Meng, Huawei and Canadian Law: Soap, Rinse and Dry-Laundered

By Harry Glasbeek

Global Research, June 25, 2020

The Bullet

Prologue

One of the graver risks for big-time criminals is that investigators will be able to identify them and their deeds by ‘following the money’. The criminals have to hide the proceeds of their crimes. This is done by depositing their monies into legitimate finance houses and businesses. It often requires some fancy book-keeping tricks and intricate transactions. This is called layering by the afficionados of this dark art. Once it is done, the criminals can draw on the accounts created and mix the ill-gotten gains with legally garnered capital. The term for this is ‘integration’ and it makes the investigators’ tasks much harder. The rotten fruit of crime will have been laundered.,

Extradition

For some time now, Hong Kong has seen massive street protests as many people want more of a say for themselves in governance and less of a say for Beijing. In the midst of the chaos, Hong Kong’s legislators proposed to ink an extradition agreement to which China would be the other signatory.

Extradition treaties are arrangements whereby a nation state agrees to return to its partner-nation to the treaty people alleged to have committed criminal acts against that other nation’s laws. It is meant to prevent alleged criminals from avoiding the consequences for their misconduct by escaping to another jurisdiction. When a request for extradition by a signatory to a treaty is received, a court there is to determine whether the application should succeed. It is not its task to question whether the person actually committed a crime. It merely has to determine whether it is the kind of crime which could lead to prosecution if the conduct had occurred in its jurisdiction. This gives the process its legitimacy because it gives effect to legal values shared by both parties to the extradition treaty. The court considering the request has no interest in whether the conduct actually amounted to a crime, either in the applicant nation or in its own. It assumes the facts as alleged by the applicant nation and then determines whether that conduct would amount to a violation of its own laws if it occurred in its jurisdiction.

It is, then, a judicial exercise which is purely formal. It does not make any findings about the issues between the applicant for extradition and the person resisting extradition.

Although this was the essential nature of the Hong Kong Bill, it met with fierce resistance: huge marches, physical fights in the legislature. The protests added fuel to the already widely burning fires of dissent and the Hong Kong government withdrew the Bill. In addition to the upheaval and violence in the streets, the government was likely somewhat influenced by the great show of support for the anti-Extradition Bill movement in countries such as the UK, the US and Canada. This anti-extradition stance by these nations seemed to sit uneasily alongside the fact that they had signed on to many similar extradition treaties themselves. But, they bought into the argument made by the Hong Kong dissidents. This was that, even though an extradition request made by China would be vetted by Hong Kong courts steeped in the principles and values of English common law, the proposed treaty would allow China to use extradition requests for crass political purposes, to help it chase down political opponents and agitators. It would lead to attacks on precious freedoms. Even though the proposed treaty ‘looked’ much like any other, it was likely to be used for unacceptable purposes. This sort of thing would never occur in the UK the US or Canada because, unlike China, they respected and lived by the Rule of Law.

The Lore and Lure of the Rule of Law

Canada’s legal system presents itself as embodying society’s shared values and norms. They are embodied in principles and the instrumental rules devised to give these fundamental principles life. This presupposes that the basic principles can be found and defined and that the rules will be appropriately fashioned and applied. The conventional view is that the judiciary is an independent institution and can be trusted to go about the finding of principles and the interpretation and application of rules in a non-partisan, in a non-political, manner.

Courts will treat all private individuals, whatever their social or economic circumstances, as legal equals whose disputes must be settled by the application of known, rational criteria. Rationality, of the legal kind, is to replace political and economic power, that is, irrational power.

The courts abide by generalizing principles and specific rules. The rules have to be spelled out clearly; citizens are to know of the existence of those rules; new rules should not apply retroactively. The principles and rules are to be applied even-handedly, regardless of status and class. The access to this justice system should be equally available to one and all. These are some of the ingredients of what is so often termed the Rule of Law. It is an attractive system because it suggests that everyone is subject to the same laws and requirements, that political or economic power is not allowed to deny anyone their entitlements or rights established in law. The UK, US and Canadian view is that it, or any equivalent, regime does not exist in China. But, while the idea of it certainly exists in our rather self-satisfied Anglo-American settings, its implementation may leave something to be desired.

While our courts are punctilious about following the procedural safeguards which make up the Rule of Law, they have an enormous amount of leeway when determining how substantive principles and rules are to be interpreted and applied. They are in a position to launder otherwise politically troubling, anti-liberal, anti-democratic, policies and decisions. What happens is a mixing of the adherence to procedural formalities which abjure bias and prejudice with the manipulation of substantive laws which incorporate bias and prejudice. The integrated outcome is analogous to the consequence of the criminals’ mixing suspect monies with legally acquired assets. It makes it hard to see whether there was a political wrong in the first place. It is a form of laundering, legalized laundering.1

The recent proceedings in Canada dealing with the US demand that the Chief Financial officer of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, be extradited to the US brings some of this into the open. The Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled that Meng’s argument that there was no legal basis for extradition was rejected. Canada’s talking heads and chattering class sighed with relief. The self-proclaimed liberal Toronto Star’s editors welcomed and characterized the virtue of the decision: “Beijing must understand: out courts don’t serve the government… It’s called ‘rule of law,’ a concept foreign to China’s Communist Party and its mouthpieces.” Apart from their evident cold war genre chauvinism, the editors undoubtedly were glad to have any doubts about the Trudeau government’s and Canada’s allegiance to the Rule of Law stilled.

The recent embarrassment caused by the tawdry behaviour of almost every cog in the ruling class’s legal engine room during the SNC-Lavalin scandal which involved the government forcing its own Minister of Justice to resign because she wanted to act independently and deny a flagrantly wrongdoing corporation any kind of soft landing, now could be pushed aside as an uncharacteristic violation of Canada’s basic principles. To them, the Meng ruling signified that, once again, Canada was entitled to be smug, to assert that it was to be envied because of its stout adherence to an unalloyed good, the Rule of Law.

The Ruling in the Meng Case

It all began with a warrant issued by a New York court for Meng Wanzhou’s arrest in August 2018. She was not there. On December 1, 2018, after an extradition request from the US, Meng was arrested by Canadian authorities when she landed in Vancouver. On 28 January 2019, formal charges were laid by the US Department of Justice, accusing Meng’s employer, Huawei, of misrepresentations about its corporate organization which had enabled it to circumvent laws that imposed economic sanctions on Iran. Huawei was also charged with stealing technology and trade secrets from T-Mobile USA. Meng, the Chief Financial Officer of Huawei, was charged with fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud. Huawei pled not guilty to the charges of violating the Iran sanction provisions in a New York court and not guilty to the stealing charges in a Seattle court. After a number of preliminary legal skirmishes, the extradition hearings against Meng began in 2020. Associate Justice Holmes issued her ruling on 27 May, 2020. Law takes its time.

Meng had told HSBC officials who met with her in the back of a Hong Kong restaurant in 2013 that, despite the allegations in a newspaper article, Huawei had not made improper use of a closely associated firm, named Skycom Tech, to supply US materiel to Iran. The reason she had made this statement to HSBC, it was alleged, was that Huawei used HSBC as a banker when transacting business. If Huawei, as alleged, was implicated in violations of the Iran sanction laws, HSBC might well be held to be complicit in such crimes. The US alleged that Meng’s representations to HSBC constituted fraud under its law.

Meng Wanzhou argued that, for a case of fraud to be made out, in both the US and Canada, it was necessary for the prosecution to prove that the fraud materially contributed to a tangible loss. This could not be made out here. For Meng’s deception of HSBC to cause it a tangible loss in the US, it was necessary for US prosecutors to invoke the impact of another law, the Iranian sanction law. Without it there would not be any harm and, therefore, no fraud in the US. As Canada did not have any such sanction provisions in place, Meng’s deception would not have led to any tangible loss in Canada and there would have been no fraud committed in Canada. This argument that the basic requirement for extradition – mirroring laws – had not been met, was rejected by Associate Chief Justice Holmes.

She deployed standard legal reasoning that is, she looked for previous holdings and used the imprecisions she found in them and in the wording of the legislation she was interpreting. Holmes found that previous decisions had held that, in order to determine whether the conduct in the applicant jurisdiction created an offence, it was necessary to assess the essential nature of that conduct. That meant evaluating the foreign conduct in its context, in its legal environment. Meng argued that looking at the legal environment required taking a foreign law, one distinct from the laws being compared, into account, something which should not be done under the Extradition Law.

The presiding judge responded that only some aspects of the legal environment, constituted by that other law, had to be taken into account, not all of it. It was her job to say which aspects could be so used. Holmes admitted that she was going out on a limb because the distinction between looking at some aspects of a foreign law and taking the actual law into consideration is fraught, both as a matter of logic and of established law. She wrote that “the issue is at what level of abstraction… the essence … of the conduct is to be described… there is little authority or precisely what may be included in ‘imported legal environment’.”

Undeterred by the lack of any known criteria (remember the Rule of Law!), she used what she likely calls her common sense and what Meng’s supporters probably think was her unconscious bias. Associate Justice Holmes decided that, in this case, it was appropriate, when looking for the essential nature of the foreign conduct, to look at the effects of that US law, the Iran sanction law. As its effects made Meng’s deceiving conduct fraudulent in the US, and as deception is the core of fraud in Canada, the essential/contextualized nature of Meng’s conduct satisfied the essence of fraud as defined under Canada’s Criminal Code. Lawyers call this sort of finessing good lawyering; in the wider community it is seen as legal chicanery. Holmes ruled that Canada was free to extradite Meng.

Laundered

All that effort to put Wanzhou Meng’s fraud into legal context and not a scintilla of regard for the political, social and economic context of the case!

Everyone, literally everyone, knew what had led the US to charge Huawei and its CFO. It was to obtain bargaining chips in its fight with China. It was to persuade its citizens that it was right for the government to deny them access to cheaper goods and a better 5G system because China would abuse its growing economic influence and enhance its spying potential. It was to make China more pliable when the US demanded better trade terms and more protection for its intellectual property, etc. There was no attempt to hide any of this.

Did the Canadian government understand this? Of course. Did it feel it had to allow the US to use Canada’s supposedly neutral legal machinery to further its political project? Of course. Could the Canadian government have said “no” and simply turned a blind eye when Wanzhou Meng landed in Vancouver? Of course.

Was Associate Justice Holmes, at the very least, in a position to guess all of this? Of course.

The Supreme Court of British Columbia had the timelines of the saga before it. All the events that led to the fraud charges occurred years before the tug-of-war between the US and China turned into a full blown version of a new cold war. Meng’s alleged misrepresentations to HSBC occurred in August 2013, several months after Reuters had published its report on the links between Huawei and Skycom Tech. that supposedly led to Iran being supplied with US materiel.

It took five years for the US to charge Huawei and Meng. It took five years for its righteous indignation about Huawei’s and Meng’s violations to reach fever pitch. It took five years for the US to decide that a deception of one set of private entrepreneurs by other private entrepreneurs ( a garden variety event in an aggressive competitive milieu), a deception which took place in a far away jurisdiction, presented a danger to the integrity of the US justice system. That integrity had not been seen as severely threatened when the masters of the universe deceived millions of people during the subprime mortgage scandals, at least not sufficiently to charge any of the more senior perpetrators. None of this was of any concern to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The court was only concerned with the narrowest of decontextualized legal issues before it. Its certainty that its only responsibility was to the Rule of Law signified to it that it should not be troubled by the possibility that it might be used as a pawn, by either the US or the Canadian government or both.

Nor was this lack of concern shaken by President Trump’s highly publicized statement to Reuters (the outfit which had written the report which started the ball rolling), made just after Wanzhou Meng was released on bail. Trump said that he would certainly intervene in her case “if I thought it necessary” to help forge a trade deal with China. Undoubtedly some people (especially lawyers) might think it right and proper for a court to ignore a blatant admission by a craven politician that the supposedly independent system of law of both the US and Canada was being used for partisan political purposes. After all, the statement had been made extrajudicially and had not been put before the court. While the judge might have known about the Trump intervention, much as she knew that the US and China were having a political tug-of-war and that Canada had been drawn into it, the wilful blindness demanded by the Rule of Law demanded that she make no reference to any off this knowledge.

This reasoning makes no sense to anyone not held in rapture by the Rule of Law fantasy. Immediately after Trump made his provocative statement, Trudeau realized that the public might draw the inference that Canada was just bowing to its Big Brother ally and permitting it to abuse the Canadian justice system. It evoked the notion that the US and Canada were just one country with two systems. He was forced to respond.

Trudeau issued the following statement: “Regardless of what goes on in other countries, Canada is and will always remain a country of the rule of law.” The message was clear: we, the elected government and its executive have nothing to do with any of this; we rule an independent country; we have an independent legal system and it makes these kinds of decisions. We respect this and abide by the results. When it comes to the extradition of Meng, we, the politicians, like Pontius Pilate, wash our hands off the whole mess. It has nothing to do with us. It is not a political matter.

This is why the editors of the Toronto Star and all other opinion moulders greeted the ruling in the Meng case with such acclaim. By ignoring all the real facts underlying the dispute, the court had given support to the Canadian government’s pretence that the Meng case had not raised questions about its participation in a complex set of political, economic and ideological controversies. Their role had been laundered. If the outcome suited the US in its struggle with China, this was incidental; Canada’s government had not pushed for such an outcome because it believed in the Rule of Law. These cheerleaders pointed out that, if Canada had interfered with the judiciary’s operations, it would certainly have pushed for a different result.

As it was, the judicial ruling could only strain relations between Canada and China, a most undesirable state of affairs as Canada hoped to have China release two Canadians accused of committing serious offences in China; more Canada had no interest in imperilling important trade relations with China, as the judicial ruling might well do. That is, the result may be a political win for Trump, but a loss for Trudeau, two Canadian citizens and, likely, some farmers and manufacturers if China uses its economic clout to punish Canada.

So viewed, the judicial outcome gives the impression that the government had not played any part in the decision-making. It should, therefore, not be held politically responsible for the consequences. The government had acted righteously, it had been true to the Rule of Law. Its conduct had been sanitized, laundered.

Of course this argument is not as strong if the judicial outcome is not seen as inimical to the government. What did Canada actually want? We can only guess. But it is to be remembered that the government did detain Wanzhou Meng; if it had not done so, the worst that would have happened is that the US might have been annoyed. Assuming, as it makes sense to do, that Canadian officials understood full well what the US was up to, the detention suggests, although it does not prove, that the government was not opposed to the obvious political and economic goals of the US. More strongly, it indicated that it was willing to support those goals. After all, it knew the risks it was taking. The headline in the Ottawa Citizen on 15 December, 2018, read: “Abelev: In the Huawei case, Trump has enlisted in a game Canada can’t win.”

Another glimpse of the Canadian government’s thinking is provided by Prime Minister’s request that John McCallum resign from his post as Ambassador to China after he had made public statements which indicated that he thought the case against Meng was trumped up and, therefore, should lead the government to reject the extradition request. This would help Canada in its negotiations with China which, in apparent retaliation, had jailed two Canadian citizens.

Implicit in McCallum’s intervention was a reference to a legal power that Canada has reserved for itself over extradition processes. The Minister for Justice can, at any moment after a request for extradition is received, abort the process. In Trudeau’s angry reaction to McCallum, he made no reference to this, pretending political interference with the judicial system was to be eschewed.2 While to some people, then, Trudeau’s publicized disapproval of McCallum’s views (and of similar ones by former Prime Minister Jean Chretien a little later), did dovetail with the claim that the government should not take a position on matters to be determined by a judge, it also suggested that the government would not object too much if the ruling went against Meng, regardless of what it might mean for Huawei, Meng and the prisoners. After all, the justification for the hands-off the justice system proffered by Trudeau should not have been given too much credence.

At that time a full-blown scandal was raging over the SNC-Lavalin affair. Trudeau was brazenly trying to get rid of an independent Minister of Justice precisely because she was thwarting his enactment of a law which was to apply retroactively (remember the Rule of Law!) to save a serial wrongdoing corporation. A curious symmetry weirdly surfaces. The Trudeau government was trying to give its rogue actor, SNC-Lavalin, the kind of gentle treatment the US had given HSBC by giving it access to a deferred prosecution agreement of the kind that the US had given that deviant bank.

There were many polluting particles in the ambient air as the Meng case was processed in the supposedly politically unpolluted atmosphere of law. Undoubtedly, Associate Justice Holmes did her best to blow all these toxic particles out of her mind, as all judges claim to do. But this does not mean that they did not influence her mind-set. We will never know. That is how laundering works: if the dirt which soiled the cloth is rinsed out, all that one is left with is clean cloth. Just what the government needed.

Epilogue

The legal processes have not ended. Meng may appeal the ruling on double criminality handed down by the Supreme Court of British Columbia, arguing the Holmes’ reading of how the essential nature of conduct in a foreign state was to be found was erroneous. Her lawyers do have some plausible arguments to proffer on this issue. Before that will take place, a hearing will be held into Meng’s allegation that, when she was detained in Vancouver, prior to being turned over to the RCMP, the border official obtained Meng’s telephone numbers and passwords and then passed these on to the RCMP. She was detained and questioned for three hours before she was told of her arrest. She claims her constitutional rights were violated and that the RCMP and Canada’s Border Services Agency acted, improperly, as US agents.

This is a claim that procedural safeguards essential to the proper operation of the Rule of Law had been breached. If successful it would make the arrest wrongful and mean that the committal process which led to Holmes’ ruling should be voided. The result of the adjudication on this action by Meng can also be the basis for an appeal. If all of it, the denial of proper process and the Supreme Court of British Columbia’s ruling on double criminality, are settled in favour of Canada, the extradition process can continue, although, as seen, the Minister for Justice can always set the whole thing aside.

There are many other hurdles to clear. The Trump Administration may be replaced, the Trudeau government (in a minority position) may fall before all this is over. It is also difficult to know what steps China will take and how this will influence political minds in Washington and Ottawa. These unknowns highlight how artificial it is to pretend that a request for extradition is a legal, non-political, struggle based on rational aseptic criteria.

To underscore this point, note that, on 4 June, 2020, the US State Department issued a threat. It will reassess its sharing of intelligence with Canada (a member of the so-called Five Eye intelligence network) if Canada chooses to let Huawei market its 5G technology in Canada. This makes it clear that the extradition case was never about a fraudulent misrepresentation to a ‘vulnerable’ foreign bank, but about furthering US efforts to ward-off the danger of an economic and political threat posed by China.

Law and its Rule of Law are convenient tools, no more no less. They should not be granted too much respect. Certainly they should not permit our governments to present themselves as unsullied, as if they have come out of the washing machine, smelling fragrantly.

And, oh yes, after its agreement with the US Department of Justice, HSBC had made much of its new approach and had spent money on better systems to inhibit wrongdoing. On 8 April, 2020, it was reported that HSBC had admitted it had engaged in money laundering in Australia. Maybe it does not require Huawei or Meng to engage in fraud to get HSBC to participate in criminality.

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Harry Glasbeek is a Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. His latest books are Class Privilege: How law shelters shareholders and coddles capitalism (2017) and the follow-up, Capitalism: a crime story (2018) both published by Between the Lines, Toronto.

Notes

  1. ‘The legalization of politics’ is the name given by Harry Glasbeek and Michael Mandel, “The Legalization of Politics in Advanced Capitalism: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms” (1984), Socialist Studies, 2:84, and by Michael Mandel, The Charter of Rights and the Legalization of Politics in Canada, rev. ed., Toronto; Thompson Educational, 1994, to a process which removes class and history from political discourse and consciousness.
  2. As well, there is a rarely used law on the books, the Foreign Extra Territorial Measures Act, that the Attorney-General can deploy to repulse measures of a foreign state that are likely to significantly affect Canadian interests. This is the legislation used to allow Canada not to comply with the US sanctions on Cuba. Arguably, but not certainly, it could be used to block the extradition of Meng.

Featured image is from The BulletThe original source of this article is The BulletCopyright © Harry GlasbeekThe Bullet, 2020

Trump Regime Escalates War on China by Other Means

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, April 10, 2020

China is aggressively targeted by Washington because of its growing political, economic and military power on the world stage.

Pompeo falsely accused its ruling authorities of “repression…unfair competition…predatory economic practices, (and) a more aggressive military posture (sic).”

All of the above explain how the US operates, its agenda defined by its war on humanity at home and abroad — COVID-19 used as a pretext to pursue it.

Enactment of the US Secure and Trusted Communications Act last month was the latest anti-China shoe to drop.

It requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a $1 billion fund to help small telecom firms remove existing Chinese equipment the Trump regime and Congress consider a threat to US security — despite none posed, no evidence suggesting it.

The measure prohibits using US subsidies to buy network communications equipment from Huawei and other Chinese tech companies.

A Justice Department statement said various “Executive Branch agencies unanimously recommended that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revoke and terminate China Telecom’s authorizations to provide international telecommunications services to and from the United States,” falsely adding:

The company’s operations in the US potentially lets the firm “engage in malicious cyber activity enabling economic espionage and disruption and misrouting of US communications.”

A joint disinformation statement by House Energy and Commerce Committee co-sponsors said the following:

“Securing our networks from malicious foreign interference is critical to America’s wireless future, especially as some communications providers rely on equipment from companies like Huawei that pose an immense threat to America’s national and economic security (sic).”

The measure has nothing to do with “ensuring the integrity of America’s telecommunications systems.”

It’s all about China bashing, the latest step to weaken the country economically and technologically.

It aims to ban use of products by Chinese tech giants Huawei, ZTE, and other high-tech firms from the US on the phony pretext of national security concerns.US-China Economic Warfare: Chinese Enterprises Blacklisted by the US

Last year, the US Commerce Department’s so-called “entity list” effectively banned Huawei and scores of other Chinese tech companies from the US market and supply chain.

They include enterprises  involved in producing aviation related products, semiconductors, engineering, as well as other high-tech products and components.

Falsely claiming these enterprises act “contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States” is cover for wanting corporate America to have a leg up on Chinese competition — especially related to the rollout of 5G technology, Huawei leading the race globally.

At stake are trillions of dollars of economic value, why Huawei and other Chinese tech firms are targeted by Washington.

Blacklisted companies are prohibited from purchasing US technology without Washington’s permission, Huawei and its 70 affiliate companies notably targeted.

According to Competitive Carriers Association director Steven Barry, the new law “essentially attempt(s) to rebuild the airplane in mid-flight” by requiring US users of Chinese telecom equipment to remove and replace it while attempting to maintain uninterrupted operations.

On Monday, the US  Semiconductor Industry Association, National Foreign Trade Council, and seven other US industry groups wrote Trump regime Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, saying:

Proposed US changes “result in significant impacts to the semiconductor industry, its global supply chain, and the broader technology sector,” adding:

“Semiconductors drive the functionality in advanced medical equipment used by health professionals to treat the public” and enable telework.

SEMI president Ajit Manocha wrote Trump, saying proposed anti-China changes will disrupt over $20 billion in US industry business annually, adding:

New rules will “serve as a disincentive for further investments and innovation in the US and lead to the design-out of US technology and components.”

They’ll also disrupt supply chains that are “critical to fighting” COVID-19.

New rules aren’t finalized. Industry pushback may not be enough to halt the Trump regime from fully enforcing them along with more of the same to come.

A Final Comment

COVID-19 is a global issue, falsely called the “Wuhan virus” by Trump and other regime officials. Most likely it originated in the US, not China.

On April 7, UK-based Nature magazine apologized for associating COVID-19 with China, saying:

“That we did so was an error on our part, for which we take responsibility and apologize,” adding:

“(W)hen (a viral) outbreak happens, everyone is at risk, regardless of who they are or where they are from.”

“(A)ssociat(ing) a virus and the disease it causes with a specific place is irresponsible and needs to stop.”

Since early COVID-19 outbreaks, “people of Asian descent around the world have been subjected to racist attacks, with untold human costs” — Chinese nationals mostly affected.

“(W)e must all do everything we can to avoid and reduce stigma; not associate COVID-19 with particular groups of people or places; and emphasize that viruses do not discriminate — we are all at risk.”

“Coronavirus stigma must stop — now.”

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

Munich conference reveals East-West divide

MUNICH, GERMANY – FEBRUARY 15: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi makes a speech during the 56th Munich Security Conference at Bayerischer Hof Hotel in Munich, Germany on February 15, 2020. Abdulhamid Hosbas / Anadolu Agency

The Saker

By Pepe Escobar – posted with permission

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stresses urgent need for international coordination ‘to build a shared future’

Few postmodern political pantomimes have been more revealing than the hundreds of so-called “international decision-makers,” mostly Western, waxing lyrical, disgusted or nostalgic over “Westlessness” at the Munich Security Conference.

“Westlessness” sounds like one of those constipated concepts issued from a post-party bad hangover at the Rive Gauche during the 1970s. In theory (but not French Theory) Westlessness in the age of Whatsapp should mean a deficit of multiparty action to address the most pressing threats to the “international order” – or (dis)order – as nationalism, derided as a narrow-minded populist wave, prevails.

Yet what Munich actually unveiled was some deep – Western – longing for those effervescent days of humanitarian imperialism, with nationalism in all its strands being cast as the villain impeding the relentless advance of profitable, neocolonial Forever Wars.

As much as the MSC organizers – a hefty Atlanticist bunch – tried to spin the discussions as emphasizing the need for multilateralism, a basket case of ills ranging from uncontrolled migration to “brain dead” NATO got billed as a direct consequence of “the rise of an illiberal and nationalist camp within the Western world.” As if this were a rampage perpetrated by an all-powerful Hydra featuring Bannon-Bolsonaro-Orban heads.

Far from those West-is-More heads in Munich is the courage to admit that assorted nationalist counter-coups also qualify as blowback for the relentless Western plunder of the Global South via wars – hot, cold, financial, corporate-exploitative.

For what it is worthhere’s the MSC reportOnly two sentences would be enough to give away the MSC game: “In the post-Cold War era, Western-led coalitions were free to intervene almost anywhere. Most of the time, there was support in the UN Security Council, and whenever a military intervention was launched, the West enjoyed almost uncontested freedom of military movement.”

There you go. Those were the days when NATO, with full impunity, could bomb Serbia, miserably lose a war on Afghanistan, turn Libya into a militia hell and plot myriad interventions across the Global South. And of course none of that had any connection whatsoever with the bombed and the invaded being forced into becoming refugees in Europe.

West is more

In Munich, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha got closer to the point when she said she found “Westlessness” quite insular as a theme. She made sure to stress that multilateralism is very much an Asian feature, expanding on the theme of ASEAN centrality.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, with his customary finesse, was sharper, noting how “the structure of the Cold War rivalry is being recreated” in Europe. Lavrov was a prodigy of euphemism when he noted how “escalating tensions, NATO’s military infrastructure advancing to the East, exercises of unprecedented scope near the Russian borders, the pumping of defense budgets beyond measure – all this generates unpredictability.”

Yet it was Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi who really got to the  heart of the matter. While stressing that “strengthening global governance and international coordination is urgent right now,” Wang said, “We need to get rid of the division of the East and the West and go beyond the difference between the South and the North, in a bid to build a community with a shared future for mankind.”

“Community with a shared future” may be standard Beijing terminology, but it does carry a profound meaning as it embodies the Chinese concept of multilateralism as meaning no single state has priority and all nations share the same rights.

Wang went farther: The West – with or without Westlessness– should get rid of its subconscious mentality of civilization supremacy; give up its bias against China; and “accept and welcome the development and revitalization of a nation from the East with a system different from that of the West.” Wang is a sophisticated enough diplomat to know this is not going to happen.

Wang also could not fail to raise the Westlessness crowd’s eyebrows to alarming heights when he stressed, once again, that the Russia-China strategic partnership will be deepened – alongside exploring “ways of peaceful coexistence” with the US and deeper cooperation with Europe.

What to expect from the so-called “system leader” in Munich was quite predictable. And it was delivered, true to script, by current Pentagon head Mark Esper, yet another Washington revolving door practitioner.

21st Century threat

All Pentagon talking points were on display. China is nothing but a rising threat to the world order – as in “order” dictated by Washington. China steals Western know-how; intimidates all its smaller and weaker neighbors; seeks an “advantage by any means and at any cost.”

As if any reminder to this well-informed audience was needed, China was once again placed at the top of the Pentagon’s “threats,” followed by Russia, “rogue states” Iran and North Korea, and “extremist groups.” No one asked whether al-Qaeda in Syria is part of the list.

The “Communist Party and its associated organs, including the People’s Liberation Army,” were accused of “increasingly operating in theaters outside China’s borders, including in Europe.” Everyone knows only one “indispensable nation” is self-authorized to operate “in theaters outside its borders” to bomb others into democracy.

No wonder Wang was forced to qualify all of the above as “lies”: “The root cause of all these problems and issues is that the US does not want to see the rapid development and rejuvenation of China, and still less would they want to accept the success of a socialist country.”

So in the end Munich did disintegrate into the catfight that will dominate the rest of the century. With Europe de facto irrelevant and the EU subordinated to NATO’s designs, Westlessness is indeed just an empty, constipated concept: all reality is conditioned by the toxic dynamics of China ascension and US decline.

The irrepressible Maria Zakharova once again nailed it: “They spoke about that country [China] as a threat to entire humankind. They said that China’s policy is the threat of the 21st century. I have a feeling that we are witnessing, through the speeches delivered at the Munich conference in particular, the revival of new colonial approaches, as though the West no longer thinks it shameful to reincarnate the spirit of colonialism by means of dividing people, nations and countries.”

An absolute highlight of the MSC was when diplomat Fu Ying, the chairperson on foreign affairs for the National People’s Congress, reduced US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to dust with a simple question: “Do you really think the democratic system is so fragile” that it can be threatened by Huawei?

Color Revolution Comes To Hong Kong

September 11, 2019

Written and produced by SF Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson;

The Hong Kong protests represent a major challenge not only to the authorities of Hong Kong itself, but also to Beijing, due to both their protracted nature and a high level of organization resembling the Kiev Maidan of 2013/14. The Hong Kong rioters have gone so far as to produce and disseminate a veritable urban warfare manual describing in detail the division of labor between the close-combat fighters, ranged-weapon fighters, as well as various support roles. Their “Plan A” appears to be, as cynical as this may sound, to provoke bloodshed by inducing local law enforcement to use firearms against the rioters. Thus far this has not come to pass. On the one hand, Hong Kong police has displayed considerable self-restraint, and their rules of engagement seem to favor withdrawal and disengagement when faced with superior numbers of rioters. On the other hand, irrespective of the will of the riot planners, the actual rioters have, again thus far, displayed healthy self-preservation instincts. In the few cases where firearms were brandished by Hong Kong police, usually in cases of police officers finding themselves surrounded by the raging mob, the sight of weapons proved enough to compel the rioters to withdraw. That by itself, however, will not solve the problem of riots because there also seems to be a “Plan B.” Whereas, for example, the Kiev Maidan was largely confined to the Maidan Square itself, the geography of Hong Kong riots is much more extensive and unpredictable. Hong Kong rioters have not shrunk from attacking strategic infrastructure, including the now-infamous occupation of the Hong-Kong International Airport that caused massive air traffic disruptions. Likewise the violent riots in popular malls and tourist destinations all over the Hong Kong area have had the effect of depressing tourism and even prompting fears of a capital flight. While so far there are no indications of a lasting effect on the enclave’s economy, this is due to the still-lingering perception the unrest is a temporary phenomenon. Should it continue with present intensity, or, worse, escalate in terms of numbers of participants and methods used, there will be severe negative effects. For these reasons, China’s authorities cannot hope to win through a war of attrition, or expect that an escalation of violence will somehow cure this problem. There are genuine underlying problems in Hong Kong which have made themselves visible through these demonstrations.

What ails Hong Kong?

As with other “color revolutions”, the Hong Kong protests have tapped into a deep vein of discontent within the population. In this instance, rather than poverty or corruption or even the institutional design of Hong Kong’s government, the banal problem facing the average Hong Kong resident is the extremely high cost of living combined with the highly visible class divisions. Since this “special administrative region” of People’s Republic of China represents a major concentration of financial industries, it is also home to massive wealth which, alas, does not appear to be trickling down. While there is also considerable wealth inequality in China proper which is expanding its list of billionaires at a steady pace, the less well-off Chinese urban-dwellers have the option of migrating from city to city in search of better opportunities. But that option is not one the average inhabitant of Hong-Kong is likely to adopt. Moving to China proper would run counter to the strong local Hong Kong identity, and moreover represent a move to a considerably less wealthy part of the world. Thus while the average Chinese citizen is unlikely to exhibit much sympathy for the plight of the protesters from the special administrative area, Hong Kong residents do not evaluate their well-being in comparison with mainland China. For them, the only relevant reference is Hong Kong itself.

One should also note that the violent component of Hong Kong protests is disproportionately composed of young men in their late teens and twenties suggesting the influence of a generation gap and the breakdown in the intergenerational social contract. While Hong Kong, if it were a sovereign state, would have one of the world’s highest life expectancies, its population is rapidly aging due to the low birth rates of the past several decades. A large age cohort is nearing the retirement age, placing a significant financial burden on the considerably smaller younger generation.

Pining for Tienanmen

Further complicating matters for Beijing is Western powers’, and principally the US, interest in using Hong Kong as an instrument in the gradually escalating confrontation between East and West. The rioters’ awareness of their foreign audience was made plain by the displays of US flags as well as the flags associated with Hong Kong’s British colonial past. From the US perspective, crippling Hong Kong economically would inflict serious damage to China’s economy and also badly dent its political image.  Entirely unsurprisingly, Western governments and media wholeheartedly endorsed the protests while turning a blind eye on the increasing violence perpetrated by Hong Kong’s urban warriors who make no bones their aim is to provoke security forces to spill demonstrators’ blood. It is not difficult to predict what kind of Western reaction would follow: sanctions on Hong Kong officials, financial institutions, perhaps even on top Chinese leadership. The media outcry would be so large that countries thus far unwilling to jump on the anti-Huawei bandwagon would find it difficult to maintain that position. It is evident the Trump administration is raring for a pretext to break as many ties between United States and China as possible, and also to force third countries, most notably the states of the European Union, to choose continued economic integration with United States or with China—but not both.  Furthermore, Hong Kong’s financial institutions have played an important role in furthering China’s economic objectives in the last several decades. In addition to playing a role of a major supplier of financial investments, they also are China’s “invisible hand of the market”. While today China’s economy is far less dependent on Hong Kong, thanks to several “special economic zones” such as Shenzhen located only a short distance from Hong Kong itself, a major crisis in Hong Kong would reverberate throughout China.

Fortunately, there appears to exist a key difference between the Kiev Maidan and the Hong Kong protests, namely the absence of a wealthy oligarch or oligarchs pursuing a reactionary political agenda. None of the Hong Kong business elite have given any indications of supporting the rioters’ more radical agenda, nor is there evidence of their contacts with Western diplomats or intelligence services. It is doubtful such contacts would escape the attention of China’s counter-intelligence services, and China’s political leadership is unlikely to show the sort of timidity Ukraine’s President Yanukovych did in a similar situation, to his own chagrin.

One Country, One System?

The current “one country, two systems” paradigm unfortunately lies at the core of Hong Kong’s current troubles. The establishment of an economic enclave, with little labor mobility across this veritable intra-Chinese border, turned Hong Kong into a political pressure cooker. Its political autonomy in turn meant policies that favored the economic elite, causing the growth of wealth inequality which contributes to the high level of the local government’s unpopularity, to the point it has become a liability for Beijing itself. In the short term, Beijing will likely be forced to funnel considerable financial resources into Hong Kong to relieve the social pressures. In the longer term, however, a lasting solution will require not only a more close oversight of Hong Kong’s social policies, but also promotion of two-way migration between China proper and Hong Kong.

Southeast Asia Ignores US War on Huawei

September 7, 2019 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – The Western media has begun complaining about Southeast Asia’s collective decision to move forward with 5G network technology from Chinese telecom giant Huawei despite US demands that nations ban all Huawei products.

These demands are predicated on clearly fabricated security threats surrounding Huawei technology. The US itself is a global leader of producing hardware with hidden backdoors and other security flaws for the purpose of spying worldwide.

Instead, the US is clearly targeting the telecom giant as part of a wider campaign to cripple China economically and contain its ability to contest US global hegemony.

Media Disinformation Serves the War on Huawei 

Articles like Reuters’ “Thailand launches Huawei 5G test bed, even as U.S. urges allies to bar Chinese gear,” in title alone confounds informed readers.

The article’s author, Patpicha Tanakasempipat, fails to explain in which ways the US is “allies” with any of the nations of Southeast Asia, including Thailand. The history of US activity in Southeast Asia has been one of coercion, interference, intervention, colonisation and protracted war.

As US power has faded, it has resorted to “soft power,” with its most recent “pivot to Asia” being accompanied by several failed attempts to overthrow regional governments and replace them with suitable proxies.

Considering this, and a complete lack of suitable US alternatives to Huawei’s products, there is little mystery as to why the region as a whole has ignored US demands regarding Huawei.

The article claims:

Thailand launched a Huawei Technologies 5G test bed on Friday, even as the United States urges its allies to bar the Chinese telecoms giant from building next-generation mobile networks.

Huawei, the world’s top producer of telecoms equipment and second-biggest maker of smartphones, has been facing mounting international scrutiny amid fears China could use its equipment for espionage, a concern the company says is unfounded.

Patpicha fails categorically to cite any evidence substantiating US claims. She also fails categorically to point out that there is in fact a glaring lack of evidence behind US claims, just as many other articles across the Western media have predictably and purposefully done.

Vietnam, the Outlier 

The one exception in Southeast Asia is Vietnam. It has sidestepped considering Huawei in favour of US-based Qualcomm and Scandinavian companies Nokia and Ericsson. While the Vietnamese government said its decision was based on technical concerns rather than geopolitics, a Bloomberg article quoted the CEO of state-owned telecom concern, Viettel Group, who claimed:

We are not going to work with Huawei right now. It’s a bit sensitive with Huawei now. There were reports that it’s not safe to use Huawei. So Viettel’s stance is that, given all this information, we should just go with the safer ones. So we choose Nokia and Ericsson from Europe.

The same article would also cite supposed experts who claim Vietnam seeks closer ties with the US in countering China’s growing stature upon the global stage, and ultimately folded to US demands because of this.

This however is unlikely. Vietnam – among all of Southeast Asia’s nations – is not an “ally” of Washington.

The US waged a bloody war against Vietnam at the cost of 4 million lives. The nation still bears the burden of chemical warfare through persistent birth defects as well as swaths of land covered in unexploded ordnance. To this day the US maintains a stable of opposition groups it funds to pressure and coerce the Vietnamese government. The US also invests in groups fanning anti-Chinese sentiment inside Vietnam.

Considering this, Vietnam, by spurning Huawei at the moment, is more likely cynically playing the US and China off one another with this particular move aimed at currying leverage over Beijing and favour with Washington, while at other junctures, Vietnam has made moves to gain leverage over Washington while cultivating closer ties with Beijing.

Not Just Thailand

The same Bloomberg article would note:

Vietnam’s decision to shun Huawei appears to make it an outlier in Southeast Asia, where other countries such as the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia are open to deploying Huawei’s technology.

The irony of this is that the Philippines in particular has been touted by Washington as one of its key partners in provoking China over its claims in the South China Sea. Not only has Manila repeatedly sabotaged or undermined Washington’s efforts in the South China Sea deciding to bilaterally deal with Beijing instead and without US help, it is now openly ignoring US demands to dump Huawei technology.

Malaysia has been another target of US political interference. There were hopes in Washington that after the last Malaysian elections, victorious parties backed by Washington would cut growing ties with Beijing. This did not happen. While some Malaysian-Chinese deals were renegotiated, they continued to move forward nonetheless.

By ignoring US demands that Huawei products be banned and by moving forward with Huawei technology for national 5G infrastructure, Malaysia affirms again that Asia’s future will be determined in Asia by the nations residing there, not by Washington thousands of miles away.

While the US remains a potent geopolitical hegemon with a powerful military and economy, and the means to inflict punishment on nations opposing its agenda across the globe, it is still a hegemon in decline.

The US is not losing to China because it hasn’t been ruthless enough or because its “allies” are not cooperating. It is not losing to China because of anything in particular China is doing to the US. The US is losing because of fundamental flaws in what is an entirely unsustainable and indefensible foreign policy.

Until it fixes those fundamental flaws and adopts a more appropriate foreign policy, it will continue to lose out to competitors like China. Its tech giants like Apple and Qualcomm will continue to lose out to competitors like Huawei. No amount of coercion, threats or acts of malice can change the fact that at a fundamental level, the US has no competitive edge and its power stems more from momentum than from any remaining driving strength.

While nations bide their time for this momentum to diminish, Beijing, Moscow and the capitals of other developing and emerging global powers continue building an alternative global order based on a multipolar balance of power and the primacy of national sovereignty… a global order where, for example, one nation does not get to decide who the rest of the world works with to build their respective telecom infrastructure.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Steve Bannon’s Gift

Steve Bannon’s Gift

September 08, 2019

By Chris Faure for The Saker Blog

If you thought that the demonization of Russia and incessant Russophobia over the past years from the West, with hardly a highly likely shred of evidence, was unconscionable and the absolute pinnacle of all demonization campaigns ever, get ready for the demonization of China. In true Hollywood Blockbuster style, the China Fear campaign promises to be bigger and better theater than the complete demonization of Russia. The campaign is focused, has a highly skilled leader, is sophisticated and has a clear set of objectives and operating objectives and plans. It even has its own very special movie, called “Claws of the Red Dragon”.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvIKUIbKc6w

And like all such campaigns, it seamlessly rolls Russia in and now, Russia/China just rolls off the tongues of the imperial Hegemon.

We have grown accustomed to the Russia Bad campaign and understand and recognize how and when it is waged. This article will focus on what I call ‘the China Fear’ campaign through the eyes of Steve Bannon.

Bannon himself is credited with Trump’s 2016 win specifically on social media in combination with Peter Thiel. He is further credited with Bolsonaro’s Presidential win in October 2018. He is an extremely intelligent man and I would not want him for an enemy. Skilled in mining raw data, drawing raw emotion from social media and expressing and crafting that bounty to adjust and spread believable narrative messages and tell the story as he wants the story to be told, he has all the skills to ‘sell, hammer and freeze hard into the social fabric the China Fear narrative’.   Just like Elliot Abrams is the main man and still trying for Venezuela regime change, Bannon looks to be the main man for regime change in China, via Hong Kong or any other area where the social fabric is not cohesive or where it can be deliberately frayed with social control techniques, attempting to socially terraform whole nations.

After helping Trump win, and then Bolsonaro win, and then spending some quiet time in Europe setting up The Movement, trying to start a populist revolt which nobody wanted to start with him, (“All I’m trying to be is the infrastructure, globally, for the global populist movement,”) it looks like Bannon was called back to ‘deal with China’. About 4 to 5 months ago, we started seeing a series of interviews with Bannon on China, using the Hong Kong riots to re-freeze himself into this sphere and calling the rioters ‘the kids’ with a smile, to make them seem ‘oh so innocent’. They’re only kids, they are only trying their best to fight for their freedom and democracy, is the message.

So what is it really that Bannon is rolling out? Only a garden variety revolution with creative peaks to topple the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) and therefore China, or a scorched earth or total dominance policy. From the movie, we can see that Huawei is the proverbial Pokemon of the policy and in his own words: “Huawei is the greatest national security threat that America has ever faced … even greater than the threat of nuclear war.

Look at that statement for a moment – a technology company is a greater threat than nuclear war? Is this a reasonable statement to make? It is however par for the course for Bannon given his penchant for data and information technology type asymmetric warfare.

I’ve been surprised that alternative journalists, even good and experienced ones, are frequently confused by the Hong Kong riots. We see questions like: Is this a true revolution with young Hong Kong people fighting for their freedom? How can we distinguish between a color revolution or a true freedom movement? James Corbett asked: “What is America’s role in the current Hong Kong protest movement? Does Washington’s involvement in the protests delegitimize the movement itself? And where does that leave us, looking from the outside in at a situation like this?”

To answer the bolded question, is to take a look at the Gift from Bannon. Why do I call this a gift from Bannon? ‘Elementary, my dear Watson’. Because such a demonization campaign that jumped into high gear +- 4 or 5 months ago, is a double edged sword. Not only does it do its demonizing, it also without a doubt signals the plans of the imperial hegemon and this is the gift that we have from Bannon.  He not only signals, he literally spells out the philosophy, objectives and operating plan for the China Fear campaign.   We then can answer the question from Corbett: “Does Washington’s involvement in the protests delegitimize the movement itself? “ with a clear “Yes James, Washington’s involvement delegitimatizes the Hong Kong movement itself, because it is not a grassroots movement, but an orchestrated and paid for destabilization campaign that fits into a larger philosophy, policy and plan of creating fear toward China and uses US State Department officials, NGO’s and other influence peddlers to carry out the campaign.

‘The Kids’ are being orchestrated and their leaders in the so-called leaderless movement are trained actors and paid for their actions. And what is headlined as a leaderless movement, clearly has leaders.   The leader of Hong Kong’s leaderless protest movement is a philosophy student behind bars.

Destabilization of Hong Kong is also not new and has been tried before. Refer to the Umbrella Movement and what was described as the Fishball Revolution of 2016 .  Those failed, but now there is a whole new impetus and organization behind it.

There are three aspects to this new China Fear policy that stand out:

1. Bannon has learned from the Russia demonization program that it can be used to effectively divide a people as we have seen in the United States with the Russia Collusion efforts.

Bannon now wants to unite the US political classes and he says so clearly, talking about the Hong Kong riots:

“The one topic that unites everyone in the US, is the Hong Kong Protests …. Everybody in this country has come together, …… Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Marco Rubio – they are all united in telling the CCP and putting them on notice that this is not acceptable, particularly police brutality”

and

“Containing the CCP is beginning to be a bigger and bigger issue in the US – we’re managing to unite Democrats as well as Republicans around containment of the CCP.”

2. Then, he wants to unite the West and he says so clearly:

“Boris Johnson initially wanted to cut a deal with the CCP but now he is saying that the 1984 agreement must be completely in place. There has been a shifting of opinions (from the videos linked you will see that he is talking about creating a western coalition) and that has been because of the brutality of the police forces and the arrogance of the CCP – putting soldiers on the border, and this put it up to the height that the world came together, the CCP is backing off .. they don’t have a thought through plan they would clearly like to go in ans do a brutal putdown because they don’t want this contagion to spread – There are different factions, just like in Tianenmen … I think Xi is torn and leans more to the crackdown phase …”

(OK, since Bannon said this, Boris Johnson has had his seating area smartly kicked but that makes no nevermind to the focus of this China Fear campaign, to unite the west and again create a western coalition, this time against China).

3. Then, he wants to have Trump win in 2020 with a ‘Trump is tough on China’ message. To do this, to get Trump’s base to understand the message, Bannon has to scare the American population that has grown tired of Russia, Russia, Russia, with a new message: Fear China, Fear China, Fear China. This is how he is preparing his ground to present the 2020 message that Trump is Tough on China. With a simple sleigh of hand, China Fear has become the order of the day, China is the new main adversary and Trump is Tough on the main adversary. Bannon can now prepare the western population for action against China but of course, China itself must be set up as the perpetrator.

The rest is garden variety demonization and garden variety attempts at regime change with a garden variety ideology hidden behind virtue-signaling statements such as: It is only the Chinese that can change their system. It is never mentioned that the Chinese might not want to change their system, but the message is presented as a fait accompli. (It reminds me of the excuse given to the US self-defined Patriots. This message is: No, we most certainly do not want to regime-change Iran. We only want to help them to get rid of their bad Mullahs). True doublespeak.

What is a garden variety attempt at regime change? Or, How do you get your own people to cooperate and believe you?

  1. Identify what you need as the ‘public mood’ to get the public to support your initiative – eg. fear, or nationalistic pride or financial issues .. there may be a few of these that are usable, even collective memory, or previous conditioning and in the case of the US, the people have been conditioned to distrust anything ‘other’ than their own way of life.
  2. Create a demon as an opponent – eg. he wants to destroy our way of life or Huawei is more dangerous than a nuclear bomb and they are abusing their own people or Putin is a dictator : There are many messages that can be used here.
  3. Select and/or fabricate ‘evidence’ to demonstrate that the demon exists – eg. he’s rigging our elections, they have ‘bad behavior’ and we must counter their ‘bad behavior’ or We cannot stand idly by while authoritarian nations attempt to reshape the global security environment to their favor at the expense of others (See the complete Mark Esper quote in the next section).
  4. Present the narrative or story to the public and make it appear real, reasonable, scientific is a good word to use, or logical – For this part, Pompeo, Esper and Bannon with a side dish of Pence are rolling the theater screens, one after the other, Message, Rinse, Repeat, Message Rinse Repeat until the population believes it. “What was reported out of the media was that Secretary Pompeo took a very hard line – hey, this is about freedom and democracy.” Bannon says.

You will find point one through four depicted in the following list of Bannon quotes. Bannon, skilled as he is in social change methods, brings his own creativity to the China Fear campaign. Just as Trump during his campaign for president used many phrases beloved by the people (e.g., I like Wikileaks or Lock her up), Bannon uses this technique as well. To remain on the right side of Trump’s base, he pushes a button that is near and dear to the hearts of the ‘deplorables’. This is the hatred existent in the population for the Corporate Elites or Wall Street or the New World Order or the 1%’ers who, according to Bannon, close their eyes to all of the human rights abuses in China:  (USA; USA; chants the base supporters!).

“They know all of it, and they don’t care.” Involvement with the Chinese regime “means more money. It means higher stock prices. It means lower slave labor [costs],” Bannon said.

“Wall Street’s the cheerleader. And corporate America has been the lobbyist.”  (Playing a little too hard on the Occupy movement here don’t you think?  This man is mustering all the troops!)

“They have no moral authority. They have totally bought into a system that’s completely corrupt, and they know all about it,” Bannon said. Yet, they “mock Donald Trump and say, oh, he’s the barbarian. He’s the wild man. He’s the disruptor to the system.”

And of course, no comment on China from Bannon is complete without a reference to Tiananmen Square (link at the end if you are not sure what happened here).

“I think that if they use the same force that they used in Tiananmen, it will be the end of the CCP. I think the CCP will ultimately collapse.”

Why do we know that Bannon’s China Fear campaign is real?

We only have to listen to Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper:

“ … the political and economic leverage wielded by the Chinese is already eroding the sovereignty of some nations”, as well as citing “China’s Economic Warfare”.

and

“This is not because we are naive about other threats or seek to rekindle another Cold War,” Esper said. “Rather, we are aligned in this focus because of the magnitude of the threats Russia and China pose to U.S. national security and prosperity today, and the potential for those threats to increase in the future.”

https://www.defense.gov/explore/story/Article/1954110/esper-russia-china-want-to-disrupt-international-order/

and

“[We] cannot stand idly by while authoritarian nations attempt to reshape the global security environment to their favor at the expense of others,” Esper said. “Doing so would invite continued aggression and diminish our ability to deter future conflicts. As such, America’s National Defense Strategy makes it clear that great power competition is once again the primary concern of U.S. national security.”

This is what Bannon says, taken from a series of videos and interviews and these are listed below in order not to overwhelm the reader with just too large a list of videos and links in the text. How does one even present this flurry of China Fear messages that is becoming such a large body of work, that to choose one or the other does not do justice to either the size of the campaign, or to the depth of demonization and fear mongering. I would suggest looking at the first video presented and noted as most representative and then at the article presented because it will literally take weeks to work through the massive amount of material gathered over a short four months in time.

Bannon hammers in the average western understanding of China and sets his scene

These words are repeated over and over again: Tiananmen Square, Red Communism, CCP, freedom and democracy, China’s police brutality, China is abusing their own people, the Uygers, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Dalai Lama, Chinese Christians, Tibet and totalitarian surveillance state. He works hard to create the very necessary environmental conditions to create the joint enemy as listed in the 4 Points of preparing your own population for Regime Change somewhere else in the world.

I think that if they use the same force that they used in Tiananmen, it will be the end of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party). I think the CCP will ultimately collapse.

Containing the CCP is beginning to be a bigger and bigger issue in the US – we’re managing to unite Democrats as well as Republicans around containment of the CCP.

The rhetoric from the West is getting increasingly tougher … The one topic that unites everyone in the US, is the Hong Kong Protests …. Everybody in this country (USA) has come together Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Marco Rubio – they are all united in telling the CCP and putting them on notice that this is not acceptable, particularly police brutality.

China’s strategy is to become a world Hegemon

And of course Bannon supports Trump’s delusionary idea: China is just waiting for Trump to leave office and then they can deal with the democrats.

This point of course is devoid of any reason as China finds itself in a hybrid warlike situation where they are arming and having to fight an existential battle. Once the local western population are convinced that they have to fear China, of course the imperial hegemon can do anything it likes and it can count on the support of its people.

The first video is the most representative where most of the foregoing quotes can be found.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xDQs5M7lHw

This interview, mainly consisting of Bannon quotes is most representative of a complete demonization campaign directed at China – there is no end to it. I selected just a few and this is no cherry-picking: This is perhaps representative of 20% of the interview and one cannot choose which one is more representative of a full-out China Fear campaign. They are all finely crafted statements to convince a population of the new adversary.

Talking about Huawei:

“Huawei has a methodology, a high-tech methodology to basically have domination over the world

Pressing the message that the corporate elite is responsible, as Bannon knows the Trump base will respond to this:

Wall Street and the corporate elites are “going to be held accountable by history for what went on in this time and place, what went on in China, and what they knew about and looked the other way.”

Here is the message that Trump is Tough on China:

Donald Trump, the central reason he’s president is this: He said, we have to return America to her former greatness. We have to make America great again. And the way we’re going to do that [is] we’re going to confront the [CCP]. Wall Street has shipped those jobs over there, and I am going to bring them back,” Bannon said.

Aligning the ‘corporate elites’ with the Chinese Communist Party:

The Chinese Communist Party is the Frankenstein monster created by the elites in the West—the capital provided by the elites in the West, the technology that’s provided by the elites in the West,” Bannon said.

Hammering in the China Fear message:

“When you see the tear gas, you see the beatings, you see the rubber bullets, you see exactly what they are. This is a gangster organization that doesn’t believe in any individual rights”

“What they’ve done to the Uyghurs, what they’ve done to the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhists, what they’ve done to the Evangelical Christians, what they’ve done to Falun Gong, what they’ve done to the underground Catholic Church is unacceptable,” Bannon said. “These are criminals that don’t abide by any rule of law.”

I said this man is intelligent. Here he focuses on what is near and dear to the US Patriots, telling them that the Hong Kong protests are akin to the American Revolutionary War.

“Those young men and women are exactly what the patriots of 1776 were in the United States. They have the grit, they have the determination, they have the indefatigability. They are not going to back down. They’ve been tear-gassed, they’ve been beaten, they’ve had rubber bullets shot at them, and time and time again, they show up.

“I think they’re heroes of the modern world. I think they deserve to be nominated for and win the Nobel Prize for peace.

Now Bannon promises the people that his China Fear campaign is just and honest and good, because of course, the Chinese people will themselves revolt, if given a little help from the west.

Eventually, Bannon believes, the Chinese people will stand up and say, “‘We’ve had enough of 100,000 people or 50,000 people ruling a country of 1.4 billion and stealing all our money, stealing all our wealth, taking it for themselves, making us live in a totalitarian surveillance state.”

“Only the Chinese people can free the Chinese people”

The pursuit of truth and pursuit of your higher moral self comes at a great cost. It’s just like in Hong Kong. There is a huge cost they are paying. They’re being jailed. They’re being beaten. They are being [told] your careers are ruined, your careers are finished. This is a high cost in the modern society, and yet they refuse to back down,” he said

And then, he must end up on an emotional note and build up The Kids, who are in reality beating up old people in Hong Kong. Sounding like a proverbial preacher man, Bannon announces:

“They will rise up to their higher, highest self.”

Do you see why I say Bannon has given us a gift? There is no confusion or question now about what the next steps of the imperial hegemon is going to be, so, we can identify them and we can follow them, as they happen, or not. So, some tasks on their to-do list will be successful and others not.  It is good to note that the base of Russia demonization is seamlessly rolled over to the China demonization.  And for the skilled observer it is clear to see that what China is being accused of, is exactly what the imperial hegemon is doing itself.

Does this look to you as if the current imperial hegemon understands that it is losing power? Or does this look to you as if we have a new attempt at a full spectrum dominance battle on our hands?.  Looking at the size of Bannon’s strategy, I cannot for one moment believe that these are only ‘winning the trade war’ strategies.  It clearly is bigger than this.

Over near term history, we have seen the west operating without clear strategy or objectives. We’ve seen them flail and fail in most of their regime change operations. Is the west fixing this with Bannon setting the strategy for the new adversary? Is the imperial hegemon setting its sights on China; First decouple the economy and then aim the guns? Has the imperial hegemon decided all these other little countries (Iran, Venezuela, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, even Afghanistan) are just too little to bother with and in their hubristic folly, they select the spectacular Hollywood finish and go directly for the Red Dragon using all modes of war, from hybrid methods to eventually guns blazing? I believe this and similar scenarios may be highly prioritized in the Pentagon’s war and scenario planning department. Looking at Bannon’s preparation of the US citizens for China Fear, we may be looking at a still outlying, but distinct scenario from the imperial hegemon to attempt to grab the Red Dragon by its throat, before the PetroDollar disappears completely as a reserve currency, and before China has completed a hard weapons defensive perimeter position, supported by fully trained defense forces.

…………………………………..

Additional information and reading;

View from Russia:

Further Bannon interviews are here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH5QzuzD01A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYraLI04WiU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dy4FZr6zPtk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znXZ-XgM0KU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqHLBBcUYeg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuAZKNEcj2g

Further Reading

https://steemit.com/china/@corbettreport/clash-of-civilizations-2-0

The Chinese are not talking

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1162942.shtml

https://steemit.com/news/@corbettreport/the-truth-about-tiananmen

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8555142/Wikileaks-no-bloodshed-inside-Tiananmen-Square-cables-claim.html

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-09-05/its-american-hegemony-thats-being-backed-corner-dollar-more-risk-yuan

The Chinese communist party – Godfree Roberts – http://www.unz.com/article/the-chinese-communist-party/

US vs China: Smartphone Wars

July 7, 2019 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – If Washington’s goal was to pressure and isolate China by targeting smartphone giant Huawei, it seems to have accomplished the exact opposite. In the process, the US has only accomplished in exposing its own growing weakness and unreliability as a trade partner amid a much wider, misguided and mismanaged “trade war.”

While we’re only talking about smartphones and economic competition, however fierce, the outcome of this smartphone battle amid a much wider trade war will have an impact on global power and who wields it in the years to come.

Losing Ungracefully  

By May 2019, Huawei had firmly climbed to the number two spot in global smartphone sales at the expense of US-based Apple. By the first quarter of 2019 it had shipped 59.1 million phones compared to Apple, now third place, at between 36-43 million phones, IDC (International Data Corporation) reported.

IDC and many other articles based on its data would note that while Huawei and Apple have traded places in the past over who held second place among global smartphone sales, Huawei’s ascension this time seemed much more permanent.

Those watching the trajectory and inner workings of both tech giants will have noticed Apple’s decline as endemic internal management problems coupled with growing global competition tattered its reputation and consumer appeal.

Was it just a coincidence that just as first quarter sales data emerged, the US announced one of its more dramatic turns amid its wider trade war with China? The Trump administration would announce a ban on all American-made goods to Huawei including microchips made by Intel and Qualcomm as well as the Android operating system (OS) made by US tech giant Google.

Coupled with this move was a public relations blitz across the US media and their partners working within nations moving closer to China. In Thailand, for example, local media trained and influenced by US interests attempted to undermine consumer confidence in Huawei in the wake of US sanctions against the company.

This one-two punch was a partial success. Sales did slump and Huawei was faced with significant obstacles. But significant obstacles are not the same as insurmountable obstacles, and overcoming obstacles is often how true competitors strengthen themselves.

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger 

For Huawei, a tech giant integral to China’s wider economic and political success upon the global stage, it has all the resources and support it needs to weather the toughest of storms.

In the wake of US sanctions, and even in the lead up to them, Huawei has begun to source critical parts from non-US companies. It is also investing significantly in its own in-house alternatives to US manufactured microchips and even in an alternative OS to replace Android.

Digital Trends in its article “Huawei’s Android-alternative operating system: Everything you need to know,” helps illustrate just how determined Huawei is to overcome these obstacles.

The fact that work on the OS supposedly began as early as 2018 indicates that Huawei executives are under no illusions regarding American goodwill. If America is to play nicely with Huawei and other Chinese companies, it will be because Huawei and other Chinese companies took steps leaving the US no other choice but to do so.

Android is an open source OS. This means that its code is free for all developers to access and use. It was the key to Android’s wide success, and thus Google’s domination of the smartphone OS market, but it is also a weakpoint in Google and the US government’s attempts to hobble Huawei.

Huawei’s alternative OS will be compatible with the open source Android system. Android applications can still be downloaded and used on a Huawei phone running Huawei’s OS, but instead of doing so through Google’s online application store, it will be done through Huawei’s.

As some media have pointed out, this means that Huawei’s setbacks by being restricted from Android will only be temporary. Long-term, Google stands to lose tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of customers who will instead be using Huawei’s alternatives.

Google could even lose its dominion over smartphone OS development if Huawei made its own alternative as accessible and as appealing as Android, minus the political and economic threats aimed at nations Washington finds displeasing.

Maybe this is why the US appears to be backing off (for now), if only partially, from its initial threats against Huawei. Nothing the US is doing to Huawei actually addresses why US companies themselves are losing the smartphone war to begin with. Should companies like Huawei overcome what little leverage the US still has over global telecom tech, it will have a stronger smartphone product coupled with stronger, alternative infrastructure out of reach of US influence.

In efforts to isolate China, the US may be succeeding in only isolating itself.

US Threats Undermine Confidence in the US, Not China  

Other nations needed little imagination to realise that if the US could target Chinese companies simply for outcompeting American corporations, they could easily find themselves next. This has made them sympathetic to China’s current challenges.

While media influenced by the US in various nations have aided US efforts to undermine China’s Huawei, the nations themselves have not.

In Thailand, for example, the Thai government has moved forward with plans to partner with Huawei to develop its national 5G network despite mounting pressure not to from the US, NPR would report.

Huawei is still a popular brand in Thai markets, in third place behind Oppo (also a Chinese brand) and Samsung, Bangkok Post reported.

Thai government agencies have been assuring consumers that US sanctions will not impact Huawei goods sold in Thailand in the short-term, while Huawei takes steps to ensure there will be no impact in the long-term.

Since Huawei is not the first Chinese tech company targeted by the US in such a manner, and with other Chinese-made smartphones becoming popular in nations like Thailand (Oppo for example), China as a nation will only pour further resources in protecting Chinese companies from the coercive measures taken by the US.

Other nations are not only sympathetic toward Chinese efforts, they themselves will likely take similar measures regarding their own industries.

The ongoing trade war with China is not the only example of economic warfare used by the US. We see much more extreme examples of US economic warfare aimed at Iran and Venezuela.

Growing US pressure placed on Russia is another example. The US has even gone as far as threatening nations like Germany with sanctions for moving ahead with a German-Russian pipeline (Nord Stream 2).

The US has revealed itself as an unreliable trade partner, bitter at any prospect of competition or genuine cooperation. Amid its trade war with China it has pressured its own allies to hamper trade with China, a move that benefits China’s trade partners in no conceivable way. The US is willing to do anything to anyone to cling to global economic supremacy and the power that stems from holding it in its own hands. Sharing it with China and Russia or even its own allies in Europe and East Asia dilutes both the potency of that power, and its ability to weild it with potent impunity.

False Pretexts Aren’t Just for Hot Wars

The US regularly uses false pretexts to launch its many real wars around the globe. Fabrications regarding “weapons of mass destruction” were used to justify the US invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. Disingenuous humanitarian concerns regarding imaginary abuses were used to justify the US military intervention in Libya. Serial but baseless accusations over chemical weapon use has been used to justify US military intervention in Syria.

But fabricating justifications to go off to war isn’t reserved merely for hot wars. The US is citing supposed security concerns to target China’s Huawei, coincidentally just as it permanently overtakes US-based Apple in global smartphone sales, and amid a wider trade war built on entirely different (but also fabricated) claims.

The fact that the US is lying about its motivations to target Huawei should be another warning to Beijing over the trustworthiness of the current circles dominating US economic and political power. It should also be a warning to the rest of the world when doing business with the US.

A robust strategy must be adopted by nations and between nations to protect themselves from the still potent and disruptive power the US holds over global economics.

Whether it is attempts by the US to undermine confidence in a nation’s economy, smear a nation’s tourism industry, attempts to reverse the global success of companies like Huawei or even sabotage energy deals made by the US’ own allies with nations Washington considers adversaries, what amounts to highly dangerous American-led economic warfare remains a critical threat to global peace and stability.

Strategies for protecting national industries by developing domestic industrial capacity and relying less on sourcing critical components from unreliable partners like the US is essential. So is protecting bilateral trade through the creation of financial exchange systems out of reach of US sanctions. Being able to counter Washington’s manufactured narratives used to justify its coercive economic behavior is also key.

Just as growing military prowess and unity of purpose among Eurasian nations have helped impede the growing number of America’s many and very destructive real wars, similar economic prowess and unity of purpose will be required to stifle America’s likewise disruptive economic warfare waged globally.

Huawei’s success or failure serves as a weather vane indicating in just what direction this balance of power is headed.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

تبرئة إبن سلمان تساوي ثروات جزيرة العرب

يوليو 1, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

مشهد ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان في قمة العشرين في أوساكا اليابانية بدا مفبركاً، ومنفوخاً بآليات أميركية غربية ويابانية… دفعت بالإعلام الى التعامل «المتعمّد» معه، على شكل «زعيم محوري» يتناثر الذهب من عباءته. ولا يهتمّ إلا بأوضاع المرأة السعودية ونشر القيم والازدهار في العالم.

هكذا هي الدول الاستعمارية والصناعية على مدار التاريخ لا تتغيّر قيد أنملة.. وما يثير شبقها هو تراكم المال والثروات التي تنسف العلاقات الإنسانية والحق والخير والجمال، لمصلحة الاحتكار الاقتصادي الحصري…

لعل قضية إبن سلمان هي واحدة من عشرات آلاف الأدلة التي لا تحتاج الى تنقيب بحثي عميق يثبت إهمال الغرب أي علاقة حقيقية باستثناء بعض انحاء العالم الشمالي الذي يمارس ديموقراطية داخل بلدانه واستعماراً بغيضاً في ثلاثة أرباع الأرض.. وهذا بحد ذاته، مثيرٌ للدهشة والتعجب..

لقد بدت قمة اوساكا وكأنها منعقدة لسببين: تأمين قرارات بين قواها الكبرى تؤمن الفوز للرئيس الأميركي ترامب في الانتخابات الرئاسية المقبلة في العام المقبل… وإعادة الاعتبار لإبن سلمان.

لجهة ترامب، يكفي أنه اتفق مع الرئيس الصيني على إعادة السماح للشركات الأميركية والعالمية بالشراء والتعامل مع شركة هواوي الصينية الضخمة مقابل شراء الصين منتجات زراعية أميركية حصرية، لا يجد أصحابها اسواق تصريف لها حتى أن ترامب بدا مزهواً وهو يقول إن هذا الاتفاق ينقذ الآلاف من صغار المزارعين الأميركيين الذين يشكون من كساد منتجاتهم… بما يندرج في إطار البحث الهادف عن أصوات الناخبين الأميركيين، وذوي الأصول الصينية في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية.

الطريف في هذا الاتفاق أنه قابل للنقض بآلاف الحجج والذرائع بعد انتهاء الانتخابات مباشرة، هذا بالإضافة الى أن مجمل المباحثات الأميركية مع روسيا واليابان واوروبا وبلدان أخرى التي انتهت كالعادة الى «استكمالها في أوقات أخرى»، إنما رمت إلى إثارة مناخ تهدئة على خلافات عميقة بهدف استثمار ترامب لها في الانتخابات المقبلة.

لكن السياسة الأميركية ـ الترامبية تجلّت على حقيقتها في قمة العشرين في اليابان بطريقة التعامل مع ولي العهد السعودي، فكان هناك تعمدٌ مقصودٌ بمنحه حيزاً كبيراً من الاهتمام الأميركي ـ الأوروبي الياباني الذي استتبع عناية روسية صينية مصرية به جذبت كامل البلدان الحاضرة.

حتى ظهر إبن سلمان نجماً ويسعى الحاضرون لكسب رضاه أم ذهبه، فالأمر سيان.

للتوضيح فقط، فإن ولي العهد متهم بقتل الصحافي جمال الخاشقجي في قنصلية بلاده السعودية في مدينة اسطنبول التركية وذلك بتقطيعه بالمناشير من قبل جهاز أمني سعودي تابع لولي العهد مباشرة.

أما السبب فهو معارضة الخاشقجي لسياسات إبن سلمان، فاستفاد من هذا الاغتيال فريقان: المعارضات الأميركية لترامب التي تبنّت اتهام ابن سلمان وطالبت بمحاكمته، إلى جانب بعض السياسات الأوروبية المتناقضة مع ترامب أيضاً، التي أرادت النيل من الرئيس الأميركي من خلال إدانة صديقه ابن سلمان بقتل الخاشقجي.

الأتراك بدورهم اعتبروا الاغتيال على أراضيهم فرصة للنيل من مكانة السعودية في العالمين العربي والأسلامي.. فبدأوا يحلمون بتدهور الموقع السعودي لمصلحة صعود دور تركي على متن الاخوان المسلمين… وهم مستمرون على هذه الخطة التي تتراجع مع أحلام الرئيس التركي اردوغان الذي خسر الانتخابات البلدية في أربع مدن تركية كبرى بينها اسطنبول.

هذه التداعيات جعلت محمد بن سلمان يحضر قمة العشرين السابقة في 2018 بشكل هزيل جداً، ظهر المشاركون فيها وكأنهم ينفرون منه متجنّبين التخاطب معه، حتى أنه وجد مكاناً منعزلاً في آخر القاعة ليأخذ مع بقية أعضاء القمة الصورة الختامية التذكارية، وكان ولي العهد معزولاً في المدة الأخيرة ومتهماً من الجميع تقريباً بالقتل باستثناء ترامب وإدارته، ما استتبع تراجعاً كبيراً في الدور السعودي عموماً.

وفجأة عاود بن سلمان احتلال موقع قوي في قمة العشرين الحالية، عاقداً عشرات اللقاءات الجانبية مع رؤساء الدول الكبرى في أميركا والصين وروسيا واليابان ودول أوروبا وغيرها وسط اهتمام إعلامي مسبوق. وبدت تركيا وحيدة شبه منعزلة في الاستمرار باتهامه.

ماذا يجري؟

إن إعادة نفخ إبن سلمان تواكبت مع اتهامات جديدة ودقيقة قدّمتها المحققة الأممية كالامارد، اتهمت فيه ابن سلمان بمقتل الخاشقجي، ما أعاد القضية إلى دائرة الضوء الشديد فرجعت الاتهامات كما كانت قبل عام… وهنا تكمن الحنكة، فبدلاً من أن يعود إبن سلمان الى التواري والانسحاب التمويهي من دائرة السياسة الدولية، كما فعل سابقاً فإذا به يسفر عن كامل وجهه متألقاً أكثر من حجم بلاده في قمة العشرين.

وهذا يؤكد أن هناك مشروعاً أميركياً أوروبياً لتبرئته بوسائل فنية ترتدي اللبوس القانوني، وذلك لا يكون إلا بالتغاضي الروسي ـ الصيني عن الفبركات القانونية الجديدة، مع مزيد من الانفتاح السياسي المملوء برائحة الصفقات الاقتصادية والتسويات النفطية.

لقد تحوّل ترامب في قمة العشرين ومعه رئيسة وزراء بريطانيا تريزا ماي الى فقيهين في الشؤون القانونية وعلم الجريمة…

فبعد إلحاح الإعلاميين قال الرئيس الأميركي إنه لا يمكن للقضاء أن يبني على اشاعات الرأي العام لأنه لا يستند إلا إلى ادلة دامغة، وهذه، حسب رأيه، لا تؤدي إلى اتهام ابن سلمان الذي يحاكم 13 متهماً قاموا بالجريمة من دون معرفته.

وأيّدته تريزا ماي التي أكدت أن بلادها مهتمة، بالكشف عن جريمة الخاشقجي، وأضافت «من دون أن تقهقه» أن إبن سلمان قال لها إنه حريص على محاكمة المتهمين الـ13 رجل أمن للكشف عن الجريمة.

وبذلك يتبين أن هناك صفقة، أميركية ـ غربية بلامبالاة صينية ـ روسية، تذهب نحو تبرئة القاتل ومعاقبة 13 رجل أمن تابعين لمكتب محمد بن سلمان وبتهمة قتل الخاشقجي. وبما أن عدد القتلة كبير، فالأحكام قابلة للتوزيع على شاكلة عشر سنوات لكل منهم، أما مكان السجن، فعلمه عند أصحاب العلم والإخفاء.

فهل هذه صفقة مجانية؟ اسألوا ترامب الذي يواصل الإشادة بالسعودية التي أمنت اعمالاً لملايين الأميركيين وتشغل مصانع الاسلحة والبضائع.. وتواصل الدفع للتغطية بمفهوم «الكاوبوي» واخيراً عرجوا على البريطانيين لاستصراحهم عن حصتهم.

فيتبين أن الغرب ينتهز جريمة ولي العهد لاستنزاف كامل ثروات جزيرة العرب وليس قسماً منها، مضيفاً إليها مبدأ «الترهيب من إيران» الأمر الذي يضع حاضر سكان الجزيرة ومستقبلهم تحت رحمة السياسات الاقتصادية الغريبة التي تسطو على العالم منذ قرون عدة.

مقالات مشابهة

Trade War Hangs Over the G20

Image result for Trade War Hangs Over the G20
June 29, 2019 © Photo: kremlin.ru

Two words were on the lips of world leaders as the curtain went up on the Group of 20 gathering in the Japanese city of Osaka. On Friday, all the early statements and gossip revolved around the “trade war.”

Xi Jinping set the tone. China’s president warned about the dangers of protectionism at a meeting between the BRICS bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

“This is destroying the global trade order … This also impacts the common interests of our countries, overshadows the peace and stability worldwide,” the Chinese president said.

In the past year, Washington and Beijing have been embroiled in a brutal trade conflict involving tit-for-tat tariffs on imports worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Along the way, Chinese companies, such as the telecoms giant Huawei, have been dragged into the dispute, suffering punitive sanctions imposed by Washington.

After trade talks broke down last month and the technology battle intensified between the world’s two largest economies, the shockwaves rippled across the globe.

Now, G20 leaders are praying that US President Donald Trump and Xi can ease tensions when they meet face-to-face on Saturday to discuss the situation.

Although there appears little chance of an immediate deal, they will be hoping a truce can be hammered out.

Trump at least made all the right noises about trade agreements. But they did not appear to include China.

‘Very big deal’

The only real reference about the spat with Beijing came in a remark he also made to Modi.

“We actually sell Huawei many of its parts,” Trump said. “So we’re going to be discussing that and also how India fits in. And we’ll be discussing Huawei.”

Earlier this week, media reports suggested that Xi would not agree to a deal unless Washington lifted its ban on the company, which is recognized as a world leader in 5G technology and a key player in the smartphone sector.

During the opening session, Trump touched on the issue. “We must also ensure the resilience and security of our 5G networks,” he said.

Still, Sino-American trade fiction dominated the conversation after the World Bank released a report earlier this month entitled, Global Economic Prospects: Heightened Tensions, Subdued Investment.

“The trade relations between China and the United States are difficult, they are contributing to the slowdown of the global economy,” Jean-Claude Juncker, the outgoing European Commission president, told a media briefing.

“Today things are made neither in China nor in the United States. They are made globally,” he said.

In his opening address, Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, appealed for unity among bickering nations as well as later touching on the thorny problem of reforming the World Trade Organisation or WTO.

He urged G20 leaders to send a strong message in support of free and fair trade, warning that geopolitical tensions were rising and buffeting the “global economy.”

“With your help, I hope we will realize beautiful harmony in Osaka … rather than highlight our confrontations, let us seek out what unites us,” he said.

“Today, I want to discuss with leaders measures to further enhance momentum towards reform in WTO,” he added.

Eloquent sentiments amid the rhetoric of what is looking like a new economic Cold War between China and the US.

“Bullying practices are on the rise, posing severe threats to economic globalization and international order, and severe challenges to the external environment of developing countries,” Dai Bing, an official from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a veiled attack on Washington’s stance.

Yet behind the scenes, Beijing’s top trade negotiator Vice-Premier Liu He and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met at the Imperial Hotel in Osaka, according to an official familiar with the matter who declined to be identified, Bloomberg news agency revealed.

They were trying to lay the groundwork for the Trump-Xi tete-a-tete.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who dined with the US president on Thursday, illustrated the challenges ahead.

“I walked away with the view that this is going to be tough because there are some very serious issues that they’re trying to resolve,” he told Channel 7, the Australian television network.

But then, walking away has been a specialty in the year-long diplomatic confrontation.

asiatimes.com

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

Washington is afraid of the technical backwardness .واشنطن خائفة من التخلف التقني؟

Washington is afraid of the technical backwardness

يونيو 25, 2019

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Many historians say that one of the reasons of the US involvement in the Second World War was the concern from the German technical superiority, they say that by the end of the war, the German weapons were superior to the western and eastern weapons and that the great technical development represented by the American nuclear bomb was made by German minds. Since then, Washington feels comfortable regarding its technical superiority in the world, its trust and reassurance have been increased with the revolution of information and communications led by American minds and companies, but after scurrility it was noticed that Washington became highly worried during the last decade, since it had no capabilities to wage a war. The American leaders recognize the superiority of Russia in the conventional and strategic weapons, therefore they have to avoid the confrontation with Russia in their next wars but just to exert pressure on it to neutralize it, because the economic concern from the Russian weapons market has not occurred yet, but it is expected to occur   in the next decade. While the imminent concern is from China which the source of its increasing economy does not mainly concern America, although it is a growth that threatens the first place of Washington in the global economy, but it is the challenge of the next decade too. Washington’s main concern is the superiority of China in the communication techniques which form the pillar of the new global economy.

Experts say that China will lead the communication market by the next year. Huawei Company was superior and unique in producing the fifth- generation technology of the smart phones; it is the generation that will replace the personal and office computers with technical qualifications that allow the completion of all technical complicated transactions and processes in small size and through a flexible screen that can be extended virtually and with high processing capacities. Most importantly, this generation will mean the transfer to robotics in driving cars, managing business remotely, making accounts, and managing offices and exchanges, it ensures home and office welfare and security by controlling home and office appliances, but the most dangerous thing is that it will change a lot of war tools and forms. Experts say that the partnership negotiations experienced by the American companies with Huawei have not succeeded in controlling the new technology, they think that the economic war on China includes negotiating pressure on the fifth generation technologies and that one of the goals of oil embargo on Iran is to exert pressure on the economic growth of China and putting it in parallel with winning in negotiations on the fifth-generation technologies.

The Americans think that they can neutralize Russia by restricting the cooperation regarding the issues of North Korea, Venezuela, and Ukraine, as they thought they can do that in the war on Syria, but they are reaching to the last quarter of confrontation. Everyone knows the rules of engagement and knows his locations in the battlefield “Russia, China, and Iran”; the war of weapons with Russia, the war of geopolitics with Iran, and the war of technology with China. The Russian-Chinese-Iranian tripartite is sharing the burdens of confrontation and the roles in fronts from Syria to Korea to Venezuela realizing that it is one war, and that any American victory over one party will reflect on the others. As much as this tripartite is trying to avoid a war due to the American hysteria which is unable to recognize that the world has changed. This tripartite is trying to show that the American loss will be resounding at the hands of the allies whom are described by Washington as small players. Nineteen years ago, Hezbollah was classified among the secondary players, but now it becomes among the main players due to its achievement in the historic victory over the Israeli occupation of the south of Lebanon. Now it is turning into a source of horror in all the American analyses of the balances of war, as the resistance forces in the region and the world, which achieved deterrent capabilities as the experiences of Yemen, Iraq, Korea, and Venezuela. Therefore, America must fight them before it finds itself alone facing Iran, Russia, and China.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

واشنطن خائفة من التخلف التقني؟ 

مايو 22, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– يقول الكثير من المؤرخين إن أحد أسباب الدخول الأميركي على خط الحرب العالمية الثانية كان القلق من التفوّق التقني الألماني، ويقول هؤلاء إنه حتى نهاية الحرب كانت الأسلحة الألمانية تتفوّق على الأسلحة الغربيّة والشرقيّة التي واجهتها في الحرب، وإن التطور التقني الكبير الذي مثلته القنبلة النووية الأميركية كان نتاج عقول ألمانية، ومنذ ذلك التاريخ واشنطن مرتاحة إلى تفوقها التكنولوجي في العالم، وزادت ثقة واطمئناناً مع ثورة المعلوماتية والاتصالات التي قادتها عقول وشركات أميركية، لكن التدقيق يفيد بأن القلق عاد إلى واشنطن خلال العقد الأخير وبقوة، من دون أن تكون لديها مقدرات خوض حرب كالحرب العالمية الثانية. فالقادة الأميركيون يعترفون بتفوّق في مجال الأسلحة التقليدية والاستراتيجية لحساب روسيا، ولذلك عليهم في خوض حروبهم الأخرى تفادي المواجهة مع موسكو، والاكتفاء بالضغط عليها، والمناورة بين الترغيب والترهيب لتحييدها، لأن القلق الاقتصادي من سوق السلاح الروسي لم يحِن وقته بعد، ويتوقع بلوغه خلال العقد المقبل، بينما مصدر القلق الداهم هو الصين، التي لا يشكل مصدر نمو اقتصادها المتزايد سبب القلق الرئيس للأميركيين، وهو نمو يهدّد بإزاحة واشنطن من تصدر المكانة الأولى بين الاقتصادات العالمية، لكنه تحدي العقد المقبل أيضاً، مصدر القلق الكبير هو تفوق الصين في تقنيات الاتصالات التي تشكل عصب الاقتصاد العالمي الجديد.

– يتحدّث الخبراء عن أن انتقال مركز القيادة في سوق الاتصالات إلى الصين في العام المقبل بعدما حققت شركة هواوي الصينية التفوق والتفرّد في إنتاج تقنية الجيل الخامس من الهواتف الذكية، وهو الجيل الذي سيحل مكان الكمبيوترات الفردية والمكتبية، بمؤهلات تقنية تتيح إنجاز كل المعاملات والعمليات التقنية المعقدة بحجم صغير وشاشة مرنة قابلة للتوسّع افتراضياً، وقدرات معالجة مرتفعة. والأهم أن هذا الجيل سيعني الانتقال إلى عصر الروبوت بالتحكم الذي يتيحه بقيادة السيارات، وإدارة الأعمال عن بعد، وتحريك الحسابات وإدارة المكاتب والبورصات، وتأمين الرفاه والأمان المنزلي والمكتبي، بالتحكم بالأجهزة المنزلية والمكتبية. والأخطر أنها ستغيّر الكثير في أدوات الحرب وأشكالها. ويقول الخبراء إن مفاوضات الشراكة التي خاضتها الشركات الأميركية مع شركة هواوي لم تنجح في السيطرة على التقنية الجديدة، ويعتقد الخبراء أن الحرب الاقتصادية على الصين هي في جزء منها ضغط تفاوضي على تقنيات الجيل الخامس، وإن بعضاً من أهداف الحصار النفطي على إيران هو الضغط على نمو الصين الاقتصادي، ووضعه في كفة موازية للفوز بالمفاوضات حول تقنيات الجيل الخامس.

– يعتقد الأميركيون أنهم قادرون على تحييد روسيا بحصر التعاون في ملفات كوريا الشمالية وفنزويلا وأوكرانيا، كما اعتقدوا من قبل خلال الحرب على سورية بفعل شيء مشابه، لكنهم يصلون إلى الفصل الأخير من المواجهة، واللعبة تجري على الملأ، حيث الكل يعلم قواعد الاشتباك ويعرف مواقعه على رقعة القتال، روسيا والصين وإيران، معركة السلاح مع روسيا وحرب الجغرافيا السياسية مع إيران، وحرب التكنولوجيا مع الصين، والثلاثي الروسي الصيني الإيراني يتقاسم أعباء المواجهة والأدوار التبادلية في جبهاتها، من سورية إلى كوريا إلى فنزويلا مدركاً أنها حرب واحدة، وأن أي نصر أميركي في أي من مفرداتها سينعكس على سائر المفردات، وبالقدر الذي يسعى الثلاثي لتفادي اندلاع حرب مجنونة بفعل الهيستيريا الأميركية العاجزة عن الاعترف بأن العالم قد تغير، يعمل الثلاثي على نزع الأنياب الأميركية وتظهير المواجهة كحرب أشباح، يستحيل خوضها بوجه أطراف الثلاثي مباشرة، وإظهار أن الخسارة الأميركية ستكون مدوّية على أيدي الحلفاء الذين تصفهم واشنطن باللاعبين الصغار، وقد ظهر في مثل هذه الأيام قبل تسعة عشر عاماً، ان حزب الله الذي كان يُحسب بين الصغار يومها، قد دخل نادي الكبار بفعل الإنجاز المحقق بانتصاره التاريخي على الاحتلال الإسرائيلي لجنوب لبنان، وها هو يتحوّل إلى مصدر رعب في كل التحليلات الأميركية لموازين الحرب، ومثله وعلى خطاه سارت قوى مقاومة في المنطقة والعالم وحققت قدرات رادعة كما تقول تجارب اليمن والعراق وكوريا وفنزويلا، وسيكون على الأميركي أن يقاتلهم قبل أن يجد نفسه مباشرة وجهاً لوجه مع إيران وروسيا والصين.

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يونيو 24, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

كلّ المؤشرات المعلوماتية تفيد بأنّ الصين تسيطر على عالم الانترنت والمعادن النادره في العالم.

وانّ ثمة استراتيجية صينية شاملة تتقدّم للعالم

يقابلها تخبّط أميركي وانعدام استراتيجية مستقبلية،

والمعلوم تاريخياً انّ الولايات المتحدة، خاصة بعد دخولها الحرب العالميه الأولى، وانتصار تحالفها فرنسا وبريطانيا على تحالف دول المحور المانيا والإمبراطورية العثمانية ، قد عملت على توسيع وتعزيز هيمنتها الاستعمارية، داخلياً وخارجياً، بقوة السلاح طبعاً وليس بقوة المعرفة والعلوم.

وعلى الرغم من تحقيقها نجاحاً نسبياً في تعزيز سيطرتها على القارة الأوروبية، إلا أنّ حدوث الأزمة الاقتصادية، او دعنا نسمّيها الانهيار الاقتصادي الدولي عام 1929، وما ترتب على ذلك من انحسار للإمكانيات المالية والاقتصادية الأميركية، نتيجة للأزمة، ثم وصول الحزب النازي الألماني الى السلطة وسيطرة أودلف هتلر على الحكم في المانيا، عبر انتخابات برلمانية وتحالفات حزبية معقدة، وقيادته المانيا الى حرب عالمية جديدة دخلتها الولايات المتحدة وهي مصمّمة على استكمال سيطرتها على أوروبا تمهيداً لفرض سيطرتها على العالم.

فقد كانت أداة السيطرة الأميركية، آنذاك كما اليوم، هي القوة العسكرية الجبارة. وكان أوج استعراض واشنطن لهذه القوة قد تمظهر بشكل صارخ عندما قامت بقصفت هيروشيما وناغازاكي بالقنابل النووية في شهر آب 1949، الأمر الذي رفع الولايات المتحدة الى مرتبة الأقوى عسكرياً واقتصادياً في العالم.

لكن ذلك لم يدم طويلاً، فبعد نجاح الاتحاد السوفياتي في تصنيع القنبلة النووية، وإجراء تجربته النووية الأولى بتاريخ 29/8/1949، سرعان ما انكسر هذا الاحتكار النووي الأميركي، وبدأ يتراجع رويداً رويداً، الى أن نشأ توازن ردع في العلاقات الدولية على صعيد العالم، تجلى بشكل واضح وقوي في إجبار قوات الاحتلال البريطاني الفرنسي «الإسرائيلي» عام 1956/ 1957 لسيناء على الانسحاب منها، اثر الموقف الصارم الذي اتخذه زعيم الاتحاد السوفياتي آنذاك، نيكيتا خروتشوف، في مجلس الأمن الدولي.

ولكن عناصر الردع والقوة الأميركية، التي اعتمدت أساساً وقبل كلّ شيء على قوة السلاح، بدأت بالتآكل، أكثر فأكثر، اثر المتغيّرات الجذرية التي شهدتها ميادين الصراع الدولية، وعلى كافة الصعد، الاقتصادية والسياسية والعلمية والعسكرية، الأمر الذي أدّى ليس فقط الى كسر احتكار الولايات المتحدة لمحاولات السيطرة على العالم ومقدّرات شعوبه، وإنما الى دخولها في مرحلة تراجع تدريجي مستمرّ، سواء على الصعيد الاقتصادي او السياسي تراجع تأثيرها السياسي في العالم او العسكري والعلمي المعرفي قبل كلّ شيء.

هذا التراجع العلمي والمعرفي، الذي يعبّر عن نفسه من خلال الحروب الاقتصادية وسياسة العقوبات التي يفرضها ترامب على العديد من الدول، والتي تشهد إيران أكثرها صرامة، بينما تشهد الصين أكثرها اتساعاً، من ناحية الحجم المالي، نقول انّ هذا التعبير او التجلي لهذا التراجع قد أدّى الى إضعاف قدرة الصناعات والشركات الأميركية على المنافسة بسبب قلة الاستثمار في قطاعي العلم المعرفة والبحث العلمي أولاً، وبسبب التغيّر الذي شهدته مختلف قطاعات الصناعة والتكنولوجيا والمال والأعمال خلال العقدين الماضيين.

هذا التغيير الذي وضعنا في بداية ثورة صناعية جديدة يطلق عليها اسم الثورة الرقمية، او ثورة الإنترنت، والتي سوف تغيّر كلّ مجالات الحياة البشرية، سواء كانت صناعية أو اقتصادية او سياسية او اجتماعية او غير ذلك.

وهذه الثورة لا تعتمد على قوة السلاح، والتهديد باستخدامه لإسقاط دول ذات سيادة واحتلال أراضيها، بل تعتمد على تكنولوجيا الإنترنت الفائقة السرعة والتي يتمّ تشغيلها بالاعتماد على تقنية تسمّى تقنية الجيل الخامس G 5 ، والتي لا تعتمد أبداً على تقنية الولايات المتحدة وإنما وقبل كلّ شيء على تقنيات صينية، تعتبر شركة هواوي هي الرائدة في صناعتها، الأمر الذي جعل الرئيس الأميركي يشنّ حرباً عالمية عليها وعلى خمسة من أخواتها الصينيات اللواتي ستخضع للعقوبات والمقاطعة الأميركية اعتباراً من يوم الاثنين 24/6/2019.

وإذا ما تفحصنا بعض جوانب هذه الحرب المجنونة، التي تشنّها الولايات المتحدة على عمالقة أحدث تكنولوجيا الاتصالات في العالم ألا وهي «هواوي» واخواتها، فإننا سنكتشف بسرعة الإنترنت الصينية الفائقة السرعة انّ هذه الحرب خاسرة بلا جدال وان لا طائل من ورائها مطلقاً وذلك لسبب بسيط جداً، ألا وهو انّ الشركات الأميركية والتكنولوجيا التي تنتجها، في قطاع الاتصالات وتقنياتها، لا يمكنها منافسة المنتج الصيني الأكثر تقدّماً والأقلّ كلفة.

اما دليلنا على عدم قدرة الولايات المتحدة على منافسة الصين، في قطاع الاتصالات بشكل خاص وفي غيره من القطاعات الصناعية بشكل عام، فهو ما يلي:

1 ـ انّ تكنولوجيا الجيل الخامس الصينية للإنترنت أكثر تطوّراً من التكنولوجيا الأميركية، كما انّ خدمات الشركات الصينية التي تصنع وتدير هذه التكنولوجيا، مثل شركة هواوي وشركة هينغ تونغ، أفضل بكثير من نظيراتها الأميركيات، حسب مركز Rethink Research الأميركي. وهو ما يعلل قيام العديد من الدول الأوروبية، وعلى رأسها المانيا وبريطانيا، بأن تعهَدَ لشركة هواوي ببناء شبكة الإنترنت من الجيل الخامس في أراضيها، وليس لشركات أميركية.

2 ـ عدم وجود خطة تطوير تقني/ تجاري/ أميركية استراتيجيه شاملة، سواء في قطاع الاتصالات او بقية القطاعات الإنتاجية والخدماتية، بينما لدى الصين خطط واضحة ودقيقة تعتمد على الاستثمار البعيد المدى في البنى التحتيه ذات العلاقة مع المواضيع المذكورة أعلاه. وهو ما يعني المزيد من التطوّر والتقدّم وازدياد القدرة على المنافسة القوية في الأسواق الدولية.

3 ـ وانطلاقاً من الخطة الاستراتيجية الشاملة للصين، في تطوير صناعة التكنولوجيا الحديثة وتعميم الفائدة التجارية من هذا التطوير على الكثير من الأمم، فقد قامت الصين بطرح مشروع الحزام والطريق، الذي يعتمد مبدأ تطوير البنى التحتية، في سبعين دولة حتى الآن، في قطاعات الصناعة والنقل والاتصالات والتجارة، بدلاً من استخدام القوة في التعامل بين الدول، أيّ مبدأ التعاون والتكامل بدل شنّ الحروب الاقتصادية والعسكرية وفرض العقوبات على عشرات الدول، كما تفعل الولايات المتحدة حالياً.

4 ـ وبالنظر الى مشروع الحزام والطريق، الذي يعيش في الدول المشاركة فيه حتى الآن 65 من سكان العالم ويقومون بإنتاج 40 من الإنتاج في العالم، فإنّ ذلك يعني وجود سوق هائلة للبضائع الصينية، وعلى رأسها تكنولوجيا الإنترنت اللاسلكي الفائق السرعة، ما يعني سيطرة الصين على قطاع خدمات الإنترنت في العالم، التي ستصبح، خلال سنوات قليلة، وسيلة التواصل الرئيسيه بين أكثر من عشرين مليار شخص وآلة او شيء هناك مسمّى جديد يطلق عليه اسم: إنترنت الآلات. أي انّ الآلات من سيارات وطائرات وغيرها من الآلات الصناعية سوف تتبادل المعلومات في ما بينها دون تدخل بشري .

وغني عن القول طبعاً انّ شركات صناعة تكنولوجيا وخدمات الإنترنت الأميركية لن يكون لديها أي فرصة لدخول أسواق تلك الدول، الأعضاء في مشروع الطريق والحزام، من دون حتى اللجوء الى إجراءات عقابية أو حمائية، من قبل تلك الدول، وإنما بسبب التفوّق التقني للشركات الصينية وقدرتها الهائلة على المنافسة، لما تتمتع به من تفوّق علمي ينتج تفوقاً تقنياً، وليس بسبب الأيدي العاملة الصينية الأقل كلفة من الأيدي العاملة الأميركية فقط.

5 ـ انطلاقا من كلّ ما تقدّم، حول أهمية التفوّق التقني والصناعات التكنولوجية، في مجال الإنترنت اللاسلكي الفائق السرعة، يبدو واضحاً انّ المواجهة الدولية، التي نعيش مشاهدها في الكثير من بقاع العالم، كالشرق الأوسط ومنطقة البحر الأسود/ القرم وأوكرانيا / وبحر الصين الجنوبي والبحار الأخرى، وصولاً الى القارتين الأفريقية والأميركية الجنوبية، لن يتمّ حسمها إلا لصالح روسيا والصين، وبالتالي لصالح القوى الدولية الساعية الى إنهاء السيطرة والهيمنة الأميركية الأحادية الجانب في العالم، وذلك لأنّ الانتصار في الحروب لم يعد يعتمد على استخدام القوة المسلحة فقط وإنما على استخدام العلم كقاعدة للتفوّق على القوة بواسطة إبطال مفعولها.

وكما لاحظنا قبل أيّام قليلة فقط فإنه لم يكن بإمكان إيران أن تسقط طائرة التجسّس الأميركية الأحدث في العالم لو أنّ إيران لم تكن تملك العقول العلمية والهندسية والقاعدة الصناعية لإنتاج الصواريخ المضاده للطائرات بالمواصفات التي عرفها العالم عبر الصاروخ الإيراني الذي أسقط هذه الطائرة.

6 ـ وهذا بالضبط هو ما دفع مستشار الأمن الوطني البريطاني، مارك سيدويل Mark Sedwill، لإبلاغ البرلمان البريطاني، خلال جلسة استماع سنة 2017، بانّ أيّ هجوم إلكتروني على أحد كوابل الإنترنت البحرية البريطانية او على احدى محطات التحويل الخاصة بالإنترنت والمسماة تيرمنال Terminal، أيّ محطة، والموجودة تحت البحر، يشبه قصف محطات الكهرباء والموانئ البريطانية خلال الحرب العالمية الثانية.

ما يعني انّ التقدّم الهائل الذي حققته الصناعات التكنولوجية الفائقة الحداثة لم يعطِ الصين ميزة خلق نظام دفاع إلكتروني/ سايبري/ فعّال للغاية فحسب، وإنما نقلها الى مرحلة الدفاع الهجومي الرادع تماماً لأيّ عدوان محتمل، وذلك من خلال السلاح الصيني المخيف، الذي كشف عنه مؤخراً والمتمثل في المدفع الكهرومغناطيسي، والمسمّى بالانجليزية Electromagnetic Railgun، وهو محمول على سفينة إنزال من فئة 072ll – Yuting – Class، اسمها هايانغشان Haiyangshan ويطلق قذائف تفوق سرعتها سرعة الصوت بخمس مرات. علماً انّ باستطاعة هذا المدفع، الذي سيدخل الخدمة الميدانية في الجيش الصيني عام 2023، ان يطلق قذائف كهرومغناطيسية قاتله يصل مداها الى مائتي كيلومتر.

اذن فهي الثورة الرقمية والتكنولوجيا المرتبطة بها هي التي ستضع حداً للهيمنة الأميركية على مقدرات العالم والتي ستحوّل التقاتل الى تعاون منتج على قاعدة الاحترام المتبادل لاستقلال الدول والشعوب وسيادتها على أراضيها.

عالم يأفل نجمه ويتصدّع رغم تقدّمه العسكري، فيما عالم ينهض ويتعالى بالعلوم رغم حجم تسليحه الأقلّ، والفضل في ذلك للثورة المعرفية.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

 

Why Trump now wants talks with Iran

June 05, 2019

Why Trump now wants talks with Iran

By Pepe Escobar – posted with permission

 

If Tehran blocks the Strait of Hormuz it could send the price of oil soaring and cause a global recession

Iranian soldiers take part in National Persian Gulf Day in the Strait of Hormuz on April 30, 2019. There is concern about a blockade of the Strait and the disastrous impact that could have on the price of oil and world financial markets. Photo: AFP / Atta Kenare

Unlike Deep Purple’s legendary ‘Smoke on the Water’ – “We all came out to Montreux, on the Lake Geneva shoreline”, the 67th Bilderberg group meetings produced no fire and no smoke at the luxurious Fairmont Le Montreux Palace Hotel.

The 130 elite guests had a jolly good – and theoretically quiet – time at the self-billed “informal discussion forum concerning major issues”. As usual, at least two-thirds were European decision-makers, with the rest coming from North America.

The fact that a few major players in this Atlanticist Valhalla are closely associated with or directly interfering with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel – the central bank of central banks – is of course just a minor detail.

The major issue discussed this year was “A Stable Strategic Order”, a lofty endeavor that can be interpreted either as the making of a New World Order or just a benign effort by selfless elites to guide mankind to enlightenment.

Other items of discussion were way more pragmatic – from “The Future of Capitalism”, to “Russia”, “China”, “Weaponizing Social Media”, “Brexit”, “What’s Next for Europe”, “Ethics of Artificial Intelligence” and last but not least, “Climate Change”.

Disciples of Antisthenes would argue that these items constitute precisely the nuts and bolts of the New World Order.

The chairman of Bilderberg’s steering committee, since 2012, is Henri de Castries, former CEO of AXA and the director of the Institut Montaigne, a top French think tank.

One of the key guests this year was Clement Beaune, the European and G20 counselor to French President Emmanuel Macron.

Bilderberg prides itself for enforcing the Chatham House Rule, according to which participants are free to use all the precious information they wish because those who attend these meetings are bound to not disclose the source of any sensitive information or what exactly was said.

That helps ensure Bilderberg’s legendary secrecy – the reason for myriad conspiracy theories. But that does not mean that the odd secret may not be revealed.

The Castries/Beaune axis provides us with the first open secret of 2019. It was Castries at the Institut Montaigne who “invented” Macron – that perfect lab experiment of a mergers and acquisitions banker serving the establishment by posing as a progressive.

A Bilderberg source discreetly let it be known that the result of the recent European parliamentary elections was interpreted as a victory. After all, the final choice was between a neoliberal/Green alliance and Right populism; nothing to do with progressive values.

The Greens who won in Europe – contrary to the US Greens – are all humanitarian imperialists, to quote the splendid neologism coined by Belgian physicist Jean Bricmont. And they all pray on the politically correct altar. What matters, from Bilderberg’s perspective, is that the European Parliament will continue to be run by a pseudo-Left that keeps defending the destruction of the nation-state.

Just like Castries and his pupil Macron.

The derivatives clock is ticking

Image: Wikipedia

The great Bilderberg secret of 2019 had to do with why, suddenly, the Trump administration has decided that it wants to talk to Iran “with no preconditions”.

It all has to do with the Strait of Hormuz. Blocking the Strait could cut off oil and gas from Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Iran – 20% of the world’s oil. There has been some debate on whether this could occur – whether the US Fifth Fleet, which is stationed nearby, could stop Tehran doing this and if Iran, which has anti-ship missiles on its territory along the northern border of the Persian Gulf, would go that far.

An American source said a series of studies hit President Trump’s desk and caused panic in Washington. These showed that in the case of the Strait of Hormuz being shut down, whatever the reason, Iran has the power to hammer the world financial system, by causing global trade in derivatives to be blown apart.

The Bank for International Settlements said last year that the “notional amount outstanding for derivatives contracts” was $542 trillion, although the gross market value was put at just $12.7 trillion. Others suggest it is $1.2 quadrillion or more.

 

An Iranian Navy warship is seen in the Strait of Hormuz on April 30, amid talk that Tehran may block the Strait if relations with the US plunge further. Photo: AFP / Atta Kenare

Tehran has not voiced this “nuclear option” openly. And yet General Qasem Soleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force and a Pentagon bête noire, evoked it in internal Iranian discussions. The information was duly circulated to France, Britain and Germany, the EU-3 members of the Iran nuclear deal (or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), also causing a panic.

Oil derivative specialists know well that if the flow of energy in the Gulf is blocked it could lead to the price of oil reaching $200 a barrel, or much higher over an extended period. Crashing the derivatives market would create an unprecedented global depression. Trump’s former Goldman Sachs Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin should know as much.

And Trump himself seems to have given the game away. He’s now on the record essentially saying that Iran has no strategic value to the US. According to the American source: “He really wants a face-saving way to get out of the problem his advisers Bolton and Pompeo got him into. Washington now needs a face-saving way out. Iran is not asking for meetings. The US is.”

And that brings us to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s long, non-scheduled stop in Switzerland, on the Bilderberg’s fringes, just because he’s a “big cheese and chocolate fan”, in his own words.

Yet any well-informed cuckoo clock would register he badly needed to assuage the fears of the trans-Atlantic elites, apart from his behind-closed-doors meetings with the Swiss, who are representing Iran in communications with Washington. After weeks of ominous threats to Iran, the US said “no preconditions” would be set on talks with Tehran, and this was issued from Swiss soil.

China draws its lines in the sand

Bilderberg could not escape discussing China. Geo-poetic justice rules that virtually at the same time, China was delivering a powerful message – to East and West – at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

The Shangri-La dialogue is Asia’s top annual security forum, and unlike Bilderberg, held like clockwork at the same hotel in Singapore’s Orchard Road. As much as Bilderberg, Shangri-La discusses “relevant security issues”.

A case can be made that Bilderberg frames the discussions as in the recent cover story of a French weekly, owned by a Macron-friendly oligarch, titled “When Europe Ruled the World”. Shangri-La instead discusses the near future – when China may be actually ruling the world.

Beijing sent a top-of-the-line delegation to this year’s forum, led by Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe. And on Sunday, General Wei laid down China’s unmistakable red lines; a stern warning to “external forces” dreaming of independence for Taiwan, and the “legitimate right” for Beijing to expand man-made islands in the South China Sea.

By then everyone had forgotten what Acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan had said the day before, accusing Huawei to be too close to Beijing and posing a security risk to the “international community”.

General Wei also found time to rip Shanahan to shreds. “Huawei is a private company, not a military company… Just because the head of Huawei used to serve in the army, does not mean his company is a part of the military. That doesn’t make sense.”

Shangri-La is at least transparent. As for Bilderberg, there won’t be any leaks on what the Masters of the Universe told Western elites about the profitability of pursuing the war on terror; the drive toward total digitalization of cash; total rule of genetically modified organisms; and how climate change will be weaponized.

At least the Pentagon has made no secret, even before Shangri-La, that Russia and China must be contained at all costs – and the European vassals must toe the line.

Henry Kissinger was a 2019 Bilderberg participant. Rumors that he spent all his time breathlessly plugging his “reverse Nixon” – seduce Russia to contain China – may be vastly overstated.

Trade War: China Accuses US of ’Naked Economic Terrorism’

By Staff, Agencies

China accused the United States of “naked economic terrorism” on Thursday as Beijing ramps up the rhetoric in their trade war.

The world’s top two economies are at loggerheads as trade talks have apparently stalled, with US President Donald Trump hiking tariffs on Chinese goods earlier this month and blacklisting telecom giant Huawei.

“We are against the trade war, but we are not afraid of it,” vice foreign minister Zhang Hanhui said at a press briefing to preview President Xi Jinping’s trip to Russia next week.

“This premeditated instigation of a trade conflict is naked economic terrorism, economic chauvinism, and economic bullying,” Zhang said.

He also warned that “there is no winner in a trade war.”

China has hit back with its own tariff increase while state media has suggested that Beijing could stop exports of rare earths to the United States, depriving Washington of a key material to make tech products.

“This trade conflict will also have a serious negative impact on the development and revival of the global economy,” Zhang said.

China and Russia have broad consensus and common interests on the trade war issue, he said.

“China and Russia will certainly strengthen economic and trade cooperation, including cooperation in various fields such as economic and trade investment,” Zhang added.

The Chinese official further stated: “We will certainly respond to various external challenges, do what we have to do, develop our economies, and constantly improve the living standards of our two peoples.”

Huawei: US Blacklist Will Harm Billions of Consumers and American Companies

Huawei CEO against China Punishing Apple for Trump’s 5G Purge

 

Full Spectrum Economic War has replaced Trade War

May 21, 2019

by Chris Faure for The Saker Blog

Full Spectrum Economic War has replaced Trade War

The Trading Community

I grew up in the dark continent on farms, where, in the local trading town, my parents owned the meat businesses, the Jews owned the general store, the Indians owned the fabric store and sold shoes and pointy bras.  My mom owned the fashion store and hairdresser. Of course, there was the mechanic who fixed cars and tractors and big harvesting machinery and the movie house where I saw the first opera when the traveling opera came to town and fell in love. Of course, there was the school, the doctor and the pharmacist and a Church or three. We also had the Portuguese Cafe, where we could buy chocolates and candies and bread and milk and fresh English fish and chips. The joint clientele of this trading community was the forestry workers, the mine workers and the farmers of the area. It was a well-off little community with a large forestry industry and gold mining.

While we told the most offensive jokes about the Jews and the Indians and the Portuguese, and to be sure they must have told the nastiest jokes about us European style white ones, we all equally hated the Colonizing English rulers and together told dirty jokes about them while all the kids happily went to school together and played together.

This little farming town was bound together by its trading class.

When the trade started to fracture with bigger food stores and chain mechanics, the town fractured, and where our main street was with the trading class, now there are only a bunch of Korean stores, selling stuff that only Korean folks buy, to Korean folks.

The Power of Trade

This is the power of trade, it can bind people together, or it can fracture communities and whole countries. The Chinese know this, hence BRI has no structure for war, only for trade.

We look with dismay at the geopolitical situation, and it is clear that something has to give as the U.S. clearly cannot hold on all the fronts they have opened.  Mr. Trump may end up having to choose his favorite war, the one where he feels comfortable, and he does not have to see or count dead bodies and spectacular explosions, but he can hide the results of the Silent Economic war from his own eyes while standing on the China Bad plank as his 2020 mission to win the election.

Tom Luongo says: “At this point, Trump is fighting a war with everyone not named Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Just like our little town, this economic war will fracture farming communities, trading communities, and countries. As we have seen in India, we are beginning to get similar notices of desperation suicides of farmers in the U.S.

Silent Killer

An economic war is a Silent Killer. It will create conditions for the US to become Gulag America deeply into cultural schizophrenia to avoid all of their so-called enemies, and for China to take the lead as biggest trader in the world today while the U.S. is off fighting their own internal windmills.

The ‘Understandings’

It seems as if Steve Bannon (after his successful trip to change Brazil into a neocon enclave and start similar initiatives colored with racism and shades of white supremacist, in Europe), has been called back to run this Economic War. He began with an Op-Ed in the Washington Post. While WaPo is not my regular reading, this one spells out the 6 ‘understandings’ that the U.S. should have about this Economic War.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/steve-bannon-were-in-an-economic-war-with-china-its-futile-to-compromise/2019/05/06/0055af36-7014-11e9-9eb4-0828f5389013_story.html?utm_term=.e13839eda6b1

It makes interesting reading to read the understandings in full. The 6 understandings are in short, and my comments are on the right hand side.  (Please read the full set of ‘understandings’ at the link.)

The first understanding: The CCP has been waging economic war against industrial democracies ever since China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, and now China has emerged as the greatest economic and national security threat the United States has ever faced. Note: Direct aim at the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) – Steve is fighting communism and it is the same old story … Those warmongering ChiComs are coming to get us!
The second understanding: The trade deal under negotiation this month is not a deal between two similar systems seeking closer ties, as its cheerleaders on Wall Street and in the media and academia argue. Rather, this is a fundamental clash between two radically different economic models. And of course, if you read the full second understanding, the Chinese economic model is terrible, putrid and simply wrong and those enlightened Westerners have the best method and are morally oh so superior.
The third understanding: Chinese state capitalism is highly profitable for its owners — the members of the CCP. Stagnant state-owned enterprises gain a competitive edge through massive government subsidies, and the cost savings won by stealing the intellectual property, technology, and innovations of foreigners. Chinese State Capitalism he says – The State should not own anything, he says. But, if you take a look at what is happening right now with Google and Western Technology companies, they are ‘joined at the hip’ with The State in the West and they have all joined the have all joined the economic war (See below).  Jump for Trump and the Western technologists say How High.
The fourth understanding: Certain Trump advisers inside and outside the White House are playing on the president’s well-earned pride in a rising stock market and a fear he might lose the Farm Belt to try to box him into a weak deal. But it is a decidedly false narrative that any failure to reach a deal will lead to a market meltdown and economic implosion. Now Steve takes a turn at protecting Mr. Trump for the 2020 election. In reality, the farm belt is up in arms and really upset that Mr. Trump calls them Patriots, while he is destroying their livelihoods. Farmer’s bailouts only manage to extend the agony of the farm belt.
The fifth understanding: Even the toughest agreement needs effective monitoring, which is difficult even with accommodating partners and perhaps impossible with China. The danger is for the president to sign what appears to be a reasonable deal and find out several years later that the United States was hoodwinked. And, if the Chinese boogieman does not get you now, it might just do so in the future.  One just cannot trust these yellow hordes, according to Bannon.
The sixth understanding: The world now bears witness to a rapidly militarizing totalitarian state imprisoning millions in work camps; persecuting Uighurs, Christians and Buddhists; and spying on, and enslaving, its own population. And this is so trite that it is funny. China is persecuting its own people. Have we not heard this drumbeat before?

And here comes the cherry on the Bannon cake of ‘understanding’: “The central issues that must be faced are China’s intentions on the world stage and what those ambitions mean for U.S. prosperity. With our country at a crossroads, it is more important than ever that Trump follows his instincts and not soften his stance against the greatest existential threat ever faced by the United States.

Just then they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that rise from that plain. And no sooner did Don Quixote see them that he said to his squire, “Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we shall begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless.””What giants?” asked Sancho Panza.”Those you see over there,” replied his master, “with their long arms. Some of them have arms well nigh two leagues in length.””Take care, sir,” cried Sancho. “Those over there are not giants but windmills. Those things that seem to be their arms are sails which, when they are whirled around by the wind, turn the millstone.” Cervantes’ Don Quixote

Now Bannon is on the media trip to tilt at these windmills and stop the world’s millstones from turning.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYraLI04WiU

Who is posing the existential threats? “Us” Versus “Them”

So now China is an existential threat to the United States. Does this not sound like creating the basis for war talk to you? What of this is different from the Russia derangement? It is just the same old story, the same old positioning of creating enemies, using different words. Civilizational differences are now weaponized by those who we can argue do not have a civilizational history of any great import.  Hamburgers, Hotdogs, Disney, Madonna and Barbie Dolls do not a civilization make.

So, while the U.S. demanded structural reforms from China during the Trade War, and China absolutely refused, at the end of last week, Trump took aim at big Chinese businesses, placing them on lists where trade becomes almost impossible and creating an Economic War.   Huawei and ZTE Corp are easily recognized here. The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that Chinese technology giant Huawei and 70 of its affiliated companies would be included in an “entity list” of export controls, prohibiting Huawei from buying technology or parts from U.S. companies. Today we see that Google, Intel,, and a raft of other Western technology companies are joining this economic war to kill a Chinese enterprise and all who work for it. And they call it righteous.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-19/google-to-end-some-huawei-business-ties-after-trump-crackdown

As is usual in the “Us” Versus “Them” U.S. methodology, we can always wait for the backtracking after the insulting war talk. Early yesterday morning the penny dropped for U.S. companies using Huawei technology, and they had to quickly ask for a reprieve from the U.S. Commerce Department because somewhere they use Huawei equipment. A 90-day reprieve for certain U.S. broadband companies and wireless customers was granted to figure out plan B.  (Spoiler alert – there isn’t a plan B).   Your broadband possibly runs on Huawei equipment and let me explain how close this economic war is to you and me.

From the White House into My House

A few months ago, I had to buy a new smartphone and eventually settled on a sweet little Huawei, reasonable on price and the most intuitive smartphone ever. I got to like this phone. This morning, I hear that Google decided not to extend usage licenses to Huawei for the Android operating system.

So, now Mr. Trump’s economic war is causing havoc directly with my phone – This is not the kind of fight that will leave you or me untouched.

Future Huawei phones, which run Google’s Android operating system, are set to lose access to updates to some Google apps, including YouTube and Maps, but don’t worry, but the existing devices will be safe.

Soft Pressure

Also, the soft pressure on China is increasing. China is being interfered with in terms of oil imports (Iran, Venezuela) and the South China Sea issues which China is busy negotiating with their neighbors are continually being interfered with by U.S. aircraft carriers or some level of task force of some or other kind making passage to test ‘freedom of navigation.’ And in the U.S., not to be left behind, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a warning on Monday that Chinese-made commercial drones may be sending sensitive flight data to China. Nearly 80% of the drones used in the U.S. and Canada come from DJI, a Chinese commercial drone manufacturer and these drones are widely used by farmers, law enforcement and any child that has a play drone.

Vietnam is the place about 20 years behind China in terms of wages and level of development. It is beginning to hop with manufacturing facilities moving there, to avoid trade tariffs. These businesses are still in Chinese hands. It won’t be long though, and these businesses may as well save their money as this is an Economic War that will not leave any place undisturbed.

Take a look at those winning trade deals

Can this man negotiate a trade deal?  Or is he trying to lead a country with ‘off the cuff’ decisions?

Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump

“Starting Monday, our great Farmers can begin doing business again with Mexico and Canada. They have both taken the tariff penalties off of your great agricultural product. Please be sure that you are treated fairly. Any complaints should immediately go to @SecretarySonny Perdue! 7:29 PM – 19 May 2019″

Aha, it looks like progress, yes? What is not mentioned is that tariffs on Mexican and Canadian steel and Aluminum were dropped, and in a reciprocal action, Mexico and Canada lifted tariffs on the agricultural products. So, that great trade deal that Trump negotiated with Mexico and Canada is back to where it was, and it is no reprieve. There is only some normalization.

“But now Canada and Mexico will get a reprieve, as the U.S. has reached a deal to lift tariffs on steel and Aluminum coming from those two countries. This eliminates a huge hurdle to the ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the revised version of NAFTA.”

https://www.vox.com/2019/5/17/18629556/trump-steel-aluminum-tariffs-canada-mexico-usmca

Fuggetaboutit

We still ask ourselves the same question. What is it going to take for the U.S. to make their appropriate place in a multi-polar world because they will not be allowed to be a single hegemonic power player any longer.  There is no doubt about this.  Consider Dmitry Orlov’s long list of things that the US can no longer get done.  (Color revolutions, false flag attacks, troop pullouts, trade wars.  The one thing they can still get done is causing humanitarian disasters).

Do you understand now that the U.S. in its current incarnation is not agreement capable as is the official stance of Russia, and China will not make a deal with them, but China will keep talking. The fear now is that China will prohibit any rare earth metal sales to the U.S. in a tit for tat action. Huawei will smile.

Think about all these issues through the prism of how the U.S. is trying to maintain it’s global hegemony. The Russia derangement is cooling down, and the China derangement has taken over the airwaves with the full U.S. Administration and the media in lockstep. Can we now say Russia won? A few days ago it was Russia Bad full-on coverage, and today it is China Bad full-on coverage.

There is nothing new here, excepting a welcome groundswell of resistance opposition in the strangest of places. In Latin America, there is a type of an eBay online store called Mercado Libre. To my great surprise, most products on there, seemingly overnight, changed to “imported directly from China” with free shipping and better prices.  I can pay in local currency and seamlessly the U.S. Dollar is not included in this buy or sell.

Mr. Trump can fuggetaboutit and, don’t mess with my phone!

Chinese Readiness

This economic war is a story that can also be told in headlines alone:

Top U.S. economist warns against American demonization of China – Jeffrey Sachs

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1150057.shtml

On Hostile Coexistence with China – Chas Freeman

https://chasfreeman.net/on-hostile-coexistence-with-china/

‘If trade stops, war starts,’ Alibaba founder – Jack Ma

https://www.rt.com/business/376431-jack-ma-trade-war-globalisation/

Chinese T.V. Station Pulls US-Made Films, Runs Classic Anti-US War Flicks Instead

https://sputniknews.com/asia/201905201075174494-Chinese-TV-Station-Pulls-US-Films-Runs-War-Flicks

I hear through the economic grapevine that there is now a popular and modern opposition song in China against the U.S. and economic war. I understand this is a war song. China and her people are ready for whatever shape or form this war will take, and Mr. Trump inadvertently unleashed the dragon, which may just spit fire and roast the U.S. first. Its time to go on record and say that my own expectation is that the Empire will fail in their objectives for this economic war, but much damage will be caused as the U.S. now is only able to cause damage.  It will in fact be impossible to find ‘the winner’.  How will a winner be defined and by who?  The Chinese ‘understanding’ is not only absolutely correct, but is the only ‘understanding’ worth knowing.  This ‘understanding’ is : There are no winners in an economic war, only horrendous costs for humanity.

Pentagon Obsession: China, China, China

Pentagon Obsession: China, China, China

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with Strategic Culture) by special agreement with the author)

Chinese nuclear bombers. Chinese hypersonic missiles. Chinese carrier killer missiles. Chinese cyberattacks. Chinese anti-satellite weaponry. Chinese militarization of the South China Sea. Chinese Huawei spying.

So many Chinese “malign intentions”. And we’re not even talking about Russia.

Few people around the world are aware that the Pentagon for the moment is led by a mere “acting” Defense Secretary, Patrick Shanahan.

That did not prevent “acting” Secretary to shine in the red carpet when presenting the Trump administration’s 2020 Pentagon budget proposal – at $718 billion – to the Senate Armed Services Committee: the top US national security threat is, in his own (repeated) words, “China, China, China”.

“Acting” Shanahan has been in charge since Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis – the original butcher of Fallujah in 2004 – resigned last December. His former employer happened to be Boeing. The Pentagon’s inspector general is still investigating whether Shanahan was in fact acting as a no holds barred Boeing commercial asset whenever he met the Pentagon top brass.

That, of course, fits the classic Beltway “revolving door” pattern. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a Washington-based group, actually filed a complaint around the fact that “acting” Shanahan blasted Lockheed Martin, Boeing’s competitor, in every top-level Pentagon meeting.

Shanahan told the Senate, “China is aggressively modernizing its military, systematically stealing science and technology, and seeking military advantage through a strategy of military-civil fusion.”

That includes Beijing’s development of a nuclear-capable long-range bomber that, according to Shanahan, will put it on the same level as the US and Russia as the only global powers controlling air-, sea- and land-based nuclear weapons.

It’s essential to remember that Mattis and Shanahan are the main authors of the National Defense Strategy adopted by the Trump administration which accuses China of striving for “Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in the near-term and displacement of the United States to achieve global pre-eminence in the future.”

Now compare it with

Col. Larry Wilkerson’s view; the whole Pentagon show is all about offense while Russia and China are always emphasizing defense.

Fighting the Trojan Horse

Even more enlightening is to directly compare the Pentagon approach with the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces under its chief, Gen. Valeriy Gerasimov.

Gerasimov identified “the US and its allies” as engaged in permanent war of all types, including “preparation for ‘global strike’, ‘multi-domain battle’, [and the] use of the technology of ‘color revolutions’ and ‘soft power’. Their goal is the elimination of the statehood of undesirable countries, undermining their sovereignty, changing the legitimately elected public authorities. Thus it was in Iraq, in Libya and in Ukraine. Now similar actions are observed in Venezuela.”

So there it is, graphically explained: Venezuela, geostrategically, is as important to Moscow as Syria and Ukraine.

Gerasimov also detailed how, “the Pentagon has begun to develop a fundamentally new strategy of warfare, which has been dubbed the ‘Trojan Horse’. Its essence lies in the active use of the ‘protest potential of the fifth column’ in order to destabilize the situation with simultaneous strikes by precision-guided weapons on the most important targets.”

Then the clincher; “The Russian Federation is ready to oppose every one of these strategies. In recent years, military scientists, together with the General Staff, have developed conceptual approaches to neutralize the aggressive actions of potential opponents. The field of research of military strategy is armed struggle, its strategic level. With the emergence of new areas of confrontation in modern conflicts, methods of struggle are increasingly shifting towards the integrated application of political, economic, information and other non-military measures, implemented with the support of military force.”

Call it Russia’s response to Made in USA Hybrid War. With the major incentive of being a value for money operation; after all the Russian General Staff, unlike the Pentagon, is not in the business, for all practical purposes, of stealing trillions of dollars from taxpayers for several decades.

There’s no question the Chinese leadership, not exactly adept at state of the art Hybrid War techniques, is studying the Russian military strategies in excruciating detail.

Of course this is all intrinsically linked to Putin’s leadership. Last month, in Moscow, Rostislav Ishchenko, arguably the top Russian analyst of the Ukraine saga, explained it to me in detail:

“Putin does not ‘take over the elites’ or ‘guide the nation.’ His genius lies in an acute intuitive sense of the strategic needs of the nation (which creates a strong feedback and causes absolute trust of the absolute majority of the people), but most importantly, he is a master of political compromise, understanding the importance of maintaining peace between different social, economic, and political groups within the country, to ensure its stability, prosperity, and international authority. Given that foreign policy is always a continuation of domestic policy, we can clearly trace his desire for compromise in Russian international activity.”

“Putin, Ishchenko added, “does not try to suppress the opponents even in those cases when Russia is unconditionally stronger and the result of the confrontation will clearly be in her favor. Putin understands that both the loser and the winner lose in the confrontation. Therefore, he always offers a compromise for a long time, almost to the last opportunity, even to those who clearly do not deserve it, moving to other solutions only after the opponent has clearly crossed all possible red lines and can pose a threat to the vital interests of Russia. An agreement based on consideration of each other’s interests is always stronger than any short-term ‘victories’, which tomorrow will result in the need to reaffirm their status of the winner again and again. It seems to me that Putin understands this well. Hence the effectiveness of his actions. You can also take a look at his team. These are professionals who adhere to a variety of ideological views (or do not adhere to any). The main thing is that they perform their work qualitatively. The ability to manage such a team is another of its undoubted advantages. After all, these are all ambitious people who are aware of their professionalism and are able to defend their opinion, which is not always the same for everyone. Nevertheless, they work as a single mechanism and achieve really great results.”

Watch out for Yoda’s hordes

To expect the same from the US industrial-military-surveillance complex would be idle.

In fact, “acting” Shanahan’s deputy, Under Secretary David Trachtenberg, doubled down when addressing the Senate Armed Services Committee; he said that Washington will not relinquish its self-attributed right for a nuclear first strike.

In his own words; “A ‘no-first use’ policy would erode US allies’ belief that they are protected.” As if all US allies were begging in unison to be “defended” by US nuclear bombs. In true “war is peace” mode, this Orwellian state of affairs is justified under the Pentagonese notion of “constructive ambiguity”.

The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) exhibits a long list of causes that may detonate a US nuclear first strike – including a worryingly vague attack on “allied or partner civilian infrastructure”. Even a clumsy false flag, for instance in the South China Sea, could lead to such a stand off.

All of the above is in fact directly linked to the death of Yoda.

Yoda is of course RAND asset Andrew Marshall, who was the director of the nefarious Office of Net Assessment at the Pentagon from 1973 to 2015.

Predictably, scores of Atlanticist think tanks are celebrating Yoda as the winner in devising the new rollback US “strategy” against China.

Yoda did groom scores of analysts across the whole spectrum of the industrial-military-surveilance complex – including think tanks, universities and mainstream media.

So in the end Yoda did body-slam Bismarckian Henry Kissinger – who remains alive, sort of (if Marshall was Yoda, would Kissinger be Darth Vader?) Kissinger always advised containment in relation to China, disguised as what he termed “co-evolution”.

Yoda finished off not only Kissinger but also the Obama administration’s wobbly and ill-defined “pivot to Asia”. Yoda preached hardcore confrontation with China. There’s no question that even beyond the grave, he’ll continue to rule over his warmongering Beltway hordes.

The EU bows to ‘systemic rival’ China

ٍSourceThe EU bows to ‘systemic rival’ China

March 28, 2019

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with Consortium News) by special agreement with the author)

Let’s start with the essential background for the meeting in Paris on Tuesday between Chinese President Xi Jinping and three EU heavyweights – French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President of the European Commission (EC) Jean-Claude Juncker.

As imperfect as these figures may be, economic growth for the past 10 years after the 2008 financial crisis – which was a made in the West phenomenon – do tell an enlightening story.

China’s growth: 139%. India’s growth: 96%. the US’ growth: 34%. EU growth: a negative 2%.

French mainstream media, controlled by a rarified group of oligarchs, spun a risible narrative that Macron “imposed” this four-way meeting on Xi to press on him the new EC strategy aiming to “clarify” Chinese ambiguity in relation to the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

As I previously reported, the EC now brands China a “systemic rival,” and seems to have realized that Beijing is an “economic competitor in search of technological leadership.” And that may translate as a threat to European values and norms.

Xi had just come from Rome – where the populist, eurosceptic Lega, Five Stars coalition government became the first G7 nation to sign a partnership with the BRI, igniting massive sparks of Atlanticist fear.

So in the end, what did we get from Chancellor Angela Merkel as the EU faced a process French elites describe as Sino-globalization?

We had realpolitik. Merkel stressed the BRI was an “important” project: “We, as Europeans, want to play an active part and that must lead to certain reciprocity and we are still wrangling over that a bit.” She added: “We are seeing the project as a good visualization of interaction, interrelation and interdependence.”

Merkel was essentially relaying the position of German business elites – as a trade powerhouse, the future of Germany lies in turbo-charging business with Asia, especially China.

So, instead of demonizing Rome, in practice Berlin will eventually embark on the same path. After all, Duisburg, in the Ruhr valley, is already the de facto top BRI terminal in northern Europe.

Xi and his EU partners did not fail to emphasize multilateralism. There could not be a more glaring contrast to the Trump administration’s narrative that China is a threat and the BRI is all about Chinese “vanity.” Juncker even tried to defuse the “systemic” tension: “We understand that China does not like the expression ‘rivals,’ but it is a compliment describing our shared ambitions.”

Add to it that Xi also felt the need to remind the EU leadership of the obvious. China will continue to “open up,” as it managed in only 40 years to accomplish what Europe did over the course of the entire industrial revolution.

New Silk Air, anyone?

On the – embattled – Macron front, more than New Silk Roads a de facto New Silk Air seems to be in effect.

No one – apart from Boeing – argues about a 30 billion euro-plus Chinese order to buy 300 Airbuses. And that’s only the beginning. The fact that Beijing will use Airbus technology to enhance its aviation prowess under the framework of Made in China 2025 is another matter entirely.

So Paris may not have turned, like Rome, into an official partner to the New Silk Roads – at least not yet. But the promises are quite telling – on three fronts.

1) The emphasis on multilateralism – “strong and efficient.” That’s not exactly Trumpian rhetoric.

2) Common action with Beijing on climate change and biodiversity.

3) An economic-trade partnership that respects mutual interests. That is, in fact, New Silk Roads-BRI official policy since the beginning, in 2013.

So when we compare the different strategies by Rome and Paris, Xi has, in fact, come out with a win-win.

Merkel, predictably, was careful to hedge to the hilt: “The triangle between EU, China and US is very important. Without the US, we will not be able to have multilateralism.”

At the same time, she stressed, the US-China trade war was “hitting our German economy.”

As for Team Macron, with the leader obsessed with posing as the savior of the EU ahead of the European Parliament elections in May, they could not help but go after the administration in Rome.

According to a Macron acolyte: “There is this bad European habit to have 28 different policies, with countries competing against each other to attract investment. We need to speak with a common voice if we want to exist. We have the same approach on the 5G issue: avoiding 28 different decisions.”

The 5G Monaco Grand Prix

Which brings us to the case of Monaco, not exactly a shabby prize – and duly visited by Xi, who was received, literally, as royalty.

The principality is absolutely avid to gobble up the fast-growing Chinese luxury tourism market. And that explains why Monaco has already signed a deal with Huawei to be the first country to be entirely covered by 5G before the end of 2019.

Paris, by the way, has not ruled out using Huawei equipment. And as a cherry on the cake, guess which city Huawei chose to globally unveil its spectacular new P30 series of smartphones? Paris.

Make no mistake, for Beijing, in terms of trade and economic relations, Berlin is way more relevant than Paris. But these big three – Berlin, Paris and Rome – all have major roles to play.

The New Silk Roads being re-connected to Italy after half a millennium will accelerate Euro-Asia integration, and even, in the long run, more influence for both the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

EU businesses, if not political Eurocrats, are starting to realize that Europe cannot afford to become a battlefield in Cold War 2.0 between the US and Russia, cannot afford to become a hostage of Washington tearing up international law – see, for instance, the destruction of the Iran nuclear deal and recognizing the occupied Golan Heights as part of Israel – and cannot afford to become a victim of Washington’s trade whims.

It’s no wonder that slowly but surely, the EU is shifting its priorities to the East – including to its “systemic rival.”

All roads lead to Rome for Xi

Source

March 25, 2019

All roads lead to Rome for Xi

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times ) by special agreement with the author)

All (silk) roads do lead to Rome, as this Saturday Chinese President Xi Jinping and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will sign a memorandum to adhere to the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Afterward, Xi becomes a magnanimous version of The Sicilian, visiting the port of Palermo, with Beijing intent on investing in local infrastructure.

Atlanticist hysteria has been raging wildly – with the simplistic narrative focused on the fact that Italy is a G7 member, at the heart of the Mediterranean “mare nostrum”, and crammed with NATO bases. Thus, it cannot “sell out” to China.

Conte and diplomats in Rome have confirmed that this is strictly about economic cooperation, and signing a memorandum is non-binding. Italy has, in fact, been informally aligned with the Belt and Road scheme since 2015 when it became one of the founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which finances scores of BRI projects.

EU members Greece, Portugal and Malta have also signed BRI agreements. Berlin and Paris have not – at least not yet. Same with London, but post-Brexit that will inevitably happen as trade with China will become even more important for the UK.

Here, in English and Italian, is the draft text of the memorandum, although the final version may be slightly more diluted to appease the Eurocrats at the European Commission (EC), which last week defined China as a “systemic rival”.

Milan’s Corriere Della Sera published a comprehensive op-ed signed by Xi Jinping himself, even quoting legendary writer Alberto Moravia. Xi stresses the “strategic trustworthiness” between China and Italy and vows to “build a new stage of Belt and Road in aspects of the sea, the land, aviation, space and culture”. So, yes, this is not only about geoeconomics, but crucially also about the projection of geopolitical soft power.

Hoping to emulate Singapore

I have already explained how Marco Polo is back in China, again, and how the EU is struggling to position itself in a common front when dealing with its top trade partner. The ongoing geoeconomic game is essentially about the Maritime Silk Road – with  Italy positioning itself as BRI’s privileged southern European terminal.

The port of Venice is already being upgraded for a possible role as a BRI terminal. Now, the possibility opens for Genoa and the northern Adriatic ports of Trieste and Ravenna to be developed by COSCO and China Communications Construction. Conte himself has already singled out, on the record, Genoa and Trieste as “terminals for the New Silk Roads”.

COSCO is on a roll. It has operated the port of Piraeus in Greece since 2008 and holds 35% of Rotterdam and 20% of Antwerp. And it plans to build a terminal in Hamburg. In the Battle of the Super-Ports, as I defined it, between northern and southern Europe, Cosco is betting on both sides.

Zeno D’Agostino, president of the Trieste port authority, even dreams of becoming the new Singapore, profiting from Chinese investment, while not renouncing to manage its new status – as happened with Piraeus. He has perfectly understood how, for the Chinese, Trieste is “the perfect gateway to Europe.”

Palermo is an even more interesting story. It happens to be the hometown of both Italian President Sergio Mattarella and, more significantly, Michele Geraci, the undersecretary of state for economic development. Geraci was a finance professor at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou from 2009 to 2018. A Sinophile fluent in Mandarin, he has been Rome’s point man negotiating with Beijing.

China directly investing in the Sicilian economy is a huge deal, totally in tune with Italian national interest in terms of expanding the role of a strategic bridge between southern Europe and northern Africa.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, left, is seen with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in this photo from late last year in Brussels. Photo: AFP / Dursun Aydemir / Anadolu

On the hypersensitive telecom front, it’s certain that every direct reference to data sharing, 5G and strategic infrastructure will not be part of the Italy-China BRI memorandum.

That won’t alter the fact that both Huawei and ZTE have been experimenting for years now on installing 5G in Italy. Huawei already sponsors two “smart and safe cities” research centers in Italy. And the recent opinion piece by one of Huawei’s rotating chairmen has made a huge splash not only in Italy but across the EU; Guo Ping argues that the reason for the current demonization campaign is that Huawei equipment blocks all back-doors available for spying by the US National Security Agency.

All aboard the BRI train

Moving on, when Xi visits France early next week, his focus will be totally different. The Paris establishment has not made up its mind yet on how deep to relate with BRI. Inside the EU, France is the top power in terms of constraining Chinese investment. So Xi’s strategy when meeting President Macron will rely on stressing cooperation on climate, global governance and peacekeeping operations.

According to media reports, Macron has also invited German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to join the meeting.

Beijing is very much aware that France chairs the G7 this year and is the crucial co-actor along with Germany in shaping EU policies, especially after the crucial European elections in May that may translate into a huge success for far right, anti-Brussels parties.

Beijing is also focused on guaranteeing a smooth China-EU summit in Brussels on April 9, which will make things much easier for the 16+1 summit of China plus Eastern and Central Europe nations in Croatia on April 12. The inescapable fact is that the 16+1 – the majority of whom are part of the EU – as well as Greece, Portugal, Malta and now Italy are all on board of BRI.

Marco Polo is back in China – again

Source

March 10, 2019

Marco Polo is back in China – again

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author)

Embattled Chinese technology giant Huawei is on a new commercial offensive in New Zealand, one that playfully conflates the nation’s passion for rugby with telecommunications infrastructure.

“5G without Huawei is like rugby without New Zealand,” one billboard said. Another reads: “New Zealanders wouldn’t accept second or third best on the rugby field, and they shouldn’t have to put up with it when it comes to 5G.”

Last November, New Zealand blocked the use of Huawei equipment and supplies in the roll out its new generation 5G network over national security concerns, one of the first indications that Wellington is taking a harder look at its largest trading partner.

The company is not banned outright in New Zealand, but is under a temporary ban via its local partner Spark, which has been prohibited from deploying Huawei’s technology over spying concerns shared by New Zealand’s “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing partners, namely the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) said last year that it had “established links between the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) and a global campaign of cyber-enabled commercial intellectual property theft.”

“This long-running campaign targeted the intellectual property and commercial data of a number of global managed service providers, some operating in New Zealand,” Andrew Hampton, director general of the GCSB, said.

A Huawei advertising billboard in New Zealand. Photo: Huawei website screen grab

Concerns over Huawei’s alleged links to China’s ruling Communist Party are now global, but New Zealand’s stance on China is fast shifting, with Huawei’s ban just the latest in a growing list of concerns that have caused ripples in previously calm and mostly trade-centric relations.

Last month, headlines on both sides of The Ditch — the sea that separates Australia and New Zealand – were made after allegations surfaced that a New Zealand academic had been harassed by presumed Chinese agents.

New Zealand scholar and China expert Anne-Marie Brady recently alleged that her office at the University of Canterbury and then her personal residence were broken into by persons acting on behalf of the Chinese government.

Earlier, Chinese officials had appealed to her university as well as New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to stop funding her research, some of which has probed China’s military activities, including revelations that Beijing is building bases on territory that Australia claims in Antarctica. Brady was also the first to reveal that a sitting member of New Zealand’s parliament previously served as a Chinese security agent.

New Zealand’s newfound and rising China concerns are starting to mirror Australia’s. Canberra’s fears have centered on Beijing’s perceived interference in its domestic politics, resulting in new laws that without overtly naming China aim to curb its political influence.

Brady has testified to Australia’s parliament, which was recorded in the official Hansard ledger. Australian journalist Peter Hartcher noted last month that New Zealand had not done the same, though it has since faced strong pressure to do so, including via a 150-strong petition from academics.

Andrew Hastie, chair of the Australian parliament’s security and intelligence committee and noted China hawk, told the reporter that “it appears that she’s a target of interest for the Chinese Communist Party or apparatchiks of the Chinese state as a way of silencing her and intimidating her.”

“It’s very clear that my country’s government wants this story to go away. The Chinese Ministry of State Security operates in our societies unhindered and our governments just watch. It’s happening in Australia, too,” Brady told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

The shells of the Sydney Opera House are seen through a Chinese flag. Photo: AFP/Torsten Blackwood
The shells of the Sydney Opera House are seen through a Chinese flag. Photo: AFP/Torsten Blackwood

As the controversy spirals, Wellington is now waking to the issue. China’s targeting of Australia-based people of interest has until now been more overt.

In 2017, Chinese academic Chongyi Feng was detained in China and not allowed to board a flight to Australia, where he teaches at the University of Technology Sydney. Feng holds permanent residency in Australia but is not a citizen, meaning Canberra was limited in what it could do.

Unrelated but threatening moves have worried politicians, journalists and academics in Australia, with allegations and instances of spying, bribery, political donations, academic interference and pro-Beijing propaganda placements in Chinese language Australian newspapers.

While some claims have bordered on hysteria, others have been proved and grounded in fact. To be sure, New Zealand’s view of China has not been as tortured as in Australia, which has relied on Chinese demand and investment to keep its recession-proof economy afloat even as it balances ties with its close ally the US.

But China is also New Zealand’s largest trade partner. New Zealand’s exports of all goods and services to China were worth NZ$16.6 billion (US$11.8 billion) for the year ended September 2018, $2.6 billion (US$1.8 billion) more than Australia and almost double New Zealand’s sales to the US, a government website says.

New Zealand is not confronted with the same trade-versus-security dilemma as Australia, but recent Chinese moves in its backyard have clearly made Wellington uncomfortable. It’s view of China as a “strategic partner” is also changing, as Beijing increasingly challenges the “rules-based order” in global affairs New Zealand holds dear.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s left-leaning Labour government has started to raise those concerns, analysts note. Those were seen in a Strategic Defense Policy statement issued last year, the first by New Zealand to raise Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea.

“[New Zealand] is navigating a more complex world” and will “face challenges not previously seen in our neighborhood… [its] security outlook may be shaped most powerfully by a combination of forces putting pressure on the international rules-based order which will play out in newly potent ways close to home.”

New Zealand Labour leader Jacinda Ardern speaks to the press in Wellington on October 19, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Charlotte Greenfield
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in an October 19, 2017, file photo. Photo: Reuters / Charlotte Greenfield

China “seeks to restore claimed historical levels of influence … [and] some actions in pursuit of these aims challenge the existing order.” “It has expanded its military and coast guard presence in disputed areas of maritime Asia. It has determined not to engage with an international tribunal ruling on the status of sovereignty claims,” the paper said.

In July, New Zealand announced it would spend NZ$2.35 billion (US$1.67 billion) on four Boeing P-8A Poseidon submarine-hunting maritime patrol aircraft that would offer more interoperability with the US and Australia in naval exercises.

Winston Peters, acting foreign minister with the minority New Zealand First party, traveled to Washington last December to seek US support and help in the Pacific, New Zealand’s backyard and a part of the world that feels significantly less safe for a small but independent nation than it did even two years ago.

“New Zealand is a small but well-functioning democracy located at the bottom of the world,” he said in an address. “While New Zealand and the United States work together on a range of global issues, our cooperation and like-mindedness is now coming into sharper relief in the Asia Pacific where the region is becoming more contested and its security is ever more fragile.”

In recent months, analysts and academics have noticed a perceptible shift away from China. “I can’t recall in recent years a more substantial and consolidated New Zealand official view of the behaviors that China is exhibiting in the South China Sea,” professor Robert Ayson of Victoria University told Asia Times.

“Jacinda Ardern’s coalition government has brought with it generally higher levels of concern about some of China’s goals and actions in the wider Asia-Pacific region and an increased willingness to put these concerns on the public record.”

“China’s more worrying behavior and the arrival of a more concerned government has meant that those parts of New Zealand’s official community which have been concerned about China have had a more receptive audience in Cabinet for their views.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) welcomes New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters at the Department of State in Washington DC on December 17, 2018. Photo: Nicholas Kamm / AFP)

“It’s no coincidence that these stronger indications of skepticism and concern about China have come when Winston Peters is foreign minister and his [New Zealand] First colleague Ron Mark is Defense Minister,” he said via email, pointing out the minority leader’s nationalist and more traditional realist credentials compared with the left-leaning and inclusive Ardern.

But Ardern may also take a more traditional view that China can still be a part of rules-based-order, including in regard to climate change mitigation efforts. The basis for that is a “comprehensive strategic partnership” signed under former prime minister John Key and President Xi Jinping.

David Capie, a professor at the University of Wellington, told Asia Times that “those actions [of China’s] threaten New Zealand’s interests, so it’s not surprising that there would be a shift in policy. I’m sure it is a welcomed by our closest partners, but this is a New Zealand decision.”

There is speculation that Wellington has been pushed into a harder line vis-à-vis Beijing by both Canberra and Washington and that the Labour government — despite being far more left-leaning than the previous center-right Key government — was correcting a perceived laxity on China by its predecessors.

“It sometimes takes the election of a new government for officials to be able to take a look at policy settings and to work out if they need adjusting,” Capie said. “I think that’s what’s happened to New Zealand.”

Still, Wellington must keep intact its crucial economic ties with China, even as it changes the way it looks at Beijing’s place in the world and region. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with Ardern on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in November, where the two leaders discussed upgrading their ten-year-old free trade agreement (FTA), according to Chinese media.

Chinese tourists taking pictures in New Zealand. Photo: Facebook

New Zealand has also signed on to the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade pact. At the same time, domestic anti-China tensions have flared with Chinese buyers often blamed for inflating property prices. That backlash has recently motivated foreign property ownership law changes.

Adding to the economic drama, a plane bound for Shanghai to promote China-New Zealand tourism under the “Land of the Long White Cloud” promotion campaign was recently inexplicably turned back. The campaign aims to lure more Chinese to New Zealand, especially to lesser visited areas.

Much of New Zealand’s trade with China centers on dairy and agricultural exports, with the Chinese keen for goods and foods they see as clean, safe and high-quality. New Zealand has been using that clean image as a drawcard for tourism promotions. One entrepreneur even started selling bottled New Zealand air to China, with each bottle enough for 180 breaths.

“I wouldn’t overstate the shift that’s taken place. The government has expressed a desire to keep working with China and sees it as an especially important partner on issues like climate change and trade,” Capie said.

But the harassment of New Zealand nationals who reveal China’s hidden moves in the region and a block on Huawei’s involvement in its telecom infrastructure development shows the relationship is shifting from what was once a friendly, warm and trusted place.

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