Putin’s speech at the Eastern Economic Forum

September 07, 2022

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, Mr Min Aung Hlaing, Mr Pashinyan, Mr Oyun-Erdene, Mr Li Zhanshu, ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to greet all participants and guests of the Eastern Economic Forum. Russia and Vladivostok are again hosting a forum of business leaders, experts, politicians, public figures and members of government from dozens of countries across the world.

As per tradition, the programme of the Eastern Economic Forum includes discussions on the projects and initiatives that are extremely important for the development of the regions in Russia’s Far East and for strengthening Russia’s cooperation and production ties with Asia Pacific countries, both our old, traditional partners and countries that are only developing dialogue with Russia in a broad range of areas and business projects.

Of course, this meeting in Vladivostok is a good opportunity to once again review the situation in the global economy and to exchange views on its main trends and risks.

Last year, the Eastern Economic Forum was held after a long pause caused by the coronavirus pandemic. At that time, the majority of experts agreed that global business activity was beginning to recover and that it would normalise soon after the lifting of the coronavirus restrictions, However, the pandemic has given way to new challenges, global ones that are threatening the world as a whole. I am referring to the Western sanctions frenzy and the open and aggressive attempts to force the Western mode of behaviour on other countries, to extinguish their sovereignty and to bend them to its will. In fact, there is nothing unusual in that: this policy has been pursued by the “collective West” for decades.

The waning dominance of the United States in the global economy and politics, as well as the stubborn unwillingness or even inability of the Western elites to see, let alone recognise objective facts, acted as a catalyst for these processes.

I have already mentioned that the entire system of international relations has recently undergone irreversible, or should I say, tectonic, shifts. Emerging states and regions around the world, primarily, of course, in the Asia-Pacific region, now play a substantially bigger role. Asia-Pacific countries emerged as new centres of economic and technological growth, attracting human resources, capital and manufacturing.

Despite all that, the Western countries are seeking to preserve yesterday’s world order that benefits them and force everyone to live according to the infamous “rules”, which they concocted themselves. They are also the ones who regularly violate these rules, changing them to suit their agenda depending on how things are going at any given moment. At the same time, other countries have not been forthcoming when it comes to subjecting themselves to this dictate and arbitrary rule, forcing the Western elites, to put it bluntly, to lose grip and take short-sighted, irrational decisions on global security, politics, as well as economics. All these decisions run counter to the interests of countries and their people, including, by the way, the people in those Western countries. The gap separating the Western elites from their own citizens is widening.

Europe is about to throw its achievements in building up its manufacturing capability, the quality of life of its people and socioeconomic stability into the sanctions furnace, depleting its potential, as directed by Washington for the sake of the infamous Euro-Atlantic unity. In fact, this amounts to sacrifices in the name of preserving the dominance of the United States in global affairs.

Back in spring, many foreign corporations rushed to announce their withdrawal from Russia, believing that our country will suffer more than others. Today, we see one manufacturing site after another shutting down in Europe itself. One of the key reasons, of course, lies in the severed business ties with Russia.

The competitive ability of European companies is in decline, for the EU officials themselves are essentially cutting them off from affordable commodities and energy, as well as trade markets. It will come as no surprise if eventually the niches currently occupied by European businesses, both on the continent and on the global market in general, will be taken over by their American patrons who know no boundaries or hesitation when it comes to pursuing their interests and achieving their goals.

More than that, in an attempt to obstruct the course of history, Western countries have undermined the pillars of the global economic system, built over centuries. It is in front of our eyes that the dollar, euro and pound sterling have lost trust as currencies suitable for performing transactions, storing reserves and denominating assets. We are taking steps to shed this dependence on unreliable and compromised foreign currencies. By the way, even allies of the United States are gradually reducing their dollar assets, as we can see from statistics. Step by step, the volume of transactions and savings in dollars is diminishing.

I want to note here that yesterday, Gazprom and its Chinese partners decided to switch to 50/50 transactions in rubles and yuan with respect to gas payments.

I want to add that with their short-sighted actions, Western officials have triggered a global inflation. In many developed economies, the inflation rate has reached a record-high level that had not been seen in many years.

Everybody is aware of this but I will reiterate: as of late July, inflation in the United States reached 8.5 percent. Russia has just over 14 percent (I will speak about this further) but it is declining, unlike in Western economies. The inflation there is on the rise, and in our country it is declining. I believe that as of the end of the year, we will have around 12 percent and, as many of our experts think, in the first quarter or by the second quarter of 2023, we will most likely reach the target inflation rate. Some say it will be 5–6 percent. Others say it will go down to 4 percent. We will see. In any case, the trend is positive. Meanwhile, what is happening with our neighbours? The inflation in Germany has reached 7.9 percent, in Belgium 9.9 percent, in the Netherlands 12 percent, Latvia 20.8 percent, Lithuania 21.1 percent and Estonia 25.2 percent. And it is still on the rise.

Rising prices in the global markets can be a real tragedy for most of the poorest countries, which are facing shortages of food, energy, and other vital goods. I will cite a few figures that underline the danger: while in 2019, according to the UN, 135 million people in the world were facing acute food insecurity, their number has soared by 2.5 times to 345 million by now – this is just horrible. Moreover, the poorest states have completely lost access to the most essential foods as developed countries are buying up the entire supply, causing a sharp increase in prices.

Let me give you an example. Most of the ships – you all know very well how high passions have been running, how much has been said about the need to facilitate the export of Ukrainian grain at all costs, to support the poorest countries. And we certainly had no other choice but to respond, despite all the complicated developments taking place around Ukraine. We did everything to ensure that Ukrainian grain was exported, and we certainly assumed – I met with the leaders of the African Union, with the leaders of African states and I promised them that we would make every effort to uphold their interests and would facilitate the export of Ukrainian grain.

Russia did it together with Turkiye. We did it. And I would like to report the result to you, colleagues: if we exclude Turkiye as an intermediary, all the grain exported from Ukraine, almost in its entirety, went to the European Union, not to the developing and poorest countries. Only two ships delivered grain under the UN World Food Programme – the very programme that is supposed to help countries that need help the most – only two ships out of 87 – I emphasise – transported 60,000 tonnes out of 2 million tonnes of food. That’s just 3 percent, and it went to the developing countries.

What I am saying is, many European countries today continue to act as colonisers, exactly as they have been doing in previous decades and centuries. Developing countries have simply been cheated yet again and continue to be cheated.

It is obvious that with this approach, the scale of food problems in the world will only increase. Unfortunately, to our great regret, this could lead to an unprecedented humanitarian disaster, and perhaps, exporters need to think about limiting their exports of grain and other food to this destination. I will certainly consult with President of Turkiye, Mr Erdogan, because together with him we were the ones who developed a mechanism for the export of Ukrainian grain, primarily, I repeat, to help the poorest countries. But what happened in practice?

I would like to stress once again that this situation has been caused by the reckless steps taken by the United States, the UK and the European Union, which are obsessed with illusory political ideas. As for the wellbeing of their own citizens, let alone people outside the so-called golden billion, they have been pushing it to the backburner. This will inevitably lead Western countries into a deadlock, an economic and social crisis, and will have unpredictable consequences for the whole world.

Colleagues,

Russia is coping well with the economic, financial and technological aggression of the West. I am talking about a real aggression; there is no other word for it. Russia’s currency and financial market has stabilised, inflation is going down, as I have already mentioned, and the unemployment rate is at an all-time historical low of less than 4 percent. The assessments and forecasts of our economic performance, including by businesspeople, are more optimistic now than in early spring.

I would like to say that our economic situation has stabilised overall, but we also see a number of problems in some sectors, regions and individual enterprises, especially those that relied on supplies from Europe or supplied their products there.

It is important to continue working with businesses to take prompt decisions and launch effective targeted support mechanisms. I would like to ask the Government Commission to Increase the Sustainability of the Russian Economy under the Sanctions to keep track of the situation. It is true that we are doing this almost on a daily basis. Nevertheless, despite the evidence of stabilisation I have mentioned, we are also aware of the risks and so we must keep an eye on them.

Russia is a sovereign state. We will always protect our national interests while pursuing an independent policy, and we also appreciate this quality among our partners, who have demonstrated their reliability and responsible attitude in the course of our trade, investment and other types of cooperation over many years. I am referring, as you are aware, to our colleagues from the Asia Pacific countries.

An absolute majority of Asia Pacific countries reject the destructive logic of sanctions. Their business relations are focused on mutual advantage, cooperation and the joint use of our economic capabilities to the benefit of our countries’ citizens. This adds up to a huge competitive advantage of the regional countries and a guarantee of their dynamic long-term development, which has been growing faster than the world’s average for a long time.

You are aware of this, but I would like to remind everyone that over the past 10 years Asian countries’ GDP has been increasing by approximately 5 percent every year, while the figure is 3 percent in the world, 2 percent in the US and 1.2 percent in the EU. But it is even more important that this trend persists. What will this ultimately lead to? As a result, the share of Asian economies in global GDP will grow from 37.1 percent in 2015 to 45 percent in 2027, and I am sure that this trend will persist.

It is important for Russia that the economy of the Russian Far East grows together with Asia Pacific economies, that this region provide modern living conditions, boost people’s incomes and well-being, and that it create high-quality jobs and cost-effective production facilities.

We have already tested unique national tax, administrative and customs privileges in the Far East. They help implement landmark projects, even by global standards, in such fields as natural gas conversion and the shipbuilding sector, bioengineering technologies and clean energy.

In the past seven years, industrial production volumes in the Far East have increased by about 25 percent. This exceeds nationwide levels by one third. I want to stress this: growth rates of industrial production in the Far East greatly exceed similar nationwide growth rates.

We will continue to promote the priority development of the Far Eastern regions by using new advanced state support measures and by creating the best and highly competitive business environment. For example, we intend to continue adjusting the mechanism of priority development areas for modern and joint projects with other countries, to create the best possible business climate for attracting the most advanced technologies to Russia and for manufacturing high value-added goods in the Far East.

Events of this year confirm the special significance of such a factor as accessible and affordable raw materials without which it is impossible to organise any production process or to set up co-production chains. Russia is just about the only country that is completely self-sufficient in terms of natural resources, and the Far East plays a substantial role here. This region is a highly important supplier of crude oil and natural gas, coal, metals, timber and marine biological resources to the domestic market and our foreign partners.

We are staking on the prudent and rational development of Russia’s natural riches under the most stringent environmental standards. First of all, we will refine all extracted raw materials domestically as much as possible. We will also use these raw materials to strengthen the sovereignty of this country, to ensure industrial security, to raise incomes and to develop the regions.

We have already protected the resource extraction industry from unfriendly actions. From now on, only companies with Russian jurisdiction have the right to develop natural resources in Russia.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment together with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and leading business associations has determined the national economy’s demand for strategic raw materials. This information will become the foundation of the revised Strategy for the Development of Russia’s Mineral Resources Base with an extended planning horizon up to 2050.

At the same time, special focus should be placed on geological exploration and processing of rare raw materials (such as titanium, manganese, lithium, and niobium), which are used in metallurgy, medical and chemical industries, microelectronics, aircraft manufacturing and other industries, as well as in new energy storage and transmission technologies.

I would like to separately ask the Government to have a look at the bioresources harvesting sphere, where we have a mechanism of investment quotas. Here, it is important to achieve balanced growth and full utilisation of production capacities, as well as to ensure the harmonious development of the regions’ infrastructure.

I would like to stress that the funds the state receives from the utilisation of water bioresources must above all be allocated for developing the infrastructure of rural areas, employment support, and increasing incomes of local residents. I ask the Government to take specific measures on this. We have discussed this many times.

Next, over the past years Russia has implemented big plans for the development of transport infrastructure, railways and roads, seaports and pipelines. These timely decisions have made it possible for businesses to quickly rebuild logistics in today’s conditions, and redirect cargo flows to those countries that are ready and willing to trade with Russia and prefer civilised and predictable business relations.

It is noteworthy that despite the attempts of external pressure, the total cargo of Russian seaports has only slightly decreased over the seven months of this year; it has remained at the same level as a year earlier, which is about 482 million tonnes of cargo. Last year there were 483 million, so the figure is practically the same.

At the same time, Far Eastern ports are seeing a real logistics boom. The volume of cargo transhipment and container handling is such that specialists are working 24/7 to handle the workload. In a word, no matter how much someone might like to isolate Russia, it is impossible to do it, as we have always said so. It is enough just to look at the map.

We will use natural competitive advantages to build up our further transport capabilities, expand the road and railway network, build new access roads to sea terminals and expand their capacity.

I mentioned earlier that our focus is on building the eastward infrastructure and developing the North-South international corridor and ports of the Azov-Black Sea basin which we will keep working on. They will open up more opportunities for Russian companies to enter the markets of Iran, India, the Middle East and Africa and, of course, for reciprocal deliveries from these countries.

The total volume of freight and cargo transportation along these routes and arteries will be able to grow by about 60 percent by 2030. We are absolutely realistic about our predictions, and this is how it will be. To achieve these numbers, the Government has drafted specific “roadmaps” in the three areas I outlined earlier, which will enable us to make this work consistent, consolidate and coordinate our efforts in terms of deadlines and capacity to break up the bottlenecks and upgrade border checkpoints and related infrastructure.

In addition to our plans to expand transport corridors, it is important to put in place new rolling stock and railway traction vehicles, to provide Russian shipyards with orders for modern high-quality tankers, dry cargo ships and container vessels, including ice-class ships, for the further expansion of the Northern Sea Route as a potent transport corridor of national and global importance with, I want to stress this, year-round navigation. The state-of-the-art icebreakers that we are designing and building make it possible for us to do this already now.

This year, a container vessel made its first run between Murmansk and Kamchatka along the Northern Sea Route to reaffirm the reliability and safety of shipping operations in the Arctic zone.

Notably, the point is not just about authorising the passage of ships in the Arctic or simply connecting two destinations. What we need to do is make sure that ships are properly serviced and cargo is properly handled at each port along the route, and the traffic schedule is sustainable, predictable and reliable. Then, every Northern Sea Route waypoint and region will benefit from the logistics corridor. That is what we should be striving for.

The Government has approved a development plan for the Northern Sea Route until 2035 with plans to allocate 1.8 trillion rubles from various sources to implement it. As forecasted, the cargo traffic along this corridor will go from the current 35 million tonnes per year to the targeted 220 million tonnes per year.

The availability of freight vehicles is certainly a key factor in the transportation of goods to and from the Russian Far East. This means we need to offer economically justified and competitive freight rates. I am asking the Government to study all these issues carefully.

Aviation is a special issue for the Far East. Here, the availability of flights from the European part of Russia to the Far East is not the only issue, but connectivity between the Far Eastern regions themselves also matters – air services should cover as many destinations, cities and regions of the Far East as possible.

That is why we have established a single Far Eastern airline. It offers almost 390 destinations, some of them subsidised by the state. In the next three years, this airline’s traffic should increase, and the number of destinations will exceed 530. And as we could see after those flights were opened, these destinations are in great demand.

To implement these plans, we need to expand the company’s fleet, to make sure it has modern aircraft, including small aircraft. A decision has been made in this regard, and I ask the Government to strictly implement it.

I would like to note that in general, Russian air carriers will soon be thoroughly re-equipped. Our airlines, including Aeroflot, have placed the largest order package in modern history, for about 500 Russian-made mainline aircraft. By the way, as far as I know, the United Aircraft Corporation and Aeroflot have signed a respective agreement on the sidelines of this Eastern Economic Forum, and the figures in there are quite impressive – over a trillion, I think.

This high demand should become a powerful incentive for aircraft factories and design bureaux, for many related industries, including electronics and aircraft components, and, of course, for the schools training professional personnel including engineers and skilled blue-collar workers in the aviation industry.

I would like to add that a decision has been made on another sensitive issue for the Far East. I am referring to the development of air medical services and increasing the availability of medical care for people living in remote areas. Starting next year, we will more than double federal funding for these purposes, which means that the number of flights will also increase, and there will be faster and better provision of healthcare in the region.

Friends, colleagues,

All our decisions involving the economy and social sphere, all the mechanisms that we are implementing in the Far East have the same important purpose – to make this region a truly attractive place for living, studying, working, for starting families, to ensure that more children are born.

Several important initiatives in this regard have been included in the package of measures that the Government is now considering. One of them is to create an up-to-date environment for living, to improve the local cities and towns.

Let me remind you that at the last forum, we set a task to develop master plans for the development of the largest Far Eastern cities. These include all administrative centres of the regions, and cities with a population of over 50,000 people, as well as Tynda and Severobaikalsk, the key stations on the Baikal-Amur Mainline railway.

We had in mind an integrated approach to the development of communities, where plans for the modernisation of infrastructure, social facilities, and creation of public spaces and so on would be combined competently and conveniently, and economic and industrial projects would rely on thoroughly calculated business models.

In all cities, the initial task was to make strategic development plans. Master plans are already being actively developed on the basis of those strategic plans in 17 cities and metropolitan areas. One of them has to do with the development of the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky urban area, and the day before yesterday, we discussed this issue with our colleagues on the spot. Once again, I ask the Government to provide maximum assistance in implementing this and other master plans in order to have them unconditionally implemented.

Here, among other things, it is important to use tools such as the Far Eastern concession, the government’s infrastructure loans and infrastructure bonds. It is necessary to determine target limits for the Far East in these programmes. The funds should be used for urban development and improvement, and of course, for infrastructure, including the upgrade of existing networks and connections to utilities.

I would like to add that at the recent St Petersburg Economic Forum, I instructed the Government to allocate an additional 10 billion rubles annually for improvement projects in Russian cities. I think it would be right to channel half of this financing, that is, 5 billion a year, towards upgrading Far Eastern cities and towns with populations below 250,000.

Separate resources should also be allocated under all our main infrastructure development programmes for projects to modernise Far Eastern cities. I have already given such an instruction, and I ask you to ensure its implementation as quickly as possible. Target limits should be stipulated in the federal budget for the next three years.

Something else I would like to stress – we need to increase the volume of housing construction in the Far East, while also widely applying the most advanced ‘green’ and energy-efficient construction technologies.

This year, the Far Eastern Quarters programme was launched. Under this programme, developers will be able to take advantage of priority development areas, including tax and infrastructure benefits, which will reduce the cost of flats and the price of finished housing. This will increase the availability of housing for people. The plan is to build about 2.5 million square metres of housing by 2030 using this cost-reduction mechanism. I ask the regional authorities and the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East to hold the first tenders by the end of the year, to select developers and start designing and developing the residential buildings.

Next, the Far Eastern residents are entitled to special, preferential mortgage terms. As many as 48,000 families have already purchased new housing using mortgages with a rate of 2 percent. This year, we have expanded the Far Eastern mortgage programme so that doctors and teachers, regardless of their age, can apply for it along with young Far Easterners.

Let me remind you that the programme is planned until 2024. But given the demand and efficacy – and this programme is working effectively – I propose extending it until at least 2030. I hope that the Far Eastern residents will also appreciate this.

(Applause.)

A separate decision concerns the support of young professionals who come to the Far East or graduate from local educational institutions, get a job and consider local accommodation. As many as 10,000 rental apartments will be built for them. The rental rate will be significantly below the market level due to subsidies from the regional and federal budgets. The Government has already envisaged such a measure. I ask you to work out all the details in order to start building rental housing for young professionals without delay. And I would like to specifically point out that the location of this housing should be included in the development master plans for Far Eastern cities, which means all the necessary infrastructure should be available – in short, such accommodation should be convenient and enjoy demand.

I would like to note that the Far Eastern regions, like many other regions of the Russian Federation, are experiencing a shortage of workers today. We will also take several important steps to intensify personnel training in key competencies. Over 900 modern workshops will be opened in Far Eastern colleges by 2030, and in the near future, until the end of 2025, we will launch 29 production and educational clusters. In addition, businesses will receive compensation for employing young workers.

Another important area is improving the quality of higher education in the Russian Far East. The goal is to attract qualified instructors, upgrade facilities and equipment in higher education institutions, and provide grants to stimulate academic research and prospective developments in the crucial areas of the technological agenda.

There are network programmes for Far Eastern universities that connect education institutions in the region with the country’s leading universities such as St Petersburg State Marine Technical University, Moscow Aviation Institute and others. We will undoubtedly support this area of cooperation.

Finally, branches of the Russian Institute of Theatre Arts (GITIS), the National State Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) and the Boris Shchukin Theatre Institute will open in 2025 in the Russian Far East to train cultural and art workers. I would like to ask the Government to provide all necessary assistance.

I would like to note that the Far Eastern regions offer their own professional development initiatives. For example, the Agency for Strategic Initiatives in the Sakhalin Region supports a pilot project called Earning Money Together. Participants in the project will be able to undergo free additional training, receive career guidance and get help with starting a business. Based on the outcome of these pilot projects we will think about scaling up.

I also want to mention a training programme for a new generation of managers in the Far East. The programme focuses on cultivating a local pool of talent, and on integrating study programmes and internships in public offices and development institutions. This programme is already running and I suggest that the heads of all regions in the Far Eastern Federal District get involved.

Colleagues, I want to conclude my remarks by stressing once again that the modern global economy and the entire system of international relations is going through challenges. However, I believe that the logic of cooperation, aligning the potentials and mutual benefits that our countries and our friends in the region adhere to, will prevail no matter what. By reasonably taking advantage of the competitive sides and strengths of the Asia-Pacific countries, by creating constructive partnerships we will open new colossal opportunities for our peoples. We are ready to work together for the sake of a successful future. And we are grateful to our partners for participating in this work.

Thank you.

Which crime syndicate murdered Darya Dugina?

September 01, 2022

by Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely cross-posted

The vile assassination of Darya Dugina, or terror at the gates of Moscow, is not really solved – as much as the FSB seems to have cracked the case in a little over 24 hours.

It’s now established that the main perpetrator, Azov batallion asset Natalia Vovk, did not act alone but had an Ukrainian sidekick, one Bogdan Tsyganenko, who provided false license plates for the Mini Cooper she was driving and helped to assemble a crude car bomb inside a rented garage in the southwest of Moscow.

According to the FSB, Vovk followed the Dugin family to the Tradition festival, and detonated the car bomb by remote control. The only missing pieces seem to be when the bomb was placed under Dugin’s SUV, and by whom; and whether such a sophisticated cross-border targeted assassination was aimed at both father and daughter.

As recalled by geopolitical analyst Manlio Dinucci, even the Los Angeles Times had made it public that “since 2015, the CIA has been training Ukrainian intelligence agents in a secret facility in the United States”.

Russian intel was more than aware of it. In fact, in an interview to Italian media in December 2021, Darya Dugina herself, based on FSB information, revealed, “they had identified 106 Ukrainian agents who were preparing attacks and massacres in 37 regions of Russia.”

Yet now a high-ranking member of Russian intel – who for obvious reasons must remain anonymous – has shed some information that, in his words, “will add the whole picture to this incident.”

It goes without saying that this is as much as he’s been allowed to reveal by his superiors. According to his analysis, “the tragedy was in the evening. In the next two days the FSB shared the whole data about SBU people who were involved with the incident. The majority of people think that it was a political kill. There are a lot of political kills in Ukraine but this tragedy has no political root. It is actually connected to organized crime money flow.”

The source asserts, “Darya was inside the patriotic movement and had connections in Moscow and Donetsk area. As you know there is a large money flow to the Donbas to restore the economy. This huge money flow provides an extreme incentive for criminal activity. Donetsk crime organizations are more dangerous than others because they operate in the war territory. Thus, someone was afraid that Darya was going to compromise money flow schemes by making this public.”

The source makes the important point that “Boris Nemtsov [a key actor in the liberal reforms imposed on post-Soviet Russia] was also killed by an organized crime group who was afraid that he might compromise some money flow schemes by making them public despite the fact that he was a quite powerful politician. Also [journalist] Anna Politkovkaya. She was given $900,000.00 in cash at Chubais election office during the election days for a political purpose. But some other guys knew it and grabbed the bag. She was slain.”

Cui bono?

Disclosure: I prize my friendship with Alexander Dugin – we met in person in Iran, Lebanon and Russia: a towering intellectual and extremely sensitive spirit, eons away from the crude stereotype of “Putin’s brain” or worse, “Putin’s Rasputin” slapped on him by Western media sub-zoology specimens. His vision of Eurasianism should be granted the merit of an ample intellectual discussion, a real dialogue of civilizations. But obviously the current woke incarnation of the collective West lacks the sophistication to engage in real debate. So he’s been demonized to Kingdom Come.

Darya, who I had the honor to meet in Moscow, was a young, shining star with an ebullient personality who graduated in History of Philosophy at Moscow University: her main research was on the political philosophy of late Neoplatonism. Obviously that had nothing to do with the profile of a ruthless operative capable of “compromising” money flows. She did not seem to understand finance, much less “dark” financial ops.  What she did understand is how the Ukrainian battlefield mirrored a larger than life clash of civilizations: globalism against Eurasianism.

Back to the assertions by the Russian intel agent, they cannot be simply dismissed. For instance, at the time he came up with the definitive version of the hit on the Moskva – the flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet.

As he emailed to a select audience, “the destruction of the flagship of the fleet was planned as a strategic task. Therefore, the operation of delivering the PKR [anti-ship missile] to Odessa took place in strict secrecy and under the cover of electronic warfare. As the ‘killer’ of the cruiser, they chose the PKR, but not the Neptune, as spread by Ukrainian propaganda, but the fifth-generation NSM PKR (Naval Strike Missile, range of destruction 185 km, developed by Norway-USA). The NSM is able to reach the target along a programmed route thanks to the GPS-adjusted INS, independently find the target by flying up to it at an altitude of 3-5 meters. When reaching the target, the NSM maneuvers and puts electronic interference. A highly sensitive thermal imager is used as a homing system, which independently determines the most vulnerable places of the target ship. A stationary container installation secretly delivered to Ukraine was used as a launcher. Thus, after the damage to the cruiser Moskva, which led to its flooding (…) the Black Sea Fleet, unfortunately, no longer has a single ship with a long-range anti-aircraft missile system. But not everything is so bad. A three-band radar ‘Sky-M’ is located in Crimea, which is capable of tracking all air targets at a range of up to 600 km.”

So there you go. The hit on the Moskva was a NATO operation, ordered by the US. The Russian Ministry of Defense knows – and the Americans know they know. Retaliation will come – in the time and place of Moscow’s choosing.

The same will apply to the response for Darya Dugina’s assassination. As it stands, we may have 3 hypotheses.

1. The FSB official story, pointing to the SBU in Kiev. The FSB is obviously revealing only a fraction of what they know.

2. The high-level Russian intel agent pointing towards organized crime.

3. The usual Zionist suspects – who loathe Dugin for his fierce anti-globalism: and that would point to a Mossad operation, who in many aspects enjoys way more qualified local intel in Russia than the CIA and MI6.

A fourth hypothesis would point to a perfect storm: a confluence of interests of all the above organized crime syndicates. Once again, resorting to hegemonic American pop culture, and to borrow from Twin Peaks; “The owls are not what they seem”. Black ops can also reveal themselves as much darker than what they seem.

Gonzalo Lira: News & Views 2022.04.04

APRIL 04, 2022

ارتباك اللاقرار في واشنطن بعد الصدمة… وزمام المبادرة

أيلول 4 2021

 ناصر قنديل

لا أحد يستطيع تفسير كلّ حالات الفشل الأميركي والغربي بمعايير الخصوصية التي تحيط بكلّ حالة منها، لمجرد الرغبة بنفي صفة المشترك بينها، وهو التراجع التاريخي للمشروع الغربي وفي طليعته المشروع الأميركي. فالمعادلة التاريخية سياق وليست حدثاً منفصلاً يليه حدث منفصل تفسرهما الخصوصية، وثمة مسار بين نهاية الحرب العالمية الثانية والانسحاب من أفغانستان وبينهما سقوط جدار برلين يحكي حكاية تراجع مسار السيطرة، حيث الأميركي الذي كان يمثل 6% من سكان العالم ويستحوذ على 50% من ثرواته، وصار عام 1990 يمثل 4% من سكان العالم ويستحوذ على 40% من الثورات، هو اليوم أقل من 3% من سكان العالم ويستحوذ على أقل من 30% ثروات العالم. والأميركي الذي أنهى التحالف النازي الذي قادته ألمانيا بالشراكة مع الاتحاد السوفياتي، ثم أنهى الاتحاد السوفياتي وتفرد في حكم العالم، أمضى عقدين من الفشل والتراجع في كل الحروب التي خاضها في محاولة فرض نموذجه كمثال عالمي أحادي يمثل نهاية التاريخ، وهو لا يملك اليوم سبيلاً سياسياً أو عسكرياً للخروج من هذا الفشل، والفشل في أفغانستان يختصر هذا العجز، حيث السبيل السياسي انتهى بالفشل، والسبيل العسكري لن يحل شيئاً ولو بقي لعشرين عاماً أخرى كما قال جو بايدن، والبديل الثالث هو الذهاب لتفاهمات دولية كبرى تمنح الخصوم الكبار انتصارات كبرى، أو الدخول في مسلسل عنوانه العناد على البقاء منعاً لذل الهزيمة، وانتقاماً لصورة الهروب الكبير من أفغانستان، أو الانسحابات المتلاحقة وصولاً لمزيد من الفراغ يملأه الخصوم المحليون أو الإقليميون أو الدوليون، منفردين أو مجتمعين، كما يقول مثال أفغانستان أيضاً.

يتداخل في الوضعية الأميركية والغربية، على رغم الكلام الانفعالي الأوروبي وأوهام الانفراد العسكري والسياسي، كل شيء، فالغرب كله أمام خطر الهزيمة الإستراتيجية، لأن ساحة المعركة هي آسيا، وفي آسيا أكثر من نصف سكان العالم وأكثر من نصف مساحته وأكثر من نصف ثرواته وأكثر من نصف قوته العسكرية، وجوهر عنوان المعركة هو استقلال آسيا، التي تنتمي اليها كل دول وقوى المواجهة مع أميركا والمشروع الغربي على تنوعها، ولا ينتمي إليها أي من دول الغرب، ولذلك فالغرب بقيادة الأميركي يخوض مواجهة يائسة من الخارج مع نضوج ونمو قوى الداخل الآسيوي سياسياً واقتصادياً وعسكرياً وشعبياً لمعركة الاستقلال، واختلال التوازن لصالحها، وأفغانستان ليست إلا العينة الصغرى لهذه المعركة، ولم يعد ممكناً للأميركي بعد أفغانستان إلا الاختيار بين مواجهة قد تتصاعد نحو حرب، تحت شعار استعادة الهيبة المجروحة في أفغانستان، ووقف مسلسل الانهيارات، أو مواصلة الانكفاء والتراجع تفادياً للمواجهة، والاختبار هو في العراق وسورية، وفي هذه الحال سيكون أمام مواجهة مع قوى ودول ليس عندها مجال للتهاون مع بقاء القوات الأميركية وليس لديها الاستعداد لمنح الأميركي جوائز ترضية كثمن للانسحاب، ما يعني أن الشهور المقبلة ستحمل تصاعداً تدريجياً في المواجهة، وصولاً إلى انفجارها بصورة دراماتيكية بمجرد انكشاف صورة القرار الأميركي برفض الانسحاب، بعد نهاية المهلة المعقولة لاحتواء نتائج الانسحاب من أفغانستان، وفي هذه المواجهة التي ستتحول إلى حرب، أمام الأميركي ومن خلفه حلفائه في الغرب فرضية كان قد ناقشها مراراً، وهي أن أي خيار مواجهة يعني فرضية حرب كبرى، قد تشترك فيها دول كثيرة في المنطقة وخارج المنطقة، لكن الأخطر فيها هو أن «إسرائيل» ستصبح ميدان الرمي الحر في هذه الحرب، وهو ما سبق وقاله الرئيس الأميركي السابق باراك أوباما في حوار مع صحيفة «هآرتز» عام 2012 في تفسيره لسبب عدم تكرار نموذج ليبيا، مع سورية، وكل شيء يقول إن «إسرائيل» لن تستطيع الصمود وجودياً إذا واجهت هذه الفرضية في أي حرب مقبلة.

البديل المتاح هو مواصلة الانكفاء، والانكفاء الذي بدأ في أفغانستان قدم مثالاً، فهو بدأ بتفاوض لعام كامل مع حركة طالبان بشراكة حليف موثوق لواشنطن هو دولة قطر، وانتهى إلى تفاهم على حكومة شراكة بين طالبان والنظام الذي أقامه الأميركيون في كابول، يحميها توازن عسكري يمثله الجيش الذي قاموا ببنائه مقابل مقدرات طالبان العسكرية، لكن كل شيء تهاوى عندما بدأوا الانسحاب، فتقدمت طالبان وتفكك نظام أشرف غني وجيشه وهرب الرئيس وأركان حربه، ثم ذهب الأميركي إلى الخطة (ب) والتي تقوم على الانخراط مع طالبان بتفاهمات تقطع الطريق على خصوم واشنطن الكبار، روسيا والصين وإيران، وتحرمهم من الوقوف على خط الرابحين، لكن الأمور سارت سريعاً باتجاه مخالف، فروسيا ضامن ضروري لحسم طالبان مع أحمد مسعود الذي يدعمه بعض الغرب وينغص على طالبان نصرها بحكم محورية دورها في طاجكستان، وإيران مصدر الضرورات الحياتية اليومية لأفغانستان من محروقات ولحوم وخضار وطحين، والصين هي دولة التمويل المتاح بسخاء لإنعاش الاقتصاد وشق الطرق وسكك الحديد وخطوط نقل الطاقة واستكشاف واستخراج الثورات المعدنية وتطوير صناعاتها، كما قال قادة طالبان علناً، وإذا كرر الأميركي تجربة الانكفاء في حالتي سورية والعراق كما فعل في أفغانستان، ستنهار التشكيلات التي بناها في البلدين بأسرع من انهيار حكومة غني وجيشه، وسيتقدم الروسي والصيني والإيراني أسرع مما يتقدمون في أفغانستان، والأخطر هو أن محور المقاومة الذي يمثل القوى المحلية الصاعدة سيمسك بزمام المبادرة في الإقليم وسيضع أمن كيان الاحتلال في دائرة الخطر عاجلاً أم آجلاً.

لبنان في قلب هذا الارتباك الأميركي في الخيارات، وفي قلب محاولة محور المقاومة الإمساك بزمام المبادرة، كما يقول اختبار سفن المحروقات الإيرانية، الذي أطلقته المقاومة، غداة الانسحاب من أفغانستان، يسرع حسم الخيارات الأميركية، ويجعل معادلة خاسر خاسر أسرع بالنسبة للأميركيين بعد رهانات لسنوات على إسقاط لبنان على رأس المقاومة، وإظهار المقاومة سبباً لكل ما لحق ويلحق بلبنان، وإذا بواشنطن تظهر وهي تعلن أنها ستفك بعضاً من حصارها لتنافس المقاومة على صورة من يخفف المعاناة، وكانها تعترف بأن هذا الحصار هو السبب الرئيسي للأزمات، ولكنها تصيب حلفاءها بالذهول لتجنبها خيار المواجهة، واعتمادها طريق المنافسة على حلول لأزمات كانت هي المسبب الرئيسي لها.

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The Iran-China pact is a huge blow for Western imperialists who want war in Asia (2/2)

Friday, 02 April 2021 5:44 PM  [ Last Update: Friday, 02 April 2021 5:44 PM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The Iran-China pact is a huge blow for Western imperialists who want war in Asia (2/2)
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 ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.


By Ramin Mazaheri
and cross-posted with the Saker

In the first part of this article, titled Nixon ‘opened’ China, but only superpower China could ‘open’ Iran, I discussed the historic role reversal: it’s the position of the superpower China which now counts the most, and not the attitude of the United States.

The 25-year Iran-China pact is actually an undercounting as it is essentially — to quote China’s foreign minister — “permanent.” Western media foolishly sees Iran and China as different as apples and bowling balls, and thus they are only taking their first timid step towards understanding how Tehran and Beijing have already broken through the finish line tape.

It’s easy to examine the consternation of the BBC or The New York Times, but I thought it would be interesting to analyze the take of perhaps the top oil trade media, OilPrice, via their article The Iran-China Axis Is A Fast Growing Force In Oil Markets. Part one of this article addressed their take — more consternation, predictably — but it’s necessary to ask: why are even supposedly neutral, objective, rational and profit-oriented business media so bewildered and lost in their analyses of post-1979 Iran and post-1949 China?

The problem for them is that I may be able to grasp an argument based on economics and politics, but it’s hard for me to understand viewing historical developments solely via a lens of fear, paranoia and — above all — a zero-sum view of business, politics and human life. What OilPrice’s article ultimately relies on — like so many others of its ilk — is a hardened intolerance for other non-Western (some today may say “non-White”) cultures.

That type of a fundamentally-emotional and anti-intellectual mindset may motivate many pro-imperialists in Western high finance but they do not motivate Iran and China, two countries whose essentially socialist basis is light-years ahead of the tribalist “identity politics” foolishly held as the ultimate achievement of Western liberal democracy. 

This is not a knee-jerk “snowflake” argument — simply look at the starting point of OilPrice and I’m sure you’ll see it is not an unusual foundation for Western media analyses (regardless of the skin tone of the journalist) of Iran: The author immediately claimed in his very first paragraph that Iranians have a “radical view of non-believers,” which is such a radically right-wing view of Iran that it is barely worth an eye roll, much less serious consideration. All that needs to be said is that it’s possible that the author does not know any Christians or Jews, nor does the author have any sincere familiarity with these two fundaments of Islamic thought. Certainly, he has kept far away from Muslims because what he is describing is not anywhere close to the mainstream view held by Muslims in Iran or any other nation where Muslims practice. It’s also a scare tactic, certainly, but the author himself is seemingly scared out of his logic — this is not Iran’s or Islam’s fault, of course. 

But what kind of tolerance should be expected from this longtime oil man who, when he looks at the fabulous civilizations of Iran and China, sees only one thing: people who oppose the United States. For the author Iran and China are unmotivated by anything positive, human or redeeming, but instead solely by antipathy towards the United States. Yet whether one reads trade publications like OilPrice or broader Western business publications like The EconomistThe Financial Times or Les Echos, this arrogant, fearful and ultimately hostile ideology is blatantly repeated over and over.

Contrarily, Iranian and Chinese businessmen simply wonder why the West refuses to do mutually-beneficial, productive, long-term business? But good, fair business is not what capitalism is — capitalism’s surpluses primarily rely on the savings provided by imperialist plunder, and then the subsequent masking of this reality of stolen resources, stolen wages and thwarted lives and cultures with a tin mass media halo. This is not a radical view of “capitalism with Western characteristics,” but an increasingly accepted view even within the 21st century West.

And this is why it is not surprising that this article on Sino-Iranian bilateral relations takes a lengthy turn into fear mongering over a Chinese take-back of Taiwan. We must remember that this trade publication puts selling oil (at as high a price as possible) above all else — above fair politics, above tolerance of the cultures of other people, above fair business — therefore, OilPrice is always all-too happy to hysterically fearmonger if it can raise the price of oil a buck.

The article mentions the recent and shockingly historic first Joe Biden-era China-US bilateral summit, where China responded to unprecedented diplomatic insults with an unprecedented, lengthy and entirely correct defense of the modern triumvirate I referred to as the “Allies of Sovereignty” — Iran, China and Russia.

Referring to that momentous resetting is entirely correct, but what is not correct is how the author makes the totally spurious claim quite openly that China’s stockpiling of oil — an act which he acknowledged earlier was something that, “it just makes sense for it build inventories” — was actually in preparation for an invasion of Taiwan as early as 2025?

We need to remember when reading their “objective” analyses that this is just what Western business media does: war, for imperialist countries, is a major money-making industry and thus OilPrice and their money-grubbing brethren demonize, stoke fear and cheerlead for policies which are as violent, as expensive and as destructive as possible. Nothing personal — it’s just business media.

This is why readers should remember that the conclusions of such articles are always so predictable: “…the likelihood of some type of oil shortage is becoming increasingly likely,” i.e. the price of oil should be higher than what it is now — which is all that OilPrice really cares about — because geopolitically the world is “a tinder box, that only needs a spark”.

It really isn’t.

As a result of this mutually-beneficial deal China and Iran are way, way, way more stable for the next 25 years.

That’s a good thing, but Western business media is looking for profit and not for good things.

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) elbow bumps with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi after the signing of a historic partnership agreement in Tehran on March 27, 2021. (Photo by Tasnim news agency)

Zarif: Iran-China deal based on win-win approach in pursuit of shared interests

 West’s weaponization of Iran-China deal to foment war has no chance of succeeding

Iran didn’t give up “too much” because they place their demand for sovereign independence over the best possible business deal — thus they simply must accept paying a premium. The “Allies of Sovereignty” is only three nations, after all. We’ve been living in a pro-globalization world for three decades, and the lack of civic pride makes Iran’s determination even more costly, monetarily.

China has established the indispensable node for its Belt and Road Initiative, from a foreign policy/foreign economic policy perspective, and from a domestic perspective it has assured itself enough energy independence to keep growing as it chooses for the next quarter century.

Is a mutual defense pact between the two next? Frankly, Iran doesn’t need it.

There is zero chance of another Western-orchestrated invasion of Iran, following the victory of the Sacred Defense against Iraq and its Western (and Soviet) axis. Iran has very basic military needs because they aren’t trying to invade anyone, after all. They have achieved military parity in the only arena which matters — its own borders — and a US invasion of Iran would be Vietnam on steroids. There have already been enormous nationwide “no war with Iran” protests in the US — after the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in 2020. 

Frankly, China doesn’t need it. Even if they did retake Taiwan the US would blink even faster than they did with Syria. Anyway, the international community has clearly sided with China since 1971 — Taiwan is not a country, nor are they in the United Nations, nor can they even join any UN sub-organizations. Taiwan is a province of China, even if the US thinks it is like the Cuban exile parts of southern Florida — i.e., a permanent place for fascists who lost their civil war to congregate and plot to stall political modernity and peace. Fearmongering about bloody invasion is just a way to sell more guns and oil, and now also a way to distract from this Sino-Iranian victory. It’s absurd: since WWII the West has lost in North Korea, Vietnam, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria but mighty China should be worried?

The pact is what it openly claims it is: a multi-decade diplomatic, military and economic pact of peaceful cooperation. So on its own, it promotes peace. And indirectly, the pact is a major step towards peace and security for the world — from Western aggression. Take on one and you inevitably take on the other, and taking on either would lead to disaster for the Western aggressors. The world can’t allow that, and the world can only embrace the peacemaking Iran-China deal.

China’s “opening” of Iran is historically significant in so many ways to count, including the peaceful stability it helps ensure for the world via drawing two ethnically and religiously different parts of Asia closer together: As I detailed in Part 1 of this article, it is so very excitingly “woke” and modern. In broader terms of human history, its greatest significance is: it’s a victory for socialist democracy and a huge, glaring failure for liberal democracy.

The JCPOA on Iran’s nuclear energy program would never have stopped this Iran-China alliance — Iran would never go fully into the Western camp for at least as long as the rest of the Muslim world is under the West’s thumb — but it could have at least partially counterbalanced it. Now the West is in an even worse bargaining position than before, but who wants the terrible preconditions the West demands for cooperation, and then who even expects the West to actually keep their word? They don’t do diplomacy – they do international piracy, still.

Iran waited a very long time to pick a camp, and yet they have still retained an amount of independence which almost no other nation its size can dream of today. However, as always, to write that China is being welcomed as saviors or without skepticism by Iranians would be a hilarious overstatement. What Iranians cherish most is their independence, and this is enshrined in its political and economic structures post-1979.

Iranian civil servants have chosen a wise path, and it can never be said that they did not genuinely offer the West a diplomatic path. Now their duty is to properly administer the bounty of this cooperation in a way which the Iranian people approve of. The Iranian media will be watching closely, as always.

China’s “opening” of Iran isn’t a threat to Iran, to China nor to any other non- or anti-imperialist nation. It’s only a threat to those who idealize an aristocratic past, or a soulless and ineffectual technocratic present, and to those who insist that Iran and China revert to being as unstable, despondent and unpeaceful as they were prior to their modern, socialist-inspired revolutions. 

To such offers Iran and China have permanently responded: “No deal.”

Lastly, this article repeatedly stressed the incredibly animating ideological components at play in this historic international decision. It’s a shame that so many analysts completely disregard modern mankind’s longstanding ideological debates about capitalist or socialist economic practice, the cultural effects of imperialism, and what should be truly classified as “progressive” or “reactionary” politics. There isn’t a new international order, but there is clearly a second international order now on offer — it should be openly compared and contrasted.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)


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New U.S. Foreign Policy Problems (1) إشكاليات السياسة الخارجية الأميركية الجديدة

**Please scroll down for the English Machine translation**

إشكاليات السياسة الخارجية الأميركية الجديدة

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زياد حافظ

ما زالت الضبابية تسود المشهد السياسي الأميركي بعد الانتخابات الرئاسية الأخيرة المثيرة للجدل وما تلاها من أحداث كاقتحام الكونغرس (او غزوة كما يحلو للبعض!) من قبل أنصار دونالد ترامب والتي كانت ضربة قاسية وربما قاضية لهيبة الولايات المتحدة.  لكان بغض النظر عن ذلك الجدل وما يرافقه من تشكيك بشرعية انتخاب جوزيف بايدن واحتمال نقل السلطة بشكل هادئ وولاية حكم طبيعية فهناك غموض حول توجّهات السياسة الخارجية للإدارة الأميركية الجديدة يعزّزها عدم الاستقرار الداخلي البنيوي الذي ظهر مؤخّرا.  وهذا يجعلنا نقول إن زمام المبادرة لم يعد في يد الولايات المتحدة بل في يد المحور المناهض الذي يضم الكتلة الاوراسية بقيادة روسيا والصين ومحور المقاومة وعدد من دول أميركا اللاتينية.  السؤال لم يعد ماذا ستفعل الولايات المتحدة بل ماذا سيفعل المحور المناهض؟ لكن هذه الحقيقة لم يتم استيعابها بعد حتى الآن عند النخب العربية الحاكمة ومن يدور في فلكها.

مقاربتنا مبنية على واقع برز منذ أكثر من عقدين وهو عدم التوازن بين الرغبات/الأهداف الأميركية في الهيمنة على العالم مهما كلّف الأمر وقدراتها الفعلية لتحقيقها. فالأهداف الأميركية للهيمنة تتطلّب قدرات لم تعد موجودة عند الولايات المتحدة.  بالمقابل أصبح لخصومها قدرات تمكّنها من التصدي لها، فردعها، وربما إخراجها من المناطق التي كانت تسيطر عليها.  لكن بالمقابل هناك حالة إنكار بنيوية في العقل الأميركي فيما يتعلّق بدورها في العالم المبني على وهم استثنائيتها ونظرية قدرها المتجلّي لتقوم بما تقوم به دون مساءلة ومحاسبة.  لسنا هنا في إطار طرح حيثيات ذلك الواقع الذي تم تفصيله في أبحاث عديدة بل نكتفي بالتذكير أن هذا اللاتوازن بين الرغبات والقدرات هو ما نبني عليه في مقاربة التوجّهات الممكنة والمحتملة للإدارة الجديدة إذا ما كتب لها أن تدير الأمور بشكل طبيعي.

الجزء الأول: جوهر الإشكاليات

وإذا افترضنا حدّا أدنى من الواقعية السياسية فإن منهجية الإدارة الجديدة ستكون مبنية على محاولة تحييد العلاقة بين الملفّات الخارجية والداخلية.  فالملفّات الداخلية السياسية والاقتصادية والاجتماعية تدعو إلى انتهاج سياسات اقتصادية تقارب الواقع المترهّل للبنى التحتية والضمان الصحي والبيئي وإعادة تمركز القطاع الصناعي في التكنولوجيات التي لا تستدعي الاتكال على الطاقة البترولية والغازية وذلك على سبيل المثال وليس الحصر والقائمة طويلة ومعقّدة ومليئة بالتناقضات.  فعلى سبيل المثال نرى الرئيس الأميركي المنتخب يدعو إلى أن تتحوّل الولايات المتحدة إلى أكبر دولة في صناعة السيارات الكهربائية.  التداعيات على القطاع النفطي ستكون جذرية فكيف سيتعامل القطاع النفطي الأميركي مع ذك؟  والمكوّن النفطي للدولة العميقة لن يقف مكتوف الأيدي تجاه ذلك التحوّل.  فالقطاع النفطي بنى القطاع الصناعي الذي كان قاعدة القوّة الأميركية.  شطب ذلك القطاع تحوّل جذري لن يمرّ بسهولة.

من جهة أخرى، معظم المكوّنات للدولة العميقة من الناحية الاقتصادية كانت وما زالت تدعو إلى العولمة والهيمنة الاقتصادية المباشرة على العالم وبالتالي استمرار التدخل في شؤون الدول لتحقيق مصالح تلك المكوّنات.  فكيف يمكن فصل الملفّ الاقتصادي الداخلي عن الملفات الساخنة الخارجية؟  وأهم من كل ذلك ماذا ستفعل الإدارة الجديدة إذا كان مشروعها الاقتصادي على تصادم مع مصالح الدولة العميقة التي أوصلت الرئيس بايدن إلى الحكم خاصة أن تحالف تلك القوى لم يمكن مبنيا على رؤية مشتركة بل فقط على ضرورة الإطاحة بدونالد ترامب؟  بالمقابل فإن قوّة الشركات العملاقة التي تحوّلت إلى شركات عابرة للقارات والأمم بنت شبكاتها ومصالحها مستندة إلى القوّة الذاتية الأميركية التي كانت حتى بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية منغلقة على نفسها وتكتفي بالتصدير للعالم.  اليوم هذه الشركات توطنت في الخارج وأصبحت تصدّر إلى الولايات المتحدة.  فإذا فقدت الولايات المتحدة مصادر قوّتها الذاتية عسكريا واقتصاديا وماليا ماذا يمكن أن تفعل الدول المستضيفة للشركات العملاقة الأميركية المتوطنّة في بلادها؟

ما نريد أن نقوله إن هناك ضرورة وجودية للولايات المتحدة للتركيز على ترميم الوضع الداخلي.  لكن ذلك التركيز سيصطدم مع مصالح الدولة العميقة في التمدّد الخارجي فيصبح السؤال كيف يمكن التوازن بين مصلحتين متناقضتين؟  والولايات المتحدة لم تعد لها القدرة على التمدّد والهيمنة فكيف ستعمل مكوّنات الدولة العميقة على سد ذلك العجز؟  قد تأخذ الإجابة على ذلك وقتا طويلا عند النخب الحاكمة والسؤال يصبح هل تمتلك الوقت لذلك؟  فمهما تمّت مقاربة الأمور دخلت الولايات المتحدة مرحلة جديدة في تاريخها قد تفضي إلى إعادة النظر الكلّية بتركيبتها. لكن هذا حديث آخر لا داعي لمقاربته الأن. يكفي أن نخلص إلى نتيجة أن قدرة التأثير في الملفّات الخارجية محدودة وهذا قد يساهم في إعادة التوازنات في العالم على قاعدة أكثر عدلا مما كانت عليه في عهد القطبية الواحدة.

هذه الملاحظات كانت ضرورية لفهم الصعوبات كي لا نقول الاستعصاءات التي ستواجه الإدارة الجديدة.  فكيف ستتعامل مع الملفّات العالقة خارجيا؟   معظم التحليلات والمقاربات تعتمد الكتابات خلال الحملة الانتخابية لرموز الإدارة الجديدة ومنها مقال بايدن في مجلّة “قورين افيرز” في ربيع 2020 ومنها كتابات لكل من وزير الخارجية المسمّى انطوني بلنكن والمستشار الأمن القومي جاك سوليفان.  فماذا يمكن أن نتوقّع من الإدارة الجديدة إذا ما كتب لها أن تمارس مهامها في ظل الانقسامات الداخلية في الولايات المتحدة وحتى داخل الحزب الديمقراطي فيما يتعلّق بالملفّات الخارجية وحتى الداخلية.  قد تطفح التناقضات الداخلية في الحزب الديمقراطي لأن القاعدة الشابة للحزب داخل الكونغرس وخارجه على تناقض كبير مع القيادات التقليدية التي ما زالت في مناخات الحرب الباردة. القاعدة الشابة متماهية أكثر مع حيثيات الداخل الأميركي وحتى الخارج ولا تشاطر هواجس القيادة.  فكيف ستتصرّف هذه القاعدة فيما لو أقدمت القيادة على اتباع سياسات في الملفّات الخارجية والداخلية متناقضة مع تطلّعاتها؟  ولا يجب أن ننسى أن “فوز” بايدن يعود إلى حدّ كبير إلى الإقبال الشبابي على الانتخابات تحت شعار “كلنا ضد ترامب” وبالتالي تجاهل هذه الشريحة الأساسية من قبل القيادة قد تكون مكلفة في الانتخابات النصفية القادمة في 2022 وفي الانتخابات الرئاسية في 2024.  المعركتان بدأتا فعلا منذ الآن!  لكن بغض النظر عن هذه الاعتبارات التي ستظل تلقي بظلالها على مجمل القرارات للإدارة الجديدة كيف ستقارب الإدارة الجديدة الملفات الخارجية؟

بعض الإشارات الواضحة تقودنا للاعتقاد أن الإدارة الجديدة ستكون أكثر ليونة وأكثر دبلوماسية وتتجلّى عبر التوازن في التسميات لمناصب رفيعة في الإدارة الجديدة.  فمن جهة هناك “الصقور” التي يمثلهم في الصف الأوّل كل من انطوني بلينكن للخارجية وجاك سوليفان لمجلس الأمن القومي ومعهما كل من كاثلين هيكس كنائب وزير الدفاع ووندي شرمان كنائب لوزير الخارجية وسوزان رايس كرئيسة لمجلس السياسة الداخلية (البعض يعتبر أنها ستكون رئيسة الظل في الإدارة الجديدة) وفيكتوريا نيولند كوكيلة وزارة الخارجية للشؤون السياسية المنصب الذي شغله جيفري فلتمان سابقا.  نذكّر هنا أن فيكتوريا نيولند زوجة روبرت كاغان المنظر الأساسي للمحافظين الجدد. ونيولند كانت بطلة الانقلاب في أوكرانيا ولها مقولات مأثورة في الاتحاد الأوروبي وصلت إلى حد الشتيمة والتحقير.  أما وندي شرمان، فهي من أنصار مادلين اولبريت التي بررت مقتل 500 ألف طفل عراقي خلال الحصار على العراق.  ولشرمان تصريح شهير أن المخادعة هي في الحمض النووي للإيرانيين.  وكانت تحرص على إبلاغ نتنياهو بكل تفاصيل المفاوضات مع إيران في الملفّ النووي كما أوضحه ضابط الاستخبارات السابق فيليب جيرالدي في مقال له نشر على موقع “انفورميشون كليرينغ هاوس في 12 كانون الثاني/يناير 2021.

 ويعتبر أحد خبراء معهد كاتو تد كاربنتر في مقال نشره على موقع “ناشيونال انترست” الذي يضم دبلوماسيين وعسكريين وضباط استخبارات سابقين وجامعيين أن فريق السياسة الخارجية لإدارة بايدن لا يتمتع بالفكر الإبداعي بل التقليدي حيث لا يتوقع إلاّ الدفع بنفس السياسات المتبعة في إدارة باراك أوباما وحتى ترامب ولكن بأسلوب أكثر لطافة.  فتصريح بلينكن في 25 نوفمبر أن الرئيس المنتخب سيكون رئيس مواجهة مع روسيا كما أنه سيعزّز من قدرات الحلف الأطلسي كمنظومة وكما سيدعم الدول الأوروبية المناهضة لروسيا كأوكرانيا وجورجيا ودول البلطيق وبولندا.  ويضيف كاربنتر أن المشكلة ليست بالتفكير الاعتيادي فيما لو كانت السياسات قبل وصول ترامب جيّدة وصاحبة نتائج بل أنها كانت فاشلة.  والوعد بالعودة إلى تلك السياسات يعني المزيد من الفشل!

 بالمقابل فإن تعيين الجنرال لويد اوستين كوزير للدفاع ووليم برنز الدبلوماسي العريق لإدارة وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية (سي أي أيه) يمثل “لاعتدال” في السياسة الخارجية.  هذا التوازن يعود إلى ضرورة إرضاء مكوّنات التحالف الذي أوصل بايدن إلى الرئاسة من جهة وحرص الإدارة الجديدة على إعادة الاعتبار لصورتها التي تصدّعت عند حلفائها خلال ولاية ترامب.  لكن هذا لا يعني التخلّي عن العقيدة العميقة التي تحكّمت بسلوك الإدارات المتتالية بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية في ضرورة قيادة العالم على قاعدة القراءة التوراتية للإنجيل كما تشير مصطلحات “القدر المتجلّي” و”المدينة على الجبل” و”ارض الميعاد الجديدة” في خطابهم عن الولايات المتحدة.  من هنا نفهم التماهي في الشكل والأسلوب مع نشأة دولة الكيان الصهيوني ونشأة الولايات المتحدة.

هنا لا بد من لفت الانتباه إلى عامل جوهري يساهم في فهم الدافع الأساسي لسلوك سياسات عدوانية في العالم عند مختلف الإدارات الأميركية.  فنظرية “القدر المتجلّي” أتت لتغطي جرائم نشأة الولايات المتحدة في إبادة الشعوب الأولى للقارة من قبل المستعمرين الأوروبيين ومن ثمة استعباد الافارقة لتشغيل مزارع القطن، القاعدة الأولى للقطاع الزراعي في المجتمع الناشئ، وذلك لمصلحة المستعمر الإنكليزي.  الجمهورية التي نشأت كاحتجاج على سياسة التاج البريطاني لم تكن لتستقر لولا التوسع الجغرافي.  وعند الانتهاء من التوسع الجغرافي غربا وعبر المحيط الهادئ إلى جزر هاواي ومن بعدها الفيليبين وبعد فشل المحاولات لإيجاد موطن قدم في شمال إفريقيا عبر حروب شاطئ البرابرة في شمال القارة الإفريقية في بداية القرن التاسع عشر، كان لا بد من التوسع الاقتصادي عبر الهيمنة الاقتصادية، فالاقتصاد وسيلة للهيمنة وليست هدفا قائما بذاته.  السياسة دائما قوّامة على الاقتصاد وإن كان للأخير دور في رسم السياسات.

والتوسع عبر المحيط الهادئ اصطدم بمصالح الإمبراطورية اليابانية فكانت الحرب العالمية الثانية.  والتوسع في أميركا اللاتينية اصطدم بمصالح الاسبان فكانت حروب التحرير من الهيمنة الاسبانية التي دعمتها الولايات المتحدة في مطلع القرن التاسع عشر ومع اسبانيا مباشرة في آخر القرن التاسع عشر وبداية القرن العشرين في كوبا والفيليبين.  فالجمهورية إذن مبنية على قاعدة التوسع ونهاية التوسع بكافة اشاكله يعني نهاية الجمهورية.  من هنا نفهم مغزى “حق التدخلّ لمساعدة المضطهدين” في العالم بينما الهدف الحقيقي هو فرض السيطرة تحت رافعة العولمة وذلك لديمومة الجمهورية.  فالمصالح الاقتصادية لقوى العولمة في الإدارة الديمقراطية الجديدة ستصطدم مع مصالح الذين يريدون الاهتمام بالملفات الداخلية كما سنراه في الملف الصيني والاوروبي والمشرق والوطن العربي.

لذلك نعتقد أن السياسة الخارجية ستحكمها الوقائع الداخلية وأن المبادرة في الملفات الخارجية لم تعد في يد الولايات المتحدة. فالاستراتيجية الأميركية ستصطدم بمواقف المناهضة لها وفتور تأييد الدول الحليفة لها لأن إملاءات الولايات المتحدة لم تعد تصب في مصلحة مشتركة عند مكوّنات السلطة أي الدولة العميقة والتحالفات التي نُسجت للإطاحة بدونالد ترامب.  هذا هو ارث ولاية ترامب وليس هناك من دليل عن تراجع في الأهداف بل فقط في الأسلوب والعودة إلى اتفاقات خرجت منها الولايات المتحدة والتي لن تكلّفها أي شيء إضافي.  ولكن هذا الرجوع إلى الاتفاقية لن يغير في اهتزاز الصورة عند الحلفاء كما عند الخصوم حيث المصداقية فقدت.  فأي ضمان أن إي إدارة مستقبلية ستلتزم بما تتعهد به الإدارة الجديدة في البيت الأبيض.  لن تقبل الدول أن تكون رهينة مزاج متغيّر بين إدارة وإدارة وبالتالي المصالح للدول الحليفة ستعود لتتحكّم بأولويات سياساتها الخارجية.

هذه حدود الإدارة والتي لا نتوقع أي تعديل عن السياسات السابقة سواء فقط في الأسلوب واللهجة.  فهي غير قادرة على التغيير وغير قادرة على الاستمرار.  هذا هو مأزقها وليس مسؤولة دول العالم حل المأزق الأميركي.  التحوّلات في الميدان ستفرز الوقائع التي ستحكم السياسة الأميركية التي تصبح يوما بعض يوم غير ذي جدوى.  فلا قدرة لها على شن حروب جديدة وإن كانت رغبتها في ذلك مؤكّدة ولا قدرة لها على تقديم تنازلات لعقد تسويات.  فانفراط الإمبراطورية الأميركية قد تتلازم مع انحلال الجمهورية.  في أحسن الأحوال ما ستقوم به الإدارة الجديدة هو ربط نزاع دون حلول ودون حروب.  في أسواء الأحوال بالنسبة لها مسألة وجودها ككيان لدولة عظمى.  الخطورة تكمن فقط في استمرار حالة الإنكار وارتكاب بالتالي حماقات تسّرع في زوالها وما سيرافق ذلك من خسائر في الأرواح.

*باحث وكاتب اقتصادي سياسي والأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي


New U.S. Foreign Policy Problems

Click here to see the Video (deleted by You Tube)

Ziad Hafez

The U.S. political landscape continues to be blurred after the recent controversial presidential election and subsequent events such as the storming of Congress (or an invasion as some would like!) by Donald Trump’s supporters, which was a severe and perhaps fatal blow to the prestige of the United States.  Regardless of that controversy and the accompanying questioning of the legitimacy of Joseph Biden’s election and the prospect of a quiet transfer of power and a normal mandate, there is uncertainty about the foreign policy directions of the new U.S. administration, reinforced by the recent structural internal instability.  This makes us say that the initiative is no longer in the hands of the United States, but in the hands of the counter-axis, which includes the Eurasian bloc led by Russia and China, the axis of resistance and a number of Latin American countries.  The question is no longer what will the United States do, but what will the anti-axis do? But this fact has not yet been absorbed by the ruling Arab elites and those in their orbit.

Our approach is based on a reality that has emerged for more than two decades: the imbalance between American desires/goals to dominate the world at all costs and its actual capabilities to achieve it. U.S. hegemonic goals require capabilities that no longer exist in the United States.  On the other hand, its opponents have the capabilities to confront them, deter them, and possibly remove them from the areas they controlled.  On the other hand, there is a structural denial of the American mind regarding its role in the world based on its exceptional illusion and the theory of its manifest value to do what it does without accountability.  We are not here to put forward the merits of that reality, which has been detailed in many researches, but merely to recall that this imbalance between desires and capacities is what we are building on in approaching the possible and potential directions of the new administration if it is to manage things normally.

Part 1: The Essence of The Problems

Assuming a minimum of political realism, the methodology of the new administration would be based on an attempt to neutralise the relationship between external and internal files.  The internal political, economic and social files call for economic policies that converge with the lax reality of infrastructure, health and environmental security and the repositioning of the industrial sector in technologies that do not require dependence on oil and gas energy, for example, but not limited to the long, complex and contradictory list.  For example, we see the President-elect calling for the United States to become the largest country in the electric car industry.  The implications for the oil sector will be radical.  The oil component of the deep state will not stand idly by in the face of that transformation.  The oil sector built the industrial sector, which was the base of U.S. power.  Writing off that radical lying sector won’t go through easily.

On the other hand, most of the components of the deep state economically have been and continue to call for globalization and direct economic domination of the world and thus continued interference in the affairs of states in the interests of those components.  How can the internal economic file be separated from external hot files?  Most importantly, what would the new administration do if its economic project were to collide with the deep state interests that brought President Biden to power, especially since their alliance could not be based on a shared vision but only on the need to overthrow Donald Trump?  On the other hand, the power of giant corporations that have turned into transcontinental corporations and nations built their networks and interests based on American self-power, which, even after World War II, was closed to itself and merely exported to the world.  Today these companies have settled abroad and are being exported to the United States.  If the United States loses its own sources of power militarily, economically and financially, what can the host countries do to american giants endemic at home?

What we want to say is that there is an existential need for the United States to focus on restoring the internal situation.  But that focus will clash with the deep interests of the state in the external expansion, so the question becomes how can we balance two contradictory interests?  The United States no longer has the capacity to expand and dominate, so how will the deep components of the state fill that deficit?  The answer to that may take a long time when the ruling elites and the question becomes do you have time for it?  No matter how approached, the United States has entered a new phase in its history that could lead to a total reconsideration of its composition. But this is another conversation that doesn’t need to be approached right now. It is enough to conclude that the ability to influence external files is limited and this may contribute to the rebalancing of the world on a more just base than it was in the arctic era.

These observations were necessary to understand the difficulties so as not to say the difficulties that the new administration will face.  How will you deal with externally pending files?   Most analyses and approaches are based on the writings of new administration figures during the campaign, including Biden’s spring 2020 article in The Foreign Affairs, including those of Secretary of State Anthony Plankin and National Security Advisor Jack Sullivan.  What can we expect from the new administration if it is to exercise its functions in the light of internal divisions in the United States and even within the Democratic Party with regard to external and even internal files.  Internal contradictions in the Democratic Party may be overcome because the party’s young base inside and outside Congress is in great contrast to the traditional leaders that remain in cold war climates.

The young base is more closely identified with the US internally and abroad and does not share the leadership’s concerns. How would this rule behave if the leadership proceeded to pursue policies in the external and internal files that contradict its aspirations? We must not forget that Biden’s “victory” is largely due to the youth turnout for the elections under the slogan “We are all against Trump” and thus ignoring this basic segment by the leadership may be costly in the upcoming midterm elections in 2022 and in the presidential elections in 2024. The two battles began. Already since now! But regardless of these considerations that will continue to cast a shadow over the overall decisions of the new administration, how will the new administration approach the external files?

Some clear indications lead us to believe that the new administration will be softer and more diplomatic, and are evident in the balance in designations for senior positions in the new administration. On the one hand there are the “hawks” represented in the front row by Anthony Blinken for Foreign Affairs and Jack Sullivan for the National Security Council, along with Kathleen Hicks as Deputy Secretary of Defense, Wendy Sherman as Deputy Secretary of State, and Susan Rice as Chair of the Domestic Policy Council (some consider that she will be the shadow chair in the new administration. And Victoria Newland as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, a position previously held by Jeffrey Feltman. We Note here that Victoria Newland, wife of Robert Kagan, is the main theoretician of the neoconservatives. Newland was the hero of the Ukrainian coup and had proverbs in the European Union that amounted to insults and contempt. As for Wendy Sharman, she is a supporter of Madeleine Albright, who justified the killing of 500,000 Iraqi children during the siege on Iraq. Sherman famously declared that deception is in the DNA of Iranians. She was keen to inform Netanyahu of all the details of the negotiations with Iran on the nuclear file, as explained by former intelligence officer Philip Giraldi in an article published on the “Information Clearing House” website on January 12, 2021.

And one of the experts of the Cato Institute, Ted Carpenter, in an article he published on the National Interest website, which includes diplomats, military, former intelligence officers and academics, considers that the Biden administration’s foreign policy team does not have the creative thinking but the traditional, as it is expected only to push the same policies followed in the administration of Barack Obama and even Trump. But in a kinder way. Blinken’s statement on November 25 that the president-elect will be the president of a confrontation with Russia will also enhance the capabilities of NATO as a system and will also support European countries that are anti-Russian, such as Ukraine, Georgia, the Baltic states, and Poland. The problem, Carpenter adds, is not in the usual thinking about whether the policies before Trump arrived were good and yielding results, but rather that they were a failure. And the promise to return to those policies means more failure!

On the other hand, the appointment of General Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defence and William Burns, a veteran diplomat to run the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), represents “moderation” in foreign policy. This balance is due to the need to satisfy the components of the coalition that brought Biden to the presidency on the one hand, and the new administration’s keenness to restore respect for its image, which was cracked by its allies during Trump’s term. However, this does not mean abandoning the profound belief that governed the behavior of successive administrations after World War II regarding the necessity of leading the world on the basis of the biblical reading of the Bible, as the terms “Manifest Destiny”, “City on the Mountain” and “New Promised Land” indicate in their speech on the United States . From here we understand the identification in form and style with the emergence of the Zionist entity and the United States.

Here, attention must be drawn to a key factor that contributes to understanding the fundamental motivation for aggressive policy behaviour in the world in various U.S. administrations.The theory of “manifest destiny” came to cover the crimes of the emergence of the United States in the extermination of the first peoples of the continent by European colonialists, and from there the enslavement of Africans to operate cotton plantations, the first base of the agricultural sector in the emerging society, for the benefit of the English colonial. The republic that arose as a protest against the policy of the British Crown would not have been stabilised without geographical expansion. When geographical expansion was completed westward and across the Pacific to the Hawaiian Islands and then the Philippines, and after attempts to find a foothold in North Africa through the barbarian beach wars in the north of the African continent at the beginning of the 19th century, economic expansion was necessary through economic domination, the economy being a means of domination and not a self-contained goal.  Politics is always based on the economy, although the latter has a role to play in policy-making.

The expansion across the Pacific collided with the interests of the Japanese Empire and was the Second World War.  The expansion of Latin America ran into the interests of the Spaniards, and the wars of liberation were spanish domination, supported by the United States at the beginning of the 19th century and directly with Spain at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries in Cuba and the Philippines.  The Republic is therefore based on the basis of expansion and the end of expansion in all its forms means the end of the Republic.  Hence, we understand the meaning of the “right to intervene to help the oppressed” in the world when the real goal is to impose control under the lever of globalization in order to perpetuate the Republic.  The economic interests of the forces of globalization in the new democratic administration will collide with the interests of those who want to take care of the internal files, as we will see in the Chinese, European, Levant and Arab world.

Therefore, we believe that foreign policy will be governed by by domestic realities and that the initiative in foreign files is no longer in the hands of the United States. U.S. strategy will clash with anti-government positions and the lack of support from allied nations because U.S. dictates no longer serve a common interest in the components of power, namely the deep state and the alliances that have been spun to topple Donald Trump. This is the legacy of Trump’s term and there is no evidence of a decline in targets, but only in style and a return to agreements that the United States has come up with that will cost them nothing more.  But this reference to the Convention will not change the image shake of allies as when opponents where credibility has been lost.  Any guarantee that any future administration will abide by the commitments of the new administration in the White House.  States will not accept to be held hostage to a changing mood between management and administration and therefore the interests of allied states will return to control their foreign policy priorities.

These are the limits of the administration, and we do not expect any modification from the previous policies, either in style or tone. unable to change and unable to continue. This is its dilemma, and the countries of the world are not responsible for solving the American impasse. The transformations on the ground will produce the facts that will govern U.S. politics that will once become some useless day.  It has no capacity to wage new wars, although its willingness to do so is certain and it cannot make concessions for settlements. The break-up of the American empire may coincide with the dissolution of the republic. At best, what the new administration will do is connect a conflict without solutions and without wars. In the worst case for it, the issue of its existence as a superpower.

The break-up of the American empire may go hand in hand with the dissolution of the Republic.  At best, what the new administration will do is to link a conflict without solutions and without wars.  At worst for her, the question of her existence as an entity of a super-Power.  The danger lies solely in the continuation of the state of denial and therefore the commission of follies that accelerate its demise and the attendant loss of life.

*Researcher, political economist and former Secretary General of the Arab National Congress

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Trump’s not-so-secret art of containing China

Trump’s not-so-secret art of containing China

January 16, 2021

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

It was hardly a secret throughout the Trump administration. Now, dying embers within sight, and with minimum fanfare, comes the declassification – virtually the whole document, minus a few redactions – of the US Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific.

Why now, no less than 30 years before the usual, standard US declassification/public record protocols apply? Don’t expect an answer from Trump or from his National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.

O’Brien’s premise, presenting the declassification, is that, “Beijing is increasingly pressuring Indo-Pacific nations to subordinate their freedom and sovereignty to a ‘common destiny’ envisioned by the Chinese Communist Party.”

This is nonsense in multiple levels. The best Mandarin-English translation for China’s overarching strategy is “community with a shared future for humanity” – a Confucius/Marx crossover based on trade/connectivity and sustainable development.

No nation is pressured to surrender their “freedom and sovereignty” to join the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It’s a voluntary decision – otherwise over 130 nations would not go for it, including many in Europe. The strategy is not ideological; it’s based on trade. Moreover, China is already the top trade partner for the overwhelming majority of these nations.

Is Beijing trembling?

Since 2018 we were all familiar with the basic contours of the Trump administration’s “overarching strategic guidance” for the Indo-Pacific.

These are the Top 5 items – with no euphemistic softening:

– to maintain that sacrosanct US “primacy”, code for uncontested military power;

– promote the Quad (US, Japan, India, Australia);

– fully support the (failed) Hong Kong color revolution;

– demonize everything connected to BRI;

– and invest in “the rise of India”.

On the military front, things get way trickier: the imperative is to prevent Beijing, by all means necessary, from “dominating the first island chain” – that is, the island ring from the Japanese archipelago to Taiwan all the way to the northern Philippines and Borneo. Moreover, “primacy” should also be maintained in the “area beyond”.

So once again this is all about naval containment.

Chinese strategists obviously studied their Mahan and Spykman thoroughly – and understood that the US Navy would ultimately play their trump card as a naval embargo.

Thus the Chinese Heartland strategy to contain the US’s Rimland strategy: pipelines from Russia and Central Asia (energy supply chain) and BRI (trade). A neat combination of “escape from Malacca” (in terms of oil and gas supplies) and overland connectivity.

A graphic example is the importance of the southern sector of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). In the long run, that offers Beijing, via Gwadar port, prime access to the Indian Ocean, bypassing Malacca. That can even be enhanced by upcoming Chinese investment in neighboring Chabahar port in Iran, in the Gulf Of Oman.

In contrast, US strategists advising the Trump administration, apart from not improving on Mahan and Spykman, completely ignored China’s economic pull all across Eurasia. They ignored the fact that scores of nations from Central to South and Southeast Asia (the ASEAN 10) would not sacrifice their trade/investment relations to the benefit of a Made in the Beltway “vision”.

The recent signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) deal all but buried the Indo-Pacific strategy.

As much as they are not reality-based, the core lineaments of the Indo-Pacific strategy are not bound to change much under Biden-Harris. They will be tweaked – in a “back to the future” manner. The Biden-Harris point man for China is bound to be none other than Kurt Campbell, the man who invented the “pivot to Asia” concept that was then embraced by Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State and Obama as President. Campbell now argues that emphasis on the sacrosanct “primacy” may be somewhat alleviated.

Is Beijing trembling? Hardly.

The 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party falls next July 23. Exactly one day before the declassification of Indo-Pacific, President Xi Jinping outlined his – and the CCP’s – vision for no less than the next three decades, culminating in the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China in 2049.

So here’s Xi Top Three – in a nutshell.

– Keep calm and carry on, despite the ravaging effects of Covid-19, unrelenting Western – especially American – hostility, and the trials and tribulations of the crumbling US Empire.

– Focus on domestic development, in all areas.

– Focus on China’s priorities; then whatever happens the world outside will not be able to interfere. China’s priorities include solidifying its own “primacy” in the South China Sea while diversifying trade/development strategic options all along BRI.

It will certainly help that China’s GDP is bound to grow by almost 8% in 2021 – as estimated by IMF/World Bank. Astonishingly, if that’s the case GDP by the end of this year will reach the same level that pre-Covid Western forecasters were predicting by the end of 2019: 5% growth each year for the next two years. China may have grown roughly 2% in 2020, booming foreign trade included.

Goldman Sachs is branding the current economic environment “the Chinese phenomenon”. China remains the high-speed rail locomotive of global capitalism. It’s easy to notice which way scores of nations see the wind blowing when they compare it with what’s just been declassified.

The rise of International Axis challenging US power: TV Report

Source

August 20, 2020

Description:

A short segment on Al Mayadeen TV illustrating the most important strategic agreements between states increasingly being targeted by American sanctions.

Source: Al Mayadeen News (YouTube)

Date: 21 July, 2020

(Important Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing as little as $1/month here)

Transcript:

Every time Washington tries to tighten the screws on states by imposing sanctions on them, these states in turn come together and integrate deeper by forming alliances or concluding strategic agreements that open new windows for their economies which are reeling under sanctions.

Among the most important agreements of this nature are those signed between Iran and Iraq, most notable of which are the joint oilfield agreements between the two countries; the establishment of the Tehran-Damascus highway via Iraq; and various trade exchange agreements.

Some of these agreements could transform the balance of power, such as the strategic cooperation agreement between Beijing and Tehran which entails China investing hundreds of billions of dollars (in Iran), making the two countries partners in confronting American pressure.

As for Russia and Iran, they have taken serious steps in the way of strengthening cooperation in various political, economic and military fields, as well as cooperation in foreign affair files. 

On the other hand, Russia and China concluded a bilateral cooperation agreement in 2001, which consolidates the existing strategic partnership between the two countries since the end of the 1990s, in addition to agreements aimed at reinforcing economic relations between the two countries.

Moscow, which stood by Syria since the start of the war on it, concluded an agreement (with Damascus) that was signed by the respective defense ministries in 1994, in addition to several trade agreements, and the signing of an agreement to reconstruct Syrian infrastructure destroyed by war.

The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Another Reminder of Western Barbarianism

The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Another Reminder of Western Barbarianism 

By Darko Lazar

During the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999, the Western military alliance devastated the country’s civilian infrastructure. The long list of targets included 19 hospitals, 18 kindergartens, 176 cultural monuments and 44 bridges. 

Several weeks into the military campaign, which was fiercely opposed by Russia and China, a total of five satellite-guided bombs, delivered by American B-2 bombers, slammed into the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. 

The attack on the symbol of Chinese sovereignty in the heart of the Balkans killed three Chinese nationals and wounded twenty others. 

Washington and Brussels claimed the attack was a mistake. But NATO’s increasingly bloody push eastwards would have unintended consequences. 

The Belt and Road Initiative vs. Western dictates 

Just a few months after the bombing of Serbia, Russia’s President Boris Yeltsin was quietly pushed out of office and replaced by the relatively unknown Vladimir Putin.

When Putin won his first election in 2000, he is rumored to have had two inauguration ceremonies. One was held in full view of the global media and another unfolded in the Kremlin’s underground chambers. 

There he was joined by a small group of Russian military officers and operatives from the country’s security apparatus. These men understood that it was only a matter of time before NATO bombs started falling on downtown Moscow, and the decision had been made to confront Western expansionism. 

In the years that followed, China and Russia would join hands with Iran to suppress American influence though the creation of a Eurasian union made up of sovereign and independent nations. 

This ambitious scheme reached Serbia in the form of Russian military hardware and China’s Belt and Road Initiative. 

Beijing found a reliable partner in the government of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, and in less than a decade, the Chinese poured billions of dollars in investments into the Balkan state. 

The investments propped up critical industries in Serbia, including a copper mine, a steelmaker, and a thermal power plant. While safeguarding tens of thousands of jobs and driving much-needed growth, the Chinese were also building new bridges, roads, and ports. 

Meanwhile, Vucic adopted an intelligent foreign policy – one made possible by the reemergence of a multipolar world. He reached out to both east and west and then took the best deal on the table. But the West had little to offer. 

Most of the exchanges with Brussels consisted of dictates. No longer able to bomb embassies, the West demanded Belgrade introduce ‘political reforms’ and restrict Chinese investments. 

Western political elites remained convinced that China and Russia have nothing to offer countries like Serbia that could rival joining ‘democratic’ Western alliances. 

The coronavirus pandemic delivered yet another serious blow to this arrogant and abominable point of view.     

Solidarity and fairytales

As coronavirus infections spiked dramatically across Europe earlier this month, Vucic declared that “European solidarity does not exist.” 

“This was a fairytale on paper,” Vucic said as he announced a state of emergency in his country. “Today I sent a special letter to the only ones who can help, and that is China.” 

He explained that he asked Chinese President Xi Jinping “not only as a dear friend, but as a brother” to provide Serbia desperately needed assistance after the EU imposed a ban on exports of medical equipment.  

Once again, when time came for building bridges instead of destroying them, the great humanitarians of the West had nothing to offer. Meanwhile, Chinese gear and experts flooded Serbia virtually overnight.

Beijing’s assistance and strict measures imposed by the government early on helped Serbia stave off disaster.   

But Serbia isn’t the only country receiving planeloads of supplies from the east. Chinese medical equipment is being sent to Iran, Iraq, and a number of European states including Italy where over 10,000 people have thus far perished due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Italy – the first EU state to embrace the Belt and Road Initiative in 2019 – turned to China after its plea for help from its European neighbors was refused. 

Similar acts of solidarity came from the Russians and some Latin American states. The Cubans flew their doctors to Italy and were asked to return to Brazil where they were expelled in 2018 and labeled “Communist spies” by the right-wing government of Jair Bolsonaro. 

Meanwhile, Western powerhouses are looking inwards. As they cling onto stocks depleted by years of healthcare cuts, the Trump administration was reportedly caught offering piles of money for ‘exclusive rights’ to a Covid-19 vaccine.

Imprisoned by their own twisted interpretations of human rights, many of these governments were slow to react. They hesitated in following the Chinese model and imposing drastic restrictions on freedom of movement. Instead they were worried about profits and how the stock markets would react. 

And even as the U.S. becomes the new epicenter of this pandemic, President Donald Trump expressed his readiness to potentially risk millions of American lives by reopening the country in just a few weeks.

This brutal face of capitalism is also on full display for Washington’s adversaries, namely Iran and Venezuela, where unilateral sanctions are preventing the delivery of desperately needed medical supplies.  

As such, Western governments and their policies are not only endangering individual nation states. At a time when a highly infectious disease is spreading at an unprecedented speed, these policies are threatening the entire global population. 

De omnibus dubitandum est

Despite extensive global coverage of this pandemic, very little is actually known about Covid-19. We don’t know how dangerous the virus is or its concrete consequences. And we certainly don’t have tangible details about what caused the outbreak. 

This leaves plenty of room for speculation, conspiracy theories, and even talk about aliens. Whatever the truth, biological warfare involving powerful political currents can never be ruled out. 

In an op-ed published more than two years ago, Al-Ahed pointed to the existence of hundreds of American military biological laboratories across the Eurasian continent. The labs were being used by the Pentagon to gather intelligence on microorganisms – vital for the creation of highly effective biological weapons. 

There is no doubt that the coronavirus transcends borders and religions and doesn’t discriminate between rich and poor. But that doesn’t mean that the virus isn’t helping further certain political agendas. 

The coronavirus has done what “Israel’s” politicians have failed to do for over a year. It’s brought an end to the political deadlock with indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set to form the next government. 

By bringing the global economy to a screeching halt, Covid-19 has given birth to another Great Depression and paved the way for the collapse of certain governments. 

Equally important is the fact that the virus has the potential to determine the outcome of every single election process in the Western world for some time to come, including the U.S. presidential race. 

At times like these, it would be wise to remember the words of the late Danish philosopher Soren Aabye Kierkegaard who titled one of his books, De omnibus dubitandum est or “everything must be doubted”. 

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