US Pompeo: Ongoing Protests in Lebanon and Iraq Target Hezbollah and Iran

November 10, 2019

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

US US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blatntly interfered in Lebanon’s and Iraq’s domestic issues, labeling the ongoing protests in the two countries as against Hezbollah and Iran.

Pompeo called for helping the protesters in order to ‘defeat the regimes which curb freedom’.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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Hiding the West’s ongoing neo-colonialism in Lebanon via blaming Iran (1/2)

 

Image result for ‫رفيق الحريري وشيراك‬‎

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

I have spoken with many in France’s huge expatriate Lebanese community – and from all groups – and not a single person has ever claimed that Iran was the power behind the scenes in Lebanon. Without fail I was told that this title belongs to France.

It shouldn’t be surprising: France completely devised modern Lebanon.

Many Lebanese don’t like to be reminded of this, but Lebanon is an artificial nation which France constructed entirely on the basis of racism: just as Zionists to the south wanted a “Jewish nation”, Lebanon was hacked off of Syria in 1920 to create a new Christian-majority nation.

That’s a “no longer relevant” tale of divide and conquer to some, even though a few centenarians may still remember the actual event.

France also devised Lebanon’s sectarianism-enshrining, woefully unmodern constitution, which has ensured divisive identity politics ever since.

Thus, just as Israel is a little part of the USA in the Middle East, Lebanon is the older, French version. The saying, “Beirut is the Paris of the Middle East” could not be more correct.

And yet, were an alien to visit and read Western mainstream media coverage of the recent protests in Lebanon it would not imagine that France ever had any role in Lebanon, much less a prominent role there today.

Image result for hariri corruption

Instead, Western headlines and reports all push the totally absurd claim that Iran has somehow become the neo-colonial master in Lebanon. Somehow – and via the poorest, most marginalised sectors of Lebanese society, no less – Iran has been able to usurp a century of French power.

Furthermore, despite the century of French involvement it is not France but Iran which is responsible for the corruption that has pushed so many Lebanese into the streets.

Apparently Iran took power and also became corrupt so very quickly that the Lebanese themselves didn’t even realise it! The idea is laughable.

Or perhaps: the Lebanese themselves don’t know what is actually going on in their own country – the West knows better.

These are the kind of ideas only a Westerner could believe.

The reason is simple: advertising works. Astute observers already realise that when it comes to the Middle East every problem – big or small – is blamed on Iran in the West.

However, what’s rarely examined is how this very real Iranophobia allows the West to obscure places where their neo-colonial machinations could not be more obvious, such as in Lebanon.

If it’s not Iran then it must be Hezbollah, but it can never be France

If the West cannot destroy Iran in 2019 they will happily settle for destroying Hezbollah.

There are two types of political parties: those which citizens fight to destroy (like the Yellow Vests and the three mainstream political parties in France), and those which citizens fight to preserve. There is no doubt which camp Hezbollah belongs to.

Hezbollah is the “Party of God” and the party of Lebanon’s poor, but many insist they are not a political party but a larger “resistance movement”. Amal is a political party allied with Hezbollah, and Western media coverage is doing their best to lump both in with the older, Western-aping, billionaire-backed parties which are the true cause of the recent corruption protests.

Hezbollah has always said they would never turn their guns on Lebanese, and even if the West doesn’t want anyone to know that the Lebanese certainly do. They know that without Hezbollah southern Lebanon would be called “Northern Israel” today. Or, nearly as badly, it would still be the State of Free Lebanon, that stillborn Israeli client from the early 1980s which no country besides Israel recognised. (That’s just more “no longer relevant” history to Western mainstream journalists of course.)

The West hates Hezbollah for the same reason Lebanon supports it – Hezbollah is what ensures Lebanon’s security from repeated, deadly, infrastructure-ruining Israeli invasions. After the 2006 war with Israel most Sunnis and an estimated 50% of Christians supported Hezbollah – that’s hardly sectarian hatred.

After saving the Lebanese from Israel on multiple occasions, the undeniable and enduring popular support of Hezbollah and Amal comes from their education, health and other social welfare organisations. Southern Lebanon is most notable not for being mostly Shia but for its extreme poverty, which was the result of decades of neglect from Paris-allied Beirut. Hezbollah and Amal helped reverse that, to the extreme embarrassment and consternation of France, Israel and their many sectarian militias, mafias and political puppets in Lebanon.

And yet despite being so late arriving to power, despite being anchored in the poorest regions, despite decades of neglect from Beirut, and despite illegal and inhuman US-led sanctions on Hezbollah… the West wants us to believe that Hezbollah and Amal are the ones responsible for the corruption at the heart of the current protests!

One has to wonder: if these two groups are so corrupt then where is the money, because it is certainly not in southern Lebanon?

The idea that Hassan Nasrallah, who can make a fair claim to be the most popular Muslim leader and hero in the world currently, is about to fall due to decades of corruption in Beirut is an absolute fantasy which can only be taken seriously in the West.

Again, what we have here is another situation where Western propaganda is aiming to manipulate legitimate unhappiness created by long-tenured Western client politicians in order to deny the West’s neo-colonial culpability. The legitimate demands in Yemen, Palestine and Iraq are all being portrayed as being caused by an Iranian neo-colonialism which does not exist, when the real culprit is the very real and very accurately-named Western neo-colonialism.

The West, of course, may speak of neoliberalism but never neo-colonialism.

The long-running source of corruption in Lebanon: Western-allied, neoliberal & neocolonial puppets

I would imagine that up to this point a Lebanese reader has been quite bored – I have only relayed things which he or she already knows quite well. But perhaps a Lebanese expatriate in Brazil or the United States – who cannot visit Lebanon so easily and who foolishly relies on the Western mainstream media – may not know some of these things.

What most Lebanese know quite intimately is that they no longer have a “real” economy. Their export capabilities are so woeful that scrap iron was their third top export in 2017, at just $179 million.

This is unsurprising, because Lebanon’s longtime function was to serve as France’s Middle East banking haven, with Switzerland-level secrecy laws dating to 1956. However, they have increasingly been replaced by Qatar and other Persian Gulf nations.

Banking is still a strong sector of their economy, but now mainly due to the huge number of remittances (only 4 million Lebanese live in Lebanon but there are an astonishing 8-12 million living as expatriates).

All this wouldn’t be a problem if Lebanon had a strong government to centrally plan and direct their limited economy, and also a government which cared for their 99% instead of their 1%, but Lebanon has neither of these things. The reason for this has nothing to do with Hezbollah, but everything to do with the real root of the current protests.

After the Taif Accords in 1989 and the fall of the USSR in 1991, Rafic Hariri, who became Lebanon’s richest man/prime minister thanks to earning billions via construction with the House of Saud, embarked on the massive “Horizon 2000” privatisation plan, which sold off the major industries and real estate of the Lebanese people. Hariri, in classic Western fashion, privatised the people’s wealth mainly to himself, but also to French companies.

Hariri’s “There Is No Alternative” (to neoliberalism) plan also included massive efforts to attract foreign investment, which ballooned the national debt – the funds were not spent on the poor, of course, but lined the pockets of the rich. France is always the one who organises the regular international debt conferences to restructure Lebanon’s debt, reaping compound interest payments all the while. Rafic Hariri was yet another Arab aristocrat who yoked his people to Western debtors for generations.

Hariri also banned protests and encouraged bribes and kickbacks to the army in order to continue his neoliberalisation drive totally unfettered.

For these reasons (i.e., he made them rich via ruthless self-interest) the assassinated Hariri is worshiped in the West as a true martyr to the neoliberal faith, whereas his corruption in Lebanon was infamous and resented. The most common phrase about him is, “He treated the state as if it was his home.”

His son Saad could have hardly done worse, but he certainly has tried: $16 million to a bikini model mistress, getting abducted by the Saudis and then resigning on their TV, etc. Saad Hariri has held so very many closed-door meetings with France’s president over the past decade that I truly just got tired of covering it for PressTV – I think he must have a private room at Élysée Palace?

What I have described is three decades of oligarchic economic corruption, mismanagement and economic far-right neglect, and here is the bill: At 158% Lebanon’s debt to GDP ratio is the 5th highest in the world, just behind Greece.

Few commentators go further, however: Lebanon’s external debt to GDP ratio is only around 45%, implying that there is a lot of money in Lebanon but held – in an inherently corrupt manner – by extremely few hands. And this is certainly the case: Lebanon’s richest 0.1% own the same amount of wealth as the poorest 50 percent, making Lebanon one of the most unequal countries in the world.

Lebanon is thus an economically rudderless, economically unequal and economically corrupt nation, and it is quite obvious that none of this happened because of late-arriving, poor-loving Hezbollah or Iran.

It is absolutely preposterous to believe that Iran or Hezbollah is the source of Lebanon’s inequality and corruption, and thus that they could be the true target of protesters. The Western Mainstream Media – mostly privately owned, incredibly chauvinistic – is trying to sell an anti-Iran/anti-Hezbollah conspiracy even though the Lebanese themselves will not be fooled by it for one second.

The West, especially France, created, applauded and profited Lebanon’s economic corruption via their unstinting support for the corrupt and despised Hariris, and also Israel’s expatriate-inducing, infrastructure destroying invasions. France’s role in saddling Lebanon’s economy with two million of Syrian and Palestinian refugees is also glossed over by the Western mainstream media, of course.

I hope the true profiteers of Lebanon’s misery will finally be called to account. The Lebanese know who has robbed them, and it is not Hezbollah, Nasrallah or Iran.

Part 2 in this series will give more details on the corrupt Lebanese politicians of today, most of who are associated with violent militias armed and funded by France and/or Israel.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China and the upcoming Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism. He can be reached on Facebook.

 

The last western Empire?

The Saker

The last western Empire?

August 01, 2019

[this column was written for the Unz Review]

“Missing the forest for the trees” is an apt metaphor if we take a look at most commentary describing the past twenty years or so. This period has been remarkable in the number of genuinely tectonic changes the international system has undergone. It all began during what I think of as the “Kristallnacht of international law,” 30 August September 1995, when the Empire attacked the Bosnian-Serbs in a direct and total violation of all the most fundamental principles of international law. Then there was 9/11, which gave the Neocons the “right” (or so they claimed) to threaten, attack, bomb, kill, maim, kidnap, assassinate, torture, blackmail and otherwise mistreat any person, group or nation on the planet simply because “we are the indispensable nation” and “you either are with the terrorists or with us“. During these same years, we saw Europe become a third-rate US colony incapable of defending even fundamental European geopolitical interests while the USA became a third-rate colony of Israel equally incapable of defending even fundamental US geopolitical interests. Most interestingly looking back, while the US and the EU were collapsing under the weight of their own mistakes, Russia and China were clearly on the ascend; Russia mostly in military terms (see here and here) and China mostly economically. Most crucially, Russia and China gradually agreed to become symbionts which, I would argue, is even stronger and more meaningful than if these two countries were united by some kind of formal alliance: alliances can be broken (especially when a western nation is involved), but symbiotic relationships usually last forever (well, nothing lasts forever, of course, but when a lifespan is measured in decades, it is the functional equivalent of “forever”, at least in geostrategic analytical terms). The Chinese have now developed an official, special, and unique expression to characterize that relationship with Russia. They speak of a “Strategic, comprehensive partnership of coordination for the new era.”

This is the AngloZionists’ worst nightmare, and their legacy ziomedia goes to great lengths to conceal the fact that Russia and China are, for all practical purposes, strategic allies. They also try hard to convince the Russian people that China is a threat to Russia (using bogus arguments, but never-mind that). It won’t work, while some Russians have fears about China, the Kremlin knows the truth of the matter and will continue to deepen Russia’s symbiotic relationship with China further. Not only that, it now appears that Iran is gradually being let in to this alliance. We have the most official confirmation possible of that fact in words spoken by General Patrushev in Israel after his meeting with US and Israeli officials: “Iran has always been and remains our ally and partner.”

I could go on listing various signs of the collapse of the AngloZionist Empire along with signs that a new, parallel, international world order is in the process of being built before our eyes. I have done that many times in the past, and I will not repeat it all here (those interested can click here and here). I will submit that the AngloZionists have reached a terminal stage of decay in which the question of “if” is replaced by “when.” But even more interesting would be to look at the “what”:

what does the collapse of the AngloZionist Empire really mean?

I rarely see this issue discussed and when it is, it is usually to provide all sorts of reassurances that the Empire will not really collapse, that it is too powerful, too rich and too big to fail and that the current political crises in the USA and Europe will simply result in a reactive transformation of the Empire once the specific problems plaguing it have been addressed. That kind of delusional nonsense is entirely out of touch with reality. And the reality of what is taking place before our eyes is much, much more dramatic and seminal than just fixing a few problems here and there and merrily keep going on.

One of the factors which lures us into a sense of complacency is that we have seen so many other empires in history collapse only to be replaced pretty quickly by some other, that we can’t even imagine that what is taking place right now is a much more dramatic phenomenon: the passage into gradual irrelevance of an entire civilization!

But first, let’s define our terms. For all the self-aggrandizing nonsense taught in western schools, Western civilization does not have its roots in ancient Rome or, even less so, in ancient Greece. The reality is that the Western civilization was born from the Middle-Ages in general and, especially, the 11th century which, not coincidentally, saw the following succession of moves by the Papacy:

These three closely related events are of absolutely crucial importance to the history of the West. The first step the West needed was to free itself from the influence and authority of the rest of the Christian world. Once the ties between Rome and the Christian world were severed, it was only logical for Rome to decree that the Pope now has the most extravagant super-powers no other bishop before him had ever dared contemplate. Finally, this new autonomy and desire for absolute control over our planet resulted in what could be called “the first European imperialist war”: the First Crusade.

To put it succinctly: the 11th century Franks were the real progenitors of modern “Western” Europe and the 11th century marked the first imperialist “foreign war” (to use a modern term). The name of the Empire of the Franks has changed over the centuries, but not its nature, essence, or purpose. Today the true heirs of the Franks are the AngloZionists (for a truly *superb* discussion of the Frankish role in destroying the true, ancient, Christian Roman civilization of the West, see here).

Over the next 900 years or more, many different empires replaced the Frankish Papacy, and most European countries had their “moment of glory” with colonies overseas and some kind of ideology which was, by definition and axiomatically, declared the only good (or even “the only Christian”) one, whereas the rest of the planet was living in uncivilized and generally terrible conditions which could only be mitigated by those who have *always* believed that they, their religion, their culture or their nation had some kind of messianic role in history (call it “manifest destiny” or “White man’s burden” or being a Kulturträger in quest of a richly deserved Lebensraum): the West Europeans.

It looks like most European nations had a try at being an empire and at imperialist wars. Even such modern mini-states like Holland, Portugal or Austria once were feared imperial powers. And each time one European Empire fell, there was always another one to take its place.

But today?

Who do you think could create an empire powerful enough to fill the void resulting from the collapse of the AngloZionist Empire?

The canonical answer is “China.” And I think that this is nonsense.

Empires cannot only trade. Trade alone is simply not enough to remain a viable empire. Empires also need military force, and not just any military force, but the kind of military force which makes resistance futile. The truth is that NO modern country has anywhere near the capabilities needed to replace the USA in the role of World Hegemon: not even uniting the Russian and Chinese militaries would achieve that result since these two countries do not have:

1) a worldwide network of bases (which the USA have, between 700-1000 depending on how you count)

2) a major strategic air-lift and sea-lift power projection capability

3) a network of so-called “allies” (colonial puppets, really) which will assist in any deployment of military force

But even more crucial is this: China and Russia have no desire whatsoever to become an empire again. These two countries have finally understood the eternal truth, which is that empires are like parasites who feed on the body which hosts them. Yes, not only are all empires always and inherently evil, but a good case can be made that the first victims of imperialism are always the nations which “host the empire” so to speak. Oh sure, the Chinese and the Russians want their countries to be truly free, powerful and sovereign, and they understand that this is only possible when you have a military which can deter an attack, but neither China nor Russia have any interests in policing the planet or imposing some regime change on other countries.

All they really want is to be safe from the USA, that’s it.

This new reality is particularly visible in the Middle-East where countries like the United States, Israel or Saudi Arabia (this is the so-called “Axis of Kindness”) are currently only capable of deploying a military capable of massacring civilians or destroy the infrastructure of a country, but which cannot be used effectively against the two real regional powers with a modern military: Iran and Turkey.

But the most revealing litmus test was the US attempt to bully Venezuela back into submission. For all the fire and brimstone threats coming out of DC, the entire “Bolton plan(s?)” for Venezuela has/have resulted in a truly embarrassing failure: if the Sole “Hyperpower” on the planet cannot even overpower a tremendously weakened country right in its backyard, a country undergoing a major crisis, then indeed the US military should stick to the invasion of small countries like Monaco, Micronesia or maybe the Vatican (assuming the Swiss guard will not want to take a shot at the armed reps of the “indispensable nation”). The fact is that an increasing number of medium-sized “average” countries are now gradually acquiring the means to resist a US attack.

So if the writing is on the wall for the AngloZionist Empire, and if no country can replace the USA as imperial world hegemon, what does that mean?

It means the following: 1000 years of European imperialism is coming to an end!

This time around, neither Spain nor the UK nor Austria will take the place of the USA and try to become a world hegemon. In fact, there is not a single European nation which has a military even remotely capable of engaging the kind of “colony pacification” operations needed to keep your colonies in a suitable state of despair and terror. The French had their very last hurray in Algeria, the UK in the Falklands, Spain can’t even get Gibraltar back, and Holland has no real navy worth speaking about. As for central European countries, they are too busy brown-nosing the current empire to even think of becoming an empire (well, except Poland, of course, which dreams of some kind of Polish Empire between the Baltic and the Black Sea; let them, they have been dreaming about it for centuries, and they will still dream about it for many centuries to come…).

Now compare European militaries with the kind of armed forces you can find in Latin America or Asia? There is such a knee-jerk assumption of superiority in most Anglos that they completely fail to realize that medium and even small-sized countries can develop militaries sufficient enough to make an outright US invasion impossible or, at least, any occupation prohibitively expensive in terms of human lives and money (see herehere and here). This new reality also makes the typical US missile/airstrike campaign pretty useless: they will destroy a lot of buildings and bridges, they will turn the local TV stations (“propaganda outlets” in imperial terminology) into giant piles of smoking rubble and dead bodies, and they kill plenty of innocents, but that won’t result in any kind of regime change. The striking fact is that if we accept that warfare is the continuation of politics by other means, then we also have to admit, that under that definition, the US armed forces are totally useless since they cannot help the USA achieve any meaningful political goals.

The truth is that in military and economic terms, the “West” has already lost. The fact that those who understand don’t talk, and that those who talk about this (denying it, of course) have no understanding of what is taking place, makes no difference at all.

In theory, we could imagine that some kind of strong leader would come to power in the USA (the other western countries are utterly irrelevant), crush the Neocons like Putin crushed them in Russia, and prevent the brutal and sudden collapse of the Empire, but that ain’t gonna happen. If there is one thing which the past couple of decades have proven beyond reasonable doubt is that the imperial system is entirely unable to reform itself in spite of people like Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, Ross Perrot, Ron Paul, Mike Gravel or even Obama and Trump – all men who promised meaningful change and who were successfully prevented by the system of achieving anything meaningful. Thus the system is still 100% effective, at least inside the USA: it took the Neocons less than 30 days to crush Trump and all his promises of change, and now it even got Tulsi Gabbard to bow down and cave in to Neocons’ absolutely obligatory political orthodoxy and myths.

So what is likely to happen next?

Simply put, Asia will replace the Western World. But – crucially – this time around no empire will come to take the place of the AngloZionist one. Instead, a loose and informal coalition of mostly Asian countries will offer an alternative economic and civilizational model, which will be immensely attractive to the rest of the planet. As for the Empire, it will very effectively disband itself and slowly fade into irrelevance. Both US Americans and Europeans will, for the very first time in their history, have to behave like civilized people, which means that their traditional “model of development” (ransacking the entire planet and robbing everybody blind) will have to be replaced by one in which these US Americans and Europeans will have to work like everybody else to accumulate riches. This notion will absolutely horrify the current imperial ruling elites, but I wager that it will be welcomed by the majority of the people, especially when this “new” (for them) model will yield more peace and prosperity than the previous one!

Indeed, if the Neocons don’t blow up the entire planet in a nuclear holocaust, the USA and Europe will survive, but only after a painful transition period which could last for a decade or more. One of the factors which will immensely complicate the transition from Empire to “regular” country will be the profound and deep influence 1000 years of imperialism have had on the western cultures, especially in the completely megalomaniac United States (Professor John Marciano’s “Empire as a way of life” lecture series addresses this topic superbly – I highly recommend them!): One thousand years of brainwashing are not so easily overcome, especially on the subconscious (assumptions) level.

Finally, the current rather nasty reaction to the multi-culturalism imposed by the western ruling elites is no less pathological than this corrosive multi-culturalism in the first place. I am referring to the new theories “revisiting” WWII and finding inspiration in all things Third Reich, very much including a revival of racist/racialist theories. This is especially ridiculous (and offensive) when coming from people who try to impersonate Christians but who instead of prayers on their lips just spew 1488-like nonsense. These folks all represent precisely the kind of “opposition” the Neocons love to deal with and which they always (and I really mean *always*) end up defeating. This (pretend) opposition (useful idiots, really) will remain strong as long as it remains well funded (which it currently is). But as soon as the current megalomania (“We are the White Race! We built Athens and Rome! We are Evropa!!!”) ends with an inevitable faceplant, folks will eventually return to sanity and realize that no external scapegoat is responsible for the current state of the West. The sad truth is that the West did all this to itself (mainly due to arrogance and pride!), and the current waves of immigrants are nothing more than a 1000 years of really bad karma returning to where it came from initially. I don’t mean to suggest that folks in the West are all individually responsible for what is happening now. But I do say that all the folks in the West now live with the consequences of 1000 years of unrestrained imperialism. It will be hard, very hard, to change ways, but since that is also the only viable option, it will happen, sooner or later.

But still – there is hope. IF the Neocons don’t blow up the planet, and IF mankind is given enough time to study its history and understand where it took the wrong turn, then maybe, just maybe, there is hope.

I think that we can all find solace in the fact that no matter how ugly, stupid and evil the AngloZionist Empire is, no other empire will ever come to replace it.

In other words, should we survive the current empire (which is by no means certain!) then at least we can look forward to a planet with no empires left, only sovereign countries.

I submit that this is a future worth struggling for.

The Saker

China must avoid a role in destruction of Amazon

July 23, 2019

by Pepe Escobar : Posted with permission

China must avoid a role in destruction of Amazon

China is South America’s top trading partner. Together, China’s policy banks – the China Development Bank and Export-Import Bank of China – are the top source of development finance for the whole of Latin America. 

Over the past few decades, the Brazilian government, leading national companies and multinational corporations have configured what Fernando Mires, already in 1990, defined as the “Amazon mode of production”: a terribly predatory, technological-intensive mode of production and destruction, including subjugation of indigenous populations in slave-based working conditions, with everything geared for export to global markets.

The Amazon is spread out over 6.5 million square kilometers covering two-fifths of Latin America – half of Peru, a third of Colombia, a great deal of Bolivia, Venezuela, Guyana, French Guyana and Suriname, and most of all, 3.5 million square kilometers in Brazil.

The original population diversity was staggering. Before the arrival of the Europeans in Brazil in 1500, there were no less than 1,400 tribes, 60% of them in the Amazon. Ethnologists marveled that nowhere else in the world compared to the linguistic diversity in tropical South America.

The Tupi-guarani tribe even constituted a sort of “empire”, occupying a huge territory from the Andes to the Pampas in southern Brazil. A sort of “proto-state” traded with the Andes and the Caribbean. This all laid to rest the Western-peddled myth of a “savage”, un-civilized Amazon.

Now let’s fast-forward to the current Western outcry over the Jair Bolsonaro government’s destruction of the Amazon.

Brazil, still under the second presidential term of Dilma Rousseff – later impeached under spurious charges – was a signatory of the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change. Article 5 of the agreement rules that parties “should take action” to preserve endangered forests. Brasilia pledged to protect the Amazon by restoring 12 million hectares of forests by 2030.   

And yet under Bolsonaro, “should take action” metastasized into “reverse previous action.” The new mantra is “Amazon development.” In fact, a turbo-charged and even more predatory 2.0 version of the “Amazon mode of production,” much to the horror of Western environmentalists, who fear an imminent transformation of the Amazon into a dry savanna, with dire consequences for the whole planet.

Staggering natural wealth

The Brazilian Army is fond of noting that the Amazon’s natural wealth has been evaluated at a staggering $23 trillion. This is a 2017 figure announced by General Eduardo Villas Boas, who added: “Brazil is a highly endowed individual imprisoned in the body of a teenager. The Amazon is practically abandoned, there’s no national project and density of thinking.”

In fact, there is a national (military) project to “develop” the Amazon at breakneck pace, while preventing, by all means, the “Balkanization of the Amazon” and the action of Western NGOs.

In April this year, one of Bolsonaro’s sons posted a video of Dad engaged in a “surprising” conversation with four indigenous people in Brasilia.

A deforested area in the middle of the Amazon jungle found in Para state, Brazil in 2014. Greenpeace said trucks carried illegally felled trees to sawmills at night, which were later exported. Photo: AFP / Raphael Alves

Top anthropologist Piero Leirner – a specialist on the Brazilian military and their activities in the Amazon – explains the context. The Bolsonaro government carefully picked four natives involved in the business of soybeans and mining. They spoke for themselves. Immediately after, an official indigenous people association released a letter disowning them. “That was classic Divide and Conquer,” Leirner argued. “Nobody paid attention to the letter. For most of Brazil, the case was closed in terms of ‘social communication’ – solidifying the government’s narrative of NGOs fighting for the internationalization of the Amazon.”

Mining giants in Brazil would rather have indigenous peoples as spokespersons instead of the military. In fact, it’s a maze of interlocking interests – as in captains and colonels in business with mining entrepreneurs acting in protected indigenous areas.

What happened during these past few years is that most indigenous peoples ended up figuring out they cannot win – whatever the scenario. As Leirner explained: “Belo Monte [the world’s third-largest dam] unveiled the real game: in the end, the dam practically works to the benefit of mining companies, and opened space for Belo Sun, which will excavate the whole of Xingu in search of gold.”

So that’s the perverse project inbuilt in the “development of the Amazon” – to turn indigenous peoples into a sub-proletarian workforce in mining operations.

And then there’s the crucial – for the industrialized West – niobium angle (a metal known for its hardness). Roughly 78% of Brazilian niobium reserves are located in the southeast, not in the Amazon, which accounts at best for 18%. The abundance of niobium in Brazil will last all the way to 2200 – even taking into consideration non-stop, exponential Chinese GDP growth. But the Amazon is not about niobium. It’s about gold – to be duly shipped to the West.

Rolling down the river

Bolsonaro is keen to bring roads, bridges and hydroelectric plants to the most remote areas of the Amazon. Under the “sovereignty” mantra, he has promised to impose the hand of the state in the strategic Triple-A area – Amazon, Andes, Atlantic Ocean – thus countering the alleged intent of Western NGOs of creating an independent strip for environmental preservation.

So, how does China fit into the Amazon puzzle? A recent report addresses some of the hard questions. 

Since last year, Beijing officially started to consider the whole of Latin America as a “natural extension” of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as well as an “indispensable partner.” That was spelled out by Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the 2018 China-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States Ministerial Forum.

All of BRI’s guidelines now apply – and that includes the Amazon: policy cooperation, infrastructure development, investment and trade facilitation, financial integration, and cultural and social exchange.

China’s internal green drive – restricting coal production, supporting solar panel factories, remaking Hainan island into an eco-development zone – will have to be translated into its projects in the Amazon. That means Chinese companies will need to pay extremely close attention to local communities, especially indigenous people. And that also means that the Chinese will be under intense scrutiny by Western NGOs.

Brazil may have ratified the International Labor Organization’s Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, known as ILO 169, which enshrines the rights of indigenous communities to be consulted by the state on decisions that directly affect them.

Yet with less than seven months of Bolsonaro in power, all that is in effect null and void.

Indigenous people call for demarcation of lands in Sao Paulo in January 2019. People around the world have voiced concern over the policies of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: AFP / Cris Faga / NurPhoto

There’s slim hope that an exhaustive set of guidelines for large projects in the Amazon established by the Center of Sustainability Studies at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Sao Paulo, linked to the World Bank, may be respected by the government. But no one is holding their breath.

Key projects with Chinese involvement include the Amazon waterway in Peru, which featured prior consultations with over 400 indigenous villages, according to the government in Lima.

But most of all there’s the $2.8 billion, under construction 2,500 km-long Belo Monte Transmission Line, with an installed capacity of 11.2 gigawatts. China’s State Grid is part of the consortium, with financing coming from the Brazilian National Development Bank. The first and second transmission lines directly affect the Amazon ecosystem and run near 10 conservation areas and an array of ethnic groups.

The “China in the Amazon” report correctly notes that “Chinese companies are not well attuned to the importance of direct engagement with local non-governmental stakeholders, and have faced repeated costs, work stoppages, and delays as a result. Chinese deference to host-country policies should extend to the commitments by host countries to international treaties and law, such as ILO 169 and its standard of free, prior, and informed consent for indigenous peoples. Indigenous organizations and civil society organizations in the Amazon region have a long and strong trajectory of actively participating in government decisions relating to the use of indigenous territories and natural resources.”

The report suggests establishing a “multidisciplinary working group comprised of NGOs, local indigenous groups, academics, and scientists to review existing principles and standards” for sustainable infrastructure projects.

The chances of this being adopted by the Bolsonaro administration and endorsed by the Brazilian military are less than zero. The Big Picture in Brazil under Bolsonaro spells out neocolonial dependence, over-exploitation of workers, not to mention indigenous peoples, and the complete expropriation of Brazilian natural wealth.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro delivers a speech at Davos in January. His policies are seen as a major threat to forests in the Amazon. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

Only a pawn in their game

China may be Brazil’s top trade partner. But Beijing must tread carefully – and strictly enforce BRI guidelines when it comes to projects especially involving the Amazon.

There’s no way the UN Security Council, with climate change in mind, would ever sanction Brazil for the destruction of the Amazon. France and Britain would be for it. But Russia and China – both BRICS members – would certainly abstain, and the US under Trump would vote against it.

Brazil is now a privileged pawn in the most important geopolitical game of the 21st century: the clash between the US and the Russia-China strategic partnership.

The last thing Beijing needs in terms of global public relations is to be branded as an accomplice in the destruction of the Amazon.

BBC Says China Building Schools is “Bad”

BBC Says China Building Schools is “Bad”

July 14, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – China’s recent building-spree of schools in its underdeveloped and remote region of Xinjiang – in a saner world – would be good news. But for editors at the BBC it is being depicted as sinister and dystopian.

The BBC’s article, “China Muslims: Xinjiang schools used to separate children from families,” attempts to depict boarding schools – a concept popular in the UK itself – as a “form of interment” and “cultural re-engineering.”

The BBC’s article claims:

China is deliberately separating Muslim children from their families, faith and language in its far western region of Xinjiang, according to new research. At the same time as hundreds of thousands of adults are being detained in giant camps, a rapid, large-scale campaign to build boarding schools is under way.

The “new research” conducted by the BBC is admittedly not even being done in China itself. The BBC admits:

China’s tight surveillance and control in Xinjiang, where foreign journalists are followed 24 hours a day, make it impossible to gather testimony there. But it can be found in Turkey.

“Testimony” gathered in Turkey – one of the nations abetting US efforts to fuel radicalism and separatism in Xinjiang in the first place – is accompanied by satellite photos taken from outer space of vacant lots in Xinjiang being transformed into newly built schools complete with football pitches and jogging tracks.

The images are only proof that China is building schools in Xinjiang. Not of any of the claims being made by the BBC of “internment” or “cultural re-engineering.” The inclusion of the images is meant to serve as convincing stand-ins where actual evidence of the BBC’s otherwise baseless accusations should be.

The BBC Omits the Real “Cultural Re-Engineering” in China’s Xinjiang 

The BBC has been one of the leading voices promoting claims of Xinjiang “concentration camps,” “one million Muslims” being detained, and now the “internment” of children in schools.

The BBC – however – has been relatively quiet for years over genuine cultural re-engineering taking place in Xinjiang – funded by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and abetted by nations like Turkey and even the UK itself through its propaganda and political support of such efforts.

The LA Times in a 2016 article titled, “In China, rise of Salafism fosters suspicion and division among Muslims,” would reveal:

Salafism is an ultra-conservative school of thought within Sunni Islam, espousing a way of life and prayer that harks back to the 6th century, when Muhammad was alive. Islamic State militants are Salafi, many Saudi Arabian clerics are Salafi, and so are many Chinese Muslims living in Linxia. They pray at their own mosques and wear Saudi-style kaffiyehs.

The article also noted (emphasis added):

Experts say that in recent years, Chinese authorities have put Salafis under constant surveillance, closed several Salafi religious schools and detained a prominent Salafi cleric. A once close-knit relationship between Chinese Salafis and Saudi patrons has grown thorny and complex.

And that:

…Saudi preachers and organizations began traveling to China. Some of them bore gifts: training programs for clerics, Korans for distribution, funding for new “Islamic institutes” and mosques.

This pervasive radicalism has translated directly into real violence – another fact omitted completely from the BBC and other Western media coverage of events in Xinjiang.

China’s efforts to reverse the growing influence of Salafism – such as collecting deliberately mistranslated copies of the Koran published and distributed by Saudi Arabia to promote radicalism – have been depicted by the Western media as religious oppression with all context intentionally omitted.

That the BBC claims China building schools teaching Mandarin and Chinese culture in China is “cultural re-engineering” while overlooking Saudi Arabia building Salafist networks thousands of miles away from its borders fuelling very real extremism in western China to begin with – helps fully reveal recent BBC reports on Xinjiang and China’s Muslim community as pure propaganda.

Salafism as a Geopolitical Tool 

Not only does the BBC intentionally omit mention of extremism and violence in regions like Xinjiang or how it came to be, the BBC is also omitting the fact that Salafism itself was admittedly spread worldwide by Saudi Arabia as a geopolitical tool.

In the pages of the Washington Post, the Saudi Crown Prince would recently admit:

Asked about the Saudi-funded spread of Wahhabism, the austere faith that is dominant in the kingdom and that some have accused of being a source of global terrorism, Mohammed said that investments in mosques and madrassas overseas were rooted in the Cold War, when allies asked Saudi Arabia to use its resources to prevent inroads in Muslim countries by the Soviet Union.

Wahhabism is closely related to Salafism and the terms are often used interchangeably. The Crown Prince’s admission refers specifically to the Cold War and the Soviet Union, but it is abundantly clear that these networks didn’t simply vanish with the collapse of the Soviet Union, they evolved.

They are now used to help feed extremists into Washington’s many proxy wars around the globe including in Libya and Syria. They are also being used to pressure nations across Asia and to create a pretext for a continued US military presence in Asia-Pacific.

And clearly they are being used to fuel US-backed separatism inside China.

Just as the Western media deliberately misrepresented terrorists waging proxy war on the West’s behalf against Libya and Syria – the Western media is deliberately misrepresenting China’s Uyghur minority, the extremists within that minority, who funds and encourages them, and why.

We’re left with articles like the BBC’s – attempting to undermine China’s global standings by depicting very real efforts to confront very real extremism as “oppressive” and “authoritarian.” It is partly to help provide cover for ongoing efforts to divide China from within, but also to demonize China among global Muslim communities.

Never mentioned by the BBC in its efforts to depict China as persecuting all Muslims – rather than a minority of extremists who just so happen to be Muslims – is the fact that China’s oldest and most important ally in Eurasia is Pakistan – a Muslim-majority nation. Also omitted is the fact that China has many other Muslim minority groups within its borders who live without conflict.

These facts – along with ham-handed attempts by the BBC and others to depict newly constructed schools in a previously underdeveloped and remote region as “oppressive” – help one understand the true obstacles impeding global stability and progress. It is not Beijing – it is those claiming Beijing building schools and confronting real radicalism through reform rather than perpetual war are “villains.”

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

Revanchist Israel Bent on Territorial Expansion. Towards “Greater Israel”?

Global Research, July 15, 2019

Israel is the only nation without official borders. From its inception it was planned this way to extrajudicially annex more territory.

A territorial expansion plan was drawn up in the 1980s as part of the US/Israel plan to redraw the Middle East map to their advantage, wanting subservient puppet regimes installed in partitioned Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and other Arab countries.

In 2006, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya wrote about “(t)he (US-Israeli) Project for a New Middle East.”

Their objectives remain unchanged, including the creation of “arc of instability, chaos, and violence extending from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria to Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Iran, and borders of” Central Asia and North Africa.

Endless US-led NATO wars rage in this broader region, no end of them in prospect. Beginning weeks after 9/11, what followed was well planned in advance.

The mother of all false flags launched Washington’s escalated imperial agenda in this oil and other resource-rich part of the world.

US forever wars are part of its divide, conquer and control strategy, the human cost of no consequence. Israel shares the same objective regionally that Washington aims for worldwide.

In 1982, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs senior advisor Oded Yinon published a document for regional conquest and dominance — titled “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s.”

Israel Shahak (1933 – 2001) published a translated/edited version titled “The Zionist Plan for the Middle East.”

It’s considered the most explicit, detailed statement of Zionist rage for redrawing the Middle East map to serve Israeli interests.

Its two essential premises include the following:

To survive, Israel must dominate the region and become a world power.

Achieving its imperial aims requires dividing Arab nations into small, easily controlled states – partitioning them along ethnic and sectarian lines as weakened Israeli satellites.

According to Yinon,

“(t)he existence, prosperity and steadfastness of (Israel) depend(s) upon its ability to adopt a new framework for its domestic and foreign affairs,” based on securing its material needs through winnable resource wars and Arab world divisions.

“All the Arab States east of Israel are torn apart, broken up and riddled with inner conflicts even more than those of the Maghreb” (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, and Western Sahara).”

Gulf states are “built upon a delicate house of sand in which there is only oil.” Jordan is in reality Palestine, Amman the same as Nablus.

Other regional states are similar, including Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and others.

The US, NATO, Israeli scheme is all about creating endless regional violence and chaos, exploited to their advantage for gaining control over regional nations and their valued resources.

In 1948, Israel stole 78% of historic Palestine, siezing the rest in June 1967, including Jerusalem, a UN-designated international city the US and Israel consider the exclusive Jewish state capital, no matter how contrary to international law.

Israel illegally occupies most all valued West Bank land and Jerusalem. It always aimed for maximum Jews and minimum Arabs throughout historic Palestine.

On Friday, UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in Occupied Palestine Michael Lynk said actions of the Jewish state “occupying power (are) bent on further (illegal) territorial annexation.”

During a visit to Amman, Jordan, the Netanyahu regime denied him permission to enter Occupied Palestine.

My earlier articles about Israel/Palestine explained the following:

Occupied Palestinians live in limbo, controlled by a repressive foreign army and a system of institutionalized and codified racism.

They’re denied self-determination, the right of citizenship, and control over their daily lives, what’s fundamental for all free socities.

Living in a constant state of fear, they suffer from economic strangulation, collective punishment, denial of free movement and expression, along with enduring virtually every form of indignity, degradation, and crime against humanity imaginable.

Their population centers are isolated from each other for easier control and theft of their land.

They endure curfews, roadblocks, checkpoints, electric fences, other barriers, mass arrests, imprisonments, torture, separation walls, bulldozed homes, and targeted killings.

Their fundamental rights affirmed under international law are denied by oppressive Israeli regimes, ruling by what Edward Said called “refined viciousness.”

They’re punished by inadequate or denied vital services, punitive taxes, regular neighborhood incursions, land, sea and air attacks, imprisonment of lawmakers for belonging to the wrong party, ethnic cleansing, and slow-motion genocide for praying to the wrong God.

Challenging Israeli authority verbally, in writing, or by peaceful demonstrations risks arrest, injury, or death.

Israel is to Palestinians what Nazi Germany was to Jews, slow-motion extermination compared to industrial scale.

Two million besieged Gazans endure the world’s largest open-air prison, an entire population enduring mass suffocation.

Lynk slammed the Netanyahu regime for failing to fulfill its “obligations as a UN member to cooperate fully with Experts of the United Nations.”

He expressed special concern for Gazans, enduring protracted humanitarian crisis conditions enforced by Israel.

“Palestinians seeking redress through the Israeli legal system face a multitude of obstacles such that ultimately, justice is elusive and largely impossible to obtain,” he stressed, adding:

“Israel’s conduct of the 52-year-old occupation is an affront to modern international law.”

“The United Nations has stated on numerous occasions that the Israeli settlements are illegal, its annexation of East Jerusalem is unlawful, and its violations of the human rights of the Palestinians breach international covenants and treaties.”

“Now is the time for the international community to hold Israel fully accountable for its actions, and to determine whether (its) role as the occupying power has crossed the bright red line into illegality.”

There’s no ambiguity about Israeli high crimes of war and against humanity, its vicious persecution of defenseless Palestinians.

Yet the world community has done nothing to hold the Jewish state accountable, nothing to seek redress for the Palestinian people.

As long as Israel has US support, it’ll continue getting away with mass murder and a whole lot more. They’ll be no end to Palestinian suffering.

Fulfillment of Netanyahu’s campaign pledge to annex illegal settlements if implemented will be the latest Israeli affront to their fundamental rights.

Israel has never been held accountable for “its prolonged occupation, annexation and defiance of international (laws, norms, and standards) with respect to settlements, the separation wall, and collective punishment,” said Lynk.

Nor is it likely ahead unless international tribunals fulfill their obligations to hold serial lawbreaker Israel and its officials accountable for their high crimes.

*

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Debunking the Indo-Pacific Myth

Pepe Escobar
July 9, 2019
Image result for Debunking the Indo-Pacific Myth
© Photo: Navy.mil

The Trump administration is obsessively spinning the concept of a “free and open Indo-Pacific”. Apart from a small coterie of scholars, very few people around the world, especially across the Global South, know what that means since the then incipient strategy was first unveiled at the 2017 APEC forum in Vietnam.

Now everything one needs to know – and especially not know – about the Indo-Pacific is contained in a detailed Pentagon report.

Still: is this an act, or the real deal? After all, the strategy was unveiled by “acting” Pentagon head Patrick Shanahan (the Boeing guy), who latter committed hara-kiri, just to be replaced by another, revolving door, “acting” secretary, Mark Espel (the Raytheon guy).

Shanahan made a big deal of Indo-Pacific when he hit the 18thShangri-La Dialogue in Singapore last month, picking up on his introduction to the Pentagon report to stress the “geopolitical rivalry between free and repressive world order visions” and demonizing China for seeking to “reorder the region to its advantage”.

In contrast, all the benign Pentagon yearns for is just “freedom” and “openness” for a “networked region”; calling it the New Pentagon Silk Road wouldn’t be far fetched.

Anyone remotely familiar with “Indo-Pacific” knows that’s code for demonization of China; actually, the Trump administration’s version of Obama’s “pivot to Asia”, which was in itself a State Dept. concoction, via Kurt Campbell, fully appropriated by then Secretary Hillary Clinton.

“Indo-Pacific” congregates the Quad – US, Japan, India and Australia – in a “free” and “open” God-given mission. Yet this conception of freedom and openness blocks the possibility of China turning the mechanism into a Quintet.

Add to it what hawkish actor Esper told the Senate Armed Services Committee way back in 2017:

“My first priority will be readiness – ensuring the total Army is prepared to fight across the full spectrum of conflict. With the Army engaged in over 140 countries around the world, to include combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, training rotations to Europe to deter Russia, and forward deployed units in the Pacific defending against a bellicose North Korea, readiness must be our top priority.”

That was 2017. Esper didn’t even talk about China – which at the time was not the demonized “existential threat” of today. The Pentagon continues to be all about Full Spectrum Dominance.

Beijing harbors no illusions about the new Indo-Pacific chief they will be dealing with.

Surfing FONOP

“Indo-Pacific” is a hard nut to sell to ASEAN. As much as selected members may allow themselves to profit from some “protection” by the US military, Southeast Asia as a whole maintains top trade relations with China; most nations are participants of the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB); and they will not shrink from enjoying the benefits of Huawei’s 5G future.

Actually even the other three in the Quad, as much as they are not linked to BRI, are having second thoughts on playing supportive roles in an all-American super production. They are very careful about their geoeconomic relations with China. “Indo-Pacific”, a club of four, is a de facto late response to BRI – which is indeed open, to over 65 nations so far.

The Pentagon’s favorite mantra concerns the enforcement of “freedom of navigation operations” (FONOP) – as if China, juggling the countless tentacles of global supply chains, would have any interest in provoking naval insecurity anywhere.

So far, “Indo-Pacific” has made sure that the US Pacific Command was renamed US Indo-Pacific Command. And that’s about it. Everything remains the same in terms of those FONOPs – in fact a carefully deceptive euphemism for the US Navy to be on 24/7 patrol anywhere across Asian seas, from the Indian to the Pacific, and especially the South China Sea. No ASEAN nation though will be caught dead performing FONOPS in South China Sea waters within 12 nautical miles of rocks and reefs claimed by Beijing.

The rampant demonization of China, now a bipartisan sport across the Beltway, on occasion even more hysterical than the demonization of Russia, also features proverbial reports by the Council on Foreign Relations – the establishment’s think tank by definition – on China as a serial aggressor, politically, economically and militarily, and BRI as a geoeconomic tool to coerce China’s neighbors.

So it’s no wonder this state of affairs has led Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on a recent, frenetic Indo-Pacific related tour, including Quad members India and Japan and possible associates Saudi Arabia, UAE and South Korea.

Geopoliticians of the realist school do fear that Pompeo, a fanatic Christian Zionist, may be enjoying under Trump a virtual monopoly on US foreign policy; a former CIA director playing warmongering top “diplomat” while also “acting” as Pentagon head trampling other second string actors who are not under full employment.

His Indo-Pacific roving was a de facto tour de force emphasizing the containment/demonization not only of China but also Iran, which should be seen as the major US target in the Indo/Southwest Asia part of the club. Iran is not only about strategic positioning and being a major BRI hub; it’s about immense reserves of natural gas to be traded bypassing the US dollar.

The fact that the non-stop demonization of Iran and/or China “aggression” comes from a hyperpower with over 800 military bases or lily pads spread out across every latitude plus a FONOP armada patrolling the seven seas is enough to send the hardest cynic into a paroxysm of laughter.

The high-speed train has left the station

In the end, everything under “Indo-Pacific” goes back to what game India is playing.

New Delhi meekly opted for not buying oil from Iran after the Trump administration lifted its sanctions waiver. New Delhi had promised earlier, on the record, to only respect UN Security Council sanctions, not unilateral – and illegal – US sanctions.

This decision is set to jeopardize India’s dream of extending its new mini-Silk Road to Afghanistan and Central Asia based on the Iranian port of Chabahar. That was certainly part of the discussions during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Bishkek, when full members Putin, Xi and Modi, plus Rouhani – as the head of an observer nation – were sitting at the same table.

New Delhi’s priority – embedded deep in the Indian establishment – may be containment of China. Yet Putin and Xi – fellow BRICS and SCO members – are very much aware that Modi cannot at the same time antagonize China and lose Iran as partner, and are deftly working on it.

Image result for Putin, Xi and Modi, plus Rouhani

On the Eurasian chessboard, the Pentagon and the Trump administration, together, only think Divide and Rule. India must become a naval power capable of containing China in the Indian Ocean while Japan must contain China economically and militarily all across East Asia.

Japan and India do meet – again – when it comes to another more geoeconomically specific anti-BRI scheme; the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC), which so far has had a minimal impact and stands no chance of luring dozens of nations across the Global South away from BRI-related projects.

The chessboard now clearly shows Indo-Pacific pitted against the three key hubs of Eurasia integration – Russia-China-Iran. The definitive unraveling of Indo-Pacific – even before it starts gaining ground – would be a clear commitment by New Delhi to break apart the US sanctions regime by restarting purchases of much-needed Iran oil and gas.

It won’t take much for Modi to figure out that taking a second role in a Made in USA production will leave him stranded at the station eating dust just as the high-speed Eurasia integration train passes him by.

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