A Pipelineistan fable for our times

June 08, 2020

A Pipelineistan fable for our times

By Pepe Escobar – posted with permission

Ukraine was supposed to prevent Russia from deepening energy ties with Germany; it didn’t work out that way

Once upon a time in Pipelineistan, tales of woe were the norm. Shattered dreams littered the chessboard – from IPI vs. TAPI in the AfPak realm to the neck-twisting Nabucco opera in Europe.

In sharp contrast, whenever China entered the picture, successful completion prevailed. Beijing financed a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Xinjiang, finished in 2009, and will profit from two spectacular Power of Siberia deals with Russia.

And then there’s Ukraine. Maidan was a project of the Barack Obama administration, featuring a sterling cast led by POTUS, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John McCain and last but not least, prime Kiev cookie distributor Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland.

Ukraine was also supposed to prevent Russia from deepening energy ties with Germany, as well as other European destinations.

Well, it did not exactly play like that. Nord Stream was already operational. South Stream was Gazprom’s project to southeast Europe. Relentless pressure by the Obama administration derailed it. Yet that only worked to enable a resurrection: the already completed TurkStream, with gas starting to flow in January 2020.

The battlefield then changed to Nord Stream 2. This time relentless Donald Trump administration pressure did not derail it. On the contrary: it will be completed by the end of 2020.

Richard Grennel, the US ambassador to Germany, branded a “superstar” by President Trump, was furious. True to script, he threatened Nordstream 2 partners – ENGIE, OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, Uniper, and Wintershall – with “new sanctions.”

Worse: he stressed that Germany “must stop feeding the beast at a time when it does not pay enough to NATO.”

“Feeding the beast” is not exactly subtle code for energy trade with Russia.

Peter Altmaier, German minister of economic affairs and energy, was not impressed. Berlin does not recognize any legality in extra-territorial sanctions

Grennel, on top of it, is not exactly popular in Berlin. Diplomats popped the champagne when they knew he was going back home to become the head of US national intelligence.

Trump administration sanctions delayed Nordstream 2 for around one year, at best. What really matters is that in this interval Kiev had to sign a gas transit deal with Gazprom. What no one is talking about is that by 2025 no Russian gas will be transiting across Ukraine towards Europe.

So the whole Maidan project was in fact useless.

It’s a running joke in Brussels that the EU never had and will never have a unified energy policy towards Russia. The EU came up with a gas directive to force the ownership of Nord Stream 2 to be separated from the gas flowing through the pipeline. German courts applied their own “nein.”

Nord Stream 2 is a serious matter of national energy security for Germany. And that is enough to trump whatever Brussels may concoct.

And don’t forget Siberia 

The moral of this fable is that now two key Pipelineistan nodes – Turk Stream and Nord Stream 2 – are established as umbilical steel cords linking Russia with two NATO allies.

And true to proverbial win-win scripts, now it’s also time for China to look into solidifying its European relations.

Last week, German chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese premier Li Keqiang had a video conference to discuss Covid-19 and China-EU economic policy.

That was a day after Merkel and President Xi had spoken, when they agreed that the China-EU summit in Leipzig on September 14 would have to be postponed.

This summit should be the climax of the German presidency of the EU, which starts on July 1. That’s when Germany would be able to present a unified policy towards China, uniting in theory the 27 EU members and not only the 17+1 from Central Europe and the Balkans – including 11 EU members – that already have a privileged relationship with Beijing and are on board for the Belt and Road Initiative.

In contrast with the Trump administration, Merkel does privilege a clear, comprehensive trade partnership with China – way beyond a mere photo op summit. Berlin is way more geoeconomically sophisticated than the vague “engagement and exigence” Paris  approach.

Merkel as well as Xi are fully aware of the imminent fragmentation of the world economy post-Lockdown. Yet as much as Beijing is ready to abandon the global circulation strategy from which it has handsomely profited for the past two decades, the emphasis is also on refining very close trade relations with Europe.

Ray McGovern has concisely detailed the current state of US-Russia relations. The heart of the whole matter, from Moscow’s point of view, was summarized by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, an extremely able diplomat:

“We don’t believe the US in its current shape is a counterpart that is reliable, so we have no confidence, no trust whatsoever. So our own calculations and conclusions are less related to what America is doing …. We cherish our close and friendly relations with China. We do regard this as a comprehensive strategic partnership in different areas, and we intend to develop it further.”

It’s all here. Russia-China “comprehensive strategic partnership” steadily advancing. Including “Power of Siberia” Pipelineistan. Plus Pipelineistan linking two key NATO allies. Sanctions? What sanctions?

GEO-ECONOMIC BATTLE FOR RUSSIA

Geo-Economic Battle for Russia
REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang

As the world struggles to achieve any semblance of normality amid the developing economic and coronavirus (COVID-19) cries, China is playing towards increasing its influence throughout Eurasia.

In the first quarter of 2020, China bought a record high number of Russian oil (Urals) – 4 million tones. As a comparison, in the fourth quarter of 2019, China received only 2.5 million tones. The previous record of the supplies of Russian oil to China was registered in the third quarter of 2018 – 2.7 million tones. Therefore, China expanded its import of Russian crude by 1.6 times.

This decision of the Chinese leadership could be seen as a politically-motivated move; especially if one takes into the account the declining demand to oil supplies and massive discounts by Saudi Arabia on the Asian market.

Thus, Beijing is choosing to purchase Moscow’s crude oil, as a sort of a “grant” in the conditions of an economic crisis, taking place amid the coronavirus hysteria. How the liberal-controlled economic bloc of the Russian government pushed the country to the brink of the crisis despite years of preparations for the current situation is another question.

Some critics could call the purchase of Russian crude by China a sort of political bribe, which would ensure either Russia’s compliance, or at least Moscow not getting in the way, while Beijing works to realize its geopolitical agenda.

This, however, leads to a bit of eyebrow raising, as Moscow and Beijing have, for a while now, cooperated in various fields of interest, as well as various common regions of interest.

This support from China towards Russia is not unexpected, and it is not surprising, as it also fits into the expected format of new strategic partnerships in Eurasia, that wish to compete with the United States’ ambitions. Purchase of crude oil or not, it is apparent that when it comes to geopolitical activity, China expects that Russia to either support or simply does not stand against the Chinese national security interests.

For example, China formed two administrative units aimed at specifically managing the artificial islands it constructed in the South China Sea.

“The State Council has recently approved the establishment of the Xisha and Nansha districts under Sansha city.”

According to the notice, the Xisha administration will be based in Woody Island, also known as Yongxing Island. Meanwhile, the Nansha administration will be placed in the Fiery Cross Reef, referred to as Yongshu Reef in Chinese.

The US strongly opposes China’s attempt to seize a larger area under its jurisdiction in the South China Sea, not least because it is the region through which the most trade passes year-round.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan hosted a meeting with Chinese Ambassador Zhang Xiao.

Kazakhstan’s side reacted an article published on a Chinese website http://www.sohu.com titled “Why Kazakhstan is eager to return to China”.

“The meeting pointed out that an article of such content does not correspond to the spirit of eternal comprehensive strategic partnership reflected in the Joint Statement of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the People’s Republic of China, signed by the Heads of State on September 11, 2019. The parties agreed to closely cooperate in the fields of spreading information and mass media.”

Various plans of China’s territorial expansion are actively being discussed in the Chinese society itself. And this appears to be taking place into most directions. Alongside all of this, the intensification in the confrontation between China and the US appears to be all but avoidable.

Another important factor is that the increasing supplies of energy resources from Russia will allow China to be covered in the event of a new military conflict in the Persian Gulf (it will likely involve the US and Iran). In these conditions, Russia, as a key Chinese partner, becomes the apparent and vital supplier of energy resources by contrast with Saudi Arabia and other large oil suppliers.

The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the dire situation in which the markets and state economies already were. The crisis deepened the global and inter-regional competition, including those between the two key economic players: Beijing and Washington.

Russia is both an object and a subject of the global geo-economic standoff.

It is an object by virtue of its size – it has a massive market which needs materials (raw and otherwise), but it also produces its fair share of products and energy. It is a subject in terms of the simple fact that it is the world’s second largest military power and is one of the leaders on the international diplomatic scene.

Due to the same reasons, the US might also move towards easing the rhetoric towards Russia, and attempt to expand trade and economic cooperation, something which China would likely also plan to do. Even the media organization of Michael Bloomberg, a key Donald Trump competitor said that it was a possibility.

“Yet a small opening exists to professionalize a segment of bilateral U.S.-Russia ties. Russia has long been interested in pulling the United States into coordinating the global oil market. Although the United States does not need to join OPEC+ and its pledges to mandate production cuts, having regular exchanges about global energy trends could create a niche for constructive discussions between Russian and U.S. officials. It is not crazy to think that a dialogue around common energy interests could evolve into a more meaningful conversation about how to deal with Venezuela’s collapse, for instance,” one of the recent Bloomberg articles says.

However, in the current situation, it is understandable that the Russian leadership is more inclined towards cooperating with China. Beijing has demonstrated itself as a complicated, but also consistent and stable partner. In contrast, the US has spent the last almost 30 years in very apparent attempts to entirely undermine any semblance of Russian strategic power and shake the foundations of the Russian state itself.

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The AngloZionists are launching a strategic PSYOP against China

THE SAKER • APRIL 22, 2020 

Maybe the “the Russians did it” narrative is getting stale. Or maybe the leaders of the Empire have finally figured out that China is even more dangerous to the Empire than Russia. But my personal gut feeling is simply that the AngloZionists are freaking out about the “full-spectrum” loss of face they suffered with their massive mishandling (medically and, even more so, politically!) of this pandemic-induced socio-economic crisis and that they now are pointing fingers pretty much at everybody (including each other).

Russia did play a crucial role here, since it was in its informational war against Russia that the leaders of the Empire came up with what I now call the “Skripal rules of evidence” aka “highly likely”. This latest principle being subserviently accepted by all Europeans in the name of “solidarity” (solidarity with what exactly is rarely specified), it was, shall we say, “naively reasonable” that it would work this time around again. Again, I am personally not so sure about that at all. Much has changed over the past two years: not only did the Europeans eventually find out how utterly stupid and incredible the entire Skripal fairy tale was, but the level of disgust and even hatred with Trump and the US has sharply gone up. Furthermore, China has a lot more to offer to Europe, than the disintegrating (dis-)United States – so why side with the losing party? Last, but most certainly not least, the Europeans will find out (and some already have), that the US literally does not give a damn about not only regular Europeans, but even about the European ruling classes.

A quick study of history shows that when exploiting elites are doing great, they all faithfully support each other, but when things start to go south, they immediately turn on each other. The best recent example of this phenomenon is the schism in the US ruling elites who, since the election of Trump, have immediately turned on each other and are now viciously fighting like “spiders in a can” (to use a Russian expression). In fact, this is so true that it can even be used as a very reliable diagnostic tool: when your enemies are all united, then they are probably confident in their victory, but as soon as they turn on each other, you *know* that things are looking very bad for your opponents. Likewise, we now see how southern Europeans are getting really angry with their northern “EU allies” (Macron seems to be falling in line behind Trump even if he uses a more careful and diplomatic language). Finally, the way the US CIA has one foreign policy, the Pentagon another and Foggy Bottom one of its own (even if limited to sanctions and finger-pointing) tells you pretty much all you need to know to see how deep the systemic crisis of the Empire has become.

While there are very few truly intelligent people left in the US government, there are still plenty of “horizontally clever” ones and it did not take them long to find out that this pandemic gave then a golden opportunity to pin all their own failures and mistakes on China. The elements? Simple really:

  1. Anti-Chinese propaganda has a long history in the US and it was really easy to re-kindle it.
  2. Most Americans have a completely irrational reaction to the word “Communist” so it is really easy for any US propaganda outlet to mention the CCP and “lies” in the same sentence and sound credible, irrespective of what else the sentence claims (like, say, factual evidence).
  3. The US plutocracy is terrified of the Chinese economic and industrial power, hence the vilification of companies like Huawei or DJI which are declared a national security threat to the US. Blame everything on the Chinese and the US oligarchs will love it!
  4. China and Russia are in a relationship which is even far deeper than an alliance. I call it a “symbiosis” while the Chinese speak of a “Strategic comprehensive partnership of coordination for the new era” while the Russians speak of a “crucial alliance”. The terms don’t really matter here, what matters is that Russia and China are standing together ( that is what they mean by “coordinating”) against the Empire and that the (admittedly few and clumsy) US attempts are breaking this alliance have totally failed.
  5. As with any new pandemic, it did take China time to figure out the nature of what was happening and it was extremely easy to accuse China of deliberate obfuscation (while keeping the fact that China did inform the world as early as December 31st is, obviously omitted, as is the presence of a multi-national WHO delegation to investigate this issue. In reality, one might as well accuse China of being TOO open, and allowing various estimates and hypotheses to circulate even before the Chinese government had all the facts established. It is a perfect case of dammed if you do and damned if you don’t.
  6. The US political culture is that 99.99% of Americans will believe literally ANY lie, no matter how self-evidently stupid, about the rest of the world rather than accepting any unpleasant truth about the US. So scapegoating another power, especially a Communist one, gets a knee-jerk reaction of approval from the overwhelming majority of Americans.
  7. When the WHO clearly did not buy into the US propaganda, it was a great move for Trump to defund it. Not only did the US already owe the WHO millions of dollars (50-200, depending on who you ask), so the easy pretext not to pay was to accuse it of being pro-Chinese. It is obvious that Trump has no use for the UN other than as a whipping boy, and this was a prefect way to target it again.
  8. As with any scary event, a true tsunami of completely unsubstantiated and outright silly rumors began as soon as it was clear that this was a major event and all the US propaganda machine had to do was to speak in serious tones about some of these rumors and to make it appear that the media was “just reporting” rather than planting stories.
  9. China is also a major threat to US interests in Asia, and this pandemic provided a perfect opportunity for the US to present reports from Taiwan as reports from China (that is an old trick). As for the Taiwanese government, they were more than happy to find yet another pretext to hate on China, nothing new here either.
  10. Finally, US economists did not take long to figure out that this pandemic would have devastating effect on the “best economy in the history of the galaxy” so preemptively blaming it all on China is the perfect way for Trump and his Neocon masters to deflect the blame from them.

The stories which were then planted were truly magnificent. Here are a few of my personal favorites

There are many more, I am sure that you have seen them too.

Eventually, and inevitably, this strategic PSYOP upped the ante and FOXnews (logically) aired this true masterpiece: “Sen. Hawley: Let coronavirus victims sue Chinese Communist Party“. Truly, this is brilliant. “I lost my job, let the evil Chinese commies pay me back” is music to the ears of most Americans.

Right now, most of the US statements are simply lies, but as China will, with time, eventually release more corrected and accurate information, these corrected/updated statistics will immediately be interpreted as the proof that initially the Chinese were deliberately lying and not as the effect of the Chinese themselves gradually getting a better picture of what actually happened. Again, this is the typical case of dammed if you don’t and dammed if you do.

I should mention that there is another reason which might contribute to the decision of the US to blame it all on China: it is still not clear where this virus came from, but one possibility is that it originated in the US and was brought to China by Americans (whether deliberately or not is not the issue here). As for the reports which claim that the US is deliberately covering up the real magnitude of the disaster in the US, they are ignored.

Furthermore, it is now painfully obvious that the US politicians totally misread the situation and began by saying either that it was a Chinese problem or that it was “no worse than the seasonal flu”, or both. This is just the latest case of what I call the “US narcissistic messianism” leading US leaders to believe in their own propaganda only to find out that reality still exists out there and that it is dramatically different from the delusions held by most Americans.

Now all these US politicians (the Republicrats as much as the Demoblicans) all have to run and cover their collective butts. What better way to achieve that than to blame it all on China?

As I said above, this his clever, but definitely not very intelligent.

The US is already locked in an unwinnable war against Russia (as I always remind everybody, this war is 80% informational, 15% economic and only 5% kinetic). To open a full-scale “second front” makes sense in terms of short term political expediency, especially in an election year, but in the long term it is self-defeating and disastrous. In fact, if there is anything history teaches us, is that opening a second front when you can’t even handle the first one is suicidal. But who cares about history, especially in the “United States of Amnesia”? And, besides, when you are both totally exceptional and totally superior, why would you care about the history of the common “deplorable” people and nations out there? Just call them “shit holes” and wave your (Chinese made) flag. That is what passes for “looking Presidential” these days…

Regardless of anything said above, the momentum of this sinophobic campaign is too big to be reversed or stopped. And since most of the US political class supports it, this will probably continue even after the US Presidential election (assuming it takes place).

Still, all this begs the question: what did really happen? What is the truth?

The truth is that nobody really knows. It will probably take years to get the full picture and, even more so, the correct numbers. What correct numbers? Well, ALL of them: carriers, resistance, age groups, comorbidity, the exact characteristics of this virus (and of its various mutations), how effective the various tests are, which antiviral medication might help, its side effects, whether the BCG vaccine somehow helps the body to fight off the virus, etc.

Right now, I don’t believe that anybody really knows, even the percentage of asymptomatic carriers changes by an order of magnitude depending on whom you ask. Sure, some guesses are closer to the truth than others, by definition, but which ones are closer is still very hard to ascertain.

They key thing to keep in mind now is that most of what we see now has very little in common with any scientific investigation. What we see is an attempt to use this pandemic for political, financial and geostrategic purposes.

And please don’t think that it is only Trump! Just remember what Pelosi was saying as late as February!

https://youtu.be/eFCzoXhNM6c (video to be embedded)

That was almost two months after China had warned the WHO that there was a major crisis developing!

But Pelosi, just like Trump, only thinks about power, money and influence, not the safety of the “deplorables” which the Dems hate so much (as do the Republicans, of course, they just don’t say so openly like Hillary did; but just Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” says all you need to know about his true respect for his fellow human beings!).

Then there is another very real risk: as the situation gets worse and worse for the US and, specifically, for Trump’s reelection, he might well decide to do what many politicians do in such a situation: start a big war. Before the pandemic, the US clearly had no stomach to start a war with Iran, but now that the pandemic is crippling the world economy and that all the ugly sides of the transnational capitalist system are becoming obvious, I would not put it past Trump to start a war with Iran just to deflect the many accusations against him. The Idiot-in-Chief has now ordered USN forces off the coast of Iran to, I kid you not, “shoot down & destroy” any Iranian gunboat which would “harass” the USN. Apparently, he still cannot understand that should any USN ship execute any such order it would soon find itself dealing with a swarm of Iranian anti-shipping missiles. Clearly, messianic narcissism and a rabid megalomania simply don’t allow Trump to understand that the Iranians are for real, that they absolutely mean business and that they, unlike the US, have carefully modeled the consequences of any war between Iran and the US and while they won’t deliberately provoke such a war, they will fight it if needed, with infinitely more staying power than the US.

Like a typical US flag-waving politician, Trump probably thinks that if all goes to hell, the US can nuke Iran and prevail. He is right about the former, but oh SO wrong about the latter. If nukes are used against Iran, then there will be a total and long war to kick both the US and the Zionist entity out of the Middle-East. But that is a topic for another day.

A new mascot for both US parties?

A new mascot for both US parties?

US politicians remind me of a person living in a arctic cabin who decide to burn down the cabin to get much needed heat: sure, this strategy will work, for a while, but only at the cost of a much bigger disaster down the road. This is what pretty much ALL US politicians did with this pandemic, and this is why they will never ever accept any responsibility for anything.

Check out this cute little donkey on the right.

Would he not make the perfect mascot and symbol for both US political parties and for the many US politicians who can think of nothing else than covering him?

There is one more thing I would like to mention here: there are a lot of folks out there who like to carefully note all the instances when somebody predicted that this pandemic would happen. They take these warning statements as evidence of a conspiracy. The truth is that the scientific community and even the general public (at least those few who still read books) fully knew that it was just a matter of time before such a pandemic would happen, because our society made such an event inevitable. Just one example:

In distant 1995 the US journalist Lorrie Garrett published an excellent book called “The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance” in which she explained why and even how a global pandemic would naturally emerge due to the very nature of our modern society. I highly recommend this book in spite of the fact that it is now a quarter of a century old: it is very well written, easy to read, and it makes a very strong case that such pandemics were inevitable (and with no need to appeal to unsubstantiated biowarfare theories).

History will show that we all, our entire planet, did not take this and many other warnings seriously. Ask yourself, what is easier for a politician: to accept that our entire socio-political order is unsustainable and outright dangerous (or “out of balance” to use Garrett’s expression), or to blame it all on the Chinese commies and their “secret biowarfare program”?

I think that the answer is self-evident.

Geostrategic Factors: Will China Wins “World War C”

By Andrew Korybko

Global Research, April 14, 2020

The New Cold War between the US and China abruptly took a new form following the global outbreak of COVID-19, but Beijing still has a solid chance of coming out on top in this struggle for global leadership if it accurately assesses the changed geostrategic situation in the Eastern Hemisphere and accordingly crafts the right policies for responding to it.

Will The World Backtrack On BRI After World War C?

The US & China Are Intensely Competing To Shape The Outcome Of World War C“, as the author noted late last month when analyzing the consequences of the global COVID-19 outbreak on the New Cold War between these two Great Powers, but Beijing still has a solid chance of coming out on top in this struggle for global leadership if it accurately assesses the changed geostrategic situation in the Eastern Hemisphere and accordingly crafts the right policies for responding to it. The Asian Giant is under immense pressure as its envisaged model of reformed globalization under the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) is increasingly seen with skepticism, not so much because of the intense infowar that the US has been waging against it over the past few years, but simply because of the sudden supply chain consequences that were brought about as a result of the world’s rolling lockdowns. Foreign investors and national leaders alike are no longer ignorant of the strategic vulnerabilities inherent to the globalized world system as a whole, and many are now seriously reconsidering its merits and correspondingly contemplating re-offshoring production back to their own countries or at least their immediate regions.

China’s Grand Strategy

This represents the most profound challenge that China has been forced to confront in the decades since it first decided to reform its economy by opening up to foreign investment. It was hitherto taken for granted that the globalization trend would generally continue unabated, notwithstanding some high-profile expressions of economic nationalism such as the ones most commonly associated with Trump’s “America First” policy, and that only gradual reforms would be necessary to improve this model and thus indefinitely perpetuate it. China, comfortable with its position as “the world’s factory” and flush with excess cash to invest in connectivity infrastructure projects all across the world for the purpose of more closely tying its partners’ economies to its own in pursuit of what it describes as a Community of Common Destiny, took the lead in taking globalization into its next natural phase through BRI. The grand strategic intent was to peacefully replace America’s previously predominant global economic role and therefore enter into a position of privileged soft power whereby China could then shape the world order to its liking through trade and institutions.

A Concise Analysis Of Afro-Eurasia

Those carefully crafted calculations have suddenly been thrown into uncertainty as a result of World War C, which is why it’s imperative for China to assess the changed geostrategic situation as accurately as possible in order to craft the right policies for saving its global leadership model. What follows is a concise summary of the importance that each region of Afro-Eurasia holds for Chinese strategists at the present moment, which also briefly describes their challenges and opportunities. The Western Hemisphere is omitted from this analysis because China’s relations with Latin America aren’t anywhere as significant for its global strategy as those that the country has the Eastern Hemisphere as whole, and the complex contours of Chinese-American relations will be greatly determined by the outcome of their so-called “trade war”. As such, the author believes that it’s much more relevant to discuss East & Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, the Mideast, Africa, Russia, and the EU instead, ergo the focus of the present article. Having said that, here are the geostrategic factors that will determine whether China wins World War C:

East & Southeast Asia

This region of the world previously planned to enter into the world’s largest trade bloc, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), irrespective of India’s US-influenced refusal late last year to move forward with this game-changing development. This eastern periphery of Eurasia functions as a future integrated market for Chinese goods and services, conveniently located right next to the People’s Republic. The problem, however — and one that was already emerging prior to World War C — is that these countries’ production facilities inside China are considering re-offshoring back home or to other parts of the region as a result of the trade war, with this trend taking on a renewed importance given the global supply chain disruption in recent months. The same holds true for non-regional companies such as those from the West which are eyeing ASEAN (and especially Vietnam) as a favorable replacement to China, sometimes for political reasons. China will therefore need to ensure that RCEP eventually enters into effect in order to mitigate some of the immediate economic consequences through its envisaged regional marketplace, as well as remain competitive with lower-cost labor from its neighbors in order to slow down the speed of this seemingly inevitable re-offshoring process.

South Asia

The opportunities and challenges that South Asia poses for China are more geopolitical in nature than economic. The US’ successful co-opting of India into a proxy for “containing” China reduces the likelihood of a meaningful economic rapprochement between these two Asian Giants, and instead positions what’s soon predicted to become the world’s most populous country as a possible rival to the People’s Republic in the long term, with the short- and medium-term consequences being that it might become an even more appealing re-offshoring destination for foreign Chinese-based companies than even ASEAN. The global pivot state of Pakistan, however, represents nothing but opportunities for China because of CPEC, BRI’s flagship project. This ambitious initiative serves not only as a geostrategic shortcut to the energy market of the Mideast and the growing labor-consumer one of Africa that conveniently bypasses the increasingly militarized South China Sea and Strait of Malacca, but is also the basis upon which all other major BRI projects will be managed, relying upon the invaluable experiences learned during its years-long implementation. In order to succeed in South Asia in the post-coronavirus environment, China must manage to retain pragmatic relations with India in parallel with undercutting its attractiveness as a re-offshoring center while maximizing every mutual strategic opportunity that it can reap from CPEC.

Central Asia

The Eurasian Heartland is primarily functions as a reliable source of Chinese energy imports. It has obvious connectivity potential for linking China to the Mideast and Europe through the “Middle Corridor” that’s being pursued in partnership with Turkey, but in and of itself, it doesn’t have much economic significance for the People’s Republic due to its comparatively small labor and consumer markets relative to East-Southeast-South Asia and Africa. It does, however, function as a crucial test case for the resiliency of the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership insofar as it provides these two Great Powers with the opportunity to reach pragmatic “compromises” in pursuit of their grander strategic goal of multipolarity, but there’s no sidestepping the fact that some in Moscow seem to be increasingly uncomfortable with being replaced by Beijing in the region that they’ve long regarded as their “backyard”. Furthermore, rising Sinophobia in some of these countries as a result of the massive influx of Chinese goods and the replacement of some local laborers with imported Chinese ones creates a possible fault line for the future, albeit one that doesn’t necessarily have to have any security implications since the region’s traditional Russian hegemon has no interest whatsoever in allowing Central Asia to be used as a base for launching terrorist attacks against it in Xinjiang.

Mideast

Just like Central Asia, the Mideast is mostly important to China for energy reasons even though it too has obvious connectivity potential in linking East Asia with Western Europe. Unlike Central Asia, however, some of the most geostrategically positioned countries like Iraq and Syria have been destroyed by Hybrid War, while populous Iran is under sanctions pressure like never before and could very well be the next to follow in the worst-scenario scenario. This makes the Mideast risky from a strategic connectivity standpoint, though that nevertheless hasn’t stopped some Chinese firms from making inroads in this region. The GCC countries, and especially Saudi Arabia, are attempting to restructure their economies in order to reduce their dependence on energy exports, which in turn necessitates Chinese investment in their planned production facilities. China’s growing economic and military influence (in terms of exports) in the Mideast also presents it with the diplomatic opportunity to participate in resolving some of the region’s crises following the model that it’s spearheading in Myanmar, which could prove very valuable for managing other conflicts that might one day arise elsewhere along its New Silk Road.

Africa

Africa’s importance might arguably even overshadow that of East & Southeast Asia when it comes to China’s grand strategy since the People’s Republic is depending on having reliable access to the continent’s raw material, labor-consumer markets, and increasingly, its energy resources in order to maintain domestic growth throughout the present century. Unlike in East & Southeast Asia, however, there are few competitors to China’s plans in Africa, with the only ones that deserve mention being the US’ ongoing infowar campaign to discredit BRI and the nascent joint Indo-Japanese “Asia-Africa Growth Corridor” being supported by the US, France, and the GCC as a possible long-term (key word) competitor to China’s investment model there (focusing instead on “soft infrastructure” like schools, job training, and healthcare services in contrast to the attention that China pays to its “hard” counterpart like physical connectivity infrastructure). Being much more under China’s influence than any other part of the world due to the mutual benefits derived from the premier position that the People’s Republic holds in Africa’s trade and investment spheres, it’s unlikely that many of its countries will be swayed into turning against Beijing’s reformed globalization model of BRI by the Trump-promoted appeal of economic nationalism. This doesn’t mean that China should grow complacent, however, but should instead strive to present Africa as a shining example to the rest of the world of everything that can be achieved as a result of bilateral cooperation through BRI.

Russia

The future of Russian-Chinese relations is quickly becoming an interesting field of study because of the progress that Moscow is making on reaching a “New Detente” with Washington, the latter of which has been extensively covered by the author in a series of four articles hereherehere, and here. To summarize, Russia’s pursuit of a series of “pragmatic compromises” with the US on a host of relevant issues ranging from NATO expansion to North Korea could lead to a fast-moving rapprochement between the two with serious strategic implications for China, especially if the People’s Republic comes to rely more on the Eurasian Great Power for ensuring reliable access to the markets of Western Europe through the complementary Eurasian Land Bridge and Northern Sea Route. That’s not to say that Russia will ever “cut off” China and/or the EU’s access to the other since the country itself is depending on reaping the economic benefits of facilitating their overland and maritime connectivity with one another, but just that this relationship could be leveraged in more “creative” ways to advance certain political-strategic objectives vis-a-vis China (such as in Central Asia for example, be it in coordination with the US or carried out independently) the same way as it’s alleged to have employed its energy relationship with the EU in the first decade of the present century. In addition, Russia’s envisaged irreplaceable role in facilitating Chinese-EU trade used to be taken for granted but is now highly uncertain since it’ll depend on whether globalization survives World War C and if China even retains an interest in having Russia fulfill this role in the first place to the extent that Moscow previously anticipated.

EU

The last region of the Eastern Hemisphere relevant to Chinese grand strategy is the EU, and it’s definitely one of the most important. This region of Western Eurasia has a large and highly developed consumer market that the Chinese economy depends on for growth, especially considering that most of its members use the euro, one of the world’s strongest and most stable currencies. It’s extremely important that China does everything that it can to ensure that the EU as a whole remains committed to expanding bilateral economic relations, especially through BRI, hence Beijing’s unprecedented soft power outreaches in recent weeks through the provision of medical equipment and healthcare specialists to some of its members like Italy and aspiring ones such as Serbia. Accordingly, it naturally follows that China would prefer for the EU to emerge from this crisis stronger and more integrated than ever in order to facilitate this goal, though that’s also why its weakening, disintegration, and/or pivot towards the US would be so detrimental to Beijing’s grand strategy. If China’s economic reach becomes limited in the EU as a result of the bloc gradually “de-globalizing” (including through re-offshoring Chinese-based production facilities to ASEAN, India, and/or back home [perhaps to the organization’s poorer members along its periphery]) or possibly even embracing a degree of Trump-inspired economic nationalism, then it would greatly reduce China’s influence to its immediate region (East and Southeast Asia) and the Global South (mostly South Asia [except India] and Africa in this respect) and thus make it more easily “containable” through Hybrid War means.

The Three Steps To Success

Taking all of the above insight into consideration, the following three steps are absolutely necessary if China wants to win World War C:

1. Ensure The Continued Attractiveness Of Globalization:

If Trump-inspired economic nationalism becomes a new global trend throughout the course of World War C, then BRI will be in danger of becoming nothing more than a bare-bones project that turns into a skeleton of its formerly so-ambitious self. This would require China to undertake a range of far-reaching reforms at home in order to restructure its economy from its hitherto export-dependent nature and into something more autarkic, though the latter has very real limits given how much the country relies on foreign trade surpluses reaped from globalization processes to drive domestic development and purchase essential resources like energy, raw materials, and even food. Without ensuring the continued attractiveness of globalization, China could very well enter into its worst-ever crisis since the 1949 Communist Revolution that could have unimaginable economic and even political consequences, which is why it’s of the highest priority that the People’s Republic does everything in its power to protect this trade model at all costs.

2. Focus On The Afro-Eurasian Triangle:

Provided that globalization survives in some relevant form after World War C (which remains to be seen but would be attributable in that case to China pulling out all the stops in pursuit of this goal), then China will have to focus on the Afro-Eurasian Triangle of RCEP, Africa (increasingly via S-CPEC+), and the EU in order to guarantee its place as the US’ global systemic rival. These three regions of the Eastern Hemisphere all complement one another in terms of China’s grand strategy as was extensively explained in each case earlier above, though this also means that they’re all possible targets upon which the US can put Hybrid War pressure. China cannot depend on any one of these regions alone if it aspires to remain a global leader, though it could still in theory manage to attain this goal provided that it only “loses” one of them. The “loss” of Africa is highly unlikely, so in the scenario that it “loses” the EU, then China would become a power relevant only to most non-Western countries (which is the still the lion’s share of the world), whereas the “loss” of RCEP would make China more dependent on Russian-controlled trans-continental trade routes to the EU (the “Middle Corridor” through Central Asia and Northern Sea Route) that could be indirectly influenced by the US through the “New Detente”.

3. Manage The US-Indian Strategic Partnership & The “New Detente”:

Both the ever-intensifying US-Indian Strategic Partnership and the gradual progress that America is making on reaching a “New Detente” with Russia represent latent challenges of the greatest geopolitical magnitude if they aren’t nipped in the bud before they blossom or properly managed in advance. There’s little that China can do to influence either of them, though the first-mentioned might fizzle out if India implodes as a consequence of World War C or due to the Hybrid War being waged by the Hindu nationalist government on its own citizens in an attempt to turn the country into a “Hindu Rashtra” (Hindu fundamentalist state), while the second might abruptly be derailed by the American “deep state” at any time and would almost certainly fail if Trump loses re-election. In the “worst-case” scenario of each US-backed “containment” vector entering into force and possibly even combining into an unofficial semi-united American-Russian-Indian front against it, China would do best trying to emulate its global rival’s Kissingerian policy by “triangulating” both between its Great Power neighbors and itself and between those two and the US in an effort to relieve the growing multilateral pressure upon it.

Concluding Thoughts

China’s global leadership ambitions are being challenged like never before as a result of World War C and the subsequent suspicion that many countries now have of globalization processes, especially in respect to the strategic vulnerability inherent to being dependent on foreign supply chains halfway across the world for essential products such as medical equipment. The rolling lockdowns that unfolded across the world over the past two months, beginning in China and eventually spreading to the West, exposed the fragility of the previous world system and will inevitably necessitate some serious reforms to its structure at the very least, with the possible mass movement away from globalization towards Trump-inspired economic nationalism being the absolute worst-case scenario for China since it would completely cripple its grand strategy. It’s for this reason that the People’s Republic must do everything in its power to ensure the survival of as much of the pre-crisis globalization system as possible in order to stand a credible chance of remaining the US’ only global rival, after which it must then focus on the Afro-Eurasian Triangle of RCEP, Africa, and the EU concurrent with managing the dual latent challenges posed by the US-Indian Strategic Partnership and the “New Detente” in the center of the Eastern Hemisphere. Should China succeed with these daunting tasks, then the world’s multipolar future will be assured, though its failure would mean that unipolarity will probably return with a vengeance.

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This article was originally published on OneWorld.

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

Featured image is from OneWorldThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Andrew Korybko, Global Research, 2020

الصين العظيمة وروسيا العظمى

زياد حافظ

قد تكون المقارنة بين الصين العظيمة وروسيا العظمى نوعاً من السفسطة الكلامية غير أنّ دلالاتها معبّرة. فالطريقة التي عالجت بها الصين العدوان الجرثومي عليها عبر القرارات الواضحة والصارمة للحكومة والتعبئة الناجحة للشعب الصيني والانضباط اللافت للنظر لتعليمات الحكومة تدلّ على أنّ عظمة الصين هي في القدوة التي تمثلها والنموذج المختلف عن النموذج الغربي الذي حاول حكم العالم منذ الحرب العالمية الثانية. أما روسيا، فنعتها بالعظمى يعود إلى قدرتها على التأثير المباشر على العالم ونشر نفوذها دون مجهود يذكر، بل عبر استعمال قوّة خصومها ضدّهم كما في الفنون القتالية.

فبالنسبة للصين تعرّضت لوباء فيروس كورونا في مدينة وُهان الصينية منذ خريف 2019 وبالتحديد بعد الألعاب الأولمبية العسكرية التي أجريت في تلك المدينة. ويعتبر القادة الصينيون أنّ الوباء أدخل إلى الصين من قبل الوفد العسكري الأميركي المشارك في تلك الألعاب. قد يكون ذلك الإدخال صدفة بعد ما تمّت هندسة ذلك الفيروس في أحد المختبرات العسكرية الأميركية دون أخذ الاحتياطات الوقائية اللازمة وذلك إذا ما أرادت القيادة الصينية عدم افتراض سوء نيّة عند الأميركيين. وما يعزّز الادّعاء الصيني الاعتراف على لسان مسؤول مركز السيطرة على الأوبئة (سي دي سي) روبرت ردفريد أنه تمّ اكتشاف عدد من الإصابات في الولايات المتحدة قبل الانتشار في الصين. لكن هنا رواية أخرى تقول إنّ الفيروس من صنع فرنسي (صنع سنة 2003 مع دائه) وتمّ نقله إلى مختبر مشترك صيني فرنسي تمّ افتتاحه سنة 2017 في مدينة وُهان. تمّت التجارب على الخفافيش إلاّ أنّ أحد الخفافيش هرب من المختبر فكان الوباء. لكن بغضّ النظر عن الروايات ومدى دقّتها إلاّ انه بات واضحا أنّ الاحتمال الأكبر أنّ الفيروس هو من صنع الإنسان وليس من صنع الطبيعة، وبالتالي تفتح التساؤلات حول التجارب الجرثومية في المختبرات وجدواها واحتمال تحويلها إلى سلاح دمار شامل.

المهمّ هنا ليس في حيثيات الفيروس والملابسات حوله بل كيف تعاملت الدولة الصينية والمجتمع الصيني مع الوباء والدلالات الناتجة عن ذلك التعامل. فالدلالة الأولى هي أنّ الحكومة الصينية تعاملت بجدّية فائقة مع الوباء بينما نظيراتها الغربية الأوروبية والأميركية تعاملت بخفة وبتجاهل أبعاد الوباء خاصة في ما يتعلّق بالصحة العامة. فالاهتمام الأوروبي والأميركي في المرحلة الأولى كان حول الكلفة الاقتصادية والمالية التي ستتكبّدها من جرّاء الوباء وليس صحة المواطنين. فتصريحات الرئيس الفرنسي ورئيس الوزراء البريطاني والرئيس الأميركي تؤكّد أنّ القوّامة هي للمال وليس للإنسان.

الدلالة الثانية هي الجهود التي بذلتها الحكومة الصينية في إعداد التجهيزات والمستشفيات الميدانية كالمستشفى بألف سرير المجهّز كاملاً في مدة عشرة أيام فقط، فهي نوع من الإعجاز وبالتالي قدوة في التعامل مع وباء من هذا النوع. كما أنّ إجراءات الحجر على أكثر من 60 مليون مواطن صيني وحملات التطهير والتعقيم لكلّ شيء في المدن والطرقات والمباني وداخل المنازل دليل على جدّية في التعامل مع الوباء دون استهتار ومكابرة. كما أنّ تلك الإجراءات رافقتها إجراءات لتأمين الحاجيات الضرورية للمواطنين خلال فترة الحجر والمتوقفّين عن العمل وكسب العيش ما يدلّ على أولوية قيمة الإنسان عند السلطات الصينية في زمن المحن الكبرى. والدلالة الثالثة هي استجابة المجتمع الصيني بأكمله لتلك الإجراءات التي صدرت عن حكومة متهمة بالتسلّط والاستبداد للحرّيات العامة ما يطرح تساؤلا ت حول النموذج الصيني مقارنة مع النموذج الغربي الذي سنعالجه في فقرة لاحقة.

أما وقد اتخذت تلك الإجراءات ونُفّذت بحذافيرها استطاعت الصين الخروج من عمق الزجاجة المتمثّل في وتيرة ارتفاع الإصابات. تبيّن من تلك الإجراءات أنّ تلك الوتيرة استقرّت ثم بدأت بالتراجع وصولاً إلى إعلان الرئيس الصيني أنّ الصين قد انتصرت على الوباء وإنْ كانت بعض الإصابات موجودة هنا وهناك. وما يدعم ادّعاء الرئيس الصيني أنه لم يتمّ تسجيل إصابات جديدة منذ عدّة أيام. فمهلة 14 يوم دون تسجيل إصابات جديدة قد تكون المؤشر الفعلي لنهاية الأزمة علماً أنّ المراقبين يعتبرون أنّ الخروج التامّ من الوباء لن يتمّ قبل آخر الصيف ولكن عودة الحياة إلى طبيعتها لن تكون بعيدة بعد الآن.

وما يجب التأكيد عليه هو أنّ الصين لم تعتبر نفسها منفصلة عن العالم فقد عرضت المساعدة لمن يريد مواجهة الوباء بينما ردّة الفعل الغربية خاصة في الاتحاد الأوروبي والولايات المتحدة كانت سلبية ولا تخلو من العنصرية. وقرار الإدارة الأميركية معاقبة كلّ من يساهم ويقدّم المعونة للجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران الذي أصابها بقوّة وباء فيروس الكورونا خير دليل على عنصرة الإدارة والافتقار إلى الإنسانية. فكيف يمكن لمن يعتبرّه الغرب “أقلّ رقياً” منه يستطيع تقديم المساعدة لمن هو “أرقى” منه؟ هذا ما يؤكّد موقفنا من الغرب أنّ تقدّمه وتطوّره لم يكن بسبب “قيمه” ولا بسبب “التنوير” ولا بسبب التفوّق التكنولوجي، ولا بسبب تفوّق عرقي كما ادّعى البعض، ولا بسبب الثورات الزراعية والصناعية وفي ما بعد التكنولوجية، بل بسبب الاستعمار. فعرق، ودموع، ودماء أصحاب البشرة السمراء والسوداء والصفراء هي من ساهمت في رخاء الغرب. واليوم أصحاب البشرة السمراء والصفراء والسوداء يشهدون تقدّماً رغم العراقيل التي يضعها الغرب في مسيرتهم. الصين اليوم نهضت وتقوم بدورها الإنساني في العالم عبر تقديم تجربتها في مواجهة الوباء. ترحيب رئيس صربيا بالعرض الصيني كان مثيراً حيث اعتبر الصيني ليس صديقاً فحسب بل شقيقاً له! في المقابل ندّد بالاتحاد الأوروبي حيث التضامن الأوروبي لم يكن موجوداً بل العكس الذي اعترض على اللجوء إلى خارج الاتحاد الأوروبي لمواجهة الوباء.

هذا يأخذنا إلى مقارنة النموذج الصيني الذي يتمّ شيطنته يومياً في الإعلام الغربي وعلى لسان المسؤولين في الاتحاد الأوروبي وخاصة في الولايات المتحدة في الإدارة الحالية. فالنموذج الصيني اعتبر أنّ الإنسان قيمة يجب احترامها بينما في الغرب الذي ادّعى ذلك فإنّ الإنسان تحوّل إلى سلعة في الحدّ الأدنى ومستهلكاً (بكسر اللام) فقط في الحدّ الأقصى لا قيمة له الاّ بمقدار ما يساهم في إثراء النخب الحاكمة. فالنموذج النيوليبرالي كرّس سيادة السوق على الوطن وسيادة رأس المال على الإنسان بينما النموذج الصيني الذي يدمج بين حكومة مركزية قوّية إلى حدّ التسلّط وتخطّط للمستقبل لمصلحة الوطن والمواطنين وبين اقتصاد السوق الخاضع لضوابط الوطن والمواطن والحريص على السيادة قبل أيّ شيء. فالسيادة في الغرب في النموذج النيوليبرالي القائم أصبحت وجهة نظر تآكلت بالتقادم وفقاً لتصريحات الرئيس الفرنسي ماكرون وعدد من المسؤولين في الاتحاد الأوروبي بينما ما زالت السيادة قيمة حيّة في النموذج الصيني.

فكيف نفسّر الانضباط الصيني وتقبّل الإجراءات الوقاية الصارمة لولا الشعور بالكرامة الوطنية ولولا لمس المواطن حرص الحكومة على سلامته؟ في المقابل وجدنا مواقف المسؤولين في الغرب من الوباء في المرحلة الأولى تتراوح بين الإنكار والاستهتار والحرص فقط على التداعيات المالية والاقتصادية فأحجموا عن اتخاذ القرارات الصعبة كوقف العجلة الاقتصادية وفرض الحجر وحملات التطهير والتعقيم المكلفة وإعداد أدوات الاكتشاف والوقاية وثمة المعالجة. لم توّفر الحكومة الصينية المجهود في النفقات لمواجهة الوباء. في المقابل كان المجهود الأميركي لمواجهة التداعيات الاقتصادية والمالية في الأسواق من جرّاء الوباء. فالرئيس الأميركي يريد رصد ما يوازي 1،2 تريليون دولار لإنعاش الاقتصاد ودرء وصول معدّل البطالة إلى 20 بالمائة وذلك في سنة انتخابات رئاسية. في المقابل الإنفاق المقرّر على مواجهة الوباء من الناحية الصحية ما زال هزيلاً مقارنة مع ما يبذل على الصعيد الاقتصادي ومقارنة مع ما أقدمت عليه الصين. فالدافع سياسي أولاً وأخيراً كما كان استغلال الوباء سياسياً بامتياز عبر اتهام الصين بنشر الوباء والتهرّب من مسؤولية التقاعس في مواجهته.

شيطنة النموذج الصيني في وسائل الإعلام الغربية يدلّ فقط على حقد وحسد يسيطر على عقل المسؤولين. فالصين استطاعت أن تحقّق أرقاماً قياسية في النمو الاقتصادي خلال العقود الثلاثة الماضية، كما استطاعت أن ترفع 250 مليون مواطن صيني من مذلّة الفقر. الإنجازات الاجتماعية في الصحّة والتربية والتعليم والإسكان لا تُحصى، بينما نرى الترهّل في تقديم تلك الخدمات في الغرب. البنى التحتية التي شيّدتها الحكومة الصينية أصبحت النموذج الذي يُقتدى به بدءاً بالقطار السريع إلى الطرق العريضة إلى الجسور التي تحقّق أرقاماً قياسية في العلو والطول إلى الطريق الذي يربط الصين بسائر دول آسيا. وهذا النمو يعتبره الغرب هزيمة له وتهديداً لاستمرار هيمنته المتلاشية. فالغرب لا يسلّط الأضواء إلاّ على الاحتجاجات السياسية في هونغ كونغ مثلاً، أو على مصير سكّان مقاطعة التيبت في غرب الصين أو مصير الاوغيور. كما لا يستطيع الغرب أن يقبل بمساكنة نظام سياسي يقوده الحزب الشيوعي مع اقتصاد السوق. فكلّ سردية الغرب مبنية على عدم المساكنة وإذ نرى النموذج الصيني يدحض المزاعم الغربية ويحقق نجاحات لم يحقّقها الغرب حتى الآن. ومن ضمن تلك النجاحات التفوّق التكنولوجي في التواصل وحرب الـ “جي” 5 منها والذكاء الاصطناعي. فذلك التفوّق الاصطناعي كان حكراً على الغرب وإذ نرى الصين متقدّمة عليه بأشواط. فاقتصاد الغرب المرتبط عبر سلاسل العرض والتموين (supply chains) الصينية أصبح أكثر تبعية للصين بسبب التفوّق التكنولوجي وبسبب الإنتاج الصيني بحدّ ذاته. ربما لن يبقى للغرب وخاصة الولايات المتحدة إلاّ الحرب المدمّرة على الجميع لمحو التقدّم الصيني. فالغرب وأنظمته السياسية والاقتصادية لا يعرف إلاّ الحرب على الآخرين لحلّ مشكلاته البنيوية.

فأزمة فيروس كورونا كشفت الفرق في النظرة للإنسانية بين الغرب والصين. فمناقشات مجلس العموم الذي يسيطر عليه حزب المحافظين أثار النظرة الملتوسية للأزمة (أي نظرة روبرت ملتوس (1766-1834) الذي اعتبر زيادة السكّان في العالم أسرع من زيادة الموارد الغذائية بالتالي مستقبل البشرية مهدّد. فما جرى من مناقشات في مجلس العموم أفاد أنّ هناك من يعتبر وباء كورونا نعمة تخفّف من زيادة السكّان في العالم. وبما أنّ الصين هي أكثر الدول سكّاناً فتخفيف حجم السكان في الصين وفي العالم قد يكون عاملاً إيجابياً. هذه هي عنصرية بامتياز حيث حياة الرجل الأبيض أهمّ من حياة الرجل صاحب البشرة المختلفة.

كلّ ذلك لا يعني انّ النظام الصيني نظام مثالي وأن لا عيوب فيه. لكن شيطنة الصين عير مفيدة بل مغرضة لأنّ تجربة الصين جديرة بالدرس. النموذج الصيني قد يكون قدوة لدول العالم التي تريد الخروج من الهيمنة الغربية. فرفض النموذج الغربي قد يكون شرط ضرورة ولكنه ليس شرط كفاية. الصين تقدّم نموذجاً مختلفاً عن النموذج الغربي في تساكن سلطة مركزية قوية إلى حدّ التسلّط والاستبداد ولكن مكافحة للفساد، وقد يكون ذلك ضرورة وليس عائقاً لنهضة البلاد، وتفاعل مع اقتصاد السوق دون الوقوع في مطبّات اللامساواة والفساد الموجود في الغرب.

على صعيد آخر ذكرنا في مقال سابق أنّ روسيا دولة عظمى لأنها تستطيع ان تؤثّر بالعالم دون بذل أيّ مجهود يذكر. وفي قراراها بإغراق السوق النفطي لضرب قطاع النفط الصخري الأميركي الذي يشكّل ثلث الإنتاج الأميركي استطاعت روسيا أن توجّه ضربة موجعة جدّاً في فترة الحملة الانتخابية الرئاسية الأميركية إلى ذلك القطاع ومن وخلاله إلى مصدر القوّة الفعلي الأميركي أيّ التحكّم بأسواق المال. فتزامن أزمة فيروس كورونا كانت فرصة استغلّتها روسيا لتوجيه تلك الضربة التي أصبحت ضربة مزدوجة، مالية وصحيّة في آن واحد. هذا لا يعني أن روسيا بمنأى عن وباء كورونا لكنها على استعداد وتأهّب والاستفادة من شريكتها وحليفتها الصين لمواجهة الوباء ولمواجهة أيّ حماقة ممكنة أن تصدر عن الحكومات الغربية. فروسيا قدّمت للصين هدية ثمينة جدّاً وهي الحصول على كميات من النفط بأسعار منخفضة جدّاً ما يساعدها على استئناف مسيرتها المتقدّمة في النمو والتقدّم بينما تشهد الاقتصادات الغربية تراجعاً وانكماشا قد يصل إلى كساد كبير تعجز عن معالجته.

الصين العظيمة وروسيا العظمى يشكّلان محوراً يصعب اختراقه على الأقلّ في المدى المنظور لعدّة أسباب منها الترهلّ السياسي في دول الغرب، وخاصة في الولايات المتحدة، ومنها التراجع الاقتصادي حيث العالم بما فيه الغرب والولايات المتحدة أصبح بحاجة لما تنتجه الصين والمحور الذي تنتمي إليه تحت مسمّيات مختلفة كـ “بريكس” أو الكتلة الأوراسية. أخطأت الولايات المتحدة عندما اتخذت القرار في إعادة توطين قاعدتها الإنتاجية خارج حدودها وفي بلدان نامية لا قيود فيها على النشاط الاقتصادي من نظم وتشريعات في البيئية وحقوق العمل والعمّال. وسبب هذا الخطأ اعتقادها أنه بإمكانها السيطرة والهيمنة على اقتصادات العالم بسبب ما اعتبرته التحكّم بالنظم المالية وشرايين المال والتفوّق التكنولوجي الذي كان حكراً لها.

غير أنّ العالم رفض تلك الهيمنة وفي مقدمّته الصين التي استطاعت ان تحلّ مكان الولايات المتحدة في توريد السلع الصناعية للعالم وبالتالي أصبحت متحكّمة بسلاسل التموين والعرض. وفي التفوّق التكنولوجي لم تعد الولايات المتحدة المتقدّمة على سائر الدول فالصين قد تكون سبقتها في مجالات عديدة منها الذكاء الاصطناعي في ما يتعلّق بالتواصل. الحرب الأميركية على شركة هواوي دليل على عجز الولايات المتحدة في مواجهة التقدّم الصيني. أما على صعيد التحكّم في شرايين المال فكلّ من الصين وروسيا تعملان على التخلّص من هيمنة الدولار عبر خطّة محكمة تبدأ بتخفيف اللجوء إلى الدولار لتخفيف الطلب عليه للوصول إلى نظام مالي مواز للدولار ولا يعتمد على الدولار كوحدة قيمة أو تسعير. في التسعينات في ذروة الانفراد الأميركي في التحكّم بالعالم صرّحت وزيرة الخارجية الأميركية آنذاك مادلين اولبرايت أنّ الأمة الأميركية هي الأمة التي لا يمكن أن يستغنى عنها العالم (indispensable nation) لكن بعد ثلاث عقود تقريباً تكاد تصبح الولايات المتحدة الأمة التي لا تصل بعلاقة مع العالم (irrelevant nation) إذا ما استمرّت في سلوكها الحالي. هذا هو التحوّل المفصلي الذي حصل، هبوط الولايات المتحدة وصعود المحور الروسي الصيني. والنخب العربية مدعوة لإعادة نظر شاملة وجذرية بعلاقاتها مع الغرب والتوجّه بجدّية نحو الشرق. سورية قامت بتلك المراجعة فمتى تقوم جامعة الدول العربية بذلك وما تمثّله من نظام موروث من الحقبة الاستعمارية؟

*كاتب اقتصادي سياسي والأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي

The Power of Siberia, Russian Chinese Cooperation at Mega Levels

Power of Siberia Russia China Gas Pipeline

 

The inauguration of the Power of Siberia project to transport gas from Russia to China will strengthen Russia’s position as the world’s first gas exporter and boost economic relations between the two countries in an unprecedented way.

Thanks to the US politicians getting busy with their inner fights over who won the presidency and later over who is more corrupt with power in a newly controlled country (Ukraine), the excessive use of sanctions, and the anti-‘free trade’ war, other global superpowers are solidifying their positions and leaping ahead in steady growth.

Destroying Syria by the US-led War of Terror was partly because the Syrian President Bashar Assad rejected to isolate Russia and Iran by severing the relations with them and by allowing a Qatari gas pipeline through Syria to Europe which would have starved both the Russian and Iranian nations.

Toppling the Ukrainian state, destroying the country’s economy, and installing puppets there by the US was in part to control the Russia – West Europ gas pipeline.

From here comes the added importance of this project that would supply the Chinese economy with flowing energy source for the coming 3 decades, provide the Russian economy with a considerable steady income for the coming 3 decades, and hurting further the US dollar as this ‘energy’ project uses the currencies of both nations and not the currency that controlled the energy production and trade for at least half a century.

Oddly enough it didn’t seem to be of concern to the US politicians and usual Pentagon propagandists to start with demonizing it and then analyzing their losses from creating enemies around the globe instead of engaging positively with the world, especially the established civilizations.

The following report by the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news channel sheds some light on the global event:

Video

The video is also available on BitChute: https://www.bitchute.com/video/S7Y4W8hUNnsU/

It is a historic event according to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the opening of the Power of Siberia pipeline between Russia and China will bring about a change in the world’s energy projects, not just between the two countries.

The inauguration, with the participation of the two heads of state on both sides of the border, was accelerated after the completion of the first phase of the project ahead of schedule, a phase, costing an estimated $ 20 billion out of $ 400 billion, the total cost of the Power of Siberia project.

This huge 30-year project was agreed between Moscow and Beijing via Russia’s Gazprom and China National Oil and Gas Company in 2014, it is the largest project to transport gas from eastern Russia to China, 4,500 kilometers of pipelines produced with a new and innovative technologies are supposed to transport 38 billion cubic meters of Russian gas annually to China, this puts Russia at the forefront of natural gas providers for this country, which is the fastest-growing economy in the world today.

The Power of Siberia is one of 40 strategic economic agreements between the two countries over the past five years to enhance their cooperation in various fields, the level of cooperation in military production between them has risen in an unprecedented way, Russian and Chinese banks have given financial guarantees for trade using the currencies of the two countries amounting to tens of billions of dollars, the trade between the two neighbors, which share about 4,000 kilometers borders, jumped to $ 100 billion last year alone, this figure is expected to double over the next year.

End of the video English translation transcript.

Following is the Arabic transcript of the video:

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قوة سيبيريا

افتتاح مشروع قوة سيبيريا لنقل الغاز من روسيا إلى الصين سيعزز موقع روسيا كمصدّر أول للغاز في العالم ويعزز العلاقات الاقتصادية بين البلدين بشكل غير مسبوق

هو حدث تاريخي بحسب الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين، افتتاح خط أنابيب قوة سيبيريا بين روسيا والصين كفيل بإحداث تغيير في مشاريع الطاقة في العالم، ليس بين البلدين فقط

الافتتاح الذي شارك فيه رئيسا البلدين كل من جهته على الحدود تم تسريعه بعد إنجاز المرحلة الأولى من المشروع قبل موعدها، مرحلة كلفت تقديرياً نحو 20 مليار دولار من أصل 400 مليار دولار، هي كلفة مشروع قوة سيبيريا الإجمالية

هذا المشروع الضخم، ومدته 30 عاماً، اتفق عليه بين موسكو وبكين عبر شركة غاز بروم الروسية والشركة الصينية الوطنية للنفط والغاز عام 2014 وهو المشروع الأضخم لنقل الغاز من شرق روسيا إلى الصين، إذ يفترض أن تنقل 4500 كيلومتر من الأنابيب المصنّعة بتقنيات جديدة ومبتكرة 38 مليار متر مكعب من الغاز الروسي سنوياً إلى الصين، ما يضع روسيا في مقدمة مزودي الغاز الطبيعي لهذه الدولة التي يعد اقتصادها الأسرع نمواً في العالم اليوم

class=”has-text-align-right” style=”text-align: right;”>قوة سيبيريا واحدة من 40 اتفاقية اقتصادية استراتيجية بين البلدين خلال السنوات الخمس الماضية لتعزيز تعاونهما في مختلف المجالات، مستوى التعاون في الإنتاج العسكري بينهما ارتفع بشكل غير مسبوق، ومنحت المصارف الروسية والصينية ضمانات مالية للتبادل التجاري بعملتي البلدين بلغت عشرات مليارات الدولارات، فيما قفز التبادل التجاري بين الجارتين اللتين يجمعهما نحو 4000 كيلومتر من الحدود إلى 100 مليار دولار خلال العام الماضي فقط، ويتوقع أن يصل هذا الرقم إلى الضعف خلال العام المقبل

Can Russia (or Iran) survive without China?

 • NOVEMBER 21, 2019

In a recent article entitled “China, Bolivia and Venezuela are proof that social democracy cannot thrive in the global capitalist order” my China-based friend and correspondent Jeff J. Brown asked me an exceedingly interesting and important question.  He wrote:

Russia is a social democracy, with a large, successful people owned industrial sector and many social services for the 99% from the Soviet era. But, unlike Bolivia and Ukraine, it is avoiding the West’s color revolution poison pill, because since 1999, Russia has gone from strength to strength, under the inspired leadership of patriotic President Vladimir Putin. But like all social democracies, the problem is what happens if another Western whore Boris Yeltsin succeeds Putin, and returns Russia to its dystopian Wall Street rape of the 1990s? Then what? It only took Macri four short years to bring Argentina back onto its groveling knees. Without a 100% nationalized media, Russians had better be demanding that Putin & Russian Patriots Inc. work overtime to censor all the Western overthrow garbage that is put in Cyrillic ink and on the airwaves.  I would love to hear what my good friend Andrei Raevsky thinks about this at The Saker (http://thesaker.is/), because let’s be honest: without China’s, Russia’s and Iran’s continued anti-imperial independence and socialist success into the 21st century, humanity can kiss its ass goodbye!

Let’s begin by deconstructing the assumptions and implications of Jeff’s question.
China and Russia *could* be separated
The first assumptions Jeff makes are the following ones:

  1. Russia is a social democracy
  2. The Russian media is not 100% state controlled
  3. A new Eltsin might succeed Putin
  4. The West is saturating the Russian information space with garbage
  5. That western propaganda can still strongly impact Russia
  6. China and Russia *could* be separated (hence the need to prevent that as the central thesis of Jeff)

And, finally, considering the above, Jeff offers the following compelling implication for the China-Russia-Iran triangle:

  1. Considering the above, China’s independence and support for Russia and Iran are vital for the sovereignty and freedom, if not survival, of Russia and Iran

Now let’s begin by looking into Jeff’s assumptions:

Russia is a social democracy:

Yes and no.  If we define a social democracy as being a specific polity and system of laws, then Russia is a social democracy.  However, if we define social democracy as a specific polity, system of laws and social culture, then I would argue that to the extent that Russia is, indeed, a social democracy, she is a rather weird one.  What do I mean by that?

By that I mean that thanks to the nightmare of “democracy” under Eltsin and his US curators, and thanks to the recent explosion of “democracy” in the Ukraine, the Russian people have by and large come to consider the words “liberal” and “democracy” as four letter words.  For example, the word “либерал” (liberal) has now given birth to a derived word либераст which takes the first letters of the word “liberal” and adds the last letters of the word педераст (pederast – a rude word for homosexual [yes, in Russian homosexuality and pederasty are not separated!]) which results in the new word “liberast” the closest to which in English would be something like “libfag”, hardly a compliment. In some interpretations, a “liberast” is also somebody who has been “f**ked by democracy“.  Not much better…  As for the word “демократия” (democracy) for years it has already been called “дерьмократия” (using the first letters of дерьмо (der’mo or shit) and the last letter of democracy to create der’mokratia or “shitocracy”.  Finally, there is also the saying that “демократия, это власть демократов” (democracy is the rule of the democrats), which for a country which has undergone the 1990s and seen the Ukraine being comprehensively FUBARed is ominous; not funny at all.  All this is simply to show that culturally the Russian society is not at all your typical social democracy.  It is a sort of democracy in which the majority of the people do not believe in democracy.  This is very important, crucial even, and I will address this issue later.

The Russian media is not 100% state controlled:

That is absolutely true!  However, it misses an important point: the real profile of the Russian media which is much more complex than “state controlled” vs “free media”.  To make a long story short, the main TV channels, while not really “controlled” by the state at all, are mostly pro-Kremlin.  But here we need to get the cause and effect right: these channels are not pro-Kremlin only because they get state funds or because of the political power of the Kremlin, the main reason why they are pro-Kremlin is the terrible rating of those media outlets who took a strong anti-Kremlin position.

To make my point, I want to mention the rabidly anti-Kremlin TV station which is very well known in Russia (Dozhd’ – see here for the (predictably complimentary) entry in Wikipedia for this TV channel).  In fact, Dozhd’ is just the best known of a fairly extensive anti-Kremlin media but, in reality, there are many more outlets which hold an anti-Kremlin pro-Empire line.  However, as I explained in a 2016 article entitled “Counter-Propaganda, Russian Style”  and then, again, in 2017, in the article “Revisiting Russian Counter-Propaganda Methods” the Kremlin has developed a very effective counter-propaganda strategy: instead of suppressing the Empire’s propaganda (like the Soviets did, most unsuccessfully), the Kremlin now directly funds that same propaganda!  Not only does the (state-owned) Gazprom finance Dozd’ – the western and Russian liberal guests which ridicule themselves on Russian TV are also generously paid for each of their appearances.  Even hardcore Ukronazi nutcases get invited regularly (when they truly overdo it they also get into fights, or get kicked out of the studios, which is all very much fin to watch and is therefore watched by millions).  The truth is that at this point the AngloZionist propaganda in Russia has much more of a very healthy “vaccination” effect then the ability to convince anybody beyond the “traditional” 2-4% of folks in Russia who still think that the West is some kind of heaven on earth and Russia an ugly, vicious and freedom crushing “Mordor”.

This being said, there is one channel through which the worst of the western consumer-society propaganda still permeates Russia: commercials.   Russian commercials are mostly absolutely disgusting; they basically vehiculate one crude and simple message “Russians must become US Americans”.  That propaganda via commercials is, I think the single most toxic and insidious form of de-russification I can think of and it is far more dangerous than any other means of “defacing” Russia.

Finally, and to my great regret, media outlets like RT and Sputnik have decided to “go native” I suppose and they now cater to western tastes much more than to Russian ones.  The quasi constant “reporting” about MMA fights, minimally clad ladies, sex in all its shapes and forms and Hollywood gossip – all of this just goes to show that the folks in charge of these media outlets have decided that catering the the lowest possible social common denominator is the way to promote Russia abroad.  I am not so sure.  What began with “Question More” and “Telling the Untold” now seems more preoccupied with trying to copy the yellow press in the UK than to challenge the Empire.  I very much regret that state of affairs.

Unfortunately, there are also a lot of 5th columnists and russophobes in these media outlets (especially in their online, Internet-based, websites; the actual radio/TV shows are mostly better).

So all is not rosy in the Russian media scene, but its not all bad either.

A new Eltsin might succeed Putin

Here I can only completely agree, and that is very scary.  Due to the lack of space, I will present my arguments in a short, bullet-point, list:

  • “Russia” is still very much a “one man show” meaning that Putin himself, as a person,  is still absolutely vital to the current functioning of Russia.  Not only are most Russians still strongly supportive of him personally, but there are no credible candidates to replace him.  Yes, there are a few potential candidates out there (in no special order: Ivanov, Shoigu and Rogozin would be the best known, but there are others, of course), but what makes it all worse is that historically, Russia, unlike China, has a very bad record of successions.
  • The 5th column is still there and while it keeps a very low profile (current events favor the Eurasian Sovereignists), it is still there, literally in all branches of power and very much inside the Moscow elites who hate Putin for putting an end to what they saw as the “Bonanza of the 1990s”.
  • There *is* a patriotic Russian opposition to Putin, and it is slowly growing, but it is poorly organized, has a lot of clueless nostalgics of the Soviet era and a lot of its criticisms are, frankly, naive or plain silly (along with very valid points too!).  I don’t see this opposition capable of producing a strong and credible leader.  But that might change in the future.
  • Thus the cornerstone of “Putinism” is Putin himself.  With him gone, for whatever reason, Putinism could very rapidly fade too.  This might be a good or a bad thing depending on the specific circumstances, but the chances that this might be a very bad thing are higher than the opposite being true.

“Putin The Man”, urgently needs to be replaced by “Putin The System”, but that is truly a herculean task because that means reforming/purging most of the immense and powerful Russian bureaucracy and find somewhere a new generation of men and women who could be both effective and trusted.  The problem is that in most cases when one man goes against a system, the system wins.  Putin is the proverbial case of a very good man in a very bad system.  True, he has successfully reformed the two branches of government which were most needed to make it possible for both him and Russia to survive the war the Empire was waging on Russia: the armed forces and the intelligence/security forces.  Other parts of the Russian state are still in a terrible shape (the entire legal system for starters!).

I think that the risk of an Eltsin-like prostitute coming to power is real, even if the bulk of the population would not necessarily approve of it (or be divided about it).  Long-term historical stability of a huge country like Russia cannot come from a man.  It can only come from institutions.  And just as Peter I destroyed the traditional Russian monarchy, so can one man destroy the current “new Russia” (for lack of a better descriptor), especially if this “new Russia” has only one man as its cornerstone.

Finally, history teaches us that every time that Russia is weak or disunited, the western powers immediately pounce and intervene, including with military means.  The Poles are still dreaming about yet another chance to prove Churchill’s diagnosis about Poland true and pounce on both the Ukraine and Russia if given the chance.

The West is saturating the Russian information space with garbage and western propaganda can still strongly impact Russia

As we have seen above, these are both at least partially true, but they are also not that much of a big deal.  This is clearly a source of potential concern, a danger, but not a threat (a danger being vague, a threat specific).  To the extend that this is a bad thing, this is mostly due to the hyper-materialistic consumer culture which currently competes against a much more traditional, Russian culture.  It is hard to say which one will win.  The former has much, much bigger financial means, the latter one has a strong ‘home turf advantage”.  Only time will show which will prevail.  So long as many Russians will  think “western propaganda lies” (which most understand) AND are attracted to western-style commercials (which are, in so many ways, an even much more effective and insidious form of propaganda), the jury will remain out on who will prevail should instability return to Russia.

China and Russia *could* be separated

This is probably the most important assumption made by Jeff.  First, since this is completely hypothetical, and since we are not future-seeing prophets let’s first agree to never say never and not dismiss this possibility out of hand.  This being said, I would like to remind everybody that Russia and China have gradually changed the labels which they applied to the other side.  The latest (as far as I know, Chinese speakers please correct me if needed!) expression used by Xi and other Chinese officials is “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Coordination for the New Era“.  There is a lot to unpack here, but let’s just say that this does not sound like the Chinese came up with that concept lightly or that they have many misgivings about the future of the relationship with Russia.  As for the Russians, they have now openly used the term “ally” on many occasions, including Putin.  In Russian that word “ally” (союзник) is a very strong one and contrasts sharply with the cynical and disgusted way the Russians always speak about their western “partners” (which often shocks those who don’t speak Russian).

And it is not all sweet talk either.  The Russians and the Chinese have had many and major joint military maneuvers, they have practiced the Russian equivalent of the US/NATO “Combined Joint Task Force” concept (see here for details).  Thus, while not formal allies, Russia and China do all the things which close allies do.  I would even argue that the “informal symbiosis” between Russia and China is far stronger than the NATO alliance.

It is my opinion that what Putin and Xi have done is something which has no previous equivalent in history, at least as far as I know.  Even though both Russia and China have been empires in the past, I strongly believe that both of these countries have entered a “post-imperial phase” in which the trappings of empire have been replaced by an acute sense that empires are extremely bad not only for the nations which it oppresses, but also for the nation which hosts it.  Both Russia and China have paid a horrendous price for their imperial years and both Russia and China completely understand that the people of the USA are also amongst the prime victims of the (transnational) Anglo-Zionist Empire, even if that is all too often forgotten.  Not only do they not want to repeat their own mistakes, they see the USA dying in the quicksands of imperialism and the last thing they want is to jump in and join the US.

I believe that the relationship between Russia and China is a symbiosis, which is much stronger than any alliances because while the latter can be broken, the former typically cannot (at least not without extremely severe consequences).  I also believe that Putin and Xi both understand that the fact that Russia and China are so completely different is not a problem, but a tremendous asset: they fit perfectly, like Lego or puzzle pieces.  What Russia has China does not and vice-versa.  And, just to clarify for the logically challenged: both sides also understand that they will never get from the other side by war what they could get by peaceful exchange.  Yes, the silly Polish dream of having Russia invaded by China several times (an old Polish joke of sorts) is only a reflection of the ancient Polish inferiority complex, not of geostrategic realities 🙂

Of course, in theory, anything could happen.  But I personally see no chain of events which could be sufficient to threaten the Sino-Russian symbiotic relationship, not even a collapse of “New Russia Putinism” (not elegant, but functional for our purposes) or the kind of chaos which a Eltsin type of comprador regime could try to reimpose on Russia.  At the end of the day, if Russia collapses then China will hold truly immense financial and economic power over Russia and will therefore be able to impose at least a China-friendly regime.  In that extremely unlikely case, Russia would, of course, lose her sovereignty, but not to the West, but to China.  That is not quite what Jeff had in mind.

Conclusion:

Yes, Russia and China need each other.  I would argue that they need each other.  Vitally.  And yes, the “loss” of one would threaten the other.  But that is not just true for Russia, it is also very true of China (which desperately needs Russian energy, high-tech, natural resources, weapons systems but most of all, Russian experience: for most of her existence Russia was threatened, invaded, attacked, sanctioned, boycotted and disparaged by a long succession of western states, and she defeated them all.  Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but each time Russia prevailed.  The determination and ability to resist the West is something which is deeply embedded in the Russian cultural DNA (this in sharp contrast with the rest of the so-called “East European” countries).  Finally, and for all their very real recent advances, the Chinese armed forces are still far behind the Russian (or the USA for that matter) and in a one-on-one war against the USA China would definitely lose, especially if the USA goes “all out”.  Russia, on the other hand, has the means to turn the US and Europe into a post-industrial nuclear wasteland (using nuclear and, most importantly, non-nuclear munitions!).

I would also add something Jeff did not address: Iran.  I believe that both Russia and China also very much need Iran.  Okay, that is not a vital need, both Russia and China could survive without an allied Iran, but Iran offers immense advantages to both countries, if only because thanks to the truly phenomenal stupidity of the Neocons the USA’s breathtakingly stupid policies in the Middle-East (here is just the latest example) have turned Iran into a regional super-power eclipsing both Israel and the KSA.  Furthermore, if Russia has shown much more political and moral courage than China (which, lets be honest, has been pretty happy to have Russia taking the brunt of the Empire’s attacks), Iran has shown much more political and moral courage than Russia, especially concerning the slow-motion genocide perpetrated by the Zionist Entity in Palestine.

And this brings us full circle to the discussion of what kind of country Russia currently really is.  Russia is not the Soviet Union.  Neither is she pre-1917 Russia.  But what is she really?

Nobody really knows, I think.

It is a moving target, a process.  This process might lead to a new and stable “new Russia”, but that is by no means certain.  Paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of Article 13 of the Russian Constitution say:

  1. In the Russian Federation ideological diversity shall be recognized
  2. No ideology may be established as state or obligatory one.
  3. In the Russian Federation political diversity and multi-party system shall be recognized.

In other words, not only is there no “no official ideology” in Russia, there is an explicit recognition for a multi-party political system (itself an ideological statement, by the way).  These are all potentially very dangerous and toxic items in the Russian Constitution which already are hindering a true national, cultural, psychological and spiritual rebirth of Russia.  Iran, in contrast, has succeeded in creating an Islamic Republic which is both truly and unapologetically Islamic and truly democratic, at least in the sense that, unlike western democracies which are mostly run by minorities and for minorities (or a coalition of minorities), in Iran the majority supports the system in place.

And since the vast majority of the Russian people do not want a single-party-system or a return to Soviet times yet don’t believe in (western style) democracy, Russian intellectuals would be well advised to take a very close and careful look at what I would call the “Iranian model”, not to simply copy it, but to see what aspects of this model could be adapted to Russian realities.  Historical Russia was an Orthodox monarchy.  That time is gone and will never return.  Soviet Russia was a Marxist atheistic state.  That time is also forever gone.  Modern Russia can only find references, lessons and implications in her past, but she cannot simply resurrect Czarist or Communist Russia.  Of course, neither can she reject her entire history and declare it all “bad” (which is what Russian “liberals” always do, which explains why they are so hated).

I don’t know what the future Russia will look like.  I am not even totally sure that this new Russia will ever really happen (though my gut feeling is that it will).  I hope that it will, but whether that happens or not will not be decided in China or by China (or any other country).  To conclude on a famous quote by Karl Marx “the emancipation of the workers must be the work of the workers themselves” (in Russian: “Освобождение рабочих должно быть делом самих рабочих”) which a famous Russian 1928 book turned into “the salvation of those who are drowning has to be the action of those drowning” (in Russian: “Спасение утопающих — дело рук самих утопающих”).  Whatever version you prefer (I prefer the 2nd one), the meaning is clear: you need to solve your problems by yourself or with those who share that problem with you.  In other words, Russians are the only ones who can save or destroy the Russian nation (I mean “Russian” in the traditional, Russian, multi-ethnic and multi-religious meaning of the words руссий and российский which in traditional Russian are both interchangeable or different depending on the context).

The Saker

PS: I leave you with a photo which, imho, speaks a thousand words

Militarization of South America, Coup in Bolivia and Argentina’s rapprochement with the Eurasian powers

Militarization of South America, Coup in Bolivia and Argentina’s rapprochement with the Eurasian powers

By Fabio Reis Vianna for The Saker Blog

On October 29th, the Cycle of Seminars on World Economy Analysis, organized by professors Monica Bruckmann and Franklin Trein, received in the Noble Hall of the IFCS-UFRJ, in Rio de Janeiro, the illustrious presence of the former vice-president of the BRICS Development Bank, Professor Paulo Nogueira Batista.

In the midst of the peculiar moment of social upheavals that are spreading throughout the world, the New Silk Road was discussed, a major Chinese project of geo-economic integration of Eurasia through vast road networks, high-speed trains, gas pipelines, fiber optic cables and ports, and that will benefit millions of people (including Western Europe, and incidentally, the African continent and Latin America itself).

To this end, three institutions created in the orbit of this project would play a key role: the Silk Road Fund, the AIIB (Asian Investment and Infrastructure Bank), and the NBD (BRICS Development Bank).

As the Brazilian State is a shareholder and founder of the NDB, many financing projects from this global institution could already have been approved and would be very welcome to the staggering Brazilian economy. However, despite the fact that in recent years, specifically from 2003 to June 2018, Chinese companies have invested almost 54 billion dollars in more than 100 projects, according to data from the Brazilian government itself, as of 2017, investments have fallen sharply.

According to a study by the Brazil-China Business Council (CBBC), Chinese investments in Brazil totaled 8.8 billion dollars in 2017 and no more than 3 billion dollars in 2018. A drop of 66%.

The deepening of the Brazilian framing of the US imperial orbit says a lot about this.

With the institutionalization of the New Defense Strategy of the United States, enacted on December 18, 2017, what had been happening in practice since mid-2012 was made official, with the acceleration of the interstate dispute and the escalation of global competition: the American repositioning in global geopolitical chess in an increasingly aggressive and unilateral manner.

Leaving aside the multilateralist rhetoric promoted over the last century, the Americans, faced with the strengthening of the “revisionist” powers Russia and China – questioners of the American centrality in the use of the rules and institutions created and managed unilaterally throughout the 20th century -, now seek to impose their will, without concessions, on the countries of the so-called Western Hemisphere. This is a region to which the United States rightfully attributes itself to the full exercise of sovereignty, for considering its zone of direct influence, thus inadmitting any contestation to its supremacy, not even any strategic alliance of countries that can create an alternative pole of power; much less in the Southern Cone of the continent.

Thus, the position of total alignment of the current Brazilian government with the interests of the Trump administration is very much related to this framing of the Western Hemisphere to the strategy of containing the expansionism of Eurasian actors.

If the deepening of the Eurasian project and the Sino-Russian strategic partnership – within Mackinder’s theory of heartland control – would already be inadmissible on its own, then the participation of a large Western Hemisphere country as a protagonist of an institution contesting old rules established and regulated by the hegemon would be too much: Brazil had to be separated from Russia and China at all costs, even if for this the country had to bear the price of seeing its institutions destroyed and involved in the labyrinth of a near military closure of the regime.

The last few months have been very hectic in many different parts of the world, particularly in South America.

Even if for not exactly similar reasons, especially in the specific cases of Peru and Bolivia, the popular protests that took place in Ecuador and Chile would have in common the characteristics of an almost natural reaction of self-protection of these societies to neoliberal restrictive policies.

As if it were an old irony of history, at the very moment when we are experiencing the shredding of interstate competition, there emerges a transmission belt spreading over several countries, as distant as they are disparate among themselves, the spark of social protests.

Curiously, this powerful and dangerous combination of social dissatisfaction and the escalation of conflicts between countries, in other periods of history, would end up being configured in that period of transition between the final cycles and of reconfiguration of the great board of the world system.

In view of this, it is important to highlight the risk of a characteristic in common that is gradually emerging in some South American countries: militarization.

With the escalation of global conflicts, the framing of South America to the North American strategy of containment of Eurasian adversaries and in the face of popular agitations to the deterioration of living standards, the lamentable option for the imposition of naked and crude order arises, bringing back to the political scenario of these countries the presence of the military as guarantors of institutional stability.

The region is moving towards a scenario in which elected governments, facing growing internal unrest, would depend on the military to survive.

The recent events in Peru, Ecuador and Chile do not allow us to lie. Apart from the fact that Brazil already lives under the shadow of a veiled military tutelage of its institutions.

The off-curve point of this story is Argentina and the impressive electoral victory of the Peronist opposition (at a time when the use of destabilizing tools has been frequent to interfere in electoral results, as in the case of the mass spread of fake news via Whatsapp in favor of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil).

Against all odds, in a region harassed by increasingly aggressive interference from the United States, Argentina is heading towards the resumption of a project of an autonomous and sovereign nation.

Faced with the successful destruction of the Brazil-Argentina strategic alliance, which had been strengthening since the re-democratization of the two nations in the mid-1980s, Argentina will face the complex challenge of seeking to expand its international insertion without its former Mercosur partner.

Something interesting said by Professor Paulo Nogueira Batista, in the Cycle of Seminars on Analysis of the World Economy, concerns the current Chinese position in the face of the aggressiveness and truculence of the Trump administration: paradoxically, such aggressiveness would be containing the Chinese expansionist impetus of recent years in South America, which, according to the professor, could open great opportunities for the countries of the region to bargain more favorable agreements for the Chinese. With the paralysis of Brazil and its blind alignment with the New Defense Strategy of the United States, Argentina has the opportunity not only to bargain for favorable trade agreements, but also to occupy the space left vacant by Brazil in the Eurasian integration project.

As Professor Paulo Nogueira Batista rightly said, the BRICS, and especially their development bank (NBD), would be heading toward a process of expansion of their participants.

In the new global geopolitical configuration, in which the intensification of the dispute increases the need of competing powers to guarantee their energy security, South America is already seen by many analysts as the new center of gravity of world oil production, replacing the Middle East. The Coup d’état in Bolivia is a very clear sign that the game will tend to be heavier from now on.

As Professor José Luís Fiori, Brazil’s leading expert on geopolitical issues, warned, “Oil is not the cause of all the conflicts in the international system. There is no doubt, however, that the great centralization of power that is underway in the interstate system is also transforming the permanent struggle for energy security of national states into a war between the great powers for the control of the new energy reserves that are being discovered in recent years. A war that is developing hand in hand, and in any corner of the world, be it in the tropical territory of Black Africa or in the icy lands of the Arctic Circle; be it in the turbulent waters of the mouth of the Amazon or in the inhospitable Kamchatka Peninsula”. https://jornalggn.com.br/geopolitica/geopolitica-e-fe-por-jose-luis-fiori/?fbclid=IwAR1IEPB6xbYL9BOpClmpyeUbonPPsIRPP-BQS7L_dqxZI0sr05jTHQ1Av64

Curiously, shortly before the violent classic coup d’état against President Evo Morales, the government of that country had announced plans to nationalize its production of Lithium.

Global demand for Lithium, essential in the production of cell phone batteries, laptops and electric cars, is expected to triple in the next 15 years.

Not coincidentally, Lithium’s world’s largest reserves are in Bolivia.

If this trend is confirmed, there is no other alternative for whale countries like Brazil and Argentina than to take over the South American strategic project at the risk of ending their days fragmented and swallowed up by the interests and disputes of powers outside the region.

For now, it is up to Argentina to walk alone and out of necessity, to expand economic and geopolitical ties with China and Russia because the tendency is for the country to become the target of the next destabilizing campaigns, “fourth generation” wars and economic suffocation caused by the hegemon.

Fabio Reis Vianna, lives in Rio de Janeiro, is a bachelor in law, writer and geopolitical analyst. He is currently a columnist in international politics for the printed version of the centennial Brazilian newspaper Monitor Mercantil.

 

عقوبات ترامب لن تغيّر الموازين وأميركا تفقد الهيمنة على العالم

أكتوبر 18, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

كل المؤشرات الميدانية بالجغرافيا كما بالسياسة تفيد بأن أميركا تفقد السيطرة على النظام العالمي رويداً رويداً والبداية من برّنا وبحرنا..!

وان قيام الرئيس الأميركي بفرض عقوبات على العديد من دول العالم لن يحوِّل الهزيمة الاستراتيجية الأميركية المدوية في غرب آسيا والتي كانت السبب الرئيسي وراء ذلك الى نصر. وذلك للأسباب التالية:

1- إن المشهد الذي نراه الآن، في شمال شرق سورية، ليس نتيجة لعدوان أردوغان على سورية ولعبه على الحبال، وإنما هو جزء من دلالات الهزيمة، التي تلقاها المحور الصهيوأميركي في مسرح عمليات الشرق الاوسط والذي يعتبر أردوغان حلقة من حلقاته. فلا ننسى أن جيش أردوغان ومرتزقته يستخدمون دبابات / إم 60/ الأميركية التي تم تحديثها في إسرائيل ومجموعها 460 دبابة.

2. إن الانسحاب الأميركي من شرق سورية هو أيضاً لم يكن نتيجة لقرار مزاجي اتخذه الرئيس الأميركي، وإنما هو قرار مدروس وانعكاس للهزيمة الاستراتيجية نفسها، المشار إليها أعلاه، ويندرج في إطار توجّهات ترامب لخفض الإنفاق العسكري الأميركي، على صعيد العالم.

وهذا يعني أن الانسحاب من سورية هو الخطوة الأولى لاستكمال الانسحاب من قواعد الجيش الأميركي كافة في المنطقة كلها، بما في ذلك تفكيك القاعدة العسكرية المقامة على أرض فلسطين والمسماة إسرائيل أو التخلي عنها في حال تعرّضها لهجوم مدمر .

1. وفِي هذا الصدد يجب التأكيد على ان الجانب الأميركي لم ولن يقدم أي ضمانات جديدة لـ إسرائيل بعد كل التطورات الدراماتيكية في شمال شرق سورية على وجه الخصوص، ذات البعد الاستراتيجي الدولي، والتي تؤذن ببدء عصر جديد، غير العصر الأميركي، يقوم على قاعدة العالم متعدّد الأقطاب.

2. وخير دليل على الهزيمة الاستراتيجية الأميركية في غرب آسيا هو ما نشرته صحيفة الإندبندنت البريطانية حول قيام الولايات المتحدة بسحب 50 قنبلة نووية / طراز B61 / من قاعدة انجرليك التركية، ونقلها الى قاعدة بوفيدزPowidz في بولندا /200 كم غرب وارسو / وقاعدة كونغالنيسيانو Michail Kongalniciano الرومانية الواقعة على بعد 30 كم إلى الشمال من ميناء كونستانسا الروماني الواقع على الساحل الغربي للبحر الأسود، حسب مصادر استقصاء صحافية متخصصة في هذا المجال.

3. اما دواعي ومسببات هذه الهرولة الأميركية، الى سحب قواتها من غرب آسيا وخفض نفقاتها العسكرية في هذه المنطقة من العالم، فتعود الى المأزق الاستراتيجي الأميركي الحقيقي والمتمثل في التحدي الاقتصادي والعسكري السياسي الصيني الروسي – وقريباً ستنضم إليهما الهند أيضاً – والمتمثل ليس فقط في النمو الاقتصادي الصيني الهائل وإنما في التقدم المرعب لصناعة السلاح الصينية الروسية ومعهما الهندية، والتي تستند الى قاعدة علمية – تكنولوجية تفتقر لها الولايات المتحدة، بسبب إهدار مواردها المالية في جبال طورا بورا افغانستان ورمال الكويت والعراق، في حروب عبثية بينما استثمر الثلاثي أعلاه موارده المالية في التطوير المعرفي العلمي التكنولوجي والذي هو قاعدة الصناعة الحديثة وعالم المستقبل.

وما إيران إلا مثال على نجاح هذه الاستراتيجية، العلم والمعرفة، والتي حوّلت الدولة الى دولة صناعية هامة وعملاق إقليمي في أربعين عاماً فقط.

1. كما لا بدّ أن نتذكر، في هذا السياق، أن أسباب القلق الأميركي من مواجهة العملاق الاقتصادي الصيني، ومعه روسيا والهند مستقبلاً، لا تقتصر على مظاهر القوة الاقتصادية الصينية الروسية الهندية الحاليّة وإنما تصل الى الخوف من الإمكانيات المستقبلية وعدم وجود أي فرصه، لا للولايات المتحدة ولا للاتحاد الأوروبي للإبقاء على سياسة الهيمنة على مقدرات العالم، كما كان عليه الوضع حتى الآن. اذ ان روسيا تمتلك 40 من احتياطات العالم اجمع من كل شيء، سواء النفط او الغاز او المعادن او الثروات الطبيعية الأخرى مثل الخشب… فإذا أضفنا الفائض المالي الصيني وما يعنيه ذلك من إمكانات استثمار هائلة مضافة اليها العقول والأسواق الهندية الى الثروات الروسية، فإننا لا بد ان نصل الى الحقيقة القائلة، بأن استمرار الولايات المتحدة في إنكار الهزيمة والحفاظ على مستوى انتشارها العسكري الحالي، على صعيد العالم، سوف يؤدي الى نهاية الولايات المتحدة بالضربة القاضية وليس بالتفكك التدريجي الذي توقعته مجلة ذي ناشيونال انترست الأميركية، قبل ايّام على موقعها الالكتروني، بتاريخ 12/10/2019، إذ توقعت أن يحصل ذلك في حدود عام 2045.

2. اذن فالأزمة أعمق من أن يحلها نائب الرئيس الأميركي، في زيارة عابرة الى تركيا، ولا هي قابلة للحل من خلال عدوان أردوغان على شمال شرق سورية، والذي من أهم مسبباته محاولة اردوغان إشغال جنرالات الجيش التركي في مشاكل حدودية للتغطية على قيامه باعتقال المئات من زملائهم والزجّ بهم في السجون خلال السنوات الثلاث الماضية.

وهذا يعني أن جوهر المأزق الأميركي هو جوهر بنيوي انعكس في صورة سلسلة هزائم، منذ بداية القرن الحالي وحتى اليوم، وكذلك الأمر في موضوع العلاقة الأميركية. فطبيعة الأزمة اكثر بنيوية من ان تكون أزمة او خلافاً بسبب موضوع محدد، مثل العدوان الأردوغاني على سورية او شراء منظومات الصواريخ الروسية او غير ذلك.

إنها أزمة خيارات تشير الى أن تركيا قد تكون بدأت تخط استراتيجية جديدة لتنجو بجلدها وتضمن مستقبلها بعيداً عن النهاية القاتمة للمعسكر الذي تنتمي له. وقد يكون هذ اهو السبب بالذات، الذي جعلها لم تعد محل ثقة الولايات المتحدة، التي ترى في التوجهات التركية الجديدة التفاهمات مع روسيا وايران حول سورية والسيل الجنوبي للغاز الروسي وشراء منظومات الصواريخ الروسية… قرائن وأدلة على أن تركيا لم تعد محل ثقة ولا بد من تدميرها.

وهذا ما يفسر سيل التهديدات الأميركية لها بفرض أقسى العقوبات عليها.

إنها السنن الكونية للتغيير.

ولن تجد لسنة الله تبديلا.

بعدنا طيبين، قولوا الله.

Related

إيران على رأس لائحة القوى الإقليمية !

أكتوبر 5, 2019

د. وفيق ابراهيم

أربعة عقود بدت كافية لتنتقل إيران من جمهورية اسلامية تتعرض لحروب ومقاطعات وحصار وبشكل متواصل الى دولة إقليمية وازنة تجيد الدفاع عن مسألتين: أراضيها وتحالفاتها وبالتالي إقليميتها.

لم تصل إيران الى هذا النجاح إلا بعد صراع مفتوح ومستمر مع الولايات المتحدة الأميركية التي استهدفتها منذ اعلان جمهوريتها الإسلامية في 1979، حتى استنفدت كامل آلياتها بدءاً من العراق في مرحلة 1980 1988 ومصر والسعودية و»إسرائيل» وتركيا وباكستان.

اليوم بعد 40 عاماً على ولادة جمهوريتها الإسلامية تشارك إيران اواخر هذا الشهر مع روسيا والصين في مناورات بحرية في المحيط الهندي المتصل ببحري الأحمر والخليج بما يشبه رسالة حادة لمن يهمه الأمر بولادة ائتلاف بين القطبين الروسي والصيني اللذين دخلا في نظام القوة الاساسية في العالم في اطار معادلة متعددة الرؤوس وبين إيران التي تمكنت من التربع على أعلى الدرجات في لائحة الدول الإقليمية في الشرق الاوسط.

كيف احتلت الجمهورية هذا الموقع؟

التأكيد على تميّزها، ليس مديحاً انشائياً ليس له ما يعادله، والدليل بدأ مع الحرب العراقية التي شنها الرئيس العراقي السابق صدام حسين عليها لثماني سنوات متتالية 1980 1988 مستغلاً حالة الضعف والإرباك التي عاشها بعد سقوط دولة الشاه في 1979.

اما خصائص هذه الحرب فعراقيتها عسكرياً وتغطيتها الأميركية وتمويلها الخليجي الكامل والتأييد العربي الإسرائيلي لها. سورية بمفردها وقفت ضد هذه الحرب، لكن إيران نجت بدفاع مستميت استلزم أعواماً ثمانية حتى دحرت العراقيين الى بلادهم في معارك عنيفة أوقفها الخميني عند حدود بلاده مع العراق.

وهكذا أسقطت إيران مشروعاً صدامياً كان يريد دوراً لبلاده في الإقليم.

كما منعت إيران مصر من نشر ثقافة الاستسلام باتفاق كمب ديفيد الذي عقدته مع «إسرائيل» 1979 فمولت وسلحت قوى فلسطينية ولبنانية مقاومة. ودخلت بشكل مباشر للدفاع عن عراق ما بعد صدام في وجه إرهاب مدعوم من تركيا وعالمياً وأميركياً فنجحت مع القوى العراقية المتحالفة معها في دحره وتحقيق توازن لمصلحتها في عراق لا يزال قسمٌ منه محتلاً من الأميركيين.

بذلك أعادت التوازن الى القضية الفلسطينية وحالت دون القضاء عليها، هذا بالإضافة الى دعمها المباشر لسورية تمويلياً وعسكرياً واستشارياً في وجه إرهاب دولي بمئات آلاف المسلحين 2001 2019.

لقد تمكنت إيران الإسلامية في الحروب على الارهاب من القضاء على ادوار قوتين إقليميتين هما تركيا و»إسرائيل» كما اصابت الدور الإقليمي السعودي في لبنان وسورية والعراق ومنعته من التمدد نحو الداخل الإيراني، كما كان يخطط ولي العهد محمد بن سلمان.

هناك اذاً دولٌ كانت تتمتع بأدوار إقليمية اساسية في الشرق الاوسط، وهي مصر والعراق والسعودية وتركيا تراجعت لمصلحة تقدم الدور الإيراني.

هذا الى جانب المجابهة الإيرانية الإسرائيلية في ميادين سورية والعراق والتي انتهت بدورها او على وشك ان تنتهي بعجز إسرائيلي عن إحداث اي تغيير في معادلة المنطقة.

لجهة تركيا فتحاول إيران استيعابها بتنظيم التباين في وجهات نظريهما في سورية والعراق، مقابل التعاون في وجه الحصار الأميركي المستهدف للبلدين معاً.

فلا يتبقى إلا باكستان من الدول القادرة على أداء دور إقليمي في الشرق الاوسط، لكنها تجنح تاريخياً لأداء هذه الادوار في آسيا الوسطى وتخشى من تحالف إيراني مع الهند العدو اللدود لباكستان.

لذلك اعتمدت إيران لتحييد باكستان النووية الخاضعة للنفوذ الأميركي وذات العلاقة المميّزة بالسعودية على عناصر عدة لمنع استغلال باكستان في حصارها.

أول هذه العناصر هو الغاز الإيراني الذي تستورد باكستان منه كميات كبيرة، الى جانب التبادل الاقتصادي بينهما الذي يصل الى 15 مليار دولار، أما العناصر الأخرى فتعرضهما المشترك لأخطار قومية «البلوش» الموجودين في مناطق حدودية بين البلدين ويريدون الانفصال عن إيران وباكستان. هذا بالاضافة الى ان 30 في المئة من الباكستانيين هم من الشيعة.

لذلك فضلت باكستان عدم الانجرار في إطار الخطة الأميركية السعودية لمهاجمة إيران. واكتفت بحياد دقيق حرصاً على أمنها الخارجي والداخلي.

بذلك تكون الجمهورية الإسلامية استهلكت بالكامل معظم الآليات الشرق اوسطية العاملة في اطار الخطة الأميركية، وهي مصر والسعودية وعراق صدام وتركيا و»إسرائيل» وباكستان. وهذا لا يعني انها انهتها كافة في المنطقة، لكنها استوعبت خطرها بوسائل عسكرية وسياسية واقتصادية واسهمت بتشكل حلف كبير يساندها من افغانستان الى اليمن فالعراق وسورية ولبنان.

فهل يمكن نسيان إسقاطها طائرة مسيرة أميركية واحتجازها بارجة بريطانية ونجاح حلفائها اليمنيين في تفجير مصافي أرامكو وتحرير 500 كيلومتر مربع في أعالي الحدود اليمنية، وسيطرة حلفائها في العراق وسورية ولبنان على السياسة في بلدانهم.

في إطار هذه المعطيات التي تؤكد على الدور الإقليمي الكبير لإيران وتفوقها على المنافسين، يمكن استيعاب اسباب الإصرار الروسي الصيني على التحالف مع إيران وتنظيم مناورات عسكرية معها في المحيط الهندي.

وهذا اعتراف واضح بنجاح الجمهورية الإسلامية في تثبيت دور إقليمي كبير يقف غير بعيد عن أبواب القوى العالمية المتعددة القطب، في معظم القارات التي أصبحت متيقنة من أن إيران باب رئيسي وازن للشرق الأوسط الجديد

We are all hostages of 9/11

Pakistanis raise their weapons in the border town of Bajour as they shout anti-US slogans before leaving for Afghanistan in October 2001. Thousands from this tribal area go to join the Taliban in its ‘holy war’ against the US. Photo: AFP /Tariq Mahmood

September 11, 2019

BWe are all hostages of 9/11y Pepe Escobar – Posted with permission

After years of reporting on the Great War on Terror, many questions behind the US attacks remain unresolved

Afghanistan was bombed and invaded because of 9/11. I was there from the start, even before 9/11. On August 20, 2001, I interviewed commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, the “Lion of the Panjshir,” who told me about an “unholy alliance” of the Taliban, al-Qaeda and the ISI (Pakistani intel).

Back in Peshawar, I learned that something really big was coming: my article was published by Asia Times on August 30. Commander Massoud was killed on September 9: I received a terse email from a Panjshir source, only stating, “the commander has been shot.” Two days later, 9/11 happened.

And yet, the day before, none other than Osama bin Laden, in person, was in a Pakistani hospital in Rawalpindi, receiving treatment, as CBS reported. Bin Laden was proclaimed the perpetrator already at 11am on 9/11 – with no investigation whatsoever. It should have been not exactly hard to locate him in Pakistan and “bring him to justice.”

In December 2001 I was in Tora Bora tracking bin Laden – under B-52 bombers and side by side with Pashtun mujahideen. Later, in 2011, I would revisit the day bin Laden vanished forever.

One year after 9/11, I was back in Afghanistan for an in-depth investigation of the killing of Massoud. By then it was possible to establish a Saudi connection: the letter of introduction for Massoud’s killers, who posed as journalists, was facilitated by commander Sayyaf, a Saudi asset.

Saudi-born alleged terror mastermind Osama bin Laden is seen in a video taken at a secret site in Afghanistan. This was aired by Al-Jazeera on Oct. 7, 2001, the day the US launched bombing of terrorist camps, airbases and air defense installations in its campaign against the Taliban for sheltering bin Laden. Photo: AFP

For three years my life revolved around the Global War on Terror; most of the time I lived literally on the road, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, the Persian Gulf and Brussels. At the start of ‘Shock and Awe’ on Iraq, in March 2003, Asia Times published my in-depth investigation of which neo-cons concocted the war on Iraq.

In 2004, roving across the US, I re-traced the Taliban’s trip to Texas, and how a top priority, since the Clinton years all the way to the neo-cons, was about what I had baptized as “Pipelineistan” – in this case how to build the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, bypassing Iran and Russia, and extending US control of Central and South Asia.

Later on, I delved into the hard questions the 9/11 Commission never asked, and how Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign was totally conditioned by and dependent on 9/11.

Michael Ruppert, a CIA whistleblower, who may – or may not – have committed suicide in 2014, was a top 9/11 analyst. We exchanged a lot of information, and always emphasized the same points: Afghanistan was all about (existent) heroin and (non-existent) pipelines.

In 2011, the late, great Bob Parry would debunk more Afghanistan lies. And in 2017, I would detail a top reason why the US will never leave Afghanistan: the heroin rat line.

Now, President Trump may have identified a possible Afghan deal – which the Taliban, who control two-thirds of the country, are bound to refuse, as it allows withdrawal of only 5,000 out of 13,000 US troops. Moreover, the US ‘Deep State’ is absolutely against any deal, as well as India and the rickety government in Kabul.

But Pakistan and China are in favor, especially because Beijing plans to incorporate Kabul into the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and have Afghanistan admitted as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, thus attaching the Hindu Kush and the Khyber Pass to the ongoing Eurasia integration process.

Praying for a Pearl

Eighteen years after the game-changing fact, we all remain hostages of 9/11. US neocons, gathered at the Project for the New American Century, had been praying for a “Pearl Harbor” to reorient US foreign policy since 1997. Their prayers were answered beyond their wildest dreams.

Already in The Grand Chessboard, also published in 1997, former National Security Adviser and Trilateral Commission co-founder Zbigniew Brzezinski, nominally not a neocon, had pointed out that the American public “supported America’s engagement in World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.”

So, Brzezinski added, America “may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat.”

As an attack on the homeland, 9/11 generated the Global War on Terror, launched at 11pm on the same day, initially christened “The Long War” by the Pentagon, later sanitized as Overseas Contingency Operations by the Obama administration. This cost trillions of dollars, killed over half a million people and branched out into illegal wars against seven Muslim nations – all justified on “humanitarian grounds” and allegedly supported by the “international community.”

Year after year, 9/11 is essentially a You Have The Right to Accept Only The Official Version ritual ceremony, even as widespread evidence suggests the US government knew 9/11 would happen and did not stop it.

Three days after 9/11, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that in June 2001, German intelligence warned the CIA that Middle East terrorists were “planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture.”

In August 2001, President Putin ordered Russian intel to tell the US government “in the strongest possible terms” of imminent attacks on airports and government buildings, MSNBC revealed in an interview with Putin that was broadcast on September 15 that year.

No US government agency has released any information on who used foreknowledge of 9/11 in the financial markets. The US Congress did not even raise the issue. In Germany, investigative financial journalist Lars Schall has been working for years on a massive study detailing to a great extent insider trading before 9/11.

While NORAD sleeps

Discrediting the official, immutable 9/11 narrative remains the ultimate taboo. Hundreds of architects and engineers engaged in meticulous technical debunking of all aspects of 9/11’s official story are summarily dismissed as “conspiracy theorists.”

In contrast, skepticism rooted in Greek and Latin tradition came up with arguably the best documentary on 9/11: Zero, an Italian production. Just as arguably the most stimulating book on 9/11 is also Italian: The Myth of September 11, by Roberto Quaglia, which offers a delicately nuanced narrative of 9/11 as a myth structured as a movie. The book became a huge hit in Eastern Europe.

Serious questions suggest quite plausible suspects to be investigated regarding 9/11, far more than 19 Arabs with box cutters. Ten years ago, in Asia Times, I asked 50 questions, some of them extremely detailed, about 9/11. After reader demand and suggestions, I added 20 more. None of these questions were convincingly addressed – not to mention answered – by the official narrative.

World public opinion is directed to believe that on the morning of 9/11 four airliners, presumably hijacked by 19 Arabs with box cutters, traveled undisturbed – for two hours – across the most controlled airspace on the planet, which is supervised by the most devastating military apparatus ever.

American Airlines Flight 11 deviated from its path at 8.13am and crashed into the first World Trade Center tower at 8.57am. Only at 8.46am did NORAD – the North American Aerospace Defense Command – order that two intercepting F-15s take off from Otis military base.

A hijacked commercial plane crashes into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 in New York. Photo: AFP / Set McAllister

By a curious coincidence a Pentagon war game was in effect on the morning of 9/11 – so air-controllers’ radars may have registered only ‘ghost signals’ of nonexistent aircraft simulating an air attack. Well, it was much more complicated than that, as demonstrated by professional pilots.

‘Angel was next’

World public opinion is also directed to believe that a Boeing 757 – with a wingspan of 38 meters – managed to penetrate the Pentagon through a six-meter-wide hole and at the height of the first floor. A Boeing 757 with landing gear is 13 meters high. Airliners electronically refuse to crash – so it’s quite a feat to convince one to fly five to 10 meters above the ground, landing gear on, at a lightning speed of 800 kilometers an hour.

According to the official narrative, the Boeing 757 literally pulverized itself. Yet even after pulverization, it managed to perforate six walls of three rings of the Pentagon, leaving a two-meter wide hole in the last wall but only slightly damaging the second and third rings. The official narrative is that the hole was caused by the plane’s nose – still quite hard even after pulverization. Yet the rest of the plane – a mass of 100 tons traveling at 800 kilometers an hour – miraculously stopped at the first ring.

All that happened under the stewardship of one Hani Hanjour, who three weeks before had been judged by his flight instructors to be incapable of piloting a Cessna. Hanjour, nonetheless, managed to accomplish an ultra-fast spiral descent at 270 degrees, aligning at a maximum 10 meters above ground, minutely calibrating the trajectory, and keeping a cruise speed of roughly 800 kilometers an hour.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers, left, and US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld brief reporters at the Pentagon on Oct. 8, 2001 following the US bombing raids on Afghanistan in response to 9/11 attacks. Photo: AFP / Luke Frazza

At 9.37am, Hanjour hit precisely the Pentagon’s budget analysts’ office, where everyone was busy working on the mysterious disappearance of no less than $2.3 trillion that Defense Secretary Donald “Known Unknowns” Rumsfeld, in a press conference the day before, said could not be tracked. So, it’s not only Boeings that get pulverized inside the Pentagon.

World public opinion is also directed to believe that Newtonian physics was suspended as a special bonus for WTC 1 and 2 on 9/11 (not to mention WTC 7, which was not even hit by any plane). The slower WTC tower took 10 seconds to fall 411 meters, starting from immobility. So it fell at 148 kilometers an hour. Considering the initial acceleration time, it was a free fall, not the least impeded by 47 massive, vertical steel beams that composed the tower’s structural heart.

World public opinion is also directed to believe that United Airlines Flight 93 – 150 tons of aircraft with 45 people, 200 seats, luggage, a wingspan of 38 meters – crashed in a field in Pennsylvania and also literally pulverized itself, totally disappearing inside a hole six meters by three meters wide and only two meters deep.

Suddenly, Air Force One was “the only plane in the sky.” Colonel Mark Tillman, who was on board, recalled: “We get this report that there’s a call saying ‘Angel’ was next. No one really knows now where the comment came from – it got mistranslated or garbled amid the White House, the Situation Room, the radio operators. ‘Angel’ was our code name. The fact that they knew about ‘Angel,’ well, you had to be in the inner circle.”

This means that 19 Arabs with box cutters, and most of all their handlers, surely must have been “in the inner circle.” Inevitably, this was never fully investigated.

Already in 1997, Brzezinski had warned,

“it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America.”

In the end, much to the despair of US neocons, all the combined sound and fury of 9/11 and the Global War on Terror/Overseas Contingency Operations, in less than two decades, ended up metastasized into not only a challenger but a Russia-China strategic partnership. This is the real “enemy” – not al-Qaeda, a flimsy figment of the CIA’s imagination, rehabilitated and sanitized as “moderate rebels” in Syria.

 

New World Order in Meltdown, But Russia Stronger Than Ever

New World Order in Meltdown, But Russia Stronger Than Ever

August 30, 2019

by Jon Hellevig for The Saker Blog

Last week was full of portentous events. Only somebody who has not been awake for the last few years will fail to realize how these at first sight unconnected events are part of the same matrix. There was the ever louder talk in mainstream media about an approaching global recession, inverted yield curves and the negative yields, which tell us that the Western financial system is basically in coma and kept alive only by generous IV injections of central bank liquidity. By now it has dawned on people that the central bankers acting as central planners in a command economy and printing money (aka quantitative easing) to fuel asset bubbles are about to wipe off the last vestiges of what used to be a market economy.

Then we saw Trump taking new twitter swipes at China in his on-and-off “great trade deal” and the stock markets moving like a roller coaster in reaction to each new twitter salvo. Also, we had both Trump and Macron sweet talking about getting Russia back and again renaming their club G8. Last Tuesday at a G7 presser in Biarritz, the Rothschild groomed Macron took it one step further opening up about the reasons why they all of a sudden longed for friendship with Russia: “We are living the end of Western hegemony.” In the same series, Britain’s new government under Boris Johnson was telling his colleagues in Biarritz that he is now decisively going for a no-deal Brexit, after which he went back to London and staged a coup d’état by suspending parliament to ensure no elected opposition interfered with it.

Perhaps the weirdest news to crown it all, came from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where the Western central bankers were holed up for their annual retreat. The president of Bank of England Mark Carney shocked everybody (at least those not present) by announcing that the US dollar was past its best-before and should be replaced with something the central bankers have up their sleeves.

The New World Order is in its death throes

What these events have in common is that they amount to an admission that the globalist New World Order project in its present form is dead, or at least in its death throes. It has bumped its head against an impenetrable Sino-Russian wall of resistance. The heated totalitarian propaganda against Russia since 2001 (when the NWO realized that Putin wasn’t their man); regime change and color revolutions in neighboring countries; attempts at Maidan style coups in Moscow; and finally the sanctions since 2014 were key to the Anglo-Zionist empires strategy. They needed to take over either China or Russia to gain absolute world hegemony. Taking over either one, they would have checkmated the remaining one, and after that the entire world. They rightly deemed Russia as the weaker piece and went all out in that direction. The NWO wanted to take advantage of Russia’s weakness in form of its Western minded comprador class and a shell-shocked liberal intelligentsia (dominating media, culture and business, just like in Hong Kong, BTW), which is constitutional uncapable of thinking with their own brains to liberate themselves from Soviet era stereotypes (“Soviet Union/Russia bad, West good”).

They then figured that economic and cultural sanctions (e.g. Olympic ban) coupled with doubling down on the propaganda would break the country. Luckily, the Russian narod, the common people saw through it all and would not play along with the enemy. At the same time, Russia paraded its resurrected military in Crimea and Syria as well as its formidable new hypersonic doomsday weapons. The military option to take over Russia was not in the cards any longer.

Russian economy from strength to strength

And the Russian economy. Believing their own propaganda, they had got that totally wrong. Endlessly repeating their own self-serving talking points they must have truly fancied that Russia’s economy amounted to nothing else than export of fossil fuels, that “Russia’s economy is the size of Holland’s,” that “Russia does not produce anything,” and that Russia was “nothing but a gas station with nukes” (somehow managing to ignore the significance of the nukes part). I seriously believe, that the propaganda had become so complete that the Western leaders and the intelligence people actually had come to adapt their own propaganda as the truth. What is for sure, is that all Western media, including what should be the most respected business journals and all those think tanks, had not published one honest appraisal of the Russian economy in 15 years. Every single piece I read over the years had clearly been written with the aim to denigrate Russia’s achievements and economic development. Nowhere to be found were reports on how Putin by 2013 had totally overhauled the economy transforming Russia into the most self-sufficient diversified major country in the world with all the capabilities of the foremost industrial powers. In fact, I tend to think that even the US presidents from Bush to Obama were fed in their intelligence briefings cooked up fake reports about the Russian economy and the whole nation. Actually, I would go one step further. I bet that the CIA itself in the end believed the propaganda it had given birth to. (It has been said that at some point the genuine Russia analysts had all been dismissed or demoted and replaced with a team specializing in anti-Russian propaganda).

But actually all the data was there in plain view. I myself took the trouble to compile a report on the real conditions of Russia’s economy fresh at the onset of the 2014 crisis. In the report, I set out to show that Russia indeed had modernized and diversified its economy; that it had a vibrant manufacturing industry in addition to its energy and minerals sector; and that its budget revenues and economy at large were not at all as dependent on oil and gas as it was claimed. Among other things, we pointed out that Russia’s industrial production had by then grown more than 50% (between 2000 and 2013) while having undergone a total modernization at the same time. In the same period, production of food had surged by 100% and exports had skyrocketed by almost 400%, outdoing all major Western countries. Even the growth of exports of other than oil and gas products had been 250%.

The gist of the study https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/putin-midterm-interim-results/ may be summarized with this quote from it: “The crisis-torn economy battered by years of robber capitalism and anarchy of the 1990’s, which Putin inherited in 2000, has now reached sufficient maturity to justify a belief that Russia can make the industrial breakthrough that the President has announced.” Events have borne out this insight. And it is therefore that Russia won the sanctions battle.

The report represented an appeal to the Western leaders to give up on their vain hope of destroying Russia through their sanctions and risking nuclear war at it. Russia was invincible even in this respect. For that purpose I expressly added this missive in the introduction to the report:

“We strongly believe that everyone benefits from knowing the true state of Russia’s economy, its real track record over the past decade, and its true potential. Having knowledge of the actual state of affairs is equally useful for the friends and foes of Russia, for investors, for the Russian population – and indeed for its government, which has not been very vocal in telling about the real progress. I think there is a great need for accurate data on Russia, especially among the leaders of its geopolitical foes. Correct data will help investors to make a profit. And correct data will help political leaders to maintain peace. Knowing that Russia is not the economic basket case that it is portrayed to be would help to stave off the foes from the collision course with Russia they have embarked on.”

A follow-up report https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/russian-economy-2014-2016-the-years-of-sanctions-warfare/ of June 2017 covering the sanctions years 2014 – 2016, showed how Russia went from strength to strength never mind the Western attempts at isolation. This report stressed that Russia’s economy had now become the most diversified in the world making Russia the most self-sufficient country on this earth.

In this report we exposed the single biggest error of the propaganda driven Russia analysis. This was the ridiculous belief that Russia supposedly was totally dependent on oil and gas just because those commodities made up the bulk of the country’s exports. Confusing exports with the total economy, they had foolishly confused the share of oil and gas in total exports – which was and remains at the level of 60% – with the share of these commodities of the total economy. In 2013 the share of oil and gas of Russia’s GDP was 12% (today 10%). Had the “experts” cared to take a closer look they would have realized that on the other side of the equation Russia’s imports were by far the lowest (as a share of GDP) of all major countries. The difference here is that while Russia does not export a great deal of manufactured goods, it produces by far a bigger share of those for the domestic market than any other country in the whole world. Taking the 60% of exports to stand for the whole economy was how the “Russia produces nothing” meme was created.

Finally in a November 2018 report https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/russian-economy-strong-and-stable/#chapter2, I could declare that Russia had won hands down the sanctions war having emerged from it as a quadruple superpower: industrial superpower, agricultural superpower, military superpower and geopolitical superpower.

Macron et co. realizes that Russia actually is a superpower

These facts have now finally dawned on certain key stakeholders of the globalist regime can be discerned from the fact that they have tasked their handpicked puppet president Macron to make up with Russia. Trump has got the same assignment, which is evident from the siren calls of the two leaders in Putin’s address. Both want to invite Putin to their future G7-8 get-togethers.

As it was said, Macron went as far as unilaterally capitulating and declaring the decline of the West. He went on to spell out that the reason for this spectacular geopolitical about-face was the rise of the Beijing – Moscow (de facto) alliance that has caused a terminal shift on the world scene. Curiously, he also openly blamed the errors of the United States for the dire state of affairs pointing out that “not just the current administration” were to be blamed. No doubt, the foremost of these errors, Macron had in mind, was the alienation of Russia and pushing the country into the warm embrace of China. It is quite clear, that this is what they want to remedy, snatch the bear back from the dragon. Fortunately, that won’t happen. Good if there will be rapprochement and good if the West will try, but after all what Russia has learnt by now it will not sell out on China under any circumstances. I think Putin and the Russian powers that be have clearly opted for a multipolar world order. That is definitely not what Macron’s and Trump’s employers have in mind but let them try.

Until Trump took office, the strategy of the US regime had been to pursue only Russia in its geopolitical ambitions, but by then it had dawned on them that Russia was invincible especially in the de facto alliance with China. In a sign of desperation, the empire then opened big time another front with China. Essentially going from bad to worse.

The world order is being shaken like never before

“The world order is being shaken like never before…”, that’s another quote from Macron. Obviously, it refers to the military and geopolitical strengths of the Sino-Russian alliance, but certainly also to the economic shifts as the West has lost – and will keep losing – its economic domination. This brings us back to Mark Carney of Bank of England and his unprecedented attack on the US dollar (*1) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-24/why-mark-carney-thinks-dollar-can-no-longer-be-worlds-reserve-currency arguing that it was time to end its global reserve currency status. As one option Carney brought up that the major Western central banks would instead issue a digital cryptocurrency. That is to say, a NWO currency controlled by the central banks. That would effectively mean the replacement of the Federal Reserve cartel with a cartel of the Western central banks (the Fed obviously being a part of it). That’s yet one step further north from any kind of democratic control and a giant step towards world government.

What could possibly have prompted such a radical US hegemony puncturing idea to be put forward? One reason obviously is that the Western economies really are in that extreme critical condition that more and more analysts caution about. (We shall look at the economic facts further down). There’s a very real possibility that we will be hit by a doomsday recession. What’s sure is that Carney’s bizarre speech could possibly not have occurred in a normal economic environment (any more than Macron’s admission that the Western hegemony is done with). According to Zerohedge (*2) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-26/things-will-never-be-same-again-here-are-20-questions-central-banks-admit-defeat Financial Times, the party organ of the globalist elite, admitted as much in its report on the Jackson Hole meeting. The central bankers “acknowledged they had reached a turning point in the way they viewed the global system. They cannot rely on the tools they used before the financial crisis to shape the economic environment, and the US can no longer be considered a predictable actor in economic or trade policy — even though there is no imminent replacement for the US dollar in sight.” There was an effective admission that the central bankers had run out of tricks to pull the economies out of the everything-bubble mess, not to mention the looming doomsday recession. According to FT, Carney went as far as flashing the war card saying: “past instances of very low rates have tended to coincide with high risk events such as wars, financial crises, and breaks in the monetary regime.” On the one hand this can be seen as an admission on how deeply tormented they are about the financial situation and what could happen when it comes crashing down. On the other hand, it can be seen as a sales pitch, “only we can fix it, trust us, give us a carte blanche.” Or more probably, both.

Note from above Carney saying: “the US can no longer be considered a predictable actor in economic or trade policy.” Bank of England President here directly attacking President Trump.

And just a couple of days later William Dudley an ex-president of New York Federal Reserve Bank (the most influential of the 12 federal reserve banks that comprise the Federal Reserve System) followed up on a direct attack on Trump. But as they say about spies, there are no ex-spies, and I would think the same applies for the global financial elite. And yes indeed, Dudley is a card carrying member of the Council of Foreign Relations. Dudley had penned an op-ed for Bloomberg titled “The Fed Shouldn’t Enable Donald Trump.” (*3) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-28/member-elite-bill-dudley-could-open-can-worms-quite-staggering , where he openly lobbies for the Fed to deliberately damage the economy in order to neutralize the policies (namely trade wars) of the sitting president and prevent his reelection chances by willfully ruining the economy.

One thing is for sure, the elite is desperate and in serious disarray. Very probable that the elite is split, too. It seems as if there were two globalist factions competing with each other and wanting to follow vastly different strategies. One faction supports Trump and the other is against him. Possibly, one that wants to do things with force and another that wants to gain by stealth. That could be Pentagon and the military-industrial complex vs. the financial elite, who also owns the media. My argument does not hinge on the veracity of those division lines, but that some rupture exists among the elites must be taken for granted, otherwise Trump would have been ousted by now with all that pressure on him.

To summarize this introduction. The Western world is in turmoil: the previous overwhelming geopolitical domination is gone and over with; military solutions against the main adversaries – China and Russia – are off the books; hybrid wars against them have failed; China and Russia are economically stronger than ever, too strong for the adversary; and to boot the domestic Western economies are in extraordinary bad shape, risking a depression of epic proportions.

Further down in this report, I will look at the one aspect of the question I am best equipped to handle, namely the economy. I will outline just in how bad shape the Western debt-fueled casino economies are. Having that as the background, I will then show how surprisingly strong the Russian economy is, at least in comparison with the Western gambling nations. Most importantly, Russia is virtually debtless, and that’s really the clue to survival in this extraordinary economic environment. In addition to the solid finances, Russia has other things going for it, too, as we will see below. I will not provide comparative data on China. One reason for that is, that China is not an economic risk. China does not have the debt problem that it is frequently touted in Western press to have. China, as the world’s number one export country, would of course take a hit in a serious global crisis, but that would not kill the economy. Although, China is the biggest exporter, there has been a shift from export-led growth towards domestic investment and consumption. The share of exports of goods and services in the country’s GDP was by 2018 down to 19.5%, half of the 2006 peak of 36%. On the contrary, the Chinese economy would stay vivid and therefore also help to sustain Russia’s exports.

I may add as one more piece of background, that it is my firm belief that the approaching economic disaster has long been evident to the central bankers and the globalist elite decision makers. Most likely the game plan was to establish the absolute world hegemony – which they not long ago thought was within early reach – and then after that deal with the debts as they saw fit as democratic dissent would not matter a bit anymore by then. That’s why they felt confident in building up the asset bubbles to carry them over to the final solution. Reminds me about a story told about Moscow’s so-called Khrushchyovka tenement buildings. These are low-cost three- to five-storied houses built quickly and cheap during the Khrushchev era to address the dire housing shortages of the 1960s. According to the story, the planners knew they would serve only for a few decades, but that would not matter all that much because by that time there would be Communism and everything would be perfect anyway. No Communism materialized, but presently the Moscow government under Mayor Sobyanin has initiated a program to tear them all down and erect new buildings where flats with title will be given for free to house the 1.5 million present residents of those buildings slated for replacement. – Well, that’s sort of Communism, isn’t it? – This kind of wishful thinking must have kept the globalist elite going, too. Unfortunately for the dreamers, though, their plans hit a snag in form of Russia and China.

Central bank fueled asset bubbles

Russia is low in debt, but you can’t say the same about the US and other Western nations. And that debt really is what got the world in the present mess and brought it teetering on the brink of financial collapse. Since the late 80s, the US central bank, the Federal Reserve under Alan Greenspan developed an addiction to cure any downward tick on Wall Street with easy credit, eventually requiring after every downturn ever bigger central bank liquidity injections to keep the stock indices on a growth curve. Greenspan was experimenting with a policy aimed at creating a “wealth effect” aka “trickle-down.” The idea being that Wall Street bankers and big corporations be stuffed with all the free money they can swallow for the purpose of keeping stock and bond prices high. The theoretical frame told that doing so something would eventually trickle down to the real economy, and everybody would live happily ever after. After stocks and bonds, Greenspan’s wealth effect policy was addressed to inflate home prices and all real estate with that. That was the road that eventually led to the 2008 subprime loan crisis, which took down Lehman Brothers and then all of Wall Street and the whole global economy.

But Wall Street recovered soon, because Greenspan’s successor Ben Bernanke had set forth to blow up an even bigger asset bubble. And the Europeans followed suit. The Fed fueled the market frenzy with creating money out of thin air (aka quantitative easing) in favor of governments, banks and corporations to the tune of $3.5 trillion in the decade following the 2008 collapse.

The European Central Bank has done the same for Europe in volumes more than 2.5 trillion euro to date. All the other Western central banks joined the gambling by flooding the markets with fiat money at same levels relatively speaking.

But anyway this astronomic leverage and the humongous budget deficits of the Western countries didn’t get the real economy anywhere. They have blown up asset bubbles of phantasmagorical proportions with preciously little trickle-down. Since the pre-crash peak in October 2007, the broadest US stock index (Wilshire 5000) has gained 95% (on top of covering the nearly 60% crash from in between). In the same 12-year period industrial production (manufacturing, mining, energy, utilities) has grown only 5% combined over all those years. (*4) https://www.deepstatedeclassified.com/heres-what-happens-when-the-fed-cuts-rates/ Deduct – the in itself lossmaking – shale oil and gas and there is barely no growth left in the 12 years. In fact, the US manufacturing sector was in June still 1.6% below the pre-crisis peak in December 2007. (*5) https://www.deepstatedeclassified.com/industrial-production-is-punk/ So we have a 5% gain in the most important part of the real economy vs. 95% in stock market gambling. The absurdity of the stock market growth is further evidenced by the gap between growth of real final sales and stock valuations since 2007 peak. Since then, the former has grown on an average 1.6% per year, while the stock market has delivered annualized growth at levels of 15%. Total industrial production share of the GDP in the US has sunk to 18%. (For comparison, the figure for Russia was 32% and growing.)

Trickle-down, anyone?

It would be false to claim there has not been any trickle-down at all. Millions of people have kept their jobs because of it. But at the same time they have had their real wages squeezed and the overwhelming majority have seen their standards of living drop. Only massive loads of consumer credits and ultra-cheap mortgages have kept up an illusion of superficial prosperity among the middle classes. This debt-fueled prosperity and it’s cursory result, the artificial real estate asset bubble will prove a wolf in sheep’s clothing when the everything-bubble bursts.

There’s been another form of trickle-down, too, a much more real and actually beneficial one. By creating the debt-fueled illusion of prosperity, the Western central banks have actually subsidized China, Russia and all of the emerging world as they have flushed their export goods on the global markets where the Western nations have picked it all up on borrowed money. Thanks for that, though. At the same time, that has driven production costs up in the West with the consequence that their own industries have been priced out.

The humongous borrowings fail to produce GDP growth

Every year since the last bout of the crisis in 2008, growth of debt in the national economies of each Western country has far exceeded the growth of economic output measured as GDP. Below chart shows just how bad it has been in the US.

The debt and GDP growth curves started to diverge in the late 70s, but from 2000 debt has spiraled out of control delivering preciously little incremental GDP. Deduct the wasteful debt and wasteful spending and there would be no growth whatsoever.

Not only has there been no real GDP growth but even the nominal growth has to a crucial extent been provided for by means of the enormous government borrowings. We see from below table that that in each year from 2008 to 2017 even the nominal GDP growth has been less than the growth of government debt, with 2015 and 2015 as the only exceptions when they were on par.

In the peak crisis years 2008 and 2009, debt growth was a staggering 5.7 and 6.3 times that of GDP growth.

The debt game has been equally miserable all over the West, perhaps with the only exception of Germany, who has wisely refrained from participating, even when egged on by liberal economists calling Germany’s more prudent policy unfair to the gambling nations. Below chart shows how much more the Western governments have borrowed than produced economic growth. The chart covers years 2004 to 2013, but the trend has been the same ever since. GDP growth has been vastly less than the growth of the colossal debtberg.

Note Russia there as the shining exception.

Below chart ranks countries according to their debt burden relative to GDP. And again you see how debtless Russia is compared with the squandering nations.

These charts concerned only government debt, when we add private debt to it, the picture is doubly worse. From the point of view of a national economy it really doesn’t matter in which form the excess debt expands, public or private. In fact, on an average in the West the situation with household debt is equally dire. Below chart tells you just how bad. And again note Russia as the one shining exception.

And it’s no better with corporations, which have throughout the last decade been enjoying mindboggling levels of central bank largesse in form of virtually unlimited interest-free financing. For example, compared to earnings, US bond issuers are about 50% more leveraged now than in 2007. (*6) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-24/corporate-debt-risk-flash-crash

Finally, there is the black hole containing trillions and trillions of bankers derivative risks. Deutsche Bank – which was recently placed in emergency care – alone is said to have 49 trillion dollars in exposure to derivatives. These risks alone could take down the whole global financial system. (*7) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-07-20/bank-49-trillion-derivatives-exposure-melting-down-our-eyes

First no real interest, then on to negative yields

One of the many deadly side effects of the central bankers’ practice on gambling with the national economies is that they first eliminated real interest rates (pushed rates below inflation) and then doubled down on the destruction of sound economic principles by cooking up a system with negative yielding bonds (bonds which yield below zero). By now $30 trillion of the $60 trillion US bond market yield below inflation (no real interest) and nearly $17 trillion worth of bonds are in negative yield territory. That’s mostly made up by sovereign debt of Japan and European governments (12 at the moment) but recently the mass of negative yielding corporate bonds has also doubled to $1.2 trillion. Half of the $5 trillion worth of European government bonds sport a negative yield as well as 20% of European investment grade corporate bonds.

Inflation risk

Normally, this kind of excess liquidity artificially put on the market (aka money printing) would have led to high inflation if not hyperinflation. Several factors have helped to keep prices in check. First, it needs to be pointed out, though, that inflation is actually a lot higher than what the government reports. This has been pretty convincingly proven in the case of the United States. (See, for example, (*8) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-17/cpi-constantly-understates-inflation-why-will-lead-catastrophe?fbclid=IwAR0byF4lMciG77ItFvkFhftV9qEnkXAuKaj9oYLmnZn5c8C4ds4E8mie7rk). Official statistics may not see it, but people sure feel it.

Secondly, the asset price bubbles in real estate and financial markets in fact represent inflation, it’s just not officially recorded as such. As it is only the 10% (and increasingly, the 1%) who get the money, they spend it on the stuff that counts for them, stocks and real estate. Keeping their loot offshore also helps to dampen inflation at home. The squeeze on the middle classes and stagnating wages, is sadly an important factor in keeping inflation down. Ordinary people just can’t afford to buy.

One should also note, that resulting from the illusionary debt-fueled prosperity and its effect on keeping the local Western currencies artificially high, there has actually been an inflation in wages and production costs, but only in relative terms in comparison with the emerging world. This in turn has led to further offshoring of manufacturing jobs.

A crucial factor, which in the crazy money printing environment has kept consumer goods from hyperinflating has been imports from the emerging Asia and especially China. Huge growth of the Chinese manufacturing industry coupled with massive influx of cheap labor from the rural countryside into the cities enabled China for a couple of decades to constantly increase its exports to the US and Europe and these countries to keep prices down. (Including by domestic industries having to lower prices in competition). With the Trump trade wars and dramatically increasing protectionism, this will change. And it could get very ugly.

Finally, there is an important consideration that few if anyone seem to understand. That is the fact that the US and other Western countries have been able to print the stupendous amounts of money while keeping rates down and without the currency values crashing only because they enjoy local currency monopolies in their respective territories. The USD has of course been enjoying a global monopoly, but that is fast fading. All the other factors mentioned above (and several other ones), have enabled to prop up and prolong these currency monopolies, but there is a limit to everything. In the coming recession, I would expect some of the lesser currencies to lose their monopoly trust and that would shatter the position of the bigger currencies USD and Euro and force them to raise interest rates. I have earlier written more in detail about this in a report titled How the Dollar and Euro Monopolies Destroyed the Real Market Economy. https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/dollar-euro-monopolies-destroyed-market-economy/

The below chart suggests that the Western countries are already on the way to lose their respective currency monopolies. The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) now have a combined GDP (measured in PPP, which is the only correct way to measure the relative size of national economies) larger than not only the G7 countries, but the US and Eurozone economies combined.

At its foundation in 1973, the G7 countries had a combined GDP PPP of 50% of the world economy, by today it is down to 30%. In the same time the nominal GDP share of world economy has crashed from 80% to 40%. The currency monopolies came with the economic superiority, it is therefore only natural that with the economic domination goes the currency domination, too. If we haven’t reached the tipping point yet, then that will happen within 5 to 10 years.

In summary, everything else unchanged, the risk of inflation picking up with just a few percentage points could have the entire Western financial systems coming crashing down due to the pressure on interest rates growing. The Fed and the ECB are continuously speaking about their inflation targets and how they want to pump the markets with more liquidity to raise inflation. There could yet be a big surprise in store for them. Interest rates as such could also be the primary trigger (even without inflation first rising), as nations would have to protect their currencies and attract financing for their colossal debtbergs.

Must add as a P.S. that the incipient flight to gold might well be one of the trigger events for those currencies to lose their monopolies. (Gold price is up 20% since May).

Deleveraging will come

These massive borrowings have delivered nothing of tangible value. Now, when the party is nearly over all there is left are the debt bubbles that have hit the roof. The real values of all the assets below bear no relation to the money that went into inflating the balloons. What’s left is economic hardship for 80% of the people, a crumbling infrastructure and simmering social tensions.

The debt saturation point has been reached, therefore this time it will be different, the central bankers have lost their magic wand and won’t be able to renew the debt binge and extend it with one more decade. Instead, there will be a day of reckoning. Governments and corporations will have to put their act together and let the market weed out the failed entities. Those who cannot carry the debt, will have to shed it. There will be bloodbath with defaults, bankruptcies and massive unemployment. – Perhaps a revolution here and there. – There will be no choice, deleveraging must happen.

Now, whether this system will come crashing down or just slowly die as it trundles downhill will not matter all that much. It will eventually die either way. Most people would prefer the slow motion option, but only with the crash would a cure come. Whatever, it has become increasingly difficult to stave off the crash and this time around, the financial markets would take the real economy down with them big time.

The impressive figures on Russia

The question then is, who would be left standing? Naturally, those who are less leveraged. Now, scroll back to have a new look at the above charts on government and household debt. Find the position of Russia there? That’s right. Russia is the country with – by far – the least debt, both public and private. Having after 2014 following sanctions been cut off from the Western debt orgy, even Russian corporations are shielded against a possible Western debt apocalypse.

In a global recession, no country is safe, but Russia looks to have quite a lot going for it in terms of economic advantages. Russia’s national balance sheet is next to none with by far the lowest debt of all major countries. All economic actors, the government, corporations and households are economically solid and minimally leveraged. Not only is the government virtually debtless, but it has again replenished its spectacular forex and sovereign wealth fund reserves. On top of that comes a hefty budget surplus. – Yes, you heard that right, surplus. In a time when all Western countries are in a chronic fight against deficits, you rarely even hear the term budget surplus. And more, Russia runs the world’s third biggest trade surplus. Add to that the current account surplus, and there’s the hat trick in form of your classic triple surpluses. Russia has a lot more going for it, too, as we will see.

Let’s look at Russia’s present financial health report.

Thanks to import substitution (domestic production instead of imports to neutralize sanctions) Russia’s industrial production rose 2.6% year-on-year in June. (USA +1.1%, UK +0.8%, Japan -2.4%, Germany -5.9%). Above, we mentioned that US industrial production was up with as little as a cumulative 5% since 2008 to date. In the same period Russia’s industry grew 18% notwithstanding the hardships of sanctions and sharp drop in oil price. In fact, since 2014 when the sanctions were first imposed, Russia’s industry has grown 12%.

Russia’s merchandise trade surplus for the first half of 2019 was $93 billion, ranking third in the world after China and Germany and before South Korea. Imports were down by 3%, the other side of the coin of growing domestic manufacturing. Even when exports also were slightly down, lower imports will keep the surplus on track to reach levels near $200 billion for the full year, just under last year’s record $212 billion.

Q1 current account surplus clocked in at $33 billion, up 10% over the year.

In this connection, it might be helpful to remind that Russia’s economy is nowhere near as dependent on fossil fuel extraction as it is habitually believed in the West. In fact, oil and gas only account for 10% of Russia’s GDP according to World Bank statistics. (In 2017, total natural resources share of GDP was 10.7%, but that includes minerals and forest, too).

We also need to point out that Russia has an enormous strength by way of being the world’s most self-sufficient major country. Russia has the by far lowest level of imports relative to GDP of all countries, as evidenced by below table. It shows that Russia’s imports as a share of GDP was as low as 7.2%, while the corresponding level for Western European countries was between 30 to 40%. The extraordinary low levels of imports in a global comparison obviously signifies that Russia produces domestically a much higher share of all that it consumes (and invests), this in turn means that the economy is superbly diversified contrary to the claims of most so-called Russia experts.

Despite initial scares, inflation has remained low even when the VAT rate was from the new year raised from 18% to 20%. The rolling 12-month inflation runs at 4.6% but with the declining trend the full year inflation is expected to hit the central bank’s target 4%.

The job market continues strong with record low unemployment levels, while the job participation rate has not deteriorated (so no tricks here). The July reading of 4.6% translates to 3.4 million unemployed, which is low for a country with a population of 146 million. The strength of the labor market was underscored by an increase of real salaries by 3.5% by July. This while disposable income otherwise has remained subdued.

Whereas the US is combating persistent budget deficits (latest reading, a deficit of 4.5% of GDP) – likewise the EU countries – Russia mustered a huge budget surplus equal to 3.4% of the GDP by July this year.

Russia’s foreign exchange and gold reserves have also done a spectacular comeback reaching $520 billion.

The Russia sovereign wealth fund surged in July to reach a value equal to 7.2% of GDP.

Despite the wholesome macroeconomic environment and impressive figures, Russia’s GDP growth has been less than 1% so far this year (year-on-year 0.6% in Q1 and 0.9% in Q2). However, by the looks of it the fundamental economy seems to be growing and modernizing, while the drag on the growth comes from depressed household consumption. What’s more important, though, is that while Russia’s growth is hovering around the 1%, so is that of all of the Western world. (Accuse me of whataboutism if you will, but these things need to be put in perspective). Q2 growth in the Eurozone was 1.1%, with Germany even about to slide into recession. UK clocked in at 1.2% and Japan at 0.4%. (All figures, year-on-year). The US showed only 2% (revised down 28 August) even when fueled by a mountainous budget deficit set to reach $1 trillion for the fiscal year and despite all that easy money the Fed keeps pumping out. Only China remained firmly in growth territory with 6.2%.

But, the real conundrum is, how can Russia produce the same GDP as all the Western countries with their seemingly limitless injections of give-away money? How is it possible that all those trillions and trillions that the Western central bankers have thrown on the economy do not produce any real incremental economic output?

The big disadvantage Russia has compared with the Western countries is the exorbitant real interest rate that the central bank maintains. The steering rate is presently 7.25%, with inflation predicted to be 4%, that translates into a primary real interest of 3.25%. Compare that with the negative real interest – and even negative yields – of competitor countries. As, the Russian central bank has failed to create a real banking sector which would lend according to international standards to the country’s businesses, the ones that are lucky to get a loan at all would look to pay interest at the level of 15% of more (save the largest corporations). The Governor of the Russian Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina does not see this as a problem, though. She has said that instead she would pin her hopes on improving the countries investment climate (sic!). (She calls for improvement of corporate governance, development of human capital, and all kinds of nice things. That would sure do it). (*9) http://ibcongress.com/en/news/nabiullina-nazvala-glavnye-ogranichenija-dlja-razvitija-ekonomiki-rossii/

Just this week, Putin called a high profile meeting with Nabiullina, the minister for economic development Maxim Oreshkin, and the finance minister Anton Sulanov, to express his deep concern with the sluggish GDP growth and stagnating income. No doubt, that the depressed income is not only a drag on the economy but on the president’s popularity. There is only one quick fix for it. The government and the CBR must ditch their overzealous austerity programs. It’s good that Russia is not over leveraged with debt, but certainly some debt would be in order to finance the infrastructure and other national strategic development programs instead of ripping it off people’s backs. Free the funds for raising pensions and public service salaries instead. And most importantly, Nabiullina must lower the rates and not run real interests in excess of 3% when the rest of the developed world is in negative territory. There is no other quick remedy for raising people’s income. That’s Putin’s choice. Hope somebody tells that to him.

In conclusion, we are not saying that Russia would not be hurt by the coming recession, we merely express our confidence that Russia is among the world’s countries best placed to cope with it.

Jon Hellevig, originally from Finland, works and lives in Moscow since the early 1990s. By education lawyer and MBA, Hellevig first worked in Moscow as a financial controller for a Russia-American joint venture engaged in shipment of oil and later became founder together with Russian partners of a business administration and consulting firm. Hellevig has written several books on Russian taxation and labor law. From mid-2000, Hellevig has written books on philosophy and social practices. The combination of his experience of actual life and governance in Russia with the theoretical framework pushed Hellevig to engage in the public debate about Russia’s development path including by way of writing articles for the part of the media, which is interested in the truth. Having at least a working knowledge of seven languages (English, Russian, Finnish, Swedish, Spanish, German, and French), Hellevig has been able to follow first-hand the news across the Western hemisphere. Doing so, he realized a decade or so ago, that all the Western media in unison report the same stories about Russia and circulate the same fabricated scandals in the same words at the same time. Frustrated with the totalitarian style propaganda lies about Russia, Hellevig began to regularly produce fundamental analysis reports on the Russian economy in the wake of the sanctions that the Western powers imposed on Russia following the Ukrainian crisis in 2014

The last western Empire?

The Saker

The last western Empire?

August 01, 2019

[this column was written for the Unz Review]

“Missing the forest for the trees” is an apt metaphor if we take a look at most commentary describing the past twenty years or so. This period has been remarkable in the number of genuinely tectonic changes the international system has undergone. It all began during what I think of as the “Kristallnacht of international law,” 30 August September 1995, when the Empire attacked the Bosnian-Serbs in a direct and total violation of all the most fundamental principles of international law. Then there was 9/11, which gave the Neocons the “right” (or so they claimed) to threaten, attack, bomb, kill, maim, kidnap, assassinate, torture, blackmail and otherwise mistreat any person, group or nation on the planet simply because “we are the indispensable nation” and “you either are with the terrorists or with us“. During these same years, we saw Europe become a third-rate US colony incapable of defending even fundamental European geopolitical interests while the USA became a third-rate colony of Israel equally incapable of defending even fundamental US geopolitical interests. Most interestingly looking back, while the US and the EU were collapsing under the weight of their own mistakes, Russia and China were clearly on the ascend; Russia mostly in military terms (see here and here) and China mostly economically. Most crucially, Russia and China gradually agreed to become symbionts which, I would argue, is even stronger and more meaningful than if these two countries were united by some kind of formal alliance: alliances can be broken (especially when a western nation is involved), but symbiotic relationships usually last forever (well, nothing lasts forever, of course, but when a lifespan is measured in decades, it is the functional equivalent of “forever”, at least in geostrategic analytical terms). The Chinese have now developed an official, special, and unique expression to characterize that relationship with Russia. They speak of a “Strategic, comprehensive partnership of coordination for the new era.”

This is the AngloZionists’ worst nightmare, and their legacy ziomedia goes to great lengths to conceal the fact that Russia and China are, for all practical purposes, strategic allies. They also try hard to convince the Russian people that China is a threat to Russia (using bogus arguments, but never-mind that). It won’t work, while some Russians have fears about China, the Kremlin knows the truth of the matter and will continue to deepen Russia’s symbiotic relationship with China further. Not only that, it now appears that Iran is gradually being let in to this alliance. We have the most official confirmation possible of that fact in words spoken by General Patrushev in Israel after his meeting with US and Israeli officials: “Iran has always been and remains our ally and partner.”

I could go on listing various signs of the collapse of the AngloZionist Empire along with signs that a new, parallel, international world order is in the process of being built before our eyes. I have done that many times in the past, and I will not repeat it all here (those interested can click here and here). I will submit that the AngloZionists have reached a terminal stage of decay in which the question of “if” is replaced by “when.” But even more interesting would be to look at the “what”:

what does the collapse of the AngloZionist Empire really mean?

I rarely see this issue discussed and when it is, it is usually to provide all sorts of reassurances that the Empire will not really collapse, that it is too powerful, too rich and too big to fail and that the current political crises in the USA and Europe will simply result in a reactive transformation of the Empire once the specific problems plaguing it have been addressed. That kind of delusional nonsense is entirely out of touch with reality. And the reality of what is taking place before our eyes is much, much more dramatic and seminal than just fixing a few problems here and there and merrily keep going on.

One of the factors which lures us into a sense of complacency is that we have seen so many other empires in history collapse only to be replaced pretty quickly by some other, that we can’t even imagine that what is taking place right now is a much more dramatic phenomenon: the passage into gradual irrelevance of an entire civilization!

But first, let’s define our terms. For all the self-aggrandizing nonsense taught in western schools, Western civilization does not have its roots in ancient Rome or, even less so, in ancient Greece. The reality is that the Western civilization was born from the Middle-Ages in general and, especially, the 11th century which, not coincidentally, saw the following succession of moves by the Papacy:

These three closely related events are of absolutely crucial importance to the history of the West. The first step the West needed was to free itself from the influence and authority of the rest of the Christian world. Once the ties between Rome and the Christian world were severed, it was only logical for Rome to decree that the Pope now has the most extravagant super-powers no other bishop before him had ever dared contemplate. Finally, this new autonomy and desire for absolute control over our planet resulted in what could be called “the first European imperialist war”: the First Crusade.

To put it succinctly: the 11th century Franks were the real progenitors of modern “Western” Europe and the 11th century marked the first imperialist “foreign war” (to use a modern term). The name of the Empire of the Franks has changed over the centuries, but not its nature, essence, or purpose. Today the true heirs of the Franks are the AngloZionists (for a truly *superb* discussion of the Frankish role in destroying the true, ancient, Christian Roman civilization of the West, see here).

Over the next 900 years or more, many different empires replaced the Frankish Papacy, and most European countries had their “moment of glory” with colonies overseas and some kind of ideology which was, by definition and axiomatically, declared the only good (or even “the only Christian”) one, whereas the rest of the planet was living in uncivilized and generally terrible conditions which could only be mitigated by those who have *always* believed that they, their religion, their culture or their nation had some kind of messianic role in history (call it “manifest destiny” or “White man’s burden” or being a Kulturträger in quest of a richly deserved Lebensraum): the West Europeans.

It looks like most European nations had a try at being an empire and at imperialist wars. Even such modern mini-states like Holland, Portugal or Austria once were feared imperial powers. And each time one European Empire fell, there was always another one to take its place.

But today?

Who do you think could create an empire powerful enough to fill the void resulting from the collapse of the AngloZionist Empire?

The canonical answer is “China.” And I think that this is nonsense.

Empires cannot only trade. Trade alone is simply not enough to remain a viable empire. Empires also need military force, and not just any military force, but the kind of military force which makes resistance futile. The truth is that NO modern country has anywhere near the capabilities needed to replace the USA in the role of World Hegemon: not even uniting the Russian and Chinese militaries would achieve that result since these two countries do not have:

1) a worldwide network of bases (which the USA have, between 700-1000 depending on how you count)

2) a major strategic air-lift and sea-lift power projection capability

3) a network of so-called “allies” (colonial puppets, really) which will assist in any deployment of military force

But even more crucial is this: China and Russia have no desire whatsoever to become an empire again. These two countries have finally understood the eternal truth, which is that empires are like parasites who feed on the body which hosts them. Yes, not only are all empires always and inherently evil, but a good case can be made that the first victims of imperialism are always the nations which “host the empire” so to speak. Oh sure, the Chinese and the Russians want their countries to be truly free, powerful and sovereign, and they understand that this is only possible when you have a military which can deter an attack, but neither China nor Russia have any interests in policing the planet or imposing some regime change on other countries.

All they really want is to be safe from the USA, that’s it.

This new reality is particularly visible in the Middle-East where countries like the United States, Israel or Saudi Arabia (this is the so-called “Axis of Kindness”) are currently only capable of deploying a military capable of massacring civilians or destroy the infrastructure of a country, but which cannot be used effectively against the two real regional powers with a modern military: Iran and Turkey.

But the most revealing litmus test was the US attempt to bully Venezuela back into submission. For all the fire and brimstone threats coming out of DC, the entire “Bolton plan(s?)” for Venezuela has/have resulted in a truly embarrassing failure: if the Sole “Hyperpower” on the planet cannot even overpower a tremendously weakened country right in its backyard, a country undergoing a major crisis, then indeed the US military should stick to the invasion of small countries like Monaco, Micronesia or maybe the Vatican (assuming the Swiss guard will not want to take a shot at the armed reps of the “indispensable nation”). The fact is that an increasing number of medium-sized “average” countries are now gradually acquiring the means to resist a US attack.

So if the writing is on the wall for the AngloZionist Empire, and if no country can replace the USA as imperial world hegemon, what does that mean?

It means the following: 1000 years of European imperialism is coming to an end!

This time around, neither Spain nor the UK nor Austria will take the place of the USA and try to become a world hegemon. In fact, there is not a single European nation which has a military even remotely capable of engaging the kind of “colony pacification” operations needed to keep your colonies in a suitable state of despair and terror. The French had their very last hurray in Algeria, the UK in the Falklands, Spain can’t even get Gibraltar back, and Holland has no real navy worth speaking about. As for central European countries, they are too busy brown-nosing the current empire to even think of becoming an empire (well, except Poland, of course, which dreams of some kind of Polish Empire between the Baltic and the Black Sea; let them, they have been dreaming about it for centuries, and they will still dream about it for many centuries to come…).

Now compare European militaries with the kind of armed forces you can find in Latin America or Asia? There is such a knee-jerk assumption of superiority in most Anglos that they completely fail to realize that medium and even small-sized countries can develop militaries sufficient enough to make an outright US invasion impossible or, at least, any occupation prohibitively expensive in terms of human lives and money (see herehere and here). This new reality also makes the typical US missile/airstrike campaign pretty useless: they will destroy a lot of buildings and bridges, they will turn the local TV stations (“propaganda outlets” in imperial terminology) into giant piles of smoking rubble and dead bodies, and they kill plenty of innocents, but that won’t result in any kind of regime change. The striking fact is that if we accept that warfare is the continuation of politics by other means, then we also have to admit, that under that definition, the US armed forces are totally useless since they cannot help the USA achieve any meaningful political goals.

The truth is that in military and economic terms, the “West” has already lost. The fact that those who understand don’t talk, and that those who talk about this (denying it, of course) have no understanding of what is taking place, makes no difference at all.

In theory, we could imagine that some kind of strong leader would come to power in the USA (the other western countries are utterly irrelevant), crush the Neocons like Putin crushed them in Russia, and prevent the brutal and sudden collapse of the Empire, but that ain’t gonna happen. If there is one thing which the past couple of decades have proven beyond reasonable doubt is that the imperial system is entirely unable to reform itself in spite of people like Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, Ross Perrot, Ron Paul, Mike Gravel or even Obama and Trump – all men who promised meaningful change and who were successfully prevented by the system of achieving anything meaningful. Thus the system is still 100% effective, at least inside the USA: it took the Neocons less than 30 days to crush Trump and all his promises of change, and now it even got Tulsi Gabbard to bow down and cave in to Neocons’ absolutely obligatory political orthodoxy and myths.

So what is likely to happen next?

Simply put, Asia will replace the Western World. But – crucially – this time around no empire will come to take the place of the AngloZionist one. Instead, a loose and informal coalition of mostly Asian countries will offer an alternative economic and civilizational model, which will be immensely attractive to the rest of the planet. As for the Empire, it will very effectively disband itself and slowly fade into irrelevance. Both US Americans and Europeans will, for the very first time in their history, have to behave like civilized people, which means that their traditional “model of development” (ransacking the entire planet and robbing everybody blind) will have to be replaced by one in which these US Americans and Europeans will have to work like everybody else to accumulate riches. This notion will absolutely horrify the current imperial ruling elites, but I wager that it will be welcomed by the majority of the people, especially when this “new” (for them) model will yield more peace and prosperity than the previous one!

Indeed, if the Neocons don’t blow up the entire planet in a nuclear holocaust, the USA and Europe will survive, but only after a painful transition period which could last for a decade or more. One of the factors which will immensely complicate the transition from Empire to “regular” country will be the profound and deep influence 1000 years of imperialism have had on the western cultures, especially in the completely megalomaniac United States (Professor John Marciano’s “Empire as a way of life” lecture series addresses this topic superbly – I highly recommend them!): One thousand years of brainwashing are not so easily overcome, especially on the subconscious (assumptions) level.

Finally, the current rather nasty reaction to the multi-culturalism imposed by the western ruling elites is no less pathological than this corrosive multi-culturalism in the first place. I am referring to the new theories “revisiting” WWII and finding inspiration in all things Third Reich, very much including a revival of racist/racialist theories. This is especially ridiculous (and offensive) when coming from people who try to impersonate Christians but who instead of prayers on their lips just spew 1488-like nonsense. These folks all represent precisely the kind of “opposition” the Neocons love to deal with and which they always (and I really mean *always*) end up defeating. This (pretend) opposition (useful idiots, really) will remain strong as long as it remains well funded (which it currently is). But as soon as the current megalomania (“We are the White Race! We built Athens and Rome! We are Evropa!!!”) ends with an inevitable faceplant, folks will eventually return to sanity and realize that no external scapegoat is responsible for the current state of the West. The sad truth is that the West did all this to itself (mainly due to arrogance and pride!), and the current waves of immigrants are nothing more than a 1000 years of really bad karma returning to where it came from initially. I don’t mean to suggest that folks in the West are all individually responsible for what is happening now. But I do say that all the folks in the West now live with the consequences of 1000 years of unrestrained imperialism. It will be hard, very hard, to change ways, but since that is also the only viable option, it will happen, sooner or later.

But still – there is hope. IF the Neocons don’t blow up the planet, and IF mankind is given enough time to study its history and understand where it took the wrong turn, then maybe, just maybe, there is hope.

I think that we can all find solace in the fact that no matter how ugly, stupid and evil the AngloZionist Empire is, no other empire will ever come to replace it.

In other words, should we survive the current empire (which is by no means certain!) then at least we can look forward to a planet with no empires left, only sovereign countries.

I submit that this is a future worth struggling for.

The Saker

ماذا يعني الاختراق الروسي لبحار الخليج؟

يوليو 31, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

تتحضّر روسيا لإرسال بوارجها الى المحيط الهندي وبحر عدن حتى حدود مضيق هرمز الفاصل بين المجالات البحرية لإيران وعمان، بذريعة إجراء مناورات عسكرية مشتركة مع البحرية الإيرانية.

لا بدّ هنا من الإشارة الى الطابع الجيوبوليتيكي لهذا الدخول باعتبار أن الاتحاد السوفياتي السلف الذي ورثته روسيا الحالية، لم تكن لديه مرافئ صديقة في الخليج، للرسو والتموين من التزوّد بالوقود. فإيران كانت شاهنشاهية معادية له في ما كان الجانب العربي من الخليج خاضعاً لهيمنة أميركية كاملة تمسك بالأجواء والبحر الى درجة الخنق وتحت شعارات العداء للإلحاد الشيوعي.

ما هي مصلحة روسيا في هذا التطوّر؟

يملأ أولاً حاجة روسيا لحيازة مكان هام في قلب حركة الصراع على الشرق الأوسط من بوابة بحاره وأمن الملاحة فيه، متحالفاً مع إيران التي تقف في وجه المحاولات الأميركية لتدميرها كطريقة لإنعاش تفرّدها بالقرار الدولي لذلك فإن هذا الدخول الروسي له أهداف تبدأ بتقليص قوة الضغط الأميركية على عنف إيران، ما يعني استتباعاً، المزيد من تقهقر الأحادية الأميركية مقابل الاستمرار في الصعود الروسي والصيني.

لكن لروسيا حساباتها الخاصة الإضافية المؤدية الى الأهداف نفسها، وتتعلق اولاً بنمو حاجتها للدخول الى اليمن عبر الصراع اليمني مع الأميركيين والسعوديين على الساحل الغربي والحديدة، أي المنطقة المشرفة على باب المندب الذي لا يقل أهمية استراتيجية عن مضيق هرمز، بما يعني مراكمة أهميات جيوبوليتيكية عند الذي يهيمن على حركته البحرية أو يشارك في جزء من إدارته.

وهكذا تبدو الحركة الروسية الجديدة، وكأنها تتدحرج على هدي العلاقة مع إيران فتطمح لدور يمني يخترق موانئ الحديدة من زوايا الصراع الأميركي ـ السعودي والإيراني من جهة ثانية.

للإشارة فإن سياسة الرئيس الروسي بوتين تتحاشى أي سوء في علاقاتها مع السعودية، ما يجعلها تكتفي بالتحرك البحري حتى حدود هرمز الإيراني أي بعيداً عن الساحل السعودي المطلّ على الخليج.

أما الأسباب فعلى ارتباط بالتنسيق الروسي ـ السعودي الذي أدّى حتى الآن الى استقرار النفط أسعاراً وأسواقاً بمواكبة نمو تدريجي لعلاقات اقتصادية واعدة تشمل احتمالات شراء السعودية لمنظومة سلاح روسي جوّي وبرّي.

هذا ما يجعل التحرك الروسي في الخليج حذراً ولن يتقدم بسرّعة إلا بعد صدور صرخات استغاثة أميركية نتيجة فشل مرتقب لعقوباتها على إيران. وهناك احتمال آخر وهو نجاح الأميركيين بتركيب حلف ما يزعمون أنه لأمن الملاحة في الخليج مع الأوروبيين وبلدان عربية ودول من آسيا وأوستراليا.

عند هذا الحد لن يكتفي الروس بالتدحرج التدريجي نحو بحار الشرق الأوسط بل يرفعون من عيار سرعتهم بمعونة صينية مع دول أخرى من منظمتي البريكس وشانغهاي، فالصراع في الخليج ليس على مياه بحاره، بل على اقتصاده وثرواته من النفط والغاز وقدرته على استهلاك أي نوع من السلع، لأنه لا ينتج شيئاً.

تكفي الإشارة هنا إلى أن صحراء الربع الخالي تحتوي بمفردها على أضعاف عدة من الغاز الموجود في العالم، وربما أكثر حسب ما يتسرّب من مراكز أبحاث الطاقة في الغرب الذي يبرر اندلاع جزء من الصراع الدولي على الشرق الأوسط تحت مسمّيات أمن الملاحة فيه.

هناك إذاً خشية روسية من الإمساك الأميركي بالشرق الأوسط مجدداً فتتجاوز واشنطن بلعبة أمن الملاحة خسائرها في سورية والعراق واليمن، فتستعيده بتشكيل هذا الحلف الملاحي الماخر عباب الأمواج بحثاً عن الغاز والنفط.

كما تُجهض بذلك محاولات أوروبية للخروج من هيمنتها التي امسكت بتلابيب القارة العجوز منذ 1945 وأجلستها على المقاعد الخلفيّة لنفوذها، ترى الثروات وقد تشارك في جبايتها، إنما من الحق باقتطاع أي شيء منها باستثناء الفتات المتساقط جراء تعثر قوة الهضم الأميركية.

لكن موسكو لا تتوقع نجاحاً أميركياً بتشكيل تحالف دولي ملاحي لغايات أبعد، وتراهن على التردّد الأوروبي الباحث عن استقلالية واستمرار الصمود الإيراني والإحباط الذي يسري في المشاريع السياسية للدول العربية في الخليج، التي كانت تعتقد أن واشنطن عازمة على تدمير إيران بضربة ساحقة ماحقة، لا تحتاج لقصف لمدة أسبوع، لكنها ترى وبعد أشهر على بدء التوتير الحربي أن إيران تتمرد على الجبروت الاميركي وبعض التلاعب الأوروبي وتهديدات «إسرائيل»، وهذا ما استولد إحباطاً عميقاً عند عرب الخليج، كما يراهن بوتين أيضاً على تأجيج الصراع التركي ـ الأميركي، بما يخدم الصعود الروسي نحو القرار الدولي وبالتالي التراجع الأميركي عن السيطرة المطلقة على العالم.

لذلك، فإن ما أعلنه الادميرال قائد القوات البحرية الإيرانية حسين خان زاده في موسكو منذ يومين حول بدء المناورات المشتركة بين البحريتين الإيرانية والروسية من المحيط الهندي، إلى مضيق هرمز، انما هو رسالة الى الأوروبيين وبضرورة الحياد عن المشروع الأميركي في الخليج، ويشبه تهديداً الى الأميركيين بأن روسيا لن تتخلى عن إيران بحسابات خاصة تتعلّق بطموحها لدور في القرار الدولي، ولن تسمح بالتالي بعودة الأحادية الاميركية الى خنق روسيا والصين وأوروبا والاستئثار بالاقتصاد العالمي كما فعلت في مرحلة 1990 ـ 2018 هذه المرحلة التي جعلت الأميركيين يمسكون بمفاصل العالم ثقافياً وسياسياً واقتصادياً وعسكرياً، مواصلين احتفاظهم بجزء كبير منها حتى اليوم.

هذه إذاً رسالة، لكنها قابلة للتنفيذ وما الدليل على انها رسالة إلا توسيعها لمدة المناورات حتى بدء السنة الفارسية الجديدة في آذار 2020.

وهذا يكشف أن التحرك الاميركي الفعلي في بحر الخليج لن يبدأ إلا بعد الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية في 2020 أيضاً كما يعتقد الروس، بما يشير إلى أن الصراعات البحريّة في الخليج الدائرة ضمن أحلاف تتطلّب وقتاً وظروفاً خاصة بها.

أما الذي لا شك فيه، فهو مشروع ولادة حلف صيني روسي إيراني قد تنضم إليه الهند وتركيا، بوسعه إعادة نصب صراع دولي متوازن يقلّص من حجم الهيمنة الأميركية، معيداً شيئاً من الاحترام للقانون الدولي وليس «قانون الأقوى»، لكن العرب بمفردهم لإعلانه لهم بما يجري لأنهم لا يزالون على متن النوق في القرون الوسطى.

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The Dragon lays out its road map, denies seeking hegemony

July 29, 2019

By Pepe Escobar – posted with permission

The Dragon lays out its road map, denies seeking hegemony

The key merit of China’s National Defense in the New Era, a white paper released by the State Council in Beijing, is to clear any remaining doubts about where the Middle Kingdom is coming from, and where it’s going to by 2049, the mythical date to, theoretically, be restored as the foremost global power.

Although not ultra-heavy on specifics, the white paper certainly should be read as the Chinese counterpoint to the US National Security Strategy, as well as the National Defense Strategy.

It goes without saying that every sentence is being carefully scrutinized by the Pentagon, which regards China as a “malign actor” and “a threat” – the terminology associated with its “Chinese aggression” mantra.

To cut to the chase, and to the perpetuating delight of China’s supporters and critics, here are the white paper’s essentials.

What global stability?

The Beijing leadership openly asserts that as “the US has adjusted its national security and defense strategies, and adopted unilateral policies” that essentially “undermined global strategic stability.” Vast sectors of the Global South would concur.

The counterpart is the evolution of “the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era,” now playing “a significant role in maintaining global strategic stability.”

In parallel, Beijing is very careful to praise the “military relationship with the US in accordance with the principles of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.” The “military-to-military relationship” should work as “a stabilizer for the relations between the two countries and hence contribute to the China-US relationship based on coordination, cooperation and stability.”

Another key counterpart to the US – and NATO – is the increasingly crucial role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is “forging a constructive partnership of non-alliance and non-confrontation that targets no third party, expanding security and defense cooperation and creating a new model for regional security cooperation.”

The white paper stresses that “the SCO has now grown into a new type of comprehensive regional cooperation organization covering the largest area and population in the world”, something that is factually correct. The latest SCO summit in Bishkek did wonders in featuring some of the group’s much-vaunted qualities, especially “mutual trust,” “consultation,” “respect for diverse civilizations” and “pursuit of common development.”

On hot spots, contrary to Western skepticism, the white paper asserts that, “the situation of the South China Sea is generally stable,” and that a “balanced, stable, open and inclusive Asian security architecture continues to develop.”

There should be no illusion regarding Beijing’s position on “Taiwan independence” – which will never deviate from what was set by Little Helmsman Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s: “Separatist forces and their actions remain the gravest immediate threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the biggest barrier hindering the peaceful reunification of the country.”

And the same applies to “external separatist forces for ‘Tibet independence’ and the creation of ‘East Turkestan’.” How Beijing dealt with – and economically developed – Tibet will continue to be the blueprint to deal with, and economically develop, Xinjiang, irrespective of the Western outcry over China’s subjugation of more than a million Uighurs.

In regard to the turmoil Hong Kong and the degree it reflects interference by “external forces,” the white paper shapes Hong Kong as the model to be followed on the way to Taiwan. “China adheres to the principles of ‘peaceful reunification,’ and ‘one country, two systems,’ promotes peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, and advances peaceful reunification of the country.”

On the South China Sea, the white paper notes that

“countries from outside the region conduct frequent close-in reconnaissance on China by air and sea, and illegally enter China’s territorial waters and the waters and airspace near China’s islands and reefs, undermining China’s national security.”

So there won’t be any misunderstanding, it says: “The South China Sea islands and Diaoyu Islands are inalienable parts of the Chinese territory.” ASEAN and Japan will have to deal with what Beijing says are facts.

Chinese soldiers in the PLA Hong Kong Garrison take part in a drill during an open day on June 30 to mark the 22nd anniversary of the return of the city from Britain to China. Photo: AFP

No hegemony, ever

While noting that “great progress has been made in the Revolution in Military Affairs with Chinese characteristics” – the Sino-version of the Pentagon’s – the white paper admits that “the PLA still lags far behind the world’s leading militaries. The commitment is unmistakable to “fully transform the people’s armed forces into world-class forces by the mid-21st century.”

Special emphasis is placed on China’s relatively quiet, behind-the-scenes diplomacy. “China has played a constructive role in the political settlement of regional hotspots such as the Korean Peninsula issue, the Iranian nuclear issue and Syrian issue.” The corollary could not be more clear-cut. “China opposes hegemony, unilateralism and double standards.”

Arguably the most important point made by the white paper – in stark contrast with the “Chinese aggression” narrative – is that “Never Seeking Hegemony, Expansion or Spheres of Influence” is qualified as “the distinctive feature of China’s national defense in the new era.”

This is backed up by what could be defined as the distinctive Chinese approach to international relations – to respect “the rights of all peoples to independently choose their own development path,” and “the settlement of international disputes through equal dialogue, negotiation and consultation. China is opposed to interference in the internal affairs of others, abuse of the weak by the strong, and any attempt to impose one’s will on others.”

So the road map is on the table for all to see. It will be fascinating to watch reactions from myriad latitudes across the Global South. Let’s see how the “Chinese aggression” system responds.

Russia and China Scare American Vassal States

July 27, 2019

by Ruslan Ostashko

Translated and captioned by Leo.

A series of high-profile statements broke out in Seoul after Russian and Chinese aircraft conducted joint patrols over the Sea of Japan. South Koreans, licking American boots, tried to pretend to be “tough guys,” but it didn’t work out very well.
As the self-styled world hegemon weakens, the attempts of its vassals in depicting their geopolitical significance cause more and more ridicule. A typical example is South Korea.
At the end of 2013, when the Maidan was already raging in Kiev, and the impudence of the United States seemed to have no limits, Seoul unilaterally expanded the so-called “air defense identification zone” to include islands in the Sea of Japan.
“Having recalled their initial plans to expand the air defense identification zone, Seoul again decided that it was time to firmly defend their interests. Of course the true courage of Korea had added support from the United States.” 
https://rg.ru/2013/12/07/pvo-site.html

More than five years passed, the next crisis around the DPRK was over, which showed that the hegemon was, in general, naked, and then something happened on July 23rd this year.

“South Korea blames Russia for violating its airspace. According to Seoul, the Russian A-50 aircraft twice entered the airspace over the Sea of Japan in the area of the Dokdo Islands (the Japanese name is Takeshima). The F-15K and F-16K fighters flew out to intercept it, and after radio messages, they fired 20 flares and gave 360 warning shots from a machine gun. In addition, South Korea said that several hours before that, two Chinese aircraft had flown in its air defense identification zone, and then returned with two Russian Tu-95s. This flight lasted about 25 minutes, the South Korean military says.”
https://ria.ru/20190723/1556810555.html
That is, Russian and Chinese bombers made joint patrols in the zone, which South Korea unilaterally declared its airspace. Seoul jumped out of indignation and expelled the fighters.
And at the same time they raised the hype in the media through its news agency “Yonhap”. The answer came immediately: https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20190723005456325?section=national/defense#none

“The military attache of the Republic of Korea was given a note because of the illegal and dangerous actions of the crews of South Korean aircraft, said Commander of Long-Range Aviation of the Russian Air Force, Lieutenant-General Sergei Kobylash. ‘According to our info, violating the objective control of the airspace of South Korea and Japan is not allowed. The aircraft group’s closest to them were more than 25 kilometers from the islands. This can be clearly seen on the data presented on the screen. Therefore, the actions of South Korean crews should be regarded as air hooliganism.’”

https://ria.ru/20190723/1556810555.html

That is, Seoul is culturally sent in a certain direction. Moreover, speaking synchronously with the Chinese.
“Military aircraft of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China did not violate the airspace of other countries during joint patrols over the Sea of Japan, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense of the People’s Republic of China Wu Qian told a news conference on Wednesday. Commenting on the incident, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said that the identification zone South Korean air defense is not the airspace of this country, everyone has the right to freedom of flying there.” 
https://ria.ru/20190724/1556820048.html

That is, Moscow and Beijing are nightmares for an American vassal together through agreements. And this is happening against the background of the preparations for the conclusion of a agreement between the Ministry of Defense of Russia and the Ministry of Defense of the PRC on military cooperation.
The fact that the negotiations will still be ongoing, is already known officially. 
http://publication.pravo.gov.ru/Document/View/0001201907220004

The idea of the Russian-Chinese military alliance acquires specifics. And from these specifics, the nervous systems of the Washington oinkers in Southeast Asia are already beginning to fail.
Washington itself, by the way, will soon not be thinking about hegemony. The reasons are trivial: The Pentagon is having difficulty recruiting personnel.
“The strongest personnel crisis of the American Army in recent years has sparked a debate in the US about a possible reduction in the draft age to 16 years,” The Washington Times reports. “Critics argue that such a measure will lead to a decrease in the combat capability and cohesion of the armed forces. Meanwhile, 13 countries of the world have already reduced the draft age to 16 years – among them, for example, the United Kingdom.”

https://russian.rt.com/inotv/2019-07-20/Washington-Times-dyadya-Sem-zovyot

Do you know why 16 year olds want to be allowed to enter into contracts? The reason is just beautiful.
“According to Sandboxx’s marketing director, Shane McCarthy, unsuitability factors for service (for example, criminal records) are much less common among adolescents aged 15 to 17 years. According to the US Department of Justice, the number of arrests among teenagers between 18 and 20 years old is twice as high as among teenagers between 15 and 17 years old.”
https://russian.rt.com/inotv/2019-07-20/Washington-Times-dyadya-Sem-zovyot
That is, the American youth is rapidly marginalized and slipping into crime. AUE in full growth, and it is necessary to quickly recruit the jerks into the army, until they had time to get convictions. Otherwise – the case of seams.
“According to The Washington Times, last year for the first time in the last ten years, the American Army failed to fulfill the draft plan: less than 70,000 recruits instead of the planned 76,500 joined the armed forces. This year the army command intends to achieve its goals, but acknowledges that the situation with the call is harder than ever.”

https://russian.rt.com/inotv/2019-07-20/Washington-Times-dyadya-Sem-zovyot

The ragged hegemon has problems, South Korea has the highest suicide rate in the world and a demographic catastrophe, but out of habit they puff out their cheeks, believing that they can still afford it. They can’t.
Another 10 years, and no war is needed. The United States will simply abandon its Asian vassals, rolling back to the stupidly annexed Hawaii in 1898.
And then they will go further into their hole, while Russia and China will become the guarantors of stability, first in strategically important regions, and then on the planet as a whole.
As they say, remember this tweet.

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Pentagon Wants 16-year Old Kids to Fight the Empire’s Wars

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