In a US-China confrontation, West Asia will bow out

A significant increase in geopolitical and economic ties with China has offered West Asian states an alternative to the US, which has traditionally been the region’s security guarantor.

February 24 2023

Photo Credit: The Cradle
F.M. Shakil is a Pakistani writer covering political, environmental, and economic issues, and is a regular contributor at Akhbar Al-Aan in Dubai and Asia Times in Hong Kong. He writes extensively about China-Pakistan strategic relations, particularly Beijing’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

By F.M. Shakil

The prospect of a US-China war has entered the realm of reality. Increased provocations from US military and political officials regarding the status of Taiwan – which China considers to be part of its historic territory – have heightened the possibility of confrontation in recent years.

With only 13 out of 193 UN member states recognizing the government in Taipei as a separate entity, the global community’s reaction to a Washington-led assault over Taiwan’s status remains highly uncertain.

Today, the reaction of strategic West Asia to a hypothetical conflict between the two superpowers is up for grabs. However, given the region’s reluctance to take sides in the Russian-US stand off, it is likely to be equally hesitant to do so in the event of a US-China conflict.

In a memo released on 27 January, US General Mike Minihan, chief of the Air Mobility Command, wrote: “My instinct tells me we will fight in 2025.” General Minihan’s views align with Taiwanese Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng’s statement in 2021 that China will be capable of launching a full-scale invasion of Taiwan by the same year.

In response to General Minihan’s remarks, Mike McCaul, chairman of the US House Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee, told Fox News: “I hope he is mistaken but I believe he is correct.” Adding fuel to the fire, US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on 29 January, “The chances of conflict in the relationship with China over Taiwan are very high.”

A lot of hot air

Days after the US general issued a warning that Washington may engage in combat with Beijing in the next two years, tensions between the two countries were further exacerbated by the spoof-worthy Chinese spy balloon incident.

According to some senior Republicans and US military leaders, there is a growing concern that a full-scale conflict between the two superpowers is imminent, with the Asia-Pacific (AP) and South Asia (SA) regions likely to be the primary theaters of the conflict.

Jan Achakzai, a geopolitical analyst and former adviser to Pakistan’s Balochistan government, tells The Cradle that:

“The possibility of a war between the United States and China puts everyone on edge, especially the regions that are intricately linked with the US or China. Some nations will be compelled to choose between allying with the US in the case of war or keeping the status quo to lessen the possibility of hostilities.”

Russian involvement in West Asia

Despite nominal trade and geopolitical relations with Moscow, West Asian countries did not support Washington’s position in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. However, Russia’s veto power at the UN Security Council does have a positive impact on its relationship with regional states, particularly for its ability to prevent expansionist and anti-Arab policies by other permanent council members.

Security and trade remain the two primary pillars of the relationship between Moscow and West Asia, and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s image has played a significant role in shaping these ties.

The UAE serves as a major financial hub for Russia, and Moscow may attempt to leverage its influence in the region to urge the UAE to reconsider US-imposed banking restrictions, if it feels that its interests are being compromised.

In addition, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Lebanon, and Egypt are among the countries that purchase wheat from Russia, which further solidifies economic ties between Russia and the Arab world.

Moreover, since joining the expanded Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+) in 2016, Russia and Saudi Arabia have worked closely to regulate oil output and price adjustments as part of OPEC+ agreements.

Putin’s public image has, in part, contributed to a surge in support for Russia in the kingdom. In 2018, when Riyadh faced international criticism over the Saudi-orchestrated murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Russian president made headlines by high-fiving and grinning at the then-isolated Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) during the G20 summit in Argentina.

Likewise, his prominent role in thwarting the NATO proxy war in Syria – a geopolitical game changer that, arguably, ushered in global multipolarity – has gained Putin fans across a region that has long suffered from western imperialist designs.

Where will West Asia stand?

Although still a hypothetical scenario, it is worth considering how West Asia would respond to a direct US-China conflict. Many prominent geopolitical analysts have speculated that if West Asia, and particularly the traditionally pro-US Arab states of the Persian Gulf, did not toe the US line against Russia – a significantly smaller regional trading partner than China – its loyalties to Washington in a potential US-China confrontation could be further strained.

Compared to Russia, China has significantly larger investments throughout West Asia. In 2021, bilateral trade between Beijing and the region amounted to $330 billion, with approximately 50 percent of China’s energy supply coming from the energy-abundant Persian Gulf.

China has conducted over $200 billion in trade alone with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. From 2005 to 2021, Beijing invested $43.47 billion in Saudi Arabia, $36.16 billion in the UAE, $30.05 billion in Iraq, $11.75 billion in Kuwait, $7.8 billion in Qatar, $6.62 billion in Oman, and $1.4 billion in Bahrain.

In addition to its investments in trade and energy, China has also invested enormous sums of money in West Asian and North African infrastructure and high-tech development projects via its multi-trillion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Beijing has entered into strategic cooperation agreements with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Algeria, Egypt, and Iran, and has enlisted a total of 21 Arab nations in its ambitious, decade-long effort to revive the historic Silk Road and export its goods to markets throughout Europe and Africa. Currently, infrastructure developed by Persian Gulf nations serves as a transit point for two-thirds of Chinese exports to these continents.

Egypt is a crucial hub for the BRI, with the Economic-Technological Development Area in Egypt’s Suez Canal Economic Zone, near Ain Sokhna, representing one of the major projects for which the two nations signed contracts totaling $18 billion in 2018.

Iraq, the third-largest oil supplier to China after Saudi Arabia and Russia, has also received $10.5 billion from Beijing for BRI-related energy projects, and just this week, agreed to replace its dollar trade with Beijing for the Chinese yuan.

In West Asia, the US plays second fiddle to Beijing

Chinese collaboration with West Asia and North Africa is not confined to trade and economy; Beijing also provides defense equipment to several Arab nations. Since 2019, China and Saudi Arabia have reportedly collaborated on the production of ballistic missiles, and China also sells Saudi Arabia its HQ-17AE air defense system.

Chinese Wing Loong drones have been purchased by the UAE, and Iraq has placed an order for CH-4B drones. Jordan purchased CH-4Bs in 2016, while Algeria acquired CH-5s – the next generation of the CH-4B type – to expand its aviation capabilities in 2022. In addition, Saudi Advanced Communications and Electronics Systems Co. and China Electronics Technology Group are partnering to build a drone factory for local UAV production.

While US President Joe Biden’s administration’s relationship with Riyadh has been strained due to disagreements over human rights and energy policy, China is making significant strides in strengthening its ties with the country.

As Beijing draws closer to Saudi Arabia, the message to Washington from Riyadh is unambiguous: “The people in the Middle East [West Asia] are tired of other countries’ interference because they always come with troubles.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping received a royal welcome in Riyadh last December, marking a seismic shift in Sino-Arab relations and boosting China’s image throughout the Arab world. In contrast, US President Joe Biden’s visit to Jeddah in the summer of 2022 received a lukewarm reception. This may suggest that a recalibration of West Asian geopolitical alliances may be on the horizon.

Despite these trends, analyst Achakzai tells The Cradle that West Asia will behave similarly to the way it did during the Russian-Ukrainian conflict – even given China’s increasing business and military presence in the region. and the US’s declining control over the oil-rich Arab monarchies.

“Depending on the current situation, the motives of the various states in the region may change and divide into two distinct groups: those who would support the US and those who would support a neutral position.”

China values economy over war

In the Asia-Pacific region, the US and its allies are engaged in a contentious relationship with China regarding maritime boundaries, international trade, human rights, and strategic security issues. Despite signing numerous security pacts with regional players, China appears to prioritize building and strengthening economic ties over military cooperation with Asian-Pacific states.

Due to a history of hostile confrontations and divergent geopolitical objectives, both the US and China seek to increase their military presence in the region. In response to China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, the US has expanded its military footprint by signing commercial and defense agreements with the Asia-Pacific region.

The two nations have also been at odds over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which many viewed as an effort to contain China’s economic and strategic influence in its own backyard. Additionally, tensions have escalated between Beijing and its neighbors, particularly over territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas.

These efforts have been emboldened by the 5-member Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), which is an informal strategic dialogue between the US, India, Japan, and Australia that seeks “to promote a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.” According to Achakzai:

“Countries that have extensive defense agreements with the US, such as Japan, South Korea, and Australia, are most likely to help America. These nations, which have long benefited from their close connections to the US, must now contend with Chinese territorial ambitions in the region and the South China Sea. The nations having an informal security partnership with the US, such as the Philippines, are likely to back the United States in a confrontation.”

The analyst explained that Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia are expected to remain neutral during the conflict due to their strong business and investment ties with China.

“Other countries in the Asia-Pacific region may feel obligated to support the US if China initiates the conflict. This may apply to countries like Indonesia and Vietnam, which have recently been under Chinese pressure and may need to choose a side to protect their own security,” he noted.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

The Global South births a new game-changing payment system

November 30, 2022

by Pepe Escobar, first published at The Cradle and posted with the author’s permission

Challenging the western monetary system, the Eurasia Economic Union is leading the Global South toward a new common payment system to bypass the US Dollar.

The Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) is speeding up its design of a common payment system, which has been closely discussed for nearly a year with the Chinese under the stewardship of Sergei Glazyev, the EAEU’s minister in charge of Integration and Macro-economy.

Through its regulatory body, the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), the EAEU has just extended a very serious proposal to the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) which, crucially, are already on the way to turning into BRICS+: a sort of G20 of the Global South.

The system will include a single payment card – in direct competition with Visa and Mastercard – merging the already existing Russian MIR, China’s UnionPay, India’s RuPay, Brazil’s Elo, and others.

That will represent a direct challenge to the western-designed (and enforced) monetary system, head on. And it comes on the heels of BRICS members already transacting their bilateral trade in local currencies, and bypassing the US dollar.

This EAEU-BRICS union was long in the making – and will now also move toward prefiguring a further geoeconomic merger with the member nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

The EAEU was established in 2015 as a customs union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, joined a year later by Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Vietnam is already an EAEU free trade partner, and recently enshrined SCO member Iran is also clinching a deal.

The EAEU is designed to implement free movement of goods, services, capital, and workers between member countries. Ukraine would have been an EAEU member if not for the Maidan coup in 2014 masterminded by the Barack Obama administration.

Vladimir Kovalyov, adviser to the chairman of the EEC, summed it all up to Russian newspaper Izvestia. The focus is to establish a joint financial market, and the priority is to develop a common “exchange space:” “We’ve made substantial progress and now the work is focused on such sectors as banking, insurance, and the stock market.”

A new regulatory body for the proposed joint EEU-BRICS financial system will soon be established.

Meanwhile, trade and economic cooperation between the EAEU and BRICS have increased 1.5 times in the first half of 2022 alone.

The BRICS share in the total external trade turnover of the EAEU has reached 30 percent, Kovalyov revealed at the BRICS International Business Forum this past Monday in Moscow:

“It is advisable to combine the potentials of the BRICS and EAEU macro-financial development institutions, in particular the BRICS New Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), as well as national development institutions. This will make it possible to achieve a synergistic effect and ensure synchronous investments in sustainable infrastructure, innovative production, and renewable energy sources.”

Here we once again see the advancing convergence of not only BRICS and EAEU but also the financial institutions deeply involved in projects under the China-led New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Halting the Age of Plunder

As if all that was not game-changing enough, Russian President Vladimir Putin is raising the stakes by calling for a new international payment system based on blockchain and digital currencies.

The project for such a system was recently presented at the 1st Eurasian Economic Forum in Bishkek.

At the forum, the EAEU approved a draft agreement on cross-border placement and circulation of securities in member states, and amended technical regulations.

The next big step is to organize the agenda of a crucial meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council on 14 December in Moscow. Putin will be there – in person. And there’s nothing he would love more than to make a game-changing announcement.

All of these moves acquire even more importance as they connect to fast increasing, interlocking trade between Russia, China, India, and Iran: from Russia’s drive to build new pipelines serving its Chinese market – to Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan discussing a gas union for both domestic supplies and exports, especially to main client China.

Slowly but surely, what is emerging is the Big Picture of an irretrievably fractured world featuring a dual trade/circulation system: one will be revolving around the remnants of the dollar system, the other is being built centered on the association of BRICS, EAEU, and SCO.

Pushing further on down the road, the recent pathetic metaphor coined by a tawdry Eurocrat boss: the “jungle” is breaking away from the “garden” with a vengeance. May the fracture persist, as a new international payment system – and then a new currency – will aim to halt for good the western-centric Age of Plunder.

Operation Claw-Sword: Erdogan’s big new game in Syria

November 27, 2022

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

Wily Sultan is caught between his electorate, which favors a Syria invasion, and his extremely nuanced relations with Russia

There’s another Special Military Operation on the market. No, it’s not Russia “denazifying” and “demilitarizing” Ukraine – and, therefore, it’s no wonder that this other operation is not ruffling feathers across the collective West.

Operation Claw-Sword was launched by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as revenge – highly emotional and concerted – for Kurdish terrorist attacks against Turkish citizens. Some of the missiles that Ankara launched in this aerial campaign carried the names of Turkish victims.

The official Ankara spin is that the Turkish Armed Forces fully achieved their “air operation objectives” in the north of Syria and in Iraqi Kurdistan, and made those responsible for the terror attack against civilians in Istanbul’s Istiklal pedestrian street pay in “multitudes.”

And this is supposed to be just the first stage. For the third time in 2022, Sultan Erdogan is also promising a ground invasion of Kurdish-held territories in Syria.

However, according to diplomatic sources, that’s not going to happen – even as scores of Turkish experts are adamant that the invasion is needed sooner rather than later.

The wily Sultan is caught between his electorate, which favors an invasion, and his extremely nuanced relations with Russia – which encompass a large geopolitical and geo-economic arc.

He well knows that Moscow can apply all manner of pressure levers to dissuade him. For instance, Russia at the last minute annulled the weekly dispatch of a joint Russo-Turkish patrol in Ain al Arab that was taking place on Mondays.

Ain al Arab is a highly strategic territory: the missing link, east of the Euphrates, capable of offering continuity between Idlib and Ras al Ayn, occupied by dodgy Turkish-aligned gangs near the Turkish border.

Erdogan knows he can’t jeopardize his positioning as potential EU-Russia mediator while obtaining maximum profit from bypassing the anti-Russian embargo-sanctions combo.

The Sultan, juggling multiple serious dossiers, is deeply convinced that he’s got what it takes to bring Russia and NATO to the negotiating table and, ultimately, end the war in Ukraine.

In parallel, he thinks he may stay on top of Turkey-Israel relations; a rapprochement with Damascus; the sensitive internal situation in Iran; Turkey-Azerbaijan relations; the non-stop metamorphoses across the Mediterranean; and the drive towards Eurasia integration.

He’s hedging all his bets between NATO and Eurasia.

‘Close down all of our southern borders’

The green light for Claw-Sword came from Erdogan while he was on his presidential plane, returning from the G20 in Bali. That happened only one day after he had met US President Joe Biden where, according to a presidential Erdogan statement, the subject had not come up.

“We held no meeting with Mr Biden or [Russian President Vladimir] Putin regarding the operation. They both already know that we can do such things at any moment in this region,” the statement said.

Washington not getting briefed on Claw-Sword mirrored Erdogan not getting invited to an extraordinary G7-NATO meeting in Bali, on the sidelines of the G20.

Then-US vice president Joe Biden (L) speaks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at Beylerbeyi Palace in Istanbul. Photo: AFP / Bulent Kilic

That meeting was called by the White House to deal with the by-now notorious Ukrainian S-300 missile that fell in Polish territory. At the time, no one at the table had any conclusive evidence about what happened. And Turkey was not even invited to the table – which profoundly incensed the Sultan.

So it’s no wonder Erdogan, mid-week, said that Claw-Sword was “just the beginning.” Addressing AKP party lawmakers in Parliament, he said Turkey is determined to “close down all of our southern borders … with a security corridor that will prevent the possibility of attacks on our country.”

The ground invasion promise remains: It will begin “at the most convenient time for us” and will target the regions of Tel Rifaat, Mambij and Kobane, which the Sultan called “sources of trouble.”

Ankara has already wreaked havoc, using drones, on the main headquarters of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, whose commanders believe the main target of a potential Turkish ground invasion would be Kobane.

Significantly, this is the first time a Turkish drone targeted an area extremely close to a US base. And Kobane is highly symbolic: the place where the Americans sealed a collaboration with Syrian Kurds to – in theory – fight ISIS.

And that explains why the Syrian Kurds are appalled by the American non-response to the Turkish strikes. They blame – who else? – the Sultan for stoking “nationalist sentiments” ahead of the 2023 elections, which Erdogan now stands a great chance to win despite the catastrophic state of the Turkish economy.

As it stands, there is no Turkish troop buildup near Kobane – just airstrikes. Which brings us to the all-important Russian factor.

Manbij and Tel Rifaat, west of the Euphrates, are much more important for Russia than Kobane, because they are both vital for the defense of Aleppo against possible Salafi-jihadi attacks.

What may potentially happen in the near future makes the situation even murkier. Ankara intel may use Hayat Tahrir al-Sham jihadis – which have already taken over parts of Afrin – as a sort of “vanguard” in a ground invasion of Syrian Kurd territory.

Selling stolen Syrian oil to Turkey

The current fog of war includes the notion that the Russians may have sold out the Kurds by leaving them exposed to Turkish bombing. That does not hold – because Russia’s influence over Syrian Kurd territory is negligible compared with the US’s. Only the Americans could “sell out” the Kurds.

The more things change, the more they remain the same in Syria. It could all be summarized as a monumental impasse. This gets even more surrealist because, in effect, Ankara and Moscow have already found the solution for the Syrian tragedy.

The problem is the presence of American forces – essentially protecting those shabby convoys stealing Syrian oil. Russians and Syrians always discuss it. The conclusion is that the Americans are staying by inertia. They do it because they can. And Damascus is powerless to expel them.

The Sultan plays the whole thing with consummate cynicism – in geopolitics and geo-economics. Most of what is unresolved in Syria revolves around territories occupied by de facto gangs that call themselves Kurds, protected by the US. They traffic Syrian oil to resell it mostly to … Turkey.

And then, in a flash, armed gangs that call themselves Kurds may simply abandon their “anti-terrorist” fight by … releasing the terrorists they apprehended, thus increasing the “terrorist threat” all over northeast Syria. They blame – who else? – Turkey. In parallel, the Americans increase financial aid to these armed gangs under the pretext of a “war on terror.”

The distinction between “armed gangs” and “terrorists” is of course razor thin. What matters most of all to Erdogan is that he can use the Kurds as a currency in trade negotiations linked to bypassing anti-Russian embargoes and sanctions.

And that explains why the Sultan may decide to bomb Syrian territory whenever he sees fit, despite any condemnation by Washington or Moscow. The Russians once in a while retake the initiative on the ground – as happened during the Idlib campaign in 2020 when Russians bombed the Turkish military forces that were providing “assistance” to Salafi-jihadis.

A view of the site after attacks carried out by Assad regime in Syria on the city center of Idlib on September 7, 2021. Photo: Izzeddin Kasim / Anadolu Agency

Now a game-changer may be on the cards. The Turkish Army bombed the al-Omar oilfield north of Deir ez-Zor. What this means in practice is that Ankara is now destroying no less than the oil infrastructure of the much-lauded “Kurdish autonomy.”

This infrastructure has been cynically exploited by the US when it comes to the oil that reaches the border with Iraq in Iraqi Kurdistan. So in a sense, Ankara is striking against Syrian Kurds and simultaneously against American robbery of Syrian oil.

The definitive game-changer may be approaching. That will be the meeting between Erdogan and Bashar al-Assad, (Remember the decade-long refrain “Assad must go”?)

Location: Russia. Mediator:  Vladimir Putin, in person. It’s not far-fetched to imagine this meeting paving the way for those Kurdish armed gangs, essentially played by Washington as useful idiots, to end up being decimated by Ankara.

Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’, or, Don’t Spit in the Well

November 27, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

The Ukrainian people will be liberated from their Neo-Nazi rulers, they deserve to live as friends and good neighbours and prosper alongside their Slav brothers’.

Sergei Lavrov, TASS, 26 November

Introduction

There is such a thing as retribution. This is what it says directly in the verse, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord’ (Rom. 12: 19) and what lies behind the New Testament, ‘Do as you would be done by’. However, other cultures have other words for retribution, ‘karma’ for example in India. Then there is the proverb, similar in several languages, which in English appears as: ‘Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind’. (See Galatians 6: 7). Then there is another saying which is also pretty universal. The Maltese form says: ‘Don’t spit in the air’ – there is no need to quote the second half – you can imagine the spit falling back onto the spitter.

In Russian we have the same proverb, only that is to do with spitting in the well – since you might yourself need to drink the water. Others quote: ‘What goes around, comes around’. Australians and others speak about ‘the boomerang effect’ and Americans speak of ‘blowback’ and ‘payback’. The fact is that there is a universal spiritual law, the law of cause and effect, that when you do something good, there are always good consequences, and when you do something bad, there are always bad consequences. Sooner or later. Anyone who has lived a little can confirm it from experience. Basically, you simply cannot get away with it. And this is what is happening to the Western world today. It’s payback time.

The Perfect Storm

I mention consequences because the history books of the future will be asking the question: ‘Where did the perfect storm in the Western world in 2022 come from’? One thing for sure, it did not come out of the blue. Any number of dates will be put forward as the origin, as far back as 1492 and even further back, for instance, the First Crusade in 1096. From more recent dates we could suggest:

1917, when after nearly three years the US elite entered the first part of the Europeans’ twentieth-century Civil War, having forced Russia out of it through violent regime change. To this day these utterly corrupt Western propagandists justify this cunning strategy by declaring that the Tsar’s government was utterly corrupt (sic!) and going to collapse anyway (sic!) and all were well rid of it (sic!). Some people actually believe that propaganda. They should investigate it objectively, instead of naively swallowing the West’s self-justification for creating the conditions for its genocide.

1944, when US forces invaded and occupied Continental Europe, making it into the first US-occupied Eurasian peninsula, just as they later did with other Eurasian peninsulas, (South) Korea, and (South) Vietnam, in the latter of which they were defeated.

1991, when the USSR collapsed and was (briefly) colonised by the US, leaving chaos and poverty with Chicago-style gangsters everywhere and millions dying of despair and drinking themselves to death.

2014, when the US took over the Ukraine in a violent regime-change coup.

2021, when the US was humiliated in Afghanistan.

2022, when the US clearly began to lose against Russia’s war of liberation of the Ukraine, its equipment and its relations with Western Europe in ruins.

We will leave other dates and the details of the debate to the history books of the future. But the debate will be there, you’ll see. However, beyond the detail that we can leave to the disputes of the academics, the main question that future generations will be asking is: ‘However did the Western world think it could get away with it?’ Where did its delusion come from? These are the questions I will be trying to answer below.

Losing the War in the Ukraine

The US lost the war in the Ukraine the day it began. Russia had been preparing for it for eight years. Ever since, the US and its vassals have just been prolonging the agony by financing a Nazi regime, supplying it with arms, training its troops and sending it paid-for mercenaries. Pessimists see the agony now dragging on for years and years, whereas optimists think it will be much shorter, just a couple of months more. I would like to think the optimists are right, but I actually go along with a more pessimistic ‘another eighteen months’. I hope I am wrong. Every day is a day too long. The fact is the US elite will have to put a lot of effort into face-saving. They hate losing, even though they lost in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria etc.

Backing down from the confrontations they began and chaos they caused is not something they like doing. But when the last US helicopters take off from the roofs of the US embassies in Kiev and Lvov, we shall see. Last Friday an electrician near Kiev said to my friends there: ‘This war is horrible. And it’s only going to get worse. There’s only one solution. We’ll line up all the politicians from the Rada (Parliament) and shoot them. Then peace will come immediately’. I am told from Kiev that there are more and more Ukrainians saying the same thing: there must be a popular revolt to stop it all. Get ready for it there and, at the rate things are going, get ready for the same thing in Western countries as well.

Losing the EU

In the longer term, however, there is the much more serious problem for the US of losing Europe. The national slogan of the Ukraine since 2014 has been: ‘The Ukraine is Europe’. This is of course nonsense. Geographically, the Ukraine, like the Russia where most Russians live, is obviously Europe. Indeed, most European territory is inside Russia. Of course, what the Kiev regime means is that the Ukraine belongs to Western Europe, the EU, only it does not say that. This is because it obviously does not belong there, apart from the small region of Galicia which is now in the far west of the present borders of the Ukraine, formerly Poland, formerly the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 2014 the EU actually dismissed the Kiev fantasy, telling it that Ukrainian membership of the EU might be considered in 25 years’ from then.

The nonsense about ‘the Ukraine is Europe’ reminds me of a visit to Moldova five years ago. All official buildings flew the EU flag and that was in a country that is not part of the EU and never will be. In other words, ‘The Ukraine is Europe’ is a political daydream, a fantasy. Today, as a result of US incompetence and its lickspittle poodle UK enthusiastically blowing up the Nordstream pipeline, as though that were a present to Germany, we can see that although the Ukraine is not Europe, Europe is fast becoming the Ukraine. In other words, Europe is being corrupted by US political intrigues, being sucked into the same black hole as the Ukraine, without finance, heating, lighting and sewerage. In the words of that old Eastern European joke: ‘Which are the two most corrupt countries in the world? Lithuania is first and the Ukraine is second. But only because the Ukraine bribed Lithuania to take first place, so that it could be second’. Well, today the whole of Europe is being Ukrainianised. Well done, US/UK/EU elite!

Losing the World

Beyond Western Europe, the US elite is also losing the rest of the world. At one time, the US was No 1. Today it is China. At one time Europe was the most populated area in the world. Today over one third of the world’s population is in China and India. At one time the G7 was respected. Today it is a ghetto, representing only a small and increasingly irrelevant part of the world. At one time the G20 represented twenty countries which were pro-Western or at least Western-controlled. Today, definitely not. The G-20 is being taken over by BRICS +.

At one time the dollar was the world’s reserve currency. Today the world is being dedollarised, as countries sell dollars and US treasury bonds and trade in their own countries. After all, who wants to invest in a deindustrialised country which may illegally confiscate (= steal) your assets, gold reserves included, whose currency is not underpinned by gold, but only by printing presses, and whose national debt totals 31 trillion dollars, nearly all of which has been accumulated in the last forty years?

Conclusion

After 500 years of bullying the rest of the world, with the genocides of the native peoples of the Americas and Australia (100 million dead?), the manipulations of imperialism, colonialism, slavery, the Opium Wars, the salt hedge in India, the massacres in the Belgian Congo and in German South-West Africa, the bloodiest Western War in history which it called two World Wars (70 million dead), exporting Marxism outside Western Europe (millions dead), the carpet bombing of Korea, the French massacres in Algeria, the US genocide in Vietnam, uranium-tipped shells in Iraq and Yugoslavia, the pillaging of Eastern Europe and Russia under Western-appointed puppet governments, the war you started in the Ukraine and the mass of arms you are supplying Ukronazis with. However did you think you could get away with it? Where did your delusion come from? Because you came to believe in your own lies. You are delusional.

I do not fear the civil authorities in Western Europe and their death-threats. I fear only the traitors to Russia, who in fact are CIA assets. I fear today’s traitors, who want to make money from this war or have endless zoom meetings with their American masters and let people be massacred by the Gestapo Nazis from Kiev, trained by the CIA and MI6. True, there are fewer of those traitors than there were. Now I will tell you too: You will not get away with it. There are forces at work which are far greater than any of you. ‘The Ukrainian people will be liberated from their Neo-Nazi rulers’. Yes, they will be liberated, just as the German people were liberated from their Nazi rulers, but at such a price. I tremble for you traitors, because your end is coming too. For everything you have done, you will have to repay. Did you really think you could get away with it and that payback time would never come? You spat in the well? Now you will have to drink from it.

Goodbye G20, hello BRICS+

The increasingly irrelevant G20 Summit concluded with sure signs that BRICS+ will be the way forward for Global South cooperation.

November 17 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

The redeeming quality of a tense G20 held in Bali – otherwise managed by laudable Indonesian graciousness – was to sharply define which way the geopolitical winds are blowing.

That was encapsulated in the Summit’s two highlights: the much anticipated China-US presidential meeting – representing the most important bilateral relationship of the 21st century – and the final G20 statement.

The 3-hour, 30-minute-long face-to-face meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden – requested by the White House – took place at the Chinese delegation’s residence in Bali, and not at the G20 venue at the luxury Apurva Kempinski in Nusa Dua.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs concisely outlined what really mattered. Specifically, Xi told Biden that Taiwan independence is simply out of the question. Xi also expressed hope that NATO, the EU, and the US will engage in “comprehensive dialogue” with Russia. Instead of confrontation, the Chinese president chose to highlight the layers of common interest and cooperation.

Biden, according to the Chinese, made several points. The US does not seek a New Cold War; does not support “Taiwan independence;” does not support “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”; does not seek “decoupling” from China; and does not want to contain Beijing.

However, the recent record shows Xi has few reasons to take Biden at face value.

The final G20 statement was an even fuzzier matter: the result of arduous compromise.

As much as the G20 is self-described as “the premier forum for global economic cooperation,” engaged to “address the world’s major economic challenges,” the G7 inside the G20 in Bali had the summit de facto hijacked by war. “War” gets almost double the number of mentions in the statement compared to “food” after all.

The collective west, including the Japanese vassal state, was bent on including the war in Ukraine and its “economic impacts” – especially the food and energy crisis – in the statement. Yet without offering even a shade of context, related to NATO expansion. What mattered was to blame Russia – for everything.

The Global South effect

It was up to this year’s G20 host Indonesia – and the next host, India – to exercise trademark Asian politeness and consensus building. Jakarta and New Delhi worked extremely hard to find wording that would be acceptable to both Moscow and Beijing. Call it the Global South effect.

Still, China wanted changes in the wording. This was opposed by western states, while Russia did not review the last-minute wording because Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had already departed.

On point 3 out of 52, the statement “expresses its deepest regret over the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and demands the complete and unconditional withdrawal of armed forces from the territory of Ukraine.”

“Russian aggression” is the standard NATO mantra – not shared by virtually the whole Global South.

The statement draws a direct correlation between the war and a non-contextualized “aggravation of pressing problems in the global economy – slowing economic growth, rising inflation, disruption of supply chains, worsening energy, and food security, increased risks to financial stability.”

As for this passage, it could not be more self-evident: “The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital. Today’s era must not be of war.”

This is ironic given that NATO and its public relations department, the EU, “represented” by the unelected eurocrats of the European Commission, don’t do “diplomacy and dialogue.”

Fixated with war

Instead the US, which controls NATO, has been weaponizing Ukraine, since March, by a whopping $91.3 billion, including the latest presidential request, this month, of $37.7 billion. That happens to be 33 percent more than Russia’s total (italics mine) military spending for 2022.

Extra evidence of the Bali Summit being hijacked by “war” was provided by the emergency meeting, called by the US, to debate what ended up being a Ukrainian S-300 missile falling on a Polish farm, and not the start of WWIII like some tabloids hysterically suggested.

Tellingly, there was absolutely no one from the Global South in the meeting – the sole Asian nation being the Japanese vassal, part of the G7.

Compounding the picture, we had the sinister Davos master Klaus Schwab once again impersonating a Bond villain at the B20 business forum, selling his Great Reset agenda of “rebuilding the world” through pandemics, famines, climate change, cyber attacks, and – of course – wars.

As if this was not ominous enough, Davos and its World Economic Forum are now ordering Africa – completely excluded from the G20 – to pay $2.8 trillion to “meet its obligations” under the Paris Agreement to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.

The demise of the G20 as we know it

The serious fracture between Global North and Global South, so evident in Bali, had already been suggested in Phnom Penh, as Cambodia hosted the East Asia Summit this past weekend.

The 10 members of ASEAN had made it very clear they remain unwilling to follow the US and the G7 in their collective demonization of Russia and in many aspects China.

The Southeast Asians are also not exactly excited by the US-concocted IPEF (Indo-Pacific Economic Framework), which will be irrelevant in terms of slowing down China’s extensive trade and connectivity across Southeast Asia.

And it gets worse. The self-described “leader of the free world” is shunning the extremely important APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in Bangkok at the end of this week.

For very sensitive and sophisticated Asian cultures, this is seen as an affront. APEC, established way back in 1990s to promote trade across the Pacific Rim, is about serious Asia-Pacific business, not Americanized “Indo-Pacific” militarization.

The snub follows Biden’s latest blunder when he erroneously addressed Cambodia’s Hun Sen as “prime minister of Colombia” at the summit in Phnom Penh.

Lining up to join BRICS

It is safe to say that the G20 may have plunged into an irretrievable path toward irrelevancy. Even before the current Southeast Asian summit wave – in Phnom Penh, Bali and Bangkok – Lavrov had already signaled what comes next when he noted that “over a dozen countries” have applied to join BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa).

Iran, Argentina, and Algeria have formally applied: Iran, alongside Russia, India, and China, is already part of the Eurasian Quad that really matters.

Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Afghanistan are extremely interested in becoming members. Indonesia just applied, in Bali. And then there’s the next wave: Kazakhstan, UAE, Thailand (possibly applying this weekend in Bangkok), Nigeria, Senegal, and Nicaragua.

It’s crucial to note that all of the above sent their Finance Ministers to a BRICS Expansion dialogue in May. A short but serious appraisal of the candidates reveals an astonishing unity in diversity.

Lavrov himself noted that it will take time for the current five BRICS to analyze the immense geopolitical and geoeconomic implications of expanding to the point of virtually reaching the size of the G20 – and without the collective west.

What unites the candidates above all is the possession of massive natural resources: oil and gas, precious metals, rare earths, rare minerals, coal, solar power, timber, agricultural land, fisheries, and fresh water. That’s the imperative when it comes to designing a new resource-based reserve currency to bypass the US dollar.

Let’s assume that it may take up to 2025 to have this new BRICS+ configuration up and running. That would represent roughly 45 percent of confirmed global oil reserves and over 60 percent of confirmed global gas reserves (and that will balloon if gas republic Turkmenistan later joins the group).

The combined GDP – in today’s figures – would be roughly $29.35 trillion; much larger than the US ($23 trillion) and at least double the EU ($14.5 trillion, and falling).

As it stands, BRICS account for 40 percent of the global population and 25 percent of GDP. BRICS+ would congregate 4.257 billion people: over 50 percent of the total global population as it stands.

BRI embraces BRICS+

BRICS+ will be striving towards interconnection with a maze of institutions: the most important are the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), itself featuring a list of players itching to become full members; strategic OPEC+, de facto led by Russia and Saudi Arabia; and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s overarching trade and foreign policy framework for the 21st century. It is worth pointing out that early all crucial Asian players have joined the BRI.

Then there are the close links of BRICS with a plethora of regional trade blocs: ASEAN, Mercosur, GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), Arab Trade Zone, African Continental Free Trade Area, ALBA, SAARC, and last but not least the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the largest trade deal on the planet, which includes a majority of BRI partners.

BRICS+ and BRI is a match everywhere you look at it – from West Asia and Central Asia to the Southeast Asians (especially Indonesia and Thailand). The multiplier effect will be key – as BRI members will be inevitably attracting more candidates for BRICS+.

This will inevitably lead to a second wave of BRICS+ hopefuls including, most certainly, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, three more Central Asians (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and gas republic Turkmenistan), Pakistan, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka, and in Latin America, a hefty contingent featuring Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Venezuela.

Meanwhile, the role of the BRICS’s New Development Bank (NDB) as well as the China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will be enhanced – coordinating infrastructure loans across the spectrum, as BRICS+ will be increasingly shunning dictates imposed by the US-dominated IMF and the World Bank.

All of the above barely sketches the width and depth of the geopolitical and geoeconomic realignments further on down the road – affecting every nook and cranny of global trade and supply chain networks. The G7’s obsession in isolating and/or containing the top Eurasian players is turning on itself in the framework of the G20. In the end, it’s the G7 that may be isolated by the BRICS+ irresistible force.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

DPRK fires ballistic missile, vows ‘fiercer’ military response

November 17, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

DPRK launches a short-range ballistic missile on Thursday, according to Seoul’s military.

A woman watches a TV broadcasting a news report on DPRK firing a ballistic missile off its east coast, in Seoul, S. Korea. (Reuters)

The latest in a series of launches aimed at downplaying western provocations and threats, DPRK launched a short-range ballistic missile on Thursday, according to Seoul’s military, as Pyongyang threatened a “fiercer” military response to the US and its regional allies.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the military had “detected around 10:48 am (0148 GMT) one short-range ballistic missile fired from the Wonsan area in Kangwon province.”

“The military has stepped up monitoring and guard and is maintaining utmost readiness in close coordination with the US,” it added.

On the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, US President Joe Biden spoke with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping earlier this week about DPRK’s recent spate of missile tests.

After a series of missile launches fuelled concerns that DPRK would soon conduct its seventh alleged nuclear test, the US President urged China to exert pressure on its ally. Biden also spoke Sunday with the prime ministers of Japan and South Korea, Yoon Suk-yeol and Fumio Kishida, to discuss ways to counter the threat posed by DPRK’s “unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs,” according to the White House.

Read next: DPRK launches 4 short-range ballistic missiles: Reports

DPRK’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Choe Son Hui, slammed Thursday those talks, saying they were “bringing the situation on the Korean peninsula to an unpredictable phase.”

“The US bolstered offer of extended deterrence and the daily-increasing military activities of the allied forces around the Korean peninsula are foolish acts,” Choe said in a statement reported by state news agency KCNA. 

The more efforts Washington will make to fortify its security pact with Seoul and Tokyo, “the fiercer the DPRK’s military counteraction will be,” Choe said.

According to experts, the launch of the missile on Thursday was timed to coincide with the Foreign Minister’s statement from Pyongyang.

DPRK “fired the missile after releasing the statement hours earlier in an attempt to justify the launch to send its message to the US and Japan,” Cheong Seong-chang, a researcher at the Sejong Institute told AFP

UN gridlock

DPRK launched numerous missiles earlier this month, including a barrage on November 2 that included 23 missiles, more than it did in 2017, the year of “fire and fury” in which Kim and the US President at the time, Donald Trump, traded insults

Hundreds of US and South Korean warplanes, including B-1B heavy bombers, took part in joint air drills, which have long sparked strong reactions from DPRK.

Read next: US, Japan conduct joint drills amid DPRK missile launches

Experts claim DPRK is seizing the opportunity to conduct “prohibited” missile tests, confident of avoiding additional UN sanctions due to the Ukraine-related gridlock at the UN.

China, Pyongyang’s main diplomatic and economic ally, joined Russia in May in vetoing a US-led bid at the UN Security Council to tighten sanctions on DPRK.

DPRK warns US, allies of proportional response to bolstering US extended deterrence

DPRK Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui warned the US and its regional allies on Thursday that Pyongyang will respond proportionally to Washington’s strengthening of extended deterrence and intensification of provocative military activities in the region.

“The keener the US is on the ‘bolstered offer of extended deterrence to its allies and the more they intensify provocative and bluffing military activities on the Korean peninsula and in the region, the fiercer the DPRK’s military counteraction will be, in direct proportion to it, and it will pose a more serious, realistic and inevitable threat to the US and its vassal forces,” the Foreign Minister said in a statement, as quoted by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Read next: DPRK rigorously warns US and South Korea amid Vigilant Storm drills

The Minister noted that “staged large-scale war drills” of the US and its allies in the region not only failed to contain Pyongyang but also “resulted in increasing their security crisis.”

“The US ‘bolstered offer of extended deterrence and the daily-increasing military activities of the allied forces around the Korean peninsula are foolish acts that will bring more serious instability to the US and its allies,” the Minister said.
Since the beginning of 2022, DPRK has conducted over 30 missile tests. Pyongyang launched more than 20 missiles of various types on November 2.

Pyongyang maintains that DPRK’s military activities are in response to provocations by South Korea and its allies, the United States and Japan.

«قمّة العشرين» لا تعزل روسيا | حرب أوكرانيا: بوادر «اعتدال» أميركي

 الخميس 17 تشرين الثاني 2022

وليد شرارة

تبيّن الإشارات الواردة من الولايات المتحدة أن خيار المواجهة المديدة مع روسيا، لم يَعُد يحظى بالإجماع المطلوب، وما يترتّب على ذلك من ضرورة البحث في خيارات أخرى، من ضمنها حلّ تفاوضي «بشروط واقعية»، انطلاقاً من بعض الترجيحات التي تشير إلى صعوبة تحقيق أوكرانيا أيّ إنجاز عسكري كبير بعد استعادتها السيطرة على خيرسون. وما حديث رئيس هيئة الأركان الأميركية المشتركة، مارك ميلي، عن أن «النصر العسكري لن يتحقَّق بالوسائل العسكرية»، وقبله حضّ 30 نائباً ديموقراطياً إدارة الرئيس جو بايدن على طرْح تصوُّرها لِما تَعتبره تسوية مرضية للنزاع، إلّا مقدّمة لسلوك الأمور اتّجاهاً مغايراً عن ذاك المستمرّ راهناً


على رغم أن التقييمات الأميركية الأوّلية رجّحت أن يكون الصاروخان اللذان قتلا شخصَين في شرق بولندا، مصدرهما أوكرانيا وليس روسيا، إلّا أن المخاوف التي أثارها هذا الأمر من صدامٍ مباشر بين موسكو وحلف «الناتو»، أعادت تذكير جميع الأطراف بالمخاطر الهائلة التي قد تنجم عن استمرار الحرب الدولية في أوكرانيا واستعارها. اللافت في الأمر، أن هذا التطوُّر أتى بعد معلومات متواترة عن دعوات أميركية للقيادة الأوكرانية إلى البدء في التفكير بحلٍّ تفاوضي «بشروط واقعية»، كما ورد – مثلاً – في مقال طويل لصحيفة «وول ستريت جورنال»، بعنوان «واشنطن تقيّم إمكانية تسوية ديبلوماسية مع حلول الشتاء». ووفقاً للمقال، فإن المسؤولين الأميركيين قد «نصحوا» نظراءهم الأوكرانيين ببلورة رؤية لتسوية تفاوضية انطلاقاً من ترجيحهم صعوبة تحقيق كييف أيّ إنجاز عسكري كبير بعد استعادتها السيطرة على خيرسون: أوّلاً لأن القوات الروسية تراجعت إلى مناطق شرق نهر دنيبر، وغالبها حضري وقريب جغرافيّاً من روسيا، حيث تمتلك مواقع عسكرية محصّنة، ما سيجعل أيّ قوّة مهاجِمة تتكبّد خسائر فادحة، إضافة إلى أن فصل الشتاء سيزيد من مصاعب شنّ مثل هذا الهجوم. والنقطة الثانية التي أشار إليها المقال، هي خشية واشنطن وحلفائها من نفاد مخزونهم من الذخائر الذكيّة بسبب ضخامة الكميّات التي قاموا بإرسالها إلى أوكرانيا، ما سيَحرم الأخيرة من أهمّ العوامل التي سمحت لها بالانتقال إلى الهجوم المضادّ في أواخر الصيف. وفي ما يخصّ البعد الثالث، فهو مرتبط بالمفاعيل الاقتصادية والاجتماعية للحرب، على البلدان الغربية، مع تصاعد معدّلات التضخّم الناتجة من الارتفاع الصاروخي في أسعار الطاقة والمواد الغذائية، وما سيتأتّى عنها من اتّساعٍ لمعارضة الحرب في أوساط الرأي العام الغربي، ومطالبةٍ بحلٍّ تفاوضي لها. ويلفت المقال إلى تصريح لرئيس هيئة الأركان الأميركية المشتركة، مارك ميلي، أمام «الإيكونوميك كلاب» في نيويورك، يوم الأربعاء الماضي، رأى فيه أن على واشنطن وحلفائها الاعتراف بأن «النصر العسكري بالمعنى الحرفي للكلمة لن يتحقَّق بالوسائل العسكرية، لذلك ينبغي البحث عن وسائل أخرى».

تزايَدت في الآونة الأخيرة المواقف المؤيّدة للبحث عن حلٍّ تفاوضي في الولايات المتحدة، كتلك التي تضمّنها بيان 30 نائباً من الأعضاء الديموقراطيين في الكونغرس قبل الانتخابات النصفيّة، والتي تحضّ إدارة بايدن على طرْح تصوُّرها لِما تَعتبره تسوية مرضية للنزاع. هي تمثّل بمجملها دعوات إلى الإدارة لمراجعة أهدافها المعلَنة للحرب، وفي مقدّمتها «إضعاف روسيا»، نظراً إلى ما قد يترتّب عليها من أكلاف باهظة اقتصادية، ومن احتمال تصعيد غير مضبوط في حدّة الصراع قد يفضي إلى مجابهة مباشرة مع موسكو، وإلى تخفيض واشنطن سقف طموحاتها. لم تمنع هذه الدعوات جانيت يلين، وزيرة الخزانة الأميركية، من القول، خلال مشاركتها في قمّة «مجموعة الدول العشرين»، إن بعض العقوبات الأميركية ضدّ روسيا ستبقى سارية المفعول حتى في حال التوصّل إلى اتفاق سلام بينها وبين أوكرانيا، ما يشي بتوجُّه طويل الأمد للإضرار بالاقتصاد الروسي، غير أن مجرّد إقرارها بإمكانية مثل هذا الاتفاق يعني أن خيار المواجهة العسكرية المديدة مع موسكو لم يَعُد يحظى بالإجماع بين صنّاع القرار في واشنطن، وأن الخيار التفاوضي بات قيد الدرس بينهم.

روسيا في وضع يسمح لها بالمضيّ في الحرب وإطالة أمدها، وهي تَعدّ العدّة لذلك


على الجبهة السياسية والديبلوماسية، احتفت قوى المعسكر الغربي ووسائل دعايتها الإعلامية بالبيان الختامي لقمّة «العشرين» في بالي، مُحاوِلة تظهيره على أنه هزيمة مدويّة لروسيا، لأن «معظم» الدول المشاركة «ندّدت بحزم بالحرب في أوكرانيا»، على الرغم من إقرار البيان بوجود «وُجهات نظر أخرى بين هذه الدول». في الواقع، فإن الرهان الأساسي للمعسكر الغربي هو دقّ إسفين بين روسيا والصين أساساً، وبين الأولى وبين دول الجنوب الوازنة الأخرى، والتي رفضت فرْض عقوبات على موسكو مع بداية الحرب في أوكرانيا، كالهند والسعودية وجنوب أفريقيا وتركيا والبرازيل والأرجنتين وإندونيسيا. بالنسبة إلى الصين، فإن اللقاء الذي جمع رئيسها شي جين بينغ، إلى نظيره الأميركي جو بايدن، على هامش القمّة، والذي فُسِّر على أنه تعبير عن إرادة مشتركة لتخفيض التوتّر بين البلدِين، لم ينجم عنه في الحقيقة، وبمعزل عن الابتسامات المتبادَلة والحديث العام عن ضرورة التعاون بما فيه خيْر البلدَين والبشرية جمعاء، أيُّ تفاهم في العمق حول أبرز قضيّتَين خلافيّتَين بين بكين وواشنطن: تايوان وأشباه الموصلات. موقف أميركا من القضيّتَين يكشف استراتيجيّة الاحتواء الفعلية المعتَمَدة من قِبَلها حيال الصين، لأن إصرار الأولى على التدخُّل في شأنٍ تعتبره الثانية صينيّاً صرفاً، يعني الصينيّين في «البرّ وفي الجزيرة»، يعكس معارضتها لاستكمال البلاد لوحدتها الترابية. أمّا الحرب التكنولوجية التي تشنّها الولايات المتحدة للحدّ من قدرة الصين على الحصول على أشباه الموصلات عبر إنشائها لهذه الغاية «مجلس أميركا – أوروبا للتجارة والتكنولوجيا»، فهي تهدف إلى وقف تطوُّرها والاحتفاظ بتفوّق نوعي في مقابلها.

يخطئ من يظنّ أن سَيْل المواقف والتحليلات الأميركية التي قدّمت الحرب ضدّ روسيا في أوكرانيا على أنها نزاع غير مباشر مع الصين، وتمهيد للتفرّغ لها بعد الانتصار على الأولى، لم يعزّز قناعة القيادة في بكين بضرورة الحؤول دون هزيمة موسكو، لما سيترتّب على ذلك من تبعات بالنسبة إليها. هي لن تعيد النظر بشراكتها المتعاظمة مع روسيا، بل العكس هو الصحيح. أمّا بالنسبة إلى بقية بلدان الجنوب المشارِكة في قمّة «العشرين»، فإن شبكة المصالح الوازنة التي تمتلكها مع روسيا، وتعاونها معها في ميادين الطاقة والسلاح، وهامش الاستقلالية الذي أصبحت تتمتّع به نتيجة بروز قوى منافِسة للولايات المتحدة على الساحة الدولية، جميعها عوامل ستدفعها هي الأخرى إلى الاحتفاظ بشراكتها مع موسكو. من يشكّ في ذلك، عليه أن يَلحظ في الفترة المقبلة ما إذا كانت تلك الدول ستلتزم بعقوبات ضدّ روسيا أو ستعيد النظر في تعاونها معها في الميادين المذكورة آنفاً. بكلام آخر، روسيا ليست معزولة على الساحة الدولية على رغم المزاعم الغربية، وهي في وضع يسمح لها بالمُضيّ في الحرب وإطالة أمدها وإعداد العدّة لهذا الخيار، حتى يَقبل المعسكر الغربي بحلٍّ تفاوضي يأخذ في الاعتبار ضرورات أمنها القومي، ويُلزم وكيله الأوكراني به.

من ملف : حرب أوكرانيا: بوادر «اعتدال» أميركي

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Videos| 6 Killed, Dozens Injured in Istanbul Blast

 November 14, 2022

Ambulance vehicles and emergency services rush to scene of blast in Istanbul (Sunday, November 13, 2022).

At least six people were killed and 81 others were wounded in an explosion in a busy area of central Istanbul, Turkish authorities have said on Sunday.

The blast happened at about 16:20 local time (13:20 GMT) on a shopping street in the Taksim Square area, the Turkish city’s governor Ali Yerlikaya said.

The area, in the Beyoglu district of Turkey’s largest city, had been crowded as usual at the weekend with shoppers, tourists and families.

Vice-President Fuat Oktay said the blast was thought to be a terrorist attack carried out by a woman.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said before his departure to the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Indonesia that the perpetrators would be punished.

Speaking at a news conference in Istanbul, he condemned what he called the “vile attack” and said “the smell of terror” was in the air.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told Turkish media a woman had sat on a bench in the area for more than 40 minutes, leaving just minutes before the blast took place.

No one has so far claimed responsibility for the blast.

Government minister Derya Yanik wrote in a tweet that a government ministry employee and his young daughter were among the victims.

Source: BBC and Reuters

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Erdogan says initial signs point to ‘terror’ attack in Istanbul

13 Nov, 2022 

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemns the “vile attack” that left dozens of people injured and six people dead as it tore through the heart of Istanbul.

Turkish President speaking at a news conference, on October 11, 2021 (Presidential Press Office/Handout via Reuters)

The explosion in Istanbul on Sunday that left six people dead and 53 injured, according to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, appeared to be the result of a “terror” attack.

“It might be wrong if we say for sure that this is terror but according to first signs… there is a smell of terror there,” Erdogan told a televised press conference.

He condemned the “vile attack” that left dozens of people injured and six people dead as it tore through the heart of Istanbul. “The relevant units of our state are working to find the perpetrators… behind this vile attack,” Erdogan said.

According to the President, a “bomb attack” was what caused the explosion in Istanbul’s Istiklal Street, and six people died as a result of the incident.

Before leaving for the G-20 summit in Indonesia, Erdogan said Sunday that the explosion was a “treacherous attack” and that those responsible would face consequences. According to information he obtained from the governor of Istanbul, another 53 people were hurt.

Istanbul attacker appears to be a woman: Turkey’s Vice President

Turkish authorities classify the Sunday explosion in the center of Istanbul as a terrorists attack that was carried out by a woman, Vice President Fuat Oktay said, citing preliminary data.

“We consider it a terrorist act, carried out by a perpetrator, who is believed to be a woman, detonating a bomb, according to preliminary information,” Oktay said.

The number of injured people rose from 53 to 81, with two in serious condition, the senior official said.

Oktay pledged that Turkish authorities would promptly investigate the terrorist act and bring those responsible for it to justice.

“According to preliminary data, as a result of the explosion on Istiklal Avenue, four people were killed, and 38 people injured. The injured received medical assistance,” the governor, Ali Yerlikaya, said earlier on Twitter.

According to a source familiar with the situation who spoke to Sputnik, Turkish law enforcement officials are looking into whether the explosion that occurred on Sunday in the heart of Istanbul was a terrorist attack.

Read next: Explosion rocks Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey

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Sun Tzu Walks Into a Kherson Bar…

 NOVEMBER 10, 2022

PEPE ESCOBAR 

The announcement of the Kherson Retreat may have signaled one of the gloomiest days of the Russian Federation since 1991.

Leaving the right bank of the Dnieper to set up a defense line on the left bank may spell out total military sense. General Armageddon himself, since his first day on the job, had hinted this might have been inevitable.

As it stands in the chessboard, Kherson is in the “wrong” side of the Dnieper. All residents of Kherson Oblast – 115,000 people in total – who wanted to be relocated to safer latitudes have been evacuated from the right bank.

General Armageddon knew that was inevitable for several reasons:

no mobilization after the initial SMO plans hit the dust; destruction of strategic bridges across the Dnieper – complete with a three-month methodical Ukrainian pounding of bridges, ferries, pontoons and piers; no second bridgehead to the north of Kherson or to the west (towards Odessa or Nikolaev) to conduct an offensive.

And then, the most important reason: massive weaponization coupled with NATO de facto running the war translated into enormous Western superiority in reconnaissance, communications and command and control.

In the end, the Kherson Retreat may be a relatively minor tactical loss. Yet politically, it’s an unmitigated disaster, a devastating embarrassment.

Kherson is a Russian city. Russians have lost – even if temporarily – the capital of a brand new territory attached to the Federation. Russian public opinion will have tremendous problems absorbing the news.

The list of negatives is considerable. Kiev forces secure their flank and may free up forces to go against Donbass. Weaponizing by the collective West gets a major boost. HIMARS can now potentially strike targets in Crimea.

The optics are horrendous. Russia’s image across the Global South is severely tarnished; after all, this move amounts to abandoning Russian territory – while serial Ukrainian war crimes instantly disappear from the major “narrative”.

At a minimum, the Russians a long time ago should have reinforced their major strategic advantage bridgehead on the west side of the Dnieper so that it could hold – short of a widely forecasted Kakhovka Dam flood. And yet the Russians also ignored the dam bombing threat for months. That spells out terrible planning.

Now Russian forces will have to conquer Kherson all over again. And in parallel stabilize the frontlines; draw definitive borders; and then strive to “demilitarize” Ukrainian offensives for good, either via negotiation or carpet bombing.

It’s quite revealing that an array of NATO intel types, from analysts to retired Generals, are suspicious of General Armageddon’s move: they see it as an elaborate trap, or as a French military analyst put it, “a massive deception operation”. Classic Sun Tzu. That has been duly incorporated as the official Ukrainian narrative.

So, to quote Twin Peaks, that American pop culture subversive classic, “the owls are not what they seem”. If that’s the case, General Armageddon would be looking to severely overstretch Ukrainian supply lines; seduce them into exposure; and then engage in a massive turkey shoot.

So it’s either Sun Tzu; or a deal is in the wings, coinciding with the G20 next week in Bali.

The art of the deal

Well, some sort of deal seems to have been struck between Jake Sullivan and Patrushev.

No one really knows the details, even those with access to flamboyant 5th Column informants in Kiev. But yes – the deal seems to include Kherson. Russia would keep Donbass but not advance towards Kharkov and Odessa. And NATO expansion would be definitely frozen. A minimalist deal.

That would explain why Patrushev was able to board a plane to Tehran simultaneous to the announcement of the Kherson Retreat, and take care, quite relaxed, of very important strategic partnership business with Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.

The deal may have also been the inbuilt “secret” in Maria Zakharova’s announcement that “we’re ready for negotiations”.

The Russians will leave the Dnieper riverbank in a managed military retreat. That would not be possible without managed military-to-military negotiations.

These back channel negotiations have been going on for weeks. The messenger is Saudi Arabia. The US aim, in the short term, would be towards a sort of Minsk 3 accord – with Istanbul/Riyadh attached.

No one is paying the slightest attention to coke clown Zelensky. Sullivan went to Kiev to present a fait accompli – of sorts.

The Dnieper will be – in thesis – the settled and negotiated frontline.

Kiev would have to swallow a frozen line of contact in Zaporizhye, Donetsk and Lugansk – with Kiev receiving electricity from Zaporozhye, hence cease shelling its infrastructure.

The US would come up with a loan of $50 billion plus part of the confiscated – i.e. stolen – Russian assets to “rebuild” Ukraine. Kiev would receive modern air defense systems.

There’s no doubt Moscow will not go along with any of these provisions.

Note that all this coincides with the outcome of the US elections – where the Dems did not exactly lose.

Meanwhile Russia is accumulating more and more gains in the battle for Bakhmut.

There are no illusions whatsoever in Moscow that this crypto-Minsk 3 would be respected by the “non-agreement capable” Empire.

Jake Sullivan is a 45-year-old lawyer with zero strategic background and “experience” amounting to campaigning for Hillary Clinton. Patrushev can eat him for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night snack – and vaguely “agree” to anything.

So why are the Americans desperate to offer a deal? Because they may be sensing the next Russian move with the arrival of General Winter should be capable of conclusively winning the war on Moscow’s terms. That would include slamming the Polish border shut via a long arrow move from Belarus downwards. With weaponizing supply lines cut, Kiev’s fate is sealed.

Deal or no deal, General Winter is coming to town – ready to entertain his guest of honor Sun Tzu with so many new dishes at their dinner table.

(Republished from Strategic Culture Foundation by permission of author or representative)

← Bamboo Diplomacy: The China-SE Asia Rom…Rewiring Eurasia: Mr. Patrushev Goes to… →

Russia and China haven’t even started to ratchet up the pain dial

July 13, 2022

by Pepe Escobar and posted with the author’s permission

The Suicide Spectacular Summer Show, currently on screen across Europe, proceeds in full regalia, much to the astonishment of virtually the whole Global South: a trashy, woke Gotterdammerung remake, with Wagnerian grandeur replaced by twerking.

Decadent Roman Emperors at least exhibited some degree of pathos. Here we’re just faced by a toxic mix of hubris, abhorrent mediocrity, delusion, crude ideological sheep-think and outright irrationality wallowing in white man’s burden racist/supremacist slush – all symptoms of a profound sickness of the soul.

To call it the Biden-Leyen-Blinken West or so would be too reductionist: after all these are puny politico/functionaries merely parroting orders. This is a historical process: physical, psychic and moral cognitive degeneration embedded in NATOstan’s manifest desperation in trying to contain Eurasia, allowing occasional tragicomic sketches such as a NATO summit proclaiming Woke War against virtually the whole non-West.

So when President Putin addresses the collective West in front of Duma leaders and heads of political parties, it does feel like a comet striking an inert planet. It’s not even a case of “lost in translation”. “They” simply aren’t equipped to get it.

The “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” part was at least formulated to be understood even by simpletons:

“Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield, well, what can I say, let them try. We have heard many times that the West wants to fight us to the last Ukrainian – this is a tragedy for the Ukrainian people. But it looks like it’s all coming to this. But everyone should know that, by and large, we haven’t really started anything yet.”

Fact. On Operation Z, Russia is using a fraction of its military potential, resources and state of the art weapons.

Then we come to the most probable path ahead in the war theater:

“We do not refuse peace negotiations, but those who refuse should know that the longer it drags, the more difficult it will be for them to negotiate with us.”

As in the pain dial will be ratcheted up, slowly but surely, on all fronts.

Yet the meat of the matter had been delivered earlier in the speech: “ratcheting up the pain dial” applies in fact to dismantling the whole “rules-based international order” edifice. The geopolitical world has changed. Forever.

Here’s the arguably key passage:

“They should have understood that they have already lost from the very beginning of our special military operation, because its beginning means the beginning of a radical breakdown of the World Order in the American way. This is the beginning of the transition from liberal-globalist American egocentrism to a truly multipolar world – a world based not on selfish rules invented by someone for themselves, behind which there is nothing but the desire for hegemony, not on hypocritical double-standards, but on international law, on the true sovereignty of peoples and civilizations, on their will to live their historical destiny, their values and traditions and build cooperation on the basis of democracy, justice and equality. And we must understand that this process can no longer be stopped.”

Meet the trifecta

A case can be made that Putin and Russia’s Security Council are implementing a tactical trifecta that has reduced the collective West to an amorphous bunch of bio headless chickens.

The trifecta mixes the promise of negotiations – but only when considering Russia’s steady advances on the ground in Novorossiya; the fact that Russia’s global “isolation” has been proved in practice to be nonsense; and tweaking the most visible pain dial of them all: Europe’s dependence on Russian energy.

The main reason for the graphic, thundering failure of the G20 Foreign Ministers summit in Bali is that the G7 – or NATOstan plus American colony Japan – could not force the BRICS plus major Global South players to isolate, sanction and/or demonize Russia.

On the contrary: multiple interpolations outside of the G20 spell out even more Eurasia-wide integration. Here are a few examples.

The first transit of Russian products to India via the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) is now in effect, crisscrossing Eurasia from Mumbai to the Baltic via Iranian ports (Chabahar or Bandar Abbas), the Caspian Sea, and Southern and Central Russia. Crucially, the route is shorter and cheaper than going through the Suez Canal.

In parallel, the head of the Iranian Central Bank, Ali Salehabadi, confirmed that a memorandum of interbank cooperation was signed between Tehran and Moscow.

That means a viable alternative to SWIFT, and a direct consequence of Iran’s application to become a full BRICS member, announced at the recent summit in Beijing. The BRICS, since 2014, when the New Development Bank (NDB) was founded, have been busy building their own financial infrastructure, including the near future creation of a single reserve currency. As part of the process, the harmonization of Russian and Iranian banking systems is inevitable.

Iran is also about to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at the upcoming summit in Samarkand in September.

In parallel, Russia and Kazakhstan are solidifying their strategic partnership: Kazakhstan is a key member of BRI, EAEU and SCO.

India gets even closer to Russia across the whole spectrum of trade – including energy.

And next Tuesday, Tehran will be the stage for a crucial face-to-face meeting between Putin and Erdogan.

Isolation? Really?

On the energy front, it’s only summer, but demented paranoia is already raging across multiple EU latitudes, especially Germany. Comic relief is provided by the fact that Gazprom can always point out to Berlin that eventual supplying problems on Nord Stream 1 – after the cliffhanger return of that notorious repaired turbine from Canada – can always be solved by implementing Nord Stream 2.

As the whole European Suicide Spectacular Summer Show is nothing but a tawdry self-inflicted torture ordered by His Master’s Voice, the only serious question is which pain dial level will force Berlin to actually sit down and negotiate on behalf of legitimate German industrial and social interests.

Rough and tumble will be the norm. Foreign Minister Lavrov summed it all up when commenting on the Declining Collective West Ministers striking poses like infantile brats in Bali to avoid being seen with him: that was up to “their understanding of the protocols and politeness.”

That’s diplo-talk for “bunch of jerks”. Or worse: cultural barbarians, as they were even unable to respect the hyper-polite Indonesian hosts, who abhor confrontation.

Lavrov preferred to extol the “joint strategic and constructive” Russian-Chinese work when faced with a very aggressive West. And that brings us to the prime masterpiece of shadowplay in Bali – complete with several layers of geopolitical fog.

Chinese media, always flirting with the opaque, tried to put its bravest face ever depicting the over 5-hour meeting between Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Secretary Blinken as “constructive”.

What’s fascinating here is that the Chinese ended up letting something crucial out of the bag to slip into the final draft of their report – obviously approved by the powers that be.

Lu Xiang of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences went through previous readouts – especially of “Yoda” Yang Jiechi routinely turning Jake Sullivan into roasted duck – and stressed that this time Wang’s “warnings” to the Americans were “the sternest one in wording”.

That’s diplo-code for “You Better Watch Out”: Wang telling Little Blinkie, “just look at what the Russians did when they lost their patience with your antics.”

The expression ”dead end” was recurrent during the Wang-Blinken meeting. So in the end the Global Times had to tell it like it really is:  “The two sides are close to a showdown.”

“Showdown” is what End of Days fanatic and Tony Soprano wannabe Mike Pompeo is fervently preaching from his hate pulpit, while the combo behind the senile “leader of the free world” who literally reads teleprompters actively work for the crashing of the EU – in more ways than one.

The combo in power in Washington actually “supports” the unification of Britain, Poland, Ukraine and The Three Baltic Midgets as a separate alliance from NATO/EU – aiming at “strengthening the defense potential.” That’s the official position of US Ambassador to NATO Julian Smith.

So the real imperial aim is to split the already shattering EU into mini-union pieces, all of them quite fragile and evidently more “manageable”, as Brussels Eurocrats, blinded by boundless mediocrity, obviously can’t see it coming.

What the Global South is buying

Putin always makes it very clear that the decision to launch Operation Z – as a sort of pre-emptive “combined arms and police operation”, as defined by Andrei Martyanov – was carefully calculated, considering an array of material and socio-psychological vectors.

Anglo-American strategy, for its part, lasers on a single obsession: damn any possible reframing of the current “rules-based international order”. No holds are barred to ensure the perpetuity of this order. This is in fact Totalen Krieg – featuring several hybrid layers, and quite worrying, with only a few seconds to midnight.

And there’s the rub. Desolation Row is fast becoming Desperation Row, as the whole Russophobic matrix is shown to be naked, devoid of any extra ideological – and even financial – firepower to “win”, apart from shipping a collection of HIMARS to a black hole.

Geopolitically and geoeconomically, Russia and China are in the process of eating NATOstan alive – in more ways than one. Here, for instance, is a synthetic road map of how Beijing will address the next stage of high-quality development via capital-driven industrial upgrading, focused on optimization of supply chains, import substitution of hard technologies, and “invisible champions” of industry.

If the collective West is blinded by Russophobia, the governing success of the Chinese Communist Party – which in a matter of a few decades improved the lives of more people than anyone, anytime in History – drives it completely nuts.

All along the Russia-China watchtower, it’s been not such a long time coming. BRI was launched by Xi Jinping in 2013. After Maidan in 2014, Putin launched the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) in 2015. Crucially, in May 2015, a Russia-China joint statement sealed the cooperation between BRI and EAEU, with a significant role assigned to the SCO.

Closer integration advanced via the St. Petersburg forum in 2016 and the BRI forum in 2017. The overall target: to create a new order in Asia, and across Eurasia, according to international law while maintaining the individual development strategies of each concerned country and respecting their national sovereignty.

That, in essence, is what most of the Global South is buying. It’s as if there’s a cross-border instinctual understanding that Russia-China, against serious odds and facing serious challenges, proceeding by trial and error, are at the vanguard of the Shock of the New, while the collective West, naked, dazed and confused, their masses completely zombified, is sucked into the maelstrom of psychological, moral and material disintegration.

No question the pain dial will be ratcheted up, in more ways than one.

Sitrep G7 (G20): Note from Maria Zakharova

July 08, 2022

💬 #Opinion by Maria Zakharova

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock:

“The fact that the Russian Foreign Minister spent most of his time during the talks not in the room, but outside it, highlights the fact that the Russian government is not a single millimetre closer to having talks.”

Can you even make any sense out of what she said? Outside what room? Utter nonsense.

The German public should be aware of the fact that their Foreign Minister Annalena is lying to them. Lavrov was among the audience the moment the G20 meeting started and about two hours later he began to hold bilateral talks with his colleagues who attended this forum in a room next door. This is what other ministers did as well, since in-person forums are held exactly for the purpose of holding meetings and having contacts. Otherwise, everyone would have gone online or sent out their speeches.

Or, maybe Baerbock thinks that the foreign ministers of Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil and other countries also were in the wrong room?

On the other hand, Germans are already beginning to realise who is in power in their country. More than half of the German citizens (58 percent) believe that German Foreign Minister Baerbock should have personally met and held talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the G20 ministerial which is taking place on the Indonesian island of Bali. On Friday, Der Spiegel published a survey by Civey pollster to that effect.

Now, the truth about Baerbock. She said this because the G7’s plan to boycott Russia at the G20 failed. Nobody supported the Western regimes. That is why they are fuming now.

Lavrov made his schedule in advance, including in it the G20 meeting and a dinner on behalf of the hosts, as well as numerous bilateral contacts and communication with international media. The materials, photos and videos are available on the Foreign Ministry’s website and on social media. And neither Annalena nor anyone else can change reality with their lies.

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Putin: Address to participants of 10th St Petersburg International Legal Forum

June 30, 2022

Address to participants of 10th St Petersburg International Legal Forum

Vladimir Putin gave a video address to greet the participants of a plenary session of the 10th St Petersburg International Legal Forum. This year’s plenary session was themed Law in a Multipolar World. The video address was recorded during the President’s recent visit to St Petersburg.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Colleagues,

I would like to welcome you to the 10th St Petersburg International Legal Forum, which, as always, has brought together leading jurists and practicing lawyers from many countries.

I am glad that after a forced interruption, the forum is again being held in person because even the most advanced communication technologies cannot replace a direct dialogue and face-to-face meetings.

Participants at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum recently discussed the most relevant political, financial, technological and cultural issues on the global agenda; many of these issues directly related to international law. It is important that you continue this conversation within this forum and discuss important topics like Law in a Multipolar World.

It is true, a multipolar system of international relations is now being formed. It is an irreversible process; it is happening before our eyes and is objective in nature. The position of Russia and many other countries is that this democratic, more just world order should be built on the basis of mutual respect and trust, and, of course, on the generally accepted principles of international law and the UN Charter.

At the same time, it is being said that law cannot adequately respond to the problems and challenges of today, to today’s turbulent and fundamental changes. There are also more radical assessments that the idea of international law is being dismantled. I fundamentally disagree with these conclusions.

Undoubtedly, the system of international law needs to be further developed, but we should not confuse cause and effect. Crises happen not because law is faulty, but because of attempts to replace law with dictate, and international standards with the national jurisdiction of certain states or groups of states in a deliberate refusal to follow essential legal principles – justice, conscientiousness, equality and humanity. These are not just legal ideals, but values that reflect the diversity of our civilisation.

Some states are not ready to accept losing their supremacy on the international stage, and they are striving to preserve the unjust unipolar model. Under the guise of what they call order based on rules, and other questionable concepts, they try to control and direct global processes at their own discretion, and hold to a course of creating closed blocs and coalitions that make decisions for the benefit of one country, the United States of America. The natural rights of others in international relations are being ignored; the fundamental principle of indivisibility of security is being used selectively. The West’s unilateral, illegitimate sanctions against sovereign states have reached an unprecedented scale.

I will add that the countries that advocate their own exceptionalism also overstep the law and cross out such concepts as inviolability of property and freedom of speech in their own domestic policy as well. In sum, the domination of one country or a group of countries on the global stage is not only counter-productive, but also dangerous and inevitably creates global, systemic risk.

The multipolar world of the 21st century does not have a place for inequality or for discrimination against states and peoples. Therefore, our country speaks for the practical realisation of the pivotal international legal principle of the sovereign equality of states and the right of each state to pursue its own development model.

The Russian foreign affairs agenda has always been and remains constructive. We develop multipolar relations with all who are interested in them and place great value on cooperation within the UN, the G20, BRICS, the SCO and other associations.

Russia is open to dialogue on ensuring strategic stability, preserving agreements on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and improving the situation in arms control. We are focused on joining efforts on crucial issues like the climate agenda, fighting famine, providing stability in food and energy markets, and fair rules in international trade and competition.

All of these areas require appropriate and flexible legal regulation and meticulous cooperation. With this approach, we could avoid crises such as the current one in Donbass that is happening to protect its residents from genocide – and there can be no other definition for the Kiev regime’s actions than “a crime against humanity.”

At the same time, Russia will continue to create a more democratic and just world where the rights of all peoples are guaranteed and mankind’s cultural and civilizational diversity is preserved.

I am confident that, by consistently following international law and joining our efforts, it is possible to resolve the most difficult problems that the world is facing and to provide for the stable, sustainable and progressive development of all states. Both practicing lawyers and jurists can and should bring a significant contribution to the recreation of the authority of law, strengthening its legal institutions and rebuilding trust in international relations.

I wish all of you productive work and interesting networking.

Thank you for your attention.

BRICS+: It’s Back with Scale and Ambition

June 28, 2022

http://infobrics.org/post/36006/

By Jaroslav Lissovolik

After several years of being relegated to backstage of the BRICS agenda, in 2022 the BRICS+ format is back and is at the very center of the discussions surrounding China’s chairmanship in the grouping. With the return of the BRICS+ paradigm the BRICS is going from introvert to extrovert and its greater global ambition raises hopes across the wide expanses of the Global South of material changes in the global economic system. The main question now centers on what the main trajectories of the evolution of the BRICS+ framework will be – thus far China appears to have advanced a multi-track approach that targets maximum scope and diversity in the operation of the BRICS-plus paradigm.

One of the novelties of China’s BRICS chairmanship in 2022 has been the launching of the extended BRICS+ meeting at the level of Ministers of Foreign Affairs that apart from the core BRICS countries also included representatives from Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal in Africa, Argentina from Latin America, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Thailand. And while the inclusion of Saudi Arabia and Indonesia may reflect their role in the G20 and overall size of their economies in the developing world, the inclusion of countries such as Senegal (chairmanship in the African Union in 2022), United Arab Emirates (chairmanship in the Gulf Cooperation Council in 2022) and Argentina (chairmanship in CELAC in 2022) is suggestive of a regional approach to building the BRICS+ platform.

That regional approach was also evidenced in the Forum of political parties, think-tanks and NGOs that was held on May 19th in BRICS+ format – among the countries invited to participate were Cambodia (chairmanship in ASEAN in 2022) as well as Senegal and Argentina that represented Africa and Latin America respectively. In effect China thus presented an inclusive format for dialogue spanning all the main regions of the Global South via aggregating the regional integration platforms in Eurasia, Africa and Latin America. Going forward this format may be further expanded to include other regional integration blocks from Eurasia, such as the GCC, EAEU and others.

During the meeting of foreign ministers of BRICS countries China also announced plans to open up the possibility of developing countries joining the core BRICS grouping. This approach differed to some degree from the line pursued by BRICS in the preceding years, when any expansion outside of the BRICS core was deemed to be the purview of the BRICS+ format. It remains to be seen whether the expansion in the core BRICS grouping is going to be supported by other members, but at this stage it appears unlikely that a speedy accession of any single developing economy is likely in the near term.

One important consideration in the future evolution of the BRICS+ format is its evenhandedness and balance observed between the main regions of the Global South. In this respect the inclusion of several countries into the “core BRICS” group may be fraught with risks of imbalances and asymmetries in terms of the representation of the main regions of the developing world in the core BRICS grouping. There is also the risk of greater complexity in arriving at a consensus with a wider circle of core BRICS members. While the option of joining the core should be kept open, there need to be clear and transparent criteria for the “BRICS accession process”.

Another issue relevant to the evolution of the BRICS+ framework is whether there should be a prioritization of the accession to the BRICS core of those developing economies that are members of the G20 grouping. In my view the G20 track for BRICS is a problematic one – the priorities of the Global South could get weakened and diluted within the broader G20 framework. There is also the question about the efficacy of G20 in coordinating the joint efforts of developing and developed economies in the past several years in overcoming the effects of the pandemic and the economic downturn. Rather than the goal of bringing the largest heavyweights into the core BRICS bloc from the G20 a more promising venue is the greater inclusivity of BRICS via the BRICS+ framework that allows smaller economies that are the regional partners of BRICS to have a say in the new global governance framework.

The next stage in the BRICS+ sequel is to be presented by China in June during the summit of BRICS+ countries. The world will be closely gauging further developments in the evolution of the BRICS+ format, but the most important result of China’s chairmanship in BRICS this year is that BRICS+ is squarely back on the agenda of global governance. The vitality in BRICS development will depend to a major degree on the success of the BRICS+ enterprise – an inert, introvert BRICS has neither global capacity, nor global mission. A stronger, more inclusive and open BRICS has the potential to become the basis for a new system of global governance.

Valdai Discussion Club

Source: Valdai Discussion Club

Exile on Main Street: The Sound of the Unipolar World Fading Away

June 22, 2022

The future world order, already in progress, will be formed by strong sovereign states. The ship has sailed. There’s no turning back.

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

Let’s cut to the chase and roll in the Putin Top Ten of the New Era, announced by the Russian President live at the St. Petersburg forum  for both the Global North and South.

The era of the unipolar world is over.

The rupture with the West is irreversible and definitive. No pressure from the West will change it.

Russia has renewed with its sovereignty. Reinforcement of political and economic sovereignty is an absolute priority.

The EU has completely lost its political sovereignty. The current crisis shows the EU is not ready to play the role of an independent, sovereign actor. It’s just en ensemble of American vassals deprived of any politico-military sovereignty.

Sovereignty cannot be partial. Either you’re a sovereign or a colony.

Hunger in the poorest nations will be on the conscience of the West and euro-democracy.

Russia will supply grains to the poorer nations in Africa and the Middle East.

Russia will invest in internal economic development and reorientation of trade towards nations independent of the U.S.

The future world order, already in progress, will be formed by strong sovereign states.

The ship has sailed. There’s no turning back.

How does it feel, for the collective West, to be caught in such a crossfire hurricane? Well, it gets more devastating when we add to the new roadmap the latest on the energy front.

Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, in St. Petersburg, stressed that the global economic crisis is gaining momentum not because of sanctions, but exacerbated by them; Europe “commits energy suicide” by sanctioning Russia; sanctions against Russia have done away with the much lauded “green transition”, as that is no longer needed to manipulate markets; and Russia, with its vast energy potential, “is the Noah’s Ark of the world economy.”

For his part Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller could not be more scathing on the sharp decline in the gas flow to the EU due to Siemens’ refusal and/or incapacity to repair the Nord Stream 1 pumping engine: “Well, of course, Gazprom was forced to reduce the volume of gas supplies to Europe by 20%+. But you know, prices have increased not by 20%+, but by several times! Therefore, I’m sorry if I say that we don’t feel offended by anyone, we are not particularly concerned by this situation.”

If this pain dial overdrive was not enough to hurl the collective West – or NATOstan – into Terminal Hysteria, then Putin’s sharp comment on possibly allowing Mr. Sarmat to present his business card to “decision-making centers in Kiev”, those that are ordering the current shelling and killing of civilians in Donetsk, definitely did the trick:

“As for the red lines, let me keep them to myself, because this will mean quite tough actions on the decision-making centers. But this is an area that shouldn’t be disclosed to people outside the military-political leadership of the country. Those who deserve appropriate actions on our part should draw a conclusion for themselves – what they may face if they cross the line.”

Baby please, stop breaking down

Alastair Crooke has masterfully outlined  how the collective West’s zugzwang leaves it lumbering around, dazed and confused. Now let’s examine the state of play on the opposite side of the chessboard, focusing on the BRICS summit this Thursday in Beijing.

As much as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and ASEAN, now it’s time for a reinvigorated BRICS to step up its game. In conjunction, these are the key organizations/instruments that will be carving the pathways towards the post-unipolar era.

Both China and India (which between them were the largest economies in the world for centuries before the brief Western colonial interregnum) are already close and getting closer to “the Noah’s Ark of the world economy”.

The G20 – hostages of the Michael Hudson-defined FIRE scam that is the core of the financialized neoliberal casino – is slowly fading away, while a potential new G8 ramps up: and that is directly connected to BRICS expansion, one of the key themes of this week’s summit. An expanded BRICS with a parallel G8 configuration is bound to easily overtake the Western-centric one in importance as well as GDP by purchasing power parity (PPP).

BRICS in 2021 already added Bangladesh, Egypt, the UAE and Uruguay to its New Development Bank (NDB). In May, at Foreign Ministry-level debates, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Thailand were added to the 5 BRICS members. Leaders of some of these nations will be connected to the Beijing summit.

BRICS plays a completely different game from the G20. They aim for the grassroots, and it’s all about slowly “building trust” – a very Chinese concept. They are creating an independent Credit Rating Agency – away from the Anglo-American racket – and deepening a Currency Reserves Arrangement. The NDB – including its regional offices in India and South Africa – has been involved in hundreds of projects. Time will tell: one day the NDB will make the World Bank superfluous.

Comparisons between BRICS and the Quad, a U.S. concoction, are silly. Quad is just another crude mechanism to contain China. Yet there’s no question India treads on tightrope walker territory, as it’s a member of both BRICS and Quad, and made a vastly misguided decision to walk out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – the largest free trade deal on the planet – opting instead to adhere to the American pie-in-the-sky Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

Yet India, long term, skillfully guided by Russia, is being steered to find essential common ground with China in several key issues.

BRICS, especially in its expanded BRICS+ version, is bound to increase cooperation on building truly stable supply chains, and a settlement mechanism for resources and raw material trade, which inevitably has to be based in local currencies. Then the path will be open for the Holy Grail: a BRICS payment system as a credible alternative to the weaponized U.S. dollar and SWIFT.

Meanwhile, a torrent of bilateral investments from both China and India in the manufacturing and services sector around their neighbors is bound to lift up smaller players in both Southeast Asia and South Asia: think Cambodia and Bangladesh as important cogs in a vast supply wheel.

Yaroslav Lissovolik had already proposed a BEAMS concept as the core of this BRICS integration drive, uniting “the key regional integration initiatives of BRICS economies such as BIMSTEC, EAEU, the ASEAN-China free trade agreement, Mercosur and SADC/SACU.”

It’s only (BRICS) rock’n roll

Now Beijing seems eager to promote “an inclusive format for dialogue spanning all the main regions of the Global South via aggregating the regional integration platforms in Eurasia, Africa and Latin America. Going forward this format may be further expanded to include other regional integration blocks from Eurasia, such as the GCC, EAEU and others.”

Lissovolik notes how the ideal path from now on should be “the greater inclusivity of BRICS via the BRICS+ framework that allows smaller economies that are the regional partners of BRICS to have a say in the new global governance framework.”

Before he addressed the St. Petersburg forum on video, President Xi called Putin personally to say, among other things, that he’s got China’s back on all “sovereignty and security” themes. They also, inevitably, discussed the relevance of BRICS as a key platform towards the multipolar world.

Meanwhile, the collective West plunges deeper into the maelstrom. A massive national demonstration of trade unions this past Monday paralyzed Brussels – the capital of the EU and NATO – as 80,000 people expressed their anger at the rising and rising cost of living; called for elites to “spend money on salaries, not on weapons”; and yelled in unison “Stop NATO.”

It’s zugzwang all over again. The EU’s “direct losses”, as Putin stressed, provoked by the sanctions hysteria, “could exceed $400 billion a year”. Russia’s energy earnings have hit record levels. The ruble is at a 7-year high against the euro.

It’s a blast that arguably the most powerful cultural artifact of the entire Cold War – and Western supremacy – era, the perennial Rolling Stones, is currently on tour across a “caught in a crossfire hurricane” EU. On every show they play, for the first time live, one of their early classics: ‘Out of Time’.

Sounds much like a requiem. So let’s all sing, “Baby baby baby / you’re out of time”, as one Vladimir “it’s a gas, gas, gas” Putin and his sidekick Dmitry “Under My Thumb” Medvedev seem to be the guys really getting their rocks off. It’s only (BRICS) rock’n roll, but we like it.

As Turkey’s currency plummets, Al Jazeera guests clash over state of economy

December 6, 2021

Description: 

In a recent episode of the long-running program Al-Etejah al’Mu’akis on Al Jazeera Arabic hosted by Faysal al-Qasim, two guests based in London and Istanbul, debated ‘why the value of the Turkish Lira was falling rapidly’. The following are key excerpts from this episode translated into English.

According to various media reports, Turkey’s currency has lost about 45% of its value this year.

The two guests featured in this episode were:

– London-based writer and journalist Ghassan Ibrahim (situated on the left of the host in the image above)
– Istanbul-based economist and political analyst Yusuf Katipoglu (situated on the right of the host in the image above)

Source:  AlJazeera Channel (YouTube)

Date:  November 16, 2021

( Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing a small monthly amount here )

Transcript:

Host:

You know that a while ago Turkey ranked 17th place in terms of GDP. The question is: where is Turkey now? It was among the top twenty. It went down from 17th place to 20th. Today, Turkey ranks lower than 20, maybe 21 or less. Do you think that this indicates that the Turkish economy is improving and advancing?! Or if we add the insane collapse of the (Turkish) lira to that, we find that, as Ghassan told you a little bit ago, this bubble will burst or has already begun to burst.

Yusuf Katipoglu, economist and political analyst:

Please give me enough time (to answer), Mr. Faisal. I hope there would be a fair distribution of time.

Host:

Go ahead.

Katipoglu:

First, I would like to raise my objection to you for not giving me enough time. You were not fair to me. I will respond to your guest’s words first, then I will respond to yours. Your guest says that the industrial sector did not make any profit, therefore there is no funding going towards the industrial sector. He said that Erdogan is taking all the money for himself and his group. Well, if this is true, then why is there a rise in FDI reaching to $210 billion in the last 15 years? It was 1.2 billion from 1982 until 2002 before the Justice and Development (Party took over). Once it did, the FDI became $217 billion.

(Your guest) says that no one is investing (in Turkey) and that there are no foreign investments. Well Siemens made a billion-dollar investment in solar energy in the Turkish market. (Your guest) talks about Erdogan’s mentality and says that he is making mistakes in the management of the country’s affairs and that Turkey has been added to the grey list. This is good as it proves that the matter is subject to politicisation. Credit rating providers: Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s rated Turkey as not suitable for investment with a B-, but classified Egypt, which is indebted to the International Monetary Fund, as attractive for FDI. This is what we were talking about at the beginning of the episode: conspiring against Turkey by politicising economic matters, by attacking Turkey.

Let me tell your guest something. He says that Ali Babacan and Ahmet Davutoglu were great economists and they left Erdogan because he mismanaged the country’s affairs. Well, if he did so, then how did the GDP in Turkey rise by 21%?

Host:

21%?! Wait a second, wait a second. A growth rate of 21%, Mr. Youssef! Come on! Who gets such a percentage? China’s is 8 for God’s sake!

Katipoglu:

Let me tell you something. In the second quarter of 2020, the growth rate reached 21.7%. I know what I’m saying. In the second quarter of 2020, (it reached) 21.7 %, number one worldwide. These are official numbers. This does not appeal to your guest.

Then you said that Turkey has left the G20. Logically, Mr. Faisal, how did Turkey leave the G20 and get invited to the G20 (summit) at the same time? The report says that Turkey is now 16th in the G20 ranking. It is qualified to rank 13th in 2030. Be fair!

Host:

Nice, nice.

Katipoglu:

Then your guest says that Halkbank and other banks in Turkey are accused of corruption and he makes a lot of accusations. These accusations are groundless. The (existing) reserves in the Central Bank of Turkey are 127 billion dollars. Your guest says that there are no reserves in the Central Bank! Let me tell you something. Why is Turkey being targeted? Turkey has withdrawn 606 tons of gold, which is the tenth largest reserve of gold, from the banks of America and Switzerland, and has brought them to the country. Why is Turkey being targeted? They are fighting Turkey because it refused to take loans from the International Monetary Fund despite external pressures from here and there, (because) it is a sovereign country that does not follow (foreign) orders like the rest. Turkey is being targeted because it wants to support all sectors and all Turkish people of all stripes.

Host:

I agree, there is a conspiracy (against Turkey), but what is this (strong) economy and this arrogance, after which an American official comes with a tweet – Trump wrote a tweet of 5 words after which the Turkish lira and the entire Turkish economy collapsed?! Come on now! I mean, an American word can destroy the Turkish economy. You are only powerful when it comes (to fighting) Syrians.

Katipoglu:

You don’t know (the state) of the Turkish economy only by its currency, Mr. Faisal. It is Turkey’s ability to have strong production, strong exports and a high growth rate, and its record breaking, and this reflects its powerful economy…we expect an (economic) growth rate of 10% on a yearly basis, I told you, the (growth rate) was 21.7% in the last quarter, and 7% in the quarter before, (and) we expect (a rate of) 10% by the end of the year. The economy of Turkey is strong with its defense industries, 80% of which is comprised of domestic manufacturers. One of every three electronic devices sold in Europe is a Turkish device. Turkey is the largest iron-producing country in the world. The US and foreign countries import (products) from Turkey. Turkey now is manufacturing its own cars, aircrafts, and weapons. The defense industries now have a budget and it’s considered an internal budget (i.e., government-funded).

Host:

– great –

Katipoğlu:

– and I’ll tell you another thing, why is Turkey economically strong? It’s economically strong because it holds the decision of sovereignty in its hands. It’s true, the (Turkish) currency gets affected (by external factors) and is changing, but (the fact is that) there is currency speculation, there is (external) influence on the currency (exchange rate), and there are some who want to demonise (the Turkish economy) and say that the Turkish economy is weak. (However,) if the Turkish economy wasn’t strong – let me tell you another thing, the ratio of trade deficit has been reduced by 40% because the exports achieved record numbers and the imports decreased. Moreover, the energy bill that Turkey pays for importing energy is $42 billion, half of it will be compensated by the discoveries of natural gas and resources of alternative energy existing today in Turkey. Turkey, my friend, is strongly heading into the 10 most powerful economic states in the world, your guest does not know what Turkey is –

Host:

– Very good, just a minute –

Katipoğlu:

– He only gives ear to those who wish to demonise Turkey –

Host:

– I gave you enough time. Ghassan, I challenge you to answer (back) to these reasonable economic (facts) said by Yusuf Katipoğlu: 80% of Turkey’s defense needs are of domestic production; find me a country in the world that has reached this level of defense industry (advancement) which Turkey has reached! (In addition to) the electronics (industry), and the sovereign decision, Turkey is being fought because it practices national decision-making in its economic (sphere), and that’s what upsets the West. The West tried to stage a coup in Turkey years ago and failed, so they started to economically bring Turkey to its knees and demonise it and strike the Turkish economy etc. What do you have to say about this Mr Ghassan?

Ghassan Ibrahim, Writer & Journalist:

Actually – regarding the conspiracy mentality, that the West staged the coup and it wasn’t (planned) internally in Turkey, that’s another thing. However, there are many issues which your guest has talked about and contradicted himself on within 2 minutes (only).

He said that Turkey’s ranking is 16, then he said it’s 10 and that the economic growth (rate) is 21%. I dare anyone to go to Google – I call upon the audiences to grab their phones and browse Google and look up the rate of economic growth in Turkey; there’s no (growth) rate such as 21%! And no state in the world has (achieved such a rate)! Therefore, there are figures being thrown out absurdly.

He also talks about the investment flows, these are previous investments that occurred when the Justice and Development Party claimed that it wishes to join the European Union. It was the European funds that caused the economic bubble and the temporary economic renaissance, and its negative effects that we began to see (are clear) with the decline of the (Turkish) lira and the halt of foreign investment.

As for what he said, that 80% of Turkey’s military needs is made up of local industries, it’s simply because the Americans stopped selling aircrafts to the Turks, which is the highest cost; I mean, Turkey participated with the Americans in the manufacture of simple parts for the F-35 aircraft, (but) when the Americans got upset with the Turks, they told them ‘we won’t sell you these (weapons)’. Therefore, they (i.e., the Turks) are forced to manufacture armoured vehicles, (and) Turkey has been (undergoing the process of) manufacturing armoured vehicles for 10 years using German, Russian, and Korean parts, and it hasn’t succeed yet, and the only thing that (Turkey) succeeded (in manufacturing) was drones, whose designs were stolen from American aircrafts.

Thus, they are forced to depend (on themselves) because no one wants to sell them (weapons) except for the Russians; they would sell them a missile, and when they launch it, it would fall inside Turkey! So, they couldn’t obtain any (foreign-manufactured weapons); the French do not sell them, nor the Germans or the Americans. So, they are forced to (depend on themselves), it’s not a heroic act. Secondly, if all this data your guest talked about (shows) that Turkey is actually successful, why are we witnessing the drop of Erdogan’s popularity (among the Turkish people)?

Host:

– Ghassan, Ghassan hang on –

Ibrahim:

– it’s a simple question! –

Host:

Your talking as if the Turkish people wish to immigrate man!

Ibrahim:

Of course! (it’s true), have you noticed – an opinion poll was conducted last month and the results were announced this month, it says that two thirds of Turkish youths would have immigrated from Turkey if they could. This is an indicator that assures you that the Turkish people are dissatisfied with these policies

Erdogan, through his attempts of doing heroic acts dealing with external countries, is trying to convince the Turkish street to vote for him; he was threatening the Syrian Kurds for more than two weeks, that he will strike the Syrian Kurds, (but) without an American or Russian green light, Turkey cannot do anything! Erdogan is (now) counting on convincing the Russians by any means to conduct a military operation in Syria. The Americans preferred to cooperate with Kurdish factions over cooperation with Turkey, which is a member of NATO.

As Turkey has no friends left, its economic collapse is normal. Let’s be realistic: the people wish to escape from this country, and the economic (facts) lack any facts that indicate an actual revival. It is normal for the Government Statistical Institute to give (unrealistic) figures, to say that the rate of growth is 20%, 5%, or 10%, it is (arbitrarily) throwing figures. (Yet, for these) figures to be real, you should see that there are people working, that there are people who want to stay in Turkey, and (it would be real) when you see funds flowing into Turkey.

Transparency International ranked Turkey – I believe – 117 out of 140, and Turkey was (previously) ranked among the 90s; its transparency decreased due to the spread of corruption –

Host:

– Great –

Ibrahim:

– there is also a very important indicator emanating from the idea of the sovereignty (integrity) of justice; imagine a country being governed by the Justice and Development Party, but ranks among the worst countries in the world for the lack of justice –

Host:

– (Okay,) great –

Ibrahim:

– there is no rule of justice –

Host:

– Very good, Mr Yusuf –

Ibrahim:

– Erdogan can ask a judge to take whatever decision (suits him) with (just) one phone call!


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China, Russia and India: Foreign Ministers Joint Communique

November 27, 2021

Joint Communique of the 18th Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation, the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China

November 26, 2021

1. The 18th Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation, the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China was held in the digital video-conference format on 26 November 2021. The meeting took place in the backdrop of negative impacts of the global Covid-19 pandemic, on-going economic recovery as well as continuing threats of terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, trans-national organized crime, natural and man-made disasters, food security and climate change.

2. The Ministers exchanged views on further strengthening the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral cooperation and also discussed various regional and international issues of importance. The Ministers recalled their last meeting in Moscow in September 2020 as well as the RIC Leaders’ Informal Summit in Osaka (Japan) in June 2019 and noted the need for regular high level meetings to foster closer cooperation among the RIC countries.

3. Expressing their solidarity with those who were negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministers underlined the importance of a timely, transparent, effective and non-discriminatory international response to global health challenges including pandemics, with equitable and affordable access to medicines, vaccines and critical health supplies. They reiterated the need for continued cooperation in this fight inter-alia through sharing of vaccine doses, transfer of technology, development of local production capacities, promotion of supply chains for medical products. In this context, they noted the ongoing discussions in the WTO on COVID-19 vaccine Intellectual Property Rights waiver and the use of flexibilities of the TRIPS Agreement and the Doha Declaration on TRIPS Agreement and Public Health.

4. Emphasizing the need for collective cooperation in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministers noted the measures being taken by the World Health Organization (WHO), governments, non-profit organisations, academia, business and industry in combating the pandemic. In this context, the Ministers called for strengthening the policy responses of WHO in the fight against Covid-19 and other global health challenges. They also called for making Covid-19 vaccination a global public good.

5. The Ministers agreed that cooperation among the RIC countries will contribute not only to their own growth but also to global peace, security, stability and development. The Ministers underlined the importance of strengthening of an open, transparent, just, inclusive, equitable and representative multi-polar international system based on respect for international law and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and central coordinating role of the United Nations in the international system.

6. The Ministers reiterated that a multi-polar and rebalanced world based on sovereign equality of nations and respect for international law and reflecting contemporary realities requires strengthening and reforming of the multilateral system. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to upholding international law, including the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. The Ministers acknowledged that the current interconnected international challenges should be addressed through reinvigorated and reformed multilateral system, especially of the UN and its principal organs, and other multilateral institutions such as International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), World Trade Organization (WTO), World Health Organization (WHO), with a view to enhancing its capacity to effectively address the diverse challenges of our time and to adapt them to 21st century realities. The Ministers recalled the 2005 World Summit Outcome document and reaffirmed the need for comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more representative, effective and efficient, and to increase the representation of the developing countries so that it can adequately respond to global challenges. Foreign Ministers of China and Russia reiterated the importance they attached to the status of India in international affairs and supported its aspiration to play a greater role in the United Nations.Foreign Ministers of Russia and China congratulated India for its successful Presidency of the UNSC in August 2021.

7. Underlining the significance they attach to the intra-BRICS cooperation, the Ministers welcomed the outcomes of the 13th BRICS Summit held under India’s chairmanship on 9 September 2021. They agreed to work actively to implement the decisions of the successive BRICS Summits, deepen BRICS strategic partnership, strengthen cooperation in its three pillars namely political and security cooperation; economic and finance; and people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Russia and India extend full support to China for its BRICS Chairship in 2022 and hosting the XIV BRICS Summit.

8. In the year of the 20th Anniversary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) the Ministers underlined that the SCO as an influential and responsible member of the modern system of international relations plays a constructive role in securing peace and sustainable development, advancing regional cooperation and consolidating ties of good-neighbourliness and mutual trust. In this context, they emphasized the importance of further strengthening the Organization’s multifaceted potential with a view to promote multilateral political, security, economic and people-to-people exchanges cooperation. The Ministers intend to pay special attention to ensuring stability in the SCO space, including to step up efforts in jointly countering terrorism, illicit drug trafficking and trans-border organized crime under the framework of SCO-Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure. They appreciated the Ministerial meeting in the SCO Contact Group on Afghanistan format held on 14th July 2021 in Dushanbe.

9. The Ministers supported the G-20’s leading role in global economic governance and international economic cooperation. They expressed their readiness to enhance communication and cooperation including through G-20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and other means, through consultations and mutual support in areas of respective interest.

10. The Ministers stand for maintaining and strengthening of ASEAN Centrality and the role of ASEAN-led mechanisms in the evolving regional architecture, including through fostering ties between ASEAN and other regional organizations such as the SCO, IORA, BIMSTEC. The Ministers reiterated the importance of the need for closer cooperation and consultations in various regional fora and organizations, East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), to jointly contribute to regional peace, security and stability.

11. The Ministers consider it important to utilize the potential of the countries of the region, international organizations and multilateral associations in order to create a space in Eurasia for broad, open, mutually beneficial and equal interaction in accordance with international law and taking into account national interests. In that regard, they noted the idea of establishing a Greater Eurasian Partnership involving the SCO countries, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other interested States and multilateral associations.

12. The Ministers condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The Ministers reaffirmed that terrorism must be comprehensively countered to achieve a world free of terrorism. They called on the international community to strengthen UN-led global counter-terrorism cooperation by fully implementing the relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. In this context, they called for early adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. The Ministers stressed that those committing, orchestrating, inciting or supporting, financing terrorist acts must be held accountable and brought to justice in accordance with existing international commitments on countering terrorism, including the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the FATF standards, international treaties, including on the basis of the principle “extradite or prosecute” and relevant international and bilateral obligations and in compliance with applicable domestic legislation.

13. The Ministers emphasized the importance of the three international drug control conventions and other relevant legal instruments which form the edifice of the drug control system. They reiterated their firm resolve to address the world drug problem, on a basis of common and shared responsibility. The Ministers expressed their determination to counter the spread of illicit drug trafficking in opiates and methamphetamine from Afghanistan and beyond, which poses a serious threat to regional security and stability and provides funding for terrorist organizations.

14. The Ministers reiterated the need for a holistic approach to development and security of ICTs, including technical progress, business development, safeguarding the security of States and public interests, and respecting the right to privacy of individuals. The Ministers noted that technology should be used responsibly in a human-centric manner. They underscored the leading role of the United Nations in promoting a dialogue to forge common understandings on the security of and in the use of ICTs and development of universally agreed norms, rules and principles for responsible behaviour of States in the area of ICTs and recognized the importance of strengthening its international cooperation. The Ministers recalled that the development of ICT capabilities for military purposes and the malicious use of ICTs by State and non-State actors including terrorists and criminal groups is a disturbing trend. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to principles of preventing conflicts stemming from the use of ICTs, as well as ensuring use of these technologies for peaceful purposes. In this context, they welcomed the work of recently concluded UN-mandated groups namely Open Ended Working Group on the developments in the fields of Information and Telecommunications in the context of international security (OEWG) and the Sixth United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (UNGGE) on Advancing responsible State behaviour in cyberspace in the context of international security and their consensual final reports. The Ministers supported the OEWG on the security of and in the use of ICTs 2021-2025.

15. The Ministers, while emphasizing the important role of the ICTs for growth and development, acknowledged the potential misuse of ICTs for criminal activities and threats. The Ministers expressed concern over the increasing level and complexity of criminal misuse of ICTs as well as the absence of a UN-led framework to counter the use of ICTs for criminal purposes. Noting that new challenges and threats in this respect require international cooperation, the Ministers appreciated the launch of the UN Open-Ended Ad-Hoc Intergovernmental Committee of Experts to elaborate a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of ICTs for criminal purposes under the auspices of the United Nations, pursuant to the United Nations General Assembly resolution 74/247.

16. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to broadening and strengthening the participation of emerging markets and developing countries (EMDCs) in the international economic decision-making and norm-setting processes, especially in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. In this regard, they emphasized the importance of constant efforts to reform the international financial architecture. They expressed concern that enhancing the voice and participation of EMDCs in the Bretton Woods institutions remains far from realization.

17. The Ministers reaffirmed their support for a transparent, open, inclusive and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core. In this context, they reiterated their support for the necessary reform which would preserve the centrality, core values and fundamental principles of the WTO while taking into account the interests of all members, especially developing countries and Least Developing Countries (LDCs). They emphasized the primary importance of ensuring the restoration and preservation of the normal functioning of a two-stage WTO Dispute Settlement system, including the expeditious appointment of all Appellate Body members. The post-pandemic world requires diversified global value chains that are based on resilience and reliability.

18. The Ministers agreed that the imposition of unilateral sanctions beyond those adopted by the UNSC as well as “long-arm jurisdiction” were inconsistent with the principles of international law, have reduced the effectiveness and legitimacy of the UNSC sanction regime, and had a negative impact on third States and international economic and trade relations. They called for a further consolidation and strengthening of the working methods of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee to ensure their effectiveness, responsiveness and transparency.

19. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in its three dimensions- economic, social and environmental in a balanced and integrated manner – and reiterated that the Sustainable Development Goals are integrated and indivisible and must be achieved ‘leaving no one behind’. The Ministers called upon the international community to foster a more equitable and balanced global development partnership to address the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and to accelerate the implementation of 2030 Agenda while giving special attention to the difficulties and needs of the developing countries. The Ministers urged developed countries to honour their Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments, including the commitment to achieve the target of 0.7 percent of gross national income for official development assistance (ODA/GNI) to developing countries and to facilitate capacity building and the transfer of technology to developing countries together with additional development resources, in line with national policy objectives of the recipients.

20. The Ministers also reaffirmed their commitment to Climate action by implementation of Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement adopted under the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including the principle of Equity, Common But Differentiated Responsibilities, the criticality of adequate finance and technology flows, judicious use of resources and the need for sustainable lifestyles. They recognized that peaking of Greenhouse Gas Emissions will take longer for developing countries, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty. They stressed the importance of a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework that addresses the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in a balanced way. They welcomed the outcomes of the 26th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-26) and the 15th Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-15).

21. The Ministers underlined the imperative of dialogue to strengthen international peace and security through political and diplomatic means. The Ministers confirmed their commitment to ensure prevention of an arms race in outer space and its weaponization, through the adoption of a relevant multilateral legally binding instrument. In this regard, they noted the relevance of the draft treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space and of the threat or use of force against outer space objects. They emphasized that the Conference on Disarmament, as the single multilateral negotiating forum on this subject, has the primary role in the negotiation of a multilateral agreement, or agreements, as appropriate, on the prevention of an arms race in outer space in all its aspects. They expressed concern over the possibility of outer space turning into an arena of military confrontation. They stressed that practical transparency and confidence building measures, such as the No First Placement initiative may also contribute towards the prevention of an arms race in outer space. The Ministers reaffirmed their support for enhancing international cooperation in outer space in accordance with international law, based on the Outer Space Treaty. They recognized, in that regard, the leading role of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). They agreed to stand together for enhancing the long-term sustainability of outer space activities and safety of space operations through deliberations under UNCOPUOS.

22. The Ministers reiterated the importance of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC) as a key pillar of the global disarmament and security architecture. They highlighted the need for BTWC States Parties to comply with BTWC, and actively consult one another on addressing issues through cooperation in relation to the implementation of the Convention and strengthening it, including by negotiating a legally binding Protocol for the Convention that provides for, inter alia, an efficient verification mechanism. The BTWC functions should not be duplicated by other mechanisms. They also reaffirmed support for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and called upon the State Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to uphold the Convention and the integrity of the CWC and engage in a constructive dialogue with a view to restoring the spirit of consensus in the OPCW.

23. The Ministers showed deep concern about the threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) falling into the hands of terrorist groups, including the use of chemicals and biological agents for terrorist purposes. To address the threat of chemical and biological terrorism, they emphasized the need to launch multilateral negotiations on an international convention for the suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism at the Conference on Disarmament. They urged all States to take and strengthen national measures, as appropriate, to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and materials and technologies related to their manufacture.

24. The Ministers noted rising concerns regarding dramatic change of the situation in Afghanistan. They reaffirmed their support for basic principle of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and called for formation of a truly inclusive government that represents all the major ethnic and political groups of the country. The Ministers advocated a peaceful, secure, united, sovereign, stable and prosperous inclusive Afghanistan that exists in harmony with its neighbors. They called on the Taliban to take actions in accordance with the results of all the recently held international and regional formats of interaction on Afghanistan, including the UN Resolutions on Afghanistan. Expressing concern over deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, the Ministers called for immediate and unhindered humanitarian assistance to be provided to Afghanistan. The Ministers also emphasized on the central role of UN in Afghanistan.

25. They stressed the necessity of urgent elimination of UNSC proscribed terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, ISIL and others for lasting peace in Afghanistan and the region. The Ministers acknowledged the widespread and sincere demand of the Afghan people for lasting peace. They reaffirmed the importance of ensuring that the territory of Afghanistan should not be used to threaten or attack any other country, and that no Afghan group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any other country.

26. The Ministers reiterated the importance of full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and UNSC Resolution 2231 and expressed their support to the relevant efforts to ensure the earliest reinvigoration of the JCPOA which is a landmark achievement for multilateral diplomacy and the nuclear non-proliferation.

27. The Ministers reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and unity of Myanmar. They expressed support to the efforts of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) aimed at implementation of its Five-Point Consensus in cooperation with Myanmar. They called on all sides to refrain from violence.

28. The Ministers underlined the importance of lasting peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. They expressed their support for a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to resolve all issues pertaining to the Korean Peninsula.

29. The Ministers welcomed the announcement of the Gaza ceasefire beginning 21 May 2021 and stressed the importance of the restoration of general stabilization. They recognized the efforts made by the UN and regional countries to prevent the hostilities from escalating. They mourned the loss of civilian lives resulting from the violence, called for the full respect of international humanitarian law and urged the international community’s immediate attention to providing humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population, particularly in Gaza. They supported in this regard the Secretary General’s call for the international community to work with the United Nations, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), on developing an integrated, robust package of support for a swift and sustainable reconstruction and recovery as well as for appropriate use of such aid. The Ministers reiterated their support for a two-State solution guided by the international legal framework previously in place, resulting in creating an independent and viable Palestinian State and based on the vision of a region where Israel and Palestine live side by side in peace within secure and recognised borders.

30. The Ministers reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. They expressed their conviction that there can be no military solution to the Syrian conflict. They also reaffirmed their support to a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, UN-facilitated political process in full compliance with UNSC Resolution 2254. They welcomed in this context the importance of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva, launched with the decisive participation of the countries-guarantors of the Astana Process and other states engaged in efforts to address the conflict through political means, and expressed their support to the efforts of Mr. Geir Pedersen, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Syria, to ensure the sustainable and effective work of the Committee. They reiterated their conviction that in order to reach general agreement, members of the Constitutional Committee should be governed by a sense of compromise and constructive engagement without foreign interference and externally imposed timelines. They emphasized the fundamental importance of allowing unhindered humanitarian aid to all Syrians in accordance with the UN humanitarian principles and the post-conflict reconstruction of Syria that would contribute to the safe, voluntary and dignified return of Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons to their places of origin thus paving the way to achieving long-term stability and security in Syria and the region in general.

31. The Ministers expressed grave concern over the ongoing conflict in Yemen which affects the security and stability not only of Yemen, but also of the entire region, and has caused what is being called by the United Nations as the worst humanitarian crisis currently in the world. They called for a complete cessation of hostilities and the establishment of an inclusive, Yemeni-led negotiation process mediated by the UN. They also stressed the importance of providing urgent humanitarian access and assistance to all Yemenis.

32. The Ministers welcomed the formation of the new transitional Presidency Council and Government of National Unity in Libya as a positive development and hoped that it would promote reconciliation among all political parties and Libyan society, work towards restoration of peace and stability and conduct elections on 24 December 2021 to hand over power to the new government as per the wishes of the Libyan people. They also noted the important role of UN in this regard.

33. The Ministers noted that some of the planned activities under the RIC format could not take place in the physical format due to the global Covid-19 pandemic situation. They welcomed the outcomes of the 18th RIC Trilateral Academic Conference organized by the Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi (ICWA) in the video-conference format on 22-23 April 2021. In this context, they also commended the contribution of the Institute of Chinese Studies (New Delhi), Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow) and China Institute of International Studies (Beijing) in establishing the RIC Academic Conference as the premier annual analytical forum for deepening RIC cooperation in diverse fields.

34. The Ministers expressed their support to China to host Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

35. Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China and the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation thanked the External Affairs Minister of India for successful organization of the RIC Foreign Ministers Meeting. External Affairs Minister of India passed on the chairmanship in the RIC format to the Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China. The date and venue of the next RIC Foreign Ministers Meeting will be agreed upon through the diplomatic channels.

The World Burns While The Elites Enjoy The Great Climate Show

6 NOVEMBER 2021

The World Burns While The Elites Enjoy The Great Climate Show

By Sonja van den Ende

Source

This week the elites from large parts of the world were gathered in Glasgow, Scotland for the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference, mainly Western leaders, MainStream Media (MSM) journalists and CEOs were present. Joe Biden was in Rome, for the G20 meeting and a meeting with Pope Francis, he drove around with his 85-car motorcade (petrol or diesel).

The “War on Terror” is over, not officially mentioned of course, because there is still a lot at stake for the US and its allies in the occupied countries. As I mentioned before, the (mainly Western) elite’s are in need of cobalt and lithium for their “Green New Deal” dreams. Cobalt is to be found in huge amounts in Congo, at war since many years, famous for the plundering of blood diamonds, by Western countries, also in Angola, Sierra Leone, but the most diamonds were found in Congo. Big US and Israeli companies were present, to dig for the diamonds, over decades and Congolese people used in the mines, as slaves. The (for a large group of US citizens illegal) president of the US Joe Biden, promised the president of Congo during the G20 meeting in Rome, millions of Astrazeneca vaccines (not wanted in the US and EU because of too many side effects). I wonder what the US gets in return? Most likely cobalt, the president of Congo ,was invited to come to the G20 top, with a reason.  The “War on Terror” was first conducted in Afghanistan, with the false excuse for revenge, the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York, 2001, which was conducted by Saudi Arabian citizens, so Afghanistan had nothing to do with it and many claim, the whole attack was a PSYOP, by the US government and Israeli Secret Service Mossad. Afghanistan possesses a wealth of nonfuel minerals whose value has been estimated at more than US $1 trillion. Afghanistan is renowned for its gemstones – rubies, emeralds, tourmalines and lapis lazuli. But more value, however, lies with the country’s endowments of iron, copper, lithium, rare earth elements, cobalt, bauxite, mercury, uranium and chromium. The Green new deal needs lithium and cobalt for electrical cars and other appliances for their  “Green” neutral climate plans.

The main goals for wars in the past and still are: destruction, depopulation rebuilding the destroyed countries after destruction, putting in place a “puppet-regime” and stealing the resources of the countries. That was the strategy until 2020, then the new UN Agenda 2030 had to be implemented, the robbery and stealing are up to then done with conventional weapons Now we will see  PSYOPS and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to implement wars on countries or people who will not comply with Agenda 2030. Don’t think the elite’s want to create a “better”social  just world, no as it turns out last year, they just got richer and richer.  The seventeen goals of Agenda 2030 sound very good, but don’t be deceived, the whole Western world (and the rest, but mainly destroyed by wars already) has to be destroyed, the whole way of living, of earning money and  freedom of choice must go, a new “dreamed” one-world government has to be installed with the help of AI and PSYOPs, like perhaps the COVID-19 crisis.

They are in the process of implementing agenda 2030 , they started the agenda with a PSYOP, the Covid-19 crisis. I, like many others, first thought it was a Biological warfare weapon or a leak from the Wuhan laboratory, whether it came from the US or China, was not known. But now the US and China declared that the origins of COVID-19 are unknown, that’s the least to say suspicious so it could be a PSYOP to frighten the people around the world so they can push their 2030 Agenda, otherwise many people (they do now already in many countries ) will protest. The COVID-19 virus  has similarities with a very bad flu. Flu miraculously disappeared  in 2020.  As I mentioned many times before, the SARS COV virus was raging in 2003 till now in the Middle East, the countries who were hit by war, like Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria. The U.S Central Command confirmed that over 5000 rounds of Depleted Uranium ammunition (DU) were fired during an air raid against ISIS  in November 2015. It directly conflicted with the promises made by US officials not to use such armaments during the military operations in Syria.  These countries I mentioned were bombed by the army of the US and its Western allies using  depleted Uranium, which makes people very sick, as I experienced myself in Syria, but got over it. Also, we can see that during this PSYOP,  developed countries are implementing their own Social Credit System, they blame China, but the EU and many countries in the Western world are doing exactly the same, it’s used  to manipulate and control the population, steal money and unplug you if you don’t comply. The Green Pass (let it sink in the word Green) is the beginning of this total control system.

The World Burns

As I mentioned above, Western countries robbed and destroyed many countries around the world. Congo and other African countries for blood diamonds, the Middle-East for oil, the far east for spices. It’s mainly the Western EU countries who have destroyed the world for decades, the British and Dutch empires are two very good examples, also France, Spain and Portugal did very bad things. But it’s not the population of these countries, they were sent to Australia and New Zealand to work in penal colonies. No it’s the elite, the same elite’s who are still ruling the Western World, the same Kingdom’s, political parties, who are centuries old, they are the perpetrators, together with multinationals and deep-state, they are now stealing and punishing their own population for the crimes they commited and still commit, for as they say to change the world in a more green and better place, how ironic! The world burns in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Mali, Lebanon. Palestinians have been deprived of land and rights since 1948, Congo and other African countries are being robbed. All due to the power hungry  greedy Western leaders, multinationals, banks, extravagant Kingdoms, spending millions of money on useless visits, dresses they are what we call part of the deep-state. People got murdered in endless wars, deprived of basic living conditions, like food and healthcare. Sanctions have been put in place by the same Western countries, who want to implement their Green new deal, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Lebanon and Afghanistan are still suffering under sanctions and people are dying from hunger and malnutrition, electricity a luxury and bad to no internet, due to power cuts, a mockery and big lie. Think of all the depleted Uranium they used the last decades, which is still  present, buried in the soil in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and many other countries, they never bothered to clean it up.  The world needs real democracy, reduction of poverty, removal of existing empires, judge the warmongers, and a just system for all, then people will look after mother nature and cherish the earth, the elites destroyed it and will do continue to do so, if they are not removed on the cost of the people of the earth.

The long and winding multipolar road

July 01, 2021

The West’s ‘rules-based order’ invokes rulers’ authority; Russia-China say it’s time to return to law-based order

The long and winding multipolar road

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

We do live in extraordinary times.

On the day of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), President Xi Jinping, in Tiananmen square, amid all the pomp and circumstance, delivered a stark geopolitical message:

The Chinese people will never allow foreign forces to intimidate, oppress or subjugate them. Anyone who tries to do this will find themselves on a collision course with a large steel wall forged by more than 1.4 billion Chinese.

I have offered a concise version of the modern Chinese miracle – which has nothing to do with divine intervention, but “searching truth from facts” (copyright Deng Xiaoping), inspired by a solid cultural and historical tradition.

The “large steel wall” evoked by Xi now permeates a dynamic “moderately prosperous society” – a goal achieved by the CCP on the eve of the centennial. Lifting over 800 million people out of poverty is a historical first – in every aspect.

As in all things China, the past informs the future. This is all about xiaokang – which may be loosely translated as “moderately prosperous society”.

The concept first appeared no less than 2,500 years ago, in the classic Shijing (“The Book of Poetry”). The Little Helmsman Deng, with his historical eagle eye, revived it in 1979, right at the start of the “opening up” economic reforms.

Now compare the breakthrough celebrated in Tiananmen – which will be interpreted all across the Global South as evidence of the success of a Chinese model for economic development – with footage being circulated of the Taliban riding captured T-55 tanks across impoverished villages in northern Afghanistan.

History Repeating: this is something I saw with my own eyes over twenty years ago.

The Taliban now control nearly the same amount of Afghan territory they did immediately before 9/11. They control the border with Tajikistan and are closing in on the border with Uzbekistan.

Exactly twenty years ago I was deep into yet another epic journey across Karachi, Peshawar, the Pakistan tribal areas, Tajikistan and finally the Panjshir valley, where I interviewed Commander Masoud – who told me the Taliban at the time were controlling 85% of Afghanistan.

Three weeks later Masoud was assassinated by an al-Qaeda-linked commando disguised as “journalists” – two days before 9/11. The empire – at the height of the unipolar moment – went into Forever Wars on overdrive, while China – and Russia – went deep into consolidating their emergence, geopolitically and geoeconomically.

We are now living the consequences of these opposed strategies.

That strategic partnership

President Putin has just spent three hours and fifty minutes answering non-pre-screened questions, live, from Russian citizens during his annual ‘Direct Line’ session. The notion that Western “leaders” of the Biden, BoJo, Merkel and Macron kind would be able to handle something even remotely similar, non-scripted, is laughable.

The key takeaway: Putin stressed US elites understand that the world is changing but still want to preserve their dominant position. He illustrated it with the recent British caper in Crimea straight out of a Monty Python fail, a “complex provocation” that was in fact Anglo-American: a NATO aircraft had previously conducted a reconnaissance flight. Putin: “It was obvious that the destroyer entered [Crimean waters] pursuing military goals.”

Earlier this week Putin and Xi held a videoconference. One of the key items was quite significant: the extension of the China-Russia Treaty of Good Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, originally signed 20 years ago.

A key provision: “When a situation arises in which one of the contracting parties deems that…it is confronted with the threat of aggression, the contracting parties shall immediately hold contacts and consultations in order to eliminate such threats.”

This treaty is at the heart of what is now officially described – by Moscow and Beijing – as a “comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era”. Such a broad definition is warranted because this is a complex multi-level partnership, not an “alliance”, designed as a counterbalance and viable alternative to hegemony and unilateralism.

A graphic example is provided by the progressive interpolation of two trade/development strategies, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), which Putin and Xi again discussed, in connection with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which was founded only three months before 9/11.

It’s no wonder that one of the highlights in Beijing this week were trade talks between the Chinese and four Central Asia “stans” – all of them SCO members.

“Law” and “rule”

The defining multipolarity road map has been sketched in an essay by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that deserves careful examination.

Lavrov surveys the results of the recent G7, NATO and US-EU summits prior to Putin-Biden in Geneva:

These meetings were carefully prepared in a way that leaves no doubt that the West wanted to send a clear message: it stands united like never before and will do what it believes to be right in international affairs, while forcing others, primarily Russia and China, to follow its lead. The documents adopted at the Cornwall and Brussels summits cemented the rules-based world order concept as a counterweight to the universal principles of international law with the UN Charter as its primary source. In doing so, the West deliberately shies away from spelling out the rules it purports to follow, just as it refrains from explaining why they are needed.

As he dismisses how Russia and China have been labeled as “authoritarian powers” (or “illiberal”, according to the favorite New York-Paris-London mantra), Lavrov smashes Western hypocrisy:

While proclaiming the ‘right’ to interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries for the sake of promoting democracy as it understands it, the West instantly loses all interest when we raise the prospect of making international relations more democratic, including renouncing arrogant behavior and committing to abide by the universally recognized tenets of international law instead of ‘rules’.

That provides Lavrov with an opening for a linguistic analysis of “law” and “rule”:

In Russian, the words “law” and “rule” share a single root. To us, a rule that is genuine and just is inseparable from the law. This is not the case for Western languages. For instance, in English, the words “law” and “rule” do not share any resemblance. See the difference? “Rule” is not so much about the law, in the sense of generally accepted laws, as it is about the decisions taken by the one who rules or governs. It is also worth noting that “rule” shares a single root with “ruler,” with the latter’s meanings including the commonplace device for measuring and drawing straight lines. It can be inferred that through its concept of “rules” the West seeks to align everyone around its vision or apply the same yardstick to everybody, so that everyone falls into a single file.

In a nutshell: the road to multipolarity will not follow “ultimatums”. The G20, where the BRICS are represented, is a “natural platform” for “mutually accepted agreements”. Russia for its part is driving a Greater Eurasia Partnership. And a “polycentric world order” implies the necessary reform of the UN Security Council, “strengthening it with Asian, African and Latin American countries”.

Will the Unilateral Masters ply this road? Over their dead bodies: after all, Russia and China are “existential threats”. Hence our collective angst, spectators under the volcano.

G7: Desperately Seeking Relevancy

G7: Desperately Seeking Relevancy

June 09, 2021

A G7 rebooted as a Sinophobic crusade will have few if any takers due to members’ rising dependence on Chinese goods and markets

by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

The upcoming G7 in Cornwall at first might be seen as the quirky encounter of “America is Back” with “Global Britain”.

The Big Picture though is way more sensitive. Three Summits in a Row – G7, NATO and US-EU – will be paving the way for a much expected cliffhanger: the Putin-Biden summit in Geneva – which certainly won’t be a reset.

The controlling interests behind the hologram that goes by the name of “Joe Biden” have a clear overarching agenda: to regiment industrialized democracies – especially those in Europe – and keep them in lockstep to combat those “authoritarian” threats to US national security, “malignant” Russia and China.

It’s like a throwback to those oh so stable 1970s Cold War days, complete with James Bond fighting foreign devils and Deep Purple subverting communism. Well, the times they are-a-changin’. China is very much aware that now the Global South “accounts for almost two-thirds of the global economy compared to one-third by the West: in the 1970s, it was exactly the opposite.”

For the Global South – that is, the overwhelming majority of the planet – the G7 is largely irrelevant. What matters is the G20.

China, the rising economic superpower, hails from the Global South, and is a leader in the G20. For all their internal troubles, EU players in the G7 – Germany, France and Italy – cannot afford to antagonize Beijing in economic, trade and investment terms.

A G7 rebooted as a Sinophobic crusade will have no takers. Including Japan and special guests at Cornwall: tech powerhouse South Korea, and India and South Africa (both BRICS members), offered the dangling carrot of a possible extended membership.

Washington’s wishful thinking cum P.R. offensive boils down to selling itself as the primus inter pares of the West as a revitalized global leader. Why the Global South is not buying it can be observed, graphically, by what happened for the past eight years. The G7 – and especially the Americans – simply could not respond to China’s wide-ranging, pan-Eurasian trade/development strategy, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The American “strategy” so far – 24/7 demonization of BRI as a “debt trap” and “forced labor” machine – did not cut it. Now, too little too late, comes a G7 scheme, involving “partners” such as India, to “support”, at least in theory, vague “high-quality projects” across the Global South: that’s the Clean Green Initiative , focused on sustainable development and green transition, to be discussed both at the G7 and the US-EU summits.

Compared to BRI, Clean Green Initiative hardly qualifies as a coherent geopolitical and geoeconomic strategy. BRI has been endorsed and partnered by over 150 nation-states and international bodies – and that includes more than half of the EU’s 27 members.

Facts on the ground tell the story. China and ASEAN are about to strike a “comprehensive strategic partnership” deal. Trade between China and the Central and Eastern European Countries (CCEC), also known as the 17+1 group, including 12 EU nations, continues to increase. The Digital Silk Road, the Health Silk Road and the Polar Silk Road keep advancing.

So what’s left is loud Western rumbling about vague investments in digital technology – perhaps financed by the European Investment Bank, based in Luxembourg – to cut off China’s “authoritarian reach” across the Global South.

The EU-US summit may be launching a “Trade and Technology Council” to coordinate policies on 5G, semiconductors, supply chains, export controls and technology rules and standards. A gentle reminder: the EU-US simply do not control this complex environment. They badly need South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

Wait a minute, Mr. Taxman

To be fair, the G7 may have rendered a public service to the whole world when their Finance Ministers struck an alleged “historic” deal last Saturday in London on a global, minimal 15% tax on multinational companies (MNCs).

Triumphalism was in order – with endless praise lavished on “justice” and “fiscal solidarity” coupled with really bad news for assorted fiscal paradises.

Well, that’s slightly more complicated.

This tax has been discussed at the highest levels of the OECD in Paris for over a decade now – especially because nation-states are losing at least $427 billion a year in tax-dodging by MNCs and assorted multi-billionaires. In terms of the European scenario that does not even account for the loss of V.A.T. by fraud – something gleefully practiced by Amazon, among others.

So it’s no wonder G7 Finance Ministers had $1.6 trillion-worth Amazon pretty much on their sights. Amazon’s cloud computing division should be treated as a separate entity. In this case the mega-tech group will have to pay more corporate tax in some of its largest European markets – Germany, France, Italy, UK – if the global 15% tax is ratified.

So yes, this is mostly about Big Tech – master experts on fiscal fraud and profiting from tax paradises located even inside Europe, such as Ireland and Luxembourg. The way the EU was built, it allowed fiscal competition between nation-states to fester. To discuss this openly in Brussels remains a virtual taboo. In the official EU list of fiscal paradises, one won’t find Luxembourg, the Netherlands or Malta.

So could this all be just a P.R. coup? It’s possible. The major problem is that at the European Council – where governments of EU member-states discuss their issues – they have been dragging their feet for a long time, and sort of delegated the whole thing to the OECD.

As it stands, details on the 15% tax are still vague – even as the US government stands to become the largest winner, because its MNCs have shifted massive profits all across the planet to avoid US corporate taxes.

Not to mention that nobody knows if, when and how the deal will be globally accepted and implemented: that will be a Sisyphean task. At least it will be discussed, again, at the G20 in Venice in July.

What Germany wants

Without Germany there would not have been real advance on the EU-China Investment Agreement late last year. With a new US administration, the deal is stalled again. Outgoing chancellor Merkel is against China-EU economic decoupling – and so are German industrialists. It will be quite a treat to watch this subplot at the G7.

In a nutshell: Germany wants to keep expanding as a global trading power by using its large industrial base, while the Anglo-Saxons have completely ditched their industrial base to embrace non-productive financialization. And China for its part wants to trade with the whole planet. Guess who’s the odd player out.

Considering the G7 as a de facto gathering of the Hegemon with its hyenas, jackals and chihuahuas, it will also be quite a treat to watch the semantics. What degree of “existential threat” will be ascribed to Beijing – especially because for the interests behind the hologram “Biden” the real priority is the Indo-Pacific?

These interests could not give a damn about a EU yearning for more strategic autonomy. Washington always announces its diktats without even bothering to previously consult Brussels.

So this is what this Triple X of summits – G7, NATO and EU-US – will be all about: the Hegemon pulling all stops to contain/harass the emergence of a rising power by enlisting its satrapies to “fight” and thus preserve the “rules-based international order” it designed over seven decades ago.

History tells uss it won’t work. Just two examples: the British and French empires could not stop the rise of the US in the 19th century; and even better, the Anglo-American axis only stopped the simultaneous rise of Germany and Japan by paying the price of two world wars, with the British empire destroyed and Germany back again as the leading power in Europe.

That should give the meeting of “America is Back” and “Global Britain” in Cornwall the status of a mere, quirky historical footnote.

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