ideology of the Western concept and the democratic formula in the management of their social and economic systems, or for those countries that will join the United States in what sounds like an ideological war to spread the liberal ideology. Biden said that the United States of America, along with its democratic allies, make up half of the world’s economy, and that this is a number that China cannot ignore, alluding to economic sanctions. Biden’s article did not include mention of any economic incentives to those countries that will follow its leadership in its planned campaign against its opponents in China and Russia and those other countries that are opposing American hegemony, while American rhetoric has made such promises alongside ideological discourse in the past decades during the period of confrontation with the socialist camp and the Cold War. And this perhaps reflects the decline in the American economy in this era.

This brief comparison between the Chinese president’s speech and Joe Biden’s article could shine a light on some of the differences between the current phase and the Cold War era, and this comparison may help toconceptualize the possibilities of the confrontation outcome between America and China at the moment. However, the liberal ideology of The United States of America is still likely to be shaken by the shake-up of the American throne in the world, and as a result of the emergence of strong global movements opposing this ideology and the Western dictatorial ways to impose it on the rest of the peoples of the earth regardless of their cultural heritage and moral values. As well as a result of the emergence of the destructive effects of liberal ideology on societies and the concept of the family, dismantling the moral system of society in exchange for the freedom of the individual without any constraints. Not to mention the depletion of the natural resources of the planet because of the economic policies associated with the liberal ideology that threatens the very existence of human beings.

صراع الإمبراطوريات في كلمة شي ومقال جو بايدن

عربى 21-الرئيسية

عمرو علان  

جريدة الأخبار

الجمعة 4 كانون الأول 2020

تجدر المقارنة بين ما جاء في كلمة الرئيس الصيني شي جين بينغ التي ألقاها في قمة منظمة شانغهاي العشرين الأخيرة وبين ما جاء في مقال الرئيس الأمريكي المنتخب جو بايدن الذي أعادت نشره مؤخرا مجلة (فورن أفيرز)، والذي حدد فيه جو بايدن أهم ملامح سياساته إذا ما اُنتخب رئيسا سادسا وأربعين للولايات المتحدة الأمريكية. 

رسم الرئيس شي جين بينغ في كلمته صورة عن طبيعة السياسات الخارجية الصينية ومحدداتها، وكان أهمها التشديد على فكرة التعددية القطبية في إدارة شؤون العالم تحت مظلة المنظومة الدولية في مواجهة الأحادية القطبية، وركزت الكلمة على وجوب دعم جهود الدول لتحقيق أجنداتها المحلية بما يؤمن استقرارها السياسي والاجتماعي الداخلي، مع التشديد على رفض تدخلات القوى الخارجية في الشؤون الداخلية لدول منظمة شانغهاي تحت أي ذرائع كانت، وأكد الرئيس الصيني في كلمته على أن الحضارات الإنسانية متكافئة لا أفضلية لإحداها على الأُخرى، وأن لكل منها ما يميزها، وأكد كذلك على ضرورة تشجيع التعارف فيما بين الحضارات الإنسانية، بالإضافة إلى تدعيم علاقات حسن الجوار والصداقات فيما بين الدول، وأضاف الرئيس شي جين بينغ أن الصين لا يمكنها تحقيق التطور بمعزل عن العالم، وبأن العالم يحتاج الصين لتحقيق الرخاء داعيا الجميع إلى البناء على حركة النمو الصينية والإفادة منها، ولعله استند في دعوته تلك إلى مبادرة الحزام والطريق الصينية وإلى ما وصل إليه حجم الاقتصاد الصيني ومعدلات نموّه مقارنة باقتصادات دول العالم الأخرى، ولا تختلف هذه المحددات التي عرضها الرئيس الصيني في جوهرها عما جاء عليه البيان الختامي للقمة المنعقدة الذي يمثل سياسات دول منظمة شانغهاي عموماً.

بينما نجد أن الفكرة الأبرز التي وردت في مقال جو بايدن المُشار إليه، الذي جاء تحت عنوان “لماذا يجب على أمريكا أن تقود مجدداً”، هي عزمه خلال السنة الأولى من حكمه على عقد قمة دولية، يدعو إليها زعماء تلك الدول التي تعدها أمريكا ديموقراطيات ودول “العالم الحر”، وهذه التصنيفات حسب ما بات معروفاً تعني في القاموس الغربي الدول الاستعمارية في الأصل، وبعض الدول الأخرى التي ترتضي الدوران في الفلك الأمريكي، وسيتم أيضاً دعوة منظمات المجتمع المدني إلى تلك القمة، وهذه المنظمات تعد الأداة المفضلة لدى أجهزة الاستخبارات الغربية والأمريكية للعبث في الشؤون الداخلية للدول ذات السيادة وإثارة حالة عدم الاستقرار السياسي، وتهدف هذه القمة حسب المقال إلى مواجهة النظم “الأوتوقراطية”، وتدعيم الديموقراطية وترسيخ نشر الأفكار الليبرالية التي باتت مهددة على حد قول بايدن، ويضيف المقال بأن الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية ستأخذ مقعدها الطبيعي على رأس الطاولة لتنظيم شؤون العالم، لأن ما دون ذلك يمكن أن يغرق العالم في الفوضى على حد زعم بايدن، ويتعهد الرئيس المنتخب جو بايدن في المقال بالآتي: “كرئيس، سآخذ خطوات فورية لتجديد ديموقراطية الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية وتحالفاتها، وأحمي مستقبل الاقتصاد الأمريكي، وأعيد أمريكا لقيادة العالم مجدداً”.

يمكن بسهولة ملاحظة النبرة الاستعمارية في لغة مقال بايدن اتجاه دول العالم واتجاه ثقافات وحضارات الأمم الأخرى، وتنسجم هذه اللغة مع تاريخ تعامل الإدارات الأمريكية المتعاقبة والغرب الاستعماري عموماً مع الآخر، والفرق جلي بين خطاب مجموعة منظمة شانغهاي الذي يدعو الحضارات البشرية إلى التعارف فيما بينها، وبين خطاب أمريكي غربي يسعى إلى فرض أيدولوجيته الليبرالية على سائر شعوب الأرض، ولا جديد في هذا، لكن اللافت كان في دعوة الرئيس الصيني في كلمته الدول الأخرى إلى الاستثمار في الفرص الاقتصادية الصينية، مما سيساعد تلك الدول على تحقيق الرخاء كما قال، بينما انصرف بايدن في مقاله إلى الحديث عن أهمية الأيدولوجيا الليبرالية وضرورة مواجهة الدول التي لا تعتنق الليبرالية منهجاً كالصين أو تلك التي عدها تشكل تهديداً للبرالية كروسيا بوتين،دون أن يتحدث عن مغريات اقتصادية لتلك الدول التي ستتبنى الفكر الليبرالي والصيغة الديموقراطية بالمفهوم الغربي في إدارة نُظُمِها الاجتماعية والاقتصادية، أو تلك الدول التي ستنضم للولايات المتحدة الأمريكية في ما يشبه الحرب العقدية لنشر الفكر الليبرالي حول العالم، وقال بايدن أن الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية مع حلفائها الديموقراطيين يشكلون نصف اقتصاد العالم، وأن هذا رقم لا يمكن للصين تجاهله فيما يعد تلميحاً إلى العقوبات الاقتصادية، واللافت في هذا خلو الخطاب الأمريكي من الوعود بالرفاه الاقتصادي والرخاء للدول التي تسعى إلى قيادتها في حملتها المزمعة على خصومها في الصين وروسيا وعلى تلك الدول الأخرى التي تشق عصا الطاعة على الهيمنة الأمريكية، بينما كان يقدم الخطاب الأمريكي مثل هكذا وعود إلى جانب الخطاب الأيديولوجي في العقود الماضية خلال فترة مواجهة المعسكر الاشتراكي والحرب الباردة سابقاً، ولعل هذا يعكس حقيقة التراجع في الاقتصاد الأمريكي في هذه الحقبة. 

يمكن أن تضيء هذه المقارنة المقتضبة بين خطاب الرئيس الصيني وبين مقال جو بايدن على بعض أوجه الاختلاف بين المرحلة الحالية وبين مرحلة الحرب الباردة إبان حقبة الاتحاد السوفيتي، ولعل هذه المقارنة تساعد على رسم تصور لاحتماليات مآلات المواجهة الحاصلة بين أمريكا والصين حالياً، ولكن يظل المرجح أن يهتز النهج الليبرالي مع اهتزاز عرش الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية في العالم، ونتيجة لظهور تيارات عالمية قوية تعارض هذا النهج وتعارض دكتاتورية الغرب التي تحاول فرضه على باقي شعوب الأرض بغض النظر عن الموروث الثقافي والحضاري لتلك الشعوب، وكذلك نتيجة لظهور الآثار الهدامة لهذا النهج على المجتمَعات في ضرب مفهوم الأسرة، وتفكيك المنظومة الأخلاقية للمجتمع في مقابل حرية الفرد المنفلتة من كل الضوابط، ناهيك عن استنزاف الموارد الطبيعية لكوكب الأرض بسبب السياسات الاقتصادية المرتبطة بالنهج الليبرالي مما بات يهدد الوجود البشري ذاته.

CHAOS AND ARMED CONFLICTS: U.S. STRATEGY TO DISMANTLE RUSSIA IS ALREADY WORKING

South Front

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

In 2020, there have been several notable developments, that all seem to have been happening along Russia’s borders and in key regions developments in which influencing the Russian position on the international scene.

These include:

  • Ukraine’s refusal to seek peace in its East with the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, and various questionable policies.
  • Western-backed protests against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, with a ‘school teacher-turned-politician’ challenging him with an insignificant share of the vote in the presidential election. She received wide support from the West, especially from heavily US-aligned states such as Poland and the Baltics.
  • The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and other groups in Syria are being supported openly, and not so openly, by the United States and sabotage the further diplomatic settlement of the conflict in Syria.
  • The situation in Central Asia is rather exacerbated, with an evident increase in ISIS activity in Afghanistan, alongside various terrorist elements appearing near its borders with Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) countries. The Russian Security Service – FSB – is hard at work in countering various ISIS and other terror cells on the territory of the Russian Federation, and reports such as these are frequent, meaning that there appears to be a network that is successful in either moving terrorist elements into the country, or recruiting them there.
  • There also was the Armenian-Azerbaijan War in Nagorno-Karabakh, which Russia didn’t directly involve itself in, since the fight was for the self-proclaimed independent republic of Artsakh, and Armenia never officially asked for assistance. Regardless, with the Peace Deal it brokered on November 10th, there have been numerous voices in Armenia blaming Russia for the defeat. And that is even though it essentially saved it from an even bigger fiasco and loss of territory. At the same time, despite being the victor, Azerbaijan simply received what it was promised with the Minsk agreements, with the addition of Shusha. There are protests against Russia in Azerbaijan, a country in which any non-government sanctioned protest is snuffed, violently. There are calls that Russia stole the “glorious victory”, while in Armenia there are calls to renew hostilities, while the Russian peacekeepers are there and somehow force their hand in the fight.
  • Turkey deployed thousands of Syrian militants to South Caucasus, and there are claims that it is even reportedly attempting to relocate families from Syria’s Afrin and other areas to the parts of Karabakh that were given to Azerbaijan. This is likely to also provide a fresh extremist presence in the region.
  • Turkey, once again, appeared to be shifting its gaze towards Crimea, but also cooperate with Ukraine in terms of selling UAVs to it and other military equipment.

All of these developments, somehow, almost entirely coincide with a report which the RAND Corporation released back in 2019.

The report is called “Extending Russia” with the subtitle “Competing from Advantageous Ground.” A short description of the report reads the following:

“The steps we posit would not have either defense or deterrence as their prime purpose, although they might contribute to both. Rather, these steps are conceived of as measures that would lead Russia to compete in domains or regions where the United States has a competitive advantage, causing Russia to overextend itself militarily or economically or causing the regime to lose domestic and/or international prestige and influence. This report deliberately covers a wide range of military, economic, and political policy options. Its recommendations are directly relevant to everything from military modernization and force posture to economic sanctions and diplomacy; consequently, it speaks to all the military services, other parts of U.S. government that have a hand in foreign policy, and the broader foreign and defense policy audience.”

Notably, the report suggests that the following “Geopolitical measures” need to be employed in order to counter Russia’s spreading influence and capabilities to provide an adequate answer to an extraordinary situation.

This chapter describes six possible U.S. moves in the current geopolitical competition:

  • providing lethal arms to Ukraine,
  • resuming support to the Syrian rebels,
  • promoting regime change in Belarus,
  • exploiting Armenian and Azeri tensions,
  • intensifying attention to Central Asia,
  • isolating Transnistria (a Russian-occupied enclave within Moldova).

There are several other possible geopolitical moves discussed in other RAND research but not directly evaluated here—including intensifying NATO’s relationship with Sweden and Finland, pressuring Russia’s position in the Arctic, and checking Russia’s attempts to secure its influence in Asia.

Ukraine

Between 2014 and 2016, the US provided $600 million in security assistance to Ukraine. These funds have been used to train Ukrainian military forces and provided nonlethal military equipment, including counterartillery and countermortar radars, secure communications, logistics systems, tactical unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, and medical equipment.

According to RAND, the US could increase its military assistance to Ukraine, or increase its calls to allow Kiev into NATO.

“Expanding U.S. assistance to Ukraine, including lethal military assistance, would likely increase the costs to Russia, in both blood and treasure, of holding the Donbass region. More Russian aid to the

separatists and an additional Russian troop presence would likely be required, leading to larger expenditures, equipment losses, and Russian casualties. The latter could become quite controversial at home, as it did when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.”

Eastern Ukraine is already a significant drain on Russian resources, exacerbated by the accompanying Western sanctions. Increasing U.S. military aid would certainly drive up the Russian costs, but doing so could also increase the loss of Ukrainian lives and territory or result in a disadvantageous peace settlement. This would generally be seen as a serious setback for U.S. policy.

What’s going on in reality? There appears to be no conclusive peace settlement in Ukraine, and anti-Russian policy continues moving forward full speed. The Kiev regime, at large controlled from Washington, is intentionally sabotaging attempts to de-escalate the situation and publicly preparing for a new military operation in eastern Ukraine. Recently, pro-Kiev sources started laying great hopes on the Turkish military aid. For sure, the US is also involved. In August 2020, incoming US President Joe Biden promised to provide Ukraine with even more lethal weapons. In late 2019, the Trump administration also approved several sales of “defensive lethal weapons” to Ukraine.

As such this part of RAND’s suggestion appears to be moving, more or less, according to plan.

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

Syria

“In 2015, Russia’s intervention in Syria cost an estimated $2.4 million to $4 million a day, according to the Moscow Times and IHS Janes’ estimates. 34 Given the size of Russia’s defense budget ($50 billion that year), the sum might not be significant in and of itself.”

Increased U.S. support to the so-called ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition could perpetuate and intensify a civil war that had begun to wind down, thereby imposing attritional costs on both Russia and Iran.

RAND believes that such support should also reduce the “moderate opposition’s” reliance on the better-armed, more extremist groups and ultimately might improve the willingness and ability of moderate opposition forces to combat the “more extremist elements.” Now, first of all RAND doesn’t even deny that the most of “moderate opposition” is made up of extremists, who are fighting against even more extreme elements.

At the same time, the reality of the situation is this: the US, with all its claims of complete withdrawal from Syria, simply employed the SDF separatist leadership as a tool of sabotaging the peace settlement in Syria, while Washington is looting Syria’s oil fields. US companies exploit Syrian oil resources. Some of the money is used to bankroll the SDF.

The Russian side has repeatedly also claimed that ISIS and ISIS-affiliated fighters were being trained and received improved weaponry in the US-controlled areas of Syria.

Unlike Ukraine, the United States does not have a single actor to aid in the fight in Syria but rather faces a plethora of groups—often with murky affiliations—increasing the chances of weapons falling into the wrong hands.

“Supporting the rebels could run counter to the most prominent objective of the Trump administration’s Middle East foreign policy—fighting radical Islamist terrorism.”

In the highly unlikely event of total success—if Russia were to abandon the Assad government and the opposition were to somehow ‘defeat’ Damascus—the result would be a major geopolitical setback for Moscow but also a major contraction in its foreign commitments and associated expenditures, not to mention a huge responsibility for the United States and its allies to assume.

At the same time, it appears that supporting the “moderate rebels” isn’t proving effective enough and Israel is picking up the slack with targeting various Syrian and alleged Iranian positions in the areas under Damascus’ control.

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

Essentially, there were some attempts, but none of them are any significant, since the fight in Syria appears to be too far gone.

Likewise, according to RAND, this course of action might have been viable a few years ago, when the armed opposition was stronger and less radicalized. Under current circumstances, the most that expanded U.S. aid could likely do would be to perpetuate a conflict that has already destabilized an entire region. Russia might be forced to pay a bit more for its Syrian commitment but only at the cost of continued regional turbulence, societal radicalization, and increased civilian casualties and displaced personnel.

Belarus

Belarus is Russia’s neighbour and important ally. It provides a buffer between Russia and major NATO countries and is the initial link in Russia’s ground lines of communication between the mainland and Kaliningrad— the Russian enclave entirely encircled by Lithuania and Poland. Already host to Russian forces, Belarus features prominently in many notional conflicts among the United States, NATO, and Russia.

In a zero-sum world, denying Russia its one and only true ally would be a clear geopolitical and ideological gain for the West. It would bring an end to “Europe’s last dictatorship,” a long-standing U.S. policy goal.

“Starting revolutions is not easy, and the United States lending public support to opposition movements does not guarantee that they will be successful. In 2007, Gallup found that 60 percent of Belarusian respondents believed democracy was important and 47 percent believed it was “somewhat” or “very” important for Belarus to have an active opposition party.”

RAND considered regime change in Belarus as one of the most significant escalations, but the attempts have all but failed, and with Russia actually not having to lift a finger.

Even despite Lukashenko attempt to get some concessions from Russia prior to the protests in the country.

“Promoting regime change in Belarus is one of the most escalatory options considered in this report. Such an effort probably would not succeed and could provoke a strong Russian response, including the possibility of military action. Such a reaction might extend Russia by requiring the nation to commit resources to preserve its grasp over Belarus, thereby provoking the United States and its European allies to respond with harsher sanctions, but the result would be a general deterioration of the security environment in Europe and a setback for U.S. policy.”

Currently, protests in Belarus are still on-going, but they’ve barely achieved any real progress in the regime change agenda. However, the Western/NATO interference in the internal situation in Belarus is an undeniable fact.

Lukashenko may be making some interesting claims regarding Russia, or attempting to play tough in order to get a discount from Moscow on natural gas, or some other commodity, but at the same time is wise enough to continue actively communicating with Russian President Vladimir Putin and remain a formal ally.

Nagorno-Karabah: Armenia and Azerbaijan

The RAND analysis begins with reminding that in 2008, the Georgian-Russian relations with damaged severely, after a few days of war and the resulting South Ossetia and Abkhazia as separate countries.

Russia also plays a key role with Azerbaijan and Armenia, particularly over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Ethnically Armenian but geographically located within Azerbaijan, Nagorno- Karabakh’s bid to join the Armenia Soviet Socialist Republic during the latter years of the Soviet Union was denied by the Soviet Politburo because of the risk of encouraging secessionist movements elsewhere.

According to RAND, the United States could extend Russia in the Caucasus in two ways. First, the United States could push for a closer NATO relationship with Georgia and Azerbaijan, likely leading Russia to strengthen its military presence in South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Armenia, and southern Russia.

Alternatively, the United States could try to induce Armenia to break with Russia.

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

“Increased U.S. involvement in the region could produce additional economic benefits as well. The Caspian Sea remains a key producer of both oil and natural gas. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that there are “48 billion barrels of oil and 292 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in proved and probable reserves in the Caspian basins. Almost 75 percent of oil reserves and 67 percent of natural gas reserves are located within 100 miles of the coast.”

According to the analysis, resolving Nagorno-Karabakh is likely a prerequisite to Armenia breaking with Russia, but it is unclear precisely how the United States or NATO could resolve the decades-old conflict without privileging one side and antagonizing the other. NATO has encouraged both parties to resolve the conflict through the Minsk Group—led by the Russians.

Currently, the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and the six-week war that started on September 27th, 2020 was due to several factors.

Notably, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, as an avid supporter of the West worked to the benefit of what RAND describes and distanced Armenia from Russia with questionable policy.

In turn, Turkey, in support of Azerbaijan saw a chance, prepared and began to largely pull the strings on Baku’s offensive on the region.

Still, Russia managed to somehow salvage the situation for Yerevan, by brokering a peace deal which saw Azerbaijan get what it was supposed to be given under the Minsk Agreements, with the addition of Shusha.

Pashinyan, however, continued blaming Russia, the Armenian population, foreign countries and such for the failure and the gross mismanagement of Armenia’s forces in the war.

Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev presents the war as “gloriously won” but there are some elements which are protesting and claiming that Moscow actually robbed Baku of its “glorious victory.”

There are anti-Russian protests, in a country in which all non-government approved protests are violently stopped.

The US made some claims for peace and so on, as did many Western countries, with France even attempting to somehow mediate the conflict, but only barely.

Paris attempted to prove itself as a valuable ally to Armenia, but in the end, it simply said “we are with you, our Armenian brothers” and all they provided were empty words.

In Armenia, in order for Pashinyan and the pro-Western leadership to remain, political arrests of the opposition began. As such, support for Russia still remains rather low, and it is playing to the measure that RAND outlined in April 2019. In the current conditions, pro-Western forces in the region would continue their efforts to destabilize the region creating chaos near the Russian border and setting conditions for the NATO expansion there.

Central Asia

Russia is part of two economic ventures related to Central Asia: the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt and Road Initiative. Russia has benefited from both, although in the case of the former, partners might have been harmed economically. There might be steps the United States and allies could take to reduce Russia’s benefits from both of these.

Engaging more with Central Asia could have modest benefits. Expanding Central Asian connectivity to the rest of the world could reduce that area’s trade with Russia. It must be noted, however, that economic growth within these countries would likely have the opposite effect and increase their trade with Russia because economic size and trade are correlated.

Now, little of this has succeeded in the year. Notably, and not in the vein which RAND describes is that militant activity in Afghanistan, as well as along its borders with the CSTO countries has increased, which Russia sees as a threat.

There are frequent reports of the FSB arresting various terrorist elements that either came from Central Asian republics or were recruited from groups from there. There is little evidence that the US has anything to do with that, but there are some reports that unknown black hawks have been extracting militants from all around, and they’ve resurfaced in northern Afghanistan, after a while.

The US efforts to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and is attempting to counter various projects in the Eurasian Economic Union, which Russia is part of such as the Nord Stream 2, but they are unrelated to Central Asia. In conclusion, regarding this, RAND appears to be a bit far from what’s been carried out, or if such measures are being implemented – they’re not being effective.

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

Moldova

Transnistria is a Russian-speaking enclave within Moldova that currently hosts a Russian peacekeeping force and army base.

Officially, Russian policy toward Transnistria is ambiguous. Russia’s Foreign Policy Concept includes only a single, rather inarticulate statement:

Russia strongly advocates a political and diplomatic settlement of conflicts in the post-Soviet space, specifically, Russia works within the existing multilateral negotiating mechanism to find an inclusive solution to the Transnistrian issue, respecting the sovereignty, territorial integrity and neutral status of the Republic of Moldova in determining the special status of Transnistria.

The United States could encourage Transnistria’s youth (who, according to some journalistic accounts, might be more pro-West than their elders) to push their pseudo-state to leave the Russian orbit.

Moldovan cooperation in an effort to expel the Russians would not be easy to secure. In an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Moldova’s pro-Russian President Igor Dodon stated, “A NATO office in Chisinau [Moldova’s capital], in a neutral country, is a provocation. I do not want this. I want neither NATO nor this Russia-led [military] alliance as far as armed forces are concerned.”

There’s been very limited movement throughout 2020, but it is likely that activities have been more focused on Belarus, Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh, and Moldova has been left for sometime in the near (or far future). The pro-Western presidential candidate, Maia Sandu, won the 2020 election in Moldova, and she’s already promoting the ideal of the need of the withdrawal of the Russian peacekeeping force from Transnistria. This move sets conditions for the increase of instability.

RAND’s General Recommendations

Extending Russia through geopolitical competition is a fundamentally difficult and dangerous proposition. One might bait Russia into extending its foreign commitments, but only at the risk of serious setbacks to local U.S. partners. Even if such efforts succeeded in generating Russian withdrawals, the result would be the opposite of an extension.

Chaos And Armed Conflicts: U.S. Strategy To Dismantle Russia Is Already Working

Any geopolitical moves to extend Russia would also need to consider other options that (for reasons of length and resources) were not considered here in depth—namely, intensifying NATO’s cooperation with Sweden and Finland, pressuring Russia’s claims in the Arctic, and checking its influence in the Arctic.

Many of these are not exactly spot on, and whether they’re entirely connected to what’s going on comes down to conspiracy theories. However, it is fact that within a year and a half of the publishing, many of these recommendations have been implemented.

There has been a regime change attempt in Belarus, which is still on-going. Armenia and Azerbaijan went to warn for Nagorno-Karabakh, and Russia had to mediate, deploy peacekeepers and further resources, as well as is being accused of both sides for either losing the war for Armenia, or stealing away a bigger victory for Azerbaijan.

Militants are being delivered to South Caucasus, and even families are being relocated there from Syria.

The US and the “moderate rebels” in Syria are still operating, albeit not as actively as before, but Israel is there to provide assistance by bombing Syrian and alleged Iranian targets.

Attempts to spread chaos in Central Asia are apparent, and the FSB continues arresting various extremist elements, but there are likely more who are roaming around and entering the country through various channels.

It is unknown what will happen in Moldova, as of yet, but the trend is alredy seen.

Another thing that could be added is cooperating with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, assisting in the forming of the autonomous Orthodox Church of Ukraine, making pushes to repeat that questionable “success” in other countries such as Montenegro, and more.

Regardless, pressure on Moscow is being exerted from quite a few directions, at the same time, and it is unlikely that under US President Joe Biden this will end. After all, his chosen aides all plan to improve relations with allies, while countering Russia’s spreading influence. Namely in Ukraine, since Biden appears to have a soft spot for the country from which he and his son allegedly funneled billions. Ukraine, and Eastern Ukraine, could also be the best direction from which to target Russia.

Things are still developing on many fronts, and the pieces are yet to fall squarely on the board.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

China’s Reaction to a US Unannounced visit to Taiwan – PressTV Interview

By Peter Koenig

Global Research, November 24, 2020

Background

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is US_Taiwan-400x267.jpg

China has reacted strongly to a senior US official’s unannounced visit to Taiwan, warning that it will take legitimate and necessary action according to circumstances.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman reiterated Beijing’s firm opposition to any official ties between Taiwan and the US. The reaction came after the media cited sources, including a Taiwanese official, as saying that US Navy’s Rear-Admiral Michael Studeman was on a trip to the self-ruled island. He’s the director of an agency which oversees intelligence at the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command. The administration of US President Donald Trump has recently ramped up support for Taiwan, including with the approval of new arms sales and high-level visits. Beijing has long warned against such moves. China considers Taiwan a breakaway province and maintains its sovereignty over the region under the One-China policy.

Interview of Peter Koenig with Press TV

***

PK

China has of course every right to protest against any visit and any US intervention in Taiwan, be it weapons sales, or provoking conflict over Taiwan self-declared “sovereignty” which it clearly has not, as it is but a breakaway part of Mainland China.

By and large this looks to me like one of Trump’s last Lame Duck movements to do whatever he can to ruin relations between the US and China.

In reality, it will have no impact of significance.
In fact, China’s approach to Taiwan over the past 70 years, has been one of non-aggression. With various attempts of rapprochement – which most of the times were actually disrupted by US interference – as Taiwan is used by the US, not because Washington has an interest in Taiwan’s “democracy’ – not at all – but Taiwan is a tool for Washington to seek destabilizing China – not dissimilar to what is going on in Hong Kong, or Xinjiang, the Uyghur Autonomous Region, or Tibet.

But China’s objectives are long-term and with patience – and not with force.

Just look at China’s recently signed Trade Agreement with 14 countries – the so-called Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. This agreement alone is the largest in significance and volume of its kind ever signed in recent history. It covers countries with some 2.2. billion people and controlling about one third of world GDP.

And the US is not part of it.
Worse, the US-dollar is not even a trading currency.
This must upset the US particularly – especially since the 2-year trade war Trump was waging against China resulted in absolutely zilch – nothing – for the US. To the contrary, it pushed China towards more independence and away from the US.

The same applied to Chinese partners, happy to have honest trading partners, not of the western, especially the Washington-type, that dish out sanctions when they please and when they don’t like sovereign countries’ behavior.

So – no worries for China, but geopolitically, of course, they must react to such acts against international rules of diplomacy.

——
PressTV:
What will change under President Biden?

PK

Most likely nothing. To the contrary, Biden’s likely Secretary of Defense, Michèle Flournoy, played an important behind the scene role in the Obama Administration. She has not changed the aggressive position of Obama’s “pivot to Asia” which essentially consisted in surrounding China with weapons systems and in particular stationing about 60% of the US navy fleet in the South China Sea.

Though at this point, it looks like China is but the target of an off-scale aggression by President Trump, in reality, China is part of a long-term policy of the US, not only to contain China, but to dominate China.

As we see, though, to no avail.

Interestingly, China does not respond with counter-aggression, instead she moves steadily forward with new creations, towards an objective that does not seek domination, but a multi-polar, multi-connected world, via, for example, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – not the type of globalization that especially the Biden camp – along with the corporatocracy behind the World Economic Forum (WEF) is seeking.

The US empire is on the decline and China, of course, is aware of it. Washington may be lashing around in its deteriorating times, to create as much damage as possible and to bring down as many nations as they can. Case in point is the constant aggression, sanctions and punishment against Iran and Venezuela – but here too, these two countries are moving gradually away from the west and into the peaceful orbit of China – pursuing after all a shared bright future for mankind.


Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals such as Global Research; ICH; New Eastern Outlook (NEO) and more. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.
Peter is also 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.

Flying Dragon, Crashing Eagle

Flying Dragon, Crashing Eagle

November 23, 2020

by Pepe Escobar and first posted at Asia Times

Four geoeconomic summits compressed in one week tell the story of where we stand in these supremely dystopian times.

The (virtual) signing of RCEP in Vietnam was followed by the equally virtual BRICS meeting hosted by Moscow, the APEC meeting hosted by Malaysia, and the G20 this past weekend hosted by Saudi Arabia.

Cynics have not failed to note the spectacular theater of the absurd of having the Top 20 – at least in theory – economies discussing what is arguably the turning point in the world-system linked to a beheading-friendly desert oil hacienda with a 7th century mentality.

The Riyadh declaration did its best to lift the somber planetary mood, vowing to deploy “all available policy tools” (no precise details) to contain Covid-19 and heroically “save” the global economy by “advancing” global pandemic preparedness, vaccine development and distribution – in tandem with debt relief – for the Global South.

Not a peep about The Great Reset – the Brave New World scheme concocted by Herr Schwab of Davos and fully supported by the IMF, Big Tech, transnational Big Capital interests and the oh so benign Prince Charles. Meanwhile, off the record, G20 sherpas moaned about the lack of real global governance and multiple attacks on multilateralism.

And not a peep as well about the real life vaccine war between the expensive Western candidates – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca – and the much cheaper Russia-China versions – Sputnik V and Sinovac.

What seems to be the case is that any agenda – sinister or otherwise – fits the one-size-fits-all vow by the G20 to provide “opportunities of the 21st century for all by empowering people, safeguarding the planet, and shaping new frontiers.”

The House of Xi

At the G20, President Xi Jinping did not waste the chance – after RCEP, BRICS and APEC – to once again emphasize China’s priorities: multilateralism, support for WTO reform, ample international cooperation on vaccine research and production.

But then, in tandem with reducing tariffs and facilitating the trade of crucial medical supplies, Xi proposed a global health QR code – a sound way to restore global travel and trade: “While containing the virus, we need to restore the secure and smooth operation of global industrial and supply chains.”

Predictably, there were howls about neo-Orwellian intrusion, comparing the QR code with the exceptionally misunderstood Chinese credit system. Herr Schwab’s Great Reset in fact proposes something similar, with even more neo-Orwellian overtones, disguised under an innocent “Covid Pass” app, or highly secure “health passport”.

What Xi has proposed amounts to just a mutual recognition of health certificates, issued by different nations, based on nucleic acid tests. No gene altering vaccines coupled with nanochips. These QR codes, incorporated to health apps, are already used for domestic travel in China.

Chinese officials have made it very clear that Beijing has been working as the representative of the Global South inside the G20. That’s multilateralism in action. And the multilateralist drive extends from RCEP – signed between 15 nations – to the brilliant Sun Tzu maneuver of China now accepting even the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the successor of the Obama-promoted and Trump-detonated TPP.

This revival – a case of Make TPP Chinese Again – can be envisaged because Beijing not only has mastered how to contain Covid-19 but is also recovering in lightning speed. China will be the only major economy growing in 2020 – de facto leading the world to a tentative post-Covid paradigm.

What the APEC meeting made crystal clear is that with East Asia graphically hitting the economic limelight, as seen with RCEP, much vaunted US “leadership” inevitably diminishes.

APEC promoted a so-called Putrajaya Vision 2040, condensing an “open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful” Asia-Pacific all the way to 2040. That neatly ties in with the three accumulated five-year Chinese plans all the way to 2035, approved last month at the CCP plenum in Beijing.

The emphasis, once again, is on multilateralism and an open global economy.

Few are more capable to capture the moment than Professor Wang Yiwei at the Institute of International Affairs at Renmin University, who wrote the best Chinese book on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Wang stresses how China is in a period of “strategic opportunity” and is now “the most powerful leader of globalization”. China’s emphasis on multilateralism will “activate the connectivity and vitality of a trade platform like RCEP”.

Stranger than fiction

Now compare all of the above with Trump at the G20 tweeting about the election dystopia and privileging golfing instead of discussing Covid-19 containment.

And then there’s

The Elements of the China Challenge, the new 74-page delusional epic concocted by the office of secretary Mike “We Lie, We Cheat, We Steal” Pompeo.

Diplomatic howls comparing it with the notorious George Kennan “long telegram” that codified the containment of the USSR in the Cold War are nonsense. Chinese Foreign Ministry reaction was more to the point: this was concocted by some “living fossils of the Cold War” and is doomed to end up “being consigned to the dustbin of history”.

President Xi Jinping, at RCEP, BRICS, APEC and the G20, concisely laid out the Chinese case: multilateralism, international cooperation on multiple fields, an open global economy, due representation of Global South’s interests.

As we wait for a set of imponderables all the way to January 20, 2021, perhaps an angular approach to what may lie ahead for the world economy is best offered by fiction.

Enter Billions, season 5, episode 2, dialogue written by Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Axe: “You know they call us traders ‘gamblers’. The world’s economy is one big casino, fueled by a giant debt bubble and computer driven derivatives. And there’s only one thing better than being a gambler at a casino.”

Wags: “That’s being the house.”

Axe: “That’s right. There’s a systemized machine out there, sucking capital from localities and injecting it into the global markets, where it can be used to speculate and manipulate. And if something goes wrong there are bailouts and bail-ins, federal aid and easing. Where the government doesn’t hunt you down, but instead gives you a nice soft net to land in.”

Wags: “That’s your answer to the fireside chat: You want to become a bank.”

Axe: “I want to become a bank.”

Wags: “In order to rob it?”

Axe: “In order that I don’t have to.”

The China Moment

The China Moment

November 19, 2020

by Peter Koenig for The Saker Blog

China has achieved the almost impossible – a free trade agreement with 14 countries – the ten ASEAN, plus Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, altogether 15 countries, including China. The so-called Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, was in negotiations during eight years – and achieved to pull together a group of countries for free trade, i.e. some 2.2 billion people, commanding some 30% of the world’s GDP. This is a never before reached agreement in size, value and tenor. The RCEP was signed during the 37th ASEAN Summit on 11 November in Vietnam.

On top of being the largest such trade agreement in human history, it also associates with and binds to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), or One Belt, One Road (OBOR), or also called the New Silk Road, which in itself comprises already more than 130 countries and more than 30 international organizations. In addition, China and Russia have a longstanding strategic partnership, containing bilateral agreements that also enter into this new trade fold – plus the countries of the Central Asia Economic Union (CAEU), consisting mostly of former Soviet Republics, are also integrated into this eastern trade block.

The conglomerate of agreements and sub-agreements between Asian-Pacific countries that will cooperate with RCEP, is bound together by for the west a little-understood Asian Pact, called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), founded on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai as an intergovernmental organization composed of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The SCO’s purpose is to ensure security and maintain stability across the vast Eurasian region, join forces to counteract emerging challenges and threats, and enhance trade, as well as cultural and humanitarian cooperation.

Much of the funding for RCEP and BRI projects will be in the form of low-cost loans from China’s Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) and other Chinese and participating countries’ national funding sources. In the hard times emerging from the covid crisis, many countries may need grant assistance to be able to recover as quickly as possible their huge socioeconomic losses created by the pandemic. In this sense, it is likely that the new Silk Road may enhance a special “Health Road” across the Asian Continent.

See map (Wikipedia).

The real beauty of this RCEP agreement is that it pursues a steady course forward, despite all the adversities imposed by the west, foremost the US of A. In fact, the RCEP may, as “byproduct”, integrate the huge Continent of Eurasia that spans all the way from western Europe to what is called Asia and covering the Middle East as well as North Africa, of some 55 million square kilometers (km2).

The crux of the RCEP agreement’s trade deals is that they will be carried out in local currencies and in yuan – no US dollars. The RCEP is a massive instrument for dedollarizing, primarily the Asia-Pacific Region, and gradually the rest of the world.

Much of the BRI infrastructure investments, or New Silk Road, may be funded by other currencies than the US dollar. China’s new digital Renminbi (RMB) or yuan soon being rolled out internationally as legal tender for international payments and transfers, will drastically reduce the use of the dollar. The new digital RMB will become attractive for many countries which are fed up with being subjected to US sanctions, because using the US-dollar, they automatically become vulnerable to being punished with dollar blockages, confiscations of resources, whenever their international “behavior” doesn’t conform with the mandates of Washington’s.

Even country reserves can be stolen, a crime perpetrated by Washington with impunity and with the help of the UK, in full sight of the world, stealing 1.2 billion dollars’ worth of Venezuelan gold deposited with the Bank of England. Only a cumbersome lengthy legal process in UK courts initiated by Venezuela could eventually free the funds to be returned to the jurisdiction of Caracas. This is a warning for many countries, who want to jump the fiat-dollar-ship and join an honest trading and reserve currency, offered by China’s solid and stable economy-backed RMB / yuan.

The dollar is already today in decline. When some 20-25 years ago about 90% of all worldwide held reserve-assets were denominated in US dollars, this proportion has shrunk by today to below 60% – and keeps declining. The emerging international RMB / yuan, together with a RCEP- and BRI-strengthened Chinese economy, may further contribute to a dedollarization, as well as dehegemonization of the United States in the world. Simultaneously and progressively the international digital RMB / yuan may also be replacing the US-dollar / euro reserves in countries’ coffers around the globe.

The US-dollar may eventually return to be just a local US-currency, as it should be. Under China’s philosophy, the unilateral word will transform into a multi-polar world. The RCEP and New Silk Road combination are rapidly pursuing this noble objective, a goal that will bring much more equilibrium into the world.

For the west adapting to this new reality may not be easy. Cooperation instead of competition has never been a western concept or philosophy. For hundreds if not thousands of years the western dominance has left a sad legacy of exploitation of the poor by the rich colonial masters and of bloody wars.

Cooperation instead of competition and warrying for power, is a concept not easily adhered to by the west. It is clearly visible by US-instigated trade wars, and possibly a currency war between the US and China may already be in the making. The FED has vaguely expressed its plans to also launch a digital, possibly cryptic, blockchain-based currency to counter the new RMB / yuan – not yet even launched internationally. Details of the FED’s plans are at the time of this writing not clear.

Having to adapt to the new RCEP, conforming to an agreement among equals, will not come easy for the west. The west will not let go and may use to the utmost possible, its creation and western biased World Trade Organization (WTO), to sabotage as much as possible the RCEP’s trade deals and BRI-infrastructure, as well as cross-border industrial development advances.

The west, led by the US – and always backed by the Pentagon and NATO, may not shy from threatening countries participating in China’s projects, but to no avail. Under Tao philosophy, China will move forward with her partners, like steadily flowing water, constantly creating, avoiding obstacles, in pursuit of her noble goal – a world in Peace with a bright common future.


Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals such as Global Research; ICH; New Eastern Outlook (NEO) and more. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.
Peter is also 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.

Syria’s International Conference On Refugees Is A Masterclass In Balancing

12 NOVEMBER 2020

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Syria

The kinetic phase of the Hybrid War of Terror on Syria has mostly drawn to a close, as evidenced by the milestone event of the country hosting an international conference on the return of refugees, which resulted in several significant outcomes that speak to the masterful execution of its “balancing” strategy and raise hope that the Arab Republic will eventually transform into the Eastern Mediterranean terminal point of China’s visionary W-CPEC+ corridor across Eurasia.

Strategically Disarming “Weapons Of Mass Migration”

Syria’s international conference on the return of refugees is a milestone event for the country’s war which shows that the kinetic phase of the Hybrid War of Terror against it has mostly drawn to a close. President Assad’s keynote speech saw the Syrian leader thanking his Russian and Iranian wartime allies for their help getting to this point and encouraging his compatriots abroad to finally return home. He claimed that some of their host countries are exploiting them for financial and other reasons, strongly hinting that they’re being used against their will as “Weapons of Mass Migration” like Ivy League scholar Kelly M. Greenhill earlier described such a phenomenon. In connection with that, President Assad condemned those states which continue to impose illegal sanctions against the Arab Republic, which has disincentivized some refugees from returning home and thus results in artificially perpetuating this historic humanitarian crisis that was initially sparked by their external war of regime change aggression against his people through terrorist means.

Syria’s “Balancing” Act

Thankfully, Syria can count on its Russian and Iranian wartime allies to help reconstruct the ruined country and thus facilitate the return of millions of refugees to their homeland. To this end, Russia promised to allocate $1 billion as well as open up a trade mission in Damascus while Iran suggested setting up an international fund for this purpose. Both countries seem poised to enter into a “friendly competition” with one another for reconstruction contracts and market space which can only work out to Syria’s ultimate benefit. The Arab Republic is therefore expected to retain its carefully calibrated “balancing” act between them, wisely doing its utmost to prevent the emergence of any complete dependence on either of them in the future. This strategy is consistent with what it’s always pursued over the decades and represents its masterful execution which too many other small- and medium-sized states previously attempted but to no avail. Even worse, many of Syria’s peers saw this strategy backfire on them, thus leading to either their ruin or full dependence on one partner.

Full credit goes to Syria’s world-class diplomats for being able to manage such a difficult policy with such success. Not only are they “balancing” between Russia and Iran, but they also managed to attract the important participation of other countries in their international refugee conference, most curious of which for some observers is Pakistan. Those who only casually follow Syrian affairs might have missed it, but Islamabad recently dispatched massive medical aid to the Arab Republic. This and its participation in the international conference show that the “global pivot state” (which the author previously referred to it as) is capable of bold foreign policy moves independent of its close American, Saudi, and Turkish partners. Pakistan, just like Syria, is also practicing its own “balancing” act between its aforementioned three traditional partners and its three newest ones of Russia, China, and Iran. In fact, it can be argued that Pakistan and Syria are in the process of synergizing their respective “balancing” strategies for the betterment of Eurasia.

Pakistan’s Serendipitous Chance In Syria”

To explain, not only is Syria “balancing” between Russia and Iran, but also between India and Pakistan too. Although Damascus and Delhi have a long history of close relations, Presidential Advisor Bouthaina Shabaan told the Hindustan Times in August 2017 that her country is becoming hesitant about India’s role in its reconstruction after Prime Minister Modi’s highly publicized trip to “Israel” where he did everything from sign intergovernmental deals solidifying their de-facto alliance to even walking barefoot with Netanyahu along the beach. The author realized at the time that this is “Pakistan’s Serendipitous Chance In Syria” whereby Islamabad could flex its anti-Zionist credentials to present itself as a much more credible partner than pro-Zionist Delhi in pursuit of strengthening the two state’s historic relations that reached their high point in 1974 after a Pakistani pilot flying a Syrian jet shot down an “Israeli” fighter flying over the occupied Golan Heights. Syria’s diplomats were evidently receptive to Pakistan’s outreaches, hence the steady improvement of ties.

The Winding Road To W-CPEC+

It’s not just nostalgia for their Old Cold War-era ties nor their shared hatred of “Israel” that’s bringing them closer together nowadays, but pro-Chinese Silk Road pragmatism. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the flagship project of China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), and its western branch corridor (W-CPEC+) through Iran has the chance of not only reaching Russia by running parallel with the stalled North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) across Azerbaijan but can also extend as far as Syria via Iraq. China is the little-discussed third economic force apart from Russia and Iran which is engaged in a “friendly competition” with its partners to develop Syria, and the improvement of Syrian-Pakistani relations as is presently happening could result in W-CPEC+ extending from the Pacific Ocean to the Eastern Mediterranean through Iran, Iraq, and Syria, all of which are allied with one another. It’ll of course take a lot of political will from all sides — not least of all Pakistan — to see this ambitious vision through, but if successful, then it could revolutionize Mideast geopolitics.

All five countries — China, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, and Syria — would benefit from this outcome. The People’s Republic is the world’s second-largest economy and actively eyeing more positions in the Eastern Mediterranean to complement its prospective ones in “Israel”, albeit via more geopolitically reliable mainland routes than the maritime ones connecting it to the self-professed “Jewish State”. Pakistan has an interest in bolstering its credential as the “global pivot state” by having CPEC serve as the platform for integrating Eurasia more closely together. Iran, which is desperately seeking all manner of sanctions relief, is reportedly negotiating a gargantuan economic agreement with China and would certainly benefit by facilitating more East-West trade through its territory. As for Russia, its recent control over Tartus means that it could profit from any Syrian export of Chinese products through that port. As for the Arab Republic itself, its expected benefit is that this vision would accelerate its reconstruction and allow it to finally actualize its pre-war “Five Seas Strategy”.

Concluding Thoughts

All told, Syria’s international conference on the return of refugees was about much more than just its titular topic. Reading between the lines of the details that have since been revealed about this milestone event, it was actually a masterclass in Syria’s “balancing” strategy. The Arab Republic proved that its diplomats are among the most highly skilled in the world after successfully “balancing” between Russia and Iran, as well as India and Pakistan, all with the aim of fulfilling its visionary “Five Seas Strategy” which some argue was partially responsible for provoking the Hybrid War of Terror that’s been viciously waged against it for almost an entire decade already. In the best-case scenario, Syria will eventually serve as the Eastern Mediterranean terminal point of the W-CPEC+ corridor connecting that strategic body of water with the Pacific Ocean via a several-country-long mainland commercial corridor. The successful fulfillment of this vision would revolutionize not only Mideast geopolitics, but also Eurasian geopolitics as a whole, which thus makes it an urgent priority for all.

RCEP hops on the New Silk Roads

Source

RCEP hops on the New Silk Roads

November 16, 2020

by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted on Asia Times

Ho Chi Minh, in his eternal abode, will be savoring it with a heavenly smirk. Vietnam was the – virtual – host as the 10 Asean nations, plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, on the final day of the 37th Asean Summit.

RCEP, eight years in the making, binds together 30% of the global economy and 2.2 billion people. It’s the first auspicious landmark of the Raging Twenties, which started with an assassination (of Iran’s Gen. Soleimani) followed by a global pandemic and now ominous intimations of a dodgy Great Reset.

RCEP seals East Asia as the undisputed prime hub of geoeconomics. The Asian Century in fact was already in the making way back in the 1990s. Among those Asians as well as Western expats who identified it, in 1997 I published my book 21st: The Asian Century (excerpts here.)

RCEP may force the West to do some homework, and understand that the main story here is not that RCEP “excludes the US” or that it’s “designed by China”. RCEP is an East Asia-wide agreement, initiated by Asean, and debated among equals since 2012, including Japan, which for all practical purposes positions itself as part of the industrialized Global North. It’s the first-ever trade deal that unites Asian powerhouses China, Japan and South Korea.

By now it’s clear, at last in vast swathes of East Asia, that RCEP’s 20 chapters will reduce tariffs across the board; simplify customs, with at least 65% of service sectors fully open, with increased foreign shareholding limits; solidify supply chains by privileging common rules of origin; and codify new e-commerce regulations.

When it comes to the nitty gritty, companies will be saving and be able to export anywhere within the 15-nation spectrum without bothering with extra, separate requirements from each nation. That’s what an integrated market is all about.

When RCEP meets BRI

The same scratched CD will be playing non-stop on how RCEP facilitates China’s “geopolitical ambitions”. That’s not the point. The point is RCEP evolved as a natural companion to China’s role as the main trade partner of virtually every East Asian player.

Which brings us to the key geopolitical and geoeconomic angle: RCEP is a natural companion to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which as a trade/sustainable development strategy spans not only East Asia but delves deeper into Central and West Asia.

The Global Times analysis is correct: the West has not ceased to distort BRI, without acknowledging how “the initiative they have been slandering is actually so popular in the vast majority of countries along the BRI route.”

RCEP will refocus BRI – whose “implementation” stage, according to the official timetable, starts only in 2021. The low-cost financing and special foreign exchange loans offered by the China Development Bank will become much more selective.

There will be a lot of emphasis on the Health Silk Road – especially across Southeast Asia. Strategic projects will be the priority: they revolve around the development of a network of economic corridors, logistic zones, financial centers, 5G networks, key sea ports and, especially short and mid-term, public health-related high-tech.

The discussions that led to the final RCEP draft were focused on a mechanism of integration that can easily bypass the WTO in case Washington persists on sabotaging it, as was the case during the Trump administration.

The next step could be the constitution of an economic bloc even stronger than the EU – not a far-fetched possibility when we have China, Japan, South Korea and the Asean 10 working together. Geopolitically, the top incentive, beyond an array of imperative financial compromises, would be to solidify something like Make Trade, Not War.

RCEP marks the irredeemable failure of the Obama era TPP, which was the “NATO on trade” arm of the “pivot to Asia” dreamed up at the State Department. Trump squashed TPP in 2017. TPP was not about a “counterbalance” to China’s trade primacy in Asia: it was about a free for all encompassing the 600 multinational companies which were involved in its draft. Japan and Malaysia, especially, saw thought it from the start.

RCEP also inevitably marks the irredeemable failure of the decoupling fallacy, as well as all attempts to drive a wedge between China and its East Asian trade partners. All these Asian players will now privilege trade among themselves. Trade with non-Asian nations will be an afterthought. And every Asean economy will give full priority to China.

Still, American multinationals won’t be isolated, as they will be able to profit from RCEP via their subsidiaries within the 15-nation members.

What about Greater Eurasia?

And then there’s the proverbial Indian mess. The official spin from New Delhi is that RCEP would “affect the livelihoods” of vulnerable Indians. That’s code for an extra invasion of cheap and efficient Chinese products.

India was part of the RCEP negotiations from the start. Pulling out – with a “we may join later” conditional – is once again a spectacular case of stabbing themselves in the back. The fact is the Hindutva fanatics behind Modi-ism bet on the wrong horse: the US-fostered Quad partnership cum Indo-Pacific strategy, which spells out as containment of China and thus preclude closer trade ties.

No “Make in India” will compensate for the geoeconomic, and diplomatic, blunder – which crucially implies India distancing itself from the Asean 10. RCEP solidifies China, not India, as the undisputed engine of East Asian growth amid the re-positioning of supply chains post-Covid.

A very interesting geoeconomic follow-up is what will Russia do. For the moment, Moscow’s priority involves a Sisyphean struggle: manage the turbulent relationship with Germany, Russia’s largest import partner.

But then there’s the Russia-China strategic partnership –which should be enhanced economically. Moscow’s concept of Greater Eurasia involves deeper involvement both East and West, including the expansion of the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), which, for instance, has free trade deals with Asean nations such as Vietnam.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is not a geoeconomics mechanism. But it’s intriguing to see what President Xi Jinping said at his keynote speech at the Council of Heads of State of the SCO last week.

This is Xi’s key quote: “We must firmly support relevant countries in smoothly advancing major domestic political agendas in accordance with law; maintaining political security & social stability, and resolutely oppose external forces interfering in internal affairs of member states under any pretext.”

Apparently this has nothing to do with RCEP. But there are quite a few intersections. No interference of “external forces”. Beijing taking into consideration the Covid-19 vaccine needs of SCO members – and this could be extended to RCEP. The SCO – as well as RCEP – as a multilateral platform for member states to mediate disputes.

All of the above points to the inter-sectionality of BRI, EAEU, SCO, RCEP, BRICS+ and AIIB, which translates as closer Asia – and Eurasia – integration, geoeconomically and geopolitically. While the dogs of dystopia bark, the Asian – and Eurasian – caravan – keeps marching on.

Who’s World Order??

Who’s World Order??
Matthew Ehret is the Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Patriot Review , Senior Fellow at the American University in Moscow, BRI Expert on Tactical talk, and has authored 3 volumes of ‘Untold History of Canada’ book series. In 2019 he co-founded the Montreal-based Rising Tide Foundation. He can be reached at matt.ehret@tutamail.com

November 16, 2020

By Matthew Ehret for the Saker Blog

In his Foreign Policy article of April 2020, Biden states that he will reverse Trump’s embarrassing foreign policy record by standing up to both China, Russia and other totalitarian nations which represent the three-fold plague of “authoritarianism, nationalism and illiberalism” and “once more have America lead the world”.

Biden went further promising to undo the harm Trump has done to NATO by re-enforcing the military body, extending its influence to the Pacific (which sounds a lot like the Esper/Pompeo doctrine for the Pacific), and even demanded that NATO go harder on Russia stating that “the Kremlin fears a strong NATO, the most effective political military alliance in modern history.”

Considering Biden’s nearly 45 year political record supporting every military intervention in American history, opposing de-segregation, eulogizing pro-KKK Senator Strom Thurmond, passing bills that incarcerated petty drug dealers for life on behalf of the cheap labor prison industrial complex and supported the rampant growth of both Wall Street, Big Pharma and the Big Tech run surveillance state, we should think twice before celebrating this man’s possible entry into the halls of the highest office in the USA.

Biden’s call for renewing the NATO alliance in opposition to Russia and China, his support for reversing Trump’s calls for military reduction in the Middle East and his support for extending NATO in the Pacific mixed with his lifelong track record, forces us to ask if Glen Greenwald was right when he quit the Intercept on November 1 saying:

“If Biden wins, that’s going to be the power structure: A democratic party fully united with neocons, Bush/Cheney operatives, CIA/FBI/NSA Wall Street and Silicon Valley: presenting itself as the only protection against fascism. And much of the left will continue marching behind it.”

As it turns out, Greenwald’s warning was absolutely on point, as the entire intelligence apparatus, Big Tech and mainstream media complex which worked desperately to oust President Trump for 4 years and is currently running a vast voting fraud operation as this is written has given its full backing to the narrative of “an inevitable of a Biden presidency”.

In a Nov. 11 article from Antiwar.com entitled Biden’s Pentagon Transition Team Members Funded by the Arms Industry, journalist Dave DeCamp demonstrates that of the 23 members of Biden’s Pentagon Transition Team, over one third are directly tied to NATO and the Military Industrial Complex.

As facts continue to emerge of the corrupt deep state structure which totally dominates the geriatric hologram known as Joe Biden, it has become obvious that even the few positive remarks Biden made in support of renewing the START treaty with Russia carry little weight.

Ignoring the very real danger of a new civil war due to the fact that either result will be denied its legitimacy by half of the nation, the question must be asked: If Trump is replaced by a Biden Presidency on January 20th, then what will be the effects both on world stability and US-Russia-China relations?

It is good that Biden supports START’s renewal, but an increasing majority of the nations are opting for a multipolar alliance premised on the defense of national sovereignty, the right to use protectionism, and the construction of large scale megaprojects such as the New Silk Road, Polar Silk Road, advanced space exploration and North South Transportation Corridor.

The very protectionist measures which allowed the USA (and every nation of the world for that matter) to build up their industrial base and economic sovereignty are attacked directly by Biden who demands the “taking down of trade barriers and resisting dangerous global slide toward protectionism” (which he goes so far as to assert without evidence “caused the great depression” and “lead to World War II”).

Attacking Trump for being soft on China’s imperial Belt and Road Initiative which Biden states is only an “outsourcer of pollution to other countries by financing billions of dollars worth of dirty fossil fuel energy projects”, Biden then asks: “who writes the rules that govern trade?” and answers: “the United States, not China, should be leading that effort.”

Beyond carbon reduction plans, and information technology investments (AI, 5G, Quantum Computing), there is very little in Biden’s “development outlook” that brings the USA into harmony with this multipolar consensus. His program to support cutting America’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 as outlined by the Green New Deal and Great Reset crowd at Davos might appear on the surface to be pro-infrastructure, professing to “create 10 million good new jobs”, but the reality on further inspection is very different.

The sorts of large scale BRI-oriented development projects now transforming more than half of the world which is increasingly operating under a completely different non-US dominated banking paradigm, are based on capital intensive heavy industry, the use of fossil fuels and also nuclear power.

Without these energy sources, then the New Silk Road and its’ sister projects could never work (much like Modi’s anti-BRI OSOWOG doppelganger has proven a total failure both scientifically and economically).

The sort of “green energy revolution” which the Davos technocrats running Biden want to impose onto the world might create short term jobs, but once the solar panels and windmills are built, the quality of energy available to nations stupid enough to walk into this cage will forever suffocate their capacity to sustain their populations and growth potential. In short, it is a green mirage obscuring a very ugly design.

In opposition to this depopulation agenda, Trump’s tendency support for space exploration, reviving protectionism to rebuild America’s lost manufacturing and his supporting large scale infrastructure programs in resolving conflict abroad (including his support for building rail in the Arctic, rail in Serbia and Kosovo, nuclear power in South Africa and Poland etc) is certainly synergistic with the multipolar system led by Russia and China and undeniably brings the USA into harmony with its own better traditions.

Additionally, Trump’s defunding of color revolutionary “civil society” groups in Hong Kong and Belarus won him many enemies from both sides of the pro-Soros isle while supporting the concept of national sovereignty which were major steps towards stability and trust-building with nations of the world who demand their sovereignty be respected as outlined in the UN Charter itself.

Compare this with Biden’s statement that we must “stand with Russian civil society which has bravely stood up time and again against President Vladimir Putin’s kleptocratic authoritarian system” and Biden’s call to host “a global summit for democracy” featuring “civil society organizations from around the world that stand on the frontlines of democracy” including “the private sector, technology companies and social media giants.”

These are the same “Big tech, and media giants” that have given their full backing to the imposition of Biden into the Presidency which have also been used to overthrow nationally elected governments in color revolutionary regime change operations for decades. These the same networks that have suppressed all evidence of systemic vote fraud in the American elections of 2020 and are stoking the fires of a potential new civil war and regime change inside the republic itself.

Whatever the case may be, the coming weeks and months will feature fierce battles that will shape the outcome of world history.

Syria’s International Conference On Refugees Is A Masterclass In Balancing

By Andrew Korybko

Source

The kinetic phase of the Hybrid War of Terror on Syria has mostly drawn to a close, as evidenced by the milestone event of the country hosting an international conference on the return of refugees, which resulted in several significant outcomes that speak to the masterful execution of its “balancing” strategy and raise hope that the Arab Republic will eventually transform into the Eastern Mediterranean terminal point of China’s visionary W-CPEC+ corridor across Eurasia.

Strategically Disarming “Weapons Of Mass Migration”

Syria’s international conference on the return of refugees is a milestone event for the country’s war which shows that the kinetic phase of the Hybrid War of Terror against it has mostly drawn to a close. President Assad’s keynote speech saw the Syrian leader thanking his Russian and Iranian wartime allies for their help getting to this point and encouraging his compatriots abroad to finally return home. He claimed that some of their host countries are exploiting them for financial and other reasons, strongly hinting that they’re being used against their will as “Weapons of Mass Migration” like Ivy League scholar Kelly M. Greenhill earlier described such a phenomenon. In connection with that, President Assad condemned those states which continue to impose illegal sanctions against the Arab Republic, which has disincentivized some refugees from returning home and thus results in artificially perpetuating this historic humanitarian crisis that was initially sparked by their external war of regime change aggression against his people through terrorist means.

Syria’s “Balancing” Act

Thankfully, Syria can count on its Russian and Iranian wartime allies to help reconstruct the ruined country and thus facilitate the return of millions of refugees to their homeland. To this end, Russia promised to allocate $1 billion as well as open up a trade mission in Damascus while Iran suggested setting up an international fund for this purpose. Both countries seem poised to enter into a “friendly competition” with one another for reconstruction contracts and market space which can only work out to Syria’s ultimate benefit. The Arab Republic is therefore expected to retain its carefully calibrated “balancing” act between them, wisely doing its utmost to prevent the emergence of any complete dependence on either of them in the future. This strategy is consistent with what it’s always pursued over the decades and represents its masterful execution which too many other small- and medium-sized states previously attempted but to no avail. Even worse, many of Syria’s peers saw this strategy backfire on them, thus leading to either their ruin or full dependence on one partner.

Full credit goes to Syria’s world-class diplomats for being able to manage such a difficult policy with such success. Not only are they “balancing” between Russia and Iran, but they also managed to attract the important participation of other countries in their international refugee conference, most curious of which for some observers is Pakistan. Those who only casually follow Syrian affairs might have missed it, but Islamabad recently dispatched massive medical aid to the Arab Republic. This and its participation in the international conference show that the “global pivot state” (which the author previously referred to it as) is capable of bold foreign policy moves independent of its close American, Saudi, and Turkish partners. Pakistan, just like Syria, is also practicing its own “balancing” act between its aforementioned three traditional partners and its three newest ones of Russia, China, and Iran. In fact, it can be argued that Pakistan and Syria are in the process of synergizing their respective “balancing” strategies for the betterment of Eurasia.

Pakistan’s Serendipitous Chance In Syria”

To explain, not only is Syria “balancing” between Russia and Iran, but also between India and Pakistan too. Although Damascus and Delhi have a long history of close relations, Presidential Advisor Bouthaina Shabaan told the Hindustan Times in August 2017 that her country is becoming hesitant about India’s role in its reconstruction after Prime Minister Modi’s highly publicized trip to “Israel” where he did everything from sign intergovernmental deals solidifying their de-facto alliance to even walking barefoot with Netanyahu along the beach. The author realized at the time that this is “Pakistan’s Serendipitous Chance In Syria” whereby Islamabad could flex its anti-Zionist credentials to present itself as a much more credible partner than pro-Zionist Delhi in pursuit of strengthening the two state’s historic relations that reached their high point in 1974 after a Pakistani pilot flying a Syrian jet shot down an “Israeli” fighter flying over the occupied Golan Heights. Syria’s diplomats were evidently receptive to Pakistan’s outreaches, hence the steady improvement of ties.

The Winding Road To W-CPEC+

It’s not just nostalgia for their Old Cold War-era ties nor their shared hatred of “Israel” that’s bringing them closer together nowadays, but pro-Chinese Silk Road pragmatism. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the flagship project of China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), and its western branch corridor (W-CPEC+) through Iran has the chance of not only reaching Russia by running parallel with the stalled North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) across Azerbaijan but can also extend as far as Syria via Iraq. China is the little-discussed third economic force apart from Russia and Iran which is engaged in a “friendly competition” with its partners to develop Syria, and the improvement of Syrian-Pakistani relations as is presently happening could result in W-CPEC+ extending from the Pacific Ocean to the Eastern Mediterranean through Iran, Iraq, and Syria, all of which are allied with one another. It’ll of course take a lot of political will from all sides — not least of all Pakistan — to see this ambitious vision through, but if successful, then it could revolutionize Mideast geopolitics.

All five countries — China, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, and Syria — would benefit from this outcome. The People’s Republic is the world’s second-largest economy and actively eyeing more positions in the Eastern Mediterranean to complement its prospective ones in “Israel”, albeit via more geopolitically reliable mainland routes than the maritime ones connecting it to the self-professed “Jewish State”. Pakistan has an interest in bolstering its credential as the “global pivot state” by having CPEC serve as the platform for integrating Eurasia more closely together. Iran, which is desperately seeking all manner of sanctions relief, is reportedly negotiating a gargantuan economic agreement with China and would certainly benefit by facilitating more East-West trade through its territory. As for Russia, its recent control over Tartus means that it could profit from any Syrian export of Chinese products through that port. As for the Arab Republic itself, its expected benefit is that this vision would accelerate its reconstruction and allow it to finally actualize its pre-war “Five Seas Strategy”.

Concluding Thoughts

All told, Syria’s international conference on the return of refugees was about much more than just its titular topic. Reading between the lines of the details that have since been revealed about this milestone event, it was actually a masterclass in Syria’s “balancing” strategy. The Arab Republic proved that its diplomats are among the most highly skilled in the world after successfully “balancing” between Russia and Iran, as well as India and Pakistan, all with the aim of fulfilling its visionary “Five Seas Strategy” which some argue was partially responsible for provoking the Hybrid War of Terror that’s been viciously waged against it for almost an entire decade already. In the best-case scenario, Syria will eventually serve as the Eastern Mediterranean terminal point of the W-CPEC+ corridor connecting that strategic body of water with the Pacific Ocean via a several-country-long mainland commercial corridor. The successful fulfillment of this vision would revolutionize not only Mideast geopolitics, but also Eurasian geopolitics as a whole, which thus makes it an urgent priority for all.

Pakistan Made A Compelling Case That India Is A State Sponsor Of Terrorism

By Andrew Korybko

Source

Pakistan released a detailed dossier during a press conference on Saturday strongly making the case that India is a state sponsor of terrorism whose intelligence services have weaponized this phenomenon as part of the proxy war that they’re fighting with respect to the UNSC-recognized international Kashmir dispute and against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with it now being the responsibility of the international community to investigate these scandalous claims in order to decide whether India deserves to be sanctioned by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other related bodies for its rogue behavior.

This year’s Diwali celebration got off to a very symbolic start after Pakistan shined some light on the dark activities that it accused India of carrying out in the region. Islamabad released a detailed dossier during a press conference on Saturday strongly making the case that India is a state sponsor of terrorism whose intelligence services have weaponized this phenomenon as part of the proxy war that they’re fighting with respect to the UNSC-recognized international Kashmir dispute and against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of Beijing’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI). These claims aren’t anything new, but what’s novel is the amount of detail devoted to proving them this time around.

According to Pakistan, Indian diplomatic facilities in Afghanistan are being used to coordinate the training of various terrorist groups on that landlocked country’s territory, including efforts to unite relevant Baloch and Pashtun ones as well as create a new ISIS branch dedicated to attacking Pakistan. Islamabad mentioned names, dates, bank accounts, phone numbers, and other identifying information such as exposing the Indian mastermind of these regionally destabilizing activities to make its case that India is a rogue state whose behavior should be investigated by the international community, which might find it fitting to sanction the country through the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other related bodies.

Pakistan’s diplomatic masterstroke puts India in a very uncomfortable position because it had hitherto been the latter making such claims about the former and not the reverse. The comparatively muted reaction from the international community in the 24 hours since the dossier was revealed suggests that they feel uncomfortable about the accusations and aren’t too sure how to respond. India is a close military and economic partner of a growing number of influential players such as the US and “Israel” who might now be embarrassed for so closely associating with a country that’s been convincingly accused of such rogue behavior. At the same time, however, “birds of a feather flock together”, as they say.

For reasons of self-interest, it might turn out that the international community as a whole doesn’t react the same way to Pakistan’s accusations as they’ve done in the past whenever India made similar but much less detailed ones. Nevertheless, what’s most important to pay attention to is how these revelations might shape Chinese-Indian relations considering their clashes along the Line of Actual Control this summer and ongoing state of ever-intensifying cold war. The grand strategic interests of the People’s Republic are directly threatened by India’s Hybrid War of Terror on Pakistan, which aims to destabilize CPEC’s northern and southern access points in Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan respectively.

In fact, the timing of this dossier’s release might have been connected to those two countries’ rivalry. To explain, India was handily defeated by China during their clashes over the summer, which might be why it’s doubling down on its proxy war of terrorism against Pakistan in response. After all, Islamabad warned that New Delhi would soon seek to intensify its terrorist efforts in the coming future, so the dossier might have been intended to preemptively thwart that by exposing these plans in order to put pressure on India to reconsider its actions. Of course, it also took plenty of time to assemble all the details that were disclosed, but the timing was at least very convenient from the Pakistani perspective even if it was ultimately coincidental.

All told, the dossier heralds the advent of a new phase of Pakistani diplomacy where Islamabad confidently exposes India’s Hybrid War of Terror on the world stage. Since it can be assumed that China considers these claims credible considering the fact that its interests are directly threatened irrespective of the country’s public reaction (or potential lack thereof in line with its diplomatic traditions), the conclusion can thus far be made that this report already had a significant impact. It might very well end up being the case that Chinese-Indian relations will never return to their former friendliness, especially if Beijing begins to wonder whether Washington might be tacitly supporting New Delhi’s proxy war on CPEC.

China Newsbrief and Sitrep

China Newsbrief and Sitrep

November 10, 2020

Source

By Godfree Roberts – selected from his extensive weekly newsletter : Here Comes China

Infrastructure

The Three Gorges passed all its tests. Flood control, power generation, navigation and water resources utilization are running smoothly. The river dam, flood discharge, energy dissipation, water diversion and power generation, navigation facilities, protective buildings, mechanical and electrical systems are operating normally and stably. The reservoir accumulated 180 billion cubic meters of floodwater, reduced the flood peak by 40 percent, and the lowered flood control pressures in the the Yangtze River. Read full article →

Agriculture

A new record means a one mu (0.067 hectare) rice field can feed five people for a year. Scientists achieved record-breaking yields of 1,500 kg per mu, or 22.5 tonnes per hectare. The strain, named “Sanyou #1”, is known for its high yield and resilience to unfavorable weather conditions. The late-season hybrid rice yield measured on Monday reached 911.7 kg per mu – each mu measures about 0.07 hectares.  Read full article →

Aerospace

China has launched more satellites than any other country this year as of Sept. 30, putting it on track to win the space launch-rate race three years in a row. Through the third quarter of 2020, China has launched a total of 29 satellites. The US by contrast has launched 27 total, launching 10 this quarter. Only SpaceX keeps the US close to China. Read full article →

Useless Idiots?

What really happened at the US Consulate General in Hong Kong when those four young anti-China activists turned up seeking asylum? They were rejected because, as much as they would like to believe they fought the good fight against “tyranny” and merit “protection” for all the sacrifices they made, they are in fact nobodies in the eyes of the unscrupulous and manipulative officials and politicians in Washington who cheered them on and lulled them into a false sense of security that America had their backs. Read full article →

The four Hong Kong activists who sought protection at the US consulate last week had discussed their intentions with consular staff, who gave them the green light to enter the compound before firmly asking them to leave. Three were seeking asylum, while the fourth, who claims to be a US citizen, is accusing the consulate of neglecting its duty to help him.  Read full article →

Long Read: Investing in the Belt and Road

(This article selection is specifically for the explanation on Islamic Finance)

Pakistan BRI Projects

China’s Belt & Road Initiative officially kicked off in 2013, some seven years ago, under the initial title of ‘One Belt One Road’. That was later dropped as it became apparent that the scale of demand for projects would be rather more than single Eurasian and Maritime routes. While there has been some controversy over China’s financing and the exporting of its construction SOEs to build these projects, closer examination of the so-called ‘debt trap’ issue by US Universities such as John Hopkins and William & Mary have revealed this not to be the case; their studies failing to produce any evidence of debt trap problems created by Chinese loans. It is however encouraging that such finance is being monitored and it will help keep Beijing straight. This is good news for Pakistan, as it has been a significant recipient of Chinese infrastructure funding, with US$62 billion being spent on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) alone.

The China–Pakistan Economic Corridor 

The CPEC is a collection of infrastructure projects that are under construction throughout the country. CPEC is intended to rapidly upgrade Pakistan’s required infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects, and special economic zones. CPEC became partly operational in late 2016 when Chinese cargo was transported overland to Gwadar Port for onward maritime shipment to Africa and West Asia, while certain nationally important power projects came onstream in late 2017.

A vast network of highways and railways are currently being constructed as part of CPEC that will span the length and breadth of Pakistan. Inefficiencies stemming from Pakistan’s current, mostly dilapidated transportation network are estimated by the government to cause a loss of 3.55% of the country’s annual GDP with little investment having been made since the days of the British Raj.

Modern transportation networks built under CPEC will link seaports in Gwadar and Karachi on Pakistan’s southern coast with northern Pakistan, as well as to routes and cities further north in Western China’s Xinjiang Province and onto Central Asia. This includes a 1,100 km motorway being built between Karachi and Lahore, while the Karachi-Peshawar main rail route is being upgraded to allow for high speed train travel.

To the north the Karakoram Highway from Gilgit to Taxkorgan and Kashgar is being completely overhauled while Pakistan’s railway network will also be extended to eventually connect to China’s Southern Xinjiang railway in Kashgar and from there onto China’s national rail system and its majority Muslim Provinces of Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai and Ningxia – all of which lie in a West-East axis, following the ancient overland trade routes of the ancient silk road. China’s Muslim population is about 80 million with significant hubs in cities such as Xián and Beijing.

To the West from Xinjiang, China is connected to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, all Muslim countries. Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjang, is a major Central Asian hub and reaches out via road, rail and air to many Central Asian destinations.

Pakistan’s Export Manufacturing Potential  

What this means for Pakistan – world renowned traders extraordinaire – is that the Belt and Road build in their own country can be used to service the business and human footfall needs now being created in hubs across the country, as well as vastly improved trade interconnectivity with similar cultures and values throughout China and Central Asia.

Pakistan’s south coast Ports also offer shipping access and trade to Southeast Asia including the Muslim countries of Malaysia and Indonesia – offering a combined market of 300 million people. Then there are India’s Muslims – another 172 million. The opportunities for Pakistan’s business export sector to grow and develop are immense.

This is important as Pakistan currently has a growing current account deficit. This is driven by a widening trade gap as import growth outstrips export expansion and could draw down reserves and dampen GDP growth in the medium term. That said, Pakistan is currently undergoing a process of economic liberalization including privatization of all government corporations, being aimed to attract FDI and decrease the budget deficit. Pakistan is generally regarded as one of the ten emerging global economies with a particular focus on its manufacturing hub.

The economy of Pakistan is the 23rd largest in the world in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP), while the country has a significant population of 220 million, and is expected, along with the BRICS nations to be among the world’s largest economies in the 21st century. Clearly, China has been investing in a friendly, emerging and significant economy. So too notably have expatriate Pakistani’s based in the UK and United States, as well as investments coming in from the UAE and Turkey. Investments from the West and mature Asian economies have tended to be big-ticket and restricted to MNC’s – while the CPEC builds, when completed, offer more opportunities for SME’s and medium sized investors as well as the big players.

Islamic Financing

Asian regional hubs have seen what is happening and have begun offering Islamic finance services as part of their portfolio. Hong Kong has been placing Sukuk (Islamic bonds) to raise capital for several years now, some into the billions of dollars. HSBS and Standard Chartered are often utilized as global advisers, with banks such as Malaysia’s CIMB and Abu Dhabi’s National Bank involved in Islamic countries. Singapore has had less success, with DBS closing its Islamic Bank of Asia in 2015 and folding Islamic finance facilities into core operations. Nonetheless, facilities are available in Hong Kong and the regional Muslim economies in Asia.

The major projects China has helped finance and build in Pakistan that would be of interest to Islamic and global financiers and businessmen are as follows:

Pakistan’s Gwadar Port (گوادر بندرگاه) is the deepest sea port in the world, and is under the administrative control of the Maritime Secretary of Pakistan and the operational control of the China Overseas Port Holding Company.  The port is a link between the Belt & Road Initiative and the Maritime Silk Road.

It includes the Gwadar Special Economic Zone currently being built on a 2,292 acre site adjacent to the Port.

The Gwadar SEZ will include manufacturing zones, logistics hubs, warehouses, and display centres and is modelled on the successful Chinese SEZ model which launched cities such as Shenzhen into global recognizance and shipping importance. Business established in the special economic zone will be exempt from Pakistani income, sales, and federal excise taxes for 23 years, while a 40-year tax holiday will be granted for imports of equipment, materials, plants, machinery, appliances and accessories that are to be for construction of Gwadar Port and SEZ.

The SEZ is being completed in three phases. Manufacturing and processing industries should start to be operational by 2025, while further expansion of the zone is intended to be complete by 2030. While the Chinese are building the Gwadar infrastructure, it should be noted that opportunities exist both for foreign investors within the SEZ and especially those who wish to target either the Pakistani domestic market or for reexport manufacturing to take advantage of the lower operational costs.

The good news for manufacturing in Gwadar to sell onto the domestic market are the tax incentives and low worker costs, coupled by the growth of the Pakistani consumer market, which although volatile, and has been impacted by Covid-19, has also been on an upwards trend. Estimates now suggest that Pakistan’s middle class has reached about 16 million. That may be small beer to many, but it is expected to grow, and now would be a good time to develop brands in a total market size of 220 million.

Gwadar SEZ is useful and extremely valuable to investors as component parts will be able to enter the zone duty free, with import duty not payable unless goods enter the domestic market. VAT breaks and refunds are also available to businesses setting up shop there. The fact that English, that global language of commerce, is widely spoken is another ”ease of doing business” advantage. That has been noted, the World Bank stating earlier this year that ‘‘due to a concerted improvement in business regulation, Pakistan climbed 28 places and rose to a rank of 108 in the global ease of doing business rankings in 2020″.

The same economic drivers suggest Gwadar will become an important Asian SEZ and ideal for export manufacturers. Under Chinese and Pakistani management, security will be tight, and the incentives make it attractive.

The other aspect to Gwadar that local Pakistani and their overseas counterparts overseas can make an investment case for are the facilities outside the SEZ and Port. These include business and human services to support these facilities, as well as property investments – they can be expected to significantly increase in the immediate Gwadar area. That is exactly what has happened in Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port City – another BRI project whose time has come. Investors both local and international are putting money into the surrounding area. Profits are being made, and the same will happen at Gwadar.

Gilgit SEZ – Access To China & Central Asia  

The Moqpondass Gilgit SEZ is a priority development under CPEC in Gilgit in Pakistan’s northern Baltistan Province. It borders Afghanistan to the north, China to the northeast, and the Pakistani administrated state of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) to the south. It covers an area of about 750 acres. Construction work has begun.

The area is naturally rich in precious stones, ore and fruits. The proposed SEZ would be connected with Gilgit Airport, about 30km distant and also scheduled for upgrades as well as being on the route to Sost, the last Pakistani border town to China. It is also connected to the important trade and supply route through to Skardu to the east, itself a Gateway to the Karakorum Mountain range. The town is located on the Indus river, which separates the Karakoram Range from the Himalayas.

The SEZ is being designed for processing marble and granite, iron ore, steel, (to be used in later regional construction projects) other minerals as well as fruit processing and added value such as packaging and so on.

The SEZ is significant as Gilgit has suffered from Taliban attacks in the past and was heavily infested with weapons as a result. There has been a mass cleanup, while the SEZ is intended to give inhabitants the ability to turn their time back towards trade and production and towards relative wealth in what is a naturally productive region. With the China border so close, it is an excellent opportunity. China also wishes to secure the region as train routes and major highways can then pass through to Xinjiang Province.

Securing regional trade and developing wealth creation opportunities in Central Asia and Northern Pakistan is important for Beijing as it, like Pakistan, seeks to deal with the worst aspects of Islamic fundamentalism.

Additional incentives may also come to the region as the Pakistan Government is considering declaring Gilgit-Baltistan as a Province, giving it more funding and a greater status within the country. That would upset India, pre-occupied with a military standoff with China in nearby Ladakh. That said, despite complaints, India is unlikely to interfere. However it would be good news for Gilgit and help advance regional trade, commerce and security. The opening of the Gilgit SEZ would probably coincide with news confirming Provincial status, expected to be ‘soon’. State funds can then be expected to be freed up to further develop the area. Investors can take advantage, as always occurs when following State encouraged funding.

The Karachi to Peshawar Railway

The Karachi–Peshawar Railway Line (کراچی–پشاور مرکزی ریل راستہ) is one of four main railway lines in Pakistan, being operated and maintained by Pakistan Railways. The line begins from Karachi City Station and ends at Peshawar Cantonment Station, with a total length of 1,687 km. It passes 184 railway stations and serves as the main passenger and freight line of the country. 75% of the country’s cargo and passenger traffic uses this route. It is currently undergoing a US$5.4 billion upgrade and renovation as part of CPEC with average rail speeds expected be doubled to 160 kilometers per hour upon completion.

Greater Peshawar Mass Transit System 

The Peshawar Circular Railway (پشاور مداری ریلوے ) Project is an inter-regional commuter rail system for the Greater Peshawar metropolitan area which will connect several industrial and commercial districts within Peshawar to the outlying suburbs and cities of Jamrud, Charsadda, Mardan, Nowshera and later, to Swabi. In August 2016, the regional Government agreed to a US$1.6 billion MoU with the China Communications and Construction Company (CCCC). This railway is expected to resolve transportation problems in the Peshawar region and generate jobs leading to the overall economic revival of the province. It will impact 11 million people in the Peshawar Valley. To the West lies the Khyber Pass to Afghanistan, it is hoped that the proximity will further settle tribal areas and better influence regional trade on a broader scale.

The Karachi-Peshawar Motorway 

The Karachi – Peshawar Motorway is a construction and development of a six lane, access controlled highway of 1,100 km. It is a tolled facility, and originates in Karachi through Motorway M-9 (136 km) to Hyderabad. From Hyderabad onwards, it comprises new build for 345 km to Sukkur, then from Sukkur to Multan follows the left bank of the River Indus for 392 km.

It opened at the end of last year, and is intended to allow speeds of up to 120 kmh. It is Pakistan’s first bi-directional six-lane motorway with an intelligent (smart) transportation function. It cost US$2.9 billion to build and took 36 months. There are 100 bridges, 468 underpasses, 991 culverts, 11 interchanges, six pairs of service areas, five pairs of rest areas, and 24 toll stations. The motorway was divided into seven sections for simultaneous construction. The project was undertaken by the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC).

Multan and Sukkur are important cities in Pakistan, and they are now connected by the motorway. Multan is a major area for producing mangoes, dates and other crops, while Sukkur is an important transport hub. The motorway reduces the commuter time between the two cities from 11 hours to less than four hours, thus expediting travel between China and Pakistan.

These are just a handful of the Belt & Road projects that China has invested in Pakistan that are about to come to fruition; there are many more in terms of Special Economic Zones, road, rail and other infrastructure facilities that are being built and that will project Pakistan into an Asian manufacturing hub during this decade. This is further enhanced with China in particular as Pakistan has a Free Trade Agreement with China. Pakistan is also a member of SAFTA, a free trade bloc that also includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.   All countries completed the respective Trade Liberalization Program (TLP) under the Phase I and II of SAFTA, meaning that tariffs fell to 0-5 percent on all traded products other than those in the respective ”sensitive” lists. Although there has been some horseplay over what are and are not legitimate ‘sensitive’ products, a further 100 items are due to be exempted from tariffs in 2020. Read full article →

(We regularly include Chris Devonshire-Ellis’ articles partly because he lives in the port of Hambantota–and because he regularly visits Eurasia’s flyover countries.)

Analysis: Political Consciousness – Frans Vandenbosch 方腾波 18.10.2020

Consciousness is defined as the quality or state of being aware, especially of something within oneself. Political consciousness is then the personal awareness or concern for some social or political cause. For certain philosophers, all consciousness is political because in their view, it always is the outcome of politic-economic circumstances, a product of ideological influences. That looks close to the reality, but it is far from complete. Today in 2020 the picture is much more complex.

Four steps to full political consciousness

Without any doubt, most people either straightforward deny or are unaware of the entire economic, political, media and internet influence. With a lot of effort and a strong analytic mind it is nevertheless possible to escape that external influence. Not right away; that process takes time and effort. These are the four steps in the process. Everyone, whether they like it or not, has to go through these four stages:

The honeymoon

This is even for well educated people raised in a political active family, the first step. It is an inevitable stepping stone to a more correct political consciousness. Because of the heavy social pressure and the daily brainwashing by the mainstream media, many, if not most people never escape this first stage.

Ambiguity and doubt; the second step.

After being confronted with the contradictions between the mainstream media story and reality, a form of uncertainty slowly arises. Last week, a friend wrote me in an email: “I can’t believe they’re all lying”. Indeed, they’re all lying. I have not taken the effort to explain him the details; he wouldn’t accept my explanation anyway. Much, if not all what people read in the western mainstream media is pure propaganda. It is meeting all of the 10 features of propaganda as defined by Edward Bernays and his followers.

Awareness, apprehension; the third stage. 

Cracks appear in the image. People are getting aware that most mainstream media do not present real news but only a pre-made fairy-tale. They despise some or all of the western mainstream media and look for alternative media. They scold the media and politicians but are not yet ready to look for the root causes of the decline of democracy, the economy and freedom of speech.

Full political consciousness; the final stage. 

The nirvana of political consciousness. People no longer consume western mainstream media. They have strong indications of the root causes of the decline of their freedom. But they’re also fully aware of Confucius’ “Real wisdom is to know that one can’t know everything”.

Global political consciousness 

It is, as Mark Twain so vividly put it, not just useful but of the utmost importance to travel to other countries. To speak with the local people in their own native language:

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.

One of the reasons for the bias within the Anglo-Saxon population is the lingua franca status of their language. They do not feel the same incentive as others to try to speak the native language of their interlocutor. It is only with a deep understanding of the social and economic situation in other countries that political consciousness has a fertile soil to grow.

In this regard, it is remarkable that most Chinese people have a higher political consciousness than Westerners.  There are four main causes for the stronger Chinese awareness. In brief: the Chinese 10 points higher IQ, the Chinese education system based on STEM directions and analytical thinking, the harsh meritocratic selection process and the Western degrading but Chinese increasing Flynn effect.

And even more remarkable is that in general, sociologists are less politically aware than STEM graduates. At first sight this may seem contradictory, but on closer inspection it is very logical. Sociologists are believers, they absorb a way of thinking and pass it on to their audience in a convincing way. STEM graduates, on the other hand, look at things in an analytical way, measure and test, and don’t make a decision until they’ve reviewed enough parameters.

Aldous Huxley, fully aware of Bernays’ work two decennia before him, wrote on 21.10.1949 in a letter to his former student George Orwell, author of ‘1984’: “Within the next generation I believe that the world’s leaders will discover that infant conditioning and narcohypnotic are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging them and kicking them into obedience”

Frans Vandenbosch, Chinese name 方腾波, is a Fleming who lived in China for years where he supported companies in the automotive, medical, electronics and plastics processing sectors. He is cofounder and senior consultant at the International Institute on Governance and Strategy (IIGS) in Beijing and the author of Statecraft and Society in China about grassroots politics in China.


This represents but a fraction of what is included in the Here Comes China newsletter.  If you want to learn about the Chinese world, get Godfree’s newsletter here

The World is Changing: China Launches Campaign for Superpower Status

October 23, 2020

China’s President Xi Jinping (R) and US President Donald Trump. (Photo: File)

By Ramzy Baroud

The outdated notion that China ‘just wants to do business’ should be completely erased from our understanding of the rising global power’s political outlook.

Simply put, Beijing has long realized that, in order for it to sustain its economic growth unhindered, it has to develop the necessary tools to protect itself, its allies and their combined interests.

The need for a strong China is not a novel idea developed by the current Chinese President, Xi Jinping. It goes back many decades, spanning various nationalist movements and, ultimately, the Communist Party. What sets Xi apart from the rest is that, thanks to the unprecedented global influence acquired by Beijing during his incumbency (2013 – present), China is now left with no alternative but to match its ‘economic miracle’ with a military one.

US President, Donald Trump, made the trade deficit between his country and China a cornerstone in his foreign policy agenda even before his rise to power. That aside, it is the military deficit that concerns China most. While world media often focuses on China’s military encroachment in the South China Sea – often dubbed ‘provocations’ – little is dedicated to the massive US military presence all around China.

Tens of thousands of US troops are stationed in the West Pacific and in other regions, creating an encirclement, all with the aim of cutting off the possibility of any Chinese strategic expansion. Numerous US military bases dot the Asia-Pacific map, stationed mostly in Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Guam and Australia.

In response to China’s military maneuvers in the South China Sea, the US composed the 2018 National Defense Strategy, which is raising the prospects of military confrontations between the US and its Asian allies on the one hand, and China, on the other. US military expansion soon followed. On September 8, the Wall Street Journal, citing US officials, reported that the Republic of Palau has “asked the Pentagon to build ports, bases and airfields on the island nation”.

It is obvious that the Pentagon would not base such a consequential decision on the wishes of a tiny republic like Palau. The immensely strategic value of the country – spread over hundreds of islands in the Philippine Sea, with close ties to China’s arch-enemy and US ally, Taiwan – makes Palau a perfect choice for yet more US military bases.

This is not new. The rise of China, and its clear intentions to expand its military influence in the Pacific, has irked the US for years. Barack Obama’s administration’s ‘Pivot to Asia’ in 2012 was the genesis of the new American belief regarding the imminent challenges awaiting it in that region. The National Defense Strategy of two years ago was a further confirmation that the focal point of US foreign policy has largely shifted away from the Middle East to the Asia-Pacific.

The compromising language that became a feature in China’s foreign policy throughout the 1980s and 90s is now being supplanted by a different discourse, one of political resolve and unprecedented military ambitions. In his speech at the historic October 2017 Communist Party Congress in Beijing, Xi declared the dawn of a “new era”, one where development and strength must synchronize.

“The Chinese nation … has stood up, grown rich, and become strong. It will be an era that sees China moving closer to center stage and making greater contributions to mankind,” he said.

Since then, Xi has tirelessly aimed to strike the balance between strength, bravery and victory with that of progress, ingenuity and wealth. For the “China dream” to be realized, “it will take more than drum beating and gong clanging to get there.”

The Chinese quest to reach its coveted ‘center stage’ has already been launched in earnest. In the economic realm, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is in full swing. Announced by Xi in 2013, the giant plan hopes to outweigh all traditional trade channels that have been put in place over the course of many years. When completed, the China-led infrastructure network will establish connectivity throughout Asia as well as the Middle East and Africa. If successful, a future China could, once more, become a world-leading hub of trade, technological renovation and, of course, political power.

In contrast, the US has solidified its global dominance largely based on military might. This is why the US counter-strategy is now intently focused on military expansionism. On October 6, US Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, said that his country’s navy requires more than 500 ships to counter China. Of this number, 355 traditional warfighting vessels are needed by 2035. This future fleet is dubbed “Battle Force 2045”.

Particularly intriguing in Esper’s recent announcement is the claim that by 2045, “Beijing wants to achieve parity with the United States Navy, if not exceed our capabilities in certain areas and to offset our overmatch in several others.” In fact, Beijing already has. China currently has the largest navy in the world and, according to the Pentagon, “is the top ship-producing nation in the world by tonnage.”

By China’s own calculations, Beijing does not need 25 more years to fully change the rules of the game. On October 15, President Xi told the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Marine Corps to focus their energy on “preparing for war”. Many interpretations have already been made of his statement, some linking it to the US, others to Taiwan, to various South China Sea conflicts and even to India. Regardless, Xi’s language indicates that China does not ‘just want to do business’, but is ready to do much more to protect its interests, even if this means an all-out war.

China’s foreign policy under Xi seems to portray an entirely different country. China now wields enough wealth, economic strategic influence – thus political power – to start the process of strategic maneuvering, not only in the Asia Pacific but in the Middle East and Africa, as well.

Another central piece in Xi’s strategy is to copy the American model and to rebrand China as a stately power, a defender of international law and against global crises. The US’ growing isolationism and failed leadership at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic have been Xi’s perfect opportunity for this new China debut.

The world is changing before our eyes. In the coming years, we are likely to, once more, speak of a bipolar – or, possibly, tri-polar – world, one in which Washington and its allies no longer shape the world for their benefit. In some way, China is well on its way to reclaim its new status.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

Weekly China Newsbrief and Sitrep

Source

Weekly China Newsbrief and Sitrep

By Godfree Roberts – selected from his extensive weekly newsletter : Here Comes China

The Huawei complete Google alternative is being built out – You will hear about Petal again – Maps, Docs, Search, Browser and probably every app you use.

Huawei solved its map problem with Petal Maps and has just unveiled Huawei Docs, which, supports document viewing and editing of 50 formats including PDF, PPT, and DOC. With real-time syncing enabled by cloud capabilities, Huawei Docs lets users can work on the same document on different devices logged into the same Huawei ID, enhancing the smart office experience. [MORE]

TASS wrote a decent release : Huawei Launches Petal Search, Petal Maps, HUAWEI Docs and More


Digital RMB in use in Shenzenhttps://www.youtube.com/embed/od05YfJyy1E?feature=oembed

Chinese experts see the central bank digital currency (CBDC) as a vital means of facilitating cross-border transactions and expediting the internationalisation of the renminbi. The Chinese central bank announced the commencement of trials of the CBDC in April 2020 across four cities, including Shenzhen, Suzhou, Chengdu and Xiong’an, while in August the Hebei province government issued a notice calling for cross-border e-commerce transactions in Xiong’an to make greater use of the renminbi, as well as exploration of the use of the digital currency for cross-border payments. Pan Helin (盘和林), head of the Digital Economy Research Institute of the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, said to 21st Century Business Herald that the digital renminbi could be the solution to the current difficulties involved in making cross-border payments.

“At present the main problem with cross-border payments is that the period of time for needed funds to reach accounts is long, the speed is low, fees are high, procedures are numerous and efficiency levels are low,” said Pan. “The biggest advantages of the digital renminbi are convenience, high-efficiency, high timeliness and low cost, and for these reasons it can overcome the existing deficiencies with traditional cross-border payments methods.”

“Survey data indicates that occupation of liquidity is the biggest cost for the SWIFT cross-border payments system. Blockchain technology raises the efficiency of cross-border payments systems, reduces cross-border payments timeframes, and reduces the liquid funds used. The cost for financial institutions to conduct cross-border payments will be reduced.” Liu Bin (刘斌) a financial researcher from the Pudong Reform and Development Research Institute, said that the CBDC could also help to expedite internationalisation of the renminbi, pointing in particular to the following areas of development:

  • Driving the use of the renminbi for trade between China and ASEAN countries and China and Belt and Road countries;
  • At present free trade zones throughout China are exploring cross-border financing, and in future these free trade zones could serve as drivers for international use of the digital renminbi;
  • Overseas consumption by Chinese tourists and travellers could expedite the use and circulation of the digital renminbi abroad, in turn driving the establishment of corresponding systems and coordinating mechanisms abroad. [MORE]

Gross National Happiness

IPSOS: China the happiest nation on earth. Six in ten adults across 27 countries (63%) are happy, according to the latest Ipsos survey on global happiness. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the prevalence of happiness at an aggregate level is nearly unchanged from last year. The happiest countries surveyed, i.e., those where more than three out of four adults report being very or rather happy are China, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Canada, France, Australia, Great Britain, and Sweden. Those where fewer than one in two adults say they are happy are Peru, Chile, Spain, Argentina, Hungary, and Mexico. Among 29 potential sources of happiness measured, people across the world are most likely to derive “the greatest happiness” from:

  • My health/physical well-being (cited by 55% globally)
  • My relationship with my partner/spouse (49%)
  • My children (49%)
  • Feeling my life has meaning (48%)
  • My living conditions (45%)

In comparison to the pre-pandemic survey conducted last year, the sources of happiness that have most gained in importance globally pertain to relationships, health, and safety. On the other hand, time and money have ceded some ground as drivers of happiness. Globally, happiness is as common this year as it was last year, dipping by just one percentage point from 64% to 63%. However, it has increased by five points or more in six countries, namely China, Russia, Malaysia, and Argentina, while it has decreased by five points or more in 12 countries, most of all Peru, Chile, Mexico, and India.

The happiness leader in 2020 is China, where 93% say they are happy (up 11 points from last year and moving from third place), followed by the Netherlands (newly added this year) with 87%, and Saudi Arabia with 80% (up two points). Canada and Australia, last year’s leaders in happiness, register a notable drop this year: Canada with 78% (down eight points) drops to fourth place in a tie with France (down two points) and Australia with 77% (down nine points) falls to sixth place.  [MORE]


SOCIETY

Farmer Li Zhifang is being crowned a “Food Hero” by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on World Food Day, for his efforts to keep food cheap and accessible to residents of Wuhan during the worst period of the city’s lockdown during the pandemic. Li is marketing manager of the Wuhan Qiangxin Vegetable Production and Marketing Cooperative. He strived to keep food prices affordable and food supplies accessible during an unprecedented lockdown in the city where the virus began and many were forced to stay in their homes for months. Vegetable prices rocketed at the beginning of the pandemic when the situation was still developing.

Li not only persuaded farmers to sell produce at “normal” prices but also helped to increase deliveries from cooperative members to supermarkets, including Hema, also known as Freshippo, a Chinese fresh food supermarket chain owned by Alibaba. During the pandemic Li volunteered to help the local government distribute necessities to districts where there was a shortage of fresh food, including communities adjacent to the Huanan Seafood Market, thought to be the original epicenter of the pandemic, which people were scared to visit. “Someone must be brave when the battle begins,” the “Food Hero” was quoted as saying. People have praised Li for his contribution and commented that his new title on this special day shows that the UN approves of China’s anti-pandemic policies. “As a Wuhan local, I could buy vegetables at reasonable prices during the lockdown, thank you so much!” “Wuhan relied on these ordinary heroes to recover from the pandemic,” one popular comment read.  [CAIXIN].


ASEAN

US-funded agitators in Bangkok block downtown roads–like US-funded agitators in Hong Kong.

Anti-government protesters in Thailand organized by billionaire-led opposition parties and funded by the US government have openly committed themselves to the “Hong Kong model” of US-funded unrest. This includes targeting public infrastructure to create maximum instability for the vast majority of the public and undermining Thailand’s economic recovery in the wake of the global COVID-19 economic crisis. The protesters are committed to the “Hong Kong model” despite it having failed completely in Hong Kong itself with most of the leaders either sidelined, jailed, or having fled abroad. Knowing that this model is ultimately doomed to failure but committing to it and the violence, disruption, and instability it implies anyway – does not even benefit the opposition itself – because it surely did not benefit Hong Kong’s opposition but instead effectively ended it.

Instead – this campaign of violence and disruption will only benefit the protest’s US government sponsors – a US government determined to undermine China and its allies and obstruct Asia’s global rise. Overturning Thailand’s political order is one goal – but simply dividing and destroying Thailand to deny China a prosperous ally is another.  As it stands now – Thailand is benefiting from China’s regional and global rise – but should protesters have their way – the economy they claim to be upset about will be further destroyed as they seek to cut ties with China – Thailand’s largest trade partner, foreign investor, source of tourism, and a key partner in several important infrastructure projects including a high-speed rail network that will connect Thailand to China via Laos. The US and Europe have no ability now nor will in the foreseeable future to replace the ties Thailand currently enjoys and is benefiting from with China. Tony Cartalucci – ATN. [MORE]


Geopolitics

Guest Editorial by Billy Bob, who is married, 45 years old, with two young kids 8 and 6 and a full time job in the medical field that he does not want to lose:  “For several years now I have been using my facebook profile to raise awareness and engage with folks regarding the political and economic issues facing our planet”.

As the West churns out more anti-China propaganda designed to defame, malign, and facilitate the decoupling of Western industry from China, China continues to lead the world in economic growth and expansion. The problem for the Western ruling class is that China is too lucrative of an industrial base and too appealing as a perspective market for any self respecting capitalist to turn their back on such potential wealth creation. For individual Western capitalists to forgo the opportunity to profit in China, actual laws will need to be passed and it’s not clear the ruling class can get it’s act together in order to legislatively force such a decoupling. It’s not as if there exists a central authority that can simply dictate the behavior of thousands of industries and force them to sacrifice their own individual economic well being on the alter of the greater class interest. Even though Trump has attempted to tweet such demands in the past, absent some major catalyzing event, there is no way individual Western industries are going to relinquish the incredible economic opportunities that China offers. Such are the limitations of Western capitalism.

What the ruling class really needs is “a new pearl harbor”. This time however, instead of Islam, China must be declared the alleged antagonist. Only then can the ruling class force individual intransigent corporations and industries to decouple from China and move to India.

Too be sure, India is central to the West’s grand strategy. Modi and his Western backers have convinced themselves that they can emulate China’s success and that they can offer the world’s capitalists all the economic opportunities that China can but without the threatening demonstration of the superiority of social planning and a Marxist Leninist communist party.

The ruling class will never be able to pull this off. China has already won. The West will flail around in futility and watch as the inevitability of China’s economic steam engine rolls over every malign strategy and subversive plot they conceive. China has set in motion a chain of events that is impossible to curtail. The speed at which China is growing and developing and the wisdom with which it is overcoming every challenge is both astonishing and exhilarating.

If you are curious about the information which informs my statements and perspective, if you haven’t internalized and don’t honestly embrace wholeheartedly the truth about China I shared above, you are cheating yourself and missing out on the knowledge that represents the most important development of our lifetime. In 1936, Mao comprehended a faint shadow of what was to come when he wrote:

“When China finally wins her independence, then legitimate foreign trading interests will enjoy more opportunity than ever before. The power of production and consumption of 450,000,000 people is not a matter that can remain the exclusive interest of the Chinese, but one that must engage the many nations. Our millions of people, once really emancipated, with their great latent productive possibilities freed for creative activity in every field, can help improve the economy as well as raise the cultural level of the whole world.”
***

The Two Undersides to Geo-Politics: At the explicit level, today’s geo-political struggle is about the U.S. maintaining its primacy of power – with financial power being a subset to this political power. Carl Schmitt, whose thoughts had such influence on Leo Strauss and U.S. thinking generally, advocated that those who have power should ‘use it, or lose it’. The prime object of politics therefore being to preserve one’s ‘social existence’. But the prize that America truly seeks is to seize is all global standards in leading-edge technologies, and to deny them to China. Such standards might seem obscure, but they are a crucial element of modern technology. If the cold war was dominated by a race to build the most nuclear weapons, today’s contest between the U.S. and China — as well as vis à vis the EU — will at least partly be played out through a struggle to control the bureaucratic rule-setting that lies behind the most important industries of the age. And those standards are up for grabs. So where are we in this de-coupling struggle? China’s intent now is not simply to refine and improve on existing technology, but to leapfrog existing knowledge into a new tech realm– by discovering and using new materials that overcome present limits to microprocessor evolution. They may just succeed – over next the three years or so – given the huge resources China is diverting to this task (i.e. with microprocessors). This could alter the whole tech calculus – awarding China primacy over most key areas of cutting-edge technology. States will not easily be able ignore this fact – whether or not they profess to ‘like’ China, or not.

Which brings us to the second ‘underside’ to this geopolitical struggle. So far, both the U.S. and China have kept finance largely separate to the main de-coupling. But a substantive change may be underway: The U.S. and several other states are toying with Central Bank digital currencies, and FinTech internet platforms are beginning to displace traditional banking institutions. Pepe Escobar notes: “Donald Trump is mulling restrictions on Ant’s Alipay and other Chinese digital payment platforms like Tencent Holdings…and, as with Huawei, Trump’s team is alleging Ant’s digital payment platforms threaten U.S. national security. More likely is that Trump is concerned Ant threatens the global banking advantage the U.S. has long taken for granted. Team Trump is not alone. U.S. hedge fund manager Kyle Bass of Hayman Capital argues Ant and Tencent are “clear and present dangers to U.S. national security that now threaten us more than any other issue.”

The point is two-fold: China is setting the scene to challenge a fiat dollar, at a sensitive moment of dollar weakness. And secondly, China is placing ‘facts on the ground’ — shaping standards from the bottom up, through widespread overseas adoption of its technology. Just as Alipay has made huge inroads across Asia, China’s ‘Smart Cities’ project diffuses Chinese standards, precisely because they incorporate so many technologies: Facial recognition systems, big data analysis, 5G telecoms and AI cameras. All represent technologies for which standards remain up for grabs. Thus ‘smart cities’, which automate multiple municipal functions, additionally helps China’s standards drive .[MORE]


Selections and editorial comments by Amarynth.  (Go Get that newsletter – it again is packed with detail and each time I read it, it becomes clearer that a country of 1.4 billion people requires a specific kind of cohesion to make it work.  And so far, it is working.  Take a look for fun – How to take a 7,000-tonne building for a walk).

Win-Win vs Lose-Lose: The Time Has Come for the World to Choose

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ehret_1-175x230.jpg

Matthew Ehret October 21, 2020

It is a tragedy of our age that society has been locked in a zero-sum operating system for so long that many people living in the west cannot even imagine a world order designed in any other way… even if that zero sum system can ultimately do nothing but kill everyone holding onto it.

Is this statement too cynical?

It is a provable fact that if one chooses to organize their society around the concept that all players of a “great game” must exist in a finite world of tension as all zero-sum systems presume, then we find ourselves in a relatively deterministic trajectory to hell.

You see, this world of tension which game masters require in today’s world are generated by increasing rates of scarcity (food, fuel, resources, space, etc). As this scarcity increases due to population increases tied to heavy doses of arson, it naturally follows that war, famine, and other conflict will rise across all categories of divisions (ethnic, religious, linguistic, gender, racial etc). Showcasing this ugly misanthropic philosophy during a December 21, 1981 People Magazine Interview, Prince Philip described the necessity of reducing the world population stating:

“We’re in for a major disaster if it isn’t curbed-not just for the natural world, but for the human world. The more people there are, the more resources they’ll consume, the more pollution they’ll create, the more fighting they will do. We have no option. If it isn’t controlled voluntarily, it will be controlled involuntarily by an increase in disease, starvation, and war.”

When such a system is imposed upon a world possessing atomic weapons, as occurred in the wake of FDR’s death and the sabotage of the great president’s anti-colonial vision, the predictably increased rates of conflict, starvation and ignorance can only spill over into a global war if nuclear superpowers chose to disobey the limits and “norms” of this game at any time.

Perhaps some utopian theoreticians sitting in their ivory towers at Oxford, Cambridge or the many Randian think tanks peppering foreign policy landscape believed that this game could be won if only all nation states relinquished their sovereignty to a global government… but that hasn’t really happened, has it?

Instead of the relinquishing of sovereignty, the past decade has seen a vast rise of nationalism across all corners of the earth which have been given new life by the rise of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and broader multipolar alliance. While these impulses have taken on many shapes and forms, they are united in the common belief that nation states must not become a thing of the past but rather must become determining forces of the world’s economic and political destinies.

The Case of the Bi-Polar USA

Unfortunately, within the USA itself where nationalism has seen an explosive rise in popularity under President Trump, the old uni-polar geopolitical paradigm has continued to hold tight under such neocon carryovers as Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Esper, CIA director Gina Haspel and the large caste of Deep State characters still operating among the highest positions of influence on both sides of the aisle.

While I genuinely believe that Trump would much rather work with both Russia, China and other nations of the multipolar alliance in lieu of blowing up the world, these aforementioned neocons think otherwise evidenced by Pompeo’s October 6 speech in Japan. In this speech, Pompeo attempted to rally other Pacific nations to an anti-Chinese security complex known as the Quad (USA, Australia, Japan and India). With his typically self-righteous tone, Pompeo stated that “this is not a rivalry between the United States and China. This is for the soul of the world”. Earlier Pompeo stated “If the free world doesn’t change Communist China, Communist China will change us.”

Pompeo’s efforts to break China’s neighbours away from the Belt and Road Initiative have accelerated relentlessly in recent months, with territorial tensions between China and Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei being used by the USA to enflame conflict whenever possible. It is no secret that the USA has many financial and military tentacles stretching deep into all of those Pacific nations listed.

Where resistance to this anti-China tension is found, CIA-funded “democracy movements” have been used as in the current case of Thailand, or outright threats and sanctions as in the case of Cambodia where over 24 Chinese companies have been sanctioned for the crime of building infrastructure in a nation which the USA wishes to control.

Pompeo’s delusional efforts to consolidate a Pacific Military bloc among the QUAD states floundered fairly quickly as no joint military agreement was generated creating no foundation upon which a larger alliance could be built.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi accurately called out this regressive agenda on October 13 saying:

“In essence [the Indo-Pacific Strategy] aims to build a so-called Indo-Pacific NATO underpinned by the quadrilateral mechanism involving the United States, Japan, India and Australia. What it pursues is to trumpet the Cold War mentality and to stir up confrontation among different groups and blocs and to stoke geopolitical competition. What it maintains is the dominance and hegemonic system of the United States. In this sense, this strategy is itself an underlying security risk. If it is forced forward it will wind back the clock of history.”

China Responds with Class

China’s response to this pompous threat to peace was classy to say the least with Wang Yi teaming up with Yang Jiechi (Director of China’s Central Foreign Affairs Commission) who jointly embarked on simultaneous foreign tours that demonstrated the superior world view of “right-makes-might” diplomacy. Where Wang Yi focused his efforts on Southeast Asia with visits to the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand and Singapore, Yang Jiechi embarked on a four-legged tour of Sri Lanka, the UAE, Algeria and Serbia.

While COVID assistance was a unifying theme throughout all meetings, concrete economic development driven by the Belt and Road Initiative was relentlessly advanced by both diplomats. In all bilateral agreements reached over this past week, opportunities for cooperation and development were created with a focus on diminishing the points of tension which geopolticians require in order for their perverse “game” to function.

In Malaysia, the $10 billion, 640 Km East Coast Rail link was advanced that will be completed with China’s financial and technical help by 2026 providing a key gateway in the BRI, as well as two major industrial parks that will service high tech products to China and beyond over the coming decades.

After meeting with Wang Yi on October 9, Indonesia’s Special Presidential Envoy announced that “Indonesia is willing to sign cooperation documents on the Belt and Road Initiative and Global Maritime Fulcrum at an early date, enlarge its cooperation with China on trade and investment, actively put in place currency swap arrangements and settlements in local currency, step up the joint efforts in human resources and disaster mitigation, and learn from China’s fight against poverty.”

In Cambodia, a major Free Trade Agreement was begun which will end tariffs on hundreds of products and create new markets for both nations. On the BRI, the New International Land-Sea Trade corridor and Lancang-Mekong Cooperation plans were advanced.

In the Philippines, Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Locsin discussed Duterte’s synergistic Build Build Build program which reflects the sort of long term infrastructure orientation characteristic of the BRI which are both complete breaks with the decades-long practices of usurious IMF loans which have created development bottlenecks across the entire developing sector.

In Thailand Wang Yi met with the Thai Prime Minister where the two accelerated the building of the 252 km Bangkok-Korat high speed rail line which will then connect to Laos and thence to China’s Kunmin Province providing a vital artery for the New Silk Road.

In the past few years, the USA has been able to do little to counter China’s lucrative offers while at best offering cash under the rubric of the Lower Mekong Initiative established under the Hillary-Obama administration in preparation for the Asia Pivot encirclement of China that was unleashed in 2012. This was done as part of a desperate effort to keep China’s neighbors loyal to the USA and was meant to re-enforce Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership which Trump thankfully destroyed during his first minutes in office.

Yang Jiechi’s Four-Legged Tour

In Sri Lanka, a $90 million grant was offered by China which will be devoted to medical resources, water supplies and education and which the Chinese embassy website stated “will contribute to the well being of Sri Lankans in a post-COVID era”. Another $989 million loan was delivered for the completion of a massive expressway stretching from Central Sri Lanka’s tea growing district to the Port of Hambanota. While this port is repeatedly used by detractors of the BRI like Pompeo as proof of the “Chinese debt trap”, recent studies have proven otherwise.

In the UAE, the Chinese delegation released a press release after meeting with Prince Zayed al-Nahyan stating: “Under the strategic guidance of President Xi and the Abu Dhabi crown prince, China will enrich the connotation of its comprehensive strategic partnership with UAE, cement the political trust and support, promote alignment of development strategies, and advance high-quality joint construction of the Belt and Road.”

In Algeria, Yang offered China’s full support for the New Economic Revival Plan which parallels the Philippines’ Build Build Build strategy by focusing on long term industrial growth rather than IMF-demands for privatization and austerity that have kept North Africa and other nations backward for years.

Finally in Serbia which is a vital component of the BRI, the Chinese delegation gave its full support to the Belgrade-Budapest railway, and other long term investments centered on transport, energy and soft infrastructure, including the expansion of the Chinese-owned Smederevo Steel Plant which employs over 12 000 Serbians and which was saved from bankruptcy by China in 2016. By the end of the trip, Prime Minister Brnabic announced: “Serbia strongly supports China both bilaterally and multilaterally, including President Xi Jinping’s Access and Roads Initiative and the 17+1 Cooperation Mechanism, in the context of which most of Serbia’s infrastructure and strategy projects will be realized”

The Spirit of Win-Win Must Not Be Sabotaged

Overall, the spirit of the growing New Silk Road is fast moving from a simple east-south trade route towards a global program stretching across all of Africa, to the Middle East, to the High Arctic and Latin America. While this program is driven by a longer view of the past and future than most westerners realize, it is quickly becoming evident that it is the only game in town with a future worth living in.

While China has committed to the enlightened idea that human society is more than a “sum of parts”, the Cold Warriors of the west have chosen to hold onto obsolete notions of human nature that suppose we live in a world of “each vs. all”. These obsolete notions are premised on the bestial idea that our species is destined to do little more than fight for diminishing returns of scraps in a closed -system struggle for survival where only a small technocratic elite of game masters calling themselves “alphas” control the levers of production and consumption from above.

Thus far, President Trump has distinguished himself from other dark age war hawks in his administration by promoting a foreign policy outlook centered on economic development. This has been seen in his recent victories in achieving economic normalization between Serbia and Kosovo, and endorsing the Alaska-Canada railway last month. With the elections just around the corner and the war hawks flying in full force, it is clear that these piecemeal projects, though sane and welcomed are still not nearly enough to break the USA away from its course of war with China and towards a new age of win-win cooperation required for the ultimate survival of our species.

The limits of Chinese power

October 08, 2020

The limits of Chinese power

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

Everything about US-China hinges on the result of the upcoming US presidential election.

Trump 2.0 essentially would turbo-charge its bet on decoupling, aiming to squeeze “malign” China on a multiple Hybrid War front, undermine the Chinese trade surplus, co-opt large swathes of Asia, while always insisting on characterizing China as evil incarnate.

Team Biden, even as it professes no desire to fall into the trap of a new Cold War, according to the Dem official platform, would be only slightly less confrontational, ostensibly “saving” the “rules-based order” while keeping Trump-enacted sanctions.

Very few Chinese analysts are better positioned to survey the geopolitical and geoeconomic chessboard than Lanxin Xiang: expert on relations between China, US and Europe, professor of History and International Relations at the IHEID in Geneva and director of the Center for One Belt, One Road Studies in Shanghai.

Xiang got his PhD at SAIS at Johns Hopkins, and is as well respected in the US as in China. During a recent webinar he laid out the lineaments of an analysis the West ignores at its own peril.

Xiang has been focusing on the Trump administration’s push to “redefine an external target”: a process he brands, “risky, dangerous, and highly ideological”. Not because of Trump – who is “not interested in ideological issues” – but due to the fact that the “China policy was hijacked by the real Cold Warriors”. The objective: “regime change. But that was not Trump’s original plan.”

Xiang blasts the rationale behind these Cold Warriors: “We made a huge mistake in the past 40 years”. That is, he insists, “absurd – reading back into History, and denying the entire history of US-China relations since Nixon.” And Xiang fears the “lack of overall strategy. That creates enormous strategic uncertainty – and leads to miscalculations.”

Compounding the problem, “China is not really sure what the US wants to do.” Because it goes way beyond containment – which Xiang defines as a “very well thought of strategy by George Kennan, the father of the Cold War.” Xiang only detects a pattern of “Western civilization versus a non-Caucasian culture. That language is very dangerous. It’s a direct rehash of Samuel Huntington, and shows very little room for compromise.”

In a nutshell, that’s the “American way of stumbling into a Cold War.”

An October Surprise?

All of the above directly connects with Xiang’s great concern about a possible October Surprise: “It could probably be over Taiwan. Or a limited engagement in the South China Sea.” He stresses, “Chinese military people are terribly worried. October Surprise as a military engagement is not unthinkable, because Trump may want to re-establish a war presidency.”

For Xiang, “if Biden wins, the danger of a Cold War turning Hot War will be reduced dramatically.” He is very much aware of shifts in the bipartisan consensus in Washington: “Historically, Republicans don’t care about human rights and ideology. Chinese always preferred to deal with Republicans. They can’t deal with Democrats – human rights, values issues. Now the situation is reversed.”

Xiang, incidentally, “invited a top Biden adviser to Beijing. Very pragmatic. Not too ideological.” But in case of a possible Trump 2.0 administration, everything could change: “My hunch is he will be totally relaxed, may even reverse China policy 180 degrees. I would not be surprised. He would turn back to being Xi Jinping’s best friend.”

As it stands, the problem is “a chief diplomat that behaves as a chief propagandist, taking advantage of an erratic president.”

And that’s why Xiang never rules out even an invasion of Taiwan by Chinese troops. He games the scenario of a Taiwanese government announcing, “We are independent” coupled with a visit by the Secretary of State: “That would provoke a limited military action, and could turn into an escalation. Think about Sarajevo. That worries me. If Taiwan declares independence, Chinese invade in less than 24 hours. “

How Beijing miscalculates

Unlike most Chinese scholars, Xiang is refreshingly frank about Beijing’s own shortcomings: “Several things should have been better controlled. Like abandoning Deng Xiaoping’s original advice that China should bide its time and keep a low profile. Deng, in his last will, had set a timeline for that, at least 50 years.”

The problem is “the speed of China’s economic development led to hot headed, and premature, calculations. And a not well thought of strategy. ‘Wolf warrior’ diplomacy is an extremely assertive posture – and language. China began to upset the US – and even the Europeans. That was a geostrategic miscalculation.”

And that brings us to what Xiang characterizes as “the overextension of Chinese power: geopolitical and geoconomic.” He’s fond of quoting Paul Kennedy: “Any great superpower, if overstretched, becomes vulnerable.”

Xiang goes as far as stating that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – whose concept he enthusiastically praises – may be overstretched: “They thought it was a purely economic project. But with such wide global reach?”

So is BRI a case of overstretching or a source of destabilization? Xiang notes how, “Chinese are never really interested in other countries’ domestic policies. Not interested in exporting a model. Chinese have no real model. A model has to be mature – with a structure. Unless you’re talking about export of traditional Chinese culture.”

The problem, once again, is that China thought it was possible to “sneak into geographical areas that the US never paid too much attention to, Africa, Central Asia, without necessarily provoking a geopolitical setback. But that is naiveté.”

Xiang is fond of reminding Western analysts that, “the infrastructure investment model was invented by Europeans. Railways. The Trans-Siberian. Canals, like in Panama. Behind these projects there was always a colonial competition. We pursue similar projects – minus colonialism.”

Still, “Chinese planners buried their head in the sand. They never use that word – geopolitics.” Thus his constant jokes with Chinese policy makers: “You may not like geopolitics, but geopolitics likes you.”

Ask Confucius

The crucial aspect of the “post-pandemic situation”, according to Xiang, is to forget about “that wolf warrior stuff. China may be able to re-start the economy before anyone else. Develop a really working vaccine. China should not politicize it. It should show a universal value about it, pursue multilateralism to help the world, and improve its image.”

On domestic politics, Xiang is adamant that “during the last decade the atmosphere at home, on minority issues, freedom of speech, has been tightening to the extent that it does not help China’s image as a global power.”

Compare it, for instance, with “unfavorable views of China” in a survey of nations in the industrialized West that includes only two Asians: Japan and South Korea.

And that brings us to Xiang’s The Quest for Legitimacy in Chinese Politics – arguably the most important contemporary study by a Chinese scholar capable of explaining and bridging the East-West political divide.

This book is such a major breakthrough that its main conceptual analyses will be the subject of a follow-up column.

Xiang’s main thesis is that “legitimacy in Chinese tradition political philosophy is a dynamic question. To transplant Western political values to the Chinese system does not work.”

Yet even as the Chinese concept of legitimacy is dynamic, Xiang stresses, “the Chinese government is facing a legitimacy crisis.” He refers to the anti-corruption campaign of the past four years: “Widespread official corruption, that is a side-effect of economic development, bringing out the bad side of the system. Credit to Xi Jinping, who understood that if we allow this to continue, the CCP will lose all legitimacy.”

Xiang stresses how, in China, “legitimacy is based on the concept of morality – since Confucius. The communists can’t escape the logic.

Nobody before Xi dared to tackle corruption. He had the guts to root it out, arrested hundreds of corrupt generals. Some even attempted two or three coups d’état.”

At the same time, Xiang is adamantly against the “tightening of the atmosphere” in China in terms of freedom of speech. He mentions the example of Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew, an “enlightened authoritarian system”. The problem is” China has no rule of law. There are a lot of legal aspects though. Singapore is a little city-state. Like Hong Kong. They just took over the British legal system. It’s working very well for that size.”

And that brings Xiang to quote Aristotle: “Democracy can never work in bigger countries. In city-states, it does.” And armed with Aristotle, we step into Hong Kong: “Hong Kong had rule of law – but never a democracy. The government was directly appointed by London. That’s how Hong Kong actually worked – as an economic dynamo. Neoliberal economists consider Hong Kong as a model. It’s a unique political arrangement. Tycoon politics. No democracy – even as the colonial government did not rule like an authoritarian figure. Market economy was unleashed. Hong Kong was ruled by the Jockey Club, HSBC, Jardine Matheson, with the colonial government as coordinator. They never cared about people in the bottom.”

Xiang notes how, “the richest man in Hong Kong only pays 15% of income tax. China wanted to keep that pattern, with a colonial government appointed by Beijing. Still tycoon politics. But now there’s a new generation. People born after the handover – who know nothing about the colonial history. Chinese elite ruling since 1997 did not pay attention to the grassroots and neglected younger generation sentiment. For a whole year the Chinese didn’t do anything. Law and order collapsed. This is the reason why mainland Chinese decided to step in. That’s what the new security law is all about.”

And what about that other favorite “malign” actor across the Beltway – Russia? “Putin would love to have a Trump win. The Chinese as well, up to three months ago. The Cold War was a great strategic triangle. After Nixon went to China, the US sat in the middle manipulating Moscow and Beijing. Now everything has changed.”

Western Lockdown to Shut Down China

Western Lockdown to Shut Down China

October 06, 2020

 by Leif Johnson for The Saker Blog

The present lockdown of the Western world and much of the Third World is an attack on China. Here is how it works:

  1. Slash Chinese export earnings. The Chinese economy is heavily export-oriented. Seventeen percent of all China’s enormous production is shipped to countries that now, either cannot afford imports, or whose buying power is reduced from months of massive unemployment. What remains of Chinese exports will fetch lower prices. This comes after China’s export market to its largest trading partner, the U.S., was slapped by 10 to 25% import duties, beginning 2018.
  2. Bankrupt the Chinese Belt and Road projects. The Chinese export of capital (Belt and Road) for railways, waterways, dams, ports, power stations and other infrastructure improvements in 138 nations in the world, is estimated at three trillion dollars. These projects are expected to be paid for by user fees. Because many Third World and other countries may be unable to repay those loans, China’s losses could be in the trillions.
  3. Attack Chinese commerce world-wide. To halt Chinese competition especially in electronics, companies such as Huawei and TikTok are banned in the U.S. and Britain, and the Chief Financial Officer of Huawei is jailed. Chinese scientists and students are deported, while American sanctions against Iran and Venezuela are designed to cut petroleum exports to China.

Of these, by far the greatest damage to the Chinese economy has been the lockdown; that damage will increase as world economies decline. This economic vacuum will put an extraordinary strain on the Chinese export industries and banking system.

There are two more major areas of attacks:

Military: The U S. has sent an enlarged fleet, including two aircraft carriers, into Chinese coastal waters. Australia is now building a base on a forward island confronting China, Japanese and Korean militaries have been beefed up and Japan may allow nuclear weapons on their territory. The U.S. has increased its military spending especially on advanced and nuclear weapons.

Chinese defense against such threats will be a military buildup costing an additional two or three hundred billion a year. This buildup entails a shift from peace-time capital and consumer goods to the military sector—a serious economic drain.

Propaganda: Hostile measures taken against China will be dressed up as the fight for “democracy,” “openness,” free trade,” “free enterprise,” “justice,” “rule of law,” “international rules,” “human rights,” “anti-terrorism,” “reform,” “anti-corruption” and “anti-communism.” We, especially North Americans, should expect human rights stories from Hong Kong and Xinjiang, yearly memorialization of the massacre at Tienanmen Square, documentaries on persecutions of Christians, Buddhists, the Dalai Lama and… don’t forget Tibet. And what about Chinese pollution that could destroy the planet? And what about the Chinese Communist Party, the most execrable, dangerous, evil organization in the world, towards which people of the West should direct an Orwellian hatred?

These attacks come at an inopportune time. China is embracing large scale automation requiring large capital outlays, while at the same time suffering natural disasters including the swine flu, widespread infestation of the dreaded Fall Army Worm, and devastating floods and droughts.

Is it possible that the Anglo-American financial elite had the power to convince nations worldwide to lock down? Well, they control the UN, WHO, the world organs of mass media, worldwide military deployment, world finance, and the Dollar Empire’s elaborate political, drug, crime, financial, propaganda and cultural networks. Euro-oligarchs collaborate (usually) with this system.

What do they hope to achieve?

We can put aside the easier answers like “world domination,” New World Order, corporate greed, financial control, 1984-style mind control, surveillance state. It is much more fundamental: The world Dollar Empire, and its predecessor British Empire, have ruled much of the world for 400 years. China has emerged as the most powerful challenger to that Empire. If China cannot be destroyed, the Dollar Empire will be vanquished.

Ranked from most desirable to least, here is what I believe the Western merchant-bankers hope to gain.

Most desirable: A regime change in China, whereby the government is overthrown in favor of a Dollar Empire vassal regime. A revolt of the Chinese people against a government that has lifted 800 million people out of poverty is very unlikely. However, military force is not out of the question. Foreign Affairs magazine, (September-October, 2020, p. 156) wrote: “By upgrading their already substantial capabilities in this domain [unmanned submersibles], the United States and its allies would highlight the possibility of a maritime blockade of China.”

Next best: To convince China to adopt financial and political measures amenable to Dollar Empire domination. In the words of former Goldman Sachs banker and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr., (Council on Foreign Relations newsletter, 5/19/20):

China must move to a “market-driven economy, improve corporate governance, and develop efficient, well-regulated financial markets that earn the respect of international investors, so that Beijing can eliminate capital controls and turn the RMB [renminbi] into a market-determined currency.”

In other words, de-regulation, lifting of capital and bank controls, opening the Chinese currency, the renminbi, to international speculation, “free trade,” “free markets” and IMF and WTO conditionalities, designed to open the huge Chinese economy to Dollar Empire looting—as occurred in Russia in 1992-1998. But the Chinese have found a recipe for national success (industrial capitalism), and that fire-belching dragon, the Chinese Communist Party, guards the gate against renewed imperialist looting.

Least: The Dollar System can achieve the third level of options: a combined economic (lockdown, sanctions, trade and financial war), military (NATO, Five Eyes, 7th fleet) and political (ethnic/jihadist subversion, drugs, propaganda) attack on the Chinese economy. That will retard China’s growth and reduce its world power.

***

Instead of strife, bloodshed and terrible destruction, why doesn’t the Western financial elite join with China in solving the world crises of poverty, refugees and war; why not together explore the frontiers of medicine, science and space? While China might be amenable to collaboration with the West, the oligarchs of the West are locked against it. After all, it is they who created the poverty, refugees and war, and it is they who have spent the post-WWII years dismantling industry, sending much of it to China.

China is a successful, developing economy; the West is an unsuccessful, deteriorating economy. China is based on industrial capitalism; the West is based on merchant-banking capitalism. China invests its capital in industrial plant and equipment and infrastructure; the West invests in financial instruments.

The Chinese seek increased industrial and agricultural production to satisfy people’s needs. The Dollar Empire steals the wealth of nations to create speculative profits. The Chinese system creates capital. The Western system destroys capital. The Chinese System never has financial crashes; the Western System suffers devastating crashes rescued by levies on the population. Chinese industrial capitalism raises the living standard of the population; the West’s financial capitalism lowers the living standard.

The destruction of capital is the hallmark of merchant-banker rule.

Consider the following example: The grain cartel buys products from farmers and sells at a profit. That profit is real capital (no matter how exploitative) because the profit was made on real merchandise being sold.

The cartel does not invest that real profit in agricultural production. It pours its profits into investment funds, banks, off-shore funds, which are largely invested in speculative paper—securitized paper, derivatives, indexes—all of which represents no real goods. It re-invests the paper profits and receives more paper profits. Thus the merchant-banker system sucks capital out of productive agricultural, industrial and commercial enterprise into non-productive financial channels. That is the destruction of capital. It is a misnomer to call this speculative system “capitalism.” It is a cancer. It uses the forms of capitalism, but it destroys capital, just as cancer uses the nutrients of the body but destroys the body.

This is a “system.” It takes capital from the economy (society as a whole), and destroys it by investing in paper (nothing). This is how it thrives. All governments, laws, academia, social mores, mass media, culture and, of course, economics and finance are shaped by this system. It cannot change. It cannot create new productive enterprises. It cannot compete with China, only impede China’s growth.

***

This is “end game” for the governing oligarchy. This is their Götterdämmerung, their Armageddon. In the death throes of their 400-year-long reign, they will impose a desperate economic, financial and social reorganization which the World Economic Forum calls the “Great Reset.”

One of the world’s most prominent merchant-banker organizations, the World Economic Forum, issued a report, titled:

“This is Now the World’s Greatest Threat—And It’s Not Coronavirus”

  • “Affluence is the biggest threat to our world according to a new scientific report.
  • “True sustainability will only be achieved through drastic lifestyle changes.
  • “The World Economic Forum has called for a ‘great reset’ of capitalism in the wake of the pandemic.

“A detailed analysis of environmental research has revealed the greatest threat to the world: affluence… we have to change our affluent lifestyles and reduce overconsumption in combination with structural change.” (Mind you, this is written by the world’s most wealthy individuals.)

With lockdown-caused destitution, unemployment, lack of food and shelter for hundreds of millions of people worldwide, one would expect that the WEF would be satisfied that “overconsumption” had been sufficiently curbed. However, they know there is still substantial wealth in the American and European middle classes that can be tapped for the post-lockdown economy. They have big plans to get rid of that “overconsumption.”

The first task is to reduce unemployment, now probably 25 million long-term jobless in the U.S. Make-work projects will be “green” and “sustainable” (low technology). This will be paid for by taxing the middle class.

The second task, their true and ultimate agenda, is to create an all-out war economy—the final attempt to terrify the East into submission. This will bring extreme austerity and repression.

The “structural change” mentioned in the World Economic Forum report was made explicit by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in his “International Mother Earth Day” message:

“First, the huge amounts of money to be spent on recovery from the coronavirus must deliver new jobs and businesses through a clean, green transition.

“Second, where taxpayers’ money is used to rescue business, it must tied to achieving green jobs and sustainable growth.

“Third, fiscal firepower must drive a shift from the grey to the green economy, empowering societies and people to be more resilient.

“Fourth, public funds should be used to invest in the future, not the past, and flow to sustainable sectors and projects that help the environment and the climate…

“Fifth, climate risks and opportunities must be incorporated into the financial system as well as all aspects of public policy making and infrastructure.”

The World Economic Forum chieftains could not be more pleased. Changeover to “green” sustainability would bring a great reduction in “affluence” by heavily raising the price of energy making everything, from agriculture to industry to transportation, grossly more expensive. Furthermore, to pay the “huge amounts of money to be spent on recovery,” will require heavy tax burdens, or social services spending cuts. The Western populations will not be told their sacrifices are made to thwart China and collapse world industry, but rather, made to “save the planet.” The theory of the Green Revolution is that the West will continue to dismantle its industry to meet climate deadlines while China will be forced, by world public opinion, to follow suit.

The “Green Revolution” will soon dissolve into a total war policy. Sacrifices imposed by the “final solution” military buildup against the East (Russia-China bloc) will strip the remaining wealth of the people. Taxes, inflation, interest rates, will rise as the nation is deprived of health care, education, public services, pensions and Social Security. The “global warming” foe will turn into the Yellow Peril foe.

Totalitarian destruction of our freedoms will be as dread as those of Hitler Germany. Free speech will be considered a security risk, neighbors will spy on neighbors, thousands will disappear or be assassinated. Race riots will be used to “divide and conquer.” Electronic spying will be ubiquitous, as will be preventive detention. All the police state measures used against foreign populations by the military, State Department, intelligence agencies and hired mercenaries and drug mafias, will be turned against Americans.

***

America does not deserve this. America was the first nation to overthrow the shackles of the merchant-banker British Empire. America was the first nation to lay the basis for an industrial republic. America became the most free, equal and magnanimous nation in the world which triggered a century-long battle between the industrial American System and the merchant-banking British System. The American System built a great nation.

Henry C. Carey (1793-1879), chief economic advisor to US President Abraham Lincoln and author of The Harmony of Interests (1851), America’s long-forgotten anti-imperialist manifesto.

Apostles of the American System included Alexander Hamilton, Mathew Carey, John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Nicholas Biddle, Henry Carey, and Abraham Lincoln. The American System was succinctly described by Abraham Lincoln in an election palm card: “My program, like an old lady’s dance, is short and sweet: I am for a protective tariff, a national bank and internal improvements.”

In 1851, Henry Carey (The Harmony of Interests, p. 217) summarized America’s role in the world as follows:

“Two Systems are before the world; the one looks to increasing the proportion of persons and of capital engaged in trade and transportation, and therefore to diminish the proportion engaged in producing commodities with which to trade, with necessarily diminished return to the labour of all; while the other looks to increasing the proportion engaged in the work of production… with increased return to all, giving to the labourer good wages, and to the owner of capital good profits…

“One looks to pauperism, ignorance, depopulation, and barbarism; the other to increasing wealth, comfort, intelligence, combination of action, and civilization. One looks towards universal war; the other towards universal peace.

“One is the English System; the other we may be proud to call the American System, for it is the only one ever devised, the tendency of which was that of ELEVATING while EQUALIZING the condition of man throughout the world.

“Such is the true MISSION of the people of these United States…”

Let American history be our guide as we restore that mission.

الأطلسي في القوقاز بعد خسارته المتوسط والخليج…!

محمد صادق الحسيني

يحاول الأميركي الذي تهشمت صورته الدولية وانكسرت كلّ موجاته المتتالية على بوابات الشام وتخوم بغداد وأسوار صنعاء… بعد أن عجز في شرق المتوسط، وفشل في هرمز، فضلاّ عن باب المندب في تحقيق اختراق مهمّ ضدّ محور المقاومة وتحالف القوى المناهضة للأحادية الأميركية…

نقل مسرح عملياته إلى القوقاز عبر مخلبه العثماني لتحقيق الأهداف التالية:

١ – تحويل القوقاز إلى جسر عبور لقوات الناتو من البحر الأسود الى بحر الخزر لإعاقة دفاعات القوات الروسية عبر نهر الفولغا (خط الدفاع الأول في صدّ أيّ حرب عالمية)

٢ – محاولة ربط أربيل المتحالفة مع تل أبيب بباكو المتحالفة هي الأخرى مع الكيان الصهيوني عبر الحاضنة التركية الأردوغانية لوضع إيران (شمال غرب) في وضع قوس او هلال يُطبق على القوة الإيرانية الصاعدة حاملة مشروع العبور الى فلسطين لتحريرها.

٣ – حماية خطوط نقل الغاز الأذربيجانية والطرق السريعة التي تنطلق من باكو عبر جورجيا وصولاً الى تركيا.

واليكم تفاصيل الأهداف المباشرة والبعيدة المدى للعدوان الأميركي الاطلسي (العثماني) الإسرائيلي على القوقاز:

ليست هي المرة الأولى، التي تحاول فيها قوى الاستعمار الغربية السيطرة على منطقة القوقاز، لأسباب استراتيجية واقتصادية، بسبب امتلاكها كميات كبيرة من النفط، في اربعينيات القرن الماضي، مضافاً اليها الغاز في القرن الحالي.

اذ انّ زعيم الرايخ الثالث، ادولف هتلر، قد وقع أمراً عسكرياً، بشنّ حملة عسكرية لاحتلال منطقة القوقاز كاملة، وذلك بتاريخ ٢٨ / ٦ /١٩٤٢، أسماها: الحملة الزرقاء او المهمة الزرقاء بلغة هتلر الالمانية.

وقد جرّد هتلر لهذه الحملة القوات التالية:

– مليون جندي ألماني.

– ألف ومائتين وثلاثة وستين دبابة.

– سبعة عشر ألفاً وخمسة وثلاثين مدفع ميدان.

– ألف وستمائة وأربعين قاذفة قنابل ومقاتلة اعتراضية.

ولكن كلّ هذه القوات عجزت عن تحقيق ايّ تقدم، في المعركة التي استمرت من ٢٨/٦/١٩٤٢ وانتهت بتاريخ ١٩/١١/١٩٤٢، عندما نجحت الجيوش السوفياتية بتدمير كلّ القوات المُشار إليها أعلاه وفرض الحصار الشامل على الجيش السادس الألماني، في منطقة ستالينغراد، ذلك الحصار الذي انتهى بتدمير الجيش الألماني السادس (بقيادة مارشال الدبابات الالماني باولوس) وإبادته بالكامل وتحرير منطقة ستالينغراد.

ان ما يجري حالياً، من عدوان أميركي أطلسي، عبر مشاركة تركيا المباشرة فيه، إسرائيلي سعودي خليجي، ليس سوى نسخة عن حملة هتلر الزرقاء، ذات الأهداف القريبة جداً من أهداف النازية الالمانية، لا بل هي اكثر شموليةً من اهداف المانيا النازية.

نقول ذلك لانّ ما يجري حالياً، من عدوان شامل على جمهورية أرمينيا، عبر الرئيس الأذري، إلهام علييڤ وزوجته مِهربان التي عيّنها نائبةً له، وهما الأكثر فساداً في العالم، لا يمكن وصفه (العدوان) بحربٍ او نزاعٍ بين أرمينيا وأذربيجان وإنما هو عدوان شامل، على منطقة القوقاز وما بعد بعد القوقاز.

اذ انّ هذا العدوان، حسب ما أفادت مصادر استخبارية مختصة ومتخصصة بشؤون القوقاز ومستندة الى معلومات دقيقةٍ، ميدانيةً والكترونية، يستهدف المحاور التالية:

أولاً: إيران.

انّ أهمّ الأهداف الفورية، التي تطمح قوى العدوان الأميركي الأطلسي الإسرائيلي الى تحقيقها، هي جرّ إيران الى حرب إقليمية في منطقة القوقاز وشمال غرب إيران على وجه الخصوص، وذلك لاستنزافها في حرب لا ناقة لها فيها ولا جمل. فالقصف المدفعي الذي تعرّضت له بلدة محمد صالح، في محافظة، خدا آفارين الحدودية الإيرانية أكثر من مرة، منذ بدأ العمليات العسكرية في منطقة ناغورنو كاراباخ، لم يكن قصفاً عن طريق الخطأ، سواء البشري او الحسابي، بل انه كان عملية قصف مدفعي مبرمج نفذتها بطارية مدافع هاون يديرها ضباط مدفعية «إسرائيليون»، في داخل الأراضي الأذرية، بهدف استدراج ردّ مدفعي إيراني توريطاً للأخيرة. وما التسريبات التي تنشرها المصادر الاستخبارية «الإسرائيلية» والخليجية/ السعودية، حول استنفار الحرس الثوري الإيراني، وتجهيزه لكتيبة مدفعية ميدان وكتيبة دبابات للردّ على مصادر النيران، إلا دليلاً اضافياً على أهداف العدوان.

ثانياً: روسيا.

انّ روسيا اليوم مستهدفةً، تماماً كما كان الاتحاد السوفياتي مستهدفاً آنذاك، خاصة اذا ما اخذنا بعين الاعتبار قيام الولايات المتحدة وحلف شمال الاطلسي، بضخ آلاف من عناصر داعش المسلحين، عبر تركيا الى أذربيجان، وتسريبها من هناك الى كافة مناطق القوقاز وما بعد القوقاز، ايّ شرقاً باتجاه اوزبكستان وتركمانستان وقرغيزيا وطاجيكستان قرب الحدود الصينيه، ثم شمالاً، باتجاه الجمهوريات الاتحادية الروسية، مثل جمهورية داغستان والشيشان وإنغوشيا وجمهورية شمال أوسيتيا وجمهورية كاباردينو / بالكاريا / وجمهورية الشركس، وكلها جمهوريات من جمهوريات الاتحاد الروسي. الامر الذي يجعل من خلق حالة عدم استقرار دائمة على حدود روسيا الجنوبية، وربما حتى داخل حدودها الجنوبية، أمراً في غاية الخطورة الاستراتيجية، اذ انّ هذا التهديد قد يصل الى دعم المعسكر الأطلسي الأميركي لمحاولات انفصالية في هذه الجمهوريات، كما حدث في بداية تسعينيات القرن الماضي في جمهورية الشيشان، التي شهدت حربين دمويتين فشلت خلالهما المخططات الاميركية في تحقيق أهدافها. وهو ما يعتبر تهديداً استراتيجياً مباشراً لروسيا لا يمكنها السكوت عليه.

اذن، ها نحن نرى أهداف هذا العدوان تصل الى ما وراء القوقاز، ايّ الى هدف تفتيت الاتحاد الروسي وإخضاع جمهورياته للهيمنة الأميركية الأوروبية، حيث لا بدّ ان نرى هذه المخططات مقترنة مع الجهود الأطلسية الأميركية المتواصلة، لضم أوكرانيا وجورجيا الى عضوية حلف شمال الاطلسي، احكاماً لتطويق روسيا الاستراتيحي، نظراً لما تقوم به دول هذا الحلف، من استفزازات مستمرة ضدّ روسيا، من البحر الأسود جنوباً (محاولات طائرات الاستطلاع والقاذفات الاستراتيجية الأميركية اختراق الأجواء الروسية باستمرار انطلاقاً من قواعدها في تركيا ورومانيا وبلغاريا)، وصولاً الى نفس هذا النمط من الاستفزازات، عبر الأجواء الأوكرانية والبولندية واللتوانية وأجواء لاتفيا واستونيا في الغرب، وصولاً الى مدينة لينينغراد، على بحر البلطيق، شمال غرب روسيا.

ايّ انّ كلّ ما ذكر أعلاه يؤكد انّ الهدف، مما يجري في منطقة كاراباخ، هو تحويل القوقاز الى منطقة عدم استقرار دائم، مما يستنزف طاقات روسيا المالية والعسكرية، في ما لو نجحت قوى العدوان، في التمكن من إقامة وتثبيت بنى تحتية قادرة، لداعش وغيرها من المسمّيات الإرهابية، في أذربيجان بدايةً ليتوسع هذا الوجود الى مناطق أخرى في الخاصرة الجنوبية لروسيا.

ولكن ما فشل في تحقيقه الزعيم النازي الألماني عام ١٩٤٢ لن ينجح في تحقيقه أحفاده الأطلسيين وأتباعهم، من صهاينة وأعراب، لا من خلال هذا العدوان الممنهج ولا من خلال التآمر المساند لهذا العدوان، الذي تمثل في مسرحية «تسميم» المعارض الروسي نافالين، التي تتواصل فصولها حالياً، كما تتواصل مؤامرات نفس غرف العمليات السوداء، في إعداد مؤامرة «تسميم» جديدة في سورية، ليس ضدّ معارض سوري بل ضدّ الشعب السوري في محافظة إدلب بهدف اتهام الجيشين الروسي والسوري بتنفيذ الجريمة التي يخططون لها.

ثالثاً: الصين.

وفي إطار ما تقدّم، من معلومات، مقترنةً بقراءةٍ موضوعيةٍ لهذه المعلومات، لا بدّ لنا أن نؤكد على أنّ جزءاً أساسياً من الجهود التخريبية، التي يجري تنفيذها في جنوب القوقاز، عبر إشعال فتيل الحرب في منطقة كاراباخ، موجه ضدّ جمهورية الصين الشعبية بشكل مباشر أيضاً، وذلك للأسباب التالية:

1 ـ عجز الولايات المتحده ودول حلف شمال الأطلسي معاً، ليس فقط عن مواجهة الصين عسكرياً فحسب، وإنما عجز واشنطن وحلفائها في الاتحاد الأوروبي حتى عن منافسة الصين اقتصادياً، الأمر الذي سيؤدي بالضرورة وبصورة مجردة تماماً الى تربّع الصين على عرش العالم خلال سنوات قليلة. وهو ما يعني إنهاء الهيمنة الاستعمارية الأميركية الأوروبية في العالم أجمع والى غير رجعة.

وبالنظر الى انّ مشروع طريق الحرير الصيني هو أحد أهمّ ركائز سياسة الصين الدولية، على الصعيد الاقتصادي وبالتالي السياسي والعسكري مستقبلاً، وهي السياسة المبنية على المنافسة الاقتصادية الشريفة والابتعاد عن سياسات العدوان وإشعال الحروب، تلافياً لنشأة أوضاع غير مستقرّة لا تساعد على تنمية التعاون الاقتصادي بين الدول، فإنّ الولايات المتحدة قد لجأت الى إشعال فتيل الحروب المتدحرجة في منطقة القوقاز، التي شكلت عقدة أساسية واستراتيجية هامة على الصعيد التجاري والسياسي والعسكري وحتى الديني، في حقبة طريق الحرير الصينية القديمة، التي كانت قائمة منذ سنة ١١٥ قبل الميلاد وحتى بداية القرن الثالث عشر الميلادي، والتي كانت تتمّ عبرها التبادلات التجارية بين الصين وجنوب أوروبا على وجه الخصوص، مارةً بمنطقة القوقاز الشمالي والجنوبي. وهي المناطق التي تحاول واشنطن وأدواتها السيطرة عليها حالياً لعرقلة تنفيذ مشاريع البنى التحتية الضرورية للحركة التجارية، التي هي قيد التبلور على قاعدة مشروع طريق واحد وحزام واحد الصيني العملاق.

وهذا يعني ان الولايات المتحدة، ومن خلال أدواتها الاقليمية، الصهيونية والعثمانية والرجعية العربية تسعى الى السيطرة على كامل منطقة القوقاز الاستراتيجية، وليس فقط إلحاق إقليم ناغورنو كاراباخ بأذربيجان كما يدّعي أردوغان.

من هنا فإنّ من الضروري فهم طبيعة هذا المخطط العدواني على حقيقته، ايّ على انه حلقة مكملة لتطويق الصين الشعبية استراتيجياً. فبالاضافة الى التحرشات والاستفزازات المتواصلة، التي تقوم بها الأساطيل البحرية الأميركية والأوروبية، كالقوة المسماة «قوة حماية التجارة الدولية» وغيرها، في بحر الصين الجنوبي، وبحار الصين الأخرى، وشرق المحيط الهندي وغرب المحيط الهادئ (الممتدة من جزيرة غوام حتى بحر الفلبين وجزيرة تايوان الصينية المنشقة)، بالاضافة الى هذه التحرشات ومثيلاتها الجوية، المنطلقة من القواعد الأميركية في اليابان وكوريا الجنوبية وقواعد المحيط الهندي، نجد ان الخبراء الاستراتيجيين الأميركيين، وفي ظل عجزهم عن المواجهة العسكرية المباشرة، في جنوب شرق آسيا، يلجأون الى خلق المصاعب الاستراتيجية للصين، على صعيد التجارة الاستراتيجية، أملاً منهم في إضعافها اقتصادياً، وبالتالي عسكرياً، كي يتمكنوا من تحقيق أهدافهم، في تكريس الهيمنة الأميركية على العالم من جديد.

لكن ما يغيب عن بال هؤلاء المخططين هو حقيقة انّ المصالح المشتركة، بين الصين الشعبية وروسيا وإيران، وعلاقات التنسيق الوثيق، التي تربط الدول الثلاث، على مختلف الأصعدة، كفيلة بإفشال كلّ هذه الأوهام، وانّ أتباع واشنطن في أنقره وتل أبيب وأعراب النفط لن يكونوا قادرين على تغيير موازين القوى الاستراتيجية، لا على صعيد منطقة القوقاز وآسيا الوسطى، ولا على صعيد موازين القوى في جنوب شرق آسيا وغرب المحيط الهادئ. وهي بالتالي مشاريع محكومة بالفشل، كسابقاتها من المشاريع الاميركية، التي انطلقت من احتلال أفغانستان، ثم العراق ومن بعدها محاولة ضرب حزب الله في لبنان سنة ٢٠٠٦، تعزيزاً لاحتلال العراق وتمهيداً للسيطرة على «الشرق الأوسط» بأكمله، وصولاً الى الفتن والحروب التي أشعلتها الولايات المتحدة في الدول العربية، تحت مسمّى الربيع العربي، منذ عام ٢٠١١، وانتهاءً بالعدوان الأميركي «الإسرائيلي» السعودي على اليمن، الذي فشل تماماً في تحقيق أيّ من أهدافه.

2 ـ التمهيد لتوسيع دائرة الحروب والفتن الطائفية والعرقية، في عموم منطقة آسيا الوسطى، وليس فقط في منطقة شمال وجنوب القوقاز، وذلك عبر تكليف مخلب الناتو، تركيا أردوغان، وتحت إشراف غرفة العمليات الأميركية التركية الإسرائيلية المشتركة، وبتمويل سعودي، بنقل الآلاف من مسلحي داعش، الموجودين في سورية حالياً، والذين تمّ نشرهم على محاور: فضولي وجبرائيل، جنوب منطقة ناغورنو كاراباخ، على الحدود الإيرانيه الاذرية، لاستخدامهم ضمن الأهداف المذكورة أعلاه، إلى جانب إنشاء معسكرات تدريب مخصصة لإعادة تدريب هذه العناصر، وتسريبها الى دول وسط آسيا السوفياتية السابقة، وصولاً الى الصين، ظناً منهم انّ بمقدورهم تغيير موازين القوى الاستراتيجية، أو خلق مناطق عدم استقرار دائمة، على حدود الصين الغربية وحدود روسيا الجنوبية والجنوبية الغربية وحدود إيران الشمالية الغربية.

بائسون هؤلاء الاطلسيون من واشنطن حتى أنقرة…

لم يقرأوا التاريخ جيداً ولا استوعبوا بعد السنن الكونية الحاكمة في كلّ تحوّلات الدنيا…

وما يمكرون إلا بأنفسهم ولا يشعرون

سأريكم آياتي فلا تستعجلون

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

%d bloggers like this: