Why Russia is driving the West crazy

Why Russia is driving the West crazy

February 10, 2021

by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted on Asia Times

Future historians may register it as the day when usually unflappable Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov decided he had had enough:

We are getting used to the fact that the European Union are trying to impose unilateral restrictions, illegitimate restrictions and we proceed from the assumption at this stage that the European Union is an unreliable partner.

Josep Borrell, the EU foreign policy chief, on an official visit to Moscow, had to take it on the chin.

Lavrov, always the perfect gentleman, added, “I hope that the strategic review that will take place soon will focus on the key interests of the European Union and that these talks will help to make our contacts more constructive.”

He was referring to the EU heads of state and government’s summit at the European Council next month, where they will discuss Russia. Lavrov harbors no illusions the “unreliable partners” will behave like adults.

Yet something immensely intriguing can be found in Lavrov’s opening remarks in his meeting with Borrell: “The main problem we all face is the lack of normalcy in relations between Russia and the European Union – the two largest players in the Eurasian space. It is an unhealthy situation, which does not benefit anyone.”

The two largest players in the Eurasian space (italics mine). Let that sink in. We’ll be back to it in a moment.

As it stands, the EU seems irretrievably addicted to worsening the “unhealthy situation”. European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen memorably botched the Brussels vaccine game. Essentially, she sent Borrell to Moscow to ask for licensing rights for European firms to produce the Sputnik V vaccine – which will soon be approved by the EU.

And yet Eurocrats prefer to dabble in hysteria, promoting the antics of NATO asset and convicted fraudster Navalny – the Russian Guaido.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, under the cover of “strategic deterrence”, the head of the US STRATCOM, Admiral Charles Richard, casually let it slip that “there is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons, if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state.”

So the blame for the next – and final – war is already apportioned to the “destabilizing” behavior of Russia and China. It’s assumed they will be “losing” – and then, in a fit of rage, will go nuclear. The Pentagon will be no more than a victim; after all, claims Mr. STRATCOM, we are not “stuck in the Cold War”.

STRATCOM planners could do worse than read crack military analyst Andrei Martyanov, who for years has been on the forefront detailing how the new hypersonic paradigm – and not nuclear weapons – has changed the nature of warfare.

After a detailed technical discussion, Martyanov shows how “the United States simply has no good options currently. None. The less bad option, however, is to talk to Russians and not in terms of geopolitical BS and wet dreams that the United States, somehow, can convince Russia “to abandon” China – US has nothing, zero, to offer Russia to do so. But at least Russians and Americans may finally settle peacefully this “hegemony” BS between themselves and then convince China to finally sit as a Big Three at the table and finally decide how to run the world. This is the only chance for the US to stay relevant in the new world.”

The Golden Horde imprint

As much as the chances are negligible of the EU getting a grip on the “unhealthy situation” with Russia, there’s no evidence what Martyanov outlined will be contemplated by the US Deep State.

The path ahead seems ineluctable: perpetual sanctions; perpetual NATO expansion alongside Russia’s borders; the build up of a ring of hostile states around Russia; perpetual US interference on Russian internal affairs – complete with an army of fifth columnists; perpetual, full spectrum information war.

Lavrov is increasingly making it crystal clear that Moscow expects nothing else. Facts on the ground, though, will keep accumulating.

Nordstream 2 will be finished – sanctions or no sanctions – and will supply much needed natural gas to Germany and the EU. Convicted fraudster Navalny – 1% of real “popularity” in Russia – will remain in jail. Citizens across the EU will get Sputnik V. The Russia-China strategic partnership will continue to solidify.

To understand how we have come to this unholy Russophobic mess, an essential road map is provided by Russian Conservatism , an exciting, new political philosophy study by Glenn Diesen, associate professor at University of Southeastern Norway, lecturer at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, and one of my distinguished interlocutors in Moscow.

Diesen starts focusing on the essentials: geography, topography and history. Russia is a vast land power without enough access to the seas. Geography, he argues, conditions the foundations of “conservative policies defined by autocracy, an ambiguous and complex concept of nationalism, and the enduring role of the Orthodox Church” – something that implies resistance to “radical secularism”.

It’s always crucial to remember that Russia has no natural defensible borders; it has been invaded or occupied by Swedes, Poles, Lithuanians, the Mongol Golden Horde, Crimean Tatars and Napoleon. Not to mention the immensely bloody Nazi invasion.

What’s in a word? Everything: “security”, in Russian, is byezopasnost. That happens to be a negative, as byez means “without” and opasnost means “danger”.

Russia’s complex, unique historical make-up always presented serious problems. Yes, there was close affinity with the Byzantine empire. But if Russia “claimed transfer of imperial authority from Constantinople it would be forced to conquer it.” And to claim the successor, role and heritage of the Golden Horde would relegate Russia to the status of an Asiatic power only.

On the Russian path to modernization, the Mongol invasion provoked not only a geographical schism, but left its imprint on politics: “Autocracy became a necessity following the Mongol legacy and the establishment of Russia as an Eurasian empire with a vast and poorly connected geographical expanse”.

“A colossal East West”

Russia is all about East meets West. Diesen reminds us how Nikolai Berdyaev, one of the leading 20th century conservatives, already nailed it in 1947: “The inconsistency and complexity of the Russian soul may be due to the fact that in Russia two streams of world history – East and West – jostle and influence one another (…) Russia is a complete section of the world – a colossal East West.”

The Trans-Siberian railroad, built to solidify the internal cohesion of the Russian empire and to project power in Asia, was a major game-changer: “With Russian agricultural settlements expanding to the east, Russia was increasingly replacing the ancient roads who had previously controlled and connected Eurasia.”

It’s fascinating to watch how the development of Russian economics ended up on Mackinder’s Heartland theory – according to which control of the world required control of the Eurasian supercontinent. What terrified Mackinder is that Russian railways connecting Eurasia would undermine the whole power structure of Britain as a maritime empire.

Diesen also shows how Eurasianism – emerging in the 1920s among émigrés in response to 1917 – was in fact an evolution of Russian conservatism.

Eurasianism, for a number of reasons, never became a unified political movement. The core of Eurasianism is the notion that Russia was not a mere Eastern European state. After the 13th century Mongol invasion and the 16th century conquest of Tatar kingdoms, Russia’s history and geography could not be only European. The future would require a more balanced approach – and engagement with Asia.

Dostoyevsky had brilliantly framed it ahead of anyone, in 1881:

Russians are as much Asiatics as European. The mistake of our policy for the past two centuries has been to make the people of Europe believe that we are true Europeans. We have served Europe too well, we have taken too great a part in her domestic quarrels (…) We have bowed ourselves like slaves before the Europeans and have only gained their hatred and contempt. It is time to turn away from ungrateful Europe. Our future is in Asia.

Lev Gumilev was arguably the superstar among a new generation of Eurasianists. He argued that Russia had been founded on a natural coalition between Slavs, Mongols and Turks. The Ancient Rus and the Great Steppe, published in 1989, had an immense impact in Russia after the fall of the USSR – as I learned first hand from my Russian hosts when I arrived in Moscow via the Trans-Siberian in the winter of 1992.

As Diesen frames it, Gumilev was offering a sort of third way, beyond European nationalism and utopian internationalism. A Lev Gumilev University has been established in Kazakhstan. Putin has referred to Gumilev as “the great Eurasian of our time”.

Diesen reminds us that even George Kennan, in 1994, recognized the conservative struggle for “this tragically injured and spiritually diminished country”. Putin, in 2005, was way sharper. He stressed,

the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century. And for the Russian people, it was a real drama (…) The old ideals were destroyed. Many institutions were disbanded or simply hastily reformed…With unrestricted control over information flows, groups of oligarchs served exclusively their own corporate interests. Mass poverty started to be accepted as the norm. All this evolved against a background of the most severe economic recession, unstable finances and paralysis in the social sphere.

Applying “sovereign democracy”

And so we reach the crucial European question.

In the 1990s, led by Atlanticists, Russian foreign policy was focused on Greater Europe, a concept based on Gorbachev’s Common European Home.

And yet post-Cold War Europe, in practice, ended up configured as the non-stop expansion of NATO and the birth – and expansion – of the EU. All sorts of liberal contortionisms were deployed to include all of Europe while excluding Russia.

Diesen has the merit of summarizing the whole process in a single sentence: “The new liberal Europe represented a British-American continuity in terms of the rule of maritime powers, and Mackinder’s objective to organize the German-Russian relationship in a zero-sum format to prevent the alignment of interests”.

No wonder Putin, subsequently, had to be erected as the Supreme Scarecrow, or “the new Hitler”. Putin rejected outright the role for Russia of mere apprentice to Western civilization – and its corollary, (neo) liberal hegemony.

Still, he remained quite accommodating. In 2005, Putin stressed, “above all else Russia was, is and will, of course, be a major European power”. What he wanted was to decouple liberalism from power politics – by rejecting the fundamentals of liberal hegemony.

Putin was saying there’s no single democratic model. That was eventually conceptualized as “sovereign democracy”. Democracy cannot exist without sovereignty; so that discards Western “supervision” to make it work.

Diesen sharply observes that if the USSR was a “radical, left-wing Eurasianism, some of its Eurasian characteristics could be transferred to conservative Eurasianism.” Diesen notes how Sergey Karaganov, sometimes referred to as the “Russian Kissinger”, has shown “that the Soviet Union was central to decolonization and it mid-wifed the rise of Asia by depriving the West of the ability to impose its will on the world through military force, which the West had done from the 16th century until the 1940s”.

This is largely acknowledged across vast stretches of the Global South – from Latin America and Africa to Southeast Asia.

Eurasia’s western peninsula

So after the end of the Cold War and the failure of Greater Europe, Moscow’s pivot to Asia to build Greater Eurasia could not but have an air of historical inevitability.

The logic is impeccable. The two geoeconomic hubs of Eurasia are Europe and East Asia. Moscow wants to connect them economically into a supercontinent: that’s where Greater Eurasia joins China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). But then there’s the extra Russian dimension, as Diesen notes: the “transition away from the usual periphery of these centers of power and towards the center of a new regional construct”.

From a conservative perspective, emphasizes Diesen, “the political economy of Greater Eurasia enables Russia to overcome its historical obsession with the West and establish an organic Russian path to modernization”.

That implies the development of strategic industries; connectivity corridors; financial instruments; infrastructure projects to connect European Russia with Siberia and Pacific Russia. All that under a new concept: an industrialized, conservative political economy.

The Russia-China strategic partnership happens to be active in all these three geoeconomic sectors: strategic industries/techno platforms, connectivity corridors and financial instruments.

That propels the discussion, once again, to the supreme categorical imperative: the confrontation between the Heartland and a maritime power.

The three great Eurasian powers, historically, were the Scythians, the Huns and the Mongols. The key reason for their fragmentation and decadence is that they were not able to reach – and control – Eurasia’s maritime borders.

The fourth great Eurasian power was the Russian empire – and its successor, the USSR. A key reason the USSR collapsed is because, once gain, it was not able to reach – and control – Eurasia’s maritime borders.

The US prevented it by applying a composite of Mackinder, Mahan and Spykman. The US strategy even became known as the Spykman-Kennan containment mechanism – all these “forward deployments” in the maritime periphery of Eurasia, in Western Europe, East Asia and the Middle East.

We all know by now how the overall US offshore strategy – as well as the primary reason for the US to enter both WWI and WWII – was to prevent the emergence of a Eurasian hegemon by all means necessary.

As for the US as hegemon, that would be crudely conceptualized – with requisite imperial arrogance – by Dr. Zbig “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski in 1997: “To prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and keep the barbarians from coming together”. Good old Divide and Rule, applied via “system-dominance”.

It’s this system that is now tumbling down – much to the despair of the usual suspects. Diesen notes how, “in the past, pushing Russia into Asia would relegate Russia to economic obscurity and eliminate its status as a European power.” But now, with the center of geoeconomic gravity shifting to China and East Asia, it’s a whole new ball game.

The 24/7 US demonization of Russia-China, coupled with the “unhealthy situation” mentality of the EU minions, only helps to drive Russia closer and closer to China exactly at the juncture where the West’s two centuries-only world dominance, as Andre Gunder Frank conclusively proved , is coming to an end.

Diesen, perhaps too diplomatically, expects that “relations between Russia and the West will also ultimately change with the rise of Eurasia. The West’s hostile strategy to Russia is conditioned on the idea that Russia has nowhere else to go, and must accept whatever the West offers in terms of “partnership”. The rise of the East fundamentally alters Moscow’s relationship with the West by enabling Russia to diversify its partnerships”.

We may be fast approaching the point where Great Eurasia’s Russia will present Germany with a take it or leave it offer. Either we build the Heartland together, or we will build it with China – and you will be just a historical bystander. Of course there’s always the inter-galaxy distant possibility of a Berlin-Moscow-Beijing axis. Stranger things have happened.

Meanwhile, Diesen is confident that “the Eurasian land powers will eventually incorporate Europe and other states on the inner periphery of Eurasia. Political loyalties will incrementally shift as economic interests turn to the East, and Europe is gradually becoming the western peninsula of Greater Eurasia”.

Talk about food for thought for the peninsular peddlers of the “unhealthy situation”.

RCEP hops on the New Silk Roads

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RCEP hops on the New Silk Roads

November 16, 2020

by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted on Asia Times

Ho Chi Minh, in his eternal abode, will be savoring it with a heavenly smirk. Vietnam was the – virtual – host as the 10 Asean nations, plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, on the final day of the 37th Asean Summit.

RCEP, eight years in the making, binds together 30% of the global economy and 2.2 billion people. It’s the first auspicious landmark of the Raging Twenties, which started with an assassination (of Iran’s Gen. Soleimani) followed by a global pandemic and now ominous intimations of a dodgy Great Reset.

RCEP seals East Asia as the undisputed prime hub of geoeconomics. The Asian Century in fact was already in the making way back in the 1990s. Among those Asians as well as Western expats who identified it, in 1997 I published my book 21st: The Asian Century (excerpts here.)

RCEP may force the West to do some homework, and understand that the main story here is not that RCEP “excludes the US” or that it’s “designed by China”. RCEP is an East Asia-wide agreement, initiated by Asean, and debated among equals since 2012, including Japan, which for all practical purposes positions itself as part of the industrialized Global North. It’s the first-ever trade deal that unites Asian powerhouses China, Japan and South Korea.

By now it’s clear, at last in vast swathes of East Asia, that RCEP’s 20 chapters will reduce tariffs across the board; simplify customs, with at least 65% of service sectors fully open, with increased foreign shareholding limits; solidify supply chains by privileging common rules of origin; and codify new e-commerce regulations.

When it comes to the nitty gritty, companies will be saving and be able to export anywhere within the 15-nation spectrum without bothering with extra, separate requirements from each nation. That’s what an integrated market is all about.

When RCEP meets BRI

The same scratched CD will be playing non-stop on how RCEP facilitates China’s “geopolitical ambitions”. That’s not the point. The point is RCEP evolved as a natural companion to China’s role as the main trade partner of virtually every East Asian player.

Which brings us to the key geopolitical and geoeconomic angle: RCEP is a natural companion to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which as a trade/sustainable development strategy spans not only East Asia but delves deeper into Central and West Asia.

The Global Times analysis is correct: the West has not ceased to distort BRI, without acknowledging how “the initiative they have been slandering is actually so popular in the vast majority of countries along the BRI route.”

RCEP will refocus BRI – whose “implementation” stage, according to the official timetable, starts only in 2021. The low-cost financing and special foreign exchange loans offered by the China Development Bank will become much more selective.

There will be a lot of emphasis on the Health Silk Road – especially across Southeast Asia. Strategic projects will be the priority: they revolve around the development of a network of economic corridors, logistic zones, financial centers, 5G networks, key sea ports and, especially short and mid-term, public health-related high-tech.

The discussions that led to the final RCEP draft were focused on a mechanism of integration that can easily bypass the WTO in case Washington persists on sabotaging it, as was the case during the Trump administration.

The next step could be the constitution of an economic bloc even stronger than the EU – not a far-fetched possibility when we have China, Japan, South Korea and the Asean 10 working together. Geopolitically, the top incentive, beyond an array of imperative financial compromises, would be to solidify something like Make Trade, Not War.

RCEP marks the irredeemable failure of the Obama era TPP, which was the “NATO on trade” arm of the “pivot to Asia” dreamed up at the State Department. Trump squashed TPP in 2017. TPP was not about a “counterbalance” to China’s trade primacy in Asia: it was about a free for all encompassing the 600 multinational companies which were involved in its draft. Japan and Malaysia, especially, saw thought it from the start.

RCEP also inevitably marks the irredeemable failure of the decoupling fallacy, as well as all attempts to drive a wedge between China and its East Asian trade partners. All these Asian players will now privilege trade among themselves. Trade with non-Asian nations will be an afterthought. And every Asean economy will give full priority to China.

Still, American multinationals won’t be isolated, as they will be able to profit from RCEP via their subsidiaries within the 15-nation members.

What about Greater Eurasia?

And then there’s the proverbial Indian mess. The official spin from New Delhi is that RCEP would “affect the livelihoods” of vulnerable Indians. That’s code for an extra invasion of cheap and efficient Chinese products.

India was part of the RCEP negotiations from the start. Pulling out – with a “we may join later” conditional – is once again a spectacular case of stabbing themselves in the back. The fact is the Hindutva fanatics behind Modi-ism bet on the wrong horse: the US-fostered Quad partnership cum Indo-Pacific strategy, which spells out as containment of China and thus preclude closer trade ties.

No “Make in India” will compensate for the geoeconomic, and diplomatic, blunder – which crucially implies India distancing itself from the Asean 10. RCEP solidifies China, not India, as the undisputed engine of East Asian growth amid the re-positioning of supply chains post-Covid.

A very interesting geoeconomic follow-up is what will Russia do. For the moment, Moscow’s priority involves a Sisyphean struggle: manage the turbulent relationship with Germany, Russia’s largest import partner.

But then there’s the Russia-China strategic partnership –which should be enhanced economically. Moscow’s concept of Greater Eurasia involves deeper involvement both East and West, including the expansion of the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), which, for instance, has free trade deals with Asean nations such as Vietnam.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is not a geoeconomics mechanism. But it’s intriguing to see what President Xi Jinping said at his keynote speech at the Council of Heads of State of the SCO last week.

This is Xi’s key quote: “We must firmly support relevant countries in smoothly advancing major domestic political agendas in accordance with law; maintaining political security & social stability, and resolutely oppose external forces interfering in internal affairs of member states under any pretext.”

Apparently this has nothing to do with RCEP. But there are quite a few intersections. No interference of “external forces”. Beijing taking into consideration the Covid-19 vaccine needs of SCO members – and this could be extended to RCEP. The SCO – as well as RCEP – as a multilateral platform for member states to mediate disputes.

All of the above points to the inter-sectionality of BRI, EAEU, SCO, RCEP, BRICS+ and AIIB, which translates as closer Asia – and Eurasia – integration, geoeconomically and geopolitically. While the dogs of dystopia bark, the Asian – and Eurasian – caravan – keeps marching on.

The Russia-China vote

The Russia-China vote

November 03, 2020

by Pepe Escobar with permission and cross-posted with Asia Times

Whatever the geopolitical and geoeconomic consequences of the spectacular US dystopia, the Russia-China strategic partnership, in their own slightly different registers, have already voted on their path forward.

Here is how I framed what is at the heart of the Chinese 2021-2025 five-year plan approved at the plenum in Beijing last week.

Here is a standard Chinese think tank interpretation.

And here is some especially pertinent context examining how rampant Sinophobia is impotent when faced with an extremely efficient made in China model of governance. This study shows how China’s complex history, culture, and civilizational axioms simply cannot fit into the Western, Christian hegemonic worldview.

The not so hidden “secret” of China’s 2021-2025 five-year plan – which the Global Times described as “economic self-reliance” – is to base the civilization-state’s increasing geopolitical clout on technological breakthroughs.

Crucially, China is on a “self-driven” path – depending on little to no foreign input. Even a clear – “pragmatic” – horizon has been set: 2035, halfway between now and 2049. By this time China should be on a par or even surpassing the US in geopolitical, geoeconomic and techno power.

That is the rationale behind the Chinese leadership actively studying the convergence of quantum physics and information sciences – which is regarded as the backbone of the Made in China push towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The five-year plan makes it quite clear that the two key vectors are AI and robotics – where Chinese research is already quite advanced. Innovations in these fields will yield a matrix of applications in every area from transportation to medicine, not to mention weaponry.

Huawei is essential in this ongoing process, as it’s not a mere data behemoth, but a hardware provider, creating platforms and the physical infrastructure for a slew of companies to develop their own versions of smart cities, safe cities – or medicines.

Big Capital – from East and West – is very much in tune with where all of this is going, a process that also implicates the core hubs of the New Silk Roads. In tune with the 21st century “land of opportunity” script, Big Capital will increasingly move towards East Asia, China and these New Silk hubs.

This new geoeconomic matrix will mostly rely on spin offs of the Made in China 2025 strategy. A clear choice will be presented for most of the planet: “win win” or “zero sum”.

The failures of neoliberalism

After observing the mighty clash, enhanced by Covid-19, between the neoliberal paradigm and “socialism with Chinese characteristics”, the Global South is only beginning to draw the necessary conclusions.

No Western propaganda tsunami can favorably spin what is in effect a devastating, one-two, ideological collapse.

Neoliberalism’s abject failure in dealing with Covid-19 is manifestly evident all across the West.

The US election dystopia is now sealing the abject failure of Western liberal “democracy”: what kind of “choice” is offered by Trump-Biden?

This is happening just as the ultra-efficient, relentlessly demonized “Chinese Communist Party” rolls out the road map for the next five years. Washington cannot even plan what happens the day ahead.

Trump’s original drive, suggested by Henry Kissinger before the January 2017 inauguration, was to play – what else – Divide and Rule, seducing Russia against China.

This was absolute anathema for the Deep State and its Dem minions. Thus the subsequent, relentless demonization of Trump – with Russiagate topping the charts. And then Trump unilaterally chose to sanction and demonize China anyway.

Assuming a Dem victory, the scenario will veer towards Russia demonization on steroids even as hysterical Hybrid War on China will persist on all fronts – Uighurs, Tibet, Hong Kong, South China Sea, Taiwan.

Now compare all of the above with the Russian road map.

That was clearly stated in crucial interventions by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President Putin at the recent Valdai Club discussions.

Putin has made a key assertion on the role of Capital, stressing the necessity of “abandoning the practice of unrestrained and unlimited consumption – overconsumption – in favor of judicious and reasonable sufficiency, when you do not live just for today but also think about tomorrow.”

Putin once again stressed the importance of the role of the state: “The state is a necessary fixture, there is no way […] could do without state support.”

And, in concert with the endless Chinese experimentation, he added that in fact there are no economic rules set in stone: “No model is pure or rigid, neither the market economy nor the command economy today, but we simply have to determine the level of the state’s involvement in the economy. What do we use as a baseline for this decision? Expediency. We need to avoid using any templates, and so far, we have successfully avoided that.”

Pragmatic Putin defined how to regulate the role of the state as “a form of art”.

And he offered as an example, “keeping inflation up by a bit will make it easier for Russian consumers and companies to pay back their loans. It is economically healthier than the deflationary policies of western societies.”

As a direct consequence of Putin’s pragmatic policies – which include wide-ranging social programs and vast national projects – the West ignores that Russia may well be on the way to overtake Germany as the fifth largest economy in the world.

The bottom line is that combined, the Russia-China strategic partnership is offering, especially to the Global South, two radically different approaches to the standard Western neoliberal dogma. And that, for the whole US establishment, is anathema.

So whatever the result of the Trump-Biden “choice”, the clash between the Hegemon and the Top Two Sovereigns is only bound to become more incandescent.

Sinophobia, Lies and Hybrid War

Sinophobia, Lies and Hybrid War

September 23, 2020

by Pepe Escobar and with permission cross-posted with Asia Times

It took one minute for President Trump to introduce a virus at the virtual 75th UN General Assembly, blasting “the nation which unleashed this plague onto the world”.

And then it all went downhill.

Even as Trump was essentially delivering a campaign speech and could not care less about the multilateral UN, at least the picture was clear enough for all the socially distant “international community” to see.

Here is President Xi’s full statement. And here is President Putin’s full statement. And here’s the geopolitical chessboard, once again; it’s the “indispensable nation” versus the Russia-China strategic partnership.

As he stressed the importance of the UN, Xi could not be more explicit that no nation has the right to control the destiny of others: “Even less should one be allowed to do whatever it likes and be the hegemon, bully, or boss of the world .”

The US ruling class obviously won’t take this act of defiance lying down. The full spectrum of Hybrid War techniques will continue to be relentlessly turbo-charged against China, coupled with rampant Sinophobia, even as it dawns on many Dr. Strangelove quarters that the only way to really “deter” China would be Hot War.

Alas, the Pentagon is overstretched – Syria, Iran, Venezuela, South China Sea. And every analyst knows about China’s cyber warfare capabilities, integrated aerial defense systems, and carrier-killer Dongfeng missiles.

For perspective, it’s always very instructive to compare military expenditure. Last year, China spent $261 billion while the US spent $732 billion (38% of the global total).

Rhetoric, at least for the moment, prevails. The key talking point, incessantly hammered, is always about China as an existential threat to the “free world”, even as the myriad declinations of what was once Obama’s “pivot to Asia” not so subtly accrue the manufacture of consent for a future war.

This report by the Qiao Collective neatly identifies the process: “We call it Sinophobia, Inc. – an information industrial complex where Western state funding, billion dollar weapons manufacturers, and right-wing think tanks coalesce and operate in sync to flood the media with messages that China is public enemy number one. Armed with state funding and weapons industry sponsors, this handful of influential think tanks are setting the terms of the New Cold War on China. The same media ecosystem that greased the wheels of perpetual war towards disastrous intervention in the Middle East is now busy manufacturing consent for conflict with China.”

That “US military edge”

The demonization of China, infused with blatant racism and rabid anti-communism, is displayed across a full, multicolored palette: Hong Kong, Xinjiang (“concentration camps), Tibet (“forced labor”), Taiwan, “China virus”; the Belt and Road’s “debt trap”.

The trade war runs in parallel – glaring evidence of how “socialism with Chinese characteristics” is beating Western capitalism at its own high-tech game. Thus the sanctioning of over 150 companies that manufacture chips for Huawei and ZTE, or the attempt to ruin TikTok’s business in the US (“But you can’t rob it and turn it into a US baby”, as Global Times editor-in-chief Hu Xijin tweeted).

Still, SMIC (Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation), China’s top chip company, which recently profited from a $7.5 billion IPO in Shanghai, sooner or later may jump ahead of US chip manufacturers.

On the military front, “maximum pressure” on China’s eastern rim proceeds unabated – from the revival of the Quad to a scramble to boost the Indo-Pacific strategy.

Think Tankland is essential in coordinating the whole process, via for instance the Center for Strategic & International Studies, with “corporation and trade association donors” featuring usual suspects such as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman.

So here we have what Ray McGovern brilliantly describes as MICIMATT – the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex – as the comptrollers of Sinophobia Inc.

Assuming there would be a Dem victory in November, nothing will change. The next Pentagon head will probably be Michele Flournoy, former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy (2009-2012) and co-founder of the Center for a New American Security, which is big on both the “China challenge” and the “North Korean threat”. Flournoy is all about boosting the “U.S. military’s edge” in Asia.

So what is China doing?

China’s top foreign policy principle is to advance a “community of shared future for mankind”. That is written in the constitution, and implies that Cold War 2.0 is an imposition from foreign actors.

China’s top three priorities post-Covid-19 are to finally eradicate poverty; solidify the vast domestic market; and be back in full force to trade/investment across the Global South.

China’s “existential threat” is also symbolized by the drive to implement a non-Western trade and investment system, including everything from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Silk Road Fund to trade bypassing the US dollar.

Harvard Kennedy School report at least tried to understand how Chinese “authoritarian resilience” appeals domestically. The report found out that the CCP actually benefitted from increased popular support from 2003 to 2016, reaching an astonishing 93%, essentially due to social welfare programs and the battle against corruption.

By contrast, when we have a MICCIMAT investing in Perpetual War – or “Long War” (Pentagon terminology since 2001) – instead of health, education and infrastructure upgrading, what’s left is a classic wag the dog. Sinophobia is perfect to blame the abysmal response to Covid-19, the extinction of small businesses and the looming New Great Depression on the Chinese “existential threat”.

The whole process has nothing to do with “moral defeat” and complaining that “we risk losing the competition and endangering the world”.

The world is not “endangered” because at least vast swathes of the Global South are fully aware that the much-ballyhooed “rules-based international order” is nothing but a quite appealing euphemism for Pax Americana – or Exceptionalism. What was designed by Washington for post-WWII, the Cold War and the “unilateral moment” does not apply anymore.

Bye, bye Mackinder

As President Putin has made it very clear over and over again, the US is no longer “agreement capable” . As for the “rules-based international order”, at best is a euphemism for privately controlled financial capitalism on a global scale.

The Russia-China strategic partnership has made it very clear, over and over again, that against NATO and Quad expansion their project hinges on Eurasia-wide trade, development and diplomatic integration.

Unlike the case from the 16th century to the last decades of the 20th century, now the initiative is not coming from the West, but from East Asia (that’s the beauty of “initiative” incorporated to the BRI acronym).

Enter continental corridors and axes of development traversing Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Indian Ocean, Southwest Asia and Russia all the way to Europe, coupled with a Maritime Silk Road across the South Asian rimland.

For the very first time in its millenary history, China is able to match ultra-dynamic political and economic expansion both overland and across the seas. This reaches way beyond the short era of the Zheng He maritime expeditions during the Ming dynasty in the early 15th century.

No wonder the West, and especially the Hegemon, simply cannot comprehend the geopolitical enormity of it all. And that’s why we have so much Sinophobia, so many Hybrid War techniques deployed to snuff out the “threat”.

Eurasia, in the recent past, was either a Western colony, or a Soviet domain. Now, it stands on the verge of finally getting rid of Mackinder, Mahan and Spykman scenarios, as the heartland and the rimland progressively and inexorably integrate, on their own terms, all the way to the middle of the 21st century.

من القوقاز إلى المحيط الهنديّ ثلاثيّة ما بعد الدولار…!

محمد صادق الحسينيّ

يواصل المفكرون والباحثون والسياسيون والديبلوماسيون والإعلاميون نقاشاتهم وتحليلاتهم، حول طبيعة العلاقات القائمة بين كل من جمهورية الصين الشعبية من جهة وروسيا من جهة أخرى وحول طبيعة العلاقات بين كل من الصين وروسيا وإيران، الى جانب التركيز الإعلامي والاستخباري المتزايد، حول طبيعة العلاقات الروسية الإيرانية والعلاقات السورية الإيرانية.

وبغضّ النظر عن وجهات النظر المختلفة، الصادرة عن العديد من أصحاب الرأي، فإنّ هنالك أسباباً موضوعية، تحكم تلك العلاقات المذكورة أعلاه، تفرضها طبيعة الصراع بين القوى العظمى في العالم، وليست محكومة بمزاجات او نزوات شخصية او ما شابة ذلك.

إذ إنّ الناظم الموضوعي الثابت لهذه العلاقات، يتمثل في المصالح القوميّة العليا لكلّ من البلدان، التي تدور حول علاقاتها كل هذه النقاشات. وهي مصالح محكومة بطبيعة العلاقات السائدة، بين كلّ من هذه الدول والولايات المتحدة والدول الأوروبية، في إطار الصراع الدولي الشامل وسعي كلّ طرف من الاطراف ان تكون له اليد العليا في العالم ليتصدر قيادته، بناءً على موازين القوى التي يفرزها هذا الصراع.

وبما ان جوهر هذا الصراع يتمحور حول انهاء السيطرة الأميركية الاحادية القطبية على العالم فإن كل القوى التي تعارض هذه الهيمنة الأميركية لا بد ان تلتقي مصالحها عند نقطة مشتركة، تجعل التعاون بينها اقتصادياً وسياسياً وعسكرياً، أمراً حتمياً لا غنى عنه.

إن نظرة مجردة، وغير خاضعة للأهواء الشخصية، للعلاقات التي تربط الدول التي تعمل على التصدي للهيمنة الأميركية، وهي بشكل اساسي وقوي كلٌّ من الصين الشعبية وروسيا وإيران، يضاف اليها العديد من الدول الإقليمية المهمة في آسيا، وكذلك الأمر بالنسبة للجزائر وجنوب افريقيا، في القارة الأفريقية، كما المكسيك وفنزويلا وقريباً البرازيل، بعد سقوط حكم بولسونارو، نقول إن نظرة الى هذه العلاقات تجعلنا نصل بالضرورة الى النتائج التالية:

أولاً: إن الاستراتيجية التي تنطلق منها هذه الدول، في مواجهتها لهيمنة الولايات المتحدة، هي استراتيجية موحدة او مشتركة او حتى يمكن القول إنها واحدةً، رغم التمايز في سياساتها، والذي يلاحظ في معالجتها لبعض قضايا العالم، أي لقضايا دولية، خارج إطار علاقة كل واحدة من هذه الدول مع الدولة او الأخرى.

ثانياً: وهذا يعني أن الدول الثلاث أعلاه هي دول متحالفة حول الاهداف، اي حول برنامج عمل محدّد ومتفق عليه، على الرغم من عدم وجود حلف يجمعها، وعدم ارتقاء المعاهدات الدولية، التي تجمع هذه الدول مع دول أخرى في العالم، كمعاهدة شنغهاي وغيرها، وهو الامر الذي يضفي مرونة كبيرة، على علاقات هذه الدول البينية وعلاقاتها مع دول أخرى. وهنا يحضرنا ذكر العلاقات، التي تربط روسيا بسورية وروسيا بـ”إسرائيل”، وكذلك علاقات الصين مع كل من سورية و”إسرائيل”، على الرغم من أن الآفاق الأوسع، لتطوير علاقات الصين وروسيا في “الشرق الاوسط “، توجد في البلدان العربية وليس في “إسرائيل”، وعليه فإن هذه العلاقات المتميّزة، بين القوتين العظميين والكيان الصهيوني، ليست الا علاقات مؤقتة سوف تتلاشى تزامناً مع تلاشي كيان الاحتلال.

ثالثاً: من هنا فانّ هذه الدول، ومنذ بداية تطوير العلاقات الروسية الصينية بشكل حيوي، بعد انتهاء الحرب الباردة، وبداية الحروب العسكرية الأميركية، في الفضاء الاستراتيجيّ للدول الثلاث، والتي بدأت بالحرب الأميركية على العراق سنة 1991، ثم احتلال افغانستان سنة 2001 واحتلال الجيوش الأميركية والبريطانية للعراق سنة 2003، وما تبعها من حرب أميركية اسرائيلية، ضد الحليف الموضوعي لتلك الدول، أي حزب الله، سنة 2006، وما تلاه من محاولة أميركية إسرائيلية لزعزعة الوضع على حدود روسيا الجنوبية، سنة 2008 في جورجيا، نقول إن الدول الثلاث وبالنظر الى ما اوردناه، وغير ذلك من الأسباب، فقد قررت اتباع استراتيجية تجميع وتوحيد القوى، المعادية للهيمنة الأميركية كأولوية دولية، وزجها موحدة في ميدان الصراع الدولي، بهدف الحدّ من السيطرة الأميركية شيئاً فشيئاً وإرغامها على تقليص انتشارها العسكري في العالم.

رابعاً: أن هذه السياسة، التي تجلت في التعاون الاقتصادي الواسع النطاق، بين روسيا والصين، خاصة في مجال الطاقة، وكذلك التعاون العسكري التقني بين الدولتين، الذي يساعد في مراكمة القوة الاقتصادية والعسكرية الضرورية، لخلق توازن دولي جديد، وكذلك الأمر في ما يخص العلاقات الروسية الإيرانية، التي تشمل العديد من القطاعات الهامة، والتي ستشهد تطورات متلاحقة وتعميقاً عاماً لها، بعد رفع حظر بيع وشراء السلاح المفروض على إيران وفشل الولايات المتحدة في تمديده. وكذلك الأمر بالنسبة للعلاقات الصينية الإيرانية التي شهدت تحسنًا ونمواً مضطرداً، رغم الحصار المفروض على إيران أميركياً، وهو تعاون سيفضي قريباً جداً الى توقيع اتفاقيات تعاون استراتيجي، سيكون له ما بعده (التعاون).

خامساً: كما لا بد من التأكيد على أن أحد أهم مجالات تطبيق هذه الثلاثية الأبعاد، الصينية الروسية الإيرانية، هو مجال الادوار التي لعبتها الدول الثلاث، سياسياً وعسكرياً، ليس فقط في حماية الدولة السورية، وبالتالي المنطقة العربية كلها، من التمزيق الشامل، وإنما أسّست لحضور عسكري استراتيجي روسي في شرق المتوسط يشكل خط دفاع أول عن بكين وموسكو ولا يستبعد أن يكون له دور عام في حماية مصالح الدول الثلاث في المنطقة والعالم، خاصة بالنظر الى مشروع طريق واحد حزام واحد الصيني العملاق، الذي لن تستطيع الولايات المتحدة منع تنفيذه مهما قامت بأعمال تفجير هنا وهناك، سواءً في البر او في البحر.

كما لا بدّ ايضاً من الاضاءة على أهمية التعاون السوري العراقي، مع كلّ من روسيا والصين وإيران، لما لذلك من أهمية على مشاريع إعادة الإعمار في العراق وسورية، وكذلك الأمر في قطاع خطوط نقل الغاز، التي لا بدّ أن تكون السواحل والموانئ السورية واللبنانية، رغم تفجير ميناء بيروت مرتين خلال شهر واحد تقريباً، هي محطات ضخ الغاز إلى اوروبا وليس ميناء حيفا المحتلّ، على الرغم من انّ شركة صينية هي التي تدير الميناء. اذ انّ كلّ مشاريع الغاز التي تتحدّث عنها الإدارة الأميركية والاحتلال الإسرائيلي هي مشاريع هدامة، تهدف قبل كل شيء الى إلحاق أضرار استراتيجية بصادرات الغاز الروسية، وبالتالي بالمداخيل المالية للدولة الروسية، خدمة لمشاريع واشنطن، الهادفة لإخضاع روسيا والصين لهيمنتها، سواءً من خلال الضغط العسكريّ أو الضغوط المالية والاقتصادية، عبر العقوبات والادوات الأخرى.

سادساً: وبالاضافة الى ذلك فانّ من الجدير بالذكر انّ تعاون هذه الدول الثلاث، الصين وروسيا وإيران، في كلّ المجالات، وعلى رأسها المجال العسكري، يواصل التنامي ومراكمة القوة اللازمة لمواجهة مؤامرات وتحرّشات الولايات المتحدة وحلف الناتو، سواء ضدّ الصين، في المحيطين الهندي والهادئ وبحار الصين واليابان والفلبين المختلفة، او ضدّ إيران، في بحر العرب ومنطقة الخليج وغرب المحيط الهندي، او ضدّ روسيا، في المحيط الهادئ والبحر الأسود وبحر البلطيق.

حيث قامت الدول الثلاث أعلاه بالردّ على تلك التحرّشات والاستفزازات الأميركية بإجراء تدريبات عسكرية بحرية مشتركة، في بحر العرب وغرب المحيط الهندي، استمرت لمدة ثلاثة ايام، من 27/12 وحتى 30/12/2019. وهي مناورات حملت العديد من الرسائل الهامة، لمن يعنيه الأمر، واظهرت ان إيران أصبحت قادرة على تنفيذ مهمات بحرية خارج محيطها الجغرافي، اذ انّ منطقة المناورات شملت شمال المحيط الهندي ايضاً، البعيد جغرافياً عن إيران، الأمر الذي يؤكد (القدرة الإيرانية) في تحدي للولايات المتحدة وإرسال ناقلات النفط الإيرانية الى فنزويلا، التي تبعد آلاف الكيلومترات عن السواحل الإيرانية مثال صارخ على ذلك.

علماً أنّ نجاح هذه الخطوة يُعتبر نجاحاً للدول الثلاث، خاصة اذا ما نظرنا الية كعملية مكملة للجسرين الجوي الصيني والروسي، اللذين أقيما لتقديم المساعدات لفنزويلا بداية العام الحالي، الى جانب التحليق القتالي الذي نفذته القاذفات الروسية العملاقة، من طراز توبوليڤ 160، في أجواء البحر الكاريبي والعديد من دول هذا البحر، أواسط شهر 12/2019، وما حملته تلك التحليقات الاستراتيجية من رسائل واضحة لواشنطن.

سابعاً: بالنظر الى استمرار التآمر والعبث الأميركي الغربي بأمن الصين، في بحار الصين والمحيط الهادئ وشرق المحيط الهندي (منطقة مضيق مالَقا) وكذلك العبث بالأمن الإيراني وامن منطقة الخليج بأكملها، من خلال مواصلة الحرب على اليمن ومحاولات إقامة حلف امني عسكري خليجي إسرائيلي، موجّه ضدّ إيران، حسب ما اعلن وزير الخارجية الأميركي، وما تقوم به أسلحة الجو للولايات المتحدة وجميع دول حلف الناتو، من محاولات انتهاك الأجواء الروسية، سواء على الجبهة الجنوبية، اي في منطقة البحر الأسود، او في بحر البلطيق وبحر بارينتس وشمال المحيط الهادئ، عند الحدود الروسية الجنوبية مع الصين واليابان، نقول إنه وبالنظر الى كلّ هذه الاستفزازات، مضاف اليها استمرار واشنطن وبروكسل في تعزيز حشود الناتو على حدود روسيا الشمالية الغربية، منطقة لينينغراد التي أصبحت في مرمى مدفعية قوات الناتو، وكذلك المحاولات اليائسة، التي تقوم بها واشنطن وبروكسل، لإسقاط الدولة في روسيا البيضاء والسيطرة على أراضيها رفعاً لمستوى التهديد الغربي للدولة الروسية، فإن كلاً من: روسيا والصين وإيران، الى جانب روسيا البيضاء وباكستان ودول أخرى عديدة، قرّرت اجراء تدريبات عسكرية مشتركة (تحت عنوان القوقاز 2020)، في جنوب غرب روسيا، تستمرّ من 21 وحتى 26 من شهر ايلول الحالي، وذلك في إطار الاستعدادات المشتركة لمواجهة أية اخطار عدوانية تواجه الدول المشاركة في التدريب.

ثامناً: وفي الختام لا بدّ من الإشارة الى انّ مراكمة القدرات، الاقتصادية والسياسية والعسكرية، لمواجهة العدوان الأميركي، قد جاءت نتيجة لثلاثين لقاء، بين الرئيسين الصيني والروسي، والعديد من اللقاءات بين الرئيسين الروسي والإيراني، كما أنها تشكل جزءاً من الردّ على الاستفزازات الجوية الأميركية الأوروبية، في أجواء البحر الاسود بشكل خاص، حيث اضطرت المقاتلات الروسية للتصدي لطائرات استطلاع وقاذفات استراتيجية أميركية أكثر من ثلاثين مرة، خلال شهر آب الماضي.

وهو الأمر الذي جعل إيران ايضاً تنفذ تمريناً عسكرياً بحرياً اطلقت علية اسم: ذو الفقار، بمساندة سلاح الجو والدفاع الجوي وقوات الانزال البحري وسلاح الصواريخ، في منطقة تمتد من بحر العرب وخليج هرمز وحتى غرب المحيط الهندي وتبلغ مساحتها مليوني كيلومتر مربع مستمرة حتى يومنا هذا، حيث تصدّت خلالها الدفاعات الجوية الإيرانية لثلاث طائرات استطلاع أميركية، الأولى من طراز P – 8، أما الثانية فهي مسيّرة من طراز غلوبال هوك MQ – 9، بينما الثالثة مسيّرة ايضاً ومن طراز RQ – 4، حيث كانت هذه الطائرات قد دخلت منطقة الاستطلاع الدفاعي الإيراني، مما اضطر طائرة إيرانية من طراز كرار أن تطلق طلقات تحذيرية باتجاه الطائرات الأميركية التي اضطرت الى مغادرة المنطقة.

وغنيّ عن القول طبعاً انّ في ذلك رسالة واضحة من إيران مفادها، انّ امن المنطقة الإقليمي، الممتدّ من سواحل إيران الجنوبية وبحر العرب وصولاً الى خط بحر قزوين/ البحر الأسود، هي من مسؤوليات دول المنطقة، ولا علاقة لا للولايات المتحدة ولا لدول الناتو بهذا الموضوع، على الرغم من انتشار قواعدها العسكرية على السواحل الغربية للبحر الاسود، في كل من بلغاريا ورومانيا وبعض الوجود العسكري في اوكرانيا.

اذن فهو تعاون ميداني مشترك، ذلك القائم بين الصين وروسيا وإيران، على الرغم من عدم وجود قاعدة عقائدية مشتركة، وهو ما يجعله تعاوناً يرتقي الى مستوى الحلف من دون ان يكون حلفاً ملزماً لكلّ اعضائه بكلّ السياسات والتفاصيل بالضرورة، كما هو حال حلف الناتو حالياً وحلف وارسو سابقاً، وهو الأمر الذي يمكن اعتباره تجديداً في العلاقات الدبلوماسية الدولية، ولكنه يتطابق تماماً مع احكام القانون الدولي، الذي ينظم العلاقات بين الدول.

وهذا ما جعل الكاتب الأميركي، دووغ باندو ينشر مقالاً، في مجلة ذي ناشيونال انتريست الأميركية، يوم 9/9/2020، تحت عنوان: لماذا يجب على أميركا الخوف من هذا الحلف؟

صحيح أن للخوف الأميركي هذا ما يبرره حالياً، لكن الصحيح ايضاً أن لا مبرر له، اذا ما اقتنعت الولايات المتحدة بان التطور الاقتصادي الصيني لن يوقفه لا الخوف الأميركي ولا المخططات العسكرية العدوانية للبنتاغون، وان الطريقة الوحيدة لقتل الخوف الأميركي، هي الرضوخ لمبدأ التعاون البناء مع الصين وروسيا وإيران إذا ما ارادت اثبات حسن نيتها في العلاقات الدولية، والاقتداء بنموذج هذه الدول في التطوير العلمي والتكنولوجي، اذ ان الصين هي الدولة الاولى في ألعالم من ناحية الاستثمار في البحث العلمي والتطوير التكنولوجي، وهي ايضاً الدولة التي يتخرج من جامعاتها سبعة ملايين مهندس، في مختلف الاختصاصات الهندسيّة بما فيها هندسة الكمبيوتر، وما يعنيه ذلك من اثراء لقدرات الدولة، على مختلف الصعد. وهذا ما ينطبق على كل من روسيا وإيران تماماً، ما يجعل المواجهة الاستراتيجية الدولية محسومة النتائج، لصالح التجمع المعادي للهيمنة الأميركيه، ولا مجال لإعادة عقارب الساعة الى الوراء، ولن تنفع اوهام ترامب، التي اعلن عنها يوم أمس، قائلاً ان لديه صواريخ لا يمتلك أحد مثلها…!

فليست بالصواريخ وحدها تعيش الأمم.

فهذا القرن هو قرن الحروب البيولوجيّة وعليك مواجهة الكورونا والقادم من الأوبئة وتنقذ الشعب الأميركي من صواريخك العبثية، قبل أن تتباهى بصواريخ لا وجود لها.

عالم جيوش اليانكي والكاوبوي يتقهقر، عالم ما بعد الدولار يتقدّم وينهض.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

«الشبر «الأميركي و»الذراع «الصينية في بحر كن فيكون…!

محمد صادق الحسيني

يهرب الأميركي المنهزم على أبواب عواصم المقاومة وتخوم بلاد العرب والعجم وأسوار أسود الشام وإيران بحثاً عن استعراضات هوليودية لا طائلة من ورائها…!

فها هو الرئيس الأميركي وبعض مسؤولي ادارته الكبار، مثل وزير الخارجية ووزير الحرب، يواصلون إطلاق التصريحات الاستفزازية والمثيرة لزعزعة الأمن والاستقرار الدوليين، لا لشيء او لسبب وجيه وإنما دعماً منهم لحملة رئيسهم الانتخابية المتعثرة، لأسباب عدة لا مجال للتطرق اليها في هذا المقام. وقد كان آخر هذه التصريحات الاستفزازية اللامسؤولة ذلك التصريح الذي صدر عن وزير الحرب الأميركي، مارك إسبر، قبل يومين والذي قال فيه انّ بلاده لن “تتنازل” عن شبر واحد في المحيط الهادئ، في رسالة موجهة لجمهورية الصين الشعبية، التي كانت تجري مناورات بحرية وجوية واسعة النطاق، وبالذخيرة الحية في المنطقة المذكورة.

ولكن الصين الشعبية قرّرت استخدام مقياس أكبر من مقياس وزير الدفاع الأميركي فقامت باستخدام قياس الذراع، وهو عبارة عن وحدة قياسية أكبر من الشبر وتزيد عنه بالثلثين (يُستعمل في بريطانيا باسم اليارد).

فبالإضافة إلى تصريحات وزارة الخارجية الصينية، الشديدة اللهجة، والتي رفضت فيها تصريحات الجنرال مارك إسبر، حيث قالت له: “انّ الجيش الشعبي الصيني لن يرقص على الموسيقى الأميركية”، نقول إنه بالإضافة الى هذه التصريحات قامت قيادة جيش التحرير الشعبي الصيني باتخاذ الإجراءات الميدانية الضرورية لإقران القول بالفعل، حيث نفذت العمليات التدريبية والقتالية التالية خلال الساعات الثماني والأربعين الماضية، في بحر الصين الجنوبي:

1 ـ إطلاق صاروخ سطح بحر، من طراز دونغ فينغ ، وهو الصاروخ الذي يطلق عليه اسم: قاتل حاملات الطائرات او غوام اكسبرس ( كناية عن القاعدة البحرية والجوية الأميركية الموجودة في جزيرة غوام غرب المحيط الهادئ، حسب ما يسمّيه العسكريون الأميركيون. وقد أطلق هذا الصاروخ، يوم ٢٦/٨/٢٠٢٠، من مقاطعة كينغهاي ، في شمال غرب الصين، باتجاه هدف بحري افتراضي معادٍ في المنطقة الواقعة بين مقاطعة هاينان في البر الصيني وجزر باراسيل في بحر الصين الجنوبي.

علماً أنّ أهمّ المواصفات العملياتية لهذا الصاروخ الخارق هي التالية:

يبلغ المدى العملياتي الفعال لهذا الصاروخ اربعة آلاف كيلومتر.
يبلغ وزن الرأس الحربي للصاروخ الف وثمانمائة كيلو غرام، الذي يمكن ان يكون رأساً تقليدياً او نووياً.
يعمل بالوقود الصلب ويمكن إطلاقه من قواعد ثابته او من على متن عربات عسكرية متنقلة، ويطير بسرعة فرط صوتية.
قيام جيش التحرير الشعبي الصيني بإطلاق صاروخ دفاع بحري ثاني بتاريخ 26/7/2020، من طراز ، الذي تم اطلاقه من مقاطعة تشي جيانغ، في شرق الصين، باتجاه هدف بحري في نفس المنطقة البحرية المذكورة أعلاه، وهي منطقة عمليات المناورات التي ينفذها الجيش الصيني هناك.
اما المواصفات العملياتية لهذا الصاروخ فهي التالية:

مدى هذا الصاروخ هو الف وسبعمائة كيلومتر.
يحمل رأساً متفجراً زنته ستمائة كيلوغرام.
يعمل بالوقود الصلب وسرعته عشرة اضعاف سرعة الصوت.
وقد أفاد أحد الخبراء العسكريين، المتخصصين في الشأن الصيني، في تعليق له على استخدام الصين لهذا النوع من الصواريخ في هذا التوقيت بالذات، افاد بالقول انه وبالاضافة الى تصريحات وزير الحرب الأميركي الاستفزازية، التي أطلقها وكأنّ بحر الصين الجنوبي جزء من المياه الإقليمية الأميركية، فإنّ جمهورية الصين الشعبية قد أرادت التأكيد على جديتها وإصرارها على الحفاظ على سيادتها البحرية، في بحار الصين، التي تتمتع بأهمية عالية جداً في مجال الملاحة البحرية المدنية والعسكرية للصين.

كما انّ قيام إحدى طائرات الاستطلاع الاستراتيجي الأميركية، من طراز سرعتها 765 كم في الساعة وتطير على ارتفاع 22000 متر، قيامها قبل يومين بمحاولة الدخول الى منطقة حظر الطيران ، التي أقامها الجيش الصيني، في منطقة التدريبات البحرية الجوية، التي تنفذها صنوف الاسلحة الصينية المعنية، وقيام مدمرة أميركية بمحاولة دخول منطقة عمليات سلاح البحرية الصينية يوم اول من امس، قد دفعت بالقيادة الصينية على اتخاذ إجراءات الردع الصاروخي هذه، وذلك بهدف تثبيت قواعد اشتباك دائمة في هذه المنطقة العامة والحساسة.

يذكر انّ مجلة “نيوزويك” الأميركية نشرت في عددها الصادر بتاريخ 29/1/2014، انّ السعودية قد اشترت عدداً غير محدّد من الصواريخ الصينية، طراز فنج دوغ 3 وهي الطراز المعدل للصاروخ الاقدم ، الذي اشترت منه السعودية عدداً مجهولاً سنة 1988.

وتابعت المجلة الأميركية قائلةً ان المخابرات المركزية الأميركية قد وافقت على الصفقة، التي عقدت سنة 2007 بين بكين والرياض، وذلك بعد تعديل أدخل على هذه الصواريخ يجعلها غير قادرة على حمل رؤوس نووية.

وقد دفعت وزارة الدفاع السعودية تكاليف “المساعدة اللوجستية” التي قدّمتها للحكومة السعودية، في إجراء تعديلات على صواريخ الصينية، بحيث لا تكون صالحة لتسليحها برؤوس نووية.

من كل ما تقدّم يتضح تماماً انّ هناك قواعد اشتباك جديدة، ترسم على صعيد الصراع الدولي بين القوى العظمى، خاصة اذا ما أضفنا الى التحركات الميدانية الصينية تلك الديبلوماسية، التي أطلقتها المتحدثة باسم الخارجية الروسية يوم 25/8/2020، رداً على التهديدات الأميركية بنشر صواريخ باليستية قصيرة ومتوسطة المدى في آسيا “لمواجهة العدوان الصيني الروسي” كما ورد على لسان وزير الخارجية الأميركي. تلك التصريحات التي أطلقتها زاخاروفا، وعلى الرغم من كونها مغلفة بغلاف مخملي سميك، إلا انّ لها قعقعة لا تقلّ عن قعقعة صواريخ المارشال غريتشكو، وزير الدفاع السوفياتي السابق، الذي كان يسمّيه الناتو الوزير الذي يقعقع بالصواريخ، حيث قالت: “انّ ظهور مخاطر صاروخية اضافية تهدّد الأراضي الروسية سيسفر عنه ردّ فعل فوري من جانبنا”.

وفي هذا رسالة شديدة الوضوح لمن يعنيه الأمر، في الولايات المتحدة والناتو، تقول: سندمّر قواعد الصواريخ هذه في حال تمّ نصبها. وما إرسال قوات خاصة روسية الى روسيا البيضاء، لمساعدة جيشها وقواتها الأمنية على التصدي لعمليات التخريب الأميركي الأوروبي هناك، ورغم أنها ليست قوة عسكرية كبيرة إلا أنّ لها دلائل تصل الى بروكسل (مقر قيادة الناتو) بكلّ تأكيد، بل انها تعبر الأطلسي، بكلّ سهولة، كي تستقرّ على مكتب وزير الحرب الأميركي، الذي يعرف تماماً ما الذي تعنيه هذه الرسالة، وهو الذي يدير ما يزيد على ألف قاعدة عسكرية أميركيه خارج حدود الولايات المتحدة ويعرف حجم الاخطار التي تتهددها، في حال اتخاذ خطوات صاروخية أميركية تهدّد روسيا، التي لن تتوانى لحظة واحدة، في اعطاء الضوء الأخضر لأصدقائها في العالم للقيام بما يلزم لردع العدوان الأميركي.

يمكن التأكيد في الختام بأنّ المواجهة الجارية في أقصى الشرق تأتي في سياق منظومة خطوات ديبلوماسية وسياسية وعسكرية ممنهجة ومدروسة بدقة ويتمّ تنسيقها، بكلّ تفاصيلها، بين كلّ من جمهورية الصين الشعبية وروسيا وإيران وسورية وحزب الله، على الرغم من عدم الإعلان عن ذلك بشكل استعراضي.

هناك استراتيجية ثابتة وأهدافاً واقعية وقابلة للتحقيق لن تتنازل عنها القوى المذكورة أعلاه، على الرغم مما قد يبدو للبعض من انه اهتزاز او تخلخل او تراجع في مواقف معينة تعني قضايا جزئية بعينها هنا أو هناك. انّ ما ترونه على هذا الشكل ليس سوى تطبيقاً عملياً لمبدأ الاستراتيجية الثابتة والتكتيك المرن والطويل الأمد، سواءً على الصعيد السياسي الديبلوماسي او العسكري. المبادئ ثابتة والتكتيكات تفرضها ظروف الميدان.

إذ انّ القدرة على التكيّف والتفاعل مع متغيّرات الميدان هي الأساس، في توفير ظروف النصر، لأنّ الجمود وعدم القدرة على الحركة المرنة يجعل من السهل على العدو توجيه الضربات القاتلة لك، بسبب عجزك عن المناورة ودمج عناصر المواجهة، من سياسية وديبلوماسية وعسكرية، للوصول الى هدفك الاستراتيجي:

النصر ضدّ الامبريالية الأميركية والاستكبار العالمي، وتحرير فلسطين كاملة من النهر الى البحر.

وهذا ما يسجله عالم التحوّلات الكبرى الذي تتسارع خطاه في إطار منظومة ثوابت كونية باتت واضحة للقاصي والداني مفادها أنّ مع يقف عكس اتجاه حركة التاريخ لا يمكن له كسر ارادة السنن الكونية..

السنن الحتمية التي هي في المقابل تستطيع ان تحوّله من دولة عظمى الى دولة فاشلة منهزمة بقدرة كن فيكون…!

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

The Sprit of Apollo-Soyuz Is Alive… With the Russia/China Space Alliance

The Sprit of Apollo-Soyuz Is Alive… With the Russia/China Space ...

Matthew Ehret August 1, 2020

Forty five years ago, Cold Warriors in the Pentagon and CIA shook their fists angrily at the stars- and for good reason.

On July 17, 1975 the first international handshake was occurring in space between Russian Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov and American astronaut Thomas Stafford as the first official act kicking off the historic Apollo-Soyuz cooperative mission. Taking place during age of nuclear terror on Earth, the Apollo-Soyuz represented a great hope for humankind and was the first ever international space mission leading the way to the MIR-USA cooperation and later International Space Station. Starting on July 15 as both Russian and American capsules launched simultaneously and continuing until July 24th, the Apollo-Soyuz cooperation saw astronauts and cosmonauts conducting joint experiments, exchanged gifts, and tree seeds later planted in each others’ nations.

As hope for a bright future of cooperation and co-discovery continued for the coming decades with mankind’s slow emergence as a space faring species, affairs on earth devolved in disturbing ways. A new era of regime change operations, Islamic terrorism and oil geopolitics took on new life in the 1980s and as globalization stripped formerly productive nations of their industrial/scientific potential, the Soviet Union collapsed by 1991. During this dark time, the consolidation of a corporatocracy under NAFTA and the European Maastricht Treaty occurred and transatlantic globalists gloated over the collapse of Russia and the rise of a utopian end-of-history, unipolar order.

In some ways, today’s world of 2020 is different from that of 1975 and in other ways it is disturbingly similar.

Today, a new generations of Cold Warriors has come to power in the Trans Atlantic Deep State who are willing to burn the earth under nuclear fire in defense of their utopian visions for world government which they see fast slipping away to the Multipolar alliance led by Russia and China. The clash of open vs closed system paradigms represented by the NATO/City of London cage on the one hand and the New Silk Road win-win paradigm of constant growth on the other has created a tension which is visceral and pregnant with potential for both good and evil.

This schism has also split American space policy between two opposing paradigms:

On the one hand a Deep State space vision for full spectrum dominance is defining Space Force (America’s newest branch of the military created in December 2019). Run out of the Pentagon and the most regressive neocon ideologues, this program calls for weaponizing space against the Russian Chinese alliance (and the rest of the world). Another, more sane vision for space is represented by leading NASA officials like Jim Bridenstine who have created NASA’s Artemis Accords calling for a framework for peaceful international cooperation in space. Bridenstine and other NASA officials have worked tirelessly to bring Russia and the USA into cooperative alliances on matters of space mining, asteroid defense and deep space exploration ever since President Trump’s 2017 directive to put mankind back on the moon for the first time since 1972 with plans to go to Mars following soon thereafter.

While U.S.-Russia space collaboration has moved at a snails pace even losing ground won in 1975, the Apollo-Soyuz spirit has expressed itself in another part of the world brilliantly, with the Russian-Chinese pact to jointly build a lunar base announced on July 23 by Roscosmos chief Dimitry Rogozin saying: “Recently, we have agreed that we will probably research the Moon and build a lunar research base together – Russia and China.”

This pact follows hot off the heals of the September 2019 agreement between both nations to jointly collaborate on Lunar activities over the coming decade which would begin with the Chang’e 7 lander and Luna 26 orbiter searching for lunar water in 2022. The Russia-China agreement also announced “creating and operating a joint Data Center for Lunar and Deep Space Research.”

On the same day that Rogozin announced the lunar research base, China’s Tianwen-1 (“Quest for Heavenly Truth”) launched on a Long March-5 carrier rocket from Hainan carrying an orbiter and rover scheduled to arrive in Mars’ orbit in February 2021. Once the rover lands on the surface of the red planet on May 2021, China will become the second nation to complete a successful soft landing after America (which has made 8 such landings since 1976, two of which are still operational). China’s orbiter will join the three American, two European and one Indian orbiters currently circling Mars.

Due to the fact that the Earth-Mars proximity is at it’s closest phase, several other important Mars launches have also occurred, with the United Arab Emirates launching the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission in history from Japan on Monday. This will be followed in short order by America’s Perseverance Mars Rover which will be launched from Cape Canaveral and will join the Curiosity rover that landed in 2012.

NASA has stated that Perseverance’s mission will involve seeking signs of microbial life, ancient life and subsurface water as well as “testing a method for producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, identifying other resources (such as subsurface water), improving landing techniques, and characterizing weather, dust, and other potential environmental conditions that could affect future astronauts living and working on Mars.”

What makes this Russia-China pact space pact additionally important is that it creates a potential flank in the anti-China space cooperation ban signed into law with the 2011 Wolf Act. By integrating into China’s advanced space program, Russia (which currently suffers from no similar bans to cooperation from western powers) may provide a lateral pathway for cooperation with China needed to bypass the ban. Russian-USA plans to cooperate on such programs as the Lunar Gateway station orbiting the moon still exists as well as other Soyuz-U.S. collaborative launches that have been planned through 2021 so hope on this level is not without foundation. Even though America has regained the capability to launch manned space craft with the Crew Dragon launch of this year, Bridenstine has said:

“We see a day when Russian cosmonauts can launch on American rockets, and American astronauts can launch on Russian rockets. Remember, half of the International Space Station is Russian, and if we’re going to make sure that we have continual access to it, and that they have continual access to it, then we’re going to need to be willing to launch on each other’s vehicles.”

Putin’s Strategic Open System Vision

We also know that since President Trump’s April 6, 2020 executive order making lunar and mars mining a priority of American space policy, he and President Putin have held four discussions in which space cooperation has arisen. While neocon war haws in the Pentagon and British military intelligence scream of Russian/Chinese aggression and accuse Russia of testing anti-satellite ballistic weapons, the first bilateral U.S.-Russia space security talks have restarted since 2013.

Four days after Trump’s executive order, Putin addressed American and Russian astronauts on board the ISS and said:

“We are pleased that our specialists are successfully working under the ISS program with their colleagues from the United States of America, one of the leading space powers. This is a clear example of an effective partnership between our countries in the interests of all mankind.”

Putin went on to say:

“I believe that even now, when the world is confronted with challenges, space activities will continue, including our cooperation with foreign partners, because mankind cannot stand still but will always try to move forward and join forces to advance the boundaries of knowledge… despite difficulties, people sought to make their dream of space travel come true, fearlessly entered the unknown and achieved success.”

The impending economic collapse has forced certain uncomfortable truths to the surface: 1) we will get a new global economic and security system soon, 2) that system will be of a closed system/unipolar nature or it will be an open system/multipolar character. If it is an open system then humanity will have learned that in order to successfully exist within a creative, evolving universe, we must tie our fates to becoming a self-consciously creative, evolving species locking our economic, cultural and political realities into this discoverable character of reality.

If the new system is of a closed/entropic order as certain advocates of the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset are proclaiming, then a much unhappier fate awaits our children and grandchildren which would make World War II look like a cake walk.

الصين تسرّع الخطى عالميّاً فهل يُسرّع لبنان؟

ناصر قنديل

رسمت الصين كقوة صاعدة على المستوى الاقتصادي الدوليّ مشروعها للانتقال خارج الحدود من خلال ما عُرف بخطة الحزام والطريق، الذي يتوزع على محاور عدة أبرزها خطوط سكك حديد وجسور بريّة ضخمة، وطرق بحريّة حديثة بمرافئ مجهزة، تؤمن ربط الصين بأجزاء القارة الآسيويّة كلها وصولاً إلى أوروبا من نوافذ متعددة أهمها روسيا وتركيا، وبمشاركة دولتين أوروبيتين هما اليونان وإيطاليا انضمّتا إلى الخطة الصينية، وفتحتا الباب لاستثمارات صينية تعبيراً عن ذلك، وتقع باكستان آسيوياً في قلب الخطة الصينية عبر استثمار يقارب مئة مليار دولار في مرفأ غوادر، بينما جاء الاتفاق الموقع بين الصين والعراق والذي بلغت قيمته خمسمئة مليار دولار، تطال بناء كل شيء في العراق من الجامعات إلى المستشفيات وسكك الحديد والكهرباء ومحطات المياه وخطوط النفط والغاز، والتي شكلت وفقاً للخبراء سبباً لتحريك الضغوط تحت عنوان ثورة الشارع على حكومة الرئيس عادل عبد المهدي وصولاً لاستقالته، ولا يتبرأ الأميركيّون من مسؤوليتهم عن إسقاطها، من دون أن يتمكن خليفته مصطفى الكاظمي من التبرؤ من الاتفاق الذي وقعه سلفه.

مع غموض مصير الاتفاق الصيني العراقي وبقائه فوق الطاولة، يثبت اتفاقان صينيان كبيران، كل منهما بخمسمئة مليار دولار، واحد مع إيران والآخر مع روسيا، وفيهما عناوين في حقول الطاقة وصناعة الطائرات المدنيّة، وصناعة تكنولوجيا الاتصالات، وتجهيز المرافئ وبناء شبكات متطوّرة لسكك الحديد ومدن سياحية، وعبرهما تصل الصين إلى حدود أوروبا من خلال روسيا، وإلى مياه الخليج وحدود المتوسط عبر إيران، ومن خلالها نحو العراق أو تركيا أو كليهما، بينما يتشارك الروس والإيرانيّون في تشجيع الصين على الاستثمار في سورية، خلافاً لكل التحليلات التي تتحدث عن تضارب مصالح على هذا الصعيد.

يناقش بعض اللبنانيين الانفتاح على الصين بسذاجة وجهل، متخيلين أن الحديث يجري عن دولة نامية، حيث يقع هذا البعض في أوهام ماضي التفوق الأوروبي التقني والصناعي، والتفوق الأميركي الاقتصادي، متجاهلين معنى انضمام إيطاليا لمبادرة الحزام والطريق الصينية، ومتجاهلين معنى نشر أبراج شركة هواوي الصينية في سويسرا وبريطانيا وألمانيا، لاستثمار تقنية الجيل الخامس من أجهزة الاتصالات، الذي يشكل محور الثورة العالمية في التكنولوجيا، ونقطة الارتكاز في الاقتصادات الرقمية الحديثة، ومتجاهلين أن صناعة الدواء العالمي، بما في ذلك الأميركي والأوروبي تتم بنسبة 90% في المصانع الصينية، وأن شركات أميركية عملاقة مثل أبل تصنّع هواتفها الذكية في الصين، وأن مرافئ عالمية كبرى مثل بوسطن وأمستردام تعمل بمعدات صينية بنسبة 80%، وأن اكبر مخزون عالمي من السلع والأموال والمعدات الصناعيّة موجود لدى الصين، وأن الاستثمار الأكبر في سندات الخزينة الأميركية هو الاستثمار الصيني بقيمة تزيد عن ثلاثة تريليونات دولار.

لبنان الذي يملك قيمة استراتيجية في موقعه على البحر المتوسط، وكان الصينيون قد أعربوا عن اهتمامهم بمرفأ طرابلس وبخطوط سكك الحديد وبناء مدن صناعية حرة، يملك أيضاً قيمة مضافة يمثلها القطاع المصرفي الذي ورّطه أصحابه والقيّمون عليه سياسياً ومالياً بعملية تدمير ذاتي، يمكن أن يشكل مصدر اهتمام صيني عبر عن نفسه بسعي الصين ضمن عروضهم للبنان بامتلاك مصرف ومؤسسة مالية، هذا بالإضافة لتوافر أجيال من خبراء بالتقنيات الحديثة في المعلوماتية والاتصالات بين متخرجي الجامعات من اللبنانيين، يندر وجود مثله في العالم العربي يؤهل لبنان لتشكيل منصة تقنية متقدمة للعالم العربي في مجال اقتصاد المعرفة.

الغباء وحده قد يحول دون إفادة لبنان من الفرصة الصينية، بما فيها ما سيحصل عليه إذا وضع ذلك شرطاً لاتفاق اقتصادي استراتيجي، لجهة طلب توظيف صيني برقم قد يصل إلى عشرين مليار دولار في سندات الخزينة اللبنانية بفائدة منخفضة ولمدة تزيد عن عشر سنوات، ما يؤهل لبنان السيطرة على أزمة الديون، والسيطرة على سعر الصرف، فهل يملك اللبنانيون شجاعة الإقدام، أم أن لدعوات الحياد علاقة بمسعى تعطيل هذا التوجّه، تحت شعار الهوية الدينية مرة والثقافية مرة؟

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.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

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.

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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

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