Sergey Glazyev: ‘The road to financial multipolarity will be long and rocky’

In an exclusive interview with The Cradle, Russia’s top macroeconomics strategist criticizes Moscow’s slow pace of financial reform and warns there will be no new global currency without Beijing.

March 13 2023

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

The headquarters of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) in Moscow, linked to the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) is arguably one of the most crucial nodes of the emerging multipolar world.

That’s where I was received by Minister of Integration and Macroeconomics Sergey Glazyev – who was previously interviewed in detail by The Cradle –  for an exclusive, expanded discussion on the geoeconomics of multipolarity.

Glazyev was joined by his top economic advisor Dmitry Mityaev, who is also the secretary of the Eurasian Economic Commission’s (EEC) science and technology council. The EAEU and EEC are formed by Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia. The group is currently engaged in establishing a series of free trade agreements with nations from West Asia to Southeast Asia.

Our conversation was unscripted, free flowing and straight to the point. I had initially proposed some talking points revolving around discussions between the EAEU and China on designing a new gold/commodities-based currency bypassing the US dollar, and how it would be realistically possible to have the EAEU, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and BRICS+ to adopt the same currency design.

Glazyev and Mityaev were completely frank and also asked questions on the Global South. As much as extremely sensitive political issues should remain off the record, what they said about the road towards multipolarity was quite sobering – in fact realpolitik-based.

Glazyev stressed that the EEC cannot ask for member states to adopt specific economic policies. There are indeed serious proposals on the design of a new currency, but the ultimate decision rests on the leaders of the five permanent members. That implies political will – ultimately to be engineered by Russia, which is responsible for over 80 percent of EAEU trade.

It’s quite possible that a renewed impetus may come after the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow on March 21, where he will hold in-depth strategic talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On the war in Ukraine, Glazyev stressed that as it stands, China is profiting handsomely, as its economy has not been sanctioned – at least not yet – by US/EU and Beijing is buying Russian oil and gas at heavily discounted prices. The funds Russians are losing in terms of selling energy to the EU will have to be compensated by the proposed Power of Siberia II pipeline that will run from Russia to China, via Mongolia – but that will take a few more years.

Glazyev sketched the possibility of a similar debate on a new currency taking place inside the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – yet the obstacles could be even stronger. Once again, that will depend on political will, in this case by Russia-China: a joint decision by Xi and Putin, with crucial input by India – and as Iran becomes a full member, also energy-rich Tehran.

What is realistic so far is increasing bilateral trade in their own currencies, as in the Russia-China, Russia-India, Iran-India, Russia-Iran, and China-Iran cases.

Essentially, Glazyev does not see heavily sanctioned Russia taking a leadership role in setting up a new global financial system. That may fall to China’s Global Security Initiative. The division into two blocs seems inevitable: the dollarized zone – with its inbuilt eurozone – in contrast with the Global South majority with a new financial system and new trading currency for international trade. Domestically, individual nations will keep doing business in their own national currencies.

The road to ‘de-offshorization’

Glazyev has always been a fierce critic of the Russian Central Bank, and he did voice his misgivings – echoing his book The Last World War. He never ceases to stress that the American rationale is to damage the Russian economy on every front, while the motives of the Russian Central Bank usually raise “serious questions.”

He said that quite a few detailed proposals to reorient the Central Bank have been sent to Putin, but there has been no follow-up. He also evoked the extremely delicate theme of corruption involving key oligarchs who, for inscrutable reasons, have not been sidelined by the Kremlin.

Glazyev had warned for years that it was imperative for Moscow to sell out foreign exchange assets placed in the US, Britain, France, Germany, and others which later ended up unleashing sanctions against Russia.

These assets should have been replaced by investments in gold and other precious metals; stocks of highly liquid commodity values; in securities of the EAEU, SCO, and BRICS member states; and in the capital of international organizations with Russian participation, such as the Eurasian Development Bank, the CIS Interstate Bank, and the BRICS Development Bank.

It seems that the Kremlin at least is now fully aware of the importance of expanding infrastructure for supporting Russian exports. That includes creating international exchange trading marketplaces for trade in Russian primary goods within Russian jurisdiction, and in rubles; and creating international sales and service networks for Russian goods with high added value.

For Russia, says Glazyev, the key challenge ahead in monetary policy is to modernize credit. And to prevent negative impact by foreign financial sources, the key is domestic monetization –  “including expansion of long and medium-term refinancing of commercial banks against obligations of manufacturing enterprises and authorized government bodies. It is also advisable to consistently replace foreign borrowings of state- controlled banks and corporations with domestic sources of credit.”

So the imperative way to Russia, now in effect, is “de-offshorization.” Which essentially means getting rid of a “super-critical dependence of its reproduction contours on Anglo-Saxon legal and financial institutions,” something that entails “systematic losses of the Russian financial system merely on the difference in profitability between the borrowed and the placed capital.”

What Glazyev repeatedly emphasized is that as long as there’s no reform of the Russian Central Bank, any serious discussion about a new Global South-adopted currency faces insurmountable odds. The Chinese, heavily interlinked with the global financial system, may start having new ideas now that Xi Jinping, on the record, and unprecedentedly, has defined the US-provoked Hybrid War against China for what it is, and has named names: it’s an American operation.

What seems to be crystal clear is that the path toward a new financial system designed essentially by Russia-China, and adopted by vast swathes of the Global South, will remain long, rocky, and extremely challenging. The discussions inside the EAEU and with the Chinese may extrapolate to the SCO and even towards BRICS+. But all will depend on political will and political capital jointly deployed by the Russia-China strategic partnership.

That’s why Xi’s visit to Moscow next week is so crucial. The leadership of both Moscow and Beijing, in sync, now seems to be fully aware of the two-front Hybrid War deployed by Washington.

This means their peer competitor strategic partnership – the ultimate anathema for the US-led Empire – can only prosper if they jointly deploy a complete set of measures: from instances of soft power to deepening trade and commerce in their own currencies, a basket of currencies, and a new reserve currency that is not hostage to the Bretton Woods system legitimizing western finance capitalism.

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

The War of Terror of a Rogue Superpower: Cui Bono?

February 11, 2023

by Pepe Escobar, widely distributed on the Internet, posted with the author’s permission

When it comes to the Global South, what the Hersh report imprints is Rogue Superpower, in giant blood red letters, as state sponsor of terrorism.

Everyone with a brain already knew the Empire did it. Now Seymour Hersh’s bombshell report  not only details how Nord Stream 1 and 2 were attacked, but also names names: from the toxic Straussian neoliberal-con trio Sullivan, Blinken and Nuland all the way to the Teleprompter Reader-in-Chief.

Arguably the most incandescent nugget in Hersh’s narrative is to point ultimate responsibility directly at the White House. The CIA, for its part, gets away with it. The whole report may be read as the framing of a scapegoat. A very fragile, shoddy scapegoat – what with those classified documents in the garage, the endless stares into the void, the cornucopia of incomprehensible mumbling, and of course the whole, ghastly, years-long family corruption carousel in and around Ukraine, still to be completely unveiled.

Hersh’s report happened to pop up immediately after the deadly earthquakes in Turkey/Syria. This is an investigative journalism earthquake in itself, straddling over fault lines and revealing countless open air fissures, nuggets of truth gasping for air amidst the rubble.

But is that all there is? Does the narrative hold from start to finish? Yes and no. First of all, why now? This is a leak – essentially from one Deep State insider, Hersh’s key source. This 21st century “Deep Throat” remix may be appalled at the toxicity of the system, but at the same time he knows that whatever he says, there will be no consequences.

Cowardly Berlin – ignoring the nuts and bolts of the scheme all along – will not even squeak. After all the Green gang has been ecstatic, because the terror attack has thoroughly advanced their medieval de-industrialization agenda. In parallel, as an extra bonus, all the other European vassals receive further confirmation this is the fate that awaits them if they don’t follow His Master’s Voice.

Hersh’s narrative frames the Norwegians as the essential accessory to terror. Hardly surprising: NATO’s Jens “Peace is War” Stoltenberg has been a CIA asset for perhaps half a century. And Oslo of course had its own motives to be part of the deal; to collect loads of extra cash selling whatever spare energy it had for desperate European customers.

A little narrative problem is that Norway, unlike the U.S. Navy, still does not have any operational P-8 Poseidon. What was clear at the time is that an American P-8 was commuting back and forth – with mid-air refueling – from the U.S. to Bornholm island.

A positive screamer is that Hersh – rather, his key source – had the MI6 completely vanish from the narrative. SVR, Russian intel, had focused like a laser on MI6 at the time, as well as the Poles. What still cements the narrative is that the combo behind “Biden” provided the planning, the intel and coordinated the logistics, while the final act – in this case a sonar buoy detonating the C4 explosives – may have been perpetrated by the Norwegian vassals.

The problem is the buoy may have been dropped by an American P-8. And there’s no explanation of why one of the sections of Nord Stream 2 escaped intact.

Hersh’s modus operandi is legendary. From the perspective of a foreign correspondent on the ground since the mid-1990s, from the U.S. and NATOstan to all corners of Eurasia, it’s easy for someone like me to understand how he uses anonymous sources and how he accesses – and protects – his extensive list of contacts: trust works both ways. His track record is absolutely unrivalled.

But of course the possibility remains: what if he is being played? Is this no more than a limited hangout? After all, the narrative oscillates wildly between minute detail and quite a few dead ends, constantly featuring a huge paper trail and too many people in the loop – which implies exaggerated risk. The CIA hesitating too much to go for the kill is a certified red alert throughout the narrative – especially when we know that the ideal underwater actors for such an op would have come from the CIA Special Activities Division, and not the U.S. Navy.

What will Russia do?

Arguably the whole planet is thinking what will be the Russian response.

Surveying the chessboard, what the Kremlin and the Security Council see is Merkel confessing Minsk 2 was merely a ruse; the imperial attack on the Nord Streams (they got the picture, but might not have all the insider details provided by Hersh’s source); former Israeli PM Bennett on the record detailing how the Anglo-Americans killed the Ukraine peace process which was on track in Istanbul last year.

So it’s no wonder that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made it clear that when it comes to nuclear negotiations with the Americans, any proposed gestures of goodwill are “unjustified, untimely and uncalled for.”

The Ministry, on purpose, and somewhat ominously, was very vague on a key issue: “strategic nuclear forces objects” that have been attacked by Kiev – helped by the Americans. These attacks may have involved “military-technical and information-intelligence” aspects.

When it comes to the Global South, what the Hersh report imprints is Rogue Superpower, in giant blood red letters, as state sponsor of terrorism: the ritual burial – at the bottom of the Baltic Sea – of international law, and even the Empire’s tawdry ersatz, the “rules-based international order”.

It will take some time to fully identify which Deep State faction may have used Hersh to promote its agenda. Of course he’s aware of it – but that would never have been enough to keep him away from researching a bombshell (three months of hard work). The U.S. mainstream media will do everything to suppress, censor, demean and ignore his report; but what matters is that across the Global South it is already spreading like wildfire.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Lavrov has gone totally unplugged, much like Medvedev, denouncing how the U.S. has “unleashed a total hybrid war” against Russia, with both nuclear powers now on a path of direct confrontation. And as Washington has declared the “strategic defeat” of Russia as its goal and turned bilateral relations into a ball of fire, there can be no “business as usual” anymore.

The Russian “response” – even before Hersh’s report – has been on another level entirely; advanced de-dollarization across the spectrum, from the EAEU to BRICS and beyond; and total reorientation of trade towards Eurasia and other parts of the Global South. Russia is establishing firm conditions for further stability, already foreseeing the inevitable: the time to frontally deal with NATO.

As kinetic responses go, facts on the battleground show Russia further crushing the American/NATO proxy army in full Strategic Ambiguity mode. The terror attack on the Nord Streams of course will always be lurking in the background. There will be blowback. But that will be at a time, manner and place of Russia’s choosing.

Welcoming speech of the Russian Minister of Defence at the opening of 10th Moscow Conference on International Security

August 17, 2022

The opening of the 10th Moscow Conference on International Security took place at Avangard Centre for Military and Patriotic Education of Youth within the framework of ARMY 2022 IMTF. The Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation, General of the Army Sergei Shoigu, addressed the participants of the event:

Ladies and gentlemen!

It is a pleasure to welcome you to the 10th Moscow Conference on International Security.

This conference comes at a time of radical change in global and regional security. The unconditional dominance of the US and its allies is a thing of the past. On February 24, 2022, the start of the special military operation in Ukraine marked the end of the unipolar world.

Multipolarity has become a reality. The poles of this world are clearly defined. The main difference between them is that some respect the interests of sovereign states and take into account the cultural and historical particularities of countries and peoples, while others disregard them. There have been numerous discussions on this topic during previous sessions of the Moscow conference.

In Europe, the security situation is worse than at the peak of the Cold War. The alliance’s military activities have become as aggressive and anti-Russian as possible. Significant US forces have been redeployed to the continent, and the number of coalition troops in Eastern and Central Europe has increased manifold.

It is important to note that the deployment of additional NATO Joint Force formations on the bloc’s “eastern flank” had already started before the start of the special military operation in Ukraine.

NATO has dropped its masks. The aggressive nature of the bloc was no longer concealed by the wording of the coalition’s purely defensive orientation. Today, the alliance’s strategic planning documents enshrine claims to global dominance. Alliance’s interests include Africa, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim.

In the West’s view, the established system of international relations should be replaced by a so-called rules-based world order. The logic here is simple and ultimatumatic. Either the alliance’s “democratic partner” candidate loses sovereignty and becomes supposedly on the “right side of history”. Or it is relegated to the category of so-called authoritarian regimes, against which all kinds of measures, up to and including coercive pressure, can be used.

Given that the Conference is attended by heads of defence agencies and security experts from different regions of the world, I would like to highlight some aspects of the special military operation in Ukraine.

In Ukraine, the Russian military is being confronted by combined Western forces that run the leadership of that country in a hybrid war against Russia.

The supply of weapons and military equipment to Ukraine is being stepped up, and training of the Ukrainian army is being carried out. Huge financial resources are transferred to maintain the viability of the nationalist regime.

The actions of Ukraine’s armed forces are planned and coordinated by foreign military advisers. Reconnaissance data is supplied from all available NATO sources. The use of armaments is supervised by Western specialists.

NATO’s efforts are aimed at prolonging the agony of the Kiev regime. However, we know for a fact that no one in NATO has any doubt that the goals of the Russian leadership’s special military operation will be achieved, and that plans to strategically and economically weaken Russia are failing. The dollar has not reached the ceiling of 200 roubles, as predicted by the US president, the Russian economy has stood firm.

The special military operation has dispelled the myth of “super-weapons” supplied to Ukraine by the West, which are capable of fundamentally changing the situation on the front. Initially, they were talking about deliveries of Javelin anti-tank systems, some kind of “unique” drones. Lately, the Westerners have been promoting the role of super-weapons with HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems and long-range howitzers. However, these weapons also grind to a halt in battle. They did not make a significant impact. The Russian weapons, for their part, have proved their best qualities in combat.

We are taking a close look at trophy weapons from the West. The features and their specific qualities are taken into account in order to improve the way combat operations are conducted and the effectiveness of Russian armaments.

The supply of NATO weapons to Kiev means that Western countries are responsible for their inhumane use and for the deaths of civilians in Donbass and in the liberated territories. Ukrainian armed forces operations are planned in Washington and London. Not only are the coordinates of the targets to be attacked provided by Western intelligence, but the input of this data into weapons systems is conducted under the full control of Western specialists.

Kiev’s role in the West’s combat approach has been reduced to supplying manpower, which is seen as expendable. This explains the huge loss of personnel in Ukraine’s armed forces and territorial defence formations.

So far, the real figures of dead soldiers and mobilised so-called territorial defence forces have been concealed by the Kiev leadership.

In time, however, this information will become public. The testimonies of POWs of AFU allow us to form a realistic picture of what is happening on the other side of the front. The dismissive attitude towards the loss of foreign soldiers reinforces the thesis that NATO has purely selfish interests in Ukraine. Clearly, Britain’s colonial experience as the main sponsor of the Kiev regime has come in very handy for London in dealing with the current leadership in Kiev.

Against this background, speculation is spreading in the media about the alleged use of Russian tactical nuclear weapons in the special military operation or the readiness to use chemical weapons. All of these information gibberish are lies.

From a military point of view, there is no need to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine to achieve its goals. The main purpose of Russian nuclear weapons is to deter a nuclear attack. Its use is limited to extraordinary circumstances as defined in the Russian guideline documents, which are open to public inspection.

The allegations about the possible use of chemical weapons in Ukraine are also absurd. Let me remind you that, unlike the US, such weapons were completely destroyed in our country back in 2017 as part of our international obligations. Meanwhile, poisoning provocations have become the hallmark of Western-sponsored so-called civil society organisations such as the White Helmets in Syria.

The information provocations are aimed at distracting attention from the facts discovered in Ukraine that US experts have conducted banned military and biological research.

Currently, a significant amount of data has been accumulated and is regularly made available to the general public. Work will continue in this direction.

US military-biological activities in Ukraine are not exceptional. Pentagon-controlled laboratories have been established and operate in many post-Soviet, Asian, African and Latin American countries. Local authorities generally have no control over research carried out on their premises that poses a lethal threat to the local population. The consequences of epidemics, I believe, were felt by all during the period of the fight against the spread of coronavirus.

I would like to focus separately on the humanitarian aspects of the special military operation. Compliance with the Geneva Conventions on the rules of war has always been and remains the focus of commanders at all levels. Since the beginning of the operation, orders have been issued stipulating the procedures to be followed by soldiers in dealing with civilians and enemy prisoners of war.

In the territories liberated from nationalists, the troops are actively involved in the delivery of humanitarian aid, the restoration of infrastructure and the maintenance of law and order. This was the case in Syria, in Nagorno-Karabakh, and it is also the case in Donbass.

On humanitarian issues, there has been fruitful cooperation with the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross. We are grateful for the constructive, depoliticised cooperation of the leaders and staff of these organisations who interact with us. In particular, under the auspices of the UN and with Turkey’s active role, the difficult problem of grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports was resolved. The Red Cross specialists carry out an important mediation mission in relation to captured soldiers.

NATO has recently initiated a new phase of alliance enlargement, with Sweden and Finland joining the military bloc. The claim that the reason for this was the Russian special operation is untrue.

The practical rapprochement between these countries and the alliance has been ongoing for many years. In fact, the regional association NORDEFCO (Committee for Nordic Defence Cooperation) is a northern affiliate of NATO and serves as a cover for these countries’ participation in joint military training activities.

Of course, the official involvement of Helsinki and Stockholm in NATO’s strategic planning and the possible allocation of territory to these states for deployment of strike weapons will change the security environment in the Baltic region and the Arctic and will require a reconsideration of approaches to defence of Russian territory.

Certain conclusions have already been reached and are enshrined in the updated Maritime Doctrine approved by the President of the Russian Federation on July 31. Work will continue in this area.

The reinforcement of the NATO military grouping on the “eastern flank” completes the degradation of the trust and arms control mechanisms that emerged in Europe during the Cold War. A few years ago, experts proposed that the European experience should be used to build confidence-building measures, in particular in the Pacific Rim. Now, of all the “baggage” of the Euro-dialogue, only the idea of bloc confrontation is exported to Asia, which has not brought anything positive to security in Europe.

Today, no one remembers the US destruction of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Limitation Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty. Although previously these agreements were crucial for disarmament and confidence-building.

Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which was conceived as a platform for dialogue and consideration of different views, has become a generator of anti-Russian narratives.

Vienna Document 2011 remains formally in force, but there are no prospects for practical implementation. In the absence of trust between the parties, the verification mechanism effectively becomes a source of intelligence, which is not in the spirit of this agreement.

The situation with regard to the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty is also complicated. The agreement remains in force until 2026. On the Russian side the commitments are fulfilled, the declared levels of carriers and warheads are maintained within the established limits.

U.S. claims that Russia must earn the right to continue dialogue with the U.S. do not resist criticism. Arms control is a two-way street.

The result is only achievable if the interests and commitment of all participants are balanced. I believe that the Russian experience of interaction with the West in the field of disarmament shows that the so-called rules-based peace it promotes does not involve the implementation of treaty obligations in the traditional sense. This fact needs to be taken into account when entering into agreements, especially in the field of security and arms control.

Western opposition to the consolidation of a multipolar world, along with Europe, is most active in the Asia-Pacific region, where the US has begun to dismantle the existing ASEAN-based system of regional cooperation. This started with the announcement of the AUKUS initiative by the US, Australia and the UK. Plans to expand this partnership to include new regional partners have not been concealed. AUKUS is merging with NATO, which in turn claimed a dominant role in the Asia-Pacific region at the June summit. This is despite the fact that all NATO countries are thousands of miles away from the region.

On 2 August, the Russian Federation marked the 77th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s entry into the war with Japan, the occasion for which was Tokyo’s militarist policy. The defeat of Japanese forces in the Far East effectively sealed the end of World War II and provided the start for the liberation of the peoples of Asia from colonial oppression. The assistance of the USSR was of key importance. We remember and are proud of the legacy of our ancestors, including those who laid the foundation for military cooperation between Russia and the countries of the Asia-Pacific region.

Another dangerous regional trend is the AUKUS focus on developing a nuclear submarine fleet in Australia. The implementation of this plan would have a complex negative impact on global and regional security, creating the conditions for undermining the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

The US claims that nuclear-powered submarines are needed in Australia ostensibly to offset China’s growing naval capabilities. This logic in fact replicates the actions of the US in justifying its exit from the Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missile Treaty. The collapse of this agreement was also motivated by the need to offset Russian and Chinese efforts to develop missiles with a range allegedly prohibited by the treaty.

In the global context, the appearance of a nuclear-powered fleet in Australia will provide an excuse for other states to begin developing similar armaments. Pandora’s box will be opened, the global nuclear arms race will resume.

AUKUS has the potential to develop into a politico-military alliance. It cannot be excluded that NATO’s experience with joint nuclear planning and joint “allied” nuclear exercises will also be transferred to the region. The technical basis for this is already being laid by the active promotion of US-made aircraft. The participation of nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states in joint exercises on the use of nuclear weapons is contrary to obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Transferring nuclear training from Europe will blow up the region.

Although it can be assumed that this is precisely the purpose of the US. The provocative landing in Taiwan of a third person of the US bureaucratic hierarchy is another move to destabilise the situation.

Block-less, equal interaction in the region is an achievement that should not be lost due to externally imposed phobias and attempts to counter a multipolar world.

Mechanisms for interaction and dialogue with extra-regional partners are created and are proving their relevance and effectiveness. First and foremost is the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ and Partners’ Meeting, the so-called “ADMM-Plus” format. Its diverse activities focus on security issues of relevance to the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition, there is positive experience of cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, of implementing mutually beneficial projects on a bilateral basis.

As before, we are ready to share our experience of combat training, in particular during the Vostok-2022 strategic exercise to be held in the near future.

Despite significant successes in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East, the threat of international terrorist groups taking over the initiative remains. The Syrian military, in cooperation with allies and partners and with the support of the Russian Aerospace Forces, continues to suppress spikes in terrorist activity. We see a particular danger in using the Kurdish factor to unsettle the situation in Syria.

The engagement of the guarantor countries in the Astana format remains virtually the only legal and effective mechanism to address security concerns in Syria. We welcome the increased engagement between the Syrian leadership and the Arab world. Overcoming contradictions created by outside forces is possible and necessary.

The role of the military in building trust between countries is an important element in the search for political solutions. We expect that the Moscow conference will be one of the rallying points for the stabilisation of the situation in the Near East.

After the rapid withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan, the situation in the Central Asian region remains extremely tense. Afghanistan’s new leadership faces serious military and economic challenges. The legacy of two decades of alliance troop presence is a disappointing one. As a result, there remains a high level of terrorist danger in the region.

The security problems of Central Asia can only be solved by coordinated action by all the countries and international organisations concerned. For our part, we will continue to support our Collective Security Treaty Organisation allies in enhancing the capabilities of national armed forces.

It is important to keep the topic of Afghanistan on the agenda of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation discussions. Russia, China, India, Iran and Pakistan together could make a significant contribution not only to stabilising the region, but also to preventing the threat from spreading beyond its borders.

The security of each region, despite the general trends of a multipolar world, has its own peculiarities.

For Africa, the specificity lies in the desire of the countries of the collective West to return to the order and rules of engagement typical of the colonial period. Neo-colonialism is imposed through military pressure on governments of sovereign countries and support for separatist and terrorist movements. A case in point is Libya, where statehood has still not been restored after the NATO invasion. Another example is the situation in West Africa, where European troops have been deployed on the pretext of combating terrorism. For decades, these EU missions had been fighting terrorists, training national security forces, until they recognised the utter failure of their own efforts.

I would like to point out that African governments and leaders are holding their own, as they call it, in the context of a multipolar world, to pursue their own agenda of independence, sovereignty, economic development and defence capabilities.

The Russian Ministry of Defence is seeking to expand cooperation with African countries in the field of military and military-technical cooperation. Interest in the participation of national teams and delegations from Africa in the Army International Games and the “ARMY 2022” IMTF has increased significantly. It is very encouraging that prominent military commanders from our friendly states – Burundi, Cameroon, Guinea, Mali, Sudan, Uganda, Chad, Ethiopia and the Republic of South Africa – are present in this hall today. We appreciate your support and intend to increase cooperation on mutually beneficial projects.

Latin America today faces serious security challenges because of the American desire to maintain influence in the region under the provisions of the so-called Monroe Doctrine. Liberal values, whose adherence is seen by the US as agreeing to live in a world based on their rules, in fact mask the true objective – to build up a military presence by blocking the possibility of sovereign development of states.

U.S. policy focuses on deterring engagement by countries in the region with any other pole of power outside Washington’s control. The purpose of this policy is to involve the region in a confrontation with Russia and the PRC, to destroy traditional ties and to block new forms of cooperation in the military and military-technical spheres.

Anti-Russian information campaigns are launched in Latin America, hiding the truth about the causes and course of the special military operation in Ukraine. Analogies can be drawn to the British actions during the conflict in the Falkland Islands. What is happening in the Western media today with the coverage of the Russian special military operation was also happening when the media was chorally broadcasting only one point of view – that of London.

The question arises: are such policies in the fundamental interest of the countries of the region? The answer is clear – no. We hope that during the discussions at the conference we will hear assessments of the situation in Latin America from our partners from Venezuela and Nicaragua.

The Tenth Moscow Conference on International Security has a special importance for the Russian Ministry of Defence as organiser of the forum for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the conference is taking place during the ongoing special military operation in Ukraine. Despite attempts of the US and NATO to isolate Russia once again, your participation in the forum is a visible confirmation that these plans have collapsed. We appreciate your support.

Secondly, a multipolar world is the reality of today. The transition from dominance by a single global leader to several centres of gravity is not an easy one. However, this creates real conditions for the development of sovereign states.

Thirdly, the role of military agencies is changing in the new realities. The military not only guarantees a secure environment for economic development, but through military cooperation it builds predictability and trust between countries.

Finally, this is the tenth anniversary conference, which allows for a kind of review of what has been achieved over the years. It is important to observe how the priorities of the discussions have changed, and which conclusions and recommendations from the forum have been put into practice over the years. A short historical overview, prepared by Russian experts, can be viewed on the monitors between plenary sessions.

I wish you all good health and interesting contacts and discussions during your stay in Moscow.

Thank you for your attention.

source: https://eng.mil.ru/en/news_page/country/more.htm?id=12433677@egNews (which is blocked by western freedom loving democracies, so you need a VPN to access it!)

Western Propaganda Is The Reason Why The Anti-Russian Sanctions Blitzkrieg Failed

18 JUNE 2022

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Propaganda was so compellingly laundered as “truth” that Western policymakers began operating upon its false premises.

President Putin’s keynote speech at this year’s Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) was full of impressively deep insight that can’t be adequately summarized in a single article. All that can be done is to draw attention to certain points in each piece, which is precisely what the present one aims to do with respect to what the Russian leader said about the failure of the sanctions blitzkrieg against his country. The following paragraph provides incisive insight into his views on this subject:

“The very structure of Western sanctions rested on the false premise that economically Russia is not sovereign and is critically vulnerable. They got so carried away spreading the myth of Russia’s backwardness and its weak positions in the global economy and trade that apparently, they started believing it themselves. While planning their economic blitzkrieg, they did not notice, simply ignored the real facts of how much our country had changed in the past few years. These changes are the result of our planned efforts to create a sustainable macroeconomic structure, ensure food security, implement import substitution programmes and create our own payment system, to name a few.”

Put another way, President Putin is pretty much saying that the West believed its own propaganda about the Russian economy, hence why it sincerely thought that the sanctions blitzkrieg would quickly trigger that Great Power’s collapse. That of course didn’t happen, yet the sanctions still remain in effect, which speaks to their failure to learn this lesson and also the fact that some of their leaders are probably too stubborn to rescind those economic restrictions out of fear of “losing face”.

Extrapolating upon the propaganda perspective, it’s important to point out that the West’s anti-Russian information products do indeed seem to have been recycled back into the policymaking ecosystem. To explain, their intelligence agencies and those “fellow travelers” in the media who already think like they do and thus don’t have to be told what to say first put forth something blatantly or partially false about Russia, after which it proliferates through legacy and social media.

From there, second-level perception managers pick up the said product and expand on it, sharing their opinions and further twisting the weaponized narrative. These secondary information products also proliferate through the aforementioned media, being picked up by tertiary actors who then repeat the narrative laundering cycle indefinitely. The problem, however, is that sometimes policymakers come across these first-, second-, third-level, etc. products and naively take them for granted.

It should be assumed that they might sometimes discuss their policy proposals with the first-level perception managers or that the latter at times become aware that a proposal has been influenced by their information products. At this point, some speculation is admittedly being put forth in that one can’t know for sure whether the first-level perception manager omitted to tell the policymaker that their proposal is based on a falsehood whether in whole or in part or if they sincerely came to believe it.

In any case, it’s clear that no responsible stakeholder anywhere within this narrative laundering cycle intervened to shape the proposed policy closer to reality, instead letting it be formulated based upon some level of falsehood as is now known per President Putin’s insight and the fact that the sanctions blitzkrieg indisputably failed to trigger Russia’s economic collapse. In other words, propaganda was so compellingly laundered as “truth” that Western policymakers began operating upon its false premises.

It might very well be that some stakeholders somewhere within this cycle know the objective truth but for whatever reason were unable to convey it or their concerns were ignored if they did. All of this just goes to show how ideological the formulation of American policy has become, and it’s crucial to keep in mind that the failed sanctions blitzkrieg is just one example of what’s most likely many, with the Afghan War, Iraq War, and other such conflicts showing that narrative laundering can literally be deadly.

Be that as it is, America’s perception managers occupy such an important position in Western society nowadays that nobody can call them out for this even when there’s no question that their preplanned sanctions blitzkrieg against Russia completely failed. The elephant in the room can’t be talked about since discussing it breaks the taboo of acknowledging the connection between propaganda and policymaking, not to mention that this latest Hybrid War assault didn’t succeed whatsoever at all.

Moreover, the discredited supremacist ideology of “American Exceptionalism” is based upon that declining unipolar hegemon’s belief in its supposed infallibility, which is dogmatic at this point. For that reason, it cannot admit that the sanctions blitzkrieg failed, nor that it was entirely premised upon the same propaganda that its perception managers at one point put forth to mislead the world but which ultimately ended up misleading their own policymakers after some time.

What President Putin just did was expose the machinations of this narrative laundering cycle though it’s almost certain that most Westerners will never hear of this since his words are censored, selectively edited, and twisted whenever their perception managers report on them. Nevertheless, those who come across his speech and reflect upon the insight that was analyzed in this piece will come away wiser than before because they’ll finally have an idea of why US policy against Russia regularly fails.

Russia Rewrites the Art of Hybrid War

May 20, 2022

Hybrid War is being fought predominantly in the economic/financial battleground – and the pain dial for the collective West will only go up.

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

The ironclad fictional “narrative” imposed all across NATOstan is that Ukraine is “winning”.

So why would weapons peddler retrofitted as Pentagon head Lloyd “Raytheon” Austin literally beg since late February to have his phone calls answered by Russian Defense Minister Shoigu, only to have his wish finally granted?

It’s now confirmed by one of my top intel sources. The call was a direct consequence of panic. The United States Government (USG) by all means wants to scotch the detailed Russian investigation – and accumulation of evidence – on the US bioweapon labs in Ukraine, as I outlined in a previous column.

This phone call happened exactly after an official Russian statement to the UN Security Council on May 13: we will use articles 5 and 6 of the Convention on the Prohibition of Bioweapons to investigate the Pentagon’s biological “experiments” in Ukraine.

That was reiterated by Under Secretary-General of the UN in charge of disarmament, Thomas Markram, even as all ambassadors of NATO member countries predictably denied the collected evidence as “Russian disinformation”.

Shoigu cold see the call coming eons away. Reuters, merely quoting the proverbial “Pentagon official”, spun that the allegedly one-hour-long call led to nothing. Nonsense. Austin, according to the Americans, demanded a “ceasefire” – which must have originated a Siberian cat smirk on Shoigu’s face.

Shoigu knows exactly which way the wind is blowing on the ground – for Ukrainian Armed Forces and UkroNazis alike. It’s not only the Azovstal debacle – and Kiev’s all-around army breakdown.

After the fall of Popasnaya – the crucial, most fortified Ukrainian stronghold in Donbass – the Russians and Donetsk/Luhansk forces have breached defenses along four different vectors to north, northwest, west and south. What’s left of the Ukrainian front is crumbling – fast, with a massive cauldron subdivided in a maze of mini-cauldrons: a military disaster the USG cannot possibly spin.

Now, in parallel, we can also expect full exposure – on overdrive – of the Pentagon bioweapons racket. The only “offer you can’t refuse” left to the USG would be to present something tangible to the Russians to avoid a full investigation.

That’s not gonna happen. Moscow is fully aware that going public with illegal work on banned biological weapons is an existential threat to the US Deep State. Especially when documents seized by the Russians show that Big Pharma – via Pfizer, Moderna, Merck and Gilead – was involved in several “experiments”. Fully exposing the whole maze, from the start, was one of Putin’s stated objectives.

More “military-technical measures”?

Three days after the UN presentation, the board of the Russian Foreign Ministry held a special session to discuss “the radically changed geopolitical realities that have developed as a result of the hybrid war against our country unleashed by the West – under the pretext of the situation in Ukraine – unprecedented in scale and ferocity, including the revival in Europe of a racist worldview in the form of cave Russophobia, an open course for the ‘abolition’ of Russia and everything Russian.”

So it’s no wonder “the aggressive revisionist course of the West requires a radical revision of Russia’s relations with unfriendly states.”

We should expect “a new edition of the Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation” coming out soon.

This new Foreign Policy Concept will elaborate on what Foreign Minister Lavrov once again stressed at a meeting honoring the 30th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy: the US has declared an all-round Hybrid War on Russia. The only thing lacking, as it stands, is a formal declaration of war.

Beyond the disinformation fog veiling the application of Finland and Sweden – call them the Dumb and Dumber Nordics – to join NATO, what really matters is another instance of declaration of war: the prospect of missiles with nuclear warheads stationed really close to Russian borders. Moscow already warned the Finns and Swedes, politely, that this would be dealt with it via “military-technical measures”. That’s exactly what Washington – and NATO minions – were told would happen before the start of Operation Z.

And of course this goes much deeper, involving Romania and Poland as well. Bucharest already has Aegis Ashore missile launchers capable of sending Tomahawks with nuclear warheads at Russia, while Warsaw is receiving the same systems. To cut to the chase, if there’s no de-escalation, they will all eventually end up receiving Mr. Khinzal’s hypersonic business card.

NATO member Turkey, meanwhile, plays a deft game, issuing its own list of demands before even considering the Nordics’ gamble. Ankara wants no more sanctions on its purchase of S-400s and on top if be re-included in the F-35 program. It will be fascinating to watch what His Master’s Voice will come up with to seduce the Sultan. The Nordics engaged in a self-correcting “clear unequivocal stance” against the PKK and the PYD is clearly not enough for the Sultan, who relished muddying the waters even more as he stressed that buying Russian energy is a “strategic” issue for Turkey.

Counteracting financial Shock’n Awe

By now it’s evidently clear that open-ended Operation Z targets unipolar Hegemon power, the infinite expansion of vassalized NATO, and the world’s financial architecture – an intertwined combo that largely transcends the Ukraine battleground.

Serial Western sanctions package hysteria ended up triggering Russia’s so far quite successful counter-financial moves. Hybrid War is being fought predominantly in the economic/financial battleground – and the pain dial for the collective West will only go up: inflation, higher commodity prices, breakdown of supply chains, exploding cost of living, impoverishment of the middle classes, and unfortunately for great swathes of the Global South, outright poverty and starvation.

In the near future, as insider evidence surfaces, a convincing case will be made that the Russian leadership even gamed the Western financial gamble/ blatant robbery of over $300 billion in Russian reserves.

This implies that already years ago – let’s say, at least from 2016, based on analyses by Sergey Glazyev – the Kremlin knew this would inevitably happen. As trust remains a rigid foundation of a monetary system, the Russian leadership may have calculated that the Americans and their vassals, driven by blind Russophobia, would play all their cards at once when push came to shove – utterly demolishing global trust on “their” system.

Because of Russia’s infinite natural resources, the Kremlin may have factored that the nation would eventually survive the financial Shock’n Awe – and even profit from it (ruble appreciation included). The reward is just too sweet: opening the way to The Doomed Dollar – without having to ask Mr. Sarmat to present his nuclear business card.

Russia could even entertain the hypothesis of getting a mighty return on those stolen funds. A great deal of Western assets – totaling as much as $500 billion – may be nationalized if the Kremlin so chooses.

So Russia is winning not only militarily but also to a large extent geopolitically – 88% of the planet does not align with NATOstan hysteria – and of course in the economic/financial sphere.

This in fact is the key Hybrid War battleground where the collective West is being checkmated. One of the next key steps will be an expanded BRICS coordinating their dollar-bypassing strategy.

None of the above should overshadow the still to be measured interconnected repercussions of the mass surrender of Azov neo-Nazis at UkroNazistan Central in Azovstal.

The mythical Western “narrative” about freedom-fighting heroes imposed since February by NATOstan media collapsed with a single blow. Cue to the thunderous silence all over the Western infowar front, where no mutts even attempted to sing that crappy, “winning” Eurovision song.

What happened, in essence, is that the creme de la creme of NATO-trained neo-Nazis, “advised” by top Western experts, weaponized to death, entrenched in deep concrete anti-nuclear bunkers in the bowels of Azovstal, was either pulverized or forced to surrender like cornered rats.

Novorossiya as a game-changer

The Russian General Staff will be adjusting their tactics for the major follow-up in Donbass – as the best Russian analysts and war correspondents incessantly debate. They will have to face an inescapable problem: as much as the Russian methodically grind down the – disaggregated – Ukrainian Army in Donbass, a new NATO army is being trained and weaponized in western Ukraine.

So there is a real danger that depending on the ultimate long-term aims of Operation Z – which are only shared by the Russian military leadership – Moscow runs the risk of encountering, in a few months, a mobile and better weaponized incarnation of the demoralized army it is now destroying. And this is exactly what the Americans mean by “weakening” Russia.

As it stands, there are several reasons why a new Novorossiya reality may turn out to be a positive game-changer for Russia. Among them:

  1. The economic/logistics complex from Kharkov to Odessa – along Donetsk, Luhansk, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, Kherson, Nikolaev – is intimately linked with Russian industry.
  2. By controlling the Sea of Azov – already a de facto “Russian lake” – and subsequently the Black Sea, Russia will have total control of export routes for the region’s world-class grain production. Extra bonus: total exclusion of NATO.
  3. All of the above suggests a concerted drive for the development of an integrated agro-heavy industry complex – with the extra bonus of serious tourism potential.

Under this scenario, a remaining Kiev-Lviv rump Ukraine, not incorporated to Russia, and of course not rebuilt, would be at best subjected to a no-fly zone plus selected artillery/missile/drone strikes in case NATO continues to entertain funny ideas.

This would be a logical conclusion for a Special Military Operation focused on precision strikes and a deliberate emphasis on sparing civilian lives and infrastructure while methodically disabling the Ukrainian military/logistics spectrum. All of that takes time. Yet Russia may have all the time in the world, as we all keep listening to the sound of the collective West spiraling down.

FM Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the 30th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy

May 16, 2022

Moscow, May 14, 2022

Mr Lukyanov,

Mr Karaganov,

Colleagues,

I am glad to be here again, at this anniversary assembly. Last time, we met in this room on October 2, 2021. But I have an impression that this was in a totally different historical epoch.

I would like to congratulate you on the 30th anniversary of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy. Its activities are a fine example of Russian expert involvement in the foreign policy process. From the very start, the Council has brought together professionals, including politicians, state officials, journalists, academics, and entrepreneurs.  Throughout these years, this has ensured an effective and rewarding combination of practical experience and impeccable knowledge of the subject matter. Therein lies the key to comprehending the most complex international processes, particularly at stages like the present one. Advice, analytical materials, and debates (occasionally heated debates involving a clash of opinions) are of much help to us. We invariably take them into consideration in our foreign policy activities.

It is a cliche to say that this meeting is taking place at a historical turning point. I agree with the experts (Mr Karaganov and Mr Lukyanov have written a lot about this), who say that we again have to choose a historical path, like we did in 1917 and 1991.

The external circumstances have not just changed radically; they are changing ever more profoundly and extensively (though not becoming more elevated, unfortunately) with each passing day. And our country is changing along with them. It is drawing its conclusions. The choice we have taken is made easier by the fact that the “collective West” has declared a total hybrid war against us. It is hard to forecast how long this will last. But it is clear that its consequences will be felt by everyone without exception.

We did everything in our power to avoid a direct conflict. But they issued a challenge and we have accepted it. We are used to sanctions. We have been living under one or another form of sanctions for a long time now. The surprising thing is a surge of rabid Russophobia in almost all “civilised” countries. They have thrown to the wind their political correctness, propriety, rules, and legal norms. They are using the cancel culture against all things Russian. All hostile actions against our country are allowed, including robbery. Russian cultural figures, artists, athletes, academics, businesspeople and just ordinary citizens are exposed to harassment.

This campaign has not bypassed Russian diplomats. They often have to work under extreme conditions, occasionally with a risk to their health or life. We do not remember anything like the current massive and synchronised expulsion of diplomats happening even in the grimmest Cold War years. This is destroying the general atmosphere of relations with the West. On the other hand, this is freeing up energy and human resources for work in the areas with which our country’s future development should be associated.

In accordance with the demands of the times, we are carrying out our professional duties conscientiously and to the fullest extent. There are no traitors among our diplomats, although such attempts have been made from abroad and within the country. We do our best to defend the rights and interests of Russian citizens abroad. When the West hysterically reacted to the beginning of our special military operation and all flights were cancelled, we immediately helped Russians who were abroad at the time to return home. The routine consular services to Russians (of which there have always been many) are provided as always. It is clear that the situation demands that the diplomatic service works in a special regime. This is required by the new tasks set by the country’s leadership to protect national interests.

This is not only and not so much about Ukraine, which is being used as an instrument to contain the peaceful development of the Russian Federation in the context of their course to perpetuate a unipolar world order.

The Americans started preparing the current crisis long ago, right after the end of the Cold War, having decided that the way to global hegemony was then open. NATO’s eastward expansion has been one of the key components of such a course. We tried hard to convince them not to do this. We showed where and why our red lines are drawn. We were flexible, ready to make concessions and look for compromises. All this proved futile. President Vladimir Putin reminded us of this once again in his speech on May 9 on Red Square.

Today Western countries are ready to oppose Russia, as they now say, “to the last Ukrainian”. At first glance, this is a very convenient position, especially for the United States, which is managing these processes from across the ocean. At the same time, they are weakening Europe by clearing its markets for its goods, technologies and military-technical products.

In fact, the situation has many layers. Russia, the United States, China and all others realise that it is being decided today whether the world order will become fair, democratic and polycentric, or whether this small group of countries will be able to impose on the international community a neo-colonial division of the world into those who consider themselves “exceptional” and the rest – those who are destined to do the bidding of the chosen few.

This is the aim of the “rules-based order” concept that they have sought to introduce into general circulation for years. No one has seen, or discussed, or approved these “rules”, but they are being imposed on the international community. As an example, let me quote a recent statement by US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, who called for a new Bretton Woods framework and said that the United States would practice “the friend-shoring of supply chains to a large number of trusted countries” that shared “a set of [liberal] norms and values about how to operate in the global economy.” The hint is absolutely clear: the US dollars and the “benefits” of the international financial system are only for those who follow these American “rules.” Dissenters will be punished. Clearly, Russia is not the sole target, all the more so as we will fight back. The attack is aimed at all those capable of conducting an independent policy.  Take, for example, Washington’s pet Indo-Pacific strategy, which is directed against China. In parallel, it seeks to firmly and reliably harness India to the US and NATO. In the spirit of the Monroe doctrine, the United States wants to dictate standards to Latin America. The inevitable question is whether the Americans are really able to follow the key principle of the UN Charter, which states: “The Organisation is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.”

The “rules-based order” envisions neither democracy, nor pluralism even within the “collective West.” The case in point is the revival of tough bloc discipline and an unconditional submission of the “allies” to Washington’s diktat. The Americans will not stand on ceremony with their “junior partners.” The EU will finally lose all attributes of independence and obediently join the Anglo-Saxon plans to assert the unipolar world order, while sacrificing the Europeans’ quality of life and key interests in order to please the United States. Just recall how Victoria Nuland defined the EU’s place in Washington’s plans to reformat Ukraine in her conversation with the US Ambassador in Kiev in December 2013, at the height of the Maidan riots. Her prediction came true in its entirety. In security matters, the EU is also blending in with NATO, which, in turn, is making increasingly louder claims about its global ambitions. What defensive alliance? We are being told and assured to this day that NATO’s expansion is a defensive process and threatens no one. The Cold War defence line ran along the Berlin Wall – concrete and imagined – between the two military blocs. Since then, it has been moved east five times. Today, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, and others are telling us that NATO has a global responsibility to solve security problems, primarily in the Indo-Pacific region. As I understand it, the next defence line will be moved to the South China Sea.

It is being insinuated that NATO as the vanguard of the community of democracies should replace the UN in matters of international politics, or at least bring global affairs under its sway. The G7 should step in to run the global economy and from time to time invite benevolently the extras the West needs at this or that moment.

Western politicians should accept the fact that their efforts to isolate our country are doomed. Many experts have already recognised this, even if quietly and off the record, because saying this openly is “politically incorrect.” But this is happening right now. The non-Western world is coming to see that the world is becoming increasingly more diverse. There is no escaping this fact. More and more countries want to have a real freedom to choose their development ways and integration projects to join. An increasing number of countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America are refusing to abandon their national interests and to pull chestnuts out of the fire for the former parent countries. An overwhelming majority of our partners, who have felt the effects of Western colonialism and racism, have not joined the anti-Russia sanctions. The West, which President Putin described as the “empire of lies,” has not been considered an ideal of democracy, freedom and well-being for a long time. By plundering other countries’ material assets, the Western countries have destroyed their reputation of predictable partners who honour their commitments. Nobody is safe from expropriation and “state piracy” now. Therefore, not just Russia but also many other countries are reducing their reliance on the US dollar and on Western technologies and markets. I am sure that a gradual de-monopolisation of the global economy is not a distant future.

We have taken note of Fyodor Lukyanov’s article published in the newspaper Kommersant (on April 29, 2022), in which he writes, with good reason, that the West will not listen to us or hear what we have to say. This was a fact of life long ago, before the special military operation, and a “a radical reorientation of assets from the west to other flanks is a natural necessity.” I would like to remind you that Sergey Karaganov has been systematically promoting this philosophy by for many years. It is perfectly clear to everyone that the process has begun and not on our whim – we have always been open to an equal dialogue – but because of an unacceptable and arrogant behaviour of our Western neighbours, who have followed Washington’s prompting to “cancel Russia” in international affairs.

Forging closer ties with the like-minded forces outside of what used to be referred to as the Golden Billion is an absolutely inevitable and mutually driven process. The Russia-China relations are at their all-time high. We are also strengthening our privileged strategic partnerships with India, Algeria, and Egypt. We have taken our relations with the Persian Gulf countries to a whole new level. The same applies to our relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as other countries in Asia-Pacific, in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

We are fully aware of the fact it is at this juncture, which perfectly lends itself to be called a turning point, that the place for Russia and all other countries and forces in the future international architecture will be determined.

We believe the aim of Russia’s diplomacy is, on the one hand, to act with great resolve to fend off all adversarial attacks against us, while, on the other hand, to consistently, calmly and patiently reinforce our positions in order to facilitate Russia’s sustained development from within and improve the quality of life for its people. There is much to be done, as usual. We always have a packed agenda, but in the current environment we are witnessing a serious shift in the mindsets of many of our comrades in all spheres of Russia’s life. This makes meetings held by the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy especially useful because they help nurture ideas which make their way into Russia’s foreign policy.

The Putin-Modi Summit Was a Global Geostrategic Game-Changer

December 09, 2021

The de facto Russian-Indian hemispheric-wide “balancing” alliance that was agreed to during this week’s Putin-Modi Summit is one of the most significant diplomatic developments this century thus far. It’s truly a global geostrategic game-changer because of the irreplaceable role that it aims to play in the ongoing US-Chinese New Cold War.

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

The Globally Significant Summit

Russian President Putin’s visit to New Delhi to meet with Indian Prime Minister Modi was a geostrategically game-changing development in the context of the ongoing New Cold War. The “Partnership for Peace, Progress, and Prosperity” that both sides agreed to amounts to a de facto alliance in all but name and builds upon their 1971 “Treaty of Peace, Friendship, and Cooperation” from exactly half a century ago. This 99-point document aims to align both Great Powers’ Eastern Hemispheric-wide “balancing” acts in order to maximally optimize their impact on shaping the dynamics of the emerging Multipolar World Order. It can be regarded as among the most important diplomatic developments of this century thus far and will likely remain relevant for decades.

Background Briefing

The author outlined the contours of their complementary grand strategies in the following pieces:

* 16 May 2020: “The Prospects Of Russia And India Jointly Leading A New Non-Aligned Movement

* 17 February 2021: “Why Structural Realists Are Wrong To Predict That Russia Will Help The US Against China

* 7 October 2021: “Towards Bi-Multipolarity

What comes next is an oversimplified summary of the insight shared above.

Complementary “Balancing” Acts

Basically, Russia and India both aspire to “balance” the consequences of the primarily US-Chinese New Cold War, though they’ve thus far been going about it in different ways: Russia aligned closer to China while India did the same to the US. The mutual suspicions of each other’s grand strategic intent that this prompted were finally resolved earlier this year. Russia and India realized that they can do more if they coordinate their policies. This explains clause 93 of their reaffirmed partnership pact which declares that “The sides agreed to explore mutually acceptable and beneficial areas of cooperation in third countries especially in the Central Asia, South East Asia and Africa.”

The ”Neo-NAM”

That policy informally amounts to an attempt to organize a hemispheric-wide network of “non-aligned” states that share Russia’s and India’s interest in “balancing” between the US and China. In other words, it’s the prototype of the “Neo-NAM” that the author wrote about in May 2020 for the official journal of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO, which is run by the Russian Foreign Ministry). As he explained in the Indian military publication Force two months ago, this is aimed at enabling both Great Powers to flexibly adapting to the constantly changing geostrategic circumstances of the New Cold War through what’s described as their “bi-multipolarity” vision.

Russia’s Indo-Sino “Balancing” Act

It’s crucial to clarify that Russia has no intentions of infringing on China’s interests even if some in India might secretly wish that it would or could at least be tricked into doing so. Rather, the Eurasian Great Power understands that it has the responsibility to play an irreplaceable role in pragmatically managing tensions between its fellow BRICS and SCO partners in order to counteract the US’ incessant attempts to divide and rule them. Moscow appears to have accepted that if this rivalry won’t go away for some time, then the Kremlin must seek to ensure that it doesn’t lead to another Galwan-like conflict which could escalate into an all-out conventional war in the worst-case scenario.

“Military Diplomacy”

With this in mind, Russia is practicing what can be described as “military diplomacy”, or the use of military means to achieve political ends. In this case, it’s exporting equally strategic and high-quality arms to rivals China and India in order to maintain the balance of power between them with a view towards subsequently encouraging them to settle their disputes through political means instead of military ones. This contrasts with the American practice of “military diplomacy”, which attempts to give its preferred partner in any pair of rivals the military edge in order to encourage aggressive attempts to resolve existing disputes in a unilateral way instead of via a series of political compromises.

RIC

The Kremlin’s calculation is that if India is going to arm itself to the teeth anyhow, then it’s better for it to do so with Russian arms than American ones. While China might understandably feel uncomfortable with India’s massive military buildup, it seems to quietly prefer for this to be aided by Russia than the US if it’s seemingly inevitable. That could in turn enable Moscow to more effectively manage Washington’s pernicious divide-and-rule influence over New Delhi and thus hopefully stabilize Eurasian affairs. Proof of this concept in practice was seen late last month during the Russia-India-China (RIC) Foreign Ministers meeting that went ahead despite existing Chinese-Indian tensions likely due to Russia’s mediating role.

New Cold War Dynamics

China doesn’t believe in posing zero-sum choices upon its partners like the US does, but it’ll increasingly be compelled by the New Cold War’s American-influenced hyper-competitive dynamics into accepting that third countries are being pressured to choose between Beijing and Washington. This could place those states in very challenging positions since their cooperation with China is mutually beneficial yet they also fear the US’ Hybrid War wrath if they don’t submit to America’s demands to distance themselves from the People’s Republic as evidenced by the high-profile example that Washington is trying to make out of Ethiopia after its principled refusal to do so.  

The Geopolitical “Pressure Valve”

What’s urgently needed is a “pressure valve” for providing such countries with a so-called “third choice” whereby they can hopefully strike a balance between both superpowers without inadvertently offending one or the other. Therein lies the grand strategic significance of the Neo-NAM that the author proposed be jointly led by Russia and India. The first-mentioned is perceived as close to China while the second is seen as closer to the US, yet they’ve nevertheless proven their strategic autonomy through the latest Putin-Modi Summit. Russia continues to arm India to the teeth despite China’s concerns while India continues purchasing Russian arms despite the US’ sanctions threats for doing so.

Hemispheric Reach

Their declaration of intent to cooperate in third countries across Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa significantly involves the greatest theaters of rivalry in the US-Chinese New Cold War and can thus enable these two Great Powers to maximally optimize their complementary hemispheric-wide “balancing” acts. There’s also the chance that they’ll expand their cooperation to include West Asia considering the close relations that they each enjoy with Iran, “Israel”, and the UAE. When one remembers that they also pledged to work closer together in the Russian Arctic and Far East regions, it can be seen that their de facto “balancing” alliance truly encompasses the entire Eastern Hemisphere.

The European Dimension

While it might not have much of a direct impact on Europe in Western Eurasia, it does indeed have a very influential one when it comes to its indirect consequences. The North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) between them through Iran and Azerbaijan aims to facilitate EU-Indian trade via Russia while the possible expansion of the Vladivostok-Chennai Maritime Corridor (VCMC) to include the Northern Sea Route (NSR) through the Arctic for connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans could achieve this economic end through maritime means for complementing the NSTC’s mainland component.

Towards A Russian-American “Non-Aggression Pact”

Some skeptics might question the political viability of Russia facilitating EU-Indian trade (whether through mainland or maritime means) considering the heightened tensions between Moscow and the West, but it’s here where they should contemplate the intention behind the last two Putin-Biden Summits. They’re aimed at responsibly regulating their rivalry so that they can ultimately reach a so-called “non-aggression pact”. This outcome would be mutually beneficial since it would enable the US to redirect more of its military and other resources to the “Indo-Pacific” for more aggressively “containing” China while restoring EU-Russian relations for improving one another’s struggling economies.

The US’ Anti-Russian “Deep State” Faction

This scenario remains dependent on the Biden Administration’s ability to manage the anti-Russian faction of the US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) that’s trying to sabotage those two’s hoped-for “non-aggression pact” by leveraging its network of influence in the Baltic States, Poland, and Ukraine in order to provoke another East-West crisis. Right now, its anti-Chinese rival is predominant with respect to formulating the US’ grand strategy as evidenced by the last two Putin-Biden Summits. This change in the US’ “deep state” dynamics was former US President Trump’s most enduring legacy and was inherited by Biden as was just argued.

Concluding Thoughts

Back to the topic of this analysis, the de facto Russian-Indian hemispheric-wide “balancing” alliance that was agreed to during this week’s Putin-Modi Summit is one of the most significant diplomatic developments this century thus far. It’s truly a global geostrategic game-changer because of the irreplaceable role that it aims to play in the ongoing US-Chinese New Cold War. It’s of the highest importance that observers acknowledge this emerging reality in order to formulate the most effective policies for their countries to adapt to it. The Russian-Indian axis is now one of the most important in the world and will likely remain so for decades, perhaps even for the rest of the 21st century.

US/NATO vs. Russia-China in a hybrid war to the finish

US/NATO vs. Russia-China in a hybrid war to the finish

March 27, 2021

The unipolar moment is six feet under, the hegemon will try to break Eurasian integration and there’s no grownup in the room to counsel restraint

By Pepe Escobar, posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

Let’s start with comic relief: the “leader of the free world” has pledged to prevent China from becoming the “leading” nation on the planet. And to fulfill such an exceptional mission, his “expectation” is to run again for president in 2024. Not as a hologram. And fielding the same running mate.

Now that the “free world” has breathed a sigh of relief, let’s return to serious matters – as in the contours of the Shocked and Awed 21st Century Geopolitics.

What happened in the past few days between Anchorage and Guilin continues to reverberate. As Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that Brussels “destroyed” the relationship between Russia and the EU, he focused on how the Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership is getting stronger and stronger.

Not so casual synchronicity revealed that as Lavrov was being properly hosted by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Guilin – scenic lunch in the Li river included -, US Secretary of State Tony Blinken was visiting NATO’s James-Bondish HQ outside Brussels.

Lavrov made it quite clear that the core of Russia-China revolves around establishing an economic and financial axis to counterpunch the Bretton Woods arrangement. That implies doing everything to protect Moscow and Beijing from “threats of sanctions by other states”; progressive de-dollarization; and advances in crypto-currency.

This “triple threat” is what is unleashing the Hegemon’s unbounded fury.

On a broader spectrum, the Russia-China strategy also implies that the progressive interaction between the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) will keep apace across Central Asia, Southeast Asia, parts of South Asia, and Southwest Asia – necessary steps towards an ultimately unified Eurasian market under a sort of strategic Sino-Russo management.

In Alaska, the Blinken-Sullivan team learned, at their expense, that you don’t mess with a Yoda such as Yang Jiechi with impunity. Now they’re about to learn what it means to mess with Nikolai Patrushev, head of the Russian Security Council.

Patrushev, as much a Yoda as Yang Jiechi, and a master of understatement, delivered a not so cryptic message: if the US created “though days” for Russia, as they “are planning that, they can implement that”, Washington “would be responsible for the steps that they would take”.

What NATO is really up to

Meanwhile, in Brussels, Blinken was enacting a Perfect Couple  routine with spectacularly inefficient head of the European Commission (EC) Ursula von der Leyen. The script went something like this. “Nord Stream 2 is really bad for you. A trade/investment deal with China is really bad for you. Now sit. Good girl.”

Then came NATO, which put on quite a show, complete with an all-Foreign Minister tough guy pose in front of the HQ. That was part of a summit – which predictably did not “celebrate” the 10th anniversary of NATO’s destruction of Libya or the major ass-kicking NATO “endured” in Afghanistan.

In June 2020, NATO’s cardboard secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg – actually his US military handlers – laid out what is now known as the NATO 2030 strategy, which boils down to a Global Robocop politico-military mandate. The Global South has (not) been warned.

In Afghanistan, according to a Stoltenberg impervious to irony, NATO supports infusing “fresh energy into the peace process”. At the summit, NATO ministers also discussed Middle East and Northern Africa and – with a straight face – looked into “what more NATO could do to build stability in the region”. Syrians, Iraqis, Lebanese, Libyans, Malians would love to learn something about that.

Post-summit, Stoltenberg delivered a proverbially somnolent press conference where the main focus was – what else – Russia, and its “pattern for repressive behavior at home, aggressive behavior abroad”.

All the rhetoric about NATO “building stability” vanishes when one examines what’s really behind NATO 2030, via a meaty “recommendation” report written by a bunch of “experts”

Here we learn the three essentials:

1. “The Alliance must respond to Russian threats and hostile actions (…) without a return to ‘business as usual’ barring alterations in Russia’s aggressive behavior and its return to full compliance with international law.”

2. China is depicted as a tsunami of “security challenges”: “The Alliance should infuse the China challenge throughout existing structures and consider establishing a consultative body to discuss all aspects of Allies’ security interests vis-à-vis China”. The emphasis is to “defend against any Chinese activities that could impact collective defense, military readiness or resilience in the Supreme Allied Commander Europe’s (SACEUR) Area of Responsibility.”

3. “NATO should outline a global blueprint (italics mine) for better utilizing its partnerships to advance NATO strategic interests. It should shift from the current demand-driven approach to an interest-driven approach (italics mine) and consider providing more stable and predictable resource streams for partnership activities. NATO’s Open Door Policy should be upheld and reinvigorated. NATO should expand and strengthen partnerships with Ukraine and Georgia.”

Here’s to The Triple Threat. Yet the Top of the Pops – as in fat, juicy industrial-military complex contracts – is really here:

The most profound geopolitical challenge is posed by Russia. While Russia is by economic and social measures a declining power, it has proven itself capable of territorial aggression and is likely to remain a chief threat facing NATO over the coming decade.

NATO may be redacting, but the master script comes straight from the Deep State – complete with Russia “seeking hegemony”; expanding Hybrid War (the concept was actually invented by the Deep State); and manipulating “cyber, state-sanctioned assassinations, and poisonings – using chemical weapons, political coercion, and other methods to violate the sovereignty of Allies.”

Beijing for its part is using “force against its neighbors, as well as economic coercion and intimidatory diplomacy well beyond the Indo-Pacific region. Over the coming decade, China will likely also challenge NATO’s ability to build collective resilience.”

The Global South should be very much aware of NATO’s pledge to save the “free world” from these autocratic evils.

The NATO interpretation of “South” encompasses North Africa and the Middle East, in fact everywhere from sub-Saharan Africa to Afghanistan. Any similarity with the presumably defunct “Greater Middle East” concept of the Dubya era is not an accident.

NATO insists this vast expanse is characterized by “fragility, instability, and insecurity” – of course refusing to disclose its own role as serial instability perpetrator in Libya, Iraq, parts of Syria and Afghanistan.

Because ultimately…it’s all Russia’s fault: “To the South, the challenge includes the presence of Russia and to a lesser extent China, exploiting regional fragilities. Russia has reinserted itself in the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean. In 2015, it intervened in the Syrian Civil War and remains there. Russia’s Middle East policy is likely to exacerbate tensions and political strife across the region as it extends an increasing amount of political, financial, operational, and logistical assets to its partners. China’s influence across the Middle East is also growing. It signed a strategic partnership with Iran, is the largest importer of crude oil from Iraq, wedged itself into the Afghanistan peace process, and is the biggest foreign investor in the region.”

Here, in a nutshell, and not exactly in code, is the NATO road map all the way to 2030 to harass and try to dismantle every relevant nook and cranny of Eurasia integration, especially those directly linked to New Silk Roads infrastructure/connectivity projects (investment in Iran, reconstruction of Syria, reconstruction of Iraq, reconstruction of Afghanistan).

The spin is on a “360-degree approach to security” that will “become an imperative”. Translation: NATO is coming for large swathes of the Global South, big time, under the pretense of “addressing both the traditional threats emanating from this region like terrorism and new risks, including the growing presence of Russia, and to a lesser extent China.”

Hybrid war on two fronts

And to think that in a not so distant past there used to be some flashes of lucidity emanating from the US establishment.

Very few will remember that in 1993 James Baker, former Secretary of State under Daddy Bush, advanced the idea of expanding NATO to Russia, which at the time, under Yeltsin and a gang of Milton Friedmanesque free marketeers, was devastated, but ruled by “democracy”. Yet Bill Clinton was already in power, and the idea was duly discarded.

Six years later, no less than George Kennan – who invented the containment of the USSR in the first place – determined that the NATO annexation of former Soviet satellites was “the beginning of a new Cold War” and “a tragic mistake”.

It’s immensely enlightening to relieve and re-study the whole decade between the fall of the USSR and the election of Putin to the presidency through the venerable Yevgeny Primakov’s book Russian Crossroads: Toward the New Millenium, published in the US by Yale University Press.

Primakov, the ultimate intel insider who started as a Pravda correspondent in the Middle East, former Foreign Minister and also Prime Minister, looked closely into Putin’s soul, repeatedly, and liked what he saw: a man of integrity and a consummate professional. Primakov was a multilateralist avant la lettre, the conceptual instigator of RIC (Russia-India-China) which in the next decade evolved towards BRICS.

Those were the days – exactly 22 years ago – when Primakov was on a plane to Washington when he picked up a call by then Vice-President Al Gore: the US was about to start bombing Yugoslavia, a slav-orthodox Russian ally, and there was nothing the former superpower could do about it. Primakov ordered the pilot to turn around and fly back to Moscow.

Now Russia is powerful enough to advance its own Greater Eurasia concept, which moving forward should be balancing – and complementing – China’s New Silk Roads. It’s the power of this Double Helix – which is bound to inevitably attract key sectors of Western Europe – that is driving the Hegemon’s ruling class dazed and confused.

Glenn Diesen, author of Russian Conservatism: Managing Change Under Permanent Revolution, which I analyzed in Why Russia is Driving the West Crazy , and one of the best global analysts of Eurasia integration, summed it all up: “The US has had great difficulties in terms of converting the security dependence of the allies into geoeconomic loyalty, as evident by the Europeans still buying Chinese technologies and Russian energy.

Hence permanent Divide and Rule, featuring one of its key targets: cajole, force, bribe and all of the above for the European Parliament to scotch the China-EU trade/investment deal.

Wang Yiwei, director of the Center for European Studies at Renmin University and author of the best made in China book about the New Silk Roads, clearly sees through the “America is back” bluster: “China is not isolated by the US, the West or even the whole international community. The more hostility they show, the more anxiety they have. When the US travels around the globe to frequently ask for support, unity and help from its allies, this means US hegemony is weakening.”

Wang even forecasts what may happen if the current “leader of the free world” is prevented from fulfilling his exceptional mission: “Don’t be fooled by the sanctions between China and the EU, which is harmless to trade and economic ties, and EU leaders won’t be that stupid to totally abandon the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, because they know they would never get such a good deal when Trump or Trumpism returns to the White House.”

Shocked and Awed 21st Century Geopolitics, as configured in these crucial past two weeks, spells out the Unipolar Moment is six feet under. The Hegemon will never admit it; hence the NATO counterpunch, which was pre-designed. Ultimately, the Hegemon has decided not to engage in diplomatic accommodation, but to wage a hybrid war on two fronts against a relentlessly demonized strategic partnership of peer competitors.

And as a sign of these sorry times, there’s no James Baker or George Kennan to advise against such folly.

The UK Is Russia’s Greatest Security Threat In Europe Behind The US

By Andrew Korybko

Source

18 MARCH 2021

The UK Is Russia

The UK’s recently completed Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy claimed that “Russia remains the most acute threat to our security”, but in reality it’s actually the UK that remains the most acute threat to Russia’s security in Europe behind the US of course.

The British are masterful perception managers and have a centuries-long history of reversing the truth. This strategic characteristic was on full display earlier this week after its recently completed Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy claimed that “Russia remains the most acute threat to our security”. As can be expected, the reality is actually the opposite: the UK remains the most acute threat to Russia’s security in Europe, though behind the US of course. I explained last summer how “MI6 Might Become The CIA’s Proxy For Stopping Europe From Moving Towards Russia” after London’s spree of fake news attacks against Moscow encompassing everything from the Skripal false flag saga to allegations of a secret Russian spy base in the French Alps. Last month, “Intrepid Journalists Exposed The UK’s Information-Driven Hybrid War On Russia”, which includes a continental network of media proxies in Latvia and other former Soviet countries.

From these revelations, it can be concluded that the UK considers itself to be in a “spy war” with Russia, which it’s waging both in pursuit of its own traditional divide-and-rule interests in Europe as well as on behalf of its American ally which shares the same goal. Manipulatively presenting Russia as the UK’s greatest threat is nothing more than a means of justifying further aggression against it under the pretext of so-called “self-defense”. It’s noteworthy to also point out that the same Integrated Review also disclosed London’s plans to increase its nuclear warhead arsenal by an astounding 40% in a move that Moscow decried as “a decision that harms international stability and strategic security” where “an ephemeral threat from Russia was voiced as justification.” The Eurasian Great Power might therefore have no choice but to defend its interests in line with international law by taking whatever countermeasures it considers to be appropriate in the face of this threat.

The present dynamic of British-Russian rivalry is a modern-day remix of their traditional competition all across the 19th century. At that time, the so-called “Great Game” mostly played out in Central Asia and parts of West and South Asia, the latter of which concerned the then-Persia and Afghanistan respectively. The British Empire was actively seeking to contain the Eurasian Great Power as a continuation of the historical trend whereby sea-based (thalassocratic) states seek to contain land-based (tellurocratic) ones. This International Relations theory is increasingly being confirmed as practically being akin to a law at this point as evidenced from this example and other related ones such as the US’ complementary efforts against other multipolar tellucorcatic civlization-states like China and Iran. It’s therefore understandable why the UK has submitted itself to being the US’ “Lead From Behind” junior partner to this end in Europe, though mostly in the Hybrid War sense.

With this in mind, the contours of the New Cold War are becoming increasingly apparent and might possibly remain enduring. The historical trend of thalassocracies versus tellucorcacies continues insofar as the US and its junior UK partner are actively seeking to contain Russia, China, and Iran. The Western Eurasian front of this global strategic competition remains complex considering the fact that Germany is dominated by thalassocratic influences despite being a tellucrocratic state. This explains its schizophrenic stance of simultaneously waging its own Hybrid War on Russia in parallel with attempting to stabilize relations with Moscow through Nord Stream II, which is vehemently opposed by its American patron. It can therefore be predicted that the outcome of the New Cold War in Europe will be greatly determined by Germany’s ability to promote its sovereign interests vis-a-vis Russia despite heavy pressure from the US and the UK to keep the two apart.

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