Mussolini Re-Dux? Could Italy’s new foreign policy trigger a passage to a multipolar world order?

January 23, 2023

Source

By Gerardo Papalia

By switching its allegiances, Italy played a decisive role in the outcomes of both the First and Second World Wars. If Italy were to abandon the US centred world system to join BRICS it could once again decisively turn world history onto a radically different path.

The conflict in Ukraine has brought the world, and Europe in particular, to a turning point. In the coming months the destinies of both the EU and NATO will be determined. The outcome could depend on the position taken by Italy. Should the Italian government continue with its current foreign policies, both the EU and NATO are likely to survive. If Italy leaves either, or even distances itself in favour of closer alignment to the BRICS group, this decision could lead to the collapse of the current US centred unipolar world order and quicken the dawn of a multipolar world.

The BRICS countries today represent more than 40 percent of the world’s population, almost 27 percent of the world’s land surface, and almost one third of the world’s economic output measured in Purchasing Power Parities. The impetus of Russia’s recent intervention in the Ukraine has led to strengthened ties between Russia, China, India and Iran, increased OPEC resistance to US diktat, and has accelerated the shift away from the US dollar as the international reserve currency. Recently, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin called for a transition away from the unipolar US centred world towards a multipolar international order.

But first, a little history.

In 1902 German Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow famously described Italy’s foreign policy as being one of ‘waltz turns’, by which he meant that its government could flirt with other countries but never really change partners. Italy had been part of the Triple Alliance with Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire since 1882. With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Italy sought to bargain its non-participation against its allies in exchange for territorial concessions of areas containing majority Italian-speaking populations, in particular Trieste, from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Dissatisfied with the response, Italy switched sides in 1915 and joined the Triple Entente with France and Great Britain. Its participation contributed to the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1919.

In 1939 Italy was faced with a similar dilemma. Benito Mussolini, its leader, had the choice of siding either with its Axis ally Germany, or remaining neutral in exchange for concessions from the Allies. He dallied for nine months before entering the war on Germany’s side in June 1940. By July 1943 the Allies had invaded Italy from the south, Mussolini was dismissed and Italy’s government switched sides to become a co-belligerent with the Allies. Italy’s participation in the war arguably diluted the German war effort by dragging the Mediterranean and the Balkans into the conflict, and hastened Germany’s defeat.

Although some patronisingly attributed Italy’s apparent inconstancy to the national character and others to its economic weakness relative to the Great Powers of the time, in particular Great Britain, France and Germany, the primary reason for it was geostrategic. Italy is a peninsula with its north attached to the European continent at the Alps and its south almost acting as an island in the strategic centre of the Mediterranean. At the beginning of the modern era the north of Italy was progressively absorbed into northern European economic and political systems while the south, having to contend with the Ottoman monopoly over the sea, atrophied.

This divergence accelerated after unification in 1861, partly because of economic policy and partly because the colonial land grab by the other European powers at the expense of African and Middle Eastern countries deprived the south of its historical hinterland. Initially, Italian governments sought to correct this imbalance by becoming part of the Triple Alliance. By securing the country’s northern borders, this alliance allowed it to embark on colonial adventures, notably the failed first invasion of Ethiopia in 1895–96 and the conquest of Libya in 1911. In the First World War, Italy’s switch to the Triple Entente then enabled it to annex Trieste. When Mussolini came to power in 1922, his foreign policy oscillated between the two options: to expand Italy’s continental ambitions, particularly in the Balkans, or its colonial empire in Africa. One could argue that his inability to prioritise one over the other contributed to Italy’s defeat in the Second World War. However, Italy’s capitulation in 1943 also represented a move away from a Mediterranean-focused policy to a continental one to preserve the country’s heartland.

The post-Second World War order has been more durable than the previous one, largely due to the tutelage of the United States and the Soviet Union, which guaranteed the viability of the newly founded United Nations. Within Europe this global process had its parallel in the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, followed by the European Economic Community in 1958 and the EU in 1993. Italy has been a member of and has played a leading role in the establishment of all three, with old nationalist rivalries largely set aside in this process.

The consolidation of the EU came about under the defence umbrella provided by the North Atlantic Treaty signed by a number of European powers, including Italy, in 1949, with the purpose of defending Western Europe from the Soviet Union. This later became NATO.

Both the EU and NATO have represented the pillars of Italy’s continental strategy for many years. However, these mainstays have recently begun to show cracks under the strain of the Ukraine–Russia conflict. The EU has been imposing increasingly stringent sanctions against Russian imports since 2014. These increased following Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine in February 2022. The NATO alliance, of which Italy has been a key member since its inception, has also provided Ukraine with military assistance.

These measures have forced Italy into a familiar strategic dilemma: should it continue with an EU and NATO oriented foreign policy focused on the European land mass in the face of possible ruin, or seek its energy sources and economic future via the Mediterranean Sea?

Giorgia Meloni, is the leader of the Brothers of Italy Party that gained the most votes in Italy’s national elections held on 25 September 2022. She became Italy’s first female prime minister on 22 October 2022. Her party has neo-fascist roots. It is Euro-sceptic and pro-Russian. To forestall criticism that it is anti-EU and anti-NATO, Meloni has affirmed her fealty to both; in contrast, her coalition partners Silvio Berlusconi leader of the Forza Italia Party, and Matteo Salvini, the leader of Northern League Party, have both made pro-Russian statements.

What has largely been ignored is how Meloni rode to power on the strength of one slogan repeated above all others: ‘The Free Ride is Over’ [my translation].

What does this mean?

It is addressed to external audiences as well as a domestic one. Meloni, who has questioned the EU’s legal sovereignty over Italy, is warning Italy’s EU partners that they will no longer be able to secure a ‘free ride’ at the expense of Italy’s sovereign interests.

Since the end of World War II Italy has mainly followed a continental foreign policy, focused on integrating politically and economically with other European countries. This led to an industrial boom, particularly in the north of the country, while the Mediterranean part of Italy languished. Among its member nations, Italians became the most favourable to integration with the EU. Possibly this reflected a lack of confidence in their own state’s ability to govern the country well.

How then has Meloni come to her anti-EU stance?

The reason is the Euro. Since it began circulating in 2002, Italian living standards and wages have dropped while the cost of living has increased substantially. Entire sectors of Italy’s industrial base have delocalised to other countries. Mass layoffs, the abolition of the lifetime employment guarantee, and low birth-rates have weakened the family unit. Foreign buyers now own 40 per cent of Italy’s large public debt, which has grown to become larger than the country’s yearly GDP. Keeping within the stringent fiscal parameters laid down in the EU’s 1998 Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) has became a political obsession, justifying a string of technocratic governments whose monetarist policies have further compressed living standards. In 2022, almost one fifth of the population is on or below the poverty line.

The few bright spots in Italy’s economy mostly lie within the BRICS camp. One of them was Italy’s trade with Russia. Until 2021 Russia was Italy’s principal supplier of gas with almost 40 per cent of the total. Gas powers almost half of Italy’s electricity. Another positive development has been trade with China. As of 2019 Italy was China’s third largest buyer and fourth largest supplier of goods. Italy was also the third largest destination for Chinese foreign investment. The final bright spot is Italy’s trade with the Mediterranean countries, which accounts for over 22 percent of Italy’s energy imports. As of 2016, Italy was the fourth largest exporter to this region after China, the US and Germany in that order. In 2021, Libyan and Algerian sources combined covered 30 per cent of Italy’s gas imports. Italy’s reliance on energy imports from this region will grow as supplies from Russia decrease.

After Germany and France, Italy is the third largest economy in the Eurozone. Due to COVID, the EU suspended the SGP in May 2020 for an indefinite period. In March 2022, the Italian government called for the suspension to be continued because of the situation in Ukraine. Italy’s government debt to GDP ratio is currently over 155 per cent, well beyond the 60 per cent stipulated in the SGP. The country would default if the EU stopped funding its public debt. But under current circumstances, for how long would this support be forthcoming? Should Italy withdraw permanently from the SGP, the Euro would cease to be a viable currency. Some analysts believe that if Italy defaulted, the future of the EU itself would be at stake.

Enrico Colombatto, a professor of economics, has suggested that Italy would be better off seeking financial rescue from China, in exchange for some strategic assets, in particular access to the port of Trieste. A move towards stronger links with China would imply a shift in Italy’s foreign policy from a continental focus to a Mediterranean one.

EU sanctions against Russia have increased the cost of gas and pulverised Euro exchange rates, both further depressing living standards in Italy and increasing manufacturing costs. Italy’s gas prices have thus increased by a factor of five since 2021, prices of food and other essential goods have increased between 10-25%, and its economy could be facing approximately a 5 per cent drop in GDP next year.

Public opinion in Italy is split over the sanctions, with the Brothers of Italy’s electorate the most opposed to them. In response, the Brothers of Italy platform states that the party intends to renegotiate Italy’s over €250 billion EU COVID recovery plan to mitigate energy costs. It also promises to cut taxes, increase support for ‘traditional’ families and introduce employment incentives.

Similar centrifugal economic pressures are already being visited on other European countries. Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo has warned that as winter approaches, if energy prices are not reduced:

we are risking a massive deindustrialization of the European continent and the long-term consequences of that might actually be very deep … Our populations are getting invoices which are completely insane. At some point, it will snap. I understand that people are angry  . . .  people don’t have the means to pay it.

This is creating a situation where, according to Indian ex-diplomat and commentator M.K. Bhadrakumar: ‘The plain truth is that the European integration project is over and done with’.

These economic woes have inevitably impacted Italy’s defence and foreign policy. Historically, its membership in NATO was strongly opposed by the Italian socialist and communist parties. Today, public opinion is still against the deployment of NATO forces except for strictly defensive purposes: in May, only 10 per cent agreed to NATO forces directly intervening in Ukraine. A poll in June revealed that 58 per cent of Italians are opposed to sending weapons to Ukraine, one of the highest percentages in Europe. This is not surprising; after all, Article 11 of Italy’s postwar Constitution states:

Italy repudiates war as an instrument of offence to the freedom of other peoples and as a means of resolving international disputes; it allows, on conditions of parity with other states, to the limitations of sovereignty necessary for an order that ensures peace and justice among nations. [my translation]

This opposition to war belies Italy’s pivotal role in NATO: the country hosts at least eight important NATO bases. Naples is the linchpin of the NATO Allied Joint Force Command, which includes the US Sixth Fleet. While NATO has provided Italy with a security blanket in continental Western Europe, it has been detrimental to Italy’s strategic interests in the Mediterranean.

Since the Second World War Italian governments have traditionally espoused a friendly policy towards countries in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Africa. One major reason is its objective to ensure continuity of energy supply; another is to guarantee the viability of substantial Italian investment in those countries.

This policy has brought Italy into conflict with the United States on a number of occasions. During the Cold War there were three salient examples. In 1962, Enrico Mattei, CEO of the Italian state-run petroleum company AGIP and ‘neutralist’ or anti-NATO in his foreign policy stance, was killed in obscure circumstances after he challenged the Anglo-American ‘Seven Sisters’ oil cartel by buying oil from the Soviet Union and because he offered Middle Eastern oil producers, in particular Iran and Libya, a better deal. In 1985, Italian prime minister Bettino Craxi stopped US forces from arresting a Palestinian commando who had previously hijacked the Italian Achille Lauro liner in a stand-off at Sigonella in Sicily. Ostensibly the Italian government wanted to protect its sovereignty. In reality, it wanted to continue its policy of support for Arab nations. In 1986 Craxi’s government warned Muammar Qaddafi, the leader of Libya, that a US attack on the city of Tripoli was imminent, thereby saving his life.

After the Cold War, the US alliance has become harder for Italy to factor into its foreign policy. Qaddafi’s rule in Libya collapsed in 2011, only three years after he and Italy’s then prime minster Silvio Berlusconi, had signed a twenty-five-year ‘Friendship Treaty ’ for reparations and infrastructure development worth 5 billion dollars, which made Italian energy giant ENI Libya’s preferred partner for energy extraction. Libya’s collapse was facilitated by Italy’s NATO allies, in particular France, whose interests conflicted with Italy’s. Meloni criticised France’s intervention at the time, claiming it was motivated by neo-colonialism. The civil war that has ensued in Libya has seen Turkey and Italy pitted against France and Egypt. Currently the situation in Libya is in a state of flux, with alliances being broken and remade. ENI currently controls about 80 per cent of Libyan gas, which covers about 8 per cent of Italy’s total demand. In April 2022 Algeria replaced Russia as Italy’s leading source of gas through a pipeline named after Mattei.

Italy is in a particularly strategic position in regard to future energy supply routes as pointed out by energy geopolitics and geoeconomics expert Pier Paolo Raimondi:

Italy is well positioned to potentially benefit from the overall reconfiguration of energy flows to and within Europe, due to several factors. Its geographical position makes the country a potential transit hub and bridge between Mediterranean energy imports and European energy demand. This would position Italy at the top of the supply chain compared to the previous order.

Recent developments have made Italy’s position even more strategic. Italy now has a new opportunity to source gas directly from Russia and even to supply Europe. The Russian government has recently proposed to Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to expand the TurkStream pipeline, which currently supplies Russian gas to Turkey under the Black Sea. This pipeline does not pass through Ukraine. If expanded, TurkStream could be connected to Trans Adriatic Pipeline that is currently transporting gas to Italy from Azerbaijan, thereby offering an alternative to the gas pipelines passing through northern Europe. In another recent development, Abdul Hadi Al-Hweij, the foreign minister of the Interim Libyan Government based in Benghazi, supported by the Libyan National Army, which is pro-Russian, has invited Italy to buy Libyan petroleum and gas at much lower than market prices.

With the European energy crisis now undermining prospects of economic development, and with a Brothers of Italy-dominated government, Italy’s interest in a Euro-centrist or continental foreign policy is therefore likely to weaken. In the foreign policy section of its platform, the Brothers of Italy party reaffirms its commitment to NATO and the EU. However, it ends with a new assertiveness by advocating a Mediterranean-centred strategy:

Italy has a geographical location that allows it to channel the huge raw energy supply sources coming from North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean, becoming a truly strategic hub: it is in the interest of the entire Union to diversify its supply lines as much as possible to free itself from Russian dependence …

Italy must once again become a protagonist in Europe, in the Mediterranean and on the international chessboard …

Italy is a natural platform in the Mediterranean … [Our policy is to] bring the Mediterranean back to the centre of Italian and European policy. ‘A Mattei formula for Africa …’ [my translation and italics]

The reference to Mattei is not coincidental; nor is the concept of Italy being a ‘natural platform’ in the Mediterranean. The latter was a pillar of Mussolini’s foreign policy, as he himself announced in 1936 in Milan: ‘Italy is an island immersed in the Mediterranean … If the Mediterranean for others is a route, for Italy it represents life itself’ [my translation].

In recent developments Meloni’s foreign policy has been pointing away from the EU and NATO. She and her political allies have publicly supported Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbàn, who has attacked the sanctions against Russia, following the EU’s condemnation of his authoritarian policies; Hungary is a NATO member but has signed a separate deal with Gazprom to secure supplies of Russian gas. Meloni’s party is also allied to the governing nationalist Right in Poland, the Czech Republic’s governing Civic Democratic Party, and the far right Sweden Democrats Party that triumphed in elections in September 2022. The German far right Alternative für Deutschland Party was ‘jubilant’ over Meloni’s success; it too has opposed sanctions against Russia and its vote is also on the rise. As in the 1930s, one should not discount ideological and political affinities across national borders, particularly when national interests also align. As Bhadrakumar warns: ‘Do not underestimate the “Meloni effect”. The heart of the matter is that far-right forces invariably have more to offer to the electorate in times of insecurity and economic hardship.’ In the current era, these affinities can be gathered under the broad ideological umbrella of ‘sovereigntism’, putting EU unity at risk.

Should Italy distance itself from NATO or leave it altogether, particularly in the light of Turkey’s ambivalent stance and the possibility of a Russian victory in Ukraine, it is doubtful that the alliance would be able to survive. This is not as far-fetched a thought as it might seem. According to retired Italian General Fabio Mini, former commander of the NATO-led KFOR mission in Kosovo (2002–03), NATO’s expansion to Eastern Europe over recent decades, promoted by the United States, has further undermined the alliance’s cohesion and unity of purpose. The Ukraine–Russia crisis, as pointed out by Thomas Hughes, a scholar of international and defence policy, ‘marks an existential crisis for NATO’. Under these circumstances the United States would find it increasingly difficult to maintain a military presence in Italy.

On 1 October 2022, following news that Germany’s Social Democrat-led government had rejected Italy’s proposed Europe-wide price cap on gas and that Italy would no longer receive gas from Russia through Austria, Meloni addressed a crowd of angry farmers in Milan: ‘Italy’s posture must return to the defence of its national interests … It doesn’t mean having a negative stance toward others, it means having a positive one for ourselves … because everyone else is doing it’.

In response to the explosions in the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic, the Italian navy is now patrolling Italy’s Mediterranean gas supply pipelines. All of these developments bear the hallmark of an Italian Mediterranean policy in the ascendant over a continental one.

Meloni’s slogan ‘The free ride is over’ is eerily reminiscent of Mussolini’s ‘mutilated victory’, which referenced Italy’s ostensible ‘betrayal’ by the Allied powers after their victory in the First World War. Although the post-Versailles outcome was not entirely negative for Italy, Mussolini leveraged widespread resentment at the withdrawal of territorial concessions promised by Great Britain and France to pave his way to power in October 1922. By 1925 Mussolini had turned his government into a dictatorship. Fascist foreign policy, which began with the intent of working with the Allied powers, changed dramatically after Italy’s successful second invasion of Ethiopia in 1935–36, whereby Italy began to carve out its own ‘place in the sun’, a Fascist slogan of the time. Chagrined by British and French opposition to this war, Mussolini joined Hitler’s Germany in an alliance to overturn the post-First World War order, having decided that this was the best option for Italy to secure access to the raw materials its economy so desperately needed and to fashion the Mediterranean empire Italian nationalists had so long desired.

In her inaugural speech to the Italian parliament on 25 October 2022, Meloni highlighted the shortcomings of the EU in the current energy and economic crisis:

… how was it possible that an integration that began in 1950, 70 years ago, as the Economic Community of Coal and Steel … later finds itself, after having disproportionately expanded its spheres of competence, more exposed precisely in regard to energy supply and raw materials …

The war has aggravated the already very difficult situation caused by increases in the cost of energy and fuel, unsustainable costs for many companies that may be forced to close down and lay off their workers, and for millions of families who are already unable to cope with rising bills. …

The absence of a common [EU] response leaves room only for measures by individual national governments that risk undermining our internal market and the competitiveness of our companies. …

The context in which the government will have to act is a very complicated one, perhaps the most difficult since World War II. Geopolitical tensions and the energy crisis are holding back hopes of a post-pandemic economic recovery. Macroeconomic forecasts for 2023 indicate a marked slowdown in the Italian, European and world economies, in a climate of absolute uncertainty. …

Nearing the end of her speech, Meloni directs her audience’s attention to her party’s foreign policy platform:

Next 27 October will mark the sixtieth anniversary of the death of Enrico Mattei, a great Italian who was among the architects of post-war reconstruction, capable of forging mutually beneficial agreements with nations all over the world, a virtuous model of collaboration and growth between the European Union and African nations, not least to counter the worrying spread of Islamist radicalism, especially in the sub-Saharan area. And so we would like to finally recover, after years in which we preferred to backtrack, the strategic role that Italy has in the Mediterranean. [my translation]

Should Italy’s economy and its energy security deteriorate further due to the embargo on Russian energy supplies, or should NATO troops intervene directly in the conflict, it is increasingly likely that the Italian government will consider realigning its international orientation away from a continental strategy centred on the EU and NATO and towards a Mediterranean-focused one that is closer to BRICS. It could even become the third ‘I’ in the BRICS after India and Iran, as one analyst has advocated, creating a tipping point in the global economy. At the very least, the Italian government could decide to oscillate between these two opposing geopolitical options to increase its margins for diplomatic manoeuvre, a traditional aspect of its foreign policy in the past. Should either scenario come to pass, Italy will have made a substantial contribution to the break-down of the current US-centred world and accelerated the passage to a multipolar world order.

Gerardo Papalia (PhD) is a Research Affiliate at the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics at Monash University in Australia. His expertise is in history and Italian Diaspora studies including literature, religion and cinematography.

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De-dollarization: Slowly but surely

1 Jan 2023

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

What unites China and Russia in a trade/currency warfare against the US is the fact that they both oppose a unipolar world over a multipolar world.

It has been almost a year since the war in Ukraine began. Since then, talk of de-dollarization has picked up speed. Even prominent mainstream economists Galbraith (2022) and Eichengreen (2022) have joined the bandwagon, but they do not see an avalanche that could unseat the dollar yet, and rightly so, but as argued here, they do so for the wrong reasons.

Across the board, the mainstream peddles the point that the US financial market has depth that no other market has, and therefore, the dollar is irreplaceable. That is true for the moment. Where else can financial wealth be placed safely, traded and cashed in quickly other than the US market. I emphasized safely because such a market was not safe for confiscated Russian assets and it is proving to be unsafe for any would-be customer whose politics do not align with US imperial designs. Thus, the issue of depth and safety have subjective twists to them. Moreso, the occurrence of Russian asset seizure by Europe and the US begs the question: the financial market is deep for whom? 

Money, it ought to be remembered, is a social convention. It serves a function as a medium of exchange/reserve, as well as a savings medium. Money is also an idea (a form) with an aura whose very allure is to reproduce the social conditions for the creation of more money, through credit of course. Like all conventions, money also holds by some form of consensus. Any currency has to be recognized as value and it attains a status as a symbolic power by the knowledge people hold about it as both means of transaction and a social form. Of all the monies in circulation around the world, the dollar is unusual in the sense that it derives its legitimacy from the knowledge that the dollar is secure from many people of different nationalities around the globe.

The dollar and dollar instruments, like treasuries and bonds, are assumed risk-free. Pension funds for instance, which ensure against old age poverty, scramble to lodge in dollar assets that are set to grow and not lose but gain much value over time. People acknowledge that the dollar is a universal medium of exchange and savings, and such acknowledgment is the source of the power of the dollar. However, such common knowledge, which is the substance of dollar power, must also be constantly produced and reproduced. For that, there are theories that fit the bill.

For instance, instead of theorizing that money depends on real production capabilities, fiat money is said to depend on a capitalism of futurity and a tradability of debt. Although the US accounts for less than 20 percent of world output (production’s worth’, faith in the depth of its financial market and its credibility in the future as a state account for it covering the credit necessary for much of global transactions and savings.

Still, theories are pretty much ideological tools that show or hide some desired aspects of reality in order to serve the interests of different social groups. So, while it is true that the US nominally holds less than 20 percent of global output, much of global output depends on the US’ control of strategic resources and global chokepoints. These are delivered by the demonstrative power of its many military bases and capacity to destruct its foes.

As one can readily see, if the capacity to destruct and to infuse instability abroad are counted as production, then it is obvious that the US accounts for much more in production than the merely 20 percent it registers in its national accounts as GDP. Such a megalithic process is the true substance of the knowledge that upholds the dollar as the world reserve currency. It is this knowledge, reproduced on a global scale by the capacity to destruct, which is the real reason for the deep knowledge that props up the deep US financial market, as opposed to some hallucinatory moneyed economy whose debts are tradable, and it is the erosion of that capacity that is heralded by the rise of the multipolar world when Russia began its de-Nazification of Ukraine campaign. Changing that power structure behind the depth of US finance changes the acknowledgment that the US dollar is the sole undisputed universal currency on account of the universal power of the US. How so?

The resilience of Russia’s economy

When the Central Bank of Russia announced it pegged its national currency to gold, just a month after the conflict erupted, many saw the move as a blow to the dollar status quo – especially for the EU bloc, which heavily relied on Russia for supplies of cheap LNG. For them, it was out of the question to pay for oil in rubles. “We will not be blackmailed by Russia” to pay for gas in rubles, said Germany’s Finance Minister, Robert Habeck. In March 2022, US lawmakers introduced a bill to sanction Russian gold and then the EU followed suit. By June 2022, the Group of 7 agreed to implement a full-scale ban on the Russian gold market, completely sanctioning Moscow from exporting gold. By placing an embargo on Russia’s gold exports, freezing Russian assets and blocking Russian banks from using SWIFT, the West believed it could pressure Moscow. These sanctions against Russia threw Russia out of the dollar loop and were de-dollarizing Russia. The West was partially de-dollarizing the world by imposing more sanctions.  

Even though the sanctions did weaken the ruble at first, it did not take too long for the currency to rebound since many of the commodities Russia produces such as gas, wheat and fertilizers are priced in the ruble. In the span of ten months, the Ruble went from a volatile position in March to a stable currency by September. The ruble still stands stronger than pre-war levels, and as Russia keeps carrying out trade activities with third countries via new monetary channels, the situation of the ruble only serves to forecast that the crisis in Europe will exacerbate further and further. If anything, the fact that Russia still manages despite the sanctions proves that there is more to production estimated in dollar GDP to measure the real worth of an economy and its currency. It has become apparent that the commodity control-based standard of the dollar equally applies to the Ruble, which accounts for significant shares of wheat and oil. 

Furthermore, Russia’s new MIR payment system, which parallels SWIFT and MasterCard, said that by the end of September it issued more than 161 cards worldwide. By November, Russia decided to take a step further and called on all state members of the BRICS+ alliance to consider the possibility of establishing a single gold trade system. And just very recently, reports revealed that Russia was beginning to test international payments in digital currencies with companies. Unlike Iraq and Libya, and Venezuela, Russia is bigger and has proven resilient, especially with support from China. 

Getting ‘at’ China

Besides the vast amounts of money spent on financing Kiev, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky himself admitted that the war in Ukraine was a war ‘for’ the US. When he delivered an address at a joint session at the US Congress in December, he warned that if Russia were to win the war, the world order established by the US post-WWII would inevitably crumble – with it, the hegemony of the dollar. With China’s economy surpassing the US in real terms and commanding much of global production and trade, the possibility of an alternative financial system is around the corner – unless of course the balance of forces tilts in favor of the US as it defeats Russia in Ukraine and extends its hegemony to the Eurasian corridor.  

So what does the US really want with Russia? It wants Russia fragmented and China choked. China, Russia’s de facto ally, has been de-dollarizing its economy over the past decade. But that doesn’t necessarily imply both countries form ‘a bloc’ per se. Both Russia and China remain distinct governments with distinct policies and distinct ideologies. What really unites them in this trade/currency warfare is the fact that they both oppose a unipolar world over a multipolar world. They both want to develop at their own pace, their own way, without the interference of neoliberal or imperialist elements. In that sense, the conflict in Ukraine has a lot to do with China.

Even the most recent Pentagon defense strategy admits that Russia is not as threatening as China is, which it dubs as “the greatest security challenge for the US.” When that report was issued in October 2022, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that China “is the only competitor out there with both the intent to reshape the international order, and increasingly, the power to do so, while Russia on the other hand “can’t systematically challenge the US over the long term. But Russian aggression does pose an immediate and sharp threat to our interests and values.” Unlike the West, it took only seven decades for China to establish itself as a global superpower that has carried out the biggest poverty alleviation project in history.  It established such a record without enslaving or geocoding the planet and the environment.

Another important feature of the Chinese economy is the fact that it easily absorbs technologies from abroad and it’s good at meeting the standards of foreign markets. It’s a leading pioneer in a panoply of sectors which include space exploration, financial developments, medical advances, green technologies, urban construction, and military innovations. China’s economy is also relatively insulated from external shocks and capital flight by its non-convertible currency. It draws down on its massive currency reserves denominated in dollars – mainly US government debt – and invested in US treasury bonds, to protect against any short-term capital flow and to preserve the competitiveness of its own currency at times of crises. 

What really bothers the West is the fact that China was not only able to propel its entire population to higher standards of living, but it also assisted others in doing so. Through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China promoted infrastructural ventures in some of the world’s poorest economies in a way that complemented their productive assets in facilitating productivity, growth, and economic mobility. The Asian country has defied neoliberalism both as an ideology and as an economic policy by upholding its own brand of socialism based on “Chinese characteristics”.

As part of its commitment to the internationalism of Mao Zedong, China through the demonstration effect, exported that model based on an anti-imperialist and nationalist mode of development to countries of the Global South. Being the world’s largest trading country, the world’s largest exporter, and one of the world’s largest holders of US debt, China never forced anyone to borrow from it in order to financially enslave them and/or to finance its war effort. Adding all this to China’s defiance of abiding to western sanctions against Russia, and you will have Sino-Western relations hitting an all-time low – particularly in light of accusations that China helped Russia circumvent the effects of sanctions. 

Given the developmental trajectory of China’s growth, which is detached from militarism and built on a working-class-led resistance, it is rather an arithmetic certainty that China will never morph into a war-mongering nation. It simply does not depend on war to grow. Moreover, having itself been the target of imperialism for centuries is enough to suggest that China in no way intends to pursue such an agenda – but rather strives to resist it, as it always did. Its very existence as a powerful socialist nation is antithetical to the ideological, financial, and military dominance of the post-WW2 Western order.

This only adds to the reasons why the US has been recently waging a series of provocations against China, both economically and politically. On the economic front, the US constrained China from exporting semiconductors to western markets and suspended the transfer of chip technologies to China. It also plans to cut Huawei’s access to US banks over allegations that the company is engaged in “economic espionage” against the US. On the political front, there was the whole Taiwan fiasco which was short-lived after Tsai Ing-wen was humiliatingly defeated in Taiwan’s last election. 

China retaliates

At some point, it is only natural for China to retaliate. To strike back at the financial hegemon by decreasing the global demand for US dollars is one such measure of retaliation. China’s de-dollarization strategy can basically be summed up as follows: creating trade payment systems based on the national currencies of trading partners, dumping US treasuries, and breaking the petrodollar system while buying massive amounts of gold. 

It may be recalled that China stores a considerable portion of its surplus in US Bonds. The standard idea of weaponizing bonds is often reiterated in what pundits dub the ‘nuclear option’, a theory that supposes China could sell off all of its treasuries in an attempt to destabilize the American economy. But then again that seems like a mythical alternative, which is likely to harm everyone including China. The potential flooding of the global exchange market with billions of dollars of American debt may cause the price of US treasury bonds to decrease and reciprocally interest rates to increase. The interest rates on US treasury bonds are the benchmark for borrowing throughout the global economy. So, in case they are abruptly raised, this may precipitate another global slowdown. 

China, as well as others, seek a reasonable solution to the US debt problem and a transfer to a more representative multi-polar currency and world-saving medium. At some point in the past, China held $3 trillion in US debt. In October 2022, it recorded treasury holdings to a 12-year low below the $1 trillion mark. It has been slowly ridding itself of being indebted to the US in the US’s own currency.

Over fears that china will endure a fate similar to that of Russia, that it will lose all its assets and dollars in case tensions increase, China has resorted to converting its bonds into real assets and proceeded by investing them in the third world as a counter-hegemonical strategy. China’s Belt and Road Initiative is the gateway to transform US-denominated money capital into real capital. Whereas US imperialism is about the incapacitation and disempowerment of the developing world, the Chinese funded BRI, which turns Chinese saved US dollars into third world plans and equipment, turns US bonds into weapons against the US. 

Breaking the petrodollar system

While reducing transactions in dollars diminishes global demand for the dollar, China and others with trade surpluses need to save in US treasuries for lack of alternatives. Analytically, an alternative to the US savings instruments from a multi-currency saving bond is not difficult to envisage. In fact that is what John Maynard Keynes proposed at Bretton-wood in 1944, but the proposal was declined by the US. The alternative muti-national savings instrument would come as natural outcome of shifting balance of forces globally, especially as the principal strategic commodity, oil, becomes denominated in currencies other than dollars.

Xi’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia is one step towards provisioning an alternative oil payment system. The visit amounted to a diplomatic offensive and was hailed as a landmark event on the strengthening of Sino-Arab ties as on December 20, 2022, the Chinese head of state attended the first ever China-Arab state summit and delivered a key speech “underscoring the importance of carrying forward the spirit of China-Arab friendship featuring solidarity and mutual assistance, equality and mutual benefit, inclusiveness and mutual learning, and jointly building a China-Arab community with a shared future in the new era.”

The move is clearly aimed at disrupting the petrodollar system, which has for the past 50 years upheld the US dollar as the sole currency to purchase oil. As is already known, the dollar-priced oil system is what redeemed the departure of the US from the gold standard in 1971. Being a source of energy upon which life depends, and a strategic commodity that accounts for about 20% of the global trade volume, having dollars is a prerequisite for an economy’s survival, and pricing the oil in dollars keeps the dollar high in demand. The more the US prints dollars to meet expanding trade demand, the more it could live off the rents of dollar seigniorage, or the ability to buy real assets from abroad with the credit it issues. No other empire in history enjoyed such privilege.

The modern imperial tributary system is that the US lends money in its own currency, and in return, it usurps the wealth produced by other nations. So when China says it wants to purchase oil using the Yuan and initiate separate deals, this means it is planning to lessen the global demand for the dollar, therefore lessen the capacity of the US to issue global credit, and hence, lessen its imperial rents.  

Gold is ok, but only partially

China has been hoarding much gold. It now has the highest gold reserves. For the first time since 2019, the central bank of China announced it increased its gold reserves with the purchase of 32 tons of gold in November, bringing the total up to 1980 tons amounting to $111.65 billion. Needless to say, the gold standard cannot supplant a fiat money system already based on commodities and production capabilities. However, having gold in addition to developing its own development bank and international lending institutions and payment system, China further securitizes its finance.  

Thus, gold demand in China is high because traders and investors consider the commodity as a buffer against extreme fluctuations and an effective store of value. The Chinese government monitors carefully the amount of gold that is brought in and out of the country. Being the biggest gold producer, China safeguards much of its gold production for itself. In addition, China intentionally uses the price arbitrage to get traders to purchase more gold from abroad. Most of that gold was purchased from the West, particularly the UK and the US, where gold is traded at a cheaper price. However, gold primacy alone is insufficient to create the acknowledgment of depth similar to that enjoyed by the US market.

Once more, that confidence in the dollar market is reproduced daily by the power of the US over strategic commodity channels around the world. The US is heir to the European colonial system and its control emerges from the transference between its physical and ideological powers. Therefore, gold alone is possibly only a gateway to dislodging a dollar system based on strategic commodity control.

The alternative to the US financial market is in the making

China has inked separate agreements, especially with Russia, with the aim of purchasing energy with a non-dollar currency. Though the de-dollarization of trade channels may achieve some results, one cannot deny the fact that the world still needs an alternative universal savings medium. On paper, designing a bond whose guarantors are the major powers is not a difficult task; however, such a task, if it were to materialize, undercuts the financial rents of US and US-associated elites.

A real de-dollarization requires a shift in the geopolitical context and an erosion of the consensus around the dollar. The war in Ukraine and the collapse of Europe augur the loss of the US and its dollar primacy. Unlike twentieth-century wars that caused the retreats of Europe to the benefit of the US, the current regression of Europe vis-à-vis Russia and China, also weakens the US. The case may be that the European working class, being more so a clone of capital than its antithesis, continues to self-harm at the behest of its bourgeoisie. It is then that the alternatives to the dollar and, more importantly, its bonds begin to take shape.

With 65 trillion dollars in off-balance sheet debts, and a CDO and Repo market rife with moral hazard, the chances of a major collapse are all too ominous. The transition will be gruesome given the fragile financial architecture. A smooth US debt workout is a must since the US is a huge net debtor in its own currency, which happens to be the world’s savings medium. Yet, the world must part with a system that pawns the future of man and nature by the power of the gun for the interests of so few. China and Russia have taken the bold decision to de-dollarize, to de-financialize wars and pollution and such must be the alternative for humanity.

Related Stories

Q&A with North South University students

December 20, 2022

Andrei Raevsky

I was recently contacted by my friend Cynthia McKinney who told me that my article about what a Russian defeat would mean for the West was used as part of the course she teaches at North South University of Dhaka in Bangladesh.  I have to admit that I was very touched by the idea that students in faraway Dhaka were reading my article, and I offered to answer any follow-up questions the students might have.  So I recorded a hour long video in which I answered the follow-up questions from the students.  I just want to add here that since I did not have a clear idea of how much these students had already knew, and since I tried to keep the video about one hour long, I had to, at times, simplify some issues (as some of these questions would deserve a semester-long class).  Please don’t hold this against me.

I decided to repost this video on the blog (with Cynthia’s agreement) in the hope that at least some parts of this Q&A might be of interest to you.

Kind regards

Andrei

About Saving Face: Some Advice to Volodymyr Zelensky

November 28, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

It matters not how much you, gentlemen, bend down before them,
You will never gain Europe’s recognition:
You will always be for them,
Not servants, but serfs of their enlightened disposition.
F.I. Tyutchev, Russian diplomat and poet, May 1867

To be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal.
Henry Kissinger

Ditching the Ukraine

It is now dawning on the US elite that they totally underestimated Russia in all respects. For instance, on 25 March 2014 the arrogant Obama contemptuously called Russia ‘a regional power, threatening others out of weakness’ (sic!). (Clearly, he was talking about the USA). As a result, blinded by hubris, some in the US are now admitting that the Ukraine, the most corrupt country in Europe, is a dead duck, the game is simply no longer worth the candle. Apart from being a black hole for Western money and military equipment, the Ukraine is no longer the problem. It is a sideshow, a distraction, a mere symptom of something far more important. The real problem is what is now happening worldwide under Russian leadership – the ending of the unipolar world, of US global hegemony, camouflaged beneath the more innocent-sounding term ‘globalism’.

Following Russia’s decision and ability to stand up to the world’s bully, the whole Non-Western world is now also standing up to him. For example, at the recent G20 meeting in Indonesia, the debate was not about the Ukraine, but about whether or not to continue to accept American Fascist rule (‘the rules-based international order’). All the Latin American and African and four Asian countries said no, it’s finished, the world is now multipolar. Taiwan will inevitably be Chinese and soon – and wait till Chinese troops appear in Mesopotamia to take control of Iraqi oil and gas and rebuild that tragic country. Freedom beckons. Long-deluded Western elitists must be shocked: other ‘regional powers’ are now also standing up to the bully. Perhaps also out of weakness? Zelensky must have suspected that his boss, until now the self-imagined master of the universe, is going to get rid of him. He is a loser and the Yanks cannot stand losers.

As the US realises that the free nations of the world are turning against it, it will not hesitate to blame the Kiev regime. The US must save face. Kiev has been warned: it will have to start negotiating with Russia again. Zelensky had better plan his escape now, because Ukrainians will not forgive him for stringing them along with a pack of lies. Regardless of Zelensky’s delusional assertions that there will be no negotiations with Russia and that it will re-occupy Russian territories, including the Crimea, there are three reasons for him to throw in the towel now, before it all gets much, much worse.

Three Reasons To Surrender Now

Firstly, Russia has now reluctantly moved closer to the US ‘shock and awe’ strategy of destroying infrastructure, as the US did in Germany and Japan (World War II) and then Serbia and Iraq. Power stations and power networks, bridges and ‘decision centres’, such as certain government buildings in Kiev are being targeted. Russia is one or two mass missile strikes away from the knock-out blow which will disable the Ukrainian electricity, water and rail systems. With 50% of Ukrainian electricity infrastructure knocked out by the first three strikes on the electricity grid, demonstrations are starting against the deteriorating situation, with Zelensky sending in the hated and dreaded Ukrainian Secret Police, the SBU, to break them up. He is also banning coverage of them in his heavily-censored media. The electricity system has entered a stage of ‘arbitrary and uncontrolled imbalance’. Ukrainians have been told to leave the country for the winter. Where to? Who wants them anyway? And does this include the military too?

Secondly, once the infrastructure has been incapacitated, Russia’s 380,000 regular and newly mobilised troops will be fully incorporated into the Allied forces in eastern Ukraine. Even without them, Russian forces are continuing to advance in the Donbass. A winter offensive by some half a million troops will make huge gains on the whole front, advancing hundreds of kilometres and multiplying Kiev’s – and NATO’s – staggering losses. After success here, President Putin’s generals have the option of moving a serious force into the western Ukraine from Belarus in order to cut off NATO supply routes from Poland. This could easily lead to the total collapse of the already ravaged Ukrainian forces and their mercenaries. Now Russia is going all the way to Lvov and the Polish border. It has been forced to. The Kiev regime has brought it on itself. All Russia wanted was security for the Crimea and the Donbass and a neutral, non-nuclear Ukraine. It could all have been so simple.

Thirdly, Western countries, including even the brainless Stoltenberg, is suffering from Ukraine fatigue. The Ukrainian flags have nearly all come down in Europe. Support has waned as reality has dawned. NATO countries’ arms stocks have been seriously depleted and strikes and ensuing social chaos have appeared in Europe, This the result of double-digit inflation and economic recession, brought on by suicidal Western sanctions, yes, those ‘against Russia’ (!). ‘We are cold and hungry in our own country because you gave everything to that bunch of losers in Kiev and the Ukrainian freeloaders you invaded our country with’. The foul-mouthed thug Nuland has achieved her aim in Europe. All this makes Russia the strategic winner and is forcing the US/UK/EU to call on Zelensky to talk again. The British financier PM Sunak (who cares little for and knows even less about politics) used a modest British aid package, announced during his recent visit to Kiev, to tell Zelensky that bankrupt London can no longer pay. Kiev must negotiate with Moscow. Following this, there has been a delay in the fourth round of missile strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure. President Putin is waiting to see if Zelensky will cave in and start realistic talks before Russia unleashes the last assault on Ukrainian infrastructure and the winter offensive.

Ditching Zelensky

At least some in the Biden regime are realising (though not Biden himself, he is in no fit state to realise anything – a clear case of elder abuse) that they are going to have to drop the Jewish billionaire as the fall-guy for the Ukraine’s defeat. Just as they have done to countless Latin American, Middle Eastern and Asian tinpot dictators and gangsters in past decades, the US will also do the same to him in his Monsanto/Cargill banana republic. Can Zelensky still entertain any illusions about it? Of course, the US will deny that the war in the Ukraine was ever between the US and Russia and declare it was only ever ‘an internal conflict’ between the Ukraine and Russia. (Ukraine only supplied the cannon fodder for its transatlantic masters, who have controlled the country since their coup in 2014).

Ukraine’s former CIA asset, the actor Zelensky, has now acted up. The Ukrainian missile strike on Poland and the Ukrainian President’s insistence that it was a Russian strike, despite the clear evidence to the contrary, has hit Zelensky’s credibility. The intentional Ukrainian false flag strike on Polish/NATO territory, designed to provoke NATO or at least pathetic Poland into entering the war, is a pathetic embarrassment. Even compared to all of Zelensky’s other ridiculous staged false flags, like Bucha, which venal Western journalists were paid to report, this one has gone too far. The West is getting fed up with Zelensky’s antics. A bullet in the head is much cheaper than continuing to subsidise this clown.

Some are waking up to Zelensky, who is willing to unleash nuclear war in order to avoid negotiating. Some may now even understand that his crazy claims that President Putin always wanted to occupy all the Ukraine and restore the USSR, if not conquer all of Europe, are fairy-stories. These stories are told by Kiev to Western infants only in order to get military and financial aid and above all to draw NATO into the war. (The half-American Churchill spent all of 1941 trying to get the US into Britain’s war against Germany; unlike Zelensky, Churchill succeeded by emphasising his racial compatibility and dangling the Pacific Ocean carrot in front of the Yankees. Zelensky cannot offer either of those). President Putin has clearly stated on more than one occasion that: ‘He who does not regret the USSR has no heart, but he who wants to restore it has no brain’. A desire to restore the failed Soviet Union is a Western propaganda myth used by arms merchants and lying politicians to justify their greed and ambition.

Three Reasons To Run Now

Since NATO has categorically refused to send troops into the Ukraine and since there is no such thing as a ‘coalition of the willing’, apart from a few Polish and Baltic fanatics who are currently being wiped out as mercenaries in the Ukraine, what can Zelensky do? He could urge the Ukrainian commander-in-chief, General Zaluzhny, to open a last (yes, last) offensive in Donetsk or Zaporozhie in order to reboot support from the West. However, General Zaluzhny is fed up with sending his troops to commit suicide. He is, after all, a professional military man. Zelensky, on the other hand, is a White House court jester, who cares only about his own survival. Zaluzhny has other considerations. Here there is potential for a coup d’etat, a palace revolt in Kiev.

On the one hand, the self-deluded and murderous Neo-Nazis in the Ukraine who surround Zelensky and were all given power by the US, will not tolerate surrender. On the other hand, ordinary cold and hungry Ukrainians will ask why was not all of this avoided in the first place by agreeing to Ukrainian neutrality and fulfilling the Minsk 2 promises with their Russian brothers? (A good question, which should be asked of all the Western leaders who also rejected it). So Zelensky is stuck between the Neo-Nazis and the moderate Ukrainian people, between a rock and a hard place. It is lose-lose for him. Russians do not hate Ukrainians, they are brothers. But they do hate Nazis. They are enemies. The Nazis can expect no quarter from the Russians and they know it. The USSR cleared out its part of Germany of Nazis, liberating their German brothers. It is the same now in the Ukraine. With the Russian liberation of the whole of the Ukraine (not originally intended by Russia, but now necessary), a new wave of Ukrainian ‘refugees’ is going to hit Western Europe, maybe even before Christmas. This could be the last straw for a Europe full of refugees from other equally stupid and unnecessary wars of the US Empire: Iraqis, Afghans, Syrians, Libyans, Albanians and now Ukrainians. Europe cannot take it any more. It is collapsing in waves of social unrest and even Britannia cannot rule those waves.

The clueless Stoltenberg (him again) has declared that the defeat of the Ukraine means (yet another) defeat for NATO. Actually, the superfluous NATO was long ago defeated, but Stoltenberg is too clueless to have seen the writing on the wall and join the long queues of now unemployed ex-slaves of the US, Afghan and Iraqi interpreters among them. The US and its NATO vassals must now backtrack. Some statement like: ‘We were let down by those vodka-drinking surrender-monkey Ukrainians (what can you expect from those Slav subhumans?), but we have won the greatest victory in our history because we have triumphed in stopping the brutal Russian beast at the Polish border. Mission accomplished’. That would do the job. The US and its vassals cannot save face, but, since they only care about PR, they can at least pretend to save face – by blaming Zelensky. They could, conveniently, have him assassinated, so he does not tell the truth about what has really been happening behind the scenes over the last few years (he knows far too much), blaming it on ‘extremists’ and making him into a new Jewish martyr. If I were Zelensky, I would leave for Tel Aviv today. Does the Ukraine have any planes left?

Towards the Real New World Order

November 17, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

Thirty years ago George Bush Senior, the blood of untold numbers of dead Iraqi civilians and children on his conscience, was the first to popularise the term ‘the New World Order’. No doubt he got his inspiration from looking at the slogan on a dollar bill (after all, where else would a man like that get his inspiration from?). The phrase in Bush’s meaning has over the last 30 years been completely discredited. Yugoslavia? Iraq? Syria? Afghanistan? Now we are talking about a real ‘New World Order’. This is being fought for in the Ukraine and in world political and economic fora at this very moment. And its ideological and military leader is the Russian Federation, the only country with the guts to lead the real New World Order. This will be to its credit for as long as the world lasts. In this context the Saker has written an excellent article, titled with the following hypothetical question:

What would a Russian Defeat Mean for the People of the West?

Although the Saker has given an excellent answer, I would give my own, which is a summary of his. This is: A Russian defeat at the hands of the ‘Combined West’ would mean the end of the world and therefore no New World Order. Fear not, since Russia is not about to be defeated, the world is not going to end just yet and there is going to be, and there already is, a New World Order.

Let us be frank, the Combined West has attacked Russia again and again in history. Many do not know that the Teutonic Knights in the thirteenth century were international, pan-Western. The Napoleonic Invasion of 1812 was carried out by twelve Western nationalities. The Crimean War, i. e., the 1854 Invasion of Russia, was carried out by the French, the British, the Ottomans and the Sardinians.

As for the Austro-Hungarian Army and the Kaiser’s Army in 1914, that too was an effort of the Combined West, and if it had not been for the Revolution, Russia would have taken Vienna and Berlin later in 1917. And Hitler’s invasion 27 years later was equally multinational. And such is the case today, with the Kiev regime’s mercenary army, armed by multinational NATO.

Talks

Today the US mentors of the Kiev regime are desperate for peace talks to begin. Peace could have been had at any time between February 2014 and April 2022. The US did not want it then and did not allow it then, so now they will have to pay the price. The US elite knows that they are about to lose big time. This is their last chance and the last chance for the former Ukraine – for that is what we are talking about now. Like so many, these Americans have big mouths, but when it comes to it, it is all just hot air. And although Russia is talking at the US request in order to keep channels open, it is ignoring ridiculous American demands.

Today Russia has no reason to talk. It is successfully fighting against and so demilitarising NATO in the Ukraine. Everybody knows it. However, we are also at a dangerous moment because the US is losing control of its puppets. Just as it promoted Hussein in Iraq or Bin Laden in Afghanistan, ISIS in Syria and any number of Latin American gangster-puppets and then lost control of them because they refused to behave as puppets, so they risk losing control now. The lickspittle Kiev regime and its allies in Poland, the Baltics and even in the UK (there they have been singing even pop songs with an American accent for over sixty years) are being more American than the Americans. The pupil is worse than the teacher.

The recent provocation of a Ukrainian missile landing in Poland and the Poles and Latvians claiming it was Russian is an example, The Americans refused to fall for it. Before that the threat of a dirty bomb being prepared by the Kiev regime was another example. Alarmed, the Americans stopped that nonsense. The UK’s anti-German destruction of the Nordstream pipeline was yet another example. The culprit was covered up, just as the Americans covered up the culprits of MH-17. In Kiev, Warsaw, the Baltics and in London, they should remember what the Americans did to Hussein and Bin Laden. They are quite capable of doing the same again, pulling the plug on them all. After all, people died all the time. And yet these people do not know when to stop. Where does this problem come from?

Self-Delusion

One of the problems of the contemporary US/Western system is that it is based almost wholly on ‘Psyops’, that is to say on PR, that is to say, on what used to be called propaganda, which then became ‘spin’, and then ‘fake news’. Of course, all these are just words for lies. However, the problem with all these lies is that they are so persuasive that the perpetrators actually begin to believe in them themselves. They zombify themselves. They delude themselves.

This is why the contemporary Western elites are suffused with infantilism. As soon as you contradict their lies with solid evidence, they behave like spoilt children and throw their toys out of their pram. But suppose those toys are nuclear? God forbid that anyone should give the kids in Kiev or Warsaw or the Baltics or London control of nuclear toys. (Yes, London does have them, but they do not control them).

The problem with spoilt children is that if you contradict them, they will ‘cancel’ you. As the Americans say: ‘The difference between men and boys (here they mean infantile American men) is the size and cost of their toys’. Thus, the woke West would never impose ‘censorship’. Instead, it imposes ‘editorial control’. Western media are nothing if not State mouthpieces.

In France, for instance, as in so many Western countries, after Presidential elections, the news presenters mysteriously tend to change and new journalists come to the fore. The reason? In central Paris the President has at his disposal 500 apartments, which he can give rent-free to his ‘friends’, though only so long as….. Presstitutes indeed. As for the UK, everyone knows that the BBC is part and parcel of the British Establishment, peopled with MI5 and MI6 assets, and fully dependent on the income awarded it by the British State. If you don’t behave, …..

On Lessons of History

Some may object: ‘But what about history? Can’t we learn from the mistakes of history? After all history never repeats itself’. Such people are naïve. Unfortunately, history does repeat itself and constantly. The first reason for this is that geography does not change. For example, Russia will always be a Eurasian power, in the same position. It will not move to South America or New Zealand. The second reason why history repeats itself is because of human stupidity. Did Hitler learn about the Russian winter in 1941 from Napoleon’s experience in 1812? Did the American Empire’s invasion of Afghanistan learn from the British Empire’s invasion of Afghanistan? Why not? Sheer stupidity, brought on by the blindness of hubris. ‘I am not like them, I am intelligent, I will not do the same thing again’. Here below is another lesson to learn from.

President Putin has been compared to Peter the Great. At the turn of the eighteenth century Peter broke a window through to Europe and so modernised Russia, so that it could compete with and defend itself from Europe. I can see the point in the comparison, but I think a better comparison is with Nicholas II, 300 years later. At the turn of the twentieth century it was Tsar Nicholas who broke a window through to Asia. It was he who built the Trans-Siberian railway, settled millions of Russian peasants in Siberia and built up links with Korea, Japan, China and Thailand.

True, his policy was thwarted by the British who had armed Japan to the teeth, building its dreadnoughts, which duly and treacherously attacked the Russian fleet in Port Arthur in 1904, just as Britain (and the US) had hoped. Thirty-seven years later the US got their just desserts at Pearl Harbour, when the Japanese repeated the same lesson. And the British got their just desserts three months later in 1942, when the greatest British military disaster in history took place. 80,000 troops surrendered in humiliation to the ’Asiatic and primitive’ Japanese. And that led to the end of the British Empire in Asia just a few years later.

Surely President Putin has now completed the Russian breakthrough into Asia? Today his Russia is allied with China and Iran, India, Indonesia, Turkey, North Korea, and much of the rest of Asia stands behind him. Has President Putin not learned from history, thus enabling him to complete the work begun five generations before?

The Future

The American Empire is truly a giant, but truly with feet of clay. The Empire is all based on the virtual reality of Psyops, not on reality. And the real rock of Russia is hitting the giant. And this how the New World Order is being born. It means the gradual end of the American Empire and all the fakes and clubs dependent on it, the UN, NATO, the EU, the IMF, the World Bank, the G7 and the G20, of which latter it has already lost control. They are all being destroyed by the Ukraine, which is the giant’s feet of clay.

Tsar Nicholas II founded the Tran-Siberian Railway, which connects Moscow to Beijing in six days. It is the symbolic foundation of the real New World Order, which will run from Beijing to Moscow, including Tehran and New Delhi, and reach Berlin. For Berlin is the real capital of Europe, and not the overgrown village of Brussels. When the Beijing-Moscow-Berlin axis is formed, even the UK, its absurd anti-English British Establishment by then deposed, will want to join it.

In order to survive, that is to join the multipolar New World Order of the seven billion, the Great Rest, the tiny west, the one billion remaining, will have to eat humble pie. It has already started. The New World Order will be global, but not globalist, imperial, but not imperialist, just, but not woke, based on values that are traditional and universal and human. If I may quote from that great speech of President Putin, made on of 30 September this year, these are the values:

The battlefield to which destiny and history have called us is a battlefield for our people…for the great historical Russia, for future generations, our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We must protect them against enslavement and monstrous experiments that are designed to cripple their minds and souls….Today, we need a consolidated society, and this consolidation can only be based on sovereignty, freedom, creation, and justice. Our values ​​are humanity, mercy and compassion.

17 November 2022

The Kherson question

November 15, 2022

Source

Notes and reflections by Nora Hoppe

To retreat or not to retreat…

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Preface:
I have no idea about war… I have never experienced one. I understand nothing of military campaigns, strategies, manoeuvres, weapons, etc. I’ve only seen several war films, read novels featuring war and followed the news on various wars…

* * *

I have heard that each war is different, and that comparisons are only useful for “certain aspects”.

I follow the news regularly on Russia’s Special Military Operation in Ukraine. And I have recently read and heard many varying and divisionary views on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kherson, a city that is now lawfully part of Russia.

Dispensing with the views of the pro-NATO side, which are of no interest, I am observing the division of thought amongst analysts, journalists and commenters in forums siding with the Russians: There are those who are outraged and see the withdrawal from Kherson as “a disgrace”, “a sign of weakness”, “an embarrassment”, “a poor strategy”, “unattractive optics”, etc. Others see it as the outcome of a difficult but wise decision – that was primarily made to save the lives of Russian soldiers, who would have been cut off by a massive flood if NATO were to blow up the Kakhovka Dam. (There may well be additional tactical reasons for the withdrawal, but they are not (yet) known to the public.)

When people speak of the “optics not looking good“… a film set immediately comes to my mind (I have worked in the film world for many years). And that immediately tells me how some people view this operation – as spectators: it has to have a good catchy script, suspense, uninterrupted action and – heaven forbid – no lulls! It has to ultimately supply a dopamine release. It has to have a “Dirty Harry Catharsis”.

This reminds me of similar reactions to the prisoner exchange in mid-September, where some saw it as a sign of weakness to even think of releasing Azov prisoners… or when the Chinese government did not deliver a dramatic retort when Pelosi went to do her skit in Taiwan.

What is at the base of these kinds of reactions? Why such impatience? Why such concern with “appearances”? Why such a need to satiate one’s own personal sense of justice and retribution? Does it have something to do with consuming? Especially in the western world one has become an addicted consumer of not only things but “experiences” that can be lived indirectly.

Today we witness events of other peoples’ wars and battles on computer screens from the comfort of our homes or on our tiny phones from chic cafés… these events can accessed at any moment – just press a key… and they appear – like a scene in a film, a game, a contest, a sports match. Even the dead bodies that lie mangled, bloodied or in gory stumps strewn over the mud become the pieces of a broken puppets on a stage. “Hell, one gets used to it…” The sacredness of Life is gone.

We have become spectators… and our world has become a spectacle.

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In his philosophical work and critique of contemporary consumer culture, “The Society of the Spectacle”, Guy Debord describes modern society as one in which authentic social life has been replaced with its representation: “All that once was directly lived has become mere representation.” He argues that the history of social life can be understood as “the decline of being into having… and having into merely appearing.” This condition is the “historical moment at which the commodity completes its colonisation of social life.”

I don’t want to veer off into the film world or into a philosophical discourse here… but I just want to ask the question: When are we going to wake up to the real, authentic world?

When are we going to stop fussing about “cool appearances”, “sensational manoeuvres” and “snappy rebuttals”… and start remembering what this operation is all about in the first place?

Isn’t it essentially about LIVES? Not only about the lives of those who have been suffering injustices and atrocities in Donetsk and Lugansk (and elsewhere) since 2014 (at least)… but also the lives of those fighting for the salvation and survival of those other lives… and – by extension – the lives of sovereign human beings on the planet who yearn to live in a better, multipolar world?

President Vladimir V. Putin had tried to avoid a military response in Ukraine for many long years until the Russian people and Russia began to be faced with its devastation from outside, especially with the burgeoning NATO menace and the enhanced cultivation of the neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine. It is not an easy decision to take risky military measures to confront an inevitable clash. In his speech on National Unity Day before the historians and representatives of Russia’s traditional religions on 4th November he visibly expressed his horror and personal pain over the profound tragedy of this clash and over what was befalling the Ukrainian people: “The situation in Ukraine has been driven by its so-called ‘friends’ to the stage where it has become deadly for Russia and suicidal for the Ukrainian people themselves. And we see this even in the nature of the hostilities, what is happening there is simply shocking. It’s just as if the Ukrainian people do not exist. They are thrown into the furnace and that’s it.”

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Perhaps the “transient” retreat from Kherson is not a setback and can be even seen as a victory, another kind of victory – a moral victory.

In his powerful masterpiece, “War and Peace”, Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy depicts the Battle of Borodino as the greatest example of Russian patriotism… The collective engagement of all those involved in the Battle of Borodino is what ultimately attained the end result: despite all their losses and the sacrificial need to evacuate Moscow and burn its resources – in order to save the army and Russia, the Russians, achieved a moral victory in this battle… which ultimately led to the comprehensive victory of the Russian army and the entire campaign.

“Several tens of thousands of the slain lay in diverse postures and various uniforms on the fields and meadows belonging to the Davýdov family and to the crown serfs—those fields and meadows where for hundreds of years the peasants of Borodinó, Górki, Shevárdino, and Semënovsk had reaped their harvests and pastured their cattle. At the dressing stations the grass and earth were soaked with blood for a space of some three acres around. Crowds of men of various arms, wounded and unwounded, with frightened faces, dragged themselves back to Mozháysk from the one army and back to Valúevo from the other. Other crowds, exhausted and hungry, went forward led by their officers. Others held their ground and continued to fire.” [“War and Peace” – book 10; chapter 39]

General-in-chief Mikhail I. Kutuzov’s motto of “patience and time” allowed the Russian army to be victorious when he was able to embrace, as opposed to trying to know, the contingencies of war and prepare his soldiers as best he could for such battle. He knew that, by fighting the pitched battle and adopting the strategy of attrition warfare, he could now retreat with the Russian army still intact, lead its recovery, and force the weakened French forces to move even further from their bases of supply.

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“By long years of military experience he knew, and with the wisdom of age understood, that it is impossible for one man to direct hundreds of thousands of others struggling with death, and he knew that the result of a battle is decided not by the orders of a commander in chief, nor the place where the troops are stationed, nor by the number of cannons or of slaughtered men, but by the intangible force called the spirit of the army, and he watched this force and guided it in as far as that was in his power.” [“War and Peace” – book 10; chapter 35… bold script mine]

According to Tolstoy: “In military affairs the strength of an army is the product of its mass and some unknown x. … That unknown quantity is the spirit of the army, that is to say, the greater or lesser readiness to fight and face danger felt by all the men composing an army, quite independently of whether they are, or are not, fighting under the command of a genius, in two—or three-line formation, with cudgels or with rifles that repeat thirty times a minute. Men who want to fight will always put themselves in the most advantageous conditions for fighting. … The spirit of an army is the factor, which multiplied by the mass gives the resulting force. To define and express the significance of this unknown factor – the spirit of an army – is a problem for science.” [“War and Peace” – book 14; chapter 2]

This Russian approach to war opened up an entirely new option: for “the destiny of nations” to depend “not in conquerors, not even in armies and battles, but in something else.” That “something else” Tolstoy explains, was in fact the spirit of the people and of the army, that made them burn their land rather than give it to the French.

The highest qualities of a human being, according to Tolstoy, are: simplicity, kindness and truth. Morality, according to the writer, is the ability to feel one’s “I” as a part of the universal “we”. And Tolstoy’s heroes are simple and natural, kind and warm-hearted, honest before people and before their conscience.

Tolstoy notes that, whatever the faith may be, it “gives to the finite existence of man an infinite meaning, a meaning not destroyed by sufferings, deprivations, or death”. … “I understood that faith is a knowledge of the meaning of human life in consequence of which man does not destroy himself but lives. Faith is the strength of life. If a man lives he believes in something. If he did not believe that one must live for something, he would not live. If he does not see and recognize the illusory nature of the finite, he believes in the finite; if he understands the illusory nature of the finite, he must believe in the infinite. Without faith he cannot live… For man to be able to live he must either not see the infinite, or have such an explanation of the meaning of life as will connect the finite with the infinite.”

“I understood that if I wish to understand life and its meaning, I must not live the life of a parasite, but must live a real life, and – taking the meaning given to live by real humanity and merging myself in that life – verify it.”

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For us to attain a true victory – for a better world… we may need to recalibrate our thinking and values. This is indeed a spiritual struggle… not one just being fought in Donetsk, Lugansk and Ukraine. It is a struggle now within our own selves – whatever one’s beliefs are… What has meaning for us? Perhaps it is necessary for each of us to first define what we hold “sacred” in our own lives.

* * *

some references:

http://kremlin.ru/catalog/keywords/78/events/69781

https://www.marxists.org/archive/tolstoy/1869/war-and-peace/index.html

https://thestrip.ru/en/smoky-eyes/kakim-bylo-otnoshenie-tolstogo-k-voine-prichiny-obyasneniya-voiny-po/

https://hum11c.omeka.fas.harvard.edu/exhibits/show/reading-history/differing-perspecitives-on–re

Putin: ‘The Situation Is, to a Certain Extent, Revolutionary’

Putin in fact did nail where we are: on the edge of a Revolution.

October 31, 2022

Global Research,

By Pepe Escobar

In an all-encompassing address to the plenary session of the 19th annual meeting of the Valdai Club, President Putin delivered no less than a devastating, multi-layered critique of unipolarity.

From Shakespeare to the assassination of Gen Soleimani;

from musings on spirituality to the structure of the UN;

from Eurasia as the cradle of human civilization to the interconnection of BRI, SCO and the INSTC;

from nuclear dangers to that peripheral peninsula of Eurasia “blinded by the idea that Europeans are better than others”, the address painted a Brueghel-esque canvas of the “historical milestone” facing us, in the middle of “the most dangerous decade since the end of WWII.”

Putin even ventured that, in the words of the classics, “the situation is, to a certain extent, revolutionary” as “the upper classes cannot, and the lower classes do not want to live like this anymore”. So everything is in play, as “the future of the new world order is being shaped before our eyes.”

Way beyond a catchy slogan about the game the West is playing, “bloody, dangerous and dirty”, the address and Putin’s interventions at the subsequent Q&A should be analyzed as a coherent vision of past, present and future. Here we offer just a few of the highlights:

“The world is witnessing the degradation of world institutions, the erosion of the principle of collective security, the substitution of international law for ‘rules’”.

“Even at the height of the Cold War, nobody denied the existence of the culture and art of the Other. In the West, any alternative point of view is declared subversive.”

“The Nazis burned books. Now the Western fathers of ‘liberalism’ are banning Dostoevsky.”

“There are at least two ‘Wests’. The first is traditional, with a rich culture. The second is aggressive and colonial.”

“Russia has not and does not consider itself an enemy of the West.

Russia tried to build relations with the West and NATO – to live together in peace and harmony. Their response to all cooperation was simply ‘no’.”

“We do not need a nuclear strike on Ukraine, there is no point – neither political nor military.”

“In part” the situation between Russia and Ukraine can be considered a civil war: “When creating Ukraine, the Bolsheviks endowed it with primordially Russian territories – they gave it all of Little Russia, the entire Black Sea region, the entire Donbass. Ukraine evolved as an artificial state.”

Russia and China Haven’t Even Started to Ratchet Up the Pain Dial. Pepe Escobar

“Ukrainians and Russians are one people – this is a historical fact. Ukraine has evolved as an artificial state. The only country that can guarantee its sovereignty is the country which created it – Russia.”

“The unipolar world is coming to an end. The West is incapable of single-handedly ruling the world. The world stands at a historical milestone ahead of the most dangerous and important decade since World War II.”

“Humanity has two options – either we continue accumulating the burden of problems that is certain to crush all of us, or we can work together to find solutions.”

What do we do after the orgy?

Amidst a series of absorbing discussions, the heart of the matter at Valdai is its 2022 report, “A World Without Superpowers”.

The report’s central thesis – eminently correct – is that “the United States and its allies, in fact, no longer enjoy the status of dominant superpower, but the global infrastructure that serves it is still in place.”

Of course all major interconnected issues at the current crossroads were precipitated because” Russia became the first major power which, guided by its own ideas of security and fairness, chose to discard the benefits of ‘global peace’ created by the only superpower.”

Well, not exactly “global peace”; rather a Mafia-enforced ethos of “our way or the highway”. The report quite diplomatically characterizes the freezing of Russia’s gold and foreign currency reserves and the “mop up” of Russia’s property abroad as “Western jurisdictions”, “if necessary”, being “guided by political expediency rather than the law”.

That’s in fact outright theft, under the shadow of the “rules-based international order”.

The report – optimistically – foresees the advent of a sort of normalized “cold peace” as “the best available solution today” – acknowledging at least this is far from guaranteed, and “will not halt the fundamental rebuilding of the international system on new foundations.”

The foundation for evolving multipolarity has in fact been presented by the Russia-China strategic partnership only three weeks before imperially-ordered provocations forced Russia to launch the Special Military Operation (SMO).

In parallel, the financial lineaments of multipolarity had been proposed since at least July 2021, in a paper co-written by Professor Michael Hudson and Radhika Desai.

The Valdai report duly acknowledges the role of Global South medium-sized powers that “exemplify the democratization of international politics” and may “act as shock absorbers during periods of upheaval.” That’s a direct reference to the role of BRICS+ as key protagonists.

On the Big Picture across the chessboard, the analysis tends to get more realistic when it considers that “the triumph of ‘the only true idea’ makes effective dialogue and agreement with supporters of different views and values impossible by definition.”

Putin alluded to it several times in his address. There’s no evidence whatsoever the Empire and its vassals will be deviating from their normative, imposed, value-laden unilateralism.

As for world politics beginning to “rapidly return to a state of anarchy built on force”, that’s self-evident: only the Empire of Chaos wants to impose anarchy, as it completely ran out of geopolitical and geoeconomic tools to control rebel nations, apart from the sanctions tsunami.

So the report is correct when it identifies that the childish neo-Hegelian “end of history” wet dream in the end hit the wall of History: we’re back to the pattern of large scale conflicts between centers of power.

And it’s also a fact that “simply changing the ‘operator’ as it happened in earlier centuries” (as in the U.S. taking over from Britain) “just won’t work.”

China might harbor a desire to become the new sheriff, but the Beijing leadership definitely is not interested. And even if that happened the Hegemon would fiercely prevented it, as “the entire system” remains “under its control (primarily finance and the economy).”

So the only way out, once again, is multipolarity – which the report characterizes, rather vaguely, as “a world without superpowers”, still in need of “a system of self-regulation, which implies much greater freedom of action and responsibility for such actions.”

Stranger things have happened in History. As it stands, we are plunged deep into the maelstrom of complete collapse. Putin in fact did nail where we are: on the edge of a Revolution.

This article was first published by Strategic Culture Foundation

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Pepe Escobar, born in Brazil, is a correspondent and editor-at-large at Asia Times and columnist for Consortium News and Strategic Culture. Since the mid-1980s he’s lived and worked as a foreign correspondent in London, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Singapore, Bangkok. He has extensively covered Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia to China, Iran, Iraq and the wider Middle East. Pepe is the author of Globalistan – How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War; Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad during the Surge. He was contributing editor to The Empire and The Crescent and Tutto in Vendita in Italy. His last two books are Empire of Chaos and 2030. Pepe is also associated with the Paris-based European Academy of Geopolitics. When not on the road he lives between Paris and Bangkok.

He is a regular contributor to Global Research.

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The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Pepe Escobar, Global Research, 2022

Everything is building up to a major showdown

October 24, 2022

Source

By Aram Mirzaei

We live in one of the most important moments in history. Perhaps this moment is even more important than the end of the Cold War. Similar to those events more than 30 years ago, major geopolitical shifts are currently taking place today. If the end of the cold war saw the rise of the Western Bloc to dominance, then the start of this new Cold War has seen the return of a new Eastern Bloc, ready to assert its rightful place in the world.

The era of Western interventions, regime change operations and hit and run tactics is almost at an end. Today, countries such as China, Russia and Iran are challenging the US militarily, economically and politically. Many of the former international equations that were true only a few years ago are changing with great speed, especially after the start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.

If we consider the nationalization of Iran’s oil industry as the first part of changing the structures of the world, then the key part that would change the entire structure is the moment when Russia decided to say enough to Washington and put their foot down, once and for all.

This has inspired defiance among the oppressed nations of the world. The conflict in Ukraine has proven that most of the countries in the world, which even the United States counted on as allies, are against the policies of the United States and in practice are not willing to go along with the policies of the United States. OPEC’s recent decision to reduce its oil production, while the United States had tried its best to force OPEC to bear the costs of its adventure in Europe, shows that a new world order is being formed. Indeed Washington did its best to pressure Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and other Persian Gulf countries to put aside their own interests in favour of Washington’s interests. We saw that not only did it not work, but it has also created a diplomatic crisis between the once so great “allies” in this region.

Several US senators and even the White House openly threatened Riyadh with consequences to their crime of not committing suicide for the sake of Washington. This could manifest itself in sudden Western public “awareness” of, and campaigns against the Saudi “human rights record” in the near future, or even worse- western backed riots such as those we’ve seen recently in Iran. So far we’ve only seen talks about “stopping arms sales” and/or “withdrawing troops from the region.”

Such a move would likely lead the Saudis to turn towards Tehran and, in extension the emerging Eastern alliance. This would lead to a major geopolitical shift in the region that would endanger Israel, and thus also raise the risk of a large conflict in the region.

Another US ally that is flirting with the East is Erdogan’s Turkey. Erdogan is many things, and one of those things is being a survivalist. His refusal to follow NATO and US policies vis-à-vis Russia shows that he is also prioritizing his own interests before Washington’s. The Eastern alliance, manifested by institutions such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS are expanding and gaining strength, and today many countries in the world are looking for membership in these international cooperation organizations, especially after Iran’s entry into the SCO group of countries. Both Turkey and Saudi Arabia, two countries wielding considerable influence on smaller countries in the region are looking to join these organizations. These countries used to be allies of the West, and of course some are still their allies, but it shows that even Washington’s once so staunch allies are not satisfied with, and most importantly don’t trust the US hegemony anymore, and are looking for alternatives.

When Russia’s red line was crossed in Ukraine, Moscow made an important decision to intervene. This decision was not just about Moscow’s security, or the security of Donbass. Russian President Putin has on several occasions spoken about the ongoing paradigm shift, where the world is moving toward a multi-polar world order. Words echoed by officials in Tehran as well as the Islamic Republic is also at the forefront, together with Russia and China in the bid to end the unipolar world order. Russia’s SMO in Ukraine is of utmost importance for the oppressed countries of the world. Such an open challenge to US hegemony will strengthen the resolve of other countries, especially China and Iran, two countries facing the same enemy as Russia is currently battling.

Washington is in decline, while the Eastern Bloc is on the rise. Even the staunchest of Empire supporters cannot deny this fact. Since Washington and the collective West are in decline, they are also growing more aggressive. This has been witnessed by us all in Ukraine where the collective West have brought mankind to the brink of nuclear war. This can be seen in the aggressive policies regarding Taiwan, violating previous agreements and commitments to respecting China’s sovereignty. This was as clear as day during the recent foreign-backed riots in Iran. In sum, the US basically tried to extort Tehran into accepting a “temporary” JCPOA deal on Washington’s terms and conditions. Seeing as how Tehran would not yield on its demands for guarantees that Washington wouldn’t renege on the deal once more, they created these riots to force and pressure Tehran to accept Washington’s terms.

A desperate attempt to create a color revolution, with the help of hundreds of thousands of Twitter bots, especially since the riots quickly lost momentum thanks to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) vigilance and experience in dealing with foreign-backed plots to overthrow the Islamic Republic. The timing of the riots made it clear for Tehran that it was a desperate move to secure natural gas for the winter, especially since they destroyed Europe’s gas deliveries through NS1 and NS2. If it wasn’t clear enough at first, at least Washington did a good job in clarifying any misunderstandings when both US special envoy for Iran Robert Malley and US State Department spokesperson Ned Price claimed that the revival of the JCPOA is “not our focus right now” and that it “wasn’t even on the agenda”, as Washington was shifting focus to “supporting Iranian protesters.”

Washington’s list of allies will keep growing thinner for every new crisis that Washington creates. There is already widespread dissatisfaction among those countries that constitute the “jungle”, as Joseph Borrell, chief gardener of the EU, so creatively described it, and as we speak, that dissatisfaction is also spreading to the “garden” now. Massive protests are taking place in several EU countries, and these are just the beginning, because it’s not even winter yet! The true pain for European households will come in a month or two.

Washington is fighting on multiple fronts to preserve its hegemony, Secretary of State Blinken was pretty clear about that when he said that Americans “have to be the ones who are at the table who are helping to shape the rules, the norms, the standards by which technology is used,”

“If we’re not, if the United States isn’t there, then someone else will be, and these rules are going to get shaped in ways that don’t reflect our values and don’t reflect our interests.”

The fact that Washington is feeling this pressure makes the Empire more dangerous than ever. It can be said that any chance of saving the world today depends on whether a strong Eastern Bloc can be formed soon enough. If not, the US hegemony will pick off the independent countries one by one, just like they did in Libya.

Sure, if Washington strikes either of Russia, China or Iran militarily, they will have to be prepared for these countries to massively retaliate, unlike the situation in Libya, where Libyans were pretty defenceless on their own. Still, like I said in the beginning of this piece, the era of hit and run tactics is almost at an end. This means that Washington is still bold enough to strike Russia, China and Iran politically and financially through slander, regime change psyops and sanctions. Hence, the need for China, Russia and Iran to hasten the Eastern integration and alliance building projects in order to better be prepared to counter Washington’s long reach.

Of course, even if such an alliance can be formed, there are no guarantees that Washington’s madness wouldn’t still cause a world war that would destroy us all, but at least in such a scenario, they’d go down with the rest of us too. In the end, the leaderships and peoples of the three countries leading the new multi-polar world order would rather die than become slaves of the US hegemony.

Many important countries will soon be forced to pick sides as everything seems to be building up to a major showdown between the East and the hateful West. When and how that will happen is anyone’s guess. The only thing certain at this point is that the end of the Western era of dominance under their “rules based world order” is inevitable.

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‘Peaceful modernization’: China’s offering to the Global South

Xi Jinping just offered the Global South a stark alternative to decades of western diktats, war, and economic duress. ‘Peaceful modernization’ will establish sovereignty, economy, and independence for the world’s struggling states

October 20 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

President Xi Jinping’s work report at the start of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) this past Sunday in Beijing contained not only a blueprint for the development of the civilization-state, but for the whole Global South. CPC (China Communist Party)

Xi’s 1h45min speech actually delivered a shorter version of the full work report – see attached PDF – which gets into way more detail on an array of socio-political themes.

This was the culmination of a complex collective effort that went on for months. When he received the final text, Xi commented, revised and edited it.

In a nutshell, the CPC master plan is twofold: finalize “socialist modernization” from 2020 to 2035; and build China – via peaceful modernization – as a modern socialist country that is “prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, and harmonious” all the way to 2049, signaling the centenary of the foundation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The central concept in the work report is peaceful modernization – and how to accomplish it. As Xi summarized, “It contains elements that are common to the modernization processes of all countries, but it is more characterized by features that are unique to the Chinese context.”

Very much in tune with Confucian Chinese culture, “peaceful modernization” encapsulates a complete theoretical system. Of course there are multiple geoeconomic paths leading to modernization – according to the national conditions of any particular country. But for the Global South as a whole, what really matters is that the Chinese example completely breaks with the western TINA (“there is no alternative”) monopoly on modernization practice and theory.

Not to mention it breaks with the ideological straitjacket imposed on the Global South by the self-defined “golden billion” (of which the really “golden” barely reach 10 million). What the Chinese leadership is saying is that the Iranian model, the Ugandan model or the Bolivian model are all as valid as the Chinese experiment: what matters is pursuing an independent path towards development.

How to develop tech independence

The recent historical record shows how every nation trying to develop outside the Washington Consensus is terrorized at myriad hybrid war levels. This nation becomes a target of color revolutions, regime change, illegal sanctions, economic blockade, NATO sabotage or outright bombing and/invasion.

What China proposes echoes across the Global South because Beijing is the largest trade partner of no less than 140 nations, who can easily grasp concepts such as high-quality economic development and self-reliance in science and technology.

The report stressed the categorical imperative for China from now on: to speed up technology self-reliance as the Hegemon is going no holds barred to derail China tech, especially in the manufacturing of semiconductors.

In what amount to a sanctions package from Hell, the Hegemon is betting on crippling China’s drive to accelerate its tech independence in semiconductors and the equipment to produce them.

So China will need to engage in a national effort on semiconductor production. That necessity will be at the core of what the work report describes as a new development strategy, spurred by the tremendous challenge of achieving tech self-sufficiency. Essentially China will go for strengthening the public sector of the economy, with state companies forming the nucleus for a national system of tech innovation development.

‘Small fortresses with high walls’

On foreign policy, the work report is very clear: China is against any form of unilateralism as well as blocs and exclusive groups targeted against particular countries. Beijing refers to these blocs, such as NATO and AUKUS, as “small fortresses with high walls.”

This outlook is inscribed in the CPC’s emphasis on another categorical imperative: reforming the existing system of global governance, extremely unfair to the Global South. It’s always crucial to remember that China, as a civilization-state, considers itself simultaneously as a socialist country and the world’s leading developing nation.

The problem once again is Beijing’s belief in “safeguarding the international system with the UN at its core.” Most Global South players know how the Hegemon subjects the UN – and its voting mechanism – to all sorts of relentless pressure.

It’s enlightening to pay attention to the very few westerners that really know one or two things about China.

Martin Jacques, until recently a senior fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge University, and author of arguably the best book in English on China’s development, is impressed by how China’s modernization happened in a context dominated by the west: “This was the key role of the CPC. It had to be planned. We can see how extraordinarily successful it has been.”

The implication is that by breaking the west-centric TINA model, Beijing has accumulated the tools to be able to assist Global South nations with their own models.

Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, is even more upbeat: “China will become a leader of innovation. I very much hope and count on China becoming a leader for innovation in sustainability.” That will contrast with a ‘dysfunctional’ American model turning protectionist even in business and investment.

Mikhail Delyagin, deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on Economic Policy, makes a crucial point, certainly noted by key Global South players: the CPC “was able to creatively adapt the Marxism of the 19th century and its experience of the 20th century to new requirements and implement eternal values with new methods. This is a very important and useful lesson for us.”

And that’s the added value of a model geared towards the national interest and not the exclusivist policies of Global Capital.

BRI or bust

Implied throughout the work report is the importance of the overarching concept of Chinese foreign policy: the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its trade/connectivity corridors across Eurasia and Africa.

It was up to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin to clarify where BRI is heading:

“BRI transcends the outdated mentality of geopolitical games, and created a new model of international cooperation. It is not an exclusive group that excludes other participants but an open and inclusive cooperation platform. It is not just China’s solo effort, but a symphony performed by all participating countries.”

BRI is inbuilt in the Chinese concept of “opening up.” It is also important to remember that BRI was launched by Xi nine years ago – in Central Asia (Astana) and then Southeast Asia (Jakarta). Beijing has earned from its mistakes, and keeps fine-tuning BRI in consultation with partners – from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Malaysia to several African nations.

It is no wonder, that by August this year, China’s trade with countries participating in BRI had reached a whopping $12 trillion, and non-financial direct investment in those countries surpassed $140 billion.

Wang correctly points out that following BRI infrastructure investments, “East Africa and Cambodia have highways, Kazakhstan has [dry] ports for exports, the Maldives has its first cross-sea bridge and Laos has become a connected country from a landlocked one.”

Even under serious challenges, from zero-Covid to assorted sanctions and the breakdown of supply chains, the number of China-EU express cargo trains keeps going up; the China-Laos Railway and the Peljesac Bridge in Croatia are open for business; and work on the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway and the China-Thailand Railway is in progress.

Mackinder on crack

All over the extremely incandescent global chessboard, international relations are being completely reframed.

China – and key Eurasian players at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), BRICS+, and Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) – are all proposing peaceful development.

In contrast, the Hegemon imposes an avalanche of sanctions – not by accident the top three recipients are Eurasian powers Russia, Iran and China; lethal proxy wars (Ukraine); and every possible strand of hybrid war to prevent the end of its supremacy, which lasted barely seven and a half decades, a blip in historical terms.

The current dysfunction – physical, political, financial, cognitive – is reaching a climax. As Europe plunges into the abyss of largely self-inflicted devastation and darkness  – a neo-medievalism in woke register – an internally ravaged Empire resorts to plundering even its wealthy “allies”.

It’s as if we are all witnessing a Mackinder-on-crack scenario.

Halford Mackinder, of course, was the British geographer who developed the ‘Heartland Theory’ of geopolitics, heavily influencing US foreign policy during the Cold War: “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island; Who rules the World Island commands the World.”

Russia spans 11 time zones and sits atop as much as one third of the world’s natural resources. A natural symbiosis between Europe and Russia is like a fact of life. But the EU oligarchy blew it.

It’s no wonder the Chinese leadership views the process with horror, because one of BRI’s essential planks is to facilitate seamless trade between China and Europe. As Russia’s connectivity corridor has been blocked by sanctions, China will be privileging corridors via West Asia.

Meanwhile, Russia is completing its pivot to the east. Russia’s enormous resources, combined with the manufacturing capability of China and East Asia as a whole, project a trade/connectivity sphere that goes even beyond BRI. That’s at the heart of the Russian concept of Greater Eurasia Partnership.

In another one of History’s unpredictable twists, Mackinder a century ago may have been essentially right about those controlling the Heartland/world island controlling the world. It doesn’t look like the controller will be the Hegemon, and much less its European vassals/slaves.

When the Chinese say they are against blocs, Eurasia and The West are the facto two blocs. Though not yet formally at war with each other, in reality they already are knee deep into Hybrid War territory.

Russia and Iran are on the frontline – militarily and in terms of absorbing non-stop pressure. Other important Global South players, quietly, try to either keep a low profile or, even more quietly, assist China and the others to make the multipolar world prevail economically.

As China proposes peaceful modernization, the hidden message of the work report is even starker. The Global South is facing a serious choice: choose either sovereignty – embodied in a multipolar world, peacefully modernizing – or outright vassalage. 

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

A few updates about the NATO Crusade against Russia

October 18, 2022

Source

Intro: setting the current context

Before we take a look at some of the most interesting recent developments, I think that it is important to clearly state something which needs to be repeated almost constantly: what we are witnessing today is not a war between Russia and the Ukraine, but between Russia and the united, consolidated, West.  In practical terms this means that Russia is at war with the United States and NATO, the latter being no more than a docile, if ineffective, instrument for the latter.  Furthermore, since some NATO countries are now playing a crucial role in the war against Russia (UK, Sweden, Poland and the Ukraine, the latter being a de facto NATO member), I submit that the best and simplest way to describe this was is to say that it is a NATO Crusade against Russia.

As for Banderastan, it is already a full NATO member state with about the same rights as all the other NATO members states besides the US: none.  Right now, the so-called “Ukrainian forces” are already composed of anywhere between 40% to 80% composed of foreign fighters (depending on the importance of the location) and include plenty of actual NATO personnel.  By the way, most of the ex-Soviet kit held by former WTO members has been destroyed by Russia, which poses a very thorny problem to NATO: they cannot ship more Soviet kit to Banderastan, and if they ship their own, they will not only lose it forever but the general public (or, at least, those who need to know) will know that western weapons systems are anything but a Wunderwaffe: some is very good, some okay, most of it is useless against a modern adversary.  Remember the “awesome” Bayraktars?  Where are they now?  The same goes for all the other Wunderwaffen of course…

Why a Crusade?  Many reasons, ranging from the fact that western imperialism was born with the original Crusades to the fact that, as always, the West is hating and trying to destroy Russia with a truly religious fervor, albeit a clearly satanic one (all western Crusades were satanic in inspiration, but that is a topic for another time).

By the way, understanding this has major force planning implications for Russia.  First, the SMO in the Ukraine is only one special case in a much wider war which, in reality, already involves most of our planet (at least in economic and political terms).  Second, while Russia has to conduct her SMO, she also has to prepare for a overt, full-scale, war with the West, possibly a nuclear one.  Simply put: Russia has to keep the vast majority of her resources and capabilities ready for much larger conflict than the one we are currently witnessing.   Put differently, Russia does not want to commit the same mistake as the one made by NATO when it flooded the Ukraine with so much weapon systems that it now lacks them for its own use.  With this in mind, I suggest that we look at a few interesting developments:

One: is Russia using Iranian drones or not and, if yes, why?

First, let’s state the obvious: both Russia and Iran have denied that Iran had exported drones to Russia.  Next, let’s state something equally obvious: while this might be true, most observers don’t seem to believe that Tehran and Moscow are being truthful here.

One major problem is that most observers make very questionable assumptions including the following.  If Russia is indeed using Iranian drones, it is because:

  • Iranian drones are superior to Russian ones
  • Russia is running out of drones

So let’s address those two points.

Are Iranian drones superior to Russian ones?  This question cannot be answered as such because two terms are not properly defined: the term “drone” and the term “superior”.

First, “drones” (aka UAV) range from tiny quads you can place in the palm of your hand to large, aircraft sized, and very sophisticated drones.  So let’s arbitrarily decide that all drones can be placed into one of five categories: A, B, C, D and F.  Next, when we compare Russian and Iranian drone capabilities, we need to avoid the “apples and oranges” logical trap and compare category by category.  It might be that in categories A, B, D and F Russia has much more capable drones than Iran, but that Iran is in the lead for C type of drones.

Is that possible, even in theory?

Oh yes, absolutely!  Iran has been developing very sophisticated UAV and missiles and it has used them in Iraq or the KSA with devastating effectiveness.  More importantly, for the Iranian authorities, developing a very strong UAV/missile capability is a national priority and, possibly, the key to deter the AngloZionists.  And while in Russia the military industrial complex has developed plenty of sophisticated drones, I would argue that before the initiation of the SMO drones were a lesser priority for Russia than for Iran.  Thus is is quite possible that while Russia might lead in some types of drones, Iran might have superior capabilities in another type(s) of drones.

Then there is the issue of costs.  Iranian drones are very *very* cheap, especially when compared to some much more expensive Russian equivalents.

Finally, there is the issue of availability.  Even if Russia’s drone X is superior to the Iranian drone Y, that does not mean that Russia can produce enough X drones for her needs, so why not purchase much cheaper but very effective Iranian Y drones for a fraction of the cost AND with immediate delivery?

So what are we to make from the uncanny resemblance of the Russian between the Russian Geranium-2 drone vs the Iranian Shahed-136?

My advice: absolutely nothing.

Yes, they do look alike but, frankly, convergent evolution is very common in technology, especially in aerospace.  In this case, both the Geranium-2 and the Sahed-136 look alike, sound alike, and generally are hard to distinguish.  Can you tell a 152mm shell apart from a 155mm one?  What about two shells of the same caliber, but built by different manufacturers?

So what do we know for sure?  We know that Russia has dramatically increased her use of drones and that some really look Iranian.  But even Iranian-looking drones might be built in Russia (with or without a license).  Should an Iranian designed drone built in Russia (or a Russian designed drone built in Iran) be considered Iranian or Russian?

Last but not least – what difference does it make anyway?

We know that Iran is a very solid and trustworthy ally of Russia (I would argue by far the best Russia has right now).  I know for a fact that the behind the scenes ties between Russia and Iran are numerous and deep.  Of course, in the West Iran is almost as demonized as Russia, so for the Neocons to lump the two together makes for a good talking point.  But we should not declare that these are all “Neocon lies” just because the Neocons are using Russia to demonize Iran and Iran to demonize Russia.  If anything, I think that Iran very much deserves a public expression of gratitude and admiration by Russia.  Because even if the Iranians have not sold a single drone to Russia, they are clearly and openly supporting Russia in her desire to overcome the Great Satan and create a multipolar world.

Whatever may be the case, I think that this entire Iranian drone topic is a non-issue other than I very much welcome an increase in the effective use of UAV by Russia against NATO absolutely irrespective of where these UAVs have been built or who designed them.

Did I mention that the crazies in Kiev has declared that they have a “anti-UAV dome” over Kiev (the name must be an attempt to copy/brown-nose Israel)?  Here is how this all looks like:

1: the mystery UAV. 2: the Ukie anti-UAV “dome” in action. 3: the inevitable outcome

Finally, this begs the question “are the Russian lying about the Iranian drones”?

Frankly, I don’t know.  But here is what I do know:

In his recent press conference Putin declared: ” There is no need for massive strikes now. Other tasks are on the agenda because I think out of the 29 targets the Defence Ministry had planned to hit, only seven were not. But now they are dealing with them gradually. There is no need for massive strikes, at least for now. As for the future, we’ll see.

Which was immediately interpreted by the usual war-mongering 6th columnist and assorted (pseudo-) “friends of Russia” as a sign of weakness, irresolution and, of course, imminent defeat.

Now, Putin, besides being a former intelligence officer is also a jurist and he is very careful with words.  So let’s take the sentence “There is no need for massive strikes now“.  There are at least three very ambiguous words here: “need”, “massive” and “now”.  Let’s look at them one by one:

  • Need: means just what it says, that there is no *need* for X.  That does not mean that there is no “desire” or “rationale” or “advantage” in doing X.  Putin bashers “missed” that.
  • Massive: well, if 200 missiles is massive, would 180 be less than massive?  How about 150? 100?  Of course, the Putin bashers also “missed” that.
  • Now: did he mean “today” or “this picosecond” or maybe “this month”?  Nobody knows. And, yes, of course, the Putin bashers also “missed” that.

But the main thing which Putin bashers missed, or did not want to see, is that the missile strikes DID continue.  In fact, accordintg to “Ze” they have already destroyed at least 30% (which means that in reality the damage is much bigger!) of Ukrainian power generation capabilities and there are no signs that these strikes will stop anytime soon.

Besides, Putin also said “As for the future, we’ll see“.  When does “the future” begin?  Technically, as soon as these words were spoken!

So did Putin *lie*?  No, not technically, but he was definitely “cute with words” and that was good enough for the idiots in NATO to believe that the missile strikes were over.  They found out the next day that they were very mistaken, but by then it was too late.

Another example – here is what Peskov said about the Iranian drones: ““No, we have no such information. Russian hardware is being used. You know it well. It has Russian designations. All further questions can be addressed to the Defense Ministry“.  Wait, what?!  What “further questions”?  Also, you can apply a Russian “designation” to anything, even something procured abroad.  Peskov is also being “cute with words” here.

The bottom line is this: deception is a key instrument of war, but constant lies destroy your credibility.  Are the Russian capable of lying?  Absolutely, let’s not be naive.  But, when given the option, Russian politicians prefer to be ambiguous, “cute with words” or any other expression you like.  They try to lie less than NATO (which is solely and only about optics, PYSOPS, PR, propaganda, etc. etc. etc.) and they try to not be to crude about it.

So can we take Russian or Iranian denials to the bank?

I would highly advise against it.

Two: the NS1/NS2 sabotage rigmarole (aka MH17 revisited)

You got to give it to EU politicians: they are funny.  Unless you live under their yoke that it.  In this case, the Eurolemmings first declared that Russia would have zero access to investigation of the sabotage of NS1/NS2 (MH-17 anyone?) only to then declare that they will all investigate separately but not share results.  Especially Sweden which was clearly given the “cleanup job” by Uncle Shmuel.  As for the Germans, they really don’t fear ridicule: they announced that it was definitely sabotage, but nobody knows by whom.  Apparently, being Uncle Shmuel’s bitch is what is expected of the comprador leaders of occupied Germany…

Check out this footage of the damage for yourself:

https://www.bitchute.com/embed/wSu7GMdvibp8

You can also access the Rumble version by clicking here: https://rumble.com/v1okzp2-ns12-footage-of-damage.html.

Even with Biden’s direct admission on record, the Eurolemmings have absolutely NO IDEA who could possibly have sabotaged NS1/NS2.  At best, they will mention Russia as a possible culprit 🙂

We can expect these ridiculous and spineless losers to go “full MH17” and use all the same bag of dirty tricks (beginning, of course, with the exclusion of Russia from the investigation because… … uh… … well, Russia is evil, you know?!)

Sure, the “winter is coming”, metaphorically and literally, but for the time being the folks in the West keep themselves entertained with the usual russophobic hatred:

In reality this image shows a Serbian bridge destroyed by NATO!

Then there is this masterpiece:

Which brings us right back to this during the NATO aggression against Libya:

I guess some things never change, including the Western political discourse…  That, and a very pathological obsession with sexual topics (the West is clearly the most sexually dysfunctional part of the planet right now).

Three: so where do we go from here?

First, there is going to be more of the same, that is that the West will continue to rely on terrorism as one of its main weapons against Russia.  Most of you must have heard about the massacre of Russian soldiers in training by Takfiri terrorists (and we all know who runs the Takfiri terrorists wordwide!) but you probably did not hear that the Belarussian security services have prevented a number of terrorist actions in Belarus (see machine translated article about this here).

And since there are always more potential targets than resources to guard them, we can, alas, safely assume that terrorist attacks in Russia will continue.  And no, Putin will not resurrect the Smersh (sorry nostalgic emo-Marxists!) and Russia will not turn into the USSR or WWII.  Not because Putin does not want that (and he does definitely NOT want that), but because the people of Russia don’t want that: Russia will remain a free and open society even if the price to pay for that are regular terror attacks.  Now, eventually and inevitably, the Russian society will change as the war against NATO will take many months, possibly years, and the entire Russian society will have to gradually switch over to a full “war mode” including not only the economy, but also counter-terrorism operations.

[Sidebar: this war has already profoundly changed Russia and, I would argue, for the better.  The 5th column is basically dead.  The Atlantic Integrationists either gone or in deep concealment.  The 6th column made the max of the so-called Russian “defeats” and “imminent collapse” but right now only a really terminally dumb person can still fail to “smell the coffee” and wake up to reality.  Scores of “Russian” liberals (who were very much represented in the media, entertainment, music, arts, etc.) have either emigrated (usually to Israel, Poland, the UK or one of the three Baltic statelets) or gone into a deep depression.  The Russian legislature is passing law after law to make it harder to deliberately spread NATO PSYOPs and now rather than facing the support and admiration of “liberals” in Russia and abroad, doing so exposes you to fines and even incarceration.  What used to be a fun lifestyle for the “Russian” liberals is gradually turning into a nightmare.  The bottom line is this: wars polarize and that polarization makes it much easier to get a grasp of “who is really who”.  Even a hardcore 6thy columnist like Strelkov/Girkin eventually had to stop flipping is lips and volunteered to join the Russian forces in combat.  Whatever his real motives, I will say that is an honorable and courageous action which not 5th columnist or liberal has had the courage to imitate – at least so far and to my knowledge.  I am pretty sure that the Russia which will emerge (victorious, of course) from this war will be a very different Russia from the Russia which fought it until now.  In a terrible way this war might well be salvific for the peoples of Russia: it is, after all, a war for the very survival of the Russian civilizational realm!]

There are also a lot of rumors and “things brewing” which we should prepare for.  I will just bullet point a few of them here:

  • Right now large NATO forces are assembling in several locations to continue the current “lives for optics” operation in which the Ukrainians exchange lives en masse for the pleasure of twitting about “strategic advances” while gaining a few square kilometers here and there.
  • Russian sources are claiming that some kind of unconventional attack is being prepared against Kherson and the ZNPP.
  • Russian sources are also claiming that NATO is concentrating artillery/missile forces for massive (?) strikes against the city of Kherson.
  • For these reasons, the authorities in Kherson have made it possible for the civilians who want to leave to do so and temporarily relocate to a safer location.  That does, of course, NOT mean that the Russians plan to withdraw from Kherson, if only because under Russian law it is now Russian territory.
  • Russian missile strikes are continuing, mostly against power plants and command posts.  Since “Ze” has made the posting of videos of Russian attacks illegal, only the attacks on big cities/towns are featured in the social media.  The Russian attacks on military command centers are almost never recorded or shown.
  • The Russians are also doing “something” to Starlink and Musk (whose “proud resistance” to the Pentagon lasted less than 24 hours!) even claimed that the Russians might take the entire system down.  Right now Russian interference seems to be centered around the areas near the line of contact, but that could change anytime the Russian GS decides that the time has come.  If things get even worse, western UAV and AWACS will experience “technical problems” next.
  • In what I call “Zone B” (i.e. the free world) the US is losing one ally after another, the latest one to defect to the Russian side is, of all countries, Saudi Arabia which first told Biden to get lost over OPEC+ and which now wants to join the BRICS!  Can’t say I am a big fan of the KSA, but I am all for it joining the BRICS if that is what they want.

Last but not least, is the “something’s up” feeling,

As of today, the Russians and Belorussians have created a joint force which is of great concern the the folks in Kiev and Lvov.  This does not mean that Belarusian units (or individual soldiers) are about to cross the border and attack but, just as with the initial feint around Kiev, this creates a major headache for NATO planners who cannot allocate all their resources towards the lines of contact in the eastern Ukraine.  And, if and when needed, this force (whose size is unclear, but appears to be significant) could, of course, be used, especially if the Hyena of Europe decides to bite off a piece of Banderastan (or Belarus!).  There is overwhelming evidence that Russia is also preparing a large force for some kind of operation, but I cannot even guess where this force(s) might be used or how.

Conclusion: a planet divided for the foreseeable future

What we are seeing is the creation of two parts of our planet: the AngloZionist Hegemony (in which only the USA and Israel have agency, the rest are colonies, occupied countries, volunteer slaves, etc.) and the Multipolar Free World.  While the two blocks are not technically at war with each other, in reality they already very much are.  Russia and Iran are bearing most of the military burden while other free countries quietly try to either stay out and keep a low profile or, even more quietly, assist China and rest of the Multipolar Free World to prevail economically.  Of course, the AngloZionist Hegemony is using every means it has to subvert not only Russia, but also China, Iran and any other country daring to declare even a modicum of sovereignty.

The eventual and inevitable outcome of this confrontation is not in doubt, at least not to those who are aware of reality.  It is not the outcome which I fear (in fact I await it with great anticipation!) but the potentially enormous costs of defeating the West’s last Crusade (last time Russia lost 27 million people, most of them innocent civilians, and that did not even do the full job – hence today’s war).  I will never stop repeating that while most of the US and NATO forces are a sad joke, the US nuclear triad and the USN’s submarine force are both still world class and extremely dangerous and capable (and US SSNs come with not only anti-submarine and anti-surface capabilities, but also with land-attack missiles).

This is why it is absolutely crucial for Russia to turn up the pain dial steadily but SLOWLY.

Those dimwits who constantly advocate for “firm Russian actions” and simply “hit them hard!” are clueless civilians from countries who never won a real war adn who have no idea whatsoever about modern warfare or about the immense risks their warmongering hysterics create for our entire planet.  I can sincerely say that I thank God that Putin is a very careful type who fully understands that there are no “quickfix solutions” to denazifying and demilitarizing the AngloZionist Hegemony.

And yes, Russia will continue to unilaterally and gradually rotating up the pain dial, and Russia will do so without feeling the need to seek approval from those who have never won a war but who believe that wars are won by “showing toughness”.

Andrei

‘Samarkand Spirit’ to be driven by ‘responsible powers’ Russia and China

The SCO summit of Asian power players delineated a road map for strengthening the multipolar world

September 16 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

Amidst serious tremors in the world of geopolitics, it is so fitting that this year’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) heads of state summit should have taken place in Samarkand – the ultimate Silk Road crossroads for 2,500 years.

When in 329 BC Alexander the Great reached the then Sogdian city of Marakanda, part of the Achaemenid empire, he was stunned: “Everything I have heard about Samarkand it’s true, except it is even more beautiful than I had imagined.”

Fast forward to an Op-Ed by Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev published ahead of the SCO summit, where he stresses how Samarkand now “can become a platform that is able to unite and reconcile states with various foreign policy priorities.”

After all, historically, the world from the point of view of the Silk Road landmark has always been “perceived as one and indivisible, not divided. This is the essence of a unique phenomenon – the ‘Samarkand spirit’.”

And here Mirziyoyev ties the “Samarkand Spirit” to the original SCO “Shanghai Spirit” established in early 2001, a few months before the events of September 11, when the world was forced into strife and endless war, almost overnight.

All these years, the culture of the SCO has been evolving in a distinctive Chinese way. Initially, the Shanghai Five were focused on fighting terrorism – months before the US war of terror (italics mine) metastasized from Afghanistan to Iraq and beyond.

Over the years, the initial “three no’s” – no alliance, no confrontation, no targeting any third party – ended up equipping a fast, hybrid vehicle whose ‘four wheels’ are ‘politics, security, economy, and humanities,’ complete with a Global Development Initiative, all of which contrast sharply with the priorities of a hegemonic, confrontational west.

Arguably the biggest takeaway of this week’s Samarkand summit is that Chinese President Xi Jinping presented China and Russia, together, as “responsible global powers” bent on securing the emergence of multipolarity, and refusing the arbitrary “order” imposed by the United States and its unipolar worldview.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pronounced Xi’s bilateral conversation with President Vladimir Putin as “excellent.” Xi Jinping, previous to their meeting, and addressing Putin directly, had already stressed the common Russia-China objectives:

“In the face of the colossal changes of our time on a global scale, unprecedented in history, we are ready with our Russian colleagues to set an example of a responsible world power and play a leading role in order to put such a rapidly changing world on the trajectory of sustainable and positive development.”

Later, in the preamble to the heads of state meeting, Xi went straight to the point: it is important to “prevent attempts by external forces to organize ‘color revolutions’ in the SCO countries.” Well, Europe wouldn’t be able to tell, because it has been color-revolutionized non-stop since 1945.

Putin, for his part, sent a message that will be ringing all across the Global South: “Fundamental transformations have been outlined in world politics and economics, and they are irreversible.” (italics mine)

Iran: it’s showtime

Iran was the guest star of the Samarkand show, officially embraced as the 9th member of the SCO. President Ebrahim Raisi, significantly, stressed before meeting Putin that “Iran does not recognize sanctions against Russia.” Their strategic partnership will be enhanced. On the business front, a hefty delegation comprising leaders of 80 large Russian companies will be visiting Tehran next week.

The increasing Russia-China-Iran interpolation – the three top drivers of Eurasia integration – scares the hell out of the usual suspects, who may be starting to grasp how the SCO represents, in the long run, a serious challenge to their geoeconomic game. So, as every grain of sand in every Heartland desert is already aware, the geopolitical pressure against the trio will increase exponentially.

And then there was the mega-crucial Samarkand trilateral: Russia-China-Mongolia. There were no official leaks, but this trio arguably discussed the Power of Siberia-2 gas pipeline – the interconnector to be built across Mongolia; and Mongolia’s enhanced role in a crucial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) connectivity corridor, now that China is not using the Trans-Siberian route for exports to Europe because of sanctions.

Putin briefed Xi on all aspects of Russia’s Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine, and arguably answered some really tough questions, many of them circulating wildly on the Chinese web for months now.

Which brings us to Putin’s presser at the end of the summit – with virtually all questions predictably revolving around the military theater in Ukraine.

The key takeaway from the Russian president: “There are no changes on the SMO plan. The main tasks are being implemented.” On peace prospects, it is Ukraine that “is not ready to talk to Russia.” And overall, “it is regrettable that the west had the idea to use Ukraine to try to collapse Russia.”

On the fertilizer soap opera, Putin remarked, “food supply, energy supply, they (the west) created these problems, and now are trying to resolve them at the expense of someone else” – meaning the poorest nations. “European countries are former colonial powers and they still have this paradigm of colonial philosophy. The time has come to change their behavior, to become more civilized.”

On his meeting with Xi Jinping: “It was just a regular meeting, it’s been quite some time we haven’t had a meeting face to face.” They talked about how to “expand trade turnover” and circumvent the “trade wars caused by our so-called partners,” with “expansion of settlements in national currencies not progressing as fast as we want.”

Strenghtening multipolarity

Putin’s bilateral with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi could not have been more cordial – on a “very special friendship” register – with Modi calling for serious solutions to the food and fuel crises, actually addressing the west. Meanwhile, the State Bank of India will be opening special rupee accounts to handle Russia-related trade.

This is Xi’s first foreign trip since the Covid pandemic. He could do it because he’s totally confident of being awarded a third term during the Communist Party Congress next month in Beijing. Xi now controls and/or has allies placed in at least 90 percent of the Politburo.

The other serious reason was to recharge the appeal of BRI in close connection to the SCO. China’s ambitious BRI project was officially launched by Xi in Astana (now Nur-Sultan) nine years ago. It will remain the overarching Chinese foreign policy concept for decades ahead.

BRI’s emphasis on trade and connectivity ties in with the SCO’s evolving multilateral cooperation mechanisms, congregating nations focusing on economic development independent from the hazy, hegemonic “rules-based order.” Even India under Modi is having second thoughts about relying on western blocs, where New Delhi is at best a neo-colonized “partner.”

So Xi and Putin, in Samarkand, for all practical purposes delineated a road map for strengthening multipolarity – as stressed by the final  Samarkand declaration  signed by all SCO members.

The Kazakh puzzle 

There will be bumps on the road aplenty. It’s no accident that Xi started his trip in Kazakhstan – China’s mega-strategic western rear, sharing a very long border with Xinjiang. The tri-border at the dry port of Khorgos – for lorries, buses and trains, separately – is quite something, an absolutely key BRI node.

The administration of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Nur-Sultan (soon to be re-named Astana again) is quite tricky, swinging between eastern and western political orientations, and infiltrated by Americans as much as during the era of predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s first post-USSR president.

Earlier this month, for instance, Nur-Sultan, in partnership with Ankara and British Petroleum (BP) – which virtually rules Azerbaijan – agreed to increase the volume of oil on the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline to up to 4 million tons a month by the end of this year. Chevron and ExxonMobil, very active in Kazakhstan, are part of the deal.

The avowed agenda of the usual suspects is to “ultimately disconnect the economies of Central Asian countries from the Russian economy.” As Kazakhstan is a member not only of the Russian-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), but also the BRI, it is fair to assume that Xi – as well as Putin – discussed some pretty serious issues with Tokayev, told him to grasp which way the wind is blowing, and advised him to keep the internal political situation under control (see the aborted coup in January, when Tokayev was de facto saved by the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization [CSTO]).

There’s no question Central Asia, historically known as a “box of gems” at the center of the Heartland, striding the Ancient Silk Roads and blessed with immense natural wealth – fossil fuels, rare earth metals, fertile agrarian lands – will be used by the usual suspects as a Pandora’s box, releasing all manner of toxic tricks against legitimate Eurasian integration.

That’s in sharp contrast with West Asia, where Iran in the SCO will turbo-charge its key role of crossroads connectivity between Eurasia and Africa, in connection with the BRI and the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC).

So it’s no wonder that the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait, all in West Asia, do recognize which way the wind is blowing. The three Persian Gulf states received official SCO ‘partner status’ in Samarkand, alongside the Maldives and Myanmar.

A cohesion of goals

Samarkand also gave an extra impulse to integration along the Russian-conceptualized Greater Eurasia Partnership  – which includes the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) – and that, just two weeks after the game-changing Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) held in Vladivostok, on Russia’s strategic Pacific coast.

Moscow’s priority at the EAEU is to implement a union-state with Belarus (which looks bound to become a new SCO member before 2024), side-by-side with closer integration with the BRI. Serbia, Singapore and Iran have trade agreements with the EAEU too.

The Greater Eurasian Partnership was proposed by Putin in 2015 – and it’s getting sharper as the EAEU commission, led by Sergey Glazyev, actively designs a new financial system, based on gold and natural resources and counter-acting the Bretton Woods system. Once the new framework is ready to be tested, the key disseminator is likely to be the SCO.

So here we see in play the full cohesion of goals – and the interaction mechanisms – deployed by the Greater Eurasia Partnership, BRI, EAEU, SCO, BRICS+ and the INSTC. It’s a titanic struggle to unite all these organizations and take into account the geoeconomic priorities of each member and associate partner, but that’s exactly what’s happening, at breakneck speed.

In this connectivity feast, practical imperatives range from fighting local bottlenecks to setting up complex multi-party corridors – from the Caucasus to Central Asia, from Iran to India, everything discussed in multiple roundtables.

Successes are already notable: from Russia and Iran introducing direct settlements in rubles and rials, to Russia and China increasing their trade in rubles and yuan to 20 percent – and counting. An Eastern Commodity Exchange may be soon established in Vladivostok to facilitate trade in futures and derivatives with the Asia-Pacific.

China is the undisputed primary creditor/investor in infrastructure across Central Asia. Beijing’s priorities may be importing gas from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and oil from Kazakhstan, but connectivity is not far behind.

The $5 billion construction of the 600 km-long Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan (Pakafuz) railway will deliver cargo from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean in only three days instead of 30. And that railway will be linked to Kazakhstan and the already in progress 4,380 km-long Chinese-built railway from Lanzhou to Tashkent, a BRI project.

Nur-Sultan is also interested in a Turkmenistan-Iran-Türkiye railway, which would connect its port of Aktau on the Caspian Sea with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea.

Türkiye, meanwhile, still a SCO observer and constantly hedging its bets, slowly but surely is trying to strategically advance its own Pax Turcica, from technological development to defense cooperation, all that under a sort of politico-economic-security package. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did discuss it in Samarkand with Putin, as the latter later announced that 25 percent of Russian gas bought by Ankara will be paid in rubles.    

Welcome to Great Game 2.0

Russia, even more than China, knows that the usual suspects are going for broke. In 2022 alone, there was a failed coup in Kazakhstan in January; troubles in Badakhshan, in Tajikistan, in May; troubles in Karakalpakstan in Uzbekistan in June; the non-stop border clashes between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (both presidents, in Samarkand, at least agreed on a ceasefire and to remove troops from their borders).

And then there is recently-liberated Afghanistan – with no less than 11 provinces crisscrossed by ISIS-Khorasan and its Tajik and Uzbek associates. Thousands of would-be Heartland jihadis have made the trip to Idlib in Syria and then back to Afghanistan – ‘encouraged’ by the usual suspects, who will use every trick under the sun to harass and ‘isolate’ Russia from Central Asia.

So Russia and China should be ready to be involved in a sort of immensely complex, rolling Great Game 2.0 on steroids, with the US/NATO fighting united Eurasia and Turkiye in the middle.

On a brighter note, Samarkand proved that at least consensus exists among all the players at different institutional organizations that: technological sovereignty will determine sovereignty; and that regionalization – in this case Eurasian – is bound to replace US-ruled globalization.

These players also understand that the Mackinder and Spykman era is coming to a close – when Eurasia was ‘contained’ in a semi-disassembled shape so western maritime powers could exercise total domination, contrary to the national interests of Global South actors.

It’s now a completely different ball game. As much as the Greater Eurasia Partnership is fully supported by China, both favor the interconnection of BRI and EAEU projects, while the SCO shapes a common environment.

Yes, this is an Eurasian civilizational project for the 21st century and beyond. Under the aegis of the ‘Spirit of Samarkand.’

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

Asia’s future takes shape in Vladivostok, the Russian Pacific

September 08, 2022

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

Sixty-eight countries gathered on Russia’s far eastern coast to listen to Moscow’s economic and political vision for the Asia-Pacific

The Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok is one of the indispensable annual milestones for keeping up not only with the complex development process of the Russian Far East but major plays for Eurasia integration.

Mirroring an immensely turbulent 2022, the current theme in Vladivostok is ‘On the Path to a Multipolar World.’ Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, in a short message to business and government participants from 68 nations, set the stage:

“The obsolete unipolar model is being replaced by a new world order based on the fundamental principles of justice and equality, as well as the recognition of the right of each state and people to their own sovereign path of development. Powerful political and economic centers are taking shape right here in the Asia-Pacific region, acting as a driving force in this irreversible process.”

In his speech to the EEF plenary session, Ukraine was barely mentioned. Putin’s response when asked about it: “Is this country part of Asia-Pacific?”

The speech was largely structured as a serious message to the collective west, as well as to what top analyst Sergey Karaganov calls the “global majority.” Among several takeaways, these may be the most relevant:

  • Russia as a sovereign state will defend its interests.
  • Western sanctions ‘fever’ is threatening the world – and economic crises are not going away after the pandemic.
  • The entire system of international relations has changed. There is an attempt to maintain world order by changing the rules.
  • Sanctions on Russia are closing down businesses in Europe. Russia is coping with economic and tech aggression from the west.
  • Inflation is breaking records in developed countries. Russia is looking at around 12 percent.
  • Russia has played its part in grain exports leaving Ukraine, but most shipments went to EU nations and not developing countries.
  • The “welfare of the ‘Golden Billion’ is being ignored.”
  • The west is in no position to dictate energy prices to Russia.
  • Ruble and yuan will be used for gas payments.
  • The role of Asia-Pacific has significantly increased.

In a nutshell: Asia is the new epicenter of technological progress and productivity.

No more an ‘object of colonization’ 

Taking place only two weeks before another essential annual gathering – the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand – it is no wonder some of the top discussions at the EEF revolve around the increasing economic interpolation between the SCO and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

This theme is as crucial as the development of the Russian Arctic: at 41 percent of total territory, that’s the largest resource base in the federation, spread out over nine regions, and encompassing the largest Special Economic Zone (SEZ) on the planet, linked to the free port of Vladivostok. The Arctic is being developed via several strategically important projects processing mineral, energy, water and biological natural resources.

So it’s perfectly fitting that Austria’s former foreign minister Karin Kneissel, self-described as “a passionate historian,” quipped about her fascination at how Russia and its Asian partners are tackling the development of the Northern Sea Route: “One of my favorite expressions is that airlines and pipelines are moving east. And I keep saying this for twenty years.”

Amidst a wealth of roundtables exploring everything from the power of territory, supply chains and global education to “the three whales” (science, nature, human), arguably the top discussion this Tuesday at the forum was centered on the role of the SCO.

Apart from the current full members – Russia, China, India, Pakistan, four Central Asians (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan), plus the recent accession of Iran – no less than 11 further nations want to join, from observer Afghanistan to dialogue partner Turkey.

Grigory Logvinov, the SCO’s deputy secretary general, stressed how the economic, political and scientific potential of players comprising “the center of gravity” for Asia – over a quarter of the world’s GDP, 50 percent of the world’s population – has not been fully harvested yet.

Kirill Barsky, from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, explained how the SCO is actually the model of multipolarity, according to its charter, compared to the backdrop of “destructive processes” launched by the west.

And that leads to the economic agenda in the Eurasian integration progress, with the Russian-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) configured as the SCO’s most important partner.

Barsky identifies the SCO as “the core Eurasian structure, forming the agenda of Greater Eurasia within a network of partnership organizations.” That’s where the importance of the cooperation with ASEAN comes in.

Barsky could not but evoke Mackinder, Spykman and Brzezinski – who regarded Eurasia “as an object to be acted upon the wishes of western states, confined within the continent, away from the ocean shores, so the western world could dominate in a global confrontation of land and sea. The SCO as it developed can triumph over these negative concepts.”

And here we hit a notion widely shared from Tehran to Vladivostok:

Eurasia no longer as “an object of colonization by ‘civilized Europe’ but again an agent of global policy.”

‘India wants a 21st Asian century’

Sun Zuangnzhi from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) elaborated on China’s interest in the SCO. He focused on achievements: In the 21 years since its founding, a mechanism to establish security between China, Russia and Central Asian states evolved into “multi-tiered, multi-sector cooperation mechanisms.”

Instead of “turning into a political instrument,” the SCO should capitalize on its role of dialogue forum for states with a difficult history of conflicts – “interactions are sometimes difficult” – and focus on economic cooperation “on health, energy, food security, reduction of poverty.”

Rashid Alimov, a former SCO secretary general, now a professor at the Taihe Institute, stressed the “high expectations” from Central Asian nations, the core of the organization. The original idea remains – based on the indivisibility of security on a trans-regional level in Eurasia.

Well, we all know how the US and NATO reacted when Russia late last year proposed a serious dialogue on “indivisibility of security.”

As Central Asia does not have an outlet to the sea, it is inevitable, as Alimov stressed, that Uzbekistan’s foreign policy privileges involvement in accelerated intra-SCO trade. Russia and China may be the leading investors, and now “Iran also plays an important role. Over 1,200 Iranian companies are working in Central Asia.”

Connectivity, once again, must increase: “The World Bank rates Central Asia as one of the least connected economies in the world.”

Sergey Storchak of Russian bank VEB explained the workings of the “SCO interbank consortium.” Partners have used “a credit line from the Bank of China” and want to sign a deal with Uzbekistan. The SCO interbank consortium will be led by the Indians on a rotation basis – and they want to step up its game. At the upcoming summit in Samarkand, Storchak expects a road map for the transition towards the use of national currencies in regional trade.

Kumar Rajan from the School of International Studies of the Jawaharlal Nehru University articulated the Indian position. He went straight to the point: “India wants a 21st Asian century. Close cooperation between India and China is necessary. They can make the Asian century happen.”

Rajan remarked how India does not see the SCO as an alliance, but committed to the development and political stability of Eurasia.

He made the crucial point about connectivity revolving around India “working with Russia and Central Asia with the INSTC” – the International North South Transportation Corridor, and one of its key hubs, the Chabahar port in Iran: “India does not have direct physical connectivity with Central Asia. The INSTC has the participation of an Iranian shipping line with 300 vessels, connecting to Mumbai. President Putin, in the [recent] Caspian meeting, referred directly to the INSTC.”

Crucially, India not only supports the Russian concept of Greater Eurasia Partnership but is engaged in setting up a free trade agreement with the EAEU: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, incidentally, came to the Vladivostok forum last year.

In all of the above nuanced interventions, some themes are constant. After the Afghanistan disaster and the end of the US occupation there, the stabilizing role of the SCO cannot be overstated enough. An ambitious road map for cooperation is a must – probably to be approved at the Samarkand summit. All players will be gradually changing to trade in bilateral currencies. And creation of transit corridors is leading to the progressive integration of national transit systems.

Let there be light

A key roundtable on the ‘Gateway to a Multipolar World’ expanded on the SCO role, outlining how most Asian nations are “friendly” or “benevolently neutral” when it comes to Russia after the start of the Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine.

So the possibilities for expanding cooperation across Eurasia remain practically unlimited. Complementarity of economies is the main factor. That would lead, among other developments, to the Russian Far East, as a multipolar hub, turning into “Russia’s gateway to Asia” by the 2030s.

Wang Wen from the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies stressed the need for Russia to rediscover China – finding “mutual trust in the middle level and elites level”. At the same time, there’s a sort of global rush to join BRICS, from Saudi Arabia and Iran to Afghanistan and Argentina:

“That means a new civilization model for emerging economies like China and Argentina because they want to rise up peacefully (…) I think we are in the new civilization age.”

B. K. Sharma from the United Service Institution of India got back to Spykman pigeonholing the nation as a rimland state. Not anymore: India now has multiple strategies, from connecting to Central Asia to the ‘Act East’ policy. Overall, it’s an outreach to Eurasia, as India “is not competitive and needs to diversify to get better access to Eurasia, with logistical help from Russia.“

Sharma stresses how India takes SCO, BRICS and RICs very seriously while seeing Russia playing “an important role in the Indian Ocean.” He nuances the Indo-Pacific outlook: India does not want Quad as a military alliance, privileging instead “interdependence and complementarity between India, Russia and China.”

All of these discussions interconnect with the two overarching themes in several Vladivostok roundtables: energy and the development of the Arctic’s natural resources.

Pavel Sorokin, Russian First Deputy Minister of Energy, dismissed the notion of a storm or typhoon in the energy markets: “It’s a far cry from a natural process. It’s a man-made situation.” The Russian economy, in contrast, is seen by most analysts as slowly but surely designing its Arctic/Asian cooperation future – including, for instance, the creation of a sophisticated trans-shipment infrastructure for Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).

Energy Minister Nikolay Shulginov made sure that Russia will actually increase its gas production, considering the rise of LNG deliveries and the construction of Power of Siberia-2 to China: “We will not merely scale up the pipeline capacity but we will also expand LNG production: it has mobility and excellent purchases on the global market.”

On the Northern Sea Route, the emphasis is on building a powerful, modern icebreaker fleet – including nuclear. Gadzhimagomed Guseynov, First Deputy Minister for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic, is adamant: “What Russia has to do is to make the Northern Sea Route a sustainable and important transit route.”

There is a long-term plan up to 2035 to create infrastructure for safe shipping navigation, following an ‘Arctic best practices’ of learning step by step. NOVATEK, according to its deputy chairman Evgeniy Ambrosov, has been conducting no less than a revolution in terms of Arctic navigation and shipbuilding in the last few years.

Kniessel, the former Austrian minister, recalled that she always missed the larger geopolitical picture in her discussions when she was active in European politics (she now lives in Lebanon): “I wrote about the passing of the torch from Atlanticism to the Pacific. Airlines, pipelines and waterways are moving East. The Far East is actually Pacific Russia.”

Whatever Atlanticists may think of it, the last word for the moment might belong to Vitaly Markelov, from the board of directors of Gazprom: Russia is ready for winter. There will be warmth and light everywhere.”

Macron Insulted Africans’ Intelligence by Claiming That Multipolar Powers Manipulate Them

Global Research, August 29, 2022

By Andrew Korybko

Region: Europesub-Saharan Africa

Theme: Intelligence

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The shameless ethno-nationalist supremacy associated with his hateful remark will result in Africans doubling down on their anti-imperialist and Pan-Africanism activism since no self-respecting person would ever capitulate in the face of such blatantly racist pressure and thus voluntarily submit themselves to being dominated by their abuser.

French President Macron claimed during his latest trip to Algeria that “Many of the (information) networks that are covertly pushed (in Africa) – … by Turkey… by Russia… by China – have an enemy: France.” This was a supreme insult to all Africans’ intelligence since it channeled the discredited racist trope that they’re supposedly so stupid as to be easily manipulated by multipolar powers. Instead of acknowledging the genuinely grassroots and politically legitimate reasons why many Africans are actively rebelling against French influence in its self-proclaimed “sphere of influence” in so-called “Françafrique” like Turkiye’s Foreign Ministry suggested that he do, Macron chose to once again spew unsubstantiated smears similar in spirit to those malicious ones that it earlier made against Mali.

The reality is that the global systemic transition to multipolarity that unprecedentedly accelerated since the latest US-provoked phase of the Ukrainian Conflict has served to inspire the entire BRICS-led Global South to push back against the US-led West’s Golden Billion at this pivotal moment in the New Cold War between those two polar opposite models of socio-economic and political development. Moreover, many Africans felt emboldened to further intensify their efforts after President Putin unveiled his global revolutionary manifesto in late July that was followed shortly thereafter by Foreign Minister Lavrov pledging that Russia will help Africa fully complete its decolonization processes ahead of his successful trip to the continent.

Video: Freedom Convoy Solidarity in Alberta. Agreement with RCMP

Africa’s Role In The New Cold War” is destined to be that of a major battleground between the Golden Billion and the Global South precisely because its people refuse to be subjugated any longer by the former after having ruthlessly been exploited by them for half a millennium. France, which is among the most powerful of the Golden Billion’s hegemons in Africa and even surpasses the US’ influence in some parts of the continent, isn’t even hiding its neo-colonial intentions anymore after Macron ripped off his mask and started insulting Africans’ intelligence in the extremely racist way that he just did. The so-called “battle for hearts and minds” has already been won by the Global South’s multipolar Great Powers like Russia and China, who are helping to liberate all African countries with no strings attached.

They’d never dare disrespect their partners, let alone in the crude way that Macron just did, especially because they themselves have been victimized by similar forms of verbal abuse. Africans are well aware not only of those two and others’ proud anti-colonial histories, but also of just how sincerely they respect all others in contrast to the behavior exemplified by Western leaders like the French one and his peers. Macron’s racist insult of all Africans’ intelligence isn’t just rude, but also suggests that the Golden Billion is done “playing nice” after having abandoned all pretenses of their faux “politeness” that they unconvincingly attempted to practice in the past. As Western “thought leaders” never tire of reminding everyone, “might makes right” in their eyes, hence why they’re now sowing chaos across Africa.

This isn’t speculation either but documented fact after Mali recently accused France of supporting those Al Qaeda-connected terrorists that declared war on its Russian partner in late June and then the joint US- and Egyptian-led but TPLF-driven Hybrid War of Terror on Ethiopia resumed shortly thereafter on the other side of the continent. In fact, that second-mentioned conflict that first went hot in November 2020 after years of multilateral planning can be seen in hindsight as the new template that the West and its regional vassals like Egypt are employing since it was hatched as punishment for Ethiopia’s principled neutrality in the New Cold War between the US-led West’s Golden Billion and the BRICS-led Global South. It therefore follows that similarly multipolar states like Mali and others will be punished too.

Macron made a major mistake though by letting his mask slip after spewing his racist innuendo about Africans supposedly lacking the intelligence to not be manipulated by foreign powers. The shameless ethno-nationalist supremacy associated with his hateful remark will result in Africans doubling down on their anti-imperialist and Pan-Africanism activism since no self-respecting person would ever capitulate in the face of such blatantly racist pressure and thus voluntarily submit themselves to being dominated by their abuser. Far from helping the Golden Billion’s hegemonic cause like his twisted mind imagined that his crude insult would supposedly do, the French leader’s public embrace of racist tropes against Africans will only serve to accelerate the decline of the US-led West’s hegemony over that continent.

*

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This article was originally published on OneWorld.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

He is a regular contributor to Global Research.

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The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Andrew Korybko, Global Research, 2022


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Biden’s Middle East Trip: No Starvation for Oil

July 13, 2022

Sana’a, Yemen. (Photo: Rod Waddington via Flickr, Supplied)

By Kathy Kelly

President Joe Biden’s foreign policy advisors are applauding themselves for devising a “sensitive” itinerary as he plans to embark on a trip to the Middle East on July 13.

In a Washington Post op-ed, Biden defended his controversial planned meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud (known as MBS), saying it is meant not only to bolster US interests but also to bring peace to the region.

It seems that his trip will not include Yemen, though if this were truly a “sensitive” visit, he would be stopping at one of Yemen’s many beleaguered refugee camps. There he could listen to people displaced by war, some of whom are shell-shocked from years of bombardment. He could hear the stories of bereaved parents and orphaned children and then express true remorse for the complicity of the United States in the brutal aerial attacks and starvation blockade imposed on Yemen for the past eight years.

From the vantage point of a Yemeni refugee camp, Biden could insist that no country, including his own, has a right to invade another land and attempt to bomb its people into submission. He could uphold the value of the newly extended truce between the region’s warring parties, allowing Yemenis a breather from the tortuous years of war, and then urge ceasefires and settlements to resolve all militarized disputes, including Russia’s war in Ukraine. He could beg for a new way forward, seeking political will, universally, for disarmament and a peaceful, multipolar world.

More than 150,000 people have been killed in the war in Yemen, 14,500 of whom were civilians. But the death toll from militarily imposed poverty has been immeasurably higher. The war has caused one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, creating an unprecedented level of hunger in Yemen, where millions of people face severe hardship.

Some 17.4 million Yemenis are food insecure; by December 2022, the projected number of hungry people will likely rise to nineteen million. The rate of child malnutrition is one of the highest in the world, and nutrition continues to deteriorate.

I grew to understand the slogan “No Blood for Oil” while living in Iraq during the 1991 Operation Desert Storm war, the 1998 Desert Fox war, and the 2003 Shock and Awe war. To control the pricing and the flow of oil, the United States and its allies slaughtered and maimed thousands of Iraqi people. Visits to Iraqi pediatric wards from 1996 to 2003 taught me a tragic expansion of that slogan. We must certainly insist: “No Starvation for Oil.”

During twenty-seven trips to Iraq, all in defiance of the US economic sanctions against Iraq, I was part of delegations delivering medicines directly to Iraqi hospitals in cities throughout the country. We witnessed the ghastly crime of punishing children to death for the sake of an utterly misguided U.S. foreign policy. The agony endured by Iraqi families who watched their children starve has now become the nightmare experience of Yemeni families.

It’s unlikely that a US President or any leader of a US-allied country will ever visit a Yemeni refugee camp, but we who live in these countries can take refuge in the hard work of becoming independent of fossil fuels, shedding the pretenses that we have a right to consume other people’s precious and irreplaceable resources at cut-rate prices and that war against children is an acceptable price to pay so that we can maintain this right.

We must urgently simplify our over-consumptive lifestyles, share resources radically, prefer service to dominance, and insist on zero tolerance for starvation.

This article first appeared in The Progressive Magazine.

The Judgement of the Nations

July 12, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

A frequent topic among both contributors and commentators on this site is the discussion as to whether the Special Military Operation in the Ukraine will take a few months or a few years. It is a common question and there are different opinions. Let me say now that I am not qualified even to speculate on this, let alone have an opinion. I do not know the answer and I suspect that many highly-placed people in the military and among politicians do not know the answer either.

In any case why is an answer to this question so important? Originally, this was not a war, but a limited Operation, still involving a small proportion of the Russian Armed Forces. Had Russia wanted to occupy the Ukraine with massive military violence, in German, with a ‘Blitzkrieg’, in American, with ‘shock and awe’, with hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of victims, all could have been done in a couple of weeks. However, this is not Hollywood. That was not the aim.

The clear aim was to free the Russian part of the Ukraine and to demilitarise and denazify the rest, so it would no longer present a threat to the Russian World. Obviously, doing this meant not just winning the genodical war which the backers of the Kiev regime had begun in 2014, but also doing it, causing the smallest number of victims among the Russian and Allied military and Ukrainian civilians as possible, and at the same time doing the least amount of damage to civilian infrastructure as possible.

Pictures showing huge damage to civilian infrastructure, especially in Mariupol and Donetsk, show above all the enormous amount of damage done by NATO-backed Kiev regime bombardments over the last eight years. It was clear to Russian military and political planners that the Operation would take at least months, perhaps years, as the whole of the Kiev Armed Forces had been digging in here for eight years. Russia knew that in order to win a war, you have to win the peace afterwards.

It was no good doing like the Americans did in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, destroying infrastructure, making the people hate you and then, once you realise that you have lost, running away, leaving chaos and misery. The Russian authorities also knew that since NATO had already de facto declared war on Russia in 2014, the Operation to liberate the Ukraine through denazification and demilitarisation would further activate their war effort and provoke many more ‘sanctions’. Now that the Operation has become a NATO war against Russia, much as expected, it is all the more difficult to forecast the future.

Many missed the point. The Special Military Operation is not where it is at. The Ukraine is only the location, the battlefield, and the Kiev junta are only the actors on the stage, puppets. This is not primarily a battle of the military and their technologies, although they are very important, this is above all a battle of world views and ensuing realities. This battle is political and economic, spiritual and moral. Why else did the Johnson regime ban the Russian Orthodox Patriarch from visiting the UK?

Here we understand President Putin’s words of 7 July 2022 before Russian parliamentarians that Russia ‘has not even started anything in earnest in the Ukraine yet’, that the military operation in the Ukraine signifies ‘a cardinal break with the US world order, the beginning of the transition from the liberal globalism of US egocentricity to the reality of a multipolar world….the march of history is unstoppable and the attempts of the West to foist its New World Order on the world are doomed to failure’.

Whatever happens militarily in the Ukraine over the coming months, and much will happen, there are other stories, which are ultimately far more important. There was tiny Lithuania’s attempt to blockade the Russian Kaliningrad enclave, which has already failed. There was the toppling of the bankrupt UK’s Prime Minister, who wanted to wage a war without money, there was the assassination of the former Japanese Prime Minister by forces unknown, there was the occupation of the Presidential Palace in Colombo in Sri Lanka by a hungry crowd facing huge inflation and national bankruptcy.

Then there is the incipient collapse of the euro, already reaching parity with the dollar, as Europe grinds to a halt without Russian energy. There is the possible coming collapse of the dollar as the world dedollarises, under Russian impetus. There is mighty Germany’s attempt to survive without Russian oil and gas, which is already failing. There is much more that is being hidden from the populations of the Western world by worried elites – strikes, protests and the breakdown of social cohesion.

It is now July. In eight weeks’ time the weather cools. In sixteen weeks’ time winter begins. Wait until the panic begins and the palaces of leaders of the Western world also fall to hungry crowds facing huge inflation and national bankruptcy in European and North American Capitals. There may not be just a few deaths, as when the Washington Presidential Palace fell on 6 January 2021, but mass violence and fire. Wait until Chinese troops liberate Taiwan, as they will do at the right moment when the US is off guard, too busy with its own immense problems. Then shall begin the Judgement of the Nations.

Western Europe appears to go through a cycle of Judgement every 500 years or so. Round about the Year 500 (pedants mention the Year 476), Western Rome fell to the Barbarians, followed by great disruption and bloodshed. Round about the Year 1000 (pedants mention the Year 1054), there began Roman Catholicism, followed by its imperialist invasions, crusades and inquisitions. Round about 1500 (pedants mention 1517) there began Protestantism, followed by persecution of women (‘witches’) and ‘wars of religion’, both in Continental Europe and in Britain and Ireland under Cromwell. And now, round about the Year 2000 (will pedants mention the Year 2022?), there begins another Judgement.

For us, where we are, closely linked to the Ukraine, the war began already in early 2021. But that will be a story to tell another time.

Putin: Russia has not even started its military campaign in Ukraine

7 Jul 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen Net 

While the West cries invasion, Putin delivers a shocking remark: Russia has not even started.

Russian Defense Ministry Press Service handout released on Sunday, June 5, 2022, showing a Pion 203 mm artillery system of the Russian military fires at a target in an undisclosed location in Ukraine (Russian MoD)

On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin challenged the West to attempt to defeat Russia “on the battlefield” and said that the action by Moscow in Ukraine signaled the emergence of a “multi-polar world.”

Putin also spoke against “totalitarian liberalism,” which he said the West has tried to impose on the entire world, in one of his most powerful speeches since he sent troops to Ukraine on February 24.

Putin spoke to senior lawmakers on the 134th day of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine: “Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield. Well, what can you say here? Let them try.”

He asserted that “the collective West” was responsible for starting the “war” in Ukraine and that Russia’s intervention in the pro-Western nation signaled the transition to a “multi-polar world.”

He continued, “This process cannot be stopped.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Kiev and their Western allies that Moscow has not even started its military campaign in Ukraine “in earnest.”

“Everyone should know that we have not started in earnest yet,” he told senior lawmakers. “At the same time we are not refusing to hold peace negotiations but those who are refusing should know that it will be harder to come to an agreement with us” at a later stage. 

The Russian President said that the majority of nations don’t wish to adopt the West’s “totalitarian liberalism” and “hypocritical double standards.”

“People in most countries do not want such a life and such a future,” he said.

“They are simply tired of kneeling, humiliating themselves in front of those who consider themselves exceptional.”

On Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that the West continues to supply Kiev with weapons on a large scale, hoping to prolong the conflict in Ukraine, noting that the volume of military shipments supplied to Ukraine exceeded 28 thousand tons.

During a conference call, Shoigu said that the collective West, “hoping to prolong the conflict in Ukraine”, continues to supply weapons to Kiev on a large scale, noting that more than 28 thousand tons of military shipments have already been delivered to the country.

The Russian Defense Minister stressed that part of the weapons supplied by the West to Ukraine goes to the Middle East and the black market.

Sitrep Operation Z: SloMo Collapse

July 01, 2022

Source

By Saker Staff

Let us deal with Snake Island first as the level of noise is unbelievable.

Snake Island in the Black sea will remain under Russian naval and air control. Russian Politician Alexei Chernyak.

End of story

Russia can take that piece of serpentine rock and missile it to non-existence but they’ve just used a rock to remove the Ukraine’s biggest impediment (lie) about the paltry amount of wheat in the ships still unable to make passage. Now the supposed ‘international order’ have no more excuses and the Ukraine must demine their naval mines. But always remember, we’re dealing with the Empire of Lies!

For this one, we will look at the bigger world first, and then we will go on to the ramparts.

A reminder: What is this all about?

A Biden advisor says that US drivers will pay a gas premium for as long as it takes, because:

“This is about the future of the liberal world order and we have to stand firm.” https://t.me/IntelRepublic/1516

Liberal world order is code for the rules-based international order which is code for a single pole of power in our world.  In other words, they understand on some level that they are fighting for their existence as the ultimate ruler.

In sharp contrast, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov – Minsk, June 30, 2022

The future world order is at stake. We will go back to the origins and observe in practice the UN Charter principles, above all the principle of sovereign equality of states, or else the world will be plunged into chaos for a long time. Our choice is clear: We stand for unconditional respect for international law. We will uphold this position together with our Belarusian allies and our other numerous like-minded partners who share these approaches, which was confirmed during the recent BRICS summit and in the final documents adopted at this summit.

Russia and the multi-polar world are getting stronger day by day.  Let’s take a look at how the mighty are falling:

EU Circus

We posted a Douglas MacGregor clip recently with the heading: Its collapsed

There is little to be said here and we can only depict this with a cartoon or two.  The number of cartoons generated by this circus exceeded all expectations.  Everyone was cartooning!

NATO – Crisis of Existence and another announcement of Wunderwaffe

The Chinese friends report on the NATO split:

“On the issue of the Russia-Ukraine conflict alone, there are different demands among Western countries, as Germany, France and Italy want to stop the war as soon as possible, and the US is calling on all NATO countries to make a common cause against Russia. Wang Shuo, a professor at the School of International Relations of Beijing Foreign Studies University, believes that in this situation, many European countries are questioning whether NATO can solve the crisis in Ukraine. If it cannot work, what’s the point of NATO’s existence? At the moment when Europeans believe that NATO needs to play a role, it proved itself disunited and incompetent, another sign of NATO’s existential crisis.”

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202206/1269395.shtml

And on the NATO document:

Zhao Lijian: The NATO 2022 Strategic Concept has misrepresented facts and distorted the truth. In this document, NATO once again wrongly defined China as posing “systemic challenges”. It smeared China’s foreign policy and pointed fingers at China’s normal military posture and defense policy. The document seeks to stoke confrontation and antagonism and smacks heavily of Cold War mentality and ideological bias. China is gravely concerned over this and firmly opposes it.

Here is our message for NATO: hyping up the so-called “China threat” will lead nowhere. NATO must immediately stop its groundless accusations and provocative rhetoric against China, abandon the outdated Cold War mentality and zero-sum game mindset, renounce its blind faith in military might and misguided practice of seeking absolute security, halt the dangerous attempt to destabilize Europe and the Asia-Pacific, and act in the interest of security and stability in Europe and beyond.

The Baltic States no longer believe in NATO.

Latvia and Estonia decided to buy air defense systems for joint defense.

“The NATO Summit gave a clear signal that assistance will be provided to those who are ready to defend themselves,” Estonian Defense Minister Laanet said. The initiative to develop regional defense was also supported by his Latvian counterpart Pabriks. “We are working on developing our own capabilities,” he stressed.

Finland states it will NOT extradite its citizens to OTHER countries UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES – Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto.

So, already Turkey’s pre-condition to Finland entering the NATO bloc is falling apart. Perhaps The Sultan knows that this may not happen at all.  This is what it looks like: Finland and Sweden have not joined NATO yet, and there is a long process ahead, says Erdogan. According to him, the signatures at the Madrid summit do not mean the end of the work to eliminate Ankara’s concerns. Turkey wants to see in practice what the decisions reached will mean.

Scholz (for what he is worth) at this very same NATO meet, got scared and quickly urged not to hinder the transit of Russian goods to Kaliningrad.  He wants to reduce the tensions in the  Baltic region.  The most interesting is that Politico reports this.  But then, he wants to set the rules according to some rules-based international order concept that he seemingly thinks he is entitled to promulgate on the spot.

“Transit rules should be established taking into account the fact that we are dealing here with traffic between two parts of Russia,” he said at the NATO summit in Madrid.

And he also tumbles the sanctions:

“In the case of Kaliningrad, an exception should be made from anti-Russian sanctions”, Scholz stressed.

Politician and former energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis urges (https://ria.ru/20220701/lafazanis-1799505196.html)

Greece to conclude a strategic alliance with Russia and to lift sanctions, because “Europe is hit hard by the sanctions. Europe has shot itself.”

And then, Germany Seizes Gazprom LNG Tankers which belonged to the Russian energy giants German subsidiary – Gazprom Germania.  And Russia in the form of Gazprom turns up the Pain Dial by turning off the gas faucet to the company, and key gas retailers in Germany and the UK suddenly stare as the bottom of the tank becomes visible.

So, given the extracts from the last few days through the EU Circus and NATO’s announcement of Wunderwaffen, can you see clearly that they are telling only big stories. These weapons may not materialize, and most know it. Besides, if Russia does not destroy them, she buys them.

Arms trade on the line of contact and indirect deliveries of military equipment from Europe to Russia by Ukrainians

In the context of the news (https://t.me/vzglyad_ru/57577) about the transfer of another six units of CAESAR self-propelled guns by France to Ukraine, we want to talk a little about how things are with the arms trade on the line of contact.

We already wrote that two CAESAR self-propelled guns went to the Russian side for a ridiculous 120 thousand dollars. At the same time, Ukrainian negotiators initially requested $1 million for the launcher.

How it looks technically in practice:

  • Negotiations are underway through special forces on the possibility of acquiring one or another model of foreign equipment;
  • Since this whole thing is taking place on the line of contact, control over specific types of weapons and military equipment received from the West is rather conditional there: the most you can count on is a relatively timid commander and rather zealous representatives of the SBU, who will not give a damn about reputational losses of Ukraine in case of loss of foreign equipment;
  • The Russian side acts as a picky buyer who does not need outdated weapons and military equipment: everything that is needed was obtained by undercover intelligence and so on. Local Ukrainian businessmen are trying to cash in and somehow sell the RF Armed Forces what they have. As a result, the deals go through, but are guided by the Russian side, at the same time, only by the expediency of maintaining contacts with the enemy;
  • In the line of special forces, they agree on the organization of a massive artillery raid on a certain already empty square to divert attention while the actual transfer of equipment is carried out;
  • The Russian side has already expressed interest in acquiring HIMARS. They asked for more ammo.
  • To the Russian side, we repeat, such deals provide an opportunity to maintain working contacts with the Ukrainian side, which in the future will allow solving much more pressing issues. On the Ukrainian side, there is a great desire not to fight and earn money.

So that is one of the deals with the wunderwaffe.  Here is another:

Some watcher of Ukrainian channels report that Ukrainian General Staff asked Zelensky in the role of the President to please please stop requesting 777 howitzers and NLAW anti-tank systems, which quickly fail or do not function at all.

(The telegram channel where I found this, notes .. hahahahah fucking Wunderwaffe)

Xi Jinping’s current visit to Hong Kong for its 25th anniversary since its handover from the Brits, speaks volumes. As well as Mr. Putin’s planned visit to the upcoming G20. The fact that these two leaders are now traveling outside of their countries must show that something has changed. Either the risk of Covid is now such that they can take it, or the security environment has changed so that their security staff considers such visits as an acceptable risk.

Europe is slowly curtailing payments to Ukrainian refugees.  Poland no longer pays for food and accommodation for Ukrainian refugees, with exception of pregnant women, disabled people, and families with many children.

These are convincing arguments that the EU is breaking and NATO is cracking.

To the ramparts we go

Russian Defense Ministry announces successful advance into Lisichansk, Lugansk region, with Russian and allied forces taking control of the Lisichansk oil refinery as well as other key districts in the city, as Ukrainian forces said to be in disorganized retreat.

Sergei Kiriyenko visited the Kharkov region. Such a visit is considered a sign that Putin has made a decision that the region, now Kharkiv, and formerly Zaporozhye and Kherson will be annexed to Russia. The issuance of Russian passports has started and the formation of administration is in progress.  Russia takes full responsibility for such a region. The Russian flag is forever if Kiriyenko, who is responsible specifically for domestic politics, has been there.

This lovely photo was taken in the Lugansk region.

Once the passports flow, and the banks open, Russia is there: The first branch of Promsvyazbank, one of the largest Russian state banks, has opened in Kherson and already there is a bunch of people in line:  https://t.me/EurasianChoice/16207

The Kyiv regime is trying to hide the defeat of the Ukrainian troops in Severodonetsk and present the flight of the UAF militants from the Lysychansk direction as a tactical retreat.

Detail as usual comes in many forms and thank you to the commentators who regularly post different takes.  Be aware we’re coming from the fog of Lisichansk, so, don’t believe everything that every Tom, Dick, and Harry pronounce.  Always confirm with the Russian MoD report.    We still like Military Summary.  I would suggest you take in the last report of yesterday before you look at today’s first report.  The reason for that is that he mentions at the end some of those that he works with.

Payback is in progress for the total hack of all Russian sources as the SMO started.

XakNet Team (https://t.me/xaknet_team) hackers hacked the website of the Ukraine is Our Home TV channel. Now the anthem of Russia is played there.

Earlier (https://t.me/rt_russian/117872), they said that they had gained access to the systems of Ukrainian energy companies of the DTEK group.

And today (https://t.me/intelslava/32332), the Killnet (https://t.me/+a3ATRboVqh05MWNi) group brought down the website of the US Federal Tax Payment System.

Enjoy the discussion.  This sitrep will stay up until it gets too full of comments and then we will refresh.

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

June 30, 2022

Address to participants of 10th St Petersburg International Legal Forum

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

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Colleagues,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wish all of you productive work and interesting networking.

Thank you for your attention.

Sweden and Finland joining NATO precedes an inevitable financial collapse of the current international system

June 29, 2022

Source

Sweden and Finland joining NATO besides being a provocative act towards Russia, precedes an inevitable financial collapse of the current international system

By Guilherme Wilbert

The Nordic entry into NATO, in the middle of a war, is clearly an act that does not help the peace negotiations that could be underway, but acts as the opposite, putting more wood on the fire for “military-technical” measures (to paraphrase Shoigu, Russian Defense Minister who uses the term when talking about responding to Western provocations).

With the entry of Finland and Sweden barred initially by Turkey, it shows that even a NATO member cares about enemies of its national interests. In Turkey’s case with the PKK, which is a Kurdish political organization seen as terrorist by Ankara and some countries, yet they were (until then) operating freely throughout the Nordic countries with active members of the official Kurdistan party holding protests in public squares in Helsinki and Stockholm.
Just for level of knowledge, Kurdistan is a region that would be home to the Kurdish ethnic group, taking part of Turkish territory up to the North of Iran, which explains Erdogan’s concern with a possible disintegration of Turkish territory if the Kurds were to gain prominence on the battlefields (which in real data would be very difficult since the Turkish army is the strongest in NATO for example).

But this provocation, which will surely be responded to by Moscow, proves the warmongers’ concern with continuing disputes and wars around the world, using Ukraine, which is the most recent case at the moment, as a kind of proxy to weaken Russia, serving only as a spearhead of the American objective, since Zelensky himself and his cabinet acknowledge that they will never join NATO and possibly not even the European Union, if you consider and draw a parallel with the case of Turkey itself, which has been waiting since 1999 for a resolution whether to join the bloc or not.

So, the entrance of the Nordics into NATO does not help Ukraine at all and can even make the situation worse with military-technical measures applied by the Russian Armed Forces perhaps in the decision centers in Brussels or in the Baltics, which would lead us to a nuclear catastrophe since the mentioned countries (Belgium and the Baltics for example) are NATO members and could invoke article 5 of mutual aid in case of “aggression” (See that aggression here is interpreted by Westerners (in an exercise of deduction) as only after the military-technical measure, ignoring what provoked the decision to do so).

Coupled with the desperation to provoke more wars, Western leaders get lost in the real global objective: economic integration and the fight against hunger

While great concern is seen with NATO, with diplomats having used the term “Global NATO” a few times, some primary and more basic goals of the organization’s member nations are put aside to add more gasoline to the fire.

The recent cases of inflation in Western Europe or even in the US precede a global financial collapse that has several causes, with some analysts citing the sanctions on Russia but personally I would go further and cite all of the last 10 years of at least NOTHING-backed dollar printouts that were used to give a supposed liquidity to the economy after the 2008 crash that was a scare felt around the world.

Economics, unlike some sciences, is not as if it can receive arguments and opinions, the theories are very clear and explanatory: by printing too much of your currency, you devalue it. But surely American economists know this and they also know that the coming collapse would affect the entire Globe because unfortunately after World War II, American hegemony was also monetary, with countries to this day using the dollar as an international reserve. In other words, in addition to the overprinting and national devaluation of the currency on American territory, it also devalues in the coffers of the countries that use it as a reserve and this will cause a cascading effect that will further force realpolitik into play and cause more haste in the emerging countries to get rid of the coming bomb.

Unfortunately war-hungry Western leaders are blind to what is coming and is already happening in some parts of the world, either because of irresponsible sanctions or the natural course of the very sequence of American economic mistakes. Because it is very different to sanction Russia compared to sanctioning Iran for example. And this does not mean that Iran deserves to be sanctioned in any way, because I believe that every country should have the right to its nuclear program, at least for peaceful purposes, and this cannot be used as a pretext for sanctions that crush already small economies, such as the example of Iran.

In the case of Russia the conversation is different for numerous reasons, be they military at the nuclear level or at the economic level, because Russia is part of a global production chain which acts as an active player on the macroeconomic stage. For example, the raw material called antimony, which is used in the global defense industry for military equipment of various kinds, is rightly found in excess in Russia and parts of Asia. This is to cite a simple example of an element that is not on the average citizen’s table, for example. In addition to the many important productions that Russia is responsible for.

So, given recent events and the inference for the disastrous future, the international scenario for the Global South forces them towards long term solutions of American de-dollarization and decolonization in the various ways, either by American NGOs that operate in several countries or by the very US culture exporting technologies that function as small fiefdoms of thought, the case of Facebook for example. But the latter is a little more difficult to achieve because it involves a collective societal thought that would require a national unity for the development of regional cultures.

Having said that, a peace agreement between Ukraine and Russia with the Ukrainian loss of the territories that comprise New Russia needs to happen and sanctions against any country need to be lifted for the sake of multipolarity.

The world cannot be guided by one diplomatic corps and one government only because the international scenario is not a movie of one actor, but of several, with several potentials to be developed in different parts of the Globe.


Guilherme Wilbert is a Brazilian Bachelor of Law interested in geopolitics and international law.

Gonzalo Lira: The Sitzkrieg We’re In

JUNE 28, 2022

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