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

July 13, 2022

by Pepe Escobar and posted with the author’s permission

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the arguably key passage:

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

Meet the trifecta

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isolation? Really?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What the Global South is buying

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHRIS HEDGES: NO WAY OUT BUT WAR

MAY 23RD, 2022

By Chris Hedges

Source

PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY (Scheerpost) — The United States, as the near unanimous vote to provide nearly $40 billion in aid to Ukraine illustrates, is trapped in the death spiral of unchecked militarism. No high speed trains. No universal health care. No viable Covid relief program. No respite from 8.3 percent inflation. No infrastructure programs to repair decaying roads and bridges, which require $41.8 billion to fix the 43,586 structurally deficient bridges, on average 68 years old. No forgiveness of $1.7 trillion in student debt. No addressing income inequality. No program to feed the 17 million children who go to bed each night hungry. No rational gun control or curbing of the epidemic of nihilistic violence and mass shootings. No help for the 100,000 Americans who die each year of drug overdoses. No minimum wage of $15 an hour to counter 44 years of wage stagnation. No respite from gas prices that are projected to hit $6 a gallon.

The permanent war economy, implanted since the end of World War II, has destroyed the private economy, bankrupted the nation, and squandered trillions of dollars of taxpayer money. The monopolization of capital by the military has driven the US debt to $30 trillion, $ 6 trillion more than the US GDP of $ 24 trillion. Servicing this debt costs $300 billion a year. We spent more on the military, $ 813 billion for fiscal year 2023, than the next nine countries, including China and Russia, combined.

We are paying a heavy social, political, and economic cost for our militarism. Washington watches passively as the U.S. rots, morally, politically, economically, and physically, while China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, and other countries extract themselves from the tyranny of the U.S. dollar and the international Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a messaging network banks and other financial institutions use to send and receive information, such as money transfer instructions. Once the U.S. dollar is no longer the world’s reserve currency, once there is an alternative to SWIFT, it will precipitate an internal economic collapse. It will force the immediate contraction of the U.S. empire shuttering most of its nearly 800 overseas military installations. It will signal the death of Pax Americana.

Democrat or Republican. It does not matter. War is the raison d’état of the state. Extravagant military expenditures are justified in the name of “national security.” The nearly $40 billion allocated for Ukraine, most of it going into the hands of weapons manufacturers such as Raytheon Technologies, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing, is only the beginning. Military strategists, who say the war will be long and protracted, are talking about infusions of $4 or $5 billion in military aid a month to Ukraine. We face existential threats. But these do not count. The proposed budget for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in fiscal year 2023 is $10.675 billion. The proposed budget for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is $11.881 billion. Ukraine alone gets more than double that amount. Pandemics and the climate emergency are afterthoughts. War is all that matters. This is a recipe for collective suicide.

There were three restraints to the avarice and bloodlust of the permanent war economy that no longer exist. The first was the old liberal wing of the Democratic Party, led by politicians such as Senator George McGovern, Senator Eugene McCarthy, and Senator J. William Fulbright, who wrote The Pentagon Propaganda Machine. The self-identified progressives, a pitiful minority, in Congress today, from Barbara Lee, who was the single vote in the House and the Senate opposing a broad, open-ended authorization allowing the president to wage war in Afghanistan or anywhere else, to Ilhan Omar now dutifully line up to fund the latest proxy war. The second restraint was an independent media and academia, including journalists such as I.F Stone and Neil Sheehan along with scholars such as Seymour Melman, author of The Permanent War Economy and Pentagon Capitalism: The Political Economy of War. Third, and perhaps most important, was an organized anti-war movement, led by religious leaders such as Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Jr. and Phil and Dan Berrigan as well as groups such as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). They understood that unchecked militarism was a fatal disease.

None of these opposition forces, which did not reverse the permanent war economy but curbed its excesses, now exist. The two ruling parties have been bought by corporations, especially military contractors. The press is anemic and obsequious to the war industry. Propagandists for permanent war, largely from right-wing think tanks lavishly funded by the war industry, along with former military and intelligence officials, are exclusively quoted or interviewed as military experts. NBC’s “Meet the Press” aired a segment May 13 where officials from Center for a New American Security (CNAS) simulated what a war with China over Taiwan might look like. The co-founder of CNAS, Michèle Flournoy, who appeared in the “Meet the Press” war games segment and was considered by Biden to run the Pentagon, wrote in 2020 in Foreign Affairs that the U.S. needs to develop “the capability to credibly threaten to sink all of China’s military vessels, submarines and merchant ships in the South China Sea within 72 hours.”

The handful of anti-militarists and critics of empire from the left, such as Noam Chomsky, and the right, such as Ron Paul, have been declared persona non grata by a compliant media. The liberal class has retreated into boutique activism where issues of class, capitalism and militarism are jettisoned for “cancel culture,” multiculturalism and identity politics. Liberals are cheerleading the war in Ukraine. At least the inception of the war with Iraq saw them join significant street protests. Ukraine is embraced as the latest crusade for freedom and democracy against the new Hitler. There is little hope, I fear, of rolling back or restraining the disasters being orchestrated on a national and global level.  The neoconservatives and liberal interventionists chant in unison for war. Biden has appointed these war mongers, whose attitude to nuclear war is terrifyingly cavalier, to run the Pentagon, the National Security Council, and the State Department.

Since all we do is war, all proposed solutions are military. This military adventurism accelerates the decline, as the defeat in Vietnam and the squandering of $8 trillion in the futile wars in the Middle East illustrate. War and sanctions, it is believed, will cripple Russia, rich in gas and natural resources. War, or the threat of war, will curb the growing economic and military clout of China.

These are demented and dangerous fantasies, perpetrated by a ruling class that has severed itself from reality. No longer able to salvage their own society and economy, they seek to destroy those of their global competitors, especially Russia and China. Once the militarists cripple Russia, the plan goes, they will focus military aggression on the Indo-Pacific, dominating what Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, referring to the Pacific, called “the American Sea.”

You cannot talk about war without talking about markets. The U.S., whose growth rate has fallen to below 2 percent, while China’s growth rate is 8.1 percent, has turned to military aggression to bolster its sagging economy. If the U.S. can sever Russian gas supplies to Europe, it will force Europeans to buy from the United States. U.S. firms, at the same time, would be happy to replace the Chinese Communist Party, even if they must do it through the threat of war, to open unfettered access to Chinese markets. War, if it did break out with China, would devastate the Chinese, American, and global economies, destroying free trade between countries as in World War I. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Washington is desperately trying to build military and economic alliances to ward off a rising China, whose economy is expected by 2028 to overtake that of the United States, according to the UK’s Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). The White House has said Biden’s current visit to Asia is about sending a “powerful message” to Beijing and others about what the world could look like if democracies “stand together to shape the rules of the road.” The Biden administration has invited South Korea and Japan to attend the NATO summit in Madrid.

But fewer and fewer nations, even among European allies, are willing to be dominated by the United States. Washington’s veneer of democracy and supposed respect for human rights and civil liberties is so badly tarnished as to be irrecoverable. Its economic decline, with China’s manufacturing 70 percent higher than that of the U.S., is irreversible. War is a desperate Hail Mary, one employed by dying empires throughout history with catastrophic consequences. “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable,” Thucydides noted in the History of the Peloponnesian War.

A key component to the sustenance of the permanent war state was the creation of the All-Volunteer Force. Without conscripts, the burden of fighting wars falls to the poor, the working class, and military families. This All-Volunteer Force allows the children of the middle class, who led the Vietnam anti-war movement, to avoid service. It protects the military from internal revolts, carried out by troops during the Vietnam War, which jeopardized the cohesion of the armed forces.

The All-Volunteer Force, by limiting the pool of available troops, also makes the global ambitions of the militarists impossible. Desperate to maintain or increase troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military instituted the stop-loss policy that arbitrarily extended active-duty contracts. Its slang term was the backdoor draft. The effort to bolster the number of troops by hiring private military contractors, as well, had a negligible effect. Increased troop levels would not have won the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but the tiny percentage of those willing to serve in the military (only 7 percent of the U.S. population are veterans) is an unacknowledged Achilles heel for the militarists.

“As a consequence, the problem of too much war and too few soldiers eludes serious scrutiny,” writes historian and retired Army Colonel Andrew Bacevich in After the Apocalypse: America’s Role in a World Transformed. “Expectations of technology bridging that gap provide an excuse to avoid asking the most fundamental questions: Does the United States possess the military wherewithal to oblige adversaries to endorse its claim of being history’s indispensable nation? And if the answer is no, as the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq suggest, wouldn’t it make sense for Washington to temper its ambitions accordingly?”

This question, as Bacevich points out, is “anathema.” The military strategists work from the supposition that the coming wars won’t look anything like past wars. They invest in imaginary theories of future wars that ignore the lessons of the past, ensuring more fiascos.

The political class is as self-deluded as the generals. It refuses to accept the emergence of a multi-polar world and the palpable decline of American power. It speaks in the outdated language of American exceptionalism and triumphalism, believing it has the right to impose its will as the leader of the “free world.” In his 1992 Defense Planning Guidance memorandum, U.S. Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz argued that the U.S. must ensure no rival superpower again arises. The U.S. should project its military strength to dominate a unipolar world in perpetuity. On February 19, 1998, on NBC’s “Today Show”, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gave the Democratic version of this doctrine of unipolarity. “If we have to use force it is because we are Americans; we are the indispensable nation,” she said. “We stand tall, and we see further than other countries into the future.”

This demented vision of unrivaled U.S. global supremacy, not to mention unrivaled goodness and virtue, blinds the establishment Republicans and Democrats. The military strikes they casually used to assert the doctrine of unipolarity, especially in the Middle East, swiftly spawned jihadist terror and prolonged warfare. None of them saw it coming until the hijacked jets slammed into the World Trade Center twin towers. That they cling to this absurd hallucination is the triumph of hope over experience.

There is a deep loathing among the public for these elitist Ivy League architects of American imperialism. Imperialism was tolerated when it was able to project power abroad and produce rising living standards at home. It was tolerated when it restrained itself to covert interventions in countries such as Iran, Guatemala, and Indonesia. It went off the rails in Vietnam. The military defeats that followed accompanied a steady decline in living standards, wage stagnation, a crumbling infrastructure and eventually a series of economic policies and trade deals, orchestrated by the same ruling class, which deindustrialized and impoverished the country.

The establishment oligarchs, now united in the Democratic Party, distrust Donald Trump. He commits the heresy of questioning the sanctity of the American empire. Trump derided the invasion of Iraq as a “big, fat mistake.” He promised “to keep us out of endless war.” Trump was repeatedly questioned about his relationship with Vladimir Putin. Putin was “a killer,” one interviewer told him. “There are a lot of killers,” Trump retorted. “You think our country’s so innocent?” Trump dared to speak a truth that was to be forever unspoken, the militarists had sold out the American people.

Noam Chomsky took some heat for pointing out, correctly, that Trump is the “one statesman” who has laid out a “sensible” proposition to resolve the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The proposed solution included “facilitating negotiations instead of undermining them and moving toward establishing some kind of accommodation in Europe…in which there are no military alliances but just mutual accommodation.”

Trump is too unfocused and mercurial to offer serious policy solutions. He did set a timetable to withdraw from Afghanistan, but he also ratcheted up the economic war against Venezuela and reinstituted crushing sanctions against Cuba and Iran, which the Obama administration had ended. He increased the military budget. He apparently flirted with carrying out a missile strike on Mexico to “destroy the drug labs.” But he acknowledges a distaste for imperial mismanagement that resonates with the public, one that has every right to loath the smug mandarins that plunge us into one war after another. Trump lies like he breathes. But so do they.

The 57 Republicans who refused to support the $40 billion aid package to Ukraine, along with many of the 19 bills that included an earlier $13.6 billion in aid for Ukraine, come out of the kooky conspiratorial world of Trump. They, like Trump, repeat this heresy. They too are attacked and censored. But the longer Biden and the ruling class continue to pour resources into war at our expense, the more these proto fascists, already set to wipe out Democratic gains in the House and the Senate this fall, will be ascendant. Marjorie Taylor Greene, during the debate on the aid package to Ukraine, which most members were not given time to closely examine, said: “$40 billion dollars but there’s no baby formula for American mothers and babies.”

“An unknown amount of money to the CIA and Ukraine supplemental bill but there’s no formula for American babies,” she added. “Stop funding regime change and money laundering scams. A US politician covers up their crimes in countries like Ukraine.”

Democrat Jamie Raskin immediately attacked Greene for parroting the propaganda of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Greene, like Trump, spoke a truth that resonates with a beleaguered public. The opposition to permanent war should have come from the tiny progressive wing of the Democratic Party, which unfortunately sold out to the craven Democratic Party leadership to save their political careers. Greene is demented, but Raskin and the Democrats peddle their own brand of lunacy. We are going to pay a very steep price for this burlesque.

The Globalist’s Race Against Time

May 26, 2022

Source

By Eamon McKinney

A Great Reset will happen, just not the one intended by the Globalists. They may have to settle for the Great Decoupling instead.

The green economy, de-industrialisation, digital health passports, Central Bank digital currencies, these are all core components of the Globalists’ plan for the Great reset. The WEF has painted a picture of their proposed future via Klaus Schwab and his acolytes. “We will have nothing, own nothing and be happy”. The main obstacle to this grand vision is that not surprisingly very few countries wish to go along with it. The Globalists know their game is coming to an end and the Great Reset is their way of ensuring that the same financial cabal that has brought the world to its current lamentable state will continue to rule over all in the next world order. The most prominent objectors to this insidious plan are of course Russia and China. Unlike their western counterparts both have strong leaders who enjoy popular support, have strong economies and are optimistic about future prospects for growth. Neither intends to sacrifice their countries so that Western elites can maintain their control over the Global economic system and impose their self-serving will on weaker nations. Which in its simplest terms is why both countries need to be destroyed, at least economically before the Great Reset can be imposed on the world. Time, however, is not on the Globalists’ side, recent events have demonstrated that they are aware of this and are accelerating their timelines.

The Great Reset and its stated objectives have been in the planning for several years, those plans however are now seriously behind schedule. The election of Trump in 2016 wasn’t supposed to happen. He was to Washington the ultimate “Black Swan” event. An outsider without the backing of a political party and with seemingly the entire mainstream media against him, his victory was considered all but impossible. Yet win he did, and it seemed he spent the entire four years of his presidency battling against the Globalist faction, both internationally and within America. Washington felt cheated, not only was Trump an “outsider” he was also a disrupter. Opinions on the divisive Trump aside, he was indisputably an “America First Nationalist”, he was anti-NATO. and a vocal anti-Globalist. There would be no Great Reset under Trump, he was an obstacle to the agenda and had to be removed. Which in 2020 in a blatantly fraudulent election he was. Should Trump run again in 2024 and all indications are that he will, he would likely win an honest election in a landslide. The return of Trump would provide another major obstacle to the Globalist agenda. Expect that all efforts will be expended to prevent another Trump presidency. With an angry populace and increased electoral scrutiny next time around, they may have to turn to other measures to foil a Trump return. Should Trump re-enter the White House in 2024, the notoriously vindictive Trump is expected to seek accountability against those who he believes robbed him of his rightful election. Nerves are frayed in Washington and they know the clock is ticking.

Trump set the agenda back four years and they are now playing against the clock to make up for lost time, all evidence suggests that they are getting increasingly desperate. The recent invitations issued to Sweden and Finland to “fast track” NATO membership is yet another provocation to Russia. Putin wants to end the Ukraine conflict on his own terms and withdraw, he doesn’t not get bogged down in a quagmire that would drag on for years. NATO wants exactly that. Wooing Sweden and Finland is their attempt to ensure years of conflict and tension. Putin understands this all too well. As they lurch from one bad idea to another, attention should be paid to the indecent haste in which they are moving. It appears they are making things up as they go along, all without any obvious sense of consequence.

The prospect of Trump 2.0 is not the only time sensitive issue facing the Globalists. The global economy is on the brink of implosion. Sri Lanka has recently defaulted on its international debts. This will immediately create at least a $500 billion hole in the global economy. Alarmingly, according to the World Bank more than 70 other countries are in a similarly perilous economic condition. For most their debts are un-payable, and the IMF solution of structural adjustment (austerity) privatisations, and cuts to government services, would consign these countries to generations of deprivation and social unrest. Or, they could repudiate the debt completely and abandon the Western banking model. Both China and Russia have alternatives to SWIFT and welcome countries who want to escape the neo-liberal financial plantation. Both offer investment for development, non-interference and respect for countries’ sovereignty. All things valued by every country, but unachievable under Western domination. Decisions will very soon be made by countries throughout the Global south about who they want to align their futures with.

A new proposal being put before the UN on May 22nd essentially requires all nations to surrender their sovereignty to the WHO in the event of another pandemic. That they would even think that post-Covid the WHO enjoys that level of confidence, is delusional. This transparent power grab is easily recognised for what it is, in the unlikely event that it gains enough traction, expect another pandemic to follow shortly after. The cabal still has the tools to cajole, bribe and threaten countries to submit, and doubtless it will try, but outside of the captured western countries, such a desperate move will garner scant support. Covid failed to usher in the Great Reset but it unleashed a wave of destruction on the global economy that may take generations to repair. Many questions on the criminal mismanagement of Covid remain unanswered. There are few nations that don’t harbour deep resentment towards the notoriously corrupt and inept WHO and its genocidal Sugar Daddy Bill Gates. The sheer audacity of the proposal stinks of desperation. The upcoming vote is likely to give the Globalists another stark reminder of its waning power and influence.

A Great Reset will happen, just not the one intended by the Globalists. They may have to settle for the Great Decoupling instead. As Western influence continues to diminish at a rapid pace the trend of countries flocking to the China/Russia orbit is bound to increase. The NWO that they have been lusting after for generations is likely to be restricted to Western Europe and North America, or about 15% of the World’s population. The effects of the disastrous Ukraine provocation and the failed sanctions will soon become undeniable. Food and energy shortages together with uncontrollable inflation, will make even this smaller NWO harder to control. The Emperor has no clothes, as all can now see, their game is old, tired and predictable, and they have no new ideas. The Globalists may not have to worry about a Trump return in 2024. It is highly likely that the clock will have run out on them by then. It could happen any day.

Boomerang Sanctions

March 12, 2022

Source

by Ghassan Kadi,

Do Western sanctions have any chance of achieving their objectives? Perhaps we need to look back at history and see how the earliest recorded sanctions were implemented.

Before the age of electronic transfers and massive international trading and complex technology came into existence, warring factions enforced sanctions on each other by way of imposing sieges, and therefore cutting off food and water supplies to heavily fortified cities. Those cities had to ration out their supplies, and when they ran out, they often capitulated.

Much has changed since, but the only way for any sanction to work now is in the ability to deprive a nation from goods and services that are essential. But this is now easier said than done.

In today’s age of technology and all what comes with it, the world depends on a huge array of manufactured goods for its economy and the services that support that economy to run. Manufactured good are themselves made of parts often made in different countries and assembled together somewhere else. Many, if not most of those goods and parts, are made in China, and this is fact.

How do we know that the manufacturers of American/NATO military hardware do not use parts and components that are made in China and no longer made in the West? They can be as simple as special size or shape screw, but without it, the strategic weapon cannot be assembled. And if one of the suppliers of hardware to the Pentagon suddenly wakes up to the realization that it needs the part that is made in China to put together a strategic defence weapon, what will happen then? Alternative Western productions lines can be put to work, but these things take time, and time is precious commodity in the event of a military blitz.

But here is more. Even if in peacetime an American buys a T-shirt made in America from American grown cotton, the cotton crop is highly likely to have been fertilized with urea imported from China. As a matter of fact, China controls a huge sector of the global fertilizer market, and when one controls food and its production, no other leverage becomes comparable in magnitude. Having control of the food supply is tantamount to the ancient city sieges.

The dependence of the West on China therefore is alarming, and the examples mentioned above, have been selected to demonstrate that Western sanctions against China, if ever implemented, would boomerang and hit the West in the guts.

The whole world and particularly the West are reliant on and addicted to Chinese goods. All the way from T-shirts to iPhones, a huge percentage of global consumable goods are made in China.

China is therefore the ultimate example of where American sanctions would fail abysmally. As a matter of fact, if anything at all, a Chinese export sanction against America would bring the latter to its knees in a few weeks if not less.

What about Russia? Are American sanctions effective against Russia? Thus far, they haven’t been. Time will tell if new ones will, but Russia does not ‘need’ any American imports or franchises. Russia does not need either McDonald’s or Starbucks. It doesn’t need those fast-food chains that litter its streets. Honestly, what a manner to sanction Russia with? What is next, the Disney Channel?

It is America that needs Russian rocket engines and not the other way around. Fancy this, comparing rocket engines to hamburgers.

And with its ties with China, Russia has a huge export market of gas and petroleum crude, all the while Western EU slumps into cold nights or enormous power bills. In the last couple of days alone, the price of gas has nearly doubled.

What is pertinent here is going back to the basics and remembering that any talk of sanctions can only be effective if based on depriving an adversary from what its people 1) need and 2) want. Currently, there is no product, no commodity, no technology, absolutely nothing that is essential for the rest of the world, that the West exclusively produces and the rest of the world cannot.

The current Western sanctions on nations that refuse to follow the directives of the West do not carry any weight at all; or anything that comes close. Non-Western countries can survive without Tesla, Porsche and Ferrari cars. Earth will continue to spin without French perfumes and champaign.

With those facts known though unspoken, the USA continues to impose sanctions on other nations by utilizing the power of the Greenback, ie US Dollar of USD for short.

But this approach is foolish to say the least, and it is bound to backfire.

America is determined to keep the stature of the USD as the single reserve world currency. But to maintain this stature, America must make sure that the rest of the world needs to use the USD and that it has no other alternative. But when successive American administrations impose sanctions on other nations that prevent them from using the USD, they are effectively shooting their last and only remaining asset in the foot.

This is not a complex issue that requires a PhD in macro-economics to understand. It is very simple in fact. You cannot coerce people to do something by way of banning them from doing it. This is a simple logical contradiction that even children can understand.

This oxymoronic comedy of errors appears more ludicrous when we see that the USD is the only asset left that the USA can use to impose sanctions with. Do successive American administrations really believe that sanctioned and potentially sanctionable nations, are going to sit idle and starve themselves to death without taking pre-emptive measures to avert this?

If anything, sanctions over the years have taught even small and developing countries like Cuba, Syria and Iran to be self-reliant and innovative. Those countries have produced whole ‘armies’ of technicians who are able to manufacture spare parts even for old American cars. When you see photos of 1950’s Chevvies in Cuba, rest assured that there are hardly any original made-in-America parts left in them. If an American owns such an antique model and cannot find parts for it in the US, he/she may be able to find them in Cuba.

What makes the situation more farcical is that America knows well that China and Russia are intent to replace the USD as the single global reserve currency with China having a good chance to have it replaced by the Renminbi. It is also no secret that both Russia and China have been buying huge amounts of gold, and this is not to mention that they already have an alternative to the SWIFT system (СПФС or SPFS) of international banking transfers.

Back in the days of city sieges, the Athenians built their infamous horse, the original horse that coined the term ‘Trojan Horse’ and tricked the Trojans to take it into Troy. But in the West right now, there are no such strategists.

The current soaring fuel prices at service stations world-wide are not an outcome of the Russian action in Ukraine. They are the outcome of the sanctions.

These sanctions can only turn back and hurt the hand that created them. They are not arrows aimed at targets. They are boomerangs, but even boomerangs are meant to return to the hand that launched them when they miss the target. But Western sanctions are sharply-pointed boomerangs that can only hit back, and hit with vengeance, and the soaring fuel prices may just be only the beginning.

The Last American War … will be in Europe

Two weeks into the Ukraine conflict, the Atlantic alliance is already fraying. Europe, which helped destroy much of West Asia, is now the battlefield for the Last American War.

March 09 2022

By Abdel Bari Atwan

During the second US-led war on Iraq in 2003 and its resulting invasion and occupation, I wrote an article in the British daily, The Observer, commissioned by its editor-in-chief, entitled ‘America is an expert in destruction not construction.’ That title proved to be dismally accurate as US warplanes bombed all Iraqi infrastructure facilities from water and electricity stations to bridges, and killed more than a million Iraqis, according to the international medical journal Lancet.

Joe Biden said he would target Russia when he became US president. But, his war with Russia will have mainly European casualties.Photo Credit: The Cradle

Nearly 20 years later, the article springs to mind again as I follow the developments of the Ukrainian war, the associated military and diplomatic posturing of global stakeholders, and the potential ignition of a nuclear war that could lead to catastrophic consequences for the world – starting with Europe.

Battlefield: Europe

It is Europe, after all, which will be the main theater of a nuclear clash unless current mediation efforts bear fruit. And any ‘political solution’ of the conflict spells victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his country, as Moscow will not accept anything short of a complete purging of NATO’s strategic depth in Ukraine.

It was the United States that instigated and ignited this war, and Ukraine and its good people were merely victims of US President Joe Biden’s declaration upon entering the White House that Russia is the number one enemy of the United States, followed by China. He simply made Ukraine the “poisoned bait” to draw the Russians into a long war of attrition that could sap their economy and cause sedition from within.

The US-European threat of “sanctions from hell” was a double plan: these would either deter Putin from invading Ukraine, or provoke him into doing exactly that. The former would be paraded as a Russian defeat, and the latter would be used to financially bankrupt the Russian state, turn its citizens against their government, and isolate Moscow.

But, about two weeks after the first Russian tank entered Ukrainian territory, the naivety of the western plan was fully exposed. Not only did it incorrectly assess the speed at which Moscow might achieve its aims, but it thoroughly underestimated Russia’s ability to counter western punishments with its own.

The western plan has instead triggered a backlash of monumental proportions, whose first line of victims will be residents of both Europe and the United States.

Ukraine, the flint to start a fire

As the dust settled, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky began to show signs of shock and hysteria, lashing out at NATO’s “weakness,” amassing battalions of right-wing neo-Nazis to replace deserting Ukrainian army soldiers, and putting out a global call for foreign fighters to come to Ukraine and fight the Russians.

Zelensky has by now realized that NATO was only prepared to stand by his side and provoke his anti-Moscow rants until the Russian armored vehicles rolled in. He discovered quickly that he was abandoned by all, especially the United States, whose representative to the United Nations said yesterday that it would not send a single soldier or plane to Ukraine.

As oil prices skyrocketed to around US $130 per barrel this week, European countries, including Germany, Bulgaria, and France have said that they cannot manage without Russian oil and gas imports. Those words are the first tangible indication of a crack in the Atlantic alliance, and should be expected to extend to the NATO alliance as the fissures grow.

Europe ostensibly derives its strength from the power of its economy, and the so-called “common values” of the waning liberal order premised on democracy, human rights and social justice. Now, these elements are being eroded one by one as censorship, authoritarianism and war-profiteering take hold within western governance.

The masks have dropped. Those “values” are instead being rapidly replaced by overt racist sensibilities, favoring the “blond-haired and blue-eyed” citizen over all others, and mobilizing neo-Nazi and extremist movements to maintain the western “rules-based order.”

Economy is power: the western alliance collapse

The economic prosperity, security and stability enjoyed by the west since the end of the Second World War will be the first victim of this confrontation taking shape in Ukraine, and it looks near certain that financial collapse, political chaos and intra-state geographic fragmentation may ensue.

The decades of punishing sanctions imposed by the United States as an alternative to direct military intervention in North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela have not achieved their goals. They have not caused the ‘regime-change’ that was intended, and it is highly unlikely that the current sanctions on Russia, if imposed (so far, Russian oil and gas flow is paid for through the SWIFT financial system) in whole or in part, will prove an exception.

Alexander Novak, Russia’s deputy prime minister in charge of energy, warned late Monday of “catastrophic” consequences for world oil and gas markets if the US implements its threats to impose a ban on energy exports from his country.

These actions, he predicted, would result in a ten-fold rise in the price per cubic meter of natural gas and an unprecedented US $300 dollars per barrel for oil. Novak further threatened that Moscow would retaliate by halting gas supplies to Europe through their Nord Stream 1 pipeline, especially if Germany continues to suspend its Nord Stream 2 counterpart in response to US pressure and if Washington imposes a ban on Russian oil.

Nord Stream 1 currently operates at 100 percent and pumps nearly 60 billion cubic meters per year to Europe.

The United States destroyed Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya, and has not participated in the reconstruction of any of its destruction.

But the victim now will be Europe, which, while able to bully those weaker states, will not be able to do so with a much bigger, stronger global power like Russia, led by a shrewd geopolitical strategist like Vladimir Putin.

Europe is now lending its territories to this last American war. It is facing a nuclear power that is allied with other nuclear states like China, North Korea and, potentially, India. This time, the magic may be turned on the magician, and the destruction on the USA.

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

الغرب بين الربح التكتيكي والخسارة الاستراتيجية

الإثنين 7 آذار 2022

 زياد حافظ

لا يمكننا فهم الأحداث الدموية في أوكرانيا إنْ لم نتوقف عند أسبابها وبطبيعة الحال عند تداعياتها. وهذا هو ما سنحاول مقاربته في عرضنا لأنّ نتائج ما حصل لن يكون منحصراً بالأطراف المتصارعة ولكن سيؤثّر بشكل واضح على موازين القوّة في العالم، وعلى ملامح النظام العالمي الجديد الذي سيلد من رحم المعارك القائمة على أرض أوكرانيا (وهي بالمناسبة استكمال للمعارك التي بدأت في المشرق العربي وشمال أفريقيا والجزيرة العربية). كما أنها ستؤثّر على مسار الحرب الكونية على سورية والصراع مع الكيان الصهيوني وبطبيعة الحال على الأوضاع في لبنان ومستقبله.

إنّ ما يجري في أوكرانيا ليست حرباً بالمعنى المألوف وإن كان طابعها عسكري. فهي أقرب لعملية عسكرية واسعة لتحقيق أهداف محدّدة وليس لتغيير معالم جغرافية ولا لتغيير نظام حكم، وإنْ كانت نتيجتها ستؤدّي إلى ذلك، ولا لسحق أو تدمير بنى تحتية وجيوش ومجتمع كما يفعل الكيان الصهيوني مع فلسطين وسورية ولبنان. ولفهم ما يجري يجب أن نقارب ولو بشكل سريع أسباب العملية العسكرية الواسعة.

منطلق المقاربة هو أن العملية العسكرية التي تقوم بها روسيا هي خطوة دفاعية وليست هجومية رغم الظاهرة لاحتلال بلد مجاور. والخطوة العسكرية أتت في سياق طويل بدأ بعد انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي وتولي الحلف الأطلسي خلال التسعينات من القرن الماضي التوسّع شرقاً رغم الوعود «الشفهية» ولكن الموثّقة وفقاً لشهود أعيان من ان الأطلسي لن يتقدّم «اينشا» أي 2،54 سنتيمتر تجاه الشرق. فوجود قواعد عسكرية ومنصّات صاروخية في دول كانت ضمن حلف وارسو أصبح أمراً يهدّد مباشرة الأمن القومي الروسي. حذّر الرئيس الروسي تكراراً ومراراً منذ 2007 في خطاب شهير له في مؤتمر الأمن الذي عُقد في مدينة ميونيخ بأنّ القطبية الواحدة ليست مقبولة وأن الأمن في أوروبا أمن مشترك لا يمكن تجزئته. تجاهل الأطلسي، أيّ الولايات المتحدة، ذلك التحذير فقام بالثورات الملوّنة التي أطاحت بحكومات قريبة من موسكو. وفي مؤتمر بوخارست في 2008 كان القرار لدول الأطلسي بفتح باب انتساب جورجيا وأوكرانيا للحلف. ففي ذلك القرار تمّ زرع جذور الأزمة الحالية. كما حاولت جورجيا في نفس السنة والتي حصلت فيها «ثورة» ملوّنة اجتياح إقليم اوسييتيا فكان الردّ الروسي صاعقاً ومفاجئاً علماً أنه قبل ذلك كان قد قضى على تمرّد الشيشان.

ردّ روسي غير متوقّع

لم يتوقع الأطلسي قوّة الرد الروسي وفعّاليته ولم يكترث لذلك واعتبره انتكاسة يمكن التعويض عنها عبر الانقلاب الذي دفعت به في أوكرانيا 2014 والاتيان بحكومة شديدة العداء لروسيا تسيطر عليها اقلّية نيو نازية. ثم حاول الأطلسي في أواخر 2021 تغيير النظام في بلاروسيا وفي 2022 تكرار السيناريو في كازاخستان لاستكمال محاصرة روسيا فنجحت الأخيرة بوأد التمرّد والقضاء عليه في البلدين بسرعة فائقة أذهلت العالم. لكن الردّ الأميركي/ الأطلسي على مطلب روسيا بتحييد أوكرانيا وعدم ضمّها للحلف الأطلسي كان التجاهل المطلق وعدم الاكتراث. ثم جاء تصريح الرئيس الأوكراني بضرورة تزويد أوكرانيا بسلاح نووي. فكانت بمثابة الشعرة التي كسرت ظهر البعير. لذلك كان الهجوم «الدفاعي» الذي بدأ في 25 شباط/ فبراير 2022 وما زال قائماً عند إعداد هذه المقاربة.

لم تضع العملية العسكرية الروسية الواسعة في أوكرانيا أوزارها لكن يمكننا أن نستخلص بعض العبر التي ستكون أساسية لفهم المستقبل العالمي. فأولى هذه العبر هي أنّ الولايات المتحدة والحلف الأطلسي والاتحاد الأوروبي نجحا في جرّ روسيا إلى مواجهة عسكرية في أوكرانيا مع القوّات المسلّحة الأوكرانية والكتائب النيونازية التي تسيطر على مقدّرات البلاد. وهذا النجاح التكتيكي الطابع سيكون له تداعيات استراتيجية سلبية كما سنشرحها لاحقاً.

ثاني النجاحات هي ضرب التقارب الأوروبي الروسي بشكل عام ومنع التقارب الروسي الألماني عبر تجميد تشغيل خط سيل الغاز الشمالي الثاني (نورستريم 2). والمعلوم أنّ روسيا تزوّد ألمانيا وأوروبا بحوالي من 40 بالمائة من احتياجاتها في الغاز لكن مع تعثّر خط الغاز الذي يمرّ بأوكرانيا أصبحت ألمانيا وأوروبا مكشوفة بشكل كبير تجاه الغاز. ونذكّر هنا أن خطا نورستريم 2 تمّ بناؤه بناء على طلب ألمانيا بعد الانقلاب الذي حصل في أوكرانيا سنة 2014. لذلك يصبح إقفال ذلك الخط نجاحاً تكتيكياً آخر لكن مردوده الاستراتيجي سيكون كارثياً على المانيا وأوروبا التابعة للولايات المتحدة.

ثالث النجاحات هو فرض إجراءات تحاصر روسيا مالياً واقتصادياً لعزلها عن العالم ولإخضاعها بغية قلب النظام القائم واستيلاد حكومة تابعة للغرب تمهيداً لاستيلاب الثروات الاقتصادية الضخمة الموجودة في روسيا. لكن هذا النجاح التكتيكي في الحصار سيكون كارثياً على الولايات المتحدة حيث ينذر بتسريع نهاية هيمنة الدولار في التداول العالمي.

رابع النجاحات هو السيطرة على السردية الإعلامية بشكل مطلق في الدول الغربية. لكن بالمقابل كرّس سقوط الاعلام المهيمن الذي لم ينقل وقائع العملية العسكرية بشكل صحيح بل اكتفى بسرد الأكاذيب والتضليل والتلفيق ما أنهى مصداقيته في الولايات المتحدة حيث الاعلام الموازي اكتسب شرعية متنامية في معركة «المصداقية».

نكتفي بهذه «النجاحات» التي تستدعي تدقيقاً لمعرفة يقينها واستخلاص العبر.

هذه المقاربة السريعة لخلفية وسياق العملية العسكرية في أوكرانيا كانت ضرورية لفهم الموقف الروسي الدفاعي. فتجاهل المطلب الروسي من قبل الأطلسي وخاصة من الولايات المتحدة سواء كان متعمّداً لأسباب عقائدية أو نتيجة عنجهية وغرور هو سبب العملية. هناك من يعتبر أنّ التجاهل كان متعمّداً لجرّ روسيا إلى «المستنقع» الأوكراني واستنزافها عسكرياً وفرض إجراءات اقتصادية قاسية هدفها عزل روسيا وإحداث اضطرابات في روسيا تتوّج بانقلاب على الرئيس بوتين والإطاحة به وتغيير النظام والإتيان بنظام شبيه بالنظام الذي كان قائماً في ولاية بوريس يلتسين الذي سيسهّل الاستيلاء على الثروات الروسية وتفكيك روسيا. ففي عقيدة المحافظين الجدد والمتدخلين الليبراليين المهيمنين على القرار السياسي الخارجي الأميركي الهدف هو إنهاء روسيا كمنافس محتمل للهيمنة الأميركية في العالم.

أهداف غربية عديدة لكن بلا نتيجة!

لكن ما هي النتيجة حالياً ومستقبلياً للموقف الغربي (الأطلسي والأميركي) من جرّاء الإجراءات التي اتخذها تجاه روسيا؟

من الواضح انّ الولايات المتحدة وسائر دول الحلف الأطلسي لن يتدخلوا عسكرياً بشكل مباشر بل سيكتفون بالحصار الإعلامي أولاً والدبلوماسي ثانياً، والاقتصادي والمالي ثالثاً، إضافة إلى تمويل عمليات التخريب في أوكرانيا وربما في روسيا عبر شبكات من العملاء. وهذا دليل على الضعف العسكري وفقدان القدرة على تحمّل ضريبة الدم فلذلك يلجأ الغرب إلى هدر دم الآخر بما فيه الدم الأوكراني كما فعل في سورية.

فعلى الصعيد الإعلامي استطاعت الولايات المتحدة وحلفاؤها السيطرة الكاملة على السردية التي يفرضونها على الجمهور الغربي عبر منع المنصات والمنابر لمن يخالف السردية. كما انّ السردية مبنية على الأكاذيب التي يُمنع تفنيدها تساهم في تعميق سوء التفاهم بين الشعوب بل في تعميق الكراهية بين الشرق والغرب. ونعتقد انّ الرقابة المفروضة من قبل المراجع الغربية ومنع المنصات الناقدة هي ظاهرة ضعف وليست ظاهرة قوة كما أنها ظاهرة تؤكّد فقدان الحجة والبرهان. فمن تابع روايات المراسلين الأجانب في أوكرانيا لصالح وسائل الإعلام الغربية يجد أنّ مضمون الرواية مخالف للحقيقة. فسردية «النجاحات» العسكرية الأوكرانية ضدّ الجيش الروسي لا تترجم بدلائل مادية. كما أنّ تلك الوسائل وبشكل جماعي لم تبرز أيّ خارطة للواقع الميداني. فأين توجد القوّات المتصارعة غير معروف في وسائل الإعلام الغربية بينما في وسائل الإعلام الموازي وغير المهيمن نرى خرائط عن التحرّك والتقدّم.

لكن في آخر المطاف الجمهور العام الذي لا يستثمر وقته في البحث عن الحقيقة لا يعرف فعلياً أين أصبحت الأمور. والفطرة الموجودة عند الجمهور الغربي وخاصة في الولايات المتحدة جعلته يشكّك في ما يبثّه الاعلام المهيمن. لذلك لا نجد حتى الساعة موجات من الاحتجاجات ضدّ «الاحتلال» الروسي لأوكرانيا دون أن يعني ذلك التأييد لروسيا وعمليتها العسكرية. وهذه نقطة مهمة يجب التوقف عندها لأنّ في المستقبل القريب ستجد الحكومات الغربية صعوبة كبيرة في تسويق سياسات غير مقبولة لدى الجمهور العام سواء على صعيد الصراع في أوكرانيا وغير أوكرانيا وعلى صعيد مختلف السياسات الداخلية عندما تنكشف حقيقة الوقائع الميدانية والسياسية. فذاكرة الكذب حول سلاح الدمار الشامل في العراق واحتلال العراق وما نتج من مآسٍ ما زال في ذاكرة الجمهور العام.

هذه السيطرة على السردية الإعلامية لم تستطع أن تخفي العنصرية الغربية تجاه الشعوب السمراء والصفراء والسوداء. فـ «زلّات اللسان» للمراسلين الأجانب حول «بيضوية البشرة وزرقاوية العيون» للاجئين الأوكرانيين الفارين من ساحات الاشتباكات والتركيز على «مسيحيّتهم» و»تمدّنهم النسبي» كشف العنصرية الغربية تجاه الشرق. هذا في وسائل الإعلام المهيمن فما بالك في ما ينشر على وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي؟! لم يكن ذلك في الحسبان ومن الصعب تصوّر ما يمكن أن يفعله ذلك الإعلام لتصحيح الصورة عنه. المشكلة أو حتى المصيبة التي تعصف بالنخب الحاكمة في الغرب وخاصة في الولايات المتحدة والمملكة المتحدة أنها أصبحت منقطعة عن الواقع. فهي أصبحت تصدّق الأكاذيب التي أطلقتها وتبني سياساتها ومواقفها من منطلقات عقائدية ورغبوية منقطعة عن التطوّرات الميدانية.

الخطورة في الموقف الغربي هو التحوّل السريع من مواجهة سياسية مع خصم أيّ روسيا إلى محاولة ألغاء مجتمع وثقافة برمّتها. فطبيعة الإجراءات التي اتخذها الغرب ليست لمواجهة الرئيس الروسي وسياساته بل لإلغاء روسيا. فهذا هو الدافع العقائدي الذي يحكم النخب الحاكمة في الغرب وبالتالي تحويل الصراع السياسي على النفوذ إلى صراع وجودي يحمل في طيّاته كافة الاحتمالات النافية للوجود كالحرب النووية. فعندما سئل وزير الخارجية لافروف عن احتمال قيام حرب عالمية ثالثة نووية أجاب «اسألوا بايدن»! لكن موازين القوّة الفعلية على الأرض مختلفة كلّياً عن التقديرات الرغبوية في المحافل الدولية وبالتالي سنشهد في الأسابيع المقبلة وقائع على الأرض لم تكن في الحسبان الغربي.

المناعة الاقتصادية الروسية كبيرة جداً

أما الإجراءات الاقتصادية والمالية فهي سلاح ذو حدّين. الرهان الغربي هو تردّي الأوضاع الاقتصادية في روسيا لخلق بيئة مضطربة تزيد من النقمة على الحكم وتؤدّي إلى ثورات للإطاحة بالنظام والرئيس. ما يغيب عن بال المخطّطين أن القيادة الروسية كانت منذ 2008 تخطّط للحظة المواجهة. لسنا هنا في إطار سرد الخطوات التي أقدمت عليها طيلة السنوات الماضية بل نكتفي بالقول إنّ المناعة الروسية في القطاعات الاقتصادية والمالية الاستراتيجية كبيرة جداً بسبب البدائل التي أقامتها لمواجهة الحصار الاقتصادي والمالي. بل كلاعب الجودو استطاعت القيادة الروسية استعمال قوة الخصم ضده. فالإجراءات المالية والاقتصادية التي اتخذها الغرب تجاه روسيا تظهر مدى انكشاف تلك الاقتصادات تجاه روسيا بما فيها الولايات المتحدة وإنْ كانت بدرجات متفاوتة من الانكشاف.

قراءتنا للعقوبات المفروضة من قبل الولايات المتحدة وحلفائها هي أنها موجّهة فعلياً ضدّ أوروبا الغربية التي كانت تظهر ملامح التململ من الإملاءات الأميركية. فهذه العقوبات فرضت وحدة موقف أوروبية قصرية قد تطيح بأيّ تطلّع استقلالي على المدى القصير. لكن معظم الحكومات الأوروبية التي رضخت للولايات المتحدة تواجه استحقاقات انتخابية في وضع اقتصادي متردّ أصلاً ويزداد تردّياً بسبب العقوبات. فعلى سبيل المثال، العقوبات على روسيا كتوقيف العمل بالسيل الغاز الشمالي الثاني (نور ستريم 2) سيؤدّي إلى أزمة طاقة تضرب البنية الاقتصادية الصناعية الألمانية وتزيد من كلفة التدفئة أضعافاً مما كانت عليها. وهذه قضايا تشكل محور الصراع السياسي الداخلي. فأزمة الطاقة التي بدأت تجتاح أوروبا وارتفاع كلفتها ترافقها أزمة ارتفاع المواد الغذائية. والانكماش الاقتصادي الذي دخلت فيه قد يتحوّل إلى كساد كبير. فالكساد في اقتصاد منتج هو انخفاض مستوى الإنفاق الاستهلاكي الذي يخفّض الطلب الفعلي ويؤدّي إلى تفاقم البطالة فإلى تراجع في الدخل فإلى المزيد من تراجع في الإنفاق الاستهلاكي ليصل بفعل المكرّر الاقتصادي (economic multiplier) إلى حالة جمود فركود لها ارتدادات سياسية واجتماعية قد تقلب الطاولة على رؤوس النخب الحاكمة.

أما في الدول الريعية التي تستورد معظم حاجياتها فارتفاع الأسعار يؤدّي إلى نقمة اجتماعية. وما يزيد الطين بلّة بالنسبة لدول مثل المانيا وفرنسا وإيطاليا التي ما زالت تحافظ على قاعدة إنتاجية صناعية هو فقدان قدراتها التنافسية بسبب ارتفاع كلفة الإنتاج ما سيجعّلها تتخلّى عن القاعدة الصناعية لتدخل في مرحلة ما بعد الصناعة فإلى المزيد من الانكشاف تجاه الدول المصنّعة الصاعدة كالصين والهند ودول أميركا اللاتينية. فإذا كان هدف الغرب بقيادة الولايات المتحدة محاصرة الصين فإنّ الإجراءات التي اعتمدها تجاه روسيا وبشكل غير مباشر تجاه أوروبا ستكون لمصلحة الصين! هذا ما نقصده بالربح التكتيكي القصير المدى الذي يصبح خسارة استراتيجية طويلة المدى!

ضرب ديمومة النظام المالي

من جهة أخرى، فإنّ قرار إخراج روسيا من منظومة «سويفت» ومعاقبة عدد من المصارف الروسية وأهم من كل ذلك تجميد أصول وأموال المصرف المركزي الروسي فإنّ ذلك يضرب في الصميم ديمومة النظام المالي الذي بحاجة إلى استقلال واستقرار بعيداً عن التقلّبات السياسية. كما أنّ مصداقية التعامل مع المراكز المالية الغربية وخاصة الأميركية انتهت إلى غير رجعة. فمن هي الدولة التي ستبقى مطمئنة على أصولها وموجوداتها المالية تحت السيطرة الأميركية والغربية؟ هذا سيؤدّي حتماً إلى التسريع في نظام مدفوعات مالي دولي بديل وخارج عن سيطرة الولايات المتحدة ومنظومتها المالية. توجد الان منظومات موازية ل «سويفت» تعود للصين كنظام «سي أي بي أس (CIPS)، ولروسيا في نظام اس أف بي أس (SFPS)، وللهند في نظام أس أف أم أس (SFMS). الخطر المباشر هو تنامي المنظومة الصينية كما أشار عدد من الخبراء كدافيد برانكاسيو وجنيفر باك وهما خبراء ماليين دوليين. ونضيف ماذا إذا أقدمت كل من الصين والهند وروسيا على تشبيك أنظمتها؟ فلا يجب أن ننسى أن الكتلة البشرية والجغرافية التي تمثّلها هذه الدول الثلاث لها وزنها الاقتصادي في العالم يصعب تجاهله في الحد الأدنى بل هو مؤثر بشكل كبير على مصالح اقتصادات العالم الغربي. ما لفت نظرنا أن قرار إخراج روسيا من منظومة «سويفت» حذّرت منه المؤسسات المالية الأميركية كالاحتياط الاتحادي والمؤسسات الكبرى كغولدمان ساكس وبلومبرغ لأنّ ذلك سيسرّع في تنامي الأنظمة المنافسة بما فيه الشبكات العنكبوتية المالي. والمعلومات الأولية تفيد أنها بدأت فعليا. لكن السياسة أقوى من الاعتبارات الاقتصادية والمالية ما يؤكّد مقولتنا أن السياسة هي المحرّك الأساسي وأنّ الاقتصاد ليس إلاّ وجها للسياسة ولكن بلغة الأرقام.

من تداعيات الإجراءات العقابية على روسيا هو تسريع التخلّي عن الدولار في الدول المنافسة الرئيسية كالصين وروسيا وستلحقها الهند. كما سيتنامى تخفيض الاحتياطات النقدية بالدولار بعدما أقدمت الولايات المتحدة على تجميد أو السطو على الأصول المالية للمصارف المركزية. لا ننسى كيف تمّ الاستيلاء على أموال إيران بعد الثورة الإسلامية ولا على أموال ليبيا ومؤخرا على أموال أفغانستان. فانخفاض الطلب على الدولار عالمياً سيفقد الولايات المتحدة سلاحاً أساسياً استخدمته في تمويل حروبها على شعوب ودول العالم.

في الخلاصة، نستطيع أن نقول إنّ النجاحات التي حققتها الولايات المتحدة على صعيد مواجهة روسيا سترتدّ على حلفائها في الدرجة الأولى كما سيصيبها ارتدادات ذلك. لكن سنفصّل كلّ ذلك في مقاربة منفصلة لاحقة لضيق المساحة المتاحة الآن.

*باحث وكاتب اقتصادي سياسي والأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي وعضو الهيئة التأسيسية للمنتدى الاقتصادي والاجتماعي

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Russia is slaying the Khazarian Mafia in Ukraine

BBC: “There has been no genocide in Ukraine: it is a vibrant democracy, led by a president who is Jewish.”

 March 4, 2022

By  Jonas E. Alexis, Assistant Editor

JEA: The Washington Post has been shocked because Russia has blocked many of its citizens from accessing media outlets such as BBC and Facebook! These people have got to be kidding. Should that really be a big problem for the entire Zionist media and oligarchic institutions in much of the West? Don’t those outlets have a history of blocking things they don’t like as well? Do these people forget history that easily? Don’t they remember Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya?

The last time I checked, Facebook has blocked Veterans Today. The last time I checked, BBC was perpetuating anti-Russian propaganda with respect to what is happening in Ukraine. The last time I checked, it was a BBC journalist who asked Vladimir Putin a completely dumb question with respect to what was happening in the world. Putin, thank God, humiliated the poor fellow.

The BBC has recently reported that Russia “has launched a devastating attack on Ukraine, a European democracy of 44 million people,”[1] without mentioning a single word about what NATO has been doing for the past thirty years so!

It is even more disturbing when the BBC has put out articles such as “Why is Russia invading Ukraine and what does Putin want?” without even discussing the deep things that make up the crisis in the region. The article mentioned two things about NATO. The first one is this:

“Russia has long resisted Ukraine’s move towards the European Union and the West’s defensive military alliance, Nato. Announcing Russia’s invasion, he accused Nato of threatening ‘our historic future as a nation.’”

Really? That’s all there is to it? How stupid can we be? And then this: “There is no immediate threat to Russia’s Baltic neighbors, but Nato has bolstered their defences just in case.”

To understand the lunacy of the BBC statement, imagine some Chinese or North Korean warships circulating around the coast of California or Florida. Wouldn’t the United States eventually declare war if the Chinese or North Koreans leaders don’t immediately remove their warships?

Well, NATO has been circulating its troops around the Russian periphery for over a decade! And this has been in violation of international law. This is not some kind of conspiracy theory dreamed up by writers at VT. Scholars of all stripes have been saying this for years. John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, for example, has been writing about this since 2014. Mearsheimer in particular has recently reformulated that thesis in the New Yorker.

In any event, the BBC article did suggest something which Brother Nathanael Kapner will discuss below. The BBC seemed to suggest that Putin is in a war with the Khazarian Mafia in the region: “There has been no genocide in Ukraine: it is a vibrant democracy, led by a president who is Jewish.”

Now we’re talking.

…by Nathanael Kapner

The blitz on Russia is unhinged. It’s a study in ‘moronology.’

When US liquor stores are told by hacks to dump their already-bought Russian vodka, you know Russophobia is just a psychotic shot away. They dropped COVID just for this.

And when Fox News says ‘Putin is the Antichrist’ you know that whoever squawks the loudest gains the ear of lamebrain Americans. Rev up the heart rate.

Don’t you need somebody to hate. Today Putin, yesterday Sadaam, tomorrow whoever stands in the way of the Khazarian Mafia.

Ukraine is just a pawn in the Khazarian Mafia’s game to ‘contain’ Christian Russia.

With joint efforts of the Mossad and CIA clandestinely funding Ukraine’s nationalists—”Natz”—as the locals call them, short for “Nazis,” a Ukrainian deep state was created.

These “Natz” are descendants of the “Banderites” of World War II fame, with whom Hitler, due to their fanatical viciousness, shunned.

With the help of US State Departments’ Jew, Victoria Nuland, (born “Nudelman”), the Banderites executed a coup in 2014.

Straightaway an American puppet, known affectionately by Nudelman as “Yats,” a fellow Jew, was installed.

Today’s neo-Banderite battalions, fueled by manic hatred of anything “Russian,” got the lion’s share of military aid from the Khazarian Mafia in America that bolstered them for future attacks on Donbas then ultimately on Russia.

And with military bases, run by Nato and funded by international Jewish banks—achieving lethal pressure on Russia’s western flank—Putin protested of being squeezed.

Today, via surgical attacks on Ukraine’s military infrastructure, not civilian, Russia now controls all Ukrainian airspace.

One complex, a Nato/US Naval Base in Ochakov, masqueraded as a Ukrainian Naval Base between Odessa and Crimea, was just annihilated by the Russian Air Force.

So far Russia has hit some 1,500 Ukrainian military targets.

Thus “demilitarizing” covert Nato bases and their manic Banderite stooges.

The Russian bear will maul his way all the way west of Kyiv. Creating a line of demarcation as “peacemaking endgame,” the bear will split Ukraine in two.

What’s left of the “Natz”—most will be zapped—will be contained in a sequestered administrative zone bordering the EU.

The greater eastern portion with its new government will sign a non-alignment agreement with Russia under the umbrella of a Russian protectorate.

Let me pose a Jewish kind of question: Do those “Natz” hate Jews?

No, not at all.

But they love their Jewish Ukrainian oligarch enablers.

Jews like Ihor Kolomoyskyi, Oleksandr Yaroslavsky, and Zvi Hirsch—who changed his name, like many Jews do—to Gennadiy Boholyubov.

All of these oligarchs have lineages that can be traced to Jewish Bolshevik families

The same families that financed the overthrow of Czarist Christian Russia and the Christian monarchy of Nicholas II.

Yes, Putin’s calling for the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine. He’s calling for its “de-communization” too.

”As a result of Bolshevik policy Soviet Ukraine arose which even today can with good reason be called ‘Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s Ukraine.’ He is its author and architect. This is fully confirmed by archive documents also including Lenin’s decrees regarding adding the Donbass to Ukraine. And now grateful descendants have demolished monuments to Lenin in Ukraine. This is what they call de-communization. Do you want de-communization? Well, that suits us just fine. But why stop halfway? We are ready to show you what real de-communization means for Ukraine.”

A two-fold blow:

1) Purging the corrupt Jewish Ukrainian oligarchs who will be forced to flee just as they did when Putin purged them in Russia in 2003.

2) Purging the Ukrainian Parliament infested with Jews like Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, and Culture and Information Policy Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko, all Jews.

Zelensky, the Jew President of Ukraine, by asking Nato for a no-fly zone to shoot down Russian planes—which the Khazarian Mafia in America rejected—shot himself in the foot for any bid for bargaining chips in talks with Putin.

Concerning the Rothschild/US Jewish FED cutting off Russia from financial markets and interbank payments, this is nothing less than assisted-suicide.

Russia and China long ago set up their own “SWIFT” interbank payment systems.

Nations needing Russian wheat, fertilizer, steel, aluminum, and oil, will pay not in dollars but in Chinese yuans that’s increasingly rising as the reserve currency replacing the dollar.

Once the Khazarian dollar (I mean, with no “productive” value) takes a dive, buying your jeans at Walmart will be like shopping at Nieman-Marcus on steroids.

Poking the Russian Bear has always been a Khazarian affair.

Curl up, they say, in a fetal position, when faced with a charging bear.

The bear is striking back and the Khazarians don’t have a prayer.

[1] Paul Kirby, “Why is Russia invading Ukraine and what does Putin want?,” BBC, March 4, 2022.

Western sanctions policy is birthing a rival economic world-system

3 Mar 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Samuel Geddes 

From the huge reserve it accumulated over the years to alternative currency transfer methods, Russia has many tools to counter the ‘barrage’ of Western sanctions, but will they be effective?

Russia has seen this moment coming for years, hence its US$630 billion central bank reserve of which only 16 percent is held in US dollars

The addition of Russia to the ranks of Iran, Venezuela, Yemen and others enduring “maximum pressure” campaigns will only further the creation of financial and economic mechanisms that bypass the US dollar and the global architecture that supports it. 

From the opening salvo of a full-scale war between Russia and Ukraine last week, it was inevitable that we would reach this point. Under American pressure, the European Union has agreed to expel the central bank of Russia from the SWIFT messaging system, the so-called “plumbing of the global financial system”. The measure, along with massive export restrictions from western states, is specifically designed to cripple the Russian economy, preventing it from paying for its imports and more crucially, receiving payment for its exports.

Moscow now joins just a handful of states worldwide to be subjected to such totalizing economic warfare. The most prominent example is the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has endured massive sanctions since its inception in 1979, escalating to the point of economic siege in 2012 and again in 2018. Venezuela, under the leadership of Hugo Chavez and now Nicholas Maduro has gone from being one of the largest oil exporters to the United States to the victim of a siege that has led to a massive refugee crisis throughout South America and outright theft of its national gold reserves by the Bank of London.

Far more effective attempts at economic strangulation are currently being carried out against Yemen, where the Ansar Allah movement had the temerity to overthrow a western and GCC-backed president. That country’s death count is rapidly approaching 400,000 of whom the overwhelming majority are civilian victims of famine and disease resulting from a total land, sea, and air blockade of the country enforced by the GCC states as well as the western powers directing them from afar.

Afghanistan’s near 40 million population is also being viciously punished for NATO’s defeat at the hands of its Taliban rulers. Nearly the entire population lives in absolute poverty and is unable to survive because the American government froze the central bank’s assets and has seen fit to release only half of the approximately US$8 billion. The other half Washington has seen fit to keep for itself, to compensate the families of 9/11 victims, whose losses the Afghan people have manifestly nothing to do with. In the case of the latter two countries, almost no other country has even recognized them as legitimate states entitled to sovereign equality and membership of the United Nations. 

Now, these nations are joined by the largest state on earth and one of its most critical suppliers of raw materials, from feed grains to strategic metals and fertilizers. 

The initial impacts of the sanctions regime are likely to be socially devastating on Russia but like the countries in whose company it now finds itself, it will quickly find a way to circumvent these economic hurdles and find new markets for its goods. It could also conceivably become far more self-sufficient in higher-end value-added goods, as it will now be forced to substitute imports of western technology. 

Russia has seen this moment coming for years, hence its US$630 billion central bank reserve of which only 16 percent is held in US dollars. What is likely to make up a growing proportion of that reserve will be the Chinese yuan. Beijing has dropped all limits to its importation of Russian wheat, signaling that the PRC may be willing to provide Russia a guaranteed market for most, if not all of the commodities it will now be unable to sell freely on the global market. Chinese non-compliance with the US and EU-mandated sanctions may augur a more terminal split with the west. 

Should China opt for a final economic decoupling from its decades-long partners, the East Asian giant would likely choose to serve as a guaranteed market for similarly besieged states, Iran, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Venezuela. Its likely means of doing so have been intimated in just the last few days. The Cross-Border International Payments System (CIPS) is Beijing’s In-house version of the western SWIFT system, albeit in its infancy and far less wide-reaching. What it would do is significantly expand the use of the yuan as a means of payment-settling, particularly for energy imports. Given its insatiable demand for energy, the Chinese economy, waning pandemics-permitting, could finally propel the widespread adoption of a non-western global currency. Bilateral trade between Russia and China, now well over US$100 billion annually has already been largely “de-dollarized” with the US currency being used to settle less than 23 percent of payments between the two nations.

A parallel financial-plumbing system built to service a growing list of states could significantly internationalize and speed up this trend. 

Russia could instead expand the use of its own domestic payment system, the System For Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS), created in 2014, to facilitate international transfers. This would be especially effective in the former states of the Soviet Union, in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Several or all of these isolated states might construct their own indigenous payment systems that could be mutually compatible. As direct fuel shipments and technical assistance from Iran to Venezuela over recent years have demonstrated, the weaponization of the US dollar and the international financial system is serving more to unite disparate nations in sanction-proofing their economies than in toppling their political systems. 

Planners in Washington are almost certainly aware of this and while the bountiful natural resources of the Russians are now lost to them, it may just be the cost of having Europe now entirely beholden to the US for its economic survival, as well as the South American, Middle Eastern and East Asian former Russian markets the west has secured for itself. 

While the west’s expanded economic market share will keep the dollar, euro, and the pound afloat in the immediate post-COVID world, this will only delay the inevitable. NATO belligerence has now set in motion the forces that will eventually produce a successor to the current world-reserve currency, and the very existence of a parallel financial universe will show that other worlds than that ruled by the euro or the dollar, are possible.       

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Follow the money: how Russia will bypass western economic warfare

March 01, 2022

By Pepe Escobar

The Cradle

The US and EU are over-reaching on Russian sanctions. The end result could be the de-dollarization of the global economy and massive commodity shortages worldwide.

So a congregation of NATO’s top brass ensconced in their echo chambers target the Russian Central Bank with sanctions and expect what? Cookies?

What they got instead was Russia’s deterrence forces bumped up to “a special regime of duty” – which means the Northern and Pacific fleets, the Long-Range Aviation Command, strategic bombers and the entire Russian nuclear apparatus on maximum alert.

One Pentagon general very quickly did the basic math on that, and mere minutes later, a Ukrainian delegation was dispatched to conduct negotiations with Russia in an undisclosed location in Gomel, Belarus.

Meanwhile, in the vassal realms, the German government was busy “setting limits to warmongers like Putin” – quite a rich undertaking considering that Berlin never set any such limits for western warmongers who bombed Yugoslavia, invaded Iraq, or destroyed Libya in complete violation of international law.

While openly proclaiming their desire to “stop the development of Russian industry,” damage its economy, and “ruin Russia” – echoing American edicts on Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Cuba, Venezuela and others in the Global South – the Germans could not possibly recognize a new categorical imperative.

They were finally liberated from their WWII culpability complex by none other than Russian President Vladimir Putin. Germany is finally free to support and weaponize neo-Nazis out in the open all over again – now of the Ukrainian Azov battalion variety.

To get the hang of how these NATO sanctions will “ruin Russia,” I asked for the succinct analysis of one of the most competent economic minds on the planet, Michael Hudson, author, among others, of a revised edition of the must-read Super-Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire.

Hudson remarked how he is “simply numbed over the near-atomic escalation of the US.” On the confiscation of Russian foreign reserves and cut-off from SWIFT, the main point is “it will take some time for Russia to put in a new system, with China. The result will end dollarization for good, as countries threatened with ‘democracy’ or displaying diplomatic independence will be afraid to use US banks.”

This, Hudson says, leads us to “the great question: whether Europe and the Dollar Bloc can buy Russian raw materials – cobalt, palladium, etc, and whether China will join Russia in a minerals boycott.”

Hudson is adamant that “Russia’s Central Bank, of course, has foreign bank assets in order to intervene in exchange markets to defend its currency from fluctuations. The ruble has plunged. There will be new exchange rates. Yet it’s up to Russia to decide whether to sell its wheat to West Asia, that needs it; or to stop selling gas to Europe via Ukraine, now that the US can grab it.”

About the possible introduction of a new Russia-China payment system bypassing SWIFT, and combining the Russian SPFS (System for Transfer of Financial Messages) with the Chinese CIPS (Cross-Border Interbank Payment System), Hudson has no doubts “the Russian-China system will be implemented. The Global South will seek to join and at the same time keep SWIFT – moving their reserves into the new system.”

I’m going to de-dollarize myself

So the US itself, in another massive strategic blunder, will speed up de-dollarization. As the managing director of Bocom International Hong Hao told the Global Times, with energy trade between Europe and Russia de-dollarized, “that will be the beginning of the disintegration of dollar hegemony.”

It’s a refrain the US administration was quietly hearing last week from some of its own largest multinational banks, including notables like JPMorgan and Citigroup.

Bloomberg article sums up their collective fears:

“Booting Russia from the critical global system – which handles 42 million messages a day and serves as a lifeline to some of the world’s biggest financial institutions – could backfire, sending inflation higher, pushing Russia closer to China, and shielding financial transactions from scrutiny by the west. It might also encourage the development of a SWIFT alternative that could eventually damage the supremacy of the US dollar.”

Those with IQs over 50 in the European Union (EU) must have understood that Russia simply could not be totally excluded from SWIFT, but maybe only a few of its banks: after all, European traders depend on Russian energy.

From Moscow’s point of view, that’s a minor issue. A number of Russian banks are already connected to China’s CIPS system. For instance, if someone wants to buy Russian oil and gas with CIPS, payment must be in the Chinese yuan currency. CIPS is independent of SWIFT.

Additionally, Moscow already linked its SPFS payment system not only to China but also to India and member nations of the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU). SPFS already links to approximately 400 banks.

With more Russian companies using SPFS and CIPS, even before they merge, and other maneuvers to bypass SWIFT, such as barter trade – largely used by sanctioned Iran – and agent banks, Russia could make up for at least 50 percent in trade losses.

The key fact is that the flight from the US-dominated western financial system is now irreversible across Eurasia – and that will proceed in tandem with the internationalization of the yuan.

Russia has its own bag of tricks

Meanwhile, we’re not even talking yet about Russian retaliation for these sanctions. Former President Dmitry Medvedev already gave a hint: everything, from exiting all nuclear arms deals with the US to freezing the assets of western companies in Russia, is on the table.

So what does the “Empire of Lies” want? (Putin terminology, on Monday’s meeting in Moscow to discuss the response to sanctions.)

In an essay published this morning, deliciously titled America Defeats Germany for the Third Time in a Century: the MIC, OGAM and FIRE conquer NATO, Michael Hudson makes a series of crucial points, starting with how “NATO has become Europe’s foreign policy-making body, even to the point of dominating domestic economic interests.”

He outlines the three oligarchies in control of US foreign policy:

First is the military-industrial complex, which Ray McGovern memorably coined as MICIMATT (military industrial Congressional intelligence media academia think tank).

Hudson defines their economy base as “monopoly rent, obtained above all from its arms sales to NATO, to West Asian oil exporters and to other countries with a balance-of-payments surplus.”

Second is the oil and gas sector, joined by mining (OGAM). Their aim is “to maximize the price of energy and raw materials so as to maximize natural resource rent. Monopolizing the Dollar Area’s oil market and isolating it from Russian oil and gas has been a major US priority for over a year now, as the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany threatened to link the western European and Russian economies together.”

Third is the “symbiotic” Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector, which Hudson defines as “the counterpart to Europe’s old post-feudal landed aristocracy living by land rents.”

As he describes these three rentier sectors that completely dominate post-industrial finance capitalism at the heart of the western system, Hudson notes how “Wall Street always has been closely merged with the oil and gas industry (namely, the Citigroup and Chase Manhattan banking conglomerates).”

Hudson shows how “the most pressing US strategic aim of NATO confrontation with Russia is soaring oil and gas prices. In addition to creating profits and stock market gains for US companies, higher energy prices will take much of the steam out of the German economy.”

He warns how food prices will rise “headed by wheat.” (Russia and Ukraine account for 25 percent of world wheat exports.) From a Global South perspective, that’s a disaster: “This will squeeze many West Asian and Global South food-deficient countries, worsening their balance of payments and threatening foreign debt defaults.”

As for blocking Russian raw materials exports, “this threatens to cause breaks in supply chains for key materials, including cobalt, palladium, nickel, aluminum.”

And that leads us, once again, to the heart of the matter: “The long-term dream of the US new Cold Warriors is to break up Russia, or at least to restore its managerial kleptocracy seeking to cash in their privatizations in western stock markets.”

That’s not going to happen. Hudson clearly sees how “the most enormous unintended consequence of US foreign policy has been to drive Russia and China together, along with Iran, Central Asia and countries along the Belt and Road initiative.”

Let’s confiscate some technology

Now compare all of the above with the perspective of a central European business tycoon with vast interests, east and west, and who treasures his discretion.

In an email exchange, the business tycoon posed serious questions about the Russian Central Bank support for its national currency, the ruble, “which according to US planning is being destroyed by the west through sanctions and currency wolf packs who are exposing themselves by selling rubles short. There is really almost no amount of money that can beat the dollar manipulators against the ruble. A 20 percent interest rate will kill the Russian economy unnecessarily.”

The businessman argues that the chief effect of the rate hike “would be to support imports that should not be imported. The fall of the ruble is thus favorable to Russia in terms of self-sufficiency. As import prices rise, these goods should start to be produced domestically. I would just let the ruble fall to find its own level which will for a while be lower than natural forces would permit as the US will be driving it lower through sanctions and short selling manipulation in this form of economic war against Russia.”

But that seems to tell only part of the story. Arguably, the lethal weapon in Russia’s arsenal of responses has been identified by the head of the Center for Economic Research of the Institute of Globalization and Social Movements (IGSO), Vasily Koltashov: the key is to confiscate technology – as in Russia ceasing to recognize US rights to patents.

In what he qualifies as “liberating American intellectual property,” Koltashov calls for passing a Russian law on “friendly and unfriendly states. If a country turns out to be on the unfriendly list, then we can start copying its technologies in pharmaceuticals, industry, manufacturing, electronics, medicine. It can be anything – from simple details to chemical compositions.” This would require amendments to the Russian constitution.

Koltashov maintains that “one of the foundations of success of American industry was copying of foreign patents for inventions.” Now, Russia could use “China’s extensive know-how with its latest technological production processes for copying western products: the release of American intellectual property will cause damage to the United States to the amount of $10 trillion, only in the first stage. It will be a disaster for them.”

As it stands, the strategic stupidity of the EU beggars belief. China is ready to grab all Russian natural resources – with Europe left as a pitiful hostage of the oceans and of wild speculators. It looks like a total EU-Russia split is ahead – with little trade left and zero diplomacy.

Now listen to the sound of champagne popping all across the MICIMATT.

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

حرب عالميّة ثالثة؟!

 الإثنين 28 شباط 2022

 ناصر قنديل

لم يعد مشهد المواجهة الدولية المندلع حول أوكرانيا الى المزيد ليكون حرباً عالمية ثالثة، خصوصاً مع إعلان الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين على الهواء طلبه من قادته العسكريين تفعيل أسلحة الردع الاستراتيجي بما فيها السلاح النووي، حتى لو كان شبه مستحيل بلوغ المواجهة حد استخدام السلاح النووي، فإن مجرد ذكره كفرضيّة كافٍ للإشارة على حجم المواجهة الدائرة، واذا كان تعريف الحرب العالمية مشروطاً بتموضع القوى العالمية العظمى قبالة بعضها في مواجهة تسمّيها مصيرية ووجودية وتستنفر فيها كل أوراق قوتها، طلباً لفوز كامل وسعياً لفرض خسارة كاملة على الخصم، فيكفي رؤية أميركا ومعها أوروبا وحلف الأطلسي في ضفة، وروسيا في ضفة مقابلة، وسماع الرئيس الروسي يتحدّث عن تفعيل السلاح النووي، واعتبار أمن روسيا مهدداً، مقابل إعلان الرئيس الفرنسي ايمانويل ماكرون أن إخراج روسيا من نظام السويفت العالمي هو بمثابة استخدام للسلاح النووي للعصر الجديد.

الواضح أن الصراع لا يدور على حدود جغرافية وتوازنات إتنية وعرقية داخلية في أوكرانيا، وفقاً لمضمون السردية الأوكرانية، فروسيا ذات المساحة المترامية الأطراف والمليئة بالثروات لا تحتاج لأطماع في الأراضي الأوكرانية، كيف إذا أخذنا بالاعتبار ان موسكو نجحت بضم شبه جزيرة القرم ذات القيمة الاستراتيجية العالية من أراضي أوكرانيا نظراً لإطلالتها على البحر الأسود، وليست بحاجة لتحرّش يعيد وضعها تحت الأضواء. وروسيا التي تجني ثمار التراجع الأميركي السياسي والعسكري، والتفكك في العلاقات الأميركية الأوروبية بنتيجة ذلك، كما أظهر الانسحاب الأميركي من أفغانستان، لا تحتاج الا للاستثمار على فعل الزمن، وهي ترى كيف أن علاقاتها الاقتصادية بدول أوروبية وازنة كألمانيا تتقدم على حساب تموضع مطلوب من ألمانيا أميركياً بعيداً عن روسيا، وقد أظهر النقاش الأميركي الألماني حول أنبوب السيل الشمالي ذلك بوضوح، ويكفي روسيا أن توظف هذه التحوّلات، في تعزيز مكانتها السياسية والاقتصادية والاستراتيجية، وهي تبني مع الصين شراكة استراتيجية متعددة المجالات، وترى حليفتها ايران تتنزع الاعتراف بمكانتها وحضورها في عمق آسيا.

الأكيد أن الحرب كانت خياراً صعباً ومؤلماً اضطر الرئيس الروسي لاعتماده بعدما تم وضعه بين خيارات صعبة. فواشنطن التي تدرك ان الزمن يلعب لصالح روسيا، والتي ادركت أن التلاعب في مناطق الفراغ في العلاقات الروسية الصينية ما عاد ممكناً، قررت تحريك السكين في الجرح الأوكراني، وتسريع وتيرة التحرك نحو ضمّ أوكرانيا لحلف الناتو، وتشجيع حكومة كييف على حسم الخلاف مع الأقاليم الشرقية بالقوة، وترك موسكو تختار بين قبول أمر واقع ينشئ على حدودها دولة أطلسية تمتلك سلاحاً نووياً، وجيشاً قوياً وتفتح معها حرباً تحت عنوان استعادة شبه جزيرة القرم، أو تذهب هي للحرب بعدما وضعت الغرب بين خياري التعهد بعدم ضم أوكرانيا للحلف أو الحرب.

الحرب ليست نزهة، وليست هناك حرب جيدة وحرب سيئة، فالحروب كلها سيئة، وكل حرب تنتهي بوجود جيش أجنبي على أرض أي بلد ستتكفل بمنح من يواجهه صفة المقاومة حتى لو كانت مقاومته مستأجرة من أجنبي آخر، ولحساب غير حساب الوطن الذي كان الحياد أفضل وسيلة لحفظ مصالحه، والذي يبقى السؤال الموجّه لقيادته، ما دامت لن تضمن الانضمام للناتو فلماذا لم تقبل تثبيت عدم الانضمام كضمانة لمنع وقوع الحرب، كتأكيد أن الحرب ترجمة لمصلحة خارجة عن الحسابات الوطنية الأوكرانية، لكن الحرب بويلاتها وبتهجير المدنيين، وما ستجلبه من خراب، تشكل بذاتها نجاحاً أميركياً بامتلاك منصة للتحريض على روسيا وتشويه صورتها واستنهاض شرائح شعبية أوروبية وعالمية ضدها.

الإجراءات الأميركية والأوروبية تجعل الحرب قضية وجود بالنسبة لروسيا، حيث بات واضحاً للقيادة الروسية ان تشخيصها الذي بني عليه قرار الحرب حول درجة الاستعصاء وصولاً للتصادم كان في مكانه، ولو لم يكن كذلك لما بلغت التعبئة المعادية لروسيا المدى الذي بلغته خلال يومين، فلا مكان للصدفة في صناعة التاريخ. والواضح ان تعبئة المرتزقة والمتطوعين من كل أنحاء العالم للقتال في أوكرانيا وإرسال منظومات السلاح المتطور لمواجهة الجيش الروسي، هو نوع من الحرب العالمية التي نشهد فصولها بعدما شهدنا نوعاً مشابهاً عنها في سورية، كما أنه من الواضح أن القرارات التصعيدية مالياً بوجه روسيا عدا عن كونها نوعاً من البلطجة والسطو على الثورات، وعن إعلان سقوط نظام الاقتصاد الحر، هي حرب كاملة ستجد روسيا نفسها مضطرة في مواجهتها لتسريع التكامل مع الصين ودول البريكس وحلف شنغهاي، لبناء منظومة مالية ومصرفية مستقلة عن الغرب، وصولاً لعالم ثنائي الاستقطاب شرق تقوده روسيا والصين وغرب تقوده أميركا وأوروبا.

من تداعيات هذه الحرب العالمية أزمة كبرى ستبدأ تداعياتها بالظهور في قطاعي الغذاء والطاقة، حيث حرب أسعار ستلهب الأسواق، وقد تنتهي بإنتاج أوكرانيا شرقية وأوكرانيا غربية تحلان مكان المانيا الشرقية والمانيا الغربية، لكن الأكيد ان اكبر الخاسرين سيكون الشعب الأوكراني الذي ارتضت قيادته جعله وقوداً لحروب الكبار بينما كان الحياد خياراً مثالياً لتجنب الحريق.

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Putin and Xi plot their SWIFT escape

Russia and China’s announcement of an independent financial trading platform will free nations under US sanctions from western intrusion into their commercial activities.

December 17 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s December video summit could mark the start of some major global financial shiftsPhoto Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

Vladimir Putin got straight to the point. At the opening of his one hour and fourteen minute video conversation with Xi Jinping on 15 December, he described Russia-China relations as “an example of genuine inter-state cooperation in the 21st century.”

Their myriad levels of cooperation have been known for years now – from trade, oil and gas, finance, aerospace and the fight against Covid-19, to the progressive interconnection of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU).

But now the stage was set for the announcement of a serious counter-move in their carefully coordinated ballet opposing the relentless Hybrid War/Cold War 2.0 combo deployed by Empire.

As Assistant to the President for Foreign Policy Yuri Ushakov succinctly explained, Putin and Xi agreed to create an “independent financial structure for trade operations that could not be influenced by other countries.”

Diplomatic sources, off the record, confirmed the structure may be announced by a joint summit before the end of 2022.

This is a stunning game-changer in more ways than one. It had been extensively discussed in previous bilaterals and in preparations for BRICS summits – mostly centered on increasing the share of yuan and rubles in Russia-China settlements, bypassing the US dollar, and opening new stock market options for Russian and Chinese investors.

Now we’ve come to the crunch. And the catalyzing event was none other than US hawks floating the – financially nuclear – idea of expelling Russia from SWIFT, the messaging network used by 11,000+ banks in over 200 countries, as well as financial institutions, for rapid money transfers worldwide.

Cutting off Russia from SWIFT would be part of a harsh new sanctions package developed in response to an ‘invasion’ of Ukraine that will never happen – mainly because the only ones praying for it are professional NATO warmongers.

Profiting from a strategic blunder

Once again, an American strategic blunder offers the Russia-China self-described “comprehensive strategic partnership” the chance to advance their coordination.

Ushakov put it very diplomatically: it’s time to bypass a SWIFT mechanism “influenced by third countries” to form “an independent financial structure.”

That amounts to a serious game-changer for the entire Global South – as scores of nations yearn to be released from a de facto US dollar dictatorship, complete with recurring Fed quantitative easing circus packages.

Russia and China have been experimenting with their alternative payment systems for quite a while now: the Russian SPFS (System for Transfer of Financial Messages) and the Chinese CIPS (Cross Border Interbank Payment System).

It won’t be easy, as the most powerful Chinese banks are deep into SWIFT and have expressed their reservations about SPFS. Yet, they will have to inevitably integrate prior to the launch of the new mechanism, possibly in late 2022.

Once the most important Russian and Chinese banks – from Sberbank to the Bank of China – adopt the system, the path opens for other banks across Eurasia and the Global South to join in.

In the long run, SWIFT, prone to non-stop American political interference, will be increasingly marginalized, or restricted to Atlanticist latitudes.

Bypassing the US dollar, on trade and all sorts of financial settlements, is an absolutely central plank of the ever-evolving Russia-China notion of a multipolar world.

The road will be long, of course, especially when it comes to offering a solid counterpoint to the US-controlled global financial system, a maze that includes the humongous investment houses of the BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street variety, with their interlocking shareholding of virtually every major multinational company.

Yet a SWIFT escape will rapidly gain momentum, because it is inextricably linked to a series of developments that Putin-Xi touched upon in their conversation, the most important of which are:

1. The progressive interconnection of BRI and EAEU, offering expanding roles to the BRICS-run New Development Bank (NDB) as well as the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

2. The increasing geopolitical and geo-economic reach of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), especially after the admission of Iran in October.

3. And crucially, the upcoming Chinese presidency of the BRICS in 2022.

China in 2022 will invest deeply in BRICS+. This expanded BRICS club will be linked to a development process that includes:

1. The consolidation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – a massive East Asia trade deal uniting China, the ASEAN 10 and Japan, and South Korea, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

2. The African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).

3. And the memoranda of understanding signed between the EAEU and MERCOSUR and between the EAEU and ASEAN.

Anchoring West Asia  

Yaroslav Lissovolik, one of the world’s leading experts on BRICS+, argues that it’s now time for BRICS+ 2.0, operating in a system that opens “the possibility for bilateral and plurilateral agreements to complement the core network of regional alliances formed by BRICS countries and their respective regional neighbors.”

So if we’re talking about a major qualitative jump in terms of economic development across the Global South, the question is inevitable. What about West Asia?

All these interconnections, plus an escape from SWIFT, will certainly profit the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), arguably the flagship BRI project, to which Beijing plans to annex Afghanistan.

CPEC will be progressively connected to the future Iran-China corridor via Afghanistan, part of the 20 year Iran-China strategic deal in which BRI projects will be prominently featured. Iran and China already trade in yuan and rials, so settlements between Iran and China in a non-SWIFT mechanism will be a given.

What happened to Iran is a classic example of SWIFT becoming hostage of imperial political manipulation. Iranian banks were expelled from SWIFT in 2012, because of pressure from the usual suspects. In 2016, access was restored as part of the JCPOA, clinched in 2015. Yet in 2018, under the Trump administration, Iran was once again cut off from SWIFT.

None of that will ever happen with Iran joining the new Russia-China mechanism.

And that leads us to the interconnection of China’s BRI expansion in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. The reconstruction of Syria may be largely financed via the non-SWIFT mechanism. Same for China buying Iraqi energy. Same for the reconstruction of a Yemen possibly hosting a Chinese-owned port, part of the “string of pearls.”

Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Israel may remain in the US financial sphere of influence, or lack thereof. And even if there is no BRICS nation anchoring West Asia, and no regional integration economic agreement on the horizon, the role of the economic integrator is bound to be eventually played by China.

China will play a similar role to Brazil anchoring MERCOSUR, Russia anchoring the EAEU and South Africa anchoring the SADC/SACU.

Both BRI and the EAEU will get a tremendous boost by bypassing SWIFT. You simply can’t go multipolar if you trade using (devalued) imperial legal tender.

BRI, EAEU and those interlocking economic development agreements, combined with digital technology, will be integrating billions of people in the Global South.

Think of a possible, auspicious future spelling out cheap telecom delivering financial services and world market access, in a non-dollar environment, to all those who have been so far cut off from a truly globalized economy.

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

Putin, Xi running circles around Biden’s hybrid war

December 16, 2021

Washington hawks float expelling Russia from SWIFT but Moscow’s budding geo-economic alliance with Beijing will keep the money flowing

By Pepe Escobar posted with permission and cross-posted with AsiaTimes

Screenshot of the recent Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin phone call. Screenshot photo: Mikhail Metzel / Pool / TASS

Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin spent an hour and 14 minutes in a video conversation on Wednesday. Geopolitically, paving the way for 2022, this is the one that really matters – much more than Putin-Biden a week ago.

Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov, who generally carefully measures his words, had previously hinted that this exchange would be “extremely important.”

It was obvious the two leaders would not only exchange information about the natural gas pipeline Power of Siberia 2. But Peskov was referring to prime time geopolitics: how Russia-China would be coordinating their countercoups against the hybrid war/Cold War 2.0 combo deployed by the US and its allies.

While no substantial leaks were expected from the 37th meeting between Xi and Putin since 2013 (they will meet again in person in February 2022, at the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics), Assistant to the President for Foreign Policy Yuri Ushakov did manage to succinctly deliver at least two serious bits of information.

These are the highlights of the call:

  • Moscow will inform Beijing about the progress, or lack thereof, in negotiations with the US/NATO on security guarantees for Russia.
  • Beijing supports Moscow’s demands on US/NATO for these security guarantees.
  • Putin and Xi agreed to create an “independent financial structure for trade operations that could not be influenced by other countries.” Diplomatic sources, off the record, say the structure may be announced by a joint summit in late 2022.
  • They discussed the Biden-hosted “Summit for Democracy,” concluding it was counterproductive and imposed new dividing lines.

Of all of the above, the third point is the real game-changer – already in the works for a few years now, and gaining definitive momentum after Washington hawks of the Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland kind recently floated the idea of expelling Russia from SWIFT – the vast messaging network used by banks and other financial institutions to make money transfer instructions – as the ultimate sanctions package for the non-invasion of Ukraine.

Putin and Xi once again discussed one of their key themes in bilaterals and BRICS meetings: the need to keep increasing the share of the yuan and ruble in mutual settlements – bypassing the US dollar – and opening new stock market avenues for Russian and Chinese investors.

A 100 yuan bill and Russian 10 ruble coins. Photo: AFP / Demyanchuk /Sputnik

Bypassing a SWIFT mechanism “influenced by third counties” then becomes a must. Ushakov diplomatically put it as “the need to intensify efforts to form an independent financial infrastructure to service trade operations between Russia and China.”

Russian energy businesses, from Gazprom to Rosneft, know all there is to know not only about US threats but also about the negative effects of the tsunami of US dollars flooding the global economy via the Fed’s quantitative easing.

This Russia-China drive is yet another dimension of geoeconomic, geostrategic and demographic power rapidly shifting towards Eurasia and possibly foreshadowing the advent of a new world system related to other matters Putin-Xi certainly discussed: the interconnection of Belt and Road with the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), the expanded reach of the  Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the coming Chinese presidency of BRICS in 2022.

The US – with US$30 trillion in debt, 236% of its militarized GDP – is virtually bankrupt. Russia-China have already experimented with their alternative payment systems, which will inevitably integrate.

The most important banks in both countries will adopt the system – as well as banks across Eurasia doing business with them, and then vast swaths of the Global South. SWIFT, in the long run, will be used only in exceptional cases if China and Russia have their way.

Maidan redux

Now to the heart of the geopolitical puzzle.

Ushakov confirmed that the Russian Federation has submitted proposals on security guarantees to the US. As Putin himself had confirmed even before talking to Xi, it’s all about “indivisible security”: a mechanism that has been enshrined all across the territory of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe since a 1975 summit in Helsinki.

Predictably, under orders of the powers that be, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg already rejected it.

Both Xi and Putin clearly identify how Team Biden is deploying a strategic polarization gambit under good old divide-and-rule. The wishful thinking at play is to build a pro-American bloc – with participants ranging from the UK and Australia to Israel and Saudi Arabia – to “isolate” Russia-China.

That’s what’s behind the narrative thunderously splashed non-stop all across the West – to which Biden’s Summit for Democracy was also tied. Taiwan is being manipulated against Beijing while Ukraine is being literally weaponized against Russia. “China aggression” meets “Russian aggression.”

Russian and Chinese soldiers take aim in a 2018 joint military exercise. Image: Twitter

Beijing has not fallen into the trap but has asserted at different levels that Taiwan will eventually be integrated into the mainland motherland, without any ludicrous “invasion.” And the wishful thinking that massive American pressure will lead to cracks inside the Chinese Communist Party is also likely generating zero traction.

Ukraine is a much more volatile proposition: a dysfunctional nightmare of systemic instability, widespread corruption, shady oligarchic entanglements, and poverty.

Washington still follows the Zbigniew Brzezinski-concocted Maidan plan laid out for cookie distributor Nuland in 2014. Yet seven years later, no American “strategist” managed to understand why Russia would fail to invade Ukraine, which has been part of Russia for centuries.

For these “strategists”, it’s imperative that Russia faces a second Vietnam, after Afghanistan in the 1980s. Well, it’s not going to happen because Moscow has no interest whatsoever in “invading” Ukraine.

It does get more complicated. The ultimate fear dictating all US foreign policy since the early 20th century is the possibility of Germany clinching a new version of Bismarck’s 1887 Reinsurance Treaty with Russia.

Add China to the combination and these three actors are able to control just about the entire Eurasian landmass. Updating Mackinder, the US would then be turned into a geopolitically irrelevant island.

Putin-Xi may have examined not only how the imperial hybrid war tactics against them are floundering against them, as well as how the tactics are dragging Europe further into the abyss of irrelevance.

For the EU, as former British diplomat Alastair Crooke points out, the strategic balance is a disaster: “The EU has virtually ruptured its relations with both Russia and China – at the same time. Washington’s hawks wanted it. A ‘European Brzezinski’ certainly would have advised the EU differently: never lose both in tandem – you are never that powerful.”

No wonder the leadership in Moscow-Beijing can’t take anyone in Brussels seriously – be it assorted NATO chihuahuas or the spectacularly incompetent Ursula von der Leyen at the European Commission.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (left) meets Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on March 23, 2021. Photo: AFP / Russian Foreign Ministry / Handout / Anadolu Agency

A faint ray of light is that Paris and Berlin, unlike the Russophobic Poland and the Baltic fringe, at least prefer having some sort of negotiation with Moscow over Ukraine as opposed to slapping on extra sanctions.

Now imagine Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov explaining the ABCs of foreign policy to a clueless Annalena “Grune” Baerbock, now posing as German foreign minister while displaying a fresh mix of incompetence and aggressiveness. She actually placed the phone call.

Lavrov had to meticulously explain the consequences of NATO expansion; the Minsk agreement; and how Berlin should exercise its right to pressure Kiev to respect Minsk.

No leaks about it should be expected from Ushakov. But it’s fair to imagine that with “partners” like the US, NATO and the EU, Xi and Putin should conclude that China and Russia don’t even need enemies.

Related Posts

How St. Petersburg is mapping the Eurasian Century

How St. Petersburg is mapping the Eurasian Century

June 04, 2021

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

It’s impossible to understand the finer points of what’s happening on the ground in Russia and across Eurasia, business-wise, without following the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

So let’s cut to the chase, and offer a few choice examples of what is discussed on top panels.

The Russian Far East – Here’s a discussion on the – largely successful – strategies boosting productive investment in industry and infrastructure across the Russian Far East. Manufacturing in Russia grew by 12.2% between 2015 and 2020; in the Far East it was almost double, 23.1%. And from 2018 to 2020, per capita investment in fixed capital was 40% higher than the national average. The next steps center on improving infrastructure; opening global markets to Russian companies; and most of all, finding the necessary funds (China? South Korea?) for advanced tech.

St. Isaac’s cathedral, St. Petersburg

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – As I’ve seen for myself in previous editions of the forum, there’s nothing remotely similar in the West in terms of seriously discussing an organization like the SCO – which has progressively evolved from its initial security focus towards a wide-ranging politico-economic role.

Russia presided the SCO in 2019-2020, when foreign policy got a fresh impetus and the socioeconomic consequences of Covid-19 were seriously addressed. Now the collective emphasis should be on how to turn these member nations – especially the Central Asian “stans” – more attractive for global investors. Panelists include former SCO secretary-general Rashid Alimov, and the current one, Vladimir Norov.

Eurasian partnership – This discussion involves what should be one of the key nodes of the Eurasian Century: the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC). An important historical precedent apply: the 8th-9th centuries Volga trade route that connected Western Europe to Persia – and could now be extended, in a variation of the Maritime Silk Road, all the way to ports in India. That raises a number of questions, ranging from the development of trade and technology to the harmonic implementation of digital platforms. Here one finds panelists from Russia, India, Iran, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.

The Greater Eurasian partnership – Greater Eurasia is the overarching Russian concept applied to the consolidation of the Eurasian Century. This discussion is largely focused on Big Tech, including full digitalization, automated managing systems and Green growth. The question is how a radical tech transition could work for pan-Eurasia interests.

And that’s where the Russian-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) comes in: how the EAEU’s drive for a Greater Eurasian Partnership should work in practice. Panelists include the chairman of the board of the Eurasian Economic Commission, Mikhail Myasnikovich, and a relic from the Yeltsin past: Anatoliy Chubais, who is now Putin’s special representative for “relations with international organizations to achieve sustainable development goals.”

Gotta ditch all those greenbacks

Arguably the most eye-catching panel on SPIEF was on the post-Covid-19 “new normal” (or abnormal), and how economics will be reshaped. An important sub-section is how Russia can possibly capitalize on it, in terms of productive growth. That was a unique opportunity to see IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, Russian Central Bank governor Elvira Nabiullina and Russian Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov debating on the same table.

It was Siluanov who in fact commanded all the SPIEF-related headlines when he announced that Russia will totally ditch the US dollar in the structure of the National Wealth Fund (NWF) – the de facto Russian sovereign wealth fund – as well as reduce the share of the British pound. The NWF will have more euros and yuan, more gold, and the yen’s share remains stable.

This ongoing de-dollarization process has been more than predictable. In May, for the first time, less than 50% of Russian exports were denominated in US dollars.

Siluanov explained that the sales of roughly $119 billion in liquid assets will go through the Russian Central Bank, and not through financial markets. In practice, that will be a simple technical transfer of euros to the NWF. The Central Bank after all has been steadily getting rid of the US dollars for years now.

Sooner or later, China will follow. In parallel, some nations across Eurasia, in an extremely discreet manner, are also bypassing what is de facto the currency of a debt-based economy – to the tune of tens of trillions of dollars, as Michael Hudson has been explaining in detail. Not to mention that transacting US dollars exposes whole nations to an extra-territorial, extortionary judicial machine.

On the all-important Chinese-Russian front, permeating all the discussions at SPIEF, is the fact that a pool of Chinese technical knowhow and Russian energy is more than able to solidify a massive pan-Eurasian market capable of dwarfing the West. History tells us that in 1400, India and China were responsible for half of the world’s GDP.

As the West wallows in a self-induced Build Back Better collapse, the Eurasian caravan seems unstoppable. But then, there are those pesky US sanctions.

The Valdai Discussion Club Session dug deeper into the hysteria: sanctions serving a political agenda are threatening vast swathes of the world economic and financial infrastructure. So we’re back once again to the inescapable syndrome of the weaponized US dollar – deployed against India buying Iranian oil and Russian military hardware, or against Chinese tech companies.

Panelists including Russian Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Kolychev and the UN Special Rapporteur on the “Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on the Enjoyment of Human Rights”, Alena Douhan, debated the inevitable new escalation of anti-Russian sanctions.

Another running theme underneath the SPIEF debates is that, whatever happens on the sanctions front, Russia already has an alternative to SWIFT, and so does China. Both systems are compatible with SWIFT in software, so other nations may also be able use it.

No less than 30% of SWIFT’s traffic involves Russia. If that “nuclear “option” would ever come to pass, nations trading with Russia would almost certainly ditch SWIFT. On top of it, Russia, China and Iran – the “threat” trio to the Hegemon – have currency swap agreements, bilaterally and with other nations.

SPIEF this year has taken place only a few days before the G7, NATO and US-EU summits – which will graphically highlight European geopolitical irrelevancy, reduced to the status of a platform for US power projection.

And taking place less than two weeks before the Putin-Biden summit in Geneva, SPIEF most of all performed a public service for those who care to notice, charting some of the most important practical contours of the Eurasian Century.

US Deputy Secretary of State Was Afraid to Eat Russian Soup. Navalny and SWIFT (Ruslan Ostashko)

Source

Translated by Sasha and subtitled by Leonya.

During the US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun’s visit in Moscow the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov treated him to shchi [soup] with forest mushrooms. The journalists noted however that during the public part of the negotiations, the Americans did not touch the treat. They must have heard plenty of their media’s fairy tales about the supposed poisoning of Navalny.

The Rubber Duckies Führer’s overdose on unknown substances had an interesting side effect: while the Western tabloids shriek about poisoning of the fighter with the regime, the US State Department threatens Russia with horrible punishments if the German medics part with the remnants of their consciences and write what our opponents want.

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

“During his meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, ‘Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun declared a possibility of adopting by Washington of serious measures of the information about poisoning of the opposition figure Aleksei Navalny is confirmed,’” as the Russian Foreign Ministry informs: “Having qualified the event as an ‘incident’, the American party stressed that ‘in case of confirmation of the version about his poisoning as an oppositionist, Washington will put in place such measures, at whose background the reaction of the American society at the Russian interference in the presidential elections in USA in 2016 would grow dim.’ It was said in the message by the widespread Russian internal political department.”

I myself remembered this idiomatic expression: “You can’t scare a hedgehog with a naked butt.” The interesting side effect I mentioned above however is this. While trying to scare us, the representatives of the darned hegemon are themselves so frightened of us that while as a guest of Lavrov, they sat as if they’d ate manure. *Picture from Twitter* “’Shchi with forest mushrooms’: Sergei Lavrov treats the Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun to Russian cuisine.” Look at their faces in the photo, particularly in contrast to the satisfied expression of the Russian minister. *Twitter post by user Vladimir Kornilov* “I see the American distinguished guests do not risk trying Lavrov’s shchi with forest mushrooms. They even keep their hands away from the cutlery. They’d better cut to tea.”

I have a feeling these ferocious negotiators did not risk the tea either. They quite seriously believe over there that the polonium in Litvinenko’s tea was put there by the perfidious GRU, and not, for instance, by the man of a bright face named Berezovsky. Knowing Lavrov’s sense of humor, we can suppose that our diplomats deliberately chose a dish containing mushrooms as a treat. Perhaps they wanted to see the sour expressions of the sworn ‘partners’. Anyhow, the social networks audience appreciated the situation:

Russian Twitter users:

Oleg Ivanovich – “What can these savages understand about the Russian mushrooms. They should have waited in the corridor while Lavrov ate and didn’t spoil his appetite with their sour physiognomy.”

Svetlana Bezrodnaya – “Let them drink water from sealed bottles! While our man eats with pleasure. 🙂 ”

Aleksandr Kotov – “They probably don’t even know this dish at all. 🙂 ”

Natalya – “They think we will poison them with forest mushrooms… What is the tea for then? I’m just joking. In reality they are used to eating sandwiches from McDonald’s with their hands. They are not trained in etiquette. And so they are shy. Alright… let them wait for tea. Although neither do they drink tea – they swish Coca-Cola! Let them watch them eat then!”

Komandovat’ paradom budu ya – “Tea is the yummiest. From the Omsk airport.”

Prosta staraya sobaka – “They [the Americans] don’t eat anything in Russia except for McDonald’s. :)”

[bvxfyrf – “Ivan just listens and eats, while they have already shit themselves. Well done, Lavrov – you got to finish a meal in peace.”

Ekaterina Lavrikova – “Don’t feed these creatures. Let them bring their own hotdogs.”

dymkag – “Lyolik [Navalny] was poisoned by Lavrov. Let’s disperse.”

Viktor Domakur – “The highest master-class from a professional, most subtle… no unnecessary words and from the bottom of the heart! And gives them pears for dessert!”

I’m not sure about the dessert but I know another thing: the USA are far from being able to harm Russia with any sanctions. What will they do even if the German medics produce a lie that the Rubber Duckies Führer was poisoned by ‘Novichok’? [Ed. – The video was originally published on August 31st, 3 days before the Novichok story on Navalny! How predictable the MSM is…] Turn off the SWIFT, of which the stupid [liberal] creative class have been dreaming for years? That would be a shot in their own foot. As our spiteful fellow citizens rightfully note, they need this SWIFT more than we do.

Vkontakte DB:

“SWIFT is one of the systems (Russia and China already have their own and they are friends with each other) which allows money transfer between banks in different countries. If we suppose that the SWIFT is turned off then: Europe will not be able to receive either gas for heating nor fertilizers for the long depleted soils, or a multitude of essential goods. Because without the SWIFT it will not be able to pay for them in any other way but by pulling goods wagons with metal gold to the Russian border and signing barter acts. In the US, they will have to close down Boeing, for instance, and many similar enterprises which will be left and many similar enterprises which will be left without rolled titanium from Russia (which is physically irreplaceable, because the rerecapitalization of Apple doesn’t help to produce material value from numbers in bank accounts), or sapphire glass and other materials. The deliveries will not happen because there’ll be no payment mechanism.”

All the Western juridical persons’ branches and partner companies as well as owning stakes in Russian enterprises will become senseless, because there will be no way of exporting the profits. If any Russian company pays dividends in any way it will end up replenishing some account in a Russian bank. And it will be impossible to extract this money from there for export. There will no mechanism allowing transfer of the paid coupon profit from the account in Sberbank to Deutsche Bank. There will be no use for dealership networks or sales in general on the Russian territory. There will be no way of extracting the money.”

Just like that. Had they eaten the mushrooms offered by the Russian generosity, then they wouldn’t have started foaming at the mouth… Obama had already torn us into pieces for Crimea. Yet here we are, sitting and laughing. And where has that Obama gone?

Afterword of Ruslan Ostashko:

We have done it! It was hard, but the best Russian political channel on Runet is now with you again [on YouTube.] How this happened is talked about in an independent video. Right now, I want to mention those people who helped make it possible to bring this channel back. Of course, it’s thanks to you, our respectable subscribers. You didn’t leave us in such a hard moment. Aside from support, you gave us the strength. You didn’t allow us to put our hands down and sacrifice our hope for better times. And it was you who helped us with money. We collected the necessary sum the previous month and this month. It’s thanks to only your money, we saved the whole team that fought 24/7 against YouTube for the return of our channel. While at the same time not forgetting about the clips, compilations and publishing videos.

We developed a cool team of many different yet professional specialists who are recharged with the idea of our big community in PolitRussia. Thank you for helping keep it alive. Check out the links that are under each of our videos if you like what we do and you have the availability to make a translation. Together we can do anything.

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