Geostrategic Factors: Will China Wins “World War C”

By Andrew Korybko

Global Research, April 14, 2020

The New Cold War between the US and China abruptly took a new form following the global outbreak of COVID-19, but Beijing still has a solid chance of coming out on top in this struggle for global leadership if it accurately assesses the changed geostrategic situation in the Eastern Hemisphere and accordingly crafts the right policies for responding to it.

Will The World Backtrack On BRI After World War C?

The US & China Are Intensely Competing To Shape The Outcome Of World War C“, as the author noted late last month when analyzing the consequences of the global COVID-19 outbreak on the New Cold War between these two Great Powers, but Beijing still has a solid chance of coming out on top in this struggle for global leadership if it accurately assesses the changed geostrategic situation in the Eastern Hemisphere and accordingly crafts the right policies for responding to it. The Asian Giant is under immense pressure as its envisaged model of reformed globalization under the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) is increasingly seen with skepticism, not so much because of the intense infowar that the US has been waging against it over the past few years, but simply because of the sudden supply chain consequences that were brought about as a result of the world’s rolling lockdowns. Foreign investors and national leaders alike are no longer ignorant of the strategic vulnerabilities inherent to the globalized world system as a whole, and many are now seriously reconsidering its merits and correspondingly contemplating re-offshoring production back to their own countries or at least their immediate regions.

China’s Grand Strategy

This represents the most profound challenge that China has been forced to confront in the decades since it first decided to reform its economy by opening up to foreign investment. It was hitherto taken for granted that the globalization trend would generally continue unabated, notwithstanding some high-profile expressions of economic nationalism such as the ones most commonly associated with Trump’s “America First” policy, and that only gradual reforms would be necessary to improve this model and thus indefinitely perpetuate it. China, comfortable with its position as “the world’s factory” and flush with excess cash to invest in connectivity infrastructure projects all across the world for the purpose of more closely tying its partners’ economies to its own in pursuit of what it describes as a Community of Common Destiny, took the lead in taking globalization into its next natural phase through BRI. The grand strategic intent was to peacefully replace America’s previously predominant global economic role and therefore enter into a position of privileged soft power whereby China could then shape the world order to its liking through trade and institutions.

A Concise Analysis Of Afro-Eurasia

Those carefully crafted calculations have suddenly been thrown into uncertainty as a result of World War C, which is why it’s imperative for China to assess the changed geostrategic situation as accurately as possible in order to craft the right policies for saving its global leadership model. What follows is a concise summary of the importance that each region of Afro-Eurasia holds for Chinese strategists at the present moment, which also briefly describes their challenges and opportunities. The Western Hemisphere is omitted from this analysis because China’s relations with Latin America aren’t anywhere as significant for its global strategy as those that the country has the Eastern Hemisphere as whole, and the complex contours of Chinese-American relations will be greatly determined by the outcome of their so-called “trade war”. As such, the author believes that it’s much more relevant to discuss East & Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, the Mideast, Africa, Russia, and the EU instead, ergo the focus of the present article. Having said that, here are the geostrategic factors that will determine whether China wins World War C:

East & Southeast Asia

This region of the world previously planned to enter into the world’s largest trade bloc, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), irrespective of India’s US-influenced refusal late last year to move forward with this game-changing development. This eastern periphery of Eurasia functions as a future integrated market for Chinese goods and services, conveniently located right next to the People’s Republic. The problem, however — and one that was already emerging prior to World War C — is that these countries’ production facilities inside China are considering re-offshoring back home or to other parts of the region as a result of the trade war, with this trend taking on a renewed importance given the global supply chain disruption in recent months. The same holds true for non-regional companies such as those from the West which are eyeing ASEAN (and especially Vietnam) as a favorable replacement to China, sometimes for political reasons. China will therefore need to ensure that RCEP eventually enters into effect in order to mitigate some of the immediate economic consequences through its envisaged regional marketplace, as well as remain competitive with lower-cost labor from its neighbors in order to slow down the speed of this seemingly inevitable re-offshoring process.

South Asia

The opportunities and challenges that South Asia poses for China are more geopolitical in nature than economic. The US’ successful co-opting of India into a proxy for “containing” China reduces the likelihood of a meaningful economic rapprochement between these two Asian Giants, and instead positions what’s soon predicted to become the world’s most populous country as a possible rival to the People’s Republic in the long term, with the short- and medium-term consequences being that it might become an even more appealing re-offshoring destination for foreign Chinese-based companies than even ASEAN. The global pivot state of Pakistan, however, represents nothing but opportunities for China because of CPEC, BRI’s flagship project. This ambitious initiative serves not only as a geostrategic shortcut to the energy market of the Mideast and the growing labor-consumer one of Africa that conveniently bypasses the increasingly militarized South China Sea and Strait of Malacca, but is also the basis upon which all other major BRI projects will be managed, relying upon the invaluable experiences learned during its years-long implementation. In order to succeed in South Asia in the post-coronavirus environment, China must manage to retain pragmatic relations with India in parallel with undercutting its attractiveness as a re-offshoring center while maximizing every mutual strategic opportunity that it can reap from CPEC.

Central Asia

The Eurasian Heartland is primarily functions as a reliable source of Chinese energy imports. It has obvious connectivity potential for linking China to the Mideast and Europe through the “Middle Corridor” that’s being pursued in partnership with Turkey, but in and of itself, it doesn’t have much economic significance for the People’s Republic due to its comparatively small labor and consumer markets relative to East-Southeast-South Asia and Africa. It does, however, function as a crucial test case for the resiliency of the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership insofar as it provides these two Great Powers with the opportunity to reach pragmatic “compromises” in pursuit of their grander strategic goal of multipolarity, but there’s no sidestepping the fact that some in Moscow seem to be increasingly uncomfortable with being replaced by Beijing in the region that they’ve long regarded as their “backyard”. Furthermore, rising Sinophobia in some of these countries as a result of the massive influx of Chinese goods and the replacement of some local laborers with imported Chinese ones creates a possible fault line for the future, albeit one that doesn’t necessarily have to have any security implications since the region’s traditional Russian hegemon has no interest whatsoever in allowing Central Asia to be used as a base for launching terrorist attacks against it in Xinjiang.

Mideast

Just like Central Asia, the Mideast is mostly important to China for energy reasons even though it too has obvious connectivity potential in linking East Asia with Western Europe. Unlike Central Asia, however, some of the most geostrategically positioned countries like Iraq and Syria have been destroyed by Hybrid War, while populous Iran is under sanctions pressure like never before and could very well be the next to follow in the worst-scenario scenario. This makes the Mideast risky from a strategic connectivity standpoint, though that nevertheless hasn’t stopped some Chinese firms from making inroads in this region. The GCC countries, and especially Saudi Arabia, are attempting to restructure their economies in order to reduce their dependence on energy exports, which in turn necessitates Chinese investment in their planned production facilities. China’s growing economic and military influence (in terms of exports) in the Mideast also presents it with the diplomatic opportunity to participate in resolving some of the region’s crises following the model that it’s spearheading in Myanmar, which could prove very valuable for managing other conflicts that might one day arise elsewhere along its New Silk Road.

Africa

Africa’s importance might arguably even overshadow that of East & Southeast Asia when it comes to China’s grand strategy since the People’s Republic is depending on having reliable access to the continent’s raw material, labor-consumer markets, and increasingly, its energy resources in order to maintain domestic growth throughout the present century. Unlike in East & Southeast Asia, however, there are few competitors to China’s plans in Africa, with the only ones that deserve mention being the US’ ongoing infowar campaign to discredit BRI and the nascent joint Indo-Japanese “Asia-Africa Growth Corridor” being supported by the US, France, and the GCC as a possible long-term (key word) competitor to China’s investment model there (focusing instead on “soft infrastructure” like schools, job training, and healthcare services in contrast to the attention that China pays to its “hard” counterpart like physical connectivity infrastructure). Being much more under China’s influence than any other part of the world due to the mutual benefits derived from the premier position that the People’s Republic holds in Africa’s trade and investment spheres, it’s unlikely that many of its countries will be swayed into turning against Beijing’s reformed globalization model of BRI by the Trump-promoted appeal of economic nationalism. This doesn’t mean that China should grow complacent, however, but should instead strive to present Africa as a shining example to the rest of the world of everything that can be achieved as a result of bilateral cooperation through BRI.

Russia

The future of Russian-Chinese relations is quickly becoming an interesting field of study because of the progress that Moscow is making on reaching a “New Detente” with Washington, the latter of which has been extensively covered by the author in a series of four articles hereherehere, and here. To summarize, Russia’s pursuit of a series of “pragmatic compromises” with the US on a host of relevant issues ranging from NATO expansion to North Korea could lead to a fast-moving rapprochement between the two with serious strategic implications for China, especially if the People’s Republic comes to rely more on the Eurasian Great Power for ensuring reliable access to the markets of Western Europe through the complementary Eurasian Land Bridge and Northern Sea Route. That’s not to say that Russia will ever “cut off” China and/or the EU’s access to the other since the country itself is depending on reaping the economic benefits of facilitating their overland and maritime connectivity with one another, but just that this relationship could be leveraged in more “creative” ways to advance certain political-strategic objectives vis-a-vis China (such as in Central Asia for example, be it in coordination with the US or carried out independently) the same way as it’s alleged to have employed its energy relationship with the EU in the first decade of the present century. In addition, Russia’s envisaged irreplaceable role in facilitating Chinese-EU trade used to be taken for granted but is now highly uncertain since it’ll depend on whether globalization survives World War C and if China even retains an interest in having Russia fulfill this role in the first place to the extent that Moscow previously anticipated.

EU

The last region of the Eastern Hemisphere relevant to Chinese grand strategy is the EU, and it’s definitely one of the most important. This region of Western Eurasia has a large and highly developed consumer market that the Chinese economy depends on for growth, especially considering that most of its members use the euro, one of the world’s strongest and most stable currencies. It’s extremely important that China does everything that it can to ensure that the EU as a whole remains committed to expanding bilateral economic relations, especially through BRI, hence Beijing’s unprecedented soft power outreaches in recent weeks through the provision of medical equipment and healthcare specialists to some of its members like Italy and aspiring ones such as Serbia. Accordingly, it naturally follows that China would prefer for the EU to emerge from this crisis stronger and more integrated than ever in order to facilitate this goal, though that’s also why its weakening, disintegration, and/or pivot towards the US would be so detrimental to Beijing’s grand strategy. If China’s economic reach becomes limited in the EU as a result of the bloc gradually “de-globalizing” (including through re-offshoring Chinese-based production facilities to ASEAN, India, and/or back home [perhaps to the organization’s poorer members along its periphery]) or possibly even embracing a degree of Trump-inspired economic nationalism, then it would greatly reduce China’s influence to its immediate region (East and Southeast Asia) and the Global South (mostly South Asia [except India] and Africa in this respect) and thus make it more easily “containable” through Hybrid War means.

The Three Steps To Success

Taking all of the above insight into consideration, the following three steps are absolutely necessary if China wants to win World War C:

1. Ensure The Continued Attractiveness Of Globalization:

If Trump-inspired economic nationalism becomes a new global trend throughout the course of World War C, then BRI will be in danger of becoming nothing more than a bare-bones project that turns into a skeleton of its formerly so-ambitious self. This would require China to undertake a range of far-reaching reforms at home in order to restructure its economy from its hitherto export-dependent nature and into something more autarkic, though the latter has very real limits given how much the country relies on foreign trade surpluses reaped from globalization processes to drive domestic development and purchase essential resources like energy, raw materials, and even food. Without ensuring the continued attractiveness of globalization, China could very well enter into its worst-ever crisis since the 1949 Communist Revolution that could have unimaginable economic and even political consequences, which is why it’s of the highest priority that the People’s Republic does everything in its power to protect this trade model at all costs.

2. Focus On The Afro-Eurasian Triangle:

Provided that globalization survives in some relevant form after World War C (which remains to be seen but would be attributable in that case to China pulling out all the stops in pursuit of this goal), then China will have to focus on the Afro-Eurasian Triangle of RCEP, Africa (increasingly via S-CPEC+), and the EU in order to guarantee its place as the US’ global systemic rival. These three regions of the Eastern Hemisphere all complement one another in terms of China’s grand strategy as was extensively explained in each case earlier above, though this also means that they’re all possible targets upon which the US can put Hybrid War pressure. China cannot depend on any one of these regions alone if it aspires to remain a global leader, though it could still in theory manage to attain this goal provided that it only “loses” one of them. The “loss” of Africa is highly unlikely, so in the scenario that it “loses” the EU, then China would become a power relevant only to most non-Western countries (which is the still the lion’s share of the world), whereas the “loss” of RCEP would make China more dependent on Russian-controlled trans-continental trade routes to the EU (the “Middle Corridor” through Central Asia and Northern Sea Route) that could be indirectly influenced by the US through the “New Detente”.

3. Manage The US-Indian Strategic Partnership & The “New Detente”:

Both the ever-intensifying US-Indian Strategic Partnership and the gradual progress that America is making on reaching a “New Detente” with Russia represent latent challenges of the greatest geopolitical magnitude if they aren’t nipped in the bud before they blossom or properly managed in advance. There’s little that China can do to influence either of them, though the first-mentioned might fizzle out if India implodes as a consequence of World War C or due to the Hybrid War being waged by the Hindu nationalist government on its own citizens in an attempt to turn the country into a “Hindu Rashtra” (Hindu fundamentalist state), while the second might abruptly be derailed by the American “deep state” at any time and would almost certainly fail if Trump loses re-election. In the “worst-case” scenario of each US-backed “containment” vector entering into force and possibly even combining into an unofficial semi-united American-Russian-Indian front against it, China would do best trying to emulate its global rival’s Kissingerian policy by “triangulating” both between its Great Power neighbors and itself and between those two and the US in an effort to relieve the growing multilateral pressure upon it.

Concluding Thoughts

China’s global leadership ambitions are being challenged like never before as a result of World War C and the subsequent suspicion that many countries now have of globalization processes, especially in respect to the strategic vulnerability inherent to being dependent on foreign supply chains halfway across the world for essential products such as medical equipment. The rolling lockdowns that unfolded across the world over the past two months, beginning in China and eventually spreading to the West, exposed the fragility of the previous world system and will inevitably necessitate some serious reforms to its structure at the very least, with the possible mass movement away from globalization towards Trump-inspired economic nationalism being the absolute worst-case scenario for China since it would completely cripple its grand strategy. It’s for this reason that the People’s Republic must do everything in its power to ensure the survival of as much of the pre-crisis globalization system as possible in order to stand a credible chance of remaining the US’ only global rival, after which it must then focus on the Afro-Eurasian Triangle of RCEP, Africa, and the EU concurrent with managing the dual latent challenges posed by the US-Indian Strategic Partnership and the “New Detente” in the center of the Eastern Hemisphere. Should China succeed with these daunting tasks, then the world’s multipolar future will be assured, though its failure would mean that unipolarity will probably return with a vengeance.

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This article was originally published on OneWorld.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from OneWorldThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Andrew Korybko, Global Research, 2020

‘How the West Eats Its Children’

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By Thierry Meyssan

For Thierry Meyssan, by taking to the streets, the French have become the first Western population to take personal risks to oppose financial globalisation. Although they do not realise it, and still imagine that their problems are exclusively national, their enemy is the same force that crushed the region of the African Great Lakes and a part of the Greater Middle East. In order to understand the project which inextricably unites these apparently disparate events, we have to take a step back.

The cause of Western recession

International relations experienced a profound change with the paralysis of the Soviet Union in 1986, when the State was unable to control the civilian nuclear incident in Tchernobyl [1], then with the revocation of the Warsaw Pact in 1989, when the East German Communist Party [2] destroyed the Berlin Wall, and finally, with the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.

At that time, the President of the United States, George Bush Sr., decided to demobilise one million soldiers and devote the efforts of his country to its own prosperity. He wanted to transform US hegemony within its zone of influence, and expand it into that of the leader of the world, the guarantor of world stability. With that, he laid the foundations for a « New World Order », first of all in the speech he gave side by side with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, at the Aspen Institute (2 August 1990), then during his speech to Congress (11 September 1990), announcing operation « Desert Storm » [3].

The world of the après-Soviet Union is one of free circulation, not only of merchandise, but also world capital, under the unique control of the United States. In other words, the passage from capitalism to financialisation – not the triumphant culmination of free exchange, but an exacerbated form of colonial exploitation of the whole world, including the West. Within the space of a quarter of a century, the major US fortunes have multiplied many times, and the global wealth of the world has increased considerably.

By allowing capitalism to run wild, President Bush Sr. hoped to extend prosperity to the world. But capitalism is not a political project, it is simply a system of logic designed for creating profit. The logic of the US multinationals was to increase their profits by delocalising production to China, where it is now possible, and where workers are the lowest paid in the world.

Those who were prepared to measure the cost of this advance for the West were few and far between. New middle classes began to appear in the third world, and although they were, of course, far less wealthy than those in the West, they enabled new, mainly Asian states, to play a rôle on the world stage. But simultaneously, Western middle classes began to disappear [4], meaning that it became impossible for the democratic institutions they built to survive. Above all, the populations of entire regions were to be entirely crushed, starting with those of the African Great Lakes. This first regional war caused 6 million deaths, in Angola, Burundi, Namibia, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Zimbabwe, and was met with general incomprehension and indifference. The aim was to continue to seize the natural resources of these countries, but to pay less and less for them, which meant dealing with gangs rather than with the States who had to feed their populations.

The sociological transformation of the world is happening very fast and is clearly without precedent, although we do not have the statistical tools available today to evaluate it with precision. However, everyone can witness the increase in power of Eurasia, (not in the Gaullist sense of « Brest to Vladivostok », but that of Russia and Asia without Western and Central Europe), which seeks liberty and prosperity, while the Western powers, including the United States, are slowly and progressively declining, limiting individual freedom and ejecting half of their population into zones of poverty.

Today, the percentage of imprisonment in China is four times inferior to that of the United States,while their purchasing power is slightly higher. Objectively therefore, with all its faults, Chine has become a freer and more prosperous country than the United States.

This process was predictable from the beginning. Its application was studied for a long time. So, on 1 September 1987, a US forty-year-old published a page of counter-current publicity in the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Boston Globe. He warned his compatriots about the rôle that President Bush Sr. was planning to allocate to the United States – to assume and finance out of their own pockets the responsibility for the developing « New World Order ». People read it and laughed. The author of these texts was real estate promoter, Donald Trump.

The application of the economic model to international relations

One month after the attacks of 11 September 2001, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld nominated his friend Admiral Arthur Cebrowski as Director of the new Office of Force Transformation. He was tasked with changing the culture of the entire US military in order to enable it to respond to a complete change in its mission

There was no longer question of using US armies to defend principles or interests, but to use them for a reorganisation of the world by dividing it into two parts – one one side the states integrated into the globalised economy, and on the other, the others [5]. The Pentagon would no longer fight wars in order to steal natural resources, but to control access to those resources by the globalised nations. A division directly inspired by the process of globalisation which had already trashed half of the Western populations. This time, it was half of the world’s population which was to be excluded [6].

The reorganisation of the world began in the political zone known as the « Greater Middle East », that is to say stretching from Afghanistan to Morocco, with the exception of Israël, Lebanon and Jordan. This brought about the alleged epidemic of civil wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Syria and Yemen, which has already caused several million deaths.

Like a monster eating its own children, the global financial system based in the United States faced its first crisis in 2008, when the subprime bubble burst. Contrary to a commonly-held belief, this was absolutely not a global crisis, but a Western problem. For the first time, the NATO states experienced the first consequences of the policy they were supporting. Yet the upper Western classes changed nothing in their behaviour, as they witnessed with compassion the wreck of the middle classes. The only notable modification was the adoption of the « Volcker rule » [7], which forbade banks from profiting from information obtained from their clients in order to speculate against their interests. But while conflicts of interest enabled a number of crooks to get rich fast, they are not the root of the problem, which is far more wide-reaching.

The revolt of the Western populations

The revolt of the Western middle and working classes against the globalised upper class began two years ago.

Aware of the Western recession as compared with Asia, the people of the United Kingdom were the first to attempt to save its life-style by leaving the European Union and turning to China and the Commonwealth (referendum of 23 June 2016) [8]. Unfortunately, the leaders of the United Kingdom were unable to conclude the agreement they hoped for with China and experienced great difficulty in reactivating their links with the Commonwealth.

Then, witnessing the collapse of their civil industries, a part of the United States voted, on 8 November 2016, for the only Presidential candidate who was opposed to the New World Order, Donald Trump. He spoke of a return to the « American dream ». Unfortunately for his voters, although Donald Trump began to question the rules of globalised commerce, he had no team with him apart from his family, and was only able to modify, but not change, the military strategy of his country. Almost all of the general officers had adopted the Rumsfeld-Cebrowski ideology, and could no longer imagine themselves in any other role than defenders of financial globalisation.

Aware of the collapse of their national industry, and certain that they would be betrayed by their upper class, the Italians voted, on 4 March 2018, for an anti-system party composed of the Ligue and the 5-star Movement. These parties built an alliance in order to implement social policies. Unfortunately, they were rejected by the European Union [9]. In France, tens of thousands of SME’s (small and medium-sized enterprises), subcontractors of industry, had gone bankrupt over the last ten years, but their compulsory tax deductions, already among the highest in the world, increased by 30 % over the same period.

Several hundreds of thousands of French people suddenly took to the streets to demonstrate against abusive financial measures. Unfortunately for them, the French upper classes have been contaminated by the very idea that was rejected by the United States, and therefore did their best to adapt their policies to the popular revolt, but not to change its basic causes.

If we look at each of these four countries separately, we will find four different explanations for what is happening there. But if we analyse the situation as a single phenomenon affecting different cultures, we will discover the same mechanisms across the board. In these four countries, consecutive with the end of capitalism, the middle classes disappeared more or less rapidly, and with them the political system that they incarnated – Democracy.

So either the Western leaders abandon the financial system they have developed and return to the productive capitalism of the Cold War, or they will have to invent a different organisation that no-one has so far been able imagine. Failing that, the West, which has directed the world for five centuries, will sink into a long period of internal chaos.

The Syrians were the first non-globalised People capable of surviving and resisting the destruction of Rumsfeld-Cebrowski’s infra-world. The French were the first globalised people to rise up against the destruction of the West, even if they are not aware that they are fighting the same unique enemy of all of humanity. President Emmanuel Macron is not the man for the situation, not because he has any responsibility for the system that preceded him, but because he is pure product of that system. In response to the riots in his country, he spoke from the G20 in Buenos-Aires, declaring that the meeting was a success in his eyes, (which it was not), and that he intended to advance more efficiently than his predecessors – in the wrong direction.

How to save privilege

It appears that the British ruling class has its solution – if London in particular and the Western nations in general are no longer capable of ruling the world, it will be necessary to cut one’s losses and divide the world into two distinct zones. This is the policy implemented by Obama in the final months of his presidency [10], then by Theresa May, and now by Donald Trump, with their refusal to cooperate and their ready-made accusations, first of all against Russia and now against China.

It also seems that Russia and China, despite their historical rivalry, are aware that they will never be able to ally themselves with these Westerners who have never ceased trying to carve them up. This is the source of their project, the « Eurasian Economic Union » – if the world must be split in two, each participant will have to organise its own. In concrete terms, for Beijing, this means abandoning half of its « Silk Road » project and its redeployment with Moscow only in Greater Eurasia.

How to determine the line of demarcation

For the West and Greater Eurasia, it will be necessary to determine the split line as fast as possible. For example, what side will Ukraine choose? The construction by Russia of the Kertch bridge was aimed at separating the country, absorbing the Donbass and the Azov Sea basin, then Odessa and Transnistria. On the contrary, the incident at Kertch, organised by the Western powers, is aimed at enrolling all of Ukraine into NATO before the country fractures.

Since the ship of financial globalisation is sinking, many people are beginning to save their personal interests without any care for others. For example this is the source of the tension between the European Union and the United States. As far as this game is concerned, the Zionist movement has always had a length’s lead, which explains the mutation of Israëli strategy, which has abandoned Syria to Russia, and turned to both the Gulf States and East Africa.

Perspectives

Taking into account what is at play here, it is obvious that the insurrection in France is only the beginning of a much wider process which is going to spread to other Western countries.

It would be absurd to believe that at a time of financial globalisation, a government, whatever it might be, could resolve the problems of its country without first of all questioning international relations and at the same time regaining its capacity for action. But precisely, foreign policy has been kept on the sidelines of the democratic field since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It is both necessary and urgent to resign from almost all of the treaties and engagements of the last thirty years. Only the states which are able to re-affirm their sovereignty can hope to recover.

Translation
Pete Kimberley

[1] According to Michaïl Gorbatchev, this was the event that made possible the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union in so far as it delegitimised the State.

[2] Contrary to a commonly-held belief in the West, it was the nationalists from the East-German Communist Party (and the Lutheran churches), and not the anti-Communists (and pro-US movements), who broke down the symbol of Soviet domination, the Wall.

[3] The main purpose of the invasion of Iraq was not to liberate Kuwaït, but to use this affair to build the strongest coalition possible under US command, including the USSR.

[4Global Inequality. A New Approach for the Age of Globalization, Branko Milanovic, Harvard University Press, 2016.

[5] “The US military project for the world”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 22 August 2017.

[6] It is obvious that the wars of Bush Jr. and Obama were never intended to expand the Empire. First of all because by definition, democracy can only come from the People, not imposed by bombs. And then because the United States was already a plutocracy.

[7] The ex-president of the US Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker, is on the other hand, one of the architects of global financialisation. It is Volcker who took legal action on behalf of the UNO against the people and entities who had helped Iraq to bypass the UN embargo (the « oil for food » affair). Volcker is one of the principal personalities of the Pilgrim’s Society, the trans-Atlantic club presided by Queen Elizabeth II. As such, he became the main economic advisor to President Barack Obama, and organised part of his cabinet.

[8] “The new British Foreign Policy”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 4 July 2016.

[9] Replacing the European Common Market, which was originally a system for cooperation between states, the European Union, as defined by the Treaty of Maastricht, is a supranational

[10] “Two separate worlds”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Al-Watan (Syria) , Voltaire Network, 8 November 2016.

Iran Hawks in Washington

September 18, 2018

by Peter Koenig for The Saker Blog

Iran Hawks in Washington

No doubt, anti-Iran propaganda out of Washington abounds. There are numerous Zionist-run think-tanks (sic) that make US Foreign Policy – and are ratcheting up anti-Iran anger in the US, but targeting especially the Iranian population at home, in Iran. The notorious chief-villain of these agencies, by the way, highly subsidized by the US State Department, and perhaps even more important, by the powerful US military-security complex, is the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy (FDD). More than fifty years ago, then President Dwight Eisenhower already warned the world about the invasive, abusive and greed-driven powers of this ever-growing war industry.

Nobody really heeded his advice, least the United States with her world hegemonic aspirations. Today we have to live with it – and recognize the dangers emanating from this war complex, that controls more than 50% of the US GDP – all associated industries and services included. If peace was to break out tomorrow – the US economy would collapse. It is, therefore, the new normal that aggressions are flying out from Washington to all those proud countries that refuse to submit themselves to the dictate of the hegemon – like Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Syria, Russia, China, Pakistan, Cuba —- and many more. The assaults on free and independent thinking nations come in the form of verbal insults, economic sanctions, tariffs, broken international and bilateral agreements – and foremost war threats and provocations. Beware from falling into the trap.

Iran is not alone. It means – moving on and living with this western imposed system – or else…

And else, means getting out of it. Unfortunately, it does little good accusing the devil overseas, like the FDD, NED (National Endowment for Democracy) and whatever else they are called. They will not go away; they just enjoy the anger they generate. And yes, there is a clear and present danger that through Netanyahu and Trump war provocations on Iran are being launched. And yes, as long as Iran is still linked to the western monetary system, and tries hard to stay linked to it, more sanctions will follow, disastrous sanctions – but disastrous only as long as Iran is tied to the western dollar-based economy. If you, Iran, move away from this massive western monetary fraud – and this will not happen over-night – you, Iran, will gradually regain your economic autonomy and political sovereignty. This is crucial.

Fighting and arguing against senseless and totally illegal sanctions and aggressions – or even begging the west to stick to the Nuclear Deal, against Washington’s reneging on the Nuclear Deal, is a waste of time. It will achieve nothing. They, the US of A, will not give in. The Israel and war industrial complex lobbies are too strong. Counting on Europe to stick to the “Deal” is not a good strategy. Even if – for their own selfish interests – the Europeans would want to maintain the 5+1 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), first, you never know whether and when they may cave in to Washington and Israel’s pressure, and second, even if they don’t, you are still linked to the western ponzy-economy through the euro and, thus vulnerable for sanctions.

Most important, however, rather than looking outside for a culprit – i.e. in Washington or Brussels, find the solution from within. There are two major obstacles to keep in mind. The first one Iran is in the process of overcoming, it’s called embarking on an “Economy of Resistance”; the second one is more complicated but not impossible – neutralizing the Fifth Column in Iran.

Economy of Resistance – is a path to self-sufficiency, economic autonomy and political sovereignty. Iran, under the guidance of the Ayatollah, has already embarked on this de-globalizing route. President Putin said already several years ago, the sanctions were the best thing that happened to Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It forced Russia to rehabilitate an rebuild her agricultural sector and modernize her industrial park. Today Russia is by far the largest wheat exporter in the world and has a cutting-edge industrial arsenal. This message, Mr. Putin, transmitted during his visit to Tehran last November face-to-face to the Ayatollah.

Following the principles of a Resistance Economy implies a gradual, but eventually radical separation from the western monetary system – and adherence to the eastern alliances, like the SCO – Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the BRICS and the Eurasia Economic Union (EEU). Iran is poised to become a member of the SCO within short. These alliances are no longer trading in UDS dollars, have their own international transfer systems – separated from the western, privately run SWIFT which is totally controlled by the US banking moguls – and therefore, SWIFT is a prime instrument to impose financial and economic sanctions, by withholding or blocking international payment transfers and blocking or confiscating assets abroad.

These eastern alliances are trading in their local currencies and in the case of China and hydrocarbons, even in gold-convertible yuans. One or several new eastern monetary systems are under consideration, including by the BRICS. An important part of the eastern alliances is President Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – or the new Silk Road, a massive multi-trillion yuan infrastructure and transport investments plan – spanning the world from east to west with several connecting “roads”, including maritime routes. This BRI plan, recently incorporated in China’s constitution – is the vanguard for a new economic system, based on equality and benefitting all partners – a clear departure from the western “carrot and stick” approach, i.e. ‘do as I say – or else’ – sanctions will follow.

Second, and this is the real challenge – countries like Iran, Venezuela, Russia, China – and all those nations that resist the west’s attempts to conquer, command and subdue them – have a strong so-called “Fifth Column”, open and covert infiltrated western or local and western-trained and funded ‘assets’. These people are usually embedded in the financial sector, especially the central banks and in trade related activities. They are the ‘recipients’ of the messages from the Hawks from Washington – they propagate them in Iran, bring people to the streets often by paying them – to make believe that there is a strong opposition to the government.

They control the local media, publish false economic information – unemployment, inflation – and seek tightening investment links with the west. The Fifth Columnists, or Atlantists, are helping manipulating currency exchange rates, devaluations of their country’s – Iran’s – money; they are exaggerating the impact of sanctions at home to create fear and hostility against the government – in brief, they are weaponizing public opinion against their own government. They are collaborators with Iran’s enemies.

The Fifth Columnists are a dangerous, criminal and non-transparent alliance of opponents working for foreign interests, in Iran, as well as in Russia, Venezuela, China – and where ever the Washington hegemon and its dark deep masters want to bring about regime change. Neutralizing them is a huge challenge, as their activities are deeply rooted in their countries financial system, private banking and international trade.

The best way of annihilating their nefarious impact is by applying the rules of Resistance Economy – breaking loose from the western dollar system, de-globalizing the economy, finding back to political and economic sovereignty – local production for local markets with local money and local public banking for the development of the local economy; and by trading with friendly, culturally and ideologically aligned countries. If the link to the globalized west is broken, their power is gone. Iran is on the right path – the future is in the East. The greed-driven aggressive west is committing economic and moral suicide – the west has become a sinking ship.

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 Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; TeleSUR; The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. 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. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

Globalization is Over, Brexit is the Biggest Sign: The Guardian

Local Editor

De-globalizationIn an article written by Ruchir Sharma and posted by the British newspaper, The Guardian, Brexit is expected to be contagious to the extent of introducing the era of de-globalization.

What follows is the complete article:

In among the shock from the EU referendum result, the risk of contagion was raised. Analysts asked which EU country might leave next and whether this unraveling could shatter the postwar European order. A month later, it’s clear that Brexit was less a cataclysmic cause than a symptom; a manifestation of global forces unleashed by the 2008 global financial crisis, including slower growth, rising inequality, and a widening backlash against open borders and incumbent leaders.

Inside Europe the political earthquake is receding, with the installation of a new UK prime minister who, ostensibly, did not want to leave the EU. Yet even if Brexit does not herald the unraveling of Europe or of the global economy, it is the most important sign yet that the era of globalization as we have known it is over. De-globalization will be the new buzzword.

The world has entered what I call the AC era – after the crisis of 2008. It is already marked by much more upheaval than prevailed in the era before the crisis, and many of the policies and leaders that nations have embraced, hoping to ease the pain, have only made matters worse.

Worldwide, an anti-establishment revolt has been raging since the crisis. In 30 of the major democracies, the incumbent has been winning in as few as a third of national elections each year since 2008, down from two-thirds before that year. In the 20 top emerging and developed nations, the median approval rating of the incumbent leader has fallen from a high of 54% in the years before 2008, to just 37%.

Anger at incumbent governments is now widely seen as a boon to rightwing populists such as Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, and some of the leaders of the Brexit campaign. This, however, is a revolt against the establishment, not an ideology, left or right.

In Europe and the US rightwing upstarts are exploiting the frustrations of the working class by blaming their woes on immigrants stealing jobs. But there is no such widespread rise of the populist right in Asia or Latin America, where voters have been toppling leftwing governments in favour of mainstream reformers like Mauricio Macri of Argentina, and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski of Peru. A former World Bank economist ,whose first promise to Peruvians was to rebuild “consensus”, Kuczynski is about as far from angry populism as a president can get.

The ballot-box revolts are not isolated, local events. They have sprung from slow growth in the global economy, which has fallen since 2008 from its postwar average of 3.5% to just above 2%, the level that feels like a global recession. This is the weakest recovery of the postwar era, and until recently Europe was the hardest-hit region, having suffered not one but two recessions since 2008. It has thus been fertile ground for popular anger.

The popular frustration is amplified by rising inequality. To fight the global slowdown, central banks have been pumping out easy money. Instead of fuelling wage and job growth in the real economy, as intended, much of that money has found its way into financial assets, including stocks, bonds and housing – pushing prices to record highs. Because the rich own most of these assets, inequality is widening and spreading, and wealth is massing in financial capitals like New York and London. The period since 2008 has seen weak wage growth but spectacular returns for the wealthy: in Britain, wages are up 13%, but the stock market is up 115%.

This story repeats itself in country after country. In a recent study of 46 major economies, Credit Suisse found that prior to 2007, wealth inequality was on the rise in 12 of them; but after 2007, that number more than doubled to 35,.

In that brief span, the world population of billionaires nearly doubled to more than 1,800. More than 70 of them live in London – one of the highest concentrations in the world – making the British capital a ripe target for class resentments. In England proper the Brexit vote was, in large part, a vote against London, its globalised elite, and all they stand for, including free trade and open borders.

Here too, the British revolt is less a turning point than the latest flashpoint for the negative passions of the AC era. In late 2008 the G20 gathered at a summit and vowed not to engage in the kind of trade wars that extended the Great Depression. Then they went back home and have since imposed hundreds of new barriers to trade. This bout of protectionism has helped to slow growth in global trade from better than 8% before the crisis to near zero. Britain has turned inward too, imposing more than 200 new trade barriers after the global financial crisis – third most in the developed world after the US and Germany, according to the Centre for Economic Policy Research.

The hype for globalization that excited the era before the crash has given way now to fears of de-globalization, and the measures governments have taken to buffer economies against another crisis have only deepened this self-destructive trend. Driven in part by new limits on their overseas activities, global banks have pulled back to within their home borders. Global capital flows fell from a peak of 16% of global GDP in 2007 to just 1.6% – a level last seen in the 1980s. This retreat will act as a drag on economic growth, suggesting that every country needs to downsize its ambitions, or face new outbreaks of frustration.

The anti-immigrant movements that have gathered pace are the latest proof, and they come at an inopportune time. In countries rich and poor, women are having fewer and fewer children, a trend that predates the crisis of 2008. Since 1980 the number of countries with a shrinking population of working age people has risen from 2 to 38. And one of the only ways for any country to counter the economic shock of depopulation is by attracting immigrants.

In fact, Britain’s workforce would already be in decline too, were it not for relatively strong net migration, which brought in 900,000 people over the last five years. Though the challenges of assimilating foreign workers are real, so are the economic consequences of barring them: fewer workers will mean less growth.

But perhaps this outcome is unavoidable now. In the decades before 2008, the world economy expanded at it fastest pace in recorded history, thanks in part to greater freedom of movement for goods, capital and people. Unfettered globalization lifted millions of people out of poverty in the emerging world, but it also frayed the social fabric of many western nations. Brexit is just one manifestation of the anti-globalization backlash in the post-2008 era. The champions of that backlash are pushing policies that are likely only to exacerbate the global economic slowdown.

But the message from Brexit and similar movements is clear: economic growth may have to take a back seat while political leaders work to address the anger of those who believe that globalization has left them behind.

Source: Newspapers

29-07-2016 – 14:48 Last updated 29-07-2016 – 15:27

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