By the numbers: The de-dollarization of global trade

Data suggests that US dollar reserves in central banks are dwindling, as is the influence of the US on the world economy. This presents a unique opportunity for regional currencies and alternative payment systems to enter the vacuum.

January 13 2023

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By F.M. Shakil

The imposition of US trade restrictions and sanctions against a number of nations, including Russia, Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Iraq, and Syria have been politically ineffectual and have backfired against western economies. As a result, the US dollar has been losing its role as a major currency for the settlement of international business claims.

Because they do not adhere to the policies of the US and other western powers, over 24 countries have been the target of unilateral or partial trade sanctions. These limitations, nevertheless, have turned out to be detrimental to the economies of the Group of Seven (G7) nations and have begun to impact the US dollar’s hegemony in world trade.

In its space, a “new global commercial bloc” has risen to the fore, while alternatives to the western SWIFT banking messaging system for cross-border payments have also been created.

Geopolitical analyst Andrew Korybko tells The Cradle that the west’s extraordinary penalties and seizure of Russian assets abroad broke faith in the western-centric paradigm of globalization, which had been declining for years but had nonetheless managed to maintain the world standard.

“Rising multipolar countries sped up their plans for de-dollarization and diversification away from the western-centric model of globalization in favor of a more democratic, egalitarian, and just one – centered on non-western countries in response to these economic and financial disturbances,” he adds.

Dwindling dollar reserves  

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recorded a decline in central bank holdings of US dollar reserves during the fourth quarter of 2020—which went from 71 percent to 59 percent—reflecting the US dollar’s waning influence on the world economy.

And it continues to worsen: Evidence of this can be seen in the fact that the bank’s holdings of dollar claims have decreased from $7 trillion in 2021 to $6.4 trillion at the end of March 2022.

According to the Currency Composition of Official Foreign Exchange Reserves (COFER) report by the IMF, the percentage of US dollars in central bank reserves has decreased by 12 percent since 1999, while the percentage of other currencies, particularly the Chinese yuan, have shown an increasing trend with a 9 percent rise during this period.

The study contends that the role of the dollar is waning due to competition from other currencies held by the bankers’ banks for international transactions – including the introduction of the euro – and reveals that this will have an impact on both the currency and bond markets if dollar reserves continue to shrink.

Alternative currencies and trade routes

To boost global commerce and Indian exports, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) devised in July last year a rupee-settlement mechanism to fend off pressure on the Indian currency in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and US-EU sanctions.

India has recently concluded agreements for currency exchanges of $75.4 billion with the UAE, Japan, and various South Asian nations. New Delhi has also informed South Korea and Turkey of its non-dollar-mediated exchange rates for each country’s currency. Currently, Turkey conducts business utilizing the national currencies of China (yuan) and Russia (ruble).

Iran has also proposed to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) a euro-like SCO currency for trade among the Eurasian bloc to check the weaponization of the US dollar-dominated global financial system.

Mehdi Safari, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for economic diplomacy, informed the media earlier in June last year that the SCO received the proposal nearly two months ago.

“They must use multilateral institutions like BRICS and the SCO to this aim – and related ones, such as currency pools and potentially even the establishment of a new currency whose rate is based on a basket of their currencies, to mitigate the effects of trade-related restrictions,” Korybko remarked.

The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is being revived as a “sanctions-busting” project by Russia and Iran. The INSTC garnered renewed interest following the “sanctions from hell” imposed by the west on Moscow. Russia is now finalizing regulations that will allow Iranian ships free navigation along the Volga and Don rivers.

The INSTC was planned as a 7,200 km long multimodal transportation network including sea, road, and rail lines to carry freight between Russia, Central Asia, and the Caspian regions.

Ruble-Yuan Payment System

On 30 December, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping held a video conference in which Putin reported that bilateral trade between the two countries had reached an all-time high with a 25 percent growth rate and that trade volumes were on track to reach $200 billion by next year, despite western sanctions and a hostile external environment.

Putin stated that there had been a “substantial growth in trade volumes” between January and November 2022, resulting in a 36 percent increase in trade to $6 billion. It is likely that the $200 billion bilateral trade target, if achieved by next year, will be conducted in Russian rubles and Chinese yuan, even though the details of the bilateral trade settlement were not specified in the video conference broadcast.

This is because Moscow and Beijing have already set up a cross-border interbank payment network similar to SWIFT, increased their gold purchases to give their currencies more stability, and signed agreements to swap national currencies in several regional and bilateral deals.

In addition, both Russia and China appear to have anticipated a potential US seizure of their financial assets, and in 2014 they collaborated on energy-centered treaties to strengthen their strategic trade links.

In 2017, the ruble-yuan “payment against payment” system was implemented along China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In 2019, the two countries signed an agreement to replace the dollar with national currencies in cross-border transactions and converted their $25 billion worth of trade to yuan (RMB) and rubles.

Independence from the dollar

This shift decreased their mutual reliance on the dollar, and currently, just over half of Russia’s exports are settled in US dollars, down from 80 percent in 2013. The bulk of trade between Russia and China is now conducted in local currencies.

Xinjiang in western China has also established itself as a key cross-border settlement center between China and Central Asia, making it a major financial hub in the region. Cumulative cross-border yuan settlement handled in Xinjiang exceeded 100 billion yuan ($14 billion) as early as 2013 and reached 260 billion yuan in 2018.

According to analyst Korybko, significant progress has been made in reducing reliance on the US dollar in international trade, but there is still much work to be done. He notes that the US is not likely to simply accept the challenges to its financial hegemony and is more likely to act to defend it.

“For this reason, it is expected that the US will try to enlist the support of key players by offering them preferential trade deals or the promise of such deals, while simultaneously stoking tensions between Russia, China, India, and Iran through information warfare and possibly threatening to tighten its secondary sanctions regime as ‘deterrence’.”

Eurasian Economic Union

Russia has been working to establish currency swap agreements with a number of trading partners, comprising the five-member Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which includes Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

These agreements have enabled the Russian Federation to conduct over 70 percent of its trade in rubles and other regional currencies. With a population of 183 million and a GDP over $2.2 trillion, the EEU poses a formidable challenge to western hegemony over global financial transactions.

Iran and the EEU have recently concluded negotiations on the conditions of a free trade agreement covering over 7,500 categories of goods. When the next Iranian year begins on 21 March, 2023, a market with a potential size of 700 billion dollars will become available for Iranian goods and services.

BRICS is driving de-dollarization

The trend towards de-dollarization in international trade, particularly among the BRICS nations, has gained significant momentum in recent years – together they represent 41 percent of the world’s population, 24 percent of its GDP, and 16 percent of its commerce

In 2015, the BRICS New Development Bank, recommended the use of national currencies in trade. Four years later, the bank provided 25 percent of its $15 billion in financial assistance in local currencies, and plans to increase this to 50 percent in the coming years.

This shift towards de-dollarization is an important step for emerging economies as they seek to assert their role in the global economic system and reduce their reliance on the US dollar. While the adoption of de-dollarization may present some challenges and uncertainties, it is an important step towards a more diverse and balanced global economy.

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

Bye bye 1991-2022

January 10, 2023

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

2023 starts with collective NATO in Absolutely Freak Out Mode as Russian Defense Minister Shoigu announces that Russian Navy frigate Admiral Gorshkov is now on tour – complete with a set of Mr. Zircon’s hypersonic business cards.

The business tour will encompass the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean, and of course include the Mediterranean, the Roman Empire’s former Mare Nostrum. Mr. Zircon on the prowl has absolutely nothing to do with the war in Ukraine: it’s a sign of what happens next when it comes to frying much bigger fishes than a bunch of Kiev psychos.

The end of 2022 did seal the frying of the Big Ukraine Negotiation Fish. It has now been served on a hot plate – and fully digested. Moscow has made it painfully clear there’s no reason whatsoever to trust the “non-agreement capable” declining superpower.

So even taxi drivers in Dacca are now betting on when the much- vaunted “winter offensive” starts, and how far will it go. General Armageddon’s path ahead is clear: all-out demilitarization and de-electrification on steroids, complete with grinding up masses of Ukrainians at the lowest possible cost to the Russian Armed Forces in Donbass until Kiev psychos beg for mercy. Or not.

Another big fried fish on a hot plate at the end of 2022 was the 2014 Minsk Agreement. The cook was no other than former chancellor Merkel (“an attempt to buy time for Ukraine”). Implied is the not exactly smokin’ gun: the strategy of the Straussian/neo-con and neoliberal-con combo in charge of US foreign policy, from the beginning, was to unleash a Forever War, by proxy, against Russia.

Merkel may have been up to something telling the Russians, in their face, that she lied like crypto-Soprano Mike Pompeo, then she lied again and again, for years. That’s not embarrassing for Moscow, but for Berlin: yet another graphic demonstration of total vassalage to the Empire.

The response by the contemporary embodiment of Mercury, Russian Foreign Ministry’s Maria Zakharova, was equally intriguing: Merkel’s confession could be used as a specific reason – and evidence – for a tribunal judging Western politicians responsible for provoking the Russia-Ukraine proxy war.

No one will obviously confirm it on the record. But all this could be part of an evolving, secret Russia-Germany deal in the making, leading to Germany restoring at least some of its sovereignty.

Time to fry NATO fish

Meanwhile, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, visibly relishing his totally unplugged incarnation, expanded on the Fried Negotiation Fish saga. “Last warning to all nations”, as he framed it: “there can be no business with the Anglo-Saxon world [because] it is a thief, a swindler, a card-sharp that could do anything….From now on we will do without them until a new generation of sensible politicians comes to power… There is nobody in the West we could deal with about anything for any reason.”

Medvedev, significantly, recited more or less the same script, in person, to Xi Jinping in Beijing, days before the zoom to end all zooms – between Xi and Putin – that worked as a sort of informal closure of 2022, with the Russia-China strategic partnership perfectly in synch.

On the war front, General Armageddon’s new – offensive – groove is bound to lead in the next few months to an undisputable fact on the ground: a partition between a dysfunctional black hole or rump Ukraine on the west, and Novorossiya in the east.

Even the IMF is now reluctant to throw extra funds into the black hole. Kiev’s 2023 budget has an – unrealistic – $36 billion deficit. Half of the budget is military-related. The real deficit in 2022 was running at about $5 billion a month – and will inevitably balloon.

Tymofiy Mylovanov, a professor at the Kiev School of Economics, came up with a howler: the IMF is worried about Ukraine’s “debt sustainability”. He added, “if even the IMF is worried, imagine what private investors are thinking”. There will be no “investment” in rump Ukraine. Multinational vultures will grab land for nothing and whatever puny productive assets may remain.

Arguably the biggest fish to be fried in 2023 is the myth of NATO. Every serious military analyst, few Americans included, knows that the Russian Army and military industrial complex represents a superior system than what existed at the end of the USSR, and far superior to that of the US and the rest of NATO today.

The Mackinder-style final blow to a possible alliance between Germany (EU), Russia and China – which is what is really behind the US proxy war in Ukraine – is not proceeding according to the Straussian wet dream.

Saddam Hussein, former imperial vassal, was regime-changed because he wanted to bypass the petrodollar. Now we have the inevitable rise of the petroyuan – “in three to five years”, as Xi Jinping announced in Riyadh: you just can’t prevent it with Shock’n Awe on Beijing.

In 2008, Russia embarked on a massive rebuilding of missile forces and a 14-year plan to modernize land-based armed forces. Mr. Zircon presenting his hypersonic business card across the Mare Nostrum is just a small part of the Big Picture.

The myth of US power

The CIA abandoned Afghanistan in a humiliating retreat – even ditching the heroin ratline – just to relocate to Ukraine and continue playing the same old broken records. The CIA is behind the ongoing sabotage of Russian infrastructure – in tandem with MI6 and others. Sooner or later there will be blowback.

Few people – including CIA operatives – may know that New York City, for instance, may be destroyed with a single move: blowing up the George Washington bridge. The city can’t be supplied with food and most of its requirements without the bridge. The New York City electrical grid can be destroyed by knocking out the central controls; putting it back together could take a year.

Even trespassed by infinite layers of fog of war, the current situation in Ukraine is still a skirmish. The real war has not even started yet. It might – soon.

Apart from Ukraine and Poland there is no NATO force worth mentioning. Germany has a risible two-day supply of ammunition. Turkey will not send a single soldier to fight Russians in Ukraine.

Out of 80,000 US troops stationed in Europe, only 10% are weaponized. Recently 20,000 were added, not a big deal. If the Americans activated their troops in Europe – something rather ridiculous in itself – they would not have any place to land supplies or reinforcements. All airports and seaports would be destroyed by Russian hypersonic missiles in a matter of minutes – in continental Europe as well as the UK.

In addition, all fuel centers such as Rotterdam for oil and natural gas would be destroyed, as well as all military installations, including top American bases in Europe: Grafenwoehr, Hohenfels, Ramstein, Baumholder, Vilseck, Spangdahlem, and Wiesbaden in Germany (for the Army and Air Force); Aviano Air Base in Italy; Lajes Air Base in Portugal’s Azores islands; Naval Station Rota in Spain; Incirlik Air Base in Turkey; and Royal Air Force stations Lakenheath and Mildenhall in the UK.

All fighter jets and bombers would be destroyed – after they land or while landed: there would be no place to land except on the autobahn, where they would be sitting ducks.

Patriot missiles are worthless – as the whole Global South saw in Saudi Arabia when they tried to knock out Houthi missiles coming from Yemen. Israel’s Iron Dome can’t even knock out all primitive missiles coming from Gaza.

US military power is the supreme myth of the fish to be fried variety. Essentially they hide behind proxies – as the Ukraine Armed Forces. US forces are worthless except in turkey shoots as in Iraq in 1991 and 2003, against a disabled opponent in the middle of the desert with no air cover. And never forget how NATO was completely humiliated by the Taliban.

The final breaking point

2022 ended an era: the final breaking point of the “rules-based international order” established after the fall of the USSR.

The Empire entered Desperation Row, throwing everything and the kitchen sink – proxy war on Ukraine, AUKUS, Taiwan hysteria – to dismantle the set-up they created way back in 1991.

Globalization’s rollback is being implemented by the Empire itself. That ranges from stealing the EU energy market from Russia so the hapless vassals buy ultra-expensive US energy to smashing the entire semiconductor supply chain, forcibly rebuilding it around itself to “isolate” China.

The NATO vs. Russia war in Ukraine is just a cog in the wheel of the New Great Game. For the Global South, what really matters is how Eurasia – and beyond – are coordinating their integration process, from BRI to the BRICS+ expansion, from the SCO to the INSTC, from Opec+ to the Greater Eurasia Partnership.

We’re back to what the world looked like in 1914, or before 1939, only in a limited sense. There’s a plethora of nations struggling to expand their influence, but all of them are betting on multipolarity, or “peaceful modernization”, as Xi Jinping coined it, and not Forever Wars: China, Russia, India, Iran, Indonesia and others.

So bye bye 1991-2022. The hard work starts now. Welcome to the New Great Game on crack.

Xi of Arabia and the petroyuan drive

Xi Jinping has made an offer difficult for the Arabian Peninsula to ignore: China will be guaranteed buyers of your oil and gas, but we will pay in yuan.

December 16 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

It would be so tempting to qualify Chinese President Xi Jinping landing in Riyadh a week ago, welcomed with royal pomp and circumstance, as Xi of Arabia proclaiming the dawn of the petroyuan era.

But it’s more complicated than that. As much as the seismic shift implied by the petroyuan move applies, Chinese diplomacy is way too sophisticated to engage in direct confrontation, especially with a wounded, ferocious Empire. So there’s way more going here than meets the (Eurasian) eye.

Xi of Arabia’s announcement was a prodigy of finesse: it was packaged as the internationalization of the yuan. From now on, Xi said, China will use the yuan for oil trade, through the Shanghai Petroleum and National Gas Exchange, and invited the Persian Gulf monarchies to get on board. Nearly 80 percent of trade in the global oil market continues to be priced in US dollars.

Ostensibly, Xi of Arabia, and his large Chinese delegation of officials and business leaders, met with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to promote increased trade. Beijing promised to “import crude oil in a consistent manner and in large quantities from the GCC.” And the same goes for natural gas.

China has been the largest importer of crude on the planet for five years now – half of it from the Arabian peninsula, and more than a quarter from Saudi Arabia. So it’s no wonder that the prelude for Xi of Arabia’s lavish welcome in Riyadh was a special op-ed expanding the trading scope, and praising increased strategic/commercial partnerships across the GCC, complete with “5G communications, new energy, space and digital economy.”

Foreign Minister Wang Yi doubled down on the “strategic choice” of China and wider Arabia. Over $30 billion in trade deals were duly signed – quite a few significantly connected to China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects.

And that brings us to the two key connections established by Xi of Arabia: the BRI and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

The Silk Roads of Arabia

BRI will get a serious boost by Beijing in 2023, with the return of the Belt and Road Forum. The first two bi-annual forums took place in 2017 and 2019. Nothing happened in 2021 because of China’s strict zero-Covid policy, now abandoned for all practical purposes.

The year 2023 is pregnant with meaning as BRI was first launched 10 years ago by Xi, first in Central Asia (Astana) and then Southeast Asia (Jakarta).

BRI not only embodies a complex, multi-track trans-Eurasian trade/connectivity drive but it is the overarching Chinese foreign policy concept at least until the mid-21st century. So the 2023 forum is expected to bring to the forefront a series of new and redesigned projects adapted to a post-Covid and debt-distressed world, and most of all to the loaded Atlanticism vs. Eurasianism geopolitical and geoeconomic sphere.

Also significantly, Xi of Arabia in December followed Xi of Samarkand in September – his first post-Covid overseas trip, for the SCO summit in which Iran officially joined as a full member. China and Iran in 2021 clinched a 25-year strategic partnership deal worth a potential $400 billion in investments. That’s the other node of China’s two-pronged West Asia strategy.

The nine permanent SCO members now represent 40 percent of the world’s population. One of their key decisions in Samarkand was to increase bilateral trade, and overall trade, in their own currencies.

And that further connects us to what has happening in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in full synchronicity with Riyadh: the meeting of the Supreme Eurasia Economic Council, the policy implementation arm of the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU).

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in Kyrgyzstan, could not have been more straightforward: “The work has accelerated in the transition to national currencies in mutual settlements… The process of creating a common payment infrastructure and integrating national systems for the transmission of financial information has begun.”

The next Supreme Eurasian Economic Council will take place in Russia in May 2023, ahead of the Belt and Road Forum. Take them together and we have the lineaments of the geoeconomic road map ahead: the drive towards the petroyuan proceeding in parallel to the drive towards a “common paying infrastructure” and most of all, a new alternative currency bypassing the US dollar.

That’s exactly what the head of the EAEU’s macroeconomic policy, Sergey Glazyev, has been designing, side by side with Chinese specialists.

Total Financial War

The move towards the petroyuan will be fraught with immense peril.

In every serious geoeconomic gaming scenario, it’s a given that an enfeebled petrodollar translates as the end of the imperial free lunch in effect for over five decades.

Concisely, in 1971, then-US President Richard “Tricky Dick” Nixon pulled the US from the gold standard; three years later, after the 1973 oil shock, Washington approached the Saudi oil minister, notorious Sheikh Yamani, with the proverbial offer-you-can’t-refuse: we buy your oil in US dollars and in return you buy our Treasury bonds, lots of weapons, and recycle whatever’s left in our banks.

Cue to Washington now suddenly able to dispense helicopter money – backed by nothing – ad infinitum, and the US dollar as the ultimate hegemonic weapon, complete with an array of sanctions over 30 nations who dare to disobey the unilaterally imposed “rules-based international order.”

Impulsively rocking this imperial boat is anathema. So Beijing and the GCC will adopt the petroyuan slowly but surely, and certainly with zero fanfare. The heart of the matter, once again, is their mutual exposure to the Western financial casino.

In the Chinese case, what to do, for instance, with those whopping $1 trillion in US Treasury bonds. In the Saudi case, it’s hard to think about “strategic autonomy” – such as what’s enjoyed by Iran – when the petrodollar is a staple of the Western financial system. The menu of possible imperial reactions includes everything from a soft coup/ regime change to Shock and Awe over Riyadh – followed by regime change.

Yet what the Chinese – and the Russians – are aiming at goes way beyond a Saudi (and Emirati) predicament. Beijing and Moscow have clearly identified how everything – the oil market, global commodities markets – is tied to the role of the US dollar as reserve currency.

And that’s exactly what the EAEU discussions; the SCO discussions; from now on the BRICS+ discussions; and Beijing’s two-pronged strategy across West Asia are focused to undermine.

Beijing and Moscow, within the BRICS framework, and further on within the SCO and the EAEU, have been closely coordinating their strategy since the first sanctions on Russia post-Maidan 2014, and the de facto trade war against China unleashed in 2018.

Now, after the February 2022 Special Military Operation launched by Moscow in Ukraine and NATO has devolved into, for all practical purposes, war against Russia, we have stepped beyond Hybrid War territory and are deep into Total Financial War.

SWIFTly drifting away

The whole Global South absorbed the “lesson” of the collective (institutional) west freezing, as in stealing, the foreign reserves of a G20 member, on top of it a nuclear superpower. If that happened to Russia, it could happen to anyone. There are no “rules” anymore.

Russia since 2014 has been improving its SPFS payment system, in parallel with China’s CIPS, both bypassing the western-led SWIFT banking messaging system, and increasingly used by Central Banks across Central Asia, Iran and India. All across Eurasia, more people are ditching Visa and Mastercard and using UnionPay and/or Mir cards, not to mention Alipay and WeChat Pay, both extremely popular across Southeast Asia.

Of course the petrodollar – and the US dollar, still representing under 60 percent of global foreign exchange reserves – will not ride into oblivion overnight. Xi of Arabia is just the latest chapter in a seismic shift now driven by a select group in the Global South, and not by the former “hyperpower.”

Trading in their own currencies and a new, global alternative currency is right at the top of the priorities of that long list of nations – from South America to Northern Africa and West Asia – eager to join BRICS+ or the SCO, and in quite a few cases, both.

The stakes could not be higher. And it’s all about subjugation or exercising full sovereignty. So let’s leave the last essential words to the foremost diplomat of our troubled times, Russia’s Sergey Lavrov, at the international interparty conference Eurasian Choice as a Basis for Strengthening Sovereignty:

“The main reason for today’s growing tensions is the stubborn striving of the collective West to maintain a historically diminishing domination in the international arena by any means it can… It is impossible to impede the strengthening of the independent centers of economic growth, financial might and political influence. They are emerging on our common continent of Eurasia, in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.”

All aboard…the Sovereign Train.

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

Vladimir Putin Address to SCO and CIS Defense Ministers Dec 9, 2022 – English Subtitles

December 09, 2022

The Global South births a new game-changing payment system

November 30, 2022

by Pepe Escobar, first published at The Cradle and posted with the author’s permission

Challenging the western monetary system, the Eurasia Economic Union is leading the Global South toward a new common payment system to bypass the US Dollar.

The Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) is speeding up its design of a common payment system, which has been closely discussed for nearly a year with the Chinese under the stewardship of Sergei Glazyev, the EAEU’s minister in charge of Integration and Macro-economy.

Through its regulatory body, the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), the EAEU has just extended a very serious proposal to the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) which, crucially, are already on the way to turning into BRICS+: a sort of G20 of the Global South.

The system will include a single payment card – in direct competition with Visa and Mastercard – merging the already existing Russian MIR, China’s UnionPay, India’s RuPay, Brazil’s Elo, and others.

That will represent a direct challenge to the western-designed (and enforced) monetary system, head on. And it comes on the heels of BRICS members already transacting their bilateral trade in local currencies, and bypassing the US dollar.

This EAEU-BRICS union was long in the making – and will now also move toward prefiguring a further geoeconomic merger with the member nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

The EAEU was established in 2015 as a customs union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, joined a year later by Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Vietnam is already an EAEU free trade partner, and recently enshrined SCO member Iran is also clinching a deal.

The EAEU is designed to implement free movement of goods, services, capital, and workers between member countries. Ukraine would have been an EAEU member if not for the Maidan coup in 2014 masterminded by the Barack Obama administration.

Vladimir Kovalyov, adviser to the chairman of the EEC, summed it all up to Russian newspaper Izvestia. The focus is to establish a joint financial market, and the priority is to develop a common “exchange space:” “We’ve made substantial progress and now the work is focused on such sectors as banking, insurance, and the stock market.”

A new regulatory body for the proposed joint EEU-BRICS financial system will soon be established.

Meanwhile, trade and economic cooperation between the EAEU and BRICS have increased 1.5 times in the first half of 2022 alone.

The BRICS share in the total external trade turnover of the EAEU has reached 30 percent, Kovalyov revealed at the BRICS International Business Forum this past Monday in Moscow:

“It is advisable to combine the potentials of the BRICS and EAEU macro-financial development institutions, in particular the BRICS New Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), as well as national development institutions. This will make it possible to achieve a synergistic effect and ensure synchronous investments in sustainable infrastructure, innovative production, and renewable energy sources.”

Here we once again see the advancing convergence of not only BRICS and EAEU but also the financial institutions deeply involved in projects under the China-led New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Halting the Age of Plunder

As if all that was not game-changing enough, Russian President Vladimir Putin is raising the stakes by calling for a new international payment system based on blockchain and digital currencies.

The project for such a system was recently presented at the 1st Eurasian Economic Forum in Bishkek.

At the forum, the EAEU approved a draft agreement on cross-border placement and circulation of securities in member states, and amended technical regulations.

The next big step is to organize the agenda of a crucial meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council on 14 December in Moscow. Putin will be there – in person. And there’s nothing he would love more than to make a game-changing announcement.

All of these moves acquire even more importance as they connect to fast increasing, interlocking trade between Russia, China, India, and Iran: from Russia’s drive to build new pipelines serving its Chinese market – to Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan discussing a gas union for both domestic supplies and exports, especially to main client China.

Slowly but surely, what is emerging is the Big Picture of an irretrievably fractured world featuring a dual trade/circulation system: one will be revolving around the remnants of the dollar system, the other is being built centered on the association of BRICS, EAEU, and SCO.

Pushing further on down the road, the recent pathetic metaphor coined by a tawdry Eurocrat boss: the “jungle” is breaking away from the “garden” with a vengeance. May the fracture persist, as a new international payment system – and then a new currency – will aim to halt for good the western-centric Age of Plunder.

US paralyzed by Islamic Republic of Iran’s strategic swing

Monday, 28 November 2022 6:18 PM  [ Last Update: Monday, 28 November 2022 6:21 PM ]

By Pepe Escobar

Iran’s parliament has just approved the accession of the Islamic Republic to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), previously enshrined at the Samarkand summit last September, marking the culmination of a process that lasted no less than 15 years.  

Iran has already applied to become a member of the expanding BRICS+, which before 2025 will be inevitably configured as the alternative Global South G20 that really matters. 

Iran is already part of the Quad that really matters – alongside BRICS members Russia, China and India. Iran is deepening its strategic partnership with both China and Russia and increasing bilateral cooperation with India. 

Iran is a key Chinese partner in the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It is set to clinch a free trade agreement with the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and is a key node of the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), alongside Russia and India.     

All of the above configures the lightning-fast emergence of the Islamic Republic of Iran as a West Asia and Eurasia big power, with vast reach across the Global South. 

That has left the whole set of imperial “policies” towards Tehran lying in the dust.

So it’s no wonder that previously accumulated strands of Iranophobia – fed by the Empire over four decades — have recently metastasized into yet another color revolution offensive, fully supported and disseminated by Anglo-American media.

The playbook is always the same. Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei actually came up with a concise definition. The problem is not bands of oblivious rioters and/or mercenaries:  “the main confrontation”, he said, is with “global hegemony.”

Ayatollah Khamenei was somewhat echoed by American intellectual and author Noam Chomsky, who has remarked how an array of US sanctions over four decades have severely harmed the Iranian economy and “caused enormous suffering.”

Using Kurds as expendable assets

The latest color revolution overdrive overlaps with the manipulation of Kurds in both Syria and Iraq. From the imperial perspective, the proxy war in Syria, which is far from over, not only works as an additional front in the fight against Russia but also allows the instrumentalization of highly dependent Kurds against both Iran and Turkey.   

Iran is currently being attacked according to a perverse variation of the scheme applied to Syria in 2011. A sort of “permanent protest” situation has been imposed across vast swathes of northwestern Iran.

What changed in mid-November is that armed gangs started to apply terrorist tactics in several towns close to the Iraqi border, and were even believed to be weaponized enough to take control of some of the towns.  

Tehran inevitably had to send IRGC troops to contain the situation and beef up border security. They engaged in operations similar to what has been done before in Dara’a, in the Syrian southwest.

This military intervention was effective. But in a few latitudes, terror gangs continue to attack government infrastructure and even civilian property. The key fact is that Tehran prefers not to repress these unruly demonstrations using deadly force.

The really critical issue is not the protests per se: it’s the transfer of weapons by the Kurds from Iraq to Iran to bolster the color revolution scenario.

Tehran has issued a de facto ultimatum to Baghdad: get your act together with the Kurds, and make them understand the red lines.    

As it stands, Iran is massively employing Fateh ballistic missiles and Shahed-131 and Shahed-136 kamikaze drones against selected Kurdish terrorist bases in northern Iraq.

It’s debatable whether that will be enough to control the situation. What is clear is that the “Kurdish card”, if not tamed, could be easily played by the usual suspects in other Iranian provinces, considering the solid financial, military and informational support offered by Iraqi Kurds to Iranian Kurds.   

Turkey is facing a relatively similar problem with the Syrian Kurds instrumentalized by the US.

In northern Syria, they are mostly armed gangs posing as “Kurds”. So it’s quite possible that these Kurdish armed gangs, essentially played by Washington as useful idiots, may end up being decimated, simultaneously, in the short to medium term, by both Ankara and Tehran.

If all fails, pray for regime change

A geopolitical game-changer which was unthinkable until recently may soon be on the cards: a high-level meeting between Turkish President Recep Erdogan and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad (remember the decade-long refrain “Assad must go”?) in Russia, with mediation by none other than Russian president Vladimir Putin.

What would it take for Kurds to understand no state – be it Iran, Syria or Turkey – will offer them land for their own nation? Parameters could eventually change in case Iraqis in Baghdad finally manage to expel the US.

Before we get there, the fact is Iran has already turned West Asian geopolitics upside down – via its smart cruise missiles, extremely effective kamikaze drones, electronic warfare and even state-of-the-art hypersonic missiles.

Empire “planners” never saw this coming: a Russia-Iran strategic partnership that not only makes total sense geo-economically, but is also a military force multiplier.

Moreover, that is inscribed in the looming Big Picture on which the expanded BRICS+ is focusing: Eurasia (and beyond) integration via multimodal economic corridors such as the INTSC, pipelines and high-speed rail.   

The Empire’s Plan A, on Iran, was a mere nuclear deal (JCPOA), devised by the Barack Obama administration as nothing but a crude containment scheme.

Trump actually blew it all up – and there’s nothing left: a JCPOA revival, which has been – in theory – attempted for months in Vienna, was always a non-starter because the Americans themselves don’t know anymore what they want from it. 

So what’s left as Plan B for the Straussian neocon/neoliberal psychos in charge of US foreign policy is to hurl all manner of fall guys – from Kurds to the toxic MEK – into the Iran cauldron and, amplified 24/7 by hysterical mainstream media, pray for regime change.

Well, that’s not going to happen. Tehran just needs to wait, exercise restraint, and observe how so much color revolution virtue signaling will eventually fizzle out.

Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst and author, focused on Eurasia integration. His latest book is Raging Twenties.

(The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

Related Videos

Arresting Mossad agents, dismantling terrorist networks, confiscating ammunition and weapons, these are some of what Iranian intelligence has revealed since the outbreak of the riots in the country.
The Israeli eye… a scheme to strike stability in Iran, the interactions of the Jerusalem process, and the fall of normalization in the streets of Qatar


LATEST NEWS

The Middle East and US global power: Fossil Fuel- Lifeblood of the American Empire

November 22, 2022

Source

by Phillyguy

Summary

Among all of the events shaping post-civil war US economic development, one of the most prominent was the establishment of Standard Oil by John D. Rockefeller in 1870. Working with other US industrialists, along with domestic and international financial and banking interests, including the Rothschild’s London banking cartel, Standard oil decedents have dominated the fossil fuel industry and shaped US economic and social development and foreign policy to the present day.

Introduction

The current world security architecture arose following WWII, which established the US as the dominant global power. Since that time, US global supremacy has rested on unrivaled military and economic power, control of world’s energy reserves (primarily in the Middle East), and maintaining the dollar as the world’s reserve currency [1]. There has been much current discussion about promoting ‘green’ policies, including sustainable development and increasing the use of renewable energy sources, clearly articulated during the UN Conference on Environment and Development (aka ‘Rio Conference’; ‘Earth Summit’), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Jun 3-14, 1992) [2], and Greta Thunberg’s speech to the UN on Sept 23, 2019 [3], where she accused world leaders of failing younger generations by not taking more aggressive actions to stop climate change. Despite this push for Green policies, fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) are still the dominant source of energy, currently supply over 80% of the world’s energy [4]. In addition, the dollar (aka ‘petrodollar’) is the primary reserve currency held by foreign central banks [5] and main currency used for commercial energy transactions [6] [7].

In 1863 John D. Rockefeller joined Maurice B. Clark and Samuel Andrews in an oil-refining business in Cleveland, Ohio, which was subsequently expanded and incorporated as Standard Oil of Ohio in 1870. Rockefeller was a shrewd and aggressive industrialist, acquiring additional refining capacity by “buying up and squeezing out of rivals by every device at hand—legal or illegal’ and as a result, Standard Oil would soon control over 90% of American oil refining capacity. Facing increasing resistance from the business community and the Ohio legislature, Rockefeller incorporated the Standard Oil Trust in New Jersey in 1982. This Trust consisted of seven subsidiaries- Standard Oil of Kentucky, Standard Oil of California, Standard Oil of New York, Standard Oil of New Jersey, Standard Oil of Indiana, The Standard Oil Co (Ohio) and The Ohio Oil Company. In Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States (1911), the US Supreme Court found the Standard Oil Trust guilty of engaging in anti-competitive practices, a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, breaking the company up into 34 separate entities, some of which the Rockefellers held major stakes [8] [9]. Ironically, decades after the Standard Oil Trust was ‘broken up’, these separate firms would subsequently merge into Chevron [10], ExxonMobil [11], British Petroleum (BP) [12] and Marathon [13], which are currently among the top 10 global energy companies [14]. The Rockefellers reach was vast- David Rockefeller, grandson of John D. Rockefeller, was Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations (1970-1985) and Chairman and CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank (1969–1981) [15] [16].

The geographic location of the US, circa 8000 km (5000 miles) from major war theaters in Europe and 9700 km (6000 miles) in Japan shielded the US from the massive devastation that took place in Europe and Asia during WWII. As a result, many large US corporations were able to profit handsomely by supplying the War Department with fuel, aircraft, ships, motor vehicles, armaments and ammunition to equip American soldiers and allied forces. Some of these firms were working both sides of the conflict, supplying Nazi Germany with financial backing and war material; some of these firms include Alcoa, Brown Brothers Harriman, Coca-Cola, Dupont, Kodak, Chase Bank, Dow Chemical, Ford, IBM, General Electric, General Motors, Woolworth, Random House and Standard Oil [17]. Prescott Bush, father of George HW Bush (41st President) and grandfather of George W. Bush’s (43st President), was a partner of A. Harriman & Co Investment bank and later served as Senator from Connecticut (1952-1963). Prescott Bush was directly involved with companies that profited from their commercial involvement with Nazi Germany [18] [19]. It should be pointed out the WWII is the most expensive war in American history, costing taxpayers more than $4 trillion, adjusted for inflation [20].

To the victor go the spoils

The US emerged from WWII as the world’s foremost military and economic power, the dollar was anointed the status of world reserve currency at the Bretton Woods Conference (1944) and established as the primary currency used for energy transactions following the meeting between US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Saudi King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, aboard the USS Quincy, in the Suez Canal on Valentine’s Day, 1945 [21].

Post-WWII US economic development saw the continued rise of the American economy which translated into robust corporate profits and better living standards for many working people. In 1956, President Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act (aka National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956) described as the ‘Greatest Public Works Project in History’, allocating $25 billion (circa $274 billion in inflation- adjusted dollars) from taxpayers to develop a 41,000-mile system of interstate highways that Eisenhower promised would eliminate unsafe roads, inefficient routes and all of the other things that got in the way of “speedy, safe transcontinental travel.” [22] [23]. The Highway act would enrich the ‘pro-highway coalition of energy companies, automobile manufactures, truckers, bus operators, tiremakers, insurance companies, auto clubs, etc. It directly led to increased use of private automobiles for transportation and the systematic dismantling of energy- efficient public transportation, creation of suburbs, shopping centers, ‘strip malls’, and proliferation of McDonald’s and other ‘fast-food’ outlets, which have led to the current health crisis in the US- increased obesity, type II diabetes and related health problems [24] [25]. In addition, some of these highways were literally built through urban neighborhoods and frequently minority communities [26] [27], such as the Cypress Freeway in Oakland, CA, I95 in Chester, PA and the Cross Bronx Expressway in NYC [28] [29].

As a result, the functioning of the American economy and society has become very dependent on fossil fuel consumption (for more detail see [30]).

1. Energy consumption & generation– the US has 4.25% of world’s population (339 million people) but consumes ~17% of the world’s energy and has the highest per capita energy consumption and is the largest total energy consumer. In 2021, approximately 60% of US electricity was generated from fossil fuels- coal, natural gas and oil [31].

2. Suburban development– as described above, passage of the Highway act of 1956 [22], accelerated the development of low-density housing suburbs, which were only accessible by automobiles using fossil fuel.

3. Transportation– The average American relies on energy-inefficient automobiles and jet airplanes for transportation. Most US cities lack a comprehensive, energy-efficient public transportation system. Indeed, the US does not have 1 mile of high-speed rail lines. By contrast, China has 40,000 km (24,855 mi), Spain has 3,100 km (1,926 mi) and Japan has 2,830 km (1758 mi) of high-speed rail.

4. American agriculture is very energy-intensive, requiring 15 calories of energy to produce 1 calorie of food. The average food commodity transits 1500 miles from production to consumption point- e.g., California-grown produce, shipped to the US east coast, usually via diesel fueled trucks.

5. Information technology– US society is heavily reliant on information flow. This system encompasses local computers, the internet and fiber optic cables serving as data pipelines, computer server farms and “cloud” storage facilities, all of which consume lots of electricity.

6. Military– The Pentagon is the largest single consumer of fossil fuel and polluter in the world. To give this some perspective, on average, the US military consumes 12,600,000 gallons (48,000,000 L) of fuel per day. One F-16 fighter jet consumes over 20K gallons of Kerosene per hour (333 gal/min) [32].

American capitalism is dependent on fossil fuel consumption to function and serves as the lubricant for American power projection around the world. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have approximately 57% and 41% of proven oil and natural gas reserves, respectively (see Table 1 and [33]). Thus, it is not surprising that the US ruling elite have a major interest in this region and the energy reserves therein [34]. US attempts to control oil in the MENA region has been carried out in several ways. This has involved setting up client regimes in countries with vast energy deposits, such as the Gulf monarchies in the Persian Gulf (Figure 1), attacking and/or invading countries who attempt to follow an independent energy policy, such as Iraq and Libya or issuing frequent verbal threats, seizing assets and imposing economic sanctions on countries that the US has been unable to achieve regime change or are capable of defending themselves, such as the Islamic Republic of Iran [35] and Venezuela.

As part of this effort, the US has set up military bases in multiple ME countries including Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Turkey (Türkiye), UAE and Syria (See Figure 1 and Table 2) [36]. Due to its geographic location, Israel is crucial to US foreign policy goals. The ‘state’ of Israel/Zionist project was the creation of British imperialism (Balfour Declaration, 1918) [37], was driven, at least in part, by the desire of the British ruling elite to establish a reliable (read non-Muslim) proxy force that would assist the UK in controlling the region and its abundant hydrocarbon reserves [38]. The US emerged from WWII as the world’s leading military and economic power and assumed the role of Israel’s benefactor, providing $152 billion since 1949; $3.8 billion in 2020 [39] [40]. While Israel does not host a formal US base, she is a de facto appendage of the Pentagon, is fully integrated into NATO and serves as a reliable and well-armed US proxy in the region [41] [42], ranking 18th in global military power [43]. Israel conducts regular attacks on Syria [44] and estimated to have a stockpile of circa 90 nuclear weapons (likely a low estimate).

This effort has become all the more urgent as: the Russia-China-Iran axis has attained economic and military parity with the West, Iran is now a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) [45], has applied for membership to the BRICS [46] and recently announced that it has developed a hypersonic missile, that is ‘capable of penetrating all defense systems’ [47]. One would infer that Iran received technical help developing this weapon system. As Iran’s ties with Russia and China continue solidifying, they are becoming increasingly ambivalent about rejoining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA; aka Iran nuclear deal) [46], which was negotiated during the Obama Administration [48]. Trump unilaterally exited the JCPOA in 2018, stating ‘We cannot prevent an Iranian bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement’ [49].

We hear a lot about ‘Green’ energy, the ‘Green new deal’, reducing our ‘carbon footprint’ and ‘sustainable development’, policies which are being promoted by a wide range of extremely committed environmental and conservation groups such as the Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Clean Air Council in the US and many international organizations and prominent politicians. ‘Green’ polices have been promoted by US Vice President Kamala Harris, encouraging Americans to purchase [expensive] electric cars and endorsed by the paper of record (NYT) and other corporate media outlets. Any policy that reduces the production of ‘greenhouse’ gasses, such as CO2, is certainly a noble and worthwhile objective, that should be supported. Unfortunately, most of these groups, at least in the US, where I live, are missing the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’. This includes:

1. The entire structure of American society has been built around fossil fuel consumption. This includes the use of automobiles and jet airplanes for transportation. The profits of very powerful corporate interests, including energy corporations, automobile manufactures and their suppliers, banks and insurance companies and law firms to name a few, are highly dependent on fossil fuel consumption and ‘greenhouse’ gas production. They are not about to give this up without a big fight, including going to war.

2. The military is a key pillar of a [declining] American empire, with the Pentagon serving as the ‘enforcer’ of US global power, but is also the largest of consumer of fossil fuels and largest polluter in the world [32]. The Pentagon is supported by all factions of the ruling elite, readily apparent from the near-unanimous bipartisan support for every military appropriation in Congress (appropriation for 2023 is $773 billion). Not surprisingly, most environmental groups, which are dependent on funding from corporate-backed foundations, such as the Ford Foundation, Home Depot Foundation, etc. [50] are not going to ‘bite the hand’ that feeds them. Likewise, US corporate media is controlled by 6 large corporations whose class interests reflect those of the petrochemical companies and other large corporations [51] [52] [53]. Any reporter who steps out of line- i.e., criticizes the functioning of the US empire, including fossil fuel consumption, is immediately reprimanded and/or fired. 1) Reporter Emily Wilder was fired from AP because she had posted pro-Palestinian material on social media [54]. 2) In 1996, investigative reporter Gary Webb published a series of articles entitled ‘Dark Alliance’ in the San Jose Mercury News, linking the crack cocaine trade in Los Angeles with the Nicaraguan Contra rebels and the CIA. Not surprisingly, Webb’s story was met with outrage by MSM outlets such as the LA Times and Washington Post. Webb committed suicide in 2004 [55].

Concluding remarks

The survival of the American Empire is highly dependent on fossil fuel consumption and control of global energy reserves. This dependency has created irresolvable problems and led to a chaotic and at times, contradictory foreign policy. While there has been a lot of ‘whining’ about energy prices in the US and EU, the oil industry is reaping record profits. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter levied a “windfall” profits tax on the American oil industry in response to increasing gas prices and corporate profits [56]. While these taxes have had mixed results, no doubt a result of aggressive industry lobbying, there has been little discussion of taxing high corporate profits at the present time. Indeed, petrochemical industry profits were barely addressed in the recent US ‘midterm’ elections, as many candidates receive campaign contributions from energy companies. Fossil fuels still dominate US foreign policy. This can be seen from the enduring presence of military bases throughout the ME and maintaining generous financial support for Israel and the ruling families of Gulf Monarchies [57]. At the same time, these ruling families have watched the US/UK/NATO ferment coups in Iran (1953) [58] [59] and steal resources, invade and/or destroy Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen; impose crippling economic sanctions and/or confiscate the assets of countries deemed a threat to US global power such as Iran, Venezuela and Russia and sabotage energy infrastructure (see below). Not surprisingly, KSA and other Gulf Monarchies have been reaching out to Russia and China; multiple reports indicate that KSA is ‘eager’ to join the BRICS Bloc [60]. No doubt, this was a motivation for President Biden’s trip to KSA in July of this year, meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) at Al-Salam Palace in the Red Sea port of Jeddah. On Nov 18, the State Department recommended that MBS be granted ‘legal immunity’ for the brutal assassination of Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on Oct 2, 2018 [62] [63]. It should be noted that while campaigning for President, then candidate Joe Biden stated: he would “cancel the blank check” the Trump administration had given Saudi Arabia during its war in Yemen and during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) that “America’s priorities in the Middle East should be set in Washington, not Riyadh” and advocated making Saudi Arabia an international “pariah” for butchering Jamal Khashoggi [61]. Rhetoric notwithstanding, Biden’s polices towards the MENA region are largely a continuation of those of Trump and the ruling elite they represent. Biden has not rejoined the JCPOA and has continued Trump’s bellicose position towards the Islamic Republic of Iran. The US continues supporting Israel, the US Embassy in Israel remains in Jerusalem (Al-Quds in Arabic), which is not Israeli land and thus, a blatant violation of International law [64], US troops remain in Iraq and Syria while the Pentagon continues assisting KSA in their genocidal war on Yemen [65]. Trump continues his financial dealings with KSA, recently signing a $1.6 billion deal with a Saudi real estate developer [66]. It will be interesting to see how the US reacts when KSA joins BRICS [67].

On Sept 26, 2022, Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines, carrying natural gas from Russia to Germany, under the Baltic Sea were blown up [68] [69]. Shortly after the explosions, erstwhile British Prime Minister Liz Truss allegedly sent a message to US Sec of State Anthony Blinken stating ‘it’s done’ [70]. While the actual perpetrators of this attack have not been identified, it is likely that the US at a very minimum was aware of this action, as pointed out by Professor Jeffrey Sachs (Columbia University) during a Bloomberg interview [71]. The end result is that Germany and other countries in the EU will no longer have access to cheap and plentiful Russian energy, but will now be forced to purchase much more expensive liquified natural gas from the US or other countries. It should also be noted that nearly 8 decades following the conclusion of WWII, the Pentagon maintains circa 900 foreign military bases worldwide [72] [73]. Europe is still occupied by circa 100K troops [74], 35K in Germany alone [75]. Thus, Germany is not really a US ‘ally’ but rather a subordinate. This begs the question; will Germany and other countries in the EU continue serving as de facto US vassals or begin following a more independent foreign policy? One could argue their very survival as functional states depends on this.

Notes

1. US economic decline and global instability. The Saker Blog Jan 19, 2021; https://thesaker.is/us-economic-decline-and-global-instability/

2. UN Conference on Environment and Development (aka ‘Rio Conference’, ‘Earth Summit’), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Jun 3-14, 1992); https://www.un.org/en/conferences/environment/rio1992

3. Read climate activist Greta Thunberg’s speech to the UN By Gretchen Frazee PBS News Hour Sep 23, 2019; https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/read-climate-activist-greta-thunbergs-speech-to-the-un

4. World Energy Balances: Overview (2020); https://www.iea.org/reports/world-energy-balances-overview/world

5. The International Role of the U.S. Dollar by Carol Bertaut, Bastian von Beschwitz and Stephanie Curcuru US Fed Reserve Oct 6, 2021; https://www.federalreserve.gov/econres/notes/feds-notes/the-international-role-of-the-u-s-dollar-20211006.html

6. What Is the Petrodollar? Petrodollar Explained in Less Than 5 Minutes By Kimberly Amadeo. the balance June 4, 2022; https://www.thebalancemoney.com/what-is-a-petrodollar-3306358

7. US economic decline and global instability Part 3: Money printing, debt and increasing international isolation. The Saker Blog Oct 31, 2022; https://thesaker.is/us-economic-decline-and-global-instability-part-3-money-printing-debt-and-increasing-international-isolation/

8. How Rockefeller Built His Trillion Dollar Oil Empire. By Jeremy Dyck Oct 8, 2019;

9. John D. Rockefeller and the Oil Industry- John D. Rockefeller changed the oil industry forever with his company Standard Oil. but that was by no means the only interesting thing about him. By Burton W. Folsom Foundation for Economic Education Sat Oct 1, 1988; https://fee.org/articles/john-d-rockefeller-and-the-oil-industry/

10. Chevron; https://www.chevron.com

11. ExxonMobil; https://corporate.exxonmobil.com

12. British Petroleum (BP); https://www.bp.com

13. Marathon Oil; https://www.marathonoil.com

14. Top 20 Oil and Gas Companies in the World in 2021; https://www.visualcapitalist.com/ranked-the-largest-oil-and-gas-companies-in-the-world

15. David Rockefeller Sr., steward of family fortune and Chase Manhattan Bank, dies at 101 By Timothy R. Smith Washington Post Mar 20, 2017; https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/david-rockefeller-sr-steward-of-family-fortune-and-chase-manhattan-bank-dies-at-101/2017/03/20/f2385f8a-0d7c-11e7-ab07-07d9f521f6b5_story.html

16. JPMorgan Chase & Co: Who We Are/History Of Our Firm; https://www.jpmorganchase.com/about/our-history

17. Top 10 American Companies that Aided the Nazis. By Dustin Koski Feb 18, 2016; https://www.toptenz.net/top-10-american-companies-that-aided-the-nazis.php

18. How Bush’s grandfather helped Hitler’s rise to power- Rumors of a link between the US first family and the Nazi war machine have circulated for decades. Now the Guardian can reveal how repercussions of events that culminated in action under the Trading with the Enemy Act are still being felt by today’s president By Ben Aris and Duncan Campbell The Guardian Sat Sep 25, 2004; https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/sep/25/usa.secondworldwar

19. The Holocaust and the Bush family fortune Bill Van Auken Dec 5, 2018; https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/12/05/intr-d05.html

20. The Cost of U.S. Wars then and now. By Norwich University Online Oct 20th, 2020; https://online.norwich.edu/academic-programs/resources/cost-us-wars-then-and-now

21. ORDER FROM CHAOS- 75 years after a historic meeting on the USS Quincy, US-Saudi relations are in need of a true re-think By Bruce Riedel Brookings Mon Feb 10, 2020; https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2020/02/10/75-years-after-a-historic-meeting-on-the-uss-quincy-us-saudi-relations-are-in-need-of-a-true-re-think/

22. History of the Interstate Highway System; https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/interstate/history.cfm

23. The Interstate Highway System History.Com Jum 7, 2019; https://www.history.com/topics/us-states/interstate-highway-system

24. Tabish SA. Is Diabetes Becoming the Biggest Epidemic of the Twenty-first Century? Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2007 Jul;1(2): V-VIII;

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3068646/

25. Obesity? Diabetes? We’ve been set up By Alvin Powell Harvard Gazette Mar 7, 2012; https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/03/the-big-setup/

26. A Brief History of How Racism Shaped Interstate Highways By Noel King NPR Apr 7, 2021; https://www.npr.org/2021/04/07/984784455/a-brief-history-of-how-racism-shaped-interstate-highways

27. How Interstate Highways Gutted Communities—and Reinforced Segregation

America’s interstate highway system cut through the heart of dozens of urban neighborhoods. By Farrell Evans History.com Oct 20, 2021; https://www.history.com/news/interstate-highway-system-infrastructure-construction-segregation

28. Robert Moses’s Negative Impacts By SAFAA Feb 7, 2018 BY SAFAA; https://eportfolios.macaulay.cuny.edu/alonso2018/2018/02/07/robert-mosess-negative-impacts/

29. The Cross Bronx Expressway and the Ruination of the Bronx By lbennett Nov 10, 2019; https://pages.vassar.edu/realarchaeology/2019/11/10/the-cross-bronx-expressway-and-the-ruination-of-the-bronx/

30. War Essay- The consequences of nuclear war on US society The Saker Blog Jan 13, 2019; https://thesaker.is/war-essay-the-consequences-of-nuclear-war-on-us-society/

31. Electricity in the United States US Energy Information Administration;

https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/electricity/electricity-in-the-us.php

32. Pentagon Fuel Use, Climate Change and the Costs of War By Neta Crawford Watson Institute June 12, 2019; https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/files/cow/imce/papers/2019/Pentagon%20Fuel%20Use,%20Climate%20Change%20and%20the%20Costs%20of%20War%20Final.pdf

33. How Much Oil in the Middle East? By Rasoul Sorkhabi, Ph.D. GoExPro Vol. 11, No. 1 – 2014; https://www.geoexpro.com/articles/2014/02/how-much-oil-in-the-middle-east; iea; https://www.iea.org/regions/middle-east

34. Michael Hudson: A New Bipolar World. US finance capitalism vs. China’s mixed public/ private economy Nov 7, 2022; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_zY44YClCY

35. Missiles of Iran- Iran possesses the largest and most diverse missile arsenal in the Middle East, with thousands of ballistic and cruise missiles, some capable of striking as far as Israel and southeast Europe. CSIS Aug 10, 2021; https://missilethreat.csis.org/country/iran/

36. US military bases and facilities in the Middle East. American Security Project https://www.americansecurityproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Ref-0213-US-Military-Bases-and-Facilities-Middle-East.pdf

37. Balfour Declaration History.Com Aug 21, 2018; https://www.history.com/topics/middle-east/balfour-declaration

38. More than a century on: The Balfour Declaration explained. More than 100 years since Britain’s controversial pledge, here is everything you need to know about it. By Zena Al Tahhan Aljazeera Nov 2, 2018; https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2018/11/2/more-than-a-century-on-the-balfour-declaration-explained

39. Israel-Gaza: How much money does Israel get from the US? BBC May 24, 2021; https://www.bbc.com/news/57170576

40. U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel: Total Aid (1949 – Present) Jewish Virtual Library;

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/total-u-s-foreign-aid-to-israel-1949-present

41. Towards a World War III Scenario? The Role of Israel in Triggering an Attack on Iran? Part II The Military Road Map By Prof Michel Chossudovsky Global Research, July 30, 2018; http://www.globalresearch.ca/towards-a-world-war-iii-scenario-the-role-of-israel-in-triggering-an-attack-on-iran-2/20584

42. Understanding NATO- Ending War By Robert J. Burrowes Economy and Politics June 8, 2019; https://www.meer.com/en/54967-understanding-nato

43. 2022 Military Strength Ranking; https://www.globalfirepower.com/countries-listing.php

44. Israeli Attacks Continue to Kill Syrians, Iranians. Southfront Nov 16, 2022; https://southfront.org/israeli-attacks-continue-to-kill-syrians/

45. Iran signs memorandum to join Shanghai Cooperation Organization. As leaders meet in Uzbekistan, the eight-member regional body is poised to add Iran to its ranks. Aljazeera Sept 15, 2022; https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/9/15/iran-signs-memorandum-join-shanghai-cooperation-organisation

46. India, China, Iran: the Quad that really matters By Pepe Escobar Nov 15, 2022; https://thesaker.is/russia-india-china-iran-the-quad-that-really-matters/

47. Iran claims it has developed a hypersonic missile CBS News Nov 10, 2022;

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/iran-claims-it-has-developed-a-hypersonic-missile/

48. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) at a Glance. Kelsey Davenport, Director of Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association Mar, 2022;

https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/JCPOA-at-a-glance

49. Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, explained. The Iran nuclear deal isn’t dead — yet. By Zack Beauchamp Vox May 8, 2018;

https://www.vox.com/world/2018/5/8/17328520/iran-nuclear-deal-trump-withdraw

50. Society for Nonprofits; https://www.snpo.org/publications/fundingalert_bycategory.php?cs=ENVI

51. The 6 Companies That Own (Almost) All Media [INFOGRAPHIC]; https://www.webfx.com/blog/internet/the-6-companies-that-own-almost-all-media-infographic/

52. These 6 corporations control 90% of the media outlets in America- The illusion of choice and objectivity. By Nickie Louise Tech Startups Sept 18, 2020;

https://techstartups.com/2020/09/18/6-corporations-control-90-media-america-illusion-choice-objectivity-2020/embed/#?secret=bL4ldPvDPR

53. Index of US Mainstream Media Ownership- The Future of Media Project, Harvard University; https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/futureofmedia/index-us-mainstream-media-ownership

54. The Real Problem with the AP’s Firing of Emily Wilder- When one young journalist was fired, the incident revealed a problem deeper than bad social media policies. By Janine Zacharia May 26, 2021; https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/05/26/emily-wilder-fired-ap-490892

55. How the CIA Watched Over the Destruction of Gary Webb- Freshly-released CIA documents show how the largest U.S. newspapers helped the agency contain a groundbreaking exposé. By Ryan Devereaux The Intercept Sept 25, 2014; https://theintercept.com/2014/09/25/managing-nightmare-cia-media-destruction-gary-webb/

56. Windfall profit taxes have benefits. But the devil is in the details. In times of crisis, the U.S. government has taxed excess profits — with mixed results Perspective by Ajay K. Mehrotra Washington Post Oct 24, 2022; https://www.washingtonpost.com/made-by-history/2022/10/24/windfall-profit-taxes/

57. List of current monarchs of the Arabian Peninsula; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_monarchs_of_the_Arabian_Peninsula

58. The Collapse Narrative: The United States, Mohammed Mossadegh, and the Coup Decision of 1953. By Gregory Brew Texas National Security Review. Vol 2, Issue 4 Nov 2019 | 38–59; https://tnsr.org/2019/11/the-collapse-narrative-the-united-states-mohammed-mossadegh-and-the-coup-decision-of-1953

Stable URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.26153/tsw/6666

59. The CIA in Iran- Key Events in the 1953 Coup; https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/041600iran-coup-timeline.html?scp=1&sq=mossadegh%252520coup&st=cse

60. BRICS to expand soon, Saudi Arabia keen to join. BRICS represents more than 40 percent of the global population and nearly a quarter of the world’s GDP and if it is expanded it will help in bolstering the BRICS bloc’s global influence. By Huma Siddiqui Oct 27, 2022; https://www.financialexpress.com/defence/brics-to-expand-soon-saudi-arabia-keen-to-join/2737102/

61. Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia is the right thing to do, even if it feels wrong

The U.S. president has rightly come to the conclusion that a strategy of isolating the crown prince isn’t feasible. By Daniel R. DePetris NBC News July 15, 2022;

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/joe-biden-visits-saudi-arabia-bow-reality-rcna38419

62. U.S. declares Saudi crown prince immune from Khashoggi killing lawsuit

Biden administration cites executive powers, international law in shielding Mohammed bin Salman from legal responsibility. By Karen DeYoung and Missy Ryan Washington Post Nov 18, 2022; https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/11/18/saudi-crown-prince-immunity-khashoggi-murder/

63. WaPo slams Biden’s move to shield MBS in Khashoggi killing suit. By Rebecca Falconer and Shawna Chen Nov 18, 2022; https://www.axios.com/2022/11/18/biden-admin-saudi-prince-immunity-khashoggi-killing-lawsuit

64. The Status of Jerusalem United Nations 1997; https://www.un.org/unispal/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/The-Status-of-Jerusalem-Engish-199708.pdf

65. Strategic Importance of the Indian Ocean, Yemen and Bab-el-Mandeb Strait Saker Blog Aug 5, 2020; https://thesaker.is/strategic-importance-of-the-indian-ocean-yemen-and-bab-el-mandeb-strait/

66. Trump family signs $1.6bn branding deal with Saudi real estate developer. Wed, Nov 16, 2022; https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/11/16/692846/US-Donald-Trump-Saudi-Arabia-Dar-Al-Arkan-deal-Oman-MbS-Biden-

67. The Roundtable #34 The Kherson Withdrawal with Gonzalo Lira, Brian Berletic and Andrei Martyanov Thurs, Nov 10, 2022; https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2022/11/roundtable.html

68. Who Attacked Nord Stream 2? Maybe it was Russia, though that doesn’t make much sense. There are better candidates. By Doug Bandow Cato Institute Oct 14,

2022; https://www.cato.org/commentary/who-attacked-nord-stream-2

69. A journey to the site of the Nord Stream explosions- Prosecutors in Sweden say explosions on a gas pipeline between Russia and Europe were the result of sabotage. The explosions in the Baltic Sea targeted pipelines carrying natural gas from Russia to Europe. Russia denies any involvement. Before the announcement, Katya Adler travelled to the site, and was separately told by Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg that the west could go to war if Russia attacked infrastructure providing critical energy supplies. By Katya Adler BBC News Nov 18, 2022; https://www.bbc.com/news/world-63636181

70. ‘It’s done’: Putin fumes after Liz Truss ‘message’ to Blinken over Nord Stream attack ‘revealed’ Hindustan Times Nov 4, 2022; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxzBqghRs5k

71. Jeffrey Sachs: Rest of the World Thinks the U.S. Probably Sabotaged the Nord Stream Pipeline, But it Doesn’t Show up in our Media By Tim Hains Real Clear Politics Oct 3, 2022; https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2022/10/03/jeffrey_sachs_most_of_the_world_doesnt_view_the_ukraine_war_the_way_the_us_media_does.html

72. A List of All 900 U.S. Foreign Military Bases. By Eric Zuesse Nov 18, 2022; https://theduran.com/a-list-of-all-900-u-s-foreign-military-bases/

73. USA’s Military Empire: A Visual Database. World Beyond War;

https://worldbeyondwar.org/no-bases/

74. US likely to keep 100,000 troops in Europe for foreseeable future in face of Russian threat, US officials say By Ellie Kaufman and Barbara Starr, CNN Fri May 20, 2022; https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/20/politics/us-troops-in-europe/index.html

75. Where 100,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Europe. By Zachary Basu Axios Mar 22, 2022; https://www.axios.com/2022/03/23/where-100000-us-troops-are-stationed-europe

Figure 1. Map of the Middle East

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Maps_of_the_Middle_East#/media/File:%22Political_Middle_East%22_CIA_World_Factbook.jpg

Table 1. Middle East Energy Reserves by Country

(TJ, tera joules; 1 TJ= 163 barrels of oil)

Source: iea; https://www.iea.org/regions/middle-east

CountryOil (TJ)Natural Gas (TJ)
Iran3,497,3477,738,423
KSA5,624,3503,357,725
Iraq1,626,278626,792
UAE190,4002,302,508
Qatar131,2591,599,572
Kuwait705,461846,450
Oman23,864957,632
Bahrain81,132563,867
Total12,477,03318,260,133

Table 2. US Military Bases and Facilities in Middle East [36]

*Numbers in parenthesis, estimated total number of US troops (thousands) deployed in each country; ** Estimated number of US troops (thousands)

Country*BaseTroops**
Bahrain (9K)US Naval Forces Central Command/ US 5th Fleet4.7
Shaikh Isa Air Base
Muharraq Air Base (Navy)
Iraq (2.5K)Al Asad Air Base
IsraelDimona Radar Facility
Mashabim Air Base / Bisl’a Aerial Defense School
JordanMuwaffaq Salti Air Base (Azraq)
Kuwait (13.5)Ali Al Salem Air Base1.5
Camp Arifjan9
Camp Spearhead Army Base
Camp Buehring
Camp Patriot3
Oman (<1K)RAFO Masirah
Muscat International Airport
RAFO Thumrait
Al-Musannah Air Base
Port of Duqm
Port of Salalah
Qatar (10K)Al Udeid Air Base- Special Operations Command Central10
Camp As Sayliyah
KSA (3K)Eskan Village
Turkey (5K)Incirlik Air Base5
Izmir Air Station
UAE (2K)Al Dhafra Air Base2
Port of Jebel Ali
Fujairah Naval Base
Syria (<0.2K)Al-Tanf garrison (ATG)

Russia, India, China, Iran: the Quad that really matters

Tuesday, 15 November 2022 3:55 PM 

By Pepe Escobar

Southeast Asia is right at the center of international relations for a whole week viz a viz three consecutive summits: Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Phnom Penh, the Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Bali, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok.  

Eighteen nations accounting for roughly half of the global economy represented at the first in-person ASEAN summit since the Covid-19 pandemic in Cambodia: the ASEAN 10, Japan, South Korea, China, India, US, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand. 

With characteristic Asian politeness, the summit chair, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (or “Colombian”, according to the so-called “leader of the free world”), said the plenary meeting was somewhat heated, but the atmosphere was not tense: “Leaders talked in a mature way, no one left.”

It was up to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to express what was really significant at the end of the summit.

While praising the “inclusive, open, equal structure of security and cooperation at ASEAN”, Lavrov stressed how Europe and NATO “want to militarize the region in order to contain Russia and China’s interests in the Indo-Pacific.”

A manifestation of this policy is how “AUKUS is openly aiming at confrontation in the South China Sea,” he said.

Lavrov also stressed how the West, via the NATO military alliance, is accepting ASEAN “only nominally” while promoting a completely “unclear” agenda. 

What’s clear though is how NATO “has moved towards Russian borders several times and now declared at the Madrid summit that they have taken global responsibility.”

This leads us to the clincher: “NATO is moving their line of defense to the South China Sea.” And, Lavrov added, Beijing holds the same assessment.

Here, concisely, is the open “secret” of our current geopolitical incandescence. Washington’s number one priority is the containment of China. That implies blocking the EU from getting closer to the key Eurasia drivers  – China, Russia, and Iran – engaged in building the world’s largest free trade/connectivity environment.

Adding to the decades-long hybrid war against Iran, the infinite weaponizing of the Ukrainian black hole fits into the initial stages of the battle.

For the Empire, Iran cannot profit from becoming a provider of cheap, quality energy to the EU. And in parallel, Russia must be cut off from the EU. The next step is to force the EU to cut itself off from China.

All that fits into the wildest, warped Straussian/neo-con wet dreams: to attack China, by emboldening Taiwan, first Russia must be weakened, via the instrumentalization (and destruction) of Ukraine.

And all along the scenario, Europe simply has no agency.     

Putin, Raeisi and the Erdogan track

Real life across key Eurasia nodes reveals a completely different picture. Take the relaxed get-together in Tehran between Russia’s top security official Nikolai Patrushev and his Iranian counterpart Ali Shamkhani last week.

They discussed not only security matters but also serious business – as in turbo-charged trade.

The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) will sign a $40 billion deal next month with Gazprom, bypassing US sanctions, and encompassing the development of two gas fields and six oilfields, swaps in natural gas and oil products, LNG projects, and the construction of gas pipelines.

Immediately after the Patrushev-Shamkhani meeting, President Putin called President Ebrahim Raeisi to keep up the “interaction in politics, trade and the economy, including transport and logistics,” according to the Kremlin.

Iranian president reportedly more than “welcomed” the “strengthening” of Moscow-Tehran ties.

Patrushev unequivocally supported Tehran over the latest color revolution adventure perpetrated under the framework of the Empire’s endless hybrid war.

Iran and the EAEU are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in parallel to the swap deals with Russian oil. Soon, SWIFT may be completely bypassed. The whole Global South is watching.

Simultaneous to Putin’s phone call, Turkiye’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan – conducting his own diplomatic overdrive, and just back from a summit of Turkic nations in Samarkand – stressed that the US and the collective West are attacking Russia “almost without limits”. 

Erdogan made it clear that Russia is a “powerful” state and commended its “great resistance”.

The response came exactly 24 hours later. Turkish intelligence cut to the chase, pointing out that the terrorist bombing in the perpetually busy Istiklal pedestrian street in Istanbul was designed in Kobane in northern Syria, which essentially responds to the US.

That constitutes a de-facto act of war and may unleash serious consequences, including a profound revision of Turkiye’s presence inside NATO.

Iran’s multi-track strategy

A Russia-Iran strategic alliance manifests itself practically as a historical inevitability. It recalls the time when the erstwhile USSR helped Iran militarily via North Korea, after an enforced US/Europe blockade.

Putin and Raeisi are taking it to the next level. Moscow and Tehran are developing a joint strategy to defeat the weaponization of sanctions by the collective West.

Iran, after all, has an absolutely stellar record of smashing variants of “maximum pressure” to bits. Also, it is now linked to a strategic nuclear umbrella offered by the “RICs” in BRICS (Russia, India, China).

So, Tehran may now plan to develop its massive economic potential within the framework of BRI, SCO, INSTC, the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), and the Russian-led Greater Eurasia Partnership.

Moscow’s game is pure sophistication: engaging in a high-level strategic oil alliance with Saudi Arabia while deepening its strategic partnership with Iran.

Immediately after Patrushev’s visit, Tehran announced the development of an indigenously built hypersonic ballistic missile, quite similar to the Russian KH-47 M2 Khinzal.

And the other significant news was connectivity-wise: the completion of part of a railway from strategic Chabahar Port to the border with Turkmenistan. That means imminent direct rail connectivity to the Central Asian, Russian and Chinese spheres. 

Add to it the predominant role of OPEC+, the development of BRICS+, and the pan-Eurasian drive to pricing trade, insurance, security, investments in the ruble, yuan, rial, etc.

There’s also the fact that Tehran could not care less about the endless collective West procrastination on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as Iran nuclear deal: what really matters now is the deepening relationship with the “RICs” in BRICS. 

Tehran refused to sign a tampered-with EU draft nuclear deal in Vienna. Brussels was enraged; no Iranian oil will “save” Europe, replacing Russian oil under a nonsensical cap to be imposed next month.

And Washington was enraged because it was betting on internal tensions to split OPEC.  

Considering all of the above, no wonder US ‘Think Tankland’ is behaving like a bunch of headless chickens.  

The queue to join BRICS

During the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand last September, it was already tacit to all players how the Empire is cannibalizing its closest allies.

And how, simultaneously, the shrinking NATO-sphere is turning inwards, with a focus on The Enemy Within, relentlessly corralling average citizens to march in lockstep behind total compliance with a two-pronged war – hybrid and otherwise – against imperial peer competitors Russia and China.

Now compare it with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Samarkand presenting China and Russia, together, as the top “responsible global powers” bent on securing the emergence of multipolarity.

Samarkand also reaffirmed the strategic political partnership between Russia and India (Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it an unbreakable friendship).

That was corroborated by the meeting between Lavrov and his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar last week in Moscow.

Lavrov praised the strategic partnership in every crucial area – politics, trade and economics, investment, and technology, as well as “closely coordinated actions” at the UN Security Council, BRICS, SCO and the G20.

On BRICS, crucially, Lavrov confirmed that “over a dozen countries” are lining up for membership, including Iran: “We expect the work on coordinating the criteria and principles that should underlie BRICS expansion to not take much time”.

But first, the five members need to analyze the ground-breaking repercussions of an expanded BRICS+. 

Once again: contrast. What is the EU’s “response” to these developments? Coming up with yet another sanctions package against Iran, targeting officials and entities “connected with security affairs” as well as companies, for their alleged “violence and repressions”.

“Diplomacy”, collective West-style, barely registers as bullying.

Back to the real economy – as in the gas front – the national interests of Russia, Iran and Turkiye are increasingly intertwined; and that is bound to influence developments in Syria, Iraq, and Libya, and will be a key factor to facilitate Erdogan’s re-election next year.

As it stands, Riyadh for all practical purposes has performed a stunning 180-degree maneuver against Washington via OPEC+. That may signify, even in a twisted way, the onset of a process of unification of Arab interests, guided by Moscow.

Stranger things have happened in modern history. Now appears to be the time for the Arab world to be finally ready to join the Quad that really matters: Russia, India, China, and Iran.

(The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

MORE STORIES

What would a Russian defeat mean for the people of the West?

November 15, 2022

Regular readers of the blog know that I separate our poor and long-suffering planet into two basic parts: Zone A, aka the AngloZionist Empire, aka the World Hegemony aka the “Axis of Kindness” and what I call Zone B, or the Free World.  Very approximately, we need to separate the ruling elites and the people they rule over separately.  Here is, very roughly, what we get:

Zone AZone B
Ruling elitesHate Russia/PutinSome fear the Hegemony, but others don’t
Peoplemostly indifferent or hostilemostly support Russia/Putin

Next, I propose to make a simple though experiment.  Let’s assume that Russia loses the war against NATO.  We do *not* need to spell out how exactly such a defeat could/would happen, we simply assume that Russia is unable to achieve her goals of denazification and demilitarization of the Ukraine (and, really, all of NATO), that NATO forces are successful in defeating the Russian military machine (again, it does not matter how, with or without amazing Wunderwaffen) and that Russia very clearly loses.

We don’t even need to define what “defeat” would mean?  Maybe we can imagine that Russia gets keeps Crimea, but loses all her recently liberated regions from the former Ukraine, or maybe NATO manages to even occupy Crimea. I don’t see NATO tanks in downtown Moscow, but we can even imagine a purely psychological defeat in which both sides believe that Russia has lost and NATO won.

Again, details, no matter how improbable and far removed from reality, do not matter.  What matters is only this: once all the four groups above realize that NATO has defeated Russia, how would they react?

For the leaders of the Hegemony, this would be a dream come true.  In fact, the Neocons running the Hegemony will most likely decide that they need to “finish the job” which they did not finish in the 90s, and that Russia needs to be broken up into several parts.  This would be the West’s latest “final solution” for the “Russian problem”.

For the leaders of the Free World, a Russian defeat would signal that there are no alternatives to the Hegemony and that like it or not, the AngloZionists will rule the planet.  Like the Borg in Star Trek like to proclaim: “We are the Hegemony.  Resistance is futile.  You will be assimilated“.

For most people in the Free world, a Russian defeat would be a crushing disappointment for the simple reason that most people would see the AngloZionist plan for what it is: get Russia first, then take on and bring down China and then, eventually, Iran and any other nation daring to disobey the rulers of the Hegemony.

Clearly, this is not about the Ukraine, this is about the future of mankind as a whole.

But what about the people in Zone A who currently already live under the AngloZionist yoke?

[Quick reminder: I have decided, for various reasons, not to discuss internal US politics on the Saker blog and I will try hard to stick to this rule.  Still, I will state the obvious: we all now know the outcome of the latest elections in the USA and the adults in the room understand what happened, no need to list various truisms here.  If there is anybody reading this who would sincerely believe that some variation of the Neocon Uniparty in power will change things for the better or even slow down the inevitable collapse I would recommend that this person stop reading here.  Now for the rest of us:]

I think that the initial reaction of most people in Zone A will be a mix of relief (“Of course I knew that the West would win!“) and indifference (transgender issues are SO much more important!): their valiant “finest fighting force in the history of the world” kicked some rooskie commie ass which most definitely deserved some ass-kicking.  Some of the most sanguine defenders of the “western civilization” will even drop by our comments section and gloat “ha! ha! told you! your Putin and his clueless generals got their asses kicked by the most bestest US and NATO generals!“.  And for a while, they will feel really good.  Vindicated:  finally the dumbshit stupid Russians will pay the price for electing and supporting such a weak, indecisive, naive, corrupt, incompetent (and possibly even dying of cancer) leader!

And if only the Kremlin had had the wisdom to listen to its “western friends”!

But no, the Kremlin did not, and now there is going to be hell to pay.  Of course, if Russia’s “western friends” had been in charge, they would have executed a lightening fast blitzkrieg a long time ago, smashed Banderastan into smithereens (à la Fallujah if you wish) and quickly an decisively defeated NATO.  But those clueless idiots in the Kremlin did not listen, and so they deserve what is coming next.

Okay, fair enough.

But what about the regular people in Zone A?  The ones whose “side” supposedly “won”?

Once the initial bliss and celebrations are over, what will happen to them next?

Anybody want to take a guess?  If so, please post your thoughts in the comments section below.

My personal take is that after the defeat of Russia, the defeat of China (by whatever means) would be next.  Once that happens, all of the following will become decapitated and irrelevant: BRICS, SCO, CSTO.  The next country on the Hegemony’s kill list is Iran which, having lost the backing of both Russia and China will not be able to successfully challenge the Hegemony.  That, in turn will have major consequences for the entire Middle-East.  Wannabe Pasha Erdogan would be very quickly brought to heel.  Ditto for MBS.

The Israelis will feel like they “fixed the universe” well enough and that their Moshiach must be next 🙂

With Russia and China out of the way, Central Asia would be frankly easy picking for the Hegemony. In fact, all the Russian limitrophes would quickly be absorbed into the Hegemony.

The same goes for Pakistan and India, who would quickly lose most (or even all) of their sovereignty.  Afghanistan will be handed over to the (US-baked and run) ISIS.  Eventually, both Latin America and African will be fully recolonized (to the immense relief and joy of the local comprador class).

Now I submit that anybody with a modicum of information and intelligence will agree that the gang of woke freaks currently running the USA and almost every EU country out there doesn’t give a damn about the people they rule over: they see them only as means of production, in other words, as slaves who need to be given sufficient amounts of (bad) food and immense amounts of (truly demonic) “entertainment” to keep them nice, and happy and, above all, obedient and ignorant.  So here comes my question:

With Zone B gone, what hope for a better future, if any, could the slaves of the AngloZionist Hegemony keep in their hearts if our entire planet turns into Zone A?

The current repressive apparatus available to the US ruling class which includes 17 “intelligence” agencies,  the biggest military aggression budget on the planet, the highest number of prisoners kept in jails, the total informational control provided by Google, Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, etc. etc. etc. militarized police forces and other agencies ready to deal with “internal terrorists” (sometimes defined as any MAGA person), and a school and college system designed to create obedient office plankton (white collar) and fast food employees (blue collar) with almost no awareness, nevermind any understanding, of the outside world.  EU states are not quite there (yet) but they are catching up fast.

This is not a system which will simply collapse by itself or, even less so, be overthrown by its “deplorables”.

I have mentioned this many times in the past: the US political system is neither viable nor reformable.

The EU political system is basically an extension of the US political system, just with a more strongly pronounced colonial mindset (“fuck the EU” right?).

So will the Hegemony turn our entire planet into a giant and “woke” Disney World run by Neocons?

Not as long as Russia, China, Iran and others are standing firm.  But if these “resisting nations” are crushed, then its show over for the people of Zone A whose slavery will not only last even much longer, but whose living conditions will further rapidly deteriorate

And once the “bread and games” thingie fails, you can bet that violent repression is next.

ANY regime which seriously aims at colonizing the entire planet (which the Hegemony undoubtedly does!) will ALWAYS keep its own population in slave-like conditions, materially, culturally and spiritually.

So, to paraphrase Malcolm Xthe only hope for the House Negros still remains the Field Negro.  Whether the House Negros themselves understand that or not is immaterial.

Let me rephrase this in an even more shocking way: the last and only hope for the people of the USA and the EU would be a total Russian victory against NATO.  A NATO defeat will bring down not only NATO itself, but also the EU and that, in turn, would force the US to (finally!) become a normal, civilized, country.

As for the EU, a NATO defeat would mean the end of one thousand years of imperialism.

I get it.  For a civilization built upon the assumption of racial superiority (whether officially proclaimed or not) the notion that the only possible salvation could come from “inferior Asiatic barbarians” is shocking and can only be considered as an extreme form of doubleplusbadcrimethink.  Such a thought is, quite literally, unthinkable for most.

Yet, as I mentioned above, what the House Negros understand or not is entirely irrelevant.  Not only do they have no agency, they want none (Poland anybody?).

Conclusion:

Russia won’t lose this war, most of us understand that.  But to those who don’t, I will offer one simple conclusion: a Russian defeat would be a disaster for Russia.  And China.  And the rest of the planet.  But it will also be a true calamity for the oppressed people of the West.  They, of all people, should be very careful what they wish for. And the next time they want to hallucinate and gloat about a “strategic Russian retreat/defeat” they should ask themselves a simple question: what might this mean for *me* and *my own* future?  Do I really have a reason to rejoice?

Maybe they simply got used to being slaves and the idea of *real* freedom and diversity simply terrifies them?

Andrei

Rewiring Eurasia: Mr. Patrushev goes to Tehran

The meeting this week between two Eurasian security bosses is a further step toward dusting away the west’s oversized Asian footprint.

November 10 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

Two guys are hanging out in a cozy room in Tehran with a tantalizing new map of the world in the background.

Nothing to see here? On the contrary. These two Eurasian security giants are no less than the – unusually relaxed – Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.

And why are they so relaxed? Because the future prospects revolving around the main theme of their conversation – the Russia-Iran strategic partnership – could not be more exciting.

This was a very serious business affair: an official visit, at the invitation of Shamkhani.

Patrushev was in Tehran on the exact same day that Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu – following a recommendation from General Sergey Surovikin, the overall commander of the Special Military Operation – ordered a Russian retreat from Kherson.

Patrushev knew it for days – so he had no problem to step on a plane to take care of business in Tehran. After all, the Kherson drama is part of the Patrushev negotiations with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Ukraine, which have been going on for weeks, with Saudi Arabia as eventual go-between.

Besides Ukraine, the two discussed “information security, as well as measures to counter interference in the internal affairs of both countries by western special services,” according to a report by Russia’s TASS news agency.

Both countries, as we know, are particular targets of western information warfare and sabotage, with Iran currently the focus of one of these no-holds-barred, foreign-backed, destabilization campaign.

Patrushev was officially received by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who went straight to the point: “The cooperation of independent countries is the strongest response to the sanctions and destabilization policies of the US and its allies.”

Patrushev, for his part, assured Raisi that for the Russian Federation, strategic relations with Iran are essential for Russian national security.

So that goes way beyond Geranium-2 kamikaze drones – the Russian cousins of the Shahed-136 – wreaking havoc in the Ukrainian battlefield. Which, by the way, elicited a direct mention later on by Shamkhani: “Iran welcomes a peaceful settlement in Ukraine and is in favor of peace based on dialogue between Moscow and Kiev.”

Patrushev and Shamkhani of course discussed security issues and the proverbial “cooperation in the international arena.” But what may be more significant is that the Russian delegation included officials from several key economic agencies.

There were no leaks – but that suggests serious economic connectivity remains at the heart of the strategic partnership between the two top sanctioned nations in Eurasia.

Key in the discussions was the Iranian focus on fast expansion of bilateral trade in national currencies – ruble and rial. That happens to be at the center of the drive by both the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS towards multipolarity. Iran is now a full SCO member – the only West Asian nation to be part of the Asian strategic behemoth – and will apply to become part of BRICS+.

Have swap, will travel

The Patrushev-Shamkhani get together happened ahead of the signing, next month, of a whopping $40 billion energy deal with Gazprom, as previously announced by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mahdi Safari.

The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has already clinched an initial $6.5 billion deal. All that revolves around the development of two gas deposits and six oilfields; swaps in natural gas and oil products; LNG projects; and building more gas pipelines.

Last month, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak announced a swap of 5 million tons of oil and 10 billion cubic meters of gas, to be finished by the end of 2022. And he confirmed that “the amount of Russian investment in Iran’s oil fields will increase.”

Barter of course is ideal for Moscow and Tehran to jointly bypass interminably problematic sanctions and payment settlement issues – linked to the western financial system. On top of it, Russia and Iran are able to invest in direct trade links via the Caspian Sea.

At the recent Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, Raisi forcefully proposed that a successful “new Asia” must necessarily develop an endogenous model for independent states.

As an SCO member, and playing a very important role, alongside Russia and India, in the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), Raisi is positioning Iran in a key vector of multilateralism.

Since Tehran entered the SCO, cooperation with both Russia and China, predictably, is on overdrive. Patrushev’s visit is part of that process. Tehran is leaving behind decades of Iranophobia and every possible declination of American “maximum pressure” – from sanctions to attempts at color revolution – to dynamically connect across Eurasia.

BRI, SCO, INSTC

Iran is a key Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) partner for China’s grand infrastructure project to connect Eurasia via road, sea, and train. In parallel, the multimodal Russian-led INSTC is essential to promote trade between the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia – at the same time solidifying Russia’s presence in the South Caucasus and the Caspian Sea region.

Iran and India have committed to offer part of Chabahar port in Iran to Central Asian nations, complete with access to exclusive economic zones.

At the recent SCO summit in Samarkand, both Russia and China made it quite clear – especially for the collective west – that Iran is no longer going to be treated as a pariah state.

So it is no wonder Iran that is entering a new business era with all members of the SCO under the sign of an emerging financial order being designed mostly by Russia, China and India. As far as strategic partnerships go, the ties between Russia and India (President Narendra Modi called it an unbreakable friendship) is as strong as those between Russia and China. And when it comes to Russia, that’s what Iran is aiming at.

The Patrushev-Shamkhani strategic meeting will hurl western hysteria to unseen levels – as it completely smashes Iranophobia and Russophobia in one fell swoop. Iran as a close ally is an unparalleled strategic asset for Russia in the drive towards multipolarity.

Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) are already negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in parallel to those swaps involving Russian oil. The west’s reliance on the SWIFT banking messaging system hardly makes any difference to Russia and Iran. The Global South is watching it closely, especially in Iran’s neighborhood where oil is commonly traded in US dollars.

It is starting to become clear to anyone in the west with an IQ above room temperature that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal), in the end, does not matter anymore. Iran’s future is directly connected to the success of three of the BRICS: Russia, China and India. Iran itself may soon become a BRICS+ member.

There’s more: Iran is even becoming a role model for the Persian Gulf: witness the lengthy queue of regional states aspiring toward gaining SCO membership. The Trumpian “Abraham Accords?” What’s that? BRICS/SCO/BRI is the only way to go in West Asia today.

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

How bright are EUropeans ?

November 05, 2022

Source

by Jorge Vilches

no contract

Several indications lead to the conclusion that EUropeans at large — exceptions aside — should not be very bright. Or at least not brighter than anyone else as they claim to be. The fact is that – despite their undeniably copious amounts of individual and collective achievements – they have not yet been able to articulate a peacefull co-existence strategy amongst themselves and with third parties. Having failed at that implies that EUropeans are not really that bright, how could they be ? True enough, EUrope´s macro-economic and consumer society development has been ´successful´… but still under a highly unstable political co-existence. IMNSHO the main reason for such disqualifying historical flaw is that – contrary to their own self-image frequently preached sanctimoniously onto others – in political EUrope a “deal” is never a dealIt´s rather an expression of possible temporary abidance always subject to their own interpretation and circumstances yet un-defined. Basically, there is no valid contract, social or political or otherwise in EUrope. Humpty Dumptyness at its best. And the EU governance experiment made things worse with all the key decisions imposed by un-elected officials very clearly in the case of Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Poland, and Hungary. The argument could possibly be made that other societies today also struggle along equivalent lines, but then again this would swiftly confirm that EUropeans cannot be considered to be brighter than others… as they bloody insist they are.

EUropean ´superiority´ (not)

Dr. Josep Borrell is the EU´s topmost senior diplomat as High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Recently joined by another un-elected official namely the EU Commission President Ursula von den Leyen both now roughly insist that EUrope´s problems stem from its addictiveness to excellent and cheap Russian energy and resources, to China´s humongous export markets and high productivity dependency, and to the military ´security´ that the US today supposedly renders to them. So, accordingly their solution for EUrope would be to (a) get itself up in arms yet again and (b) to double-down on the ‘battle of narratives´ which should be interpreted to be just some more effective EU propaganda. So from this perspective rather than being bright EUropeans would just appear to be aggressive, manipulative, and conceited… and not superior to anyone else. So why be so proud about it all ?.

the EU thorny garden

Objectively searching into the EUropean political soul it´s easy to find EUrope´s self-EUthanization vis-á-vis its sheer lack of any ´affectio societatis´. This makes EUrope an un-viable business associate to and for anyone, even amongst themselves in view of the current widespread infighting. But JB´s ´brightness´ does not stop there, now proclaiming that “the world needs Europe” and that EUrope is a “garden” and the rest a mere ”jungle” ready to encroach upon it… So at this rate it would be wise to copernically acknowledge that EUrope is not any “global super-power” and that God Almighty has not appointed the un-elected European Commission as the rule-maker for the rest of the world to follow. Furthermore, the “international community”(sic) is not headquartered at Davos or Brussels and 85% of planet Earth does not even wake up in the West every morning. Making that clear would focus EU politics better than complaining about “too many abstentions” in the UN votes regarding this conflict which EU officials fail to understand and accept.

Ref #1 https://www.eeas.europa.eu/eeas/foreign-affairs-council-remarks-high-representative-josep-borrell-upon-arrival-1_en

Ref #2 http://www.euronews.com/my-europe/2022/10/19/josep-borrell-apologises-for-controversial-garden-vs-jungle-metaphor-but-stands-his-ground

Ref #3 https://news.cgtn.com/news/2022-10-12/Josep-Borrell-looks-backwards-on-China-Russia-and-U-S–1e3XRtUKOJy/index.html

Ref #4 https://www.eeas.europa.eu/eeas/european-diplomatic-academy-opening-remarks-high-representative-josep-borrell-inauguration_en

7 historical catastrophes 7

During the past one hundred years (approx.) aided or not by its supposed “superiority” collective Europe fostered 7 major historical vintage TM® failures, namely (1) enthusiastically fostered World War I – the Great War – “the war to end all wars” amongst themselves + (2) cradled and fully developed Nazism + (3) instigated and deployed World War II + (4) allowed for the firm establishment of ruinous “King Dollar” by calmly and willingly accepting the 1971 US unilateral default on the Bretton Woods Agreement thus perpetuating until today a highly detrimental “exhorbitant privilege” for a thus fiat US dollar + (5) established the currently ticking Euro currency time bomb + (6) fully accepted and even participated with impunity in many dozens of US military unsolicited interventions worldwide as the sole un-elected “world cop” thru its 800+ military bases in 80 countries (7) in 2022 unilaterally provoked an unnecessary and stupid self-harming divorce from Russia which has led the world closer than ever to a nuclear war. Readers may have different opinion regarding the individual interpretation of related events but still all of the above are categorically accepted historical facts. And a society that lies so much – onto itself and third parties — cannot be too bright, can it ?

Ref #5 http://www.theepochtimes.com/on-the-path-to-hyperinflation_4782143.html

Ref #6 http://www.zerohedge.com/markets/path-hyperinflation

C:\Users\Jorge Vilches\Desktop\index 6.jpg

no ´Greater Europe´

Forget any and all dreams about forging a Greater Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Russia tried it, worked very hard at it, and invested tons in such century-milestone project, to no avail. Fact #1: Russia focused on Greater Europe for 30 years. Fact #2: Russia failed miserably in such endeavor. Under deep ´political hypnosis´ — for want of a better term — EUropean leaders supported by complicit constituents ended up deploying their self-harming strategy. For starters, no Referendum on the NATO-imposed, suicidal “let´s divorce Russia” initiative was ever proposed even though many dozens referenda have been held in the EU´s recent past. It´s simple: there is no valid contract in the EU

Russophia was also firmly established as a national cross-border regional sport of sorts spear-headed by complicit Western MSM and loudly outspoken and highly payed for EU officials. Of course, if challenged, Russians have the advantage of becoming quite stubborn when circumstances so require it, so they insisted in the Greater Europe project success and strictly followed the required EUropean Market & Financial Rules. But, yet again, there was no contract compliance. So led by the G-7 leadership, the collective West just plain took effective advantage of Russia in every way it possibly could provoke … and so the Minsk Accords were conveniently extended, postponed… and duly forgotten despite being squarely – and deceitfully — brokered by both Germany and France. The EU´s supposed Ostpolitik was betrayed with every trace of ´affectio societatis´ absent thus DE-stabilising the area and using third parties as pawns. Because, of course, EUropean flagrant unilateralism dictates that there is no room for anything close to having willingness and interest to engage and relate constructively with high-quality business partners beyond the EU´s – and NATO´s — full control. So Russia finally got fed up sick and tired of the West´s lack of “agreement capability” and will thus fully pivot to thriving Eurasia. Meanwhile Europe will immolate itself thru its NATO-induced suicide with shamefull colonialistic sins hovering its soul for the last 500 years until today. Is any of this “bright” ?

C:\Users\Jorge Vilches\Desktop\index 5.jpg

NATO´s ´hypnotic´ spell

British Gral. Hastings Ismay — the first Secretary General of NATO — defined that the purpose of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was “to keep Russians out, Americans in, and Germans down” which has since become the common way to describe its dynamics and goals. Ismay also proposed that NATO “must grow until the whole free world gets under one umbrella.” So EUrope today and per its own fault, in more than one way and through not-publicized non-sanctum mechanisms, is actually ruled and governed directly by the US. Accordingly, the inclusion of Russia in the Greater Europe project was to be boycotted to death – most specially its association with Germany — and it certainly was. The European leadership thus offered and deployed highly pro-active support to provoke the Ukraine conflict, be it “militarily, financially or politically” thus confirming yet again its direct and unequivocal commitment and participation. During 8 years the Ukraine Armed Forces were trained by NATO to meet NATO combat standards while the Eastern Russian-speaking areas were systematically intimidated and bombed . NATO members proudly admitted to constantly supply the UAF with heavy modern weapons, military advisers and intel.

Ref #7 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hastings_Ismay,_1st_Baron_Ismay

Ref #8 https://www.azerbaycan24.com/en/eu-again-urged-to-open-wallet-for-kiev/

The Lord Ismay.jpg

To weaken Germany and simultaneously strengthen the US required pitting Russia against Germany in a mutually destructive conflict so that the two countries could not re-establish normal relations for decades to come. The collapse of the EUropean economy would come about by denying cheap Russian energy to Germany. Thus, trillions of dollars of European resources would supposedly relocate to the US jointly with their best and brightest. According to the Rand Report, the main obstacle to Europe´s plundering on a scale which rivaled the Jewish looting of Russia in the 1990s was “the growing independence of Germany” which followed Britain’s exit from the European Union (Brexit) which gave “Germany greater independence and decreased the US influence upon European governments.”

the EU ´bright´ new oil & gas markets

No matter how diced or sliced, under the planned nat-gas EU ´capped-price´ purchase policy Western markets would be missing access to some 50% (approx.) of the 2021 effectively traded and consumed natural gas volumes. Besides, serious doubts remain on (a) the technical quality of such new possible “capped” price nat-gas (b) its delivery terms and conditions and (c) the reliability of such type of possible nat-gas suppliers. But at any rate when EUrope soon necessarily runs out of all possible nat-gas vendors willing to comply with its new capped-price policy — which would never fulfill its physical needs — then Russia and others will be able to charge whatever they want for the remaining nat-gas which EUrope will require in order to function ASWKI. Unless, of course, the deliberate ruinous EUropean plan were exactly THAT …which is an ever larger possibility. High quality nat-gas is high quality nat-gas, markets are markets, and business is business. An equivalent “absurd” sourcing conundrum would also be triggered by the soon-coming EU ban on Russian sea-borne oil with serious refinability problems (diesel !!!) vis-á-vis the different quality and quantity of the replacements yet to be found and the un-vetted reliability of the yet non-existent suppliers. Tom Kloza, Global Head of Energy Analysis says “Without new inventory, by the end of November the wolf will be at the door. And it will look like a big ugly wolf if it’s a cold winter” Ref #9 http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2022/11/the-u-s-diesel-shortage-is-worsening.html

not-so-bright useful green idiots ?

The reference below describes the green parties in Europe “as being particularly easy to manipulate into running the errands of American imperialism. The prerequisite for Germany to fall into this trap is the dominant role of Green Parties and European ideologies. The German environmental movement is a highly dogmatic, if not fanatical, movement, which makes it quite easy to get them to ignore economic argument.”

Ref #10 https://fair.org/home/us-medias-intellectual-no-fly-zone-on-us-culpability-in-nord-stream-attack/

Ref #11 https://www.veteranstoday.com/2022/10/08/the-attack-on-the-pipeline-and-the-resurrection-of-the-morgenthau-plan-as-the-long-arm-of-jewish-vengeance/ Ref #12 https://nyadagbladet.se/utrikes/shocking-document-how-the-us-planned-the-war-and-energy-crisis-in-europe/

Eurasian pivot

On their part, the Russians — many still astonished by suicidal EUrope – seem to basically be thinking (approx.) …

EUropeans, you didn´t have to love us or even be friends you know… but why hate us ? Always, systematically, by default. Why are you Russophobic ? We only wanted to continue being your vetted trade partners as repeatedly proven with flying colors for 30 years. So just what is wrong with you ? Why do you allow your leaders to lie to you, cheat and mislead you so much ? If you actually wished to scare us away consider it done, good job and good bye EUrope. Now, despite your fully un-necessary EUthanization of our relationship, we still welcome you to set up your investments as our business associates here in Russia. Just consider that your only gateway to the world´s next all-time winner anyway you dice it or slice it — namely Mackinder´s Eurasia — is by relocating to Russia with all our known advantages. Otherwise – per WEF logic — you will not have any worthwhile fuels or natural resources left ( just hyperinflation…and no markets ) and you will not be happy”. So the remaining bright Germans – and other bright minds still in EUrope — would finally understand that 85% of the world´s population is not Western let alone part of today´s non-sensical NATO, fully “brain dead” per French President Emmanuel Macron. And once that the NS1 & NS2 sabotage perpetrators are proven and known, EUropean public opinion – most specially Germans – will see things very differently from today understanding how they have been mis-led into an entirely un-justified Russophobia.

EUropean RE-location

Development requires cheap and excellent all-around energy and natural resources which Germany and others do not have and that Russia has plenty of. It also requires markets with which to trade. So the alternatives are (a) “NATO out” which does not seem feasible right now, meaning “to revolt en masse against the NATO-imposed trade/financial sanctions against Russia, and force Berlin to repair NS1 and commission Nord Stream 2”…or… (b) relocate to the US, meaning total vassalization of the EUropean industrial burgeoisie a-la Werner von Braun…or… (c) relocate to Russia and be part of Eurasia´s new bright future, jointly with China & BRICS & SCO & Global South. Of course, sooner or later some of (b) will surely take place but chances are that (c) — per the assumed Russian offering proposed — will at least be the German predominant choice. Obviously, this would probably mean the sudden demise of the EUro and, soon after, of the US dollar ASWKI. The smarter part of the remaining EUrope would also follow the relocation of bright Germans to Russia. Unexpectedly, along these lines events may pick up unusual speed and EUrope as we know it today would cease to exist. And this would be the final evidence proving that EUropeans at large are not as bright as they think they are. They would all act differently if they were, with no room for cannibalism.

the Overton window

Bright Europeans do exist, but in EUropean politics they are very few and far between. So most today focus on (1) ruining Russia per NATO mandate to supposedly uphold ´democracy everywhere´ even corrupt kleptocracies… and while they are at it…(2) also saving planet Earth. Still, a handfull are finally understanding that this is too high a price to pay as EUropeans would not be willing to accept the MAGNITUDE and DEPTH of the hardships soon to come in what up until today was a flourishing consumer society with an enviable standard of living. Hypothetically, what some few political leaders were waiting and jockeying for was an Overton window large enough to get their heads in, their bets made, and their feet wet. The Overton window defines what is politically possible per the existing public opinion at a given point in time. So it is a very convenient tool to apply in view of the EU Commissariat Master Plan.

Ref #13 https://thesaker.is/natos-green-masochistic-euthanasia/

Ref #14 https://thesaker.is/europe-hypnotized-into-war-economy/

Ref #15 https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Europes-Energy-Crisis-Will-Not-Be-A-One-Winter-Story.html

the German oath

All members of the elected government of the German Federal Republic have necessarily taken an oath of office details of which are explicit below. That is the basis for the social and political contract between German leadership and their constituents. But apparently many / all have decided to conveniently dismiss such sworn obligations until the Overton window – Main Street´s hidden weapon — forces them to act accordingly, not before.

“ I swear that I will devote my energies to the well-being of the German people, increase their benefit, protect them from harm, uphold and defend the Basic Law and the laws of the Federation, perform my duties conscientiously and do justice to everyone. So help me God.” Not a single word is ever mentioned relating directly or indirectly to the EU, its governance impact, its interests and/or its goals.

the “most stupid” government in EUrope

Recently Sahra Wagenknecht has defined Germany’s government as the “most stupid” in EUrope for managing to embroil itself in a full-blown economic war with its top – and thus un-replaceable — energy supplier, namely Russia. Speaking at the Bundestag, the former co-chair of the party Die Linke (“The Left”) urged for an immediate end to the anti-Russian sanctions and also for the resignation of German Vice Chancellor and Minister of the Economy, the now infamous ´Herr Green´ Robert Habeck. While still describing the ongoing conflict in Ukraine as a “crime” Wagenknecht insisted that the anti-Russian sanctions are “fatal” for Germany itself. She told her fellow Bundestag leaders in-their-face that “The biggest problem is your grandiose idea of launching an unprecedented economic war against our most important energy supplier. The idea that we are punishing Putin by impoverishing millions of families in Germany and destroying our industry while Gazprom is making record profits – how stupid is that?” she wondered out loud. So, an important German at an important German venue publically told many other important Germans how stupid they were. Not me, she did. “The promise of NATO membership did not help any. Militarily, this war cannot be won”. Of course, this has meant that some Left Party members now demand the expulsion of Sahra Wagenknecht for good.

Ref #16 https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/09/19/qunz-s19.html

Ref #17 https://www.rt.com/business/563382-high-energy-costs-eu-companies/

Ref #18 https://www.rt.com/business/563490-thousands-firms-italy-closure/

Ref #19 https://www.reuters.com/article/ukraine-crisis-eu-energy-smes-idAFL8N30E4WV

Ref #20 https://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/Europe-Faces-An-Exodus-Of-Energy-Intensive-Industries.html

´the grandiose idea´ …

Firms in the metal and chemical industries, among others, are trying to relocate to the US, The Wall Street Journal reports: “High energy costs drive companies away from EU”. This means obvious consequences only fools would not foresee: DEpression & UN-employment. German producers warn of food shortages. Die Welt now reports that “There are significant supply gaps in the daily food supply for people in Germany. The situation is “more than serious” an open letter from the industry said. “Companies now fear that production lines will soon come to a standstill and that refrigerated logistics centers for food distribution will be closed. Some are even preparing for possible insolvency.”

Manufacturers of both frozen and fresh products say they cannot cope with soaring energy costs. “The food industry is currently experiencing the worst crisis since the end of the Second World War… It’s a minute to twelve. Act now – otherwise the refrigerators and freezers of the German population will soon be empty” the letter urges. Germany, along with the broader EU, is facing a sharp rise in energy prices and a record inflation surge amid the intensifying anti-Russian sanctions and a policy of abandoning all possible Russian fuels. The situation could also soon lead to energy rationing and shortages, also meaning NO energy, NO fuels at ANY price, period. And forget LNG from whomever or wherever. Too little, too late, too cumbersome, too risky, way dirtier, and way too expensive. Germany needs Russian pipelined nat-gas for many good reasons that they cannot ignore and will necessarily live by soon.

The frozen food industry is particularly susceptible to energy supply problems, due to its strong reliance on electricity for freezers. The EU risks a ‘Wild West’ scenario says IEA head Fatih Birol warning that member states could possibly abandon solidarity to secure their own gas supplies. Many dozens of thousands of small and medium-size businesses (SMEs) in Italy can’t cope with soaring energy bills, ´Corriere della Sera´ reports. Italy is badly dependant on Russian pipelined nat-gas, no substitutes are possible in practice. Supposed “stored” reserves cannot be extracted from sub-surface unless Russian pipelines are also flowing thus allowing to add-on such stored reserves to the main flow. By themselves, underground nat-gas reserves can hardly be produced on surface and still with lots of negative impact.

Ref #21 https://thesaker.is/germanys-failing-stored-nat-gas-lng-experiment/

Larger companies will also add to the un-employed. According to a recent survey, over 70% of Italians are having difficulty or are simply unable to pay their energy bills. SMEs represent 99% of all businesses in the 27-nation EU. SMEs employ around 100 million people, or two thirds of all employed and account for 53% of Europe’s GDP.

Nearly one in six people over 65 in Germany is at risk of poverty, meaning they have less than 60% of the median income at their disposal according to the Federal Statistical Office and published by the German media group Funke. Europe maybe could have articulated a far better and softer transition and slower pathway into “some” renewables under excellent quality and already available + pipeline delivered, cheap Russian nat-gas. But they chose otherwise and now Europe must pay the piper. And with only a fraction of the EU imploding generalized chaos will prevail.

True enough, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán led the pack weeks ago by saying “the approach has clearly failed — sanctions have backfired — and our car now has 4 four flat tires”. Just as a reminder, vehicles carry only one spare tire (maybe two) but never four and more to come… Now, also Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotaki proposes to lift sanctions on Russia by December at the latest. But the questions remains: beyond some optics, the audio and the visual… just where precisely is the ACTION ? Are these two Heads of State bright enough per the circumstances ? Or are they just better sounding than the overwhelming EUropean political mediocrity ? Oh, you say they aren´t allowed to do any more than that ? If that´s the established system then EUropeans were not very bright…

Ref #22 https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/orban-urges-new-eu-strategy-on-ukraine-says-sanctions-have-failed/

Michael Kretschmer

Germany needs Russian gas” – says Michael Kretschmer, Saxony’s Minister-President. Okay, that´s a good starting point to acknowledge don´t you think ? A valid diagnosis is necessarily behind any reasonable therapy and at least in this case – besides being bloody obvious – it´s still reconforting to see that a spanking new “common denominator” is being put together by some in Germany. Herr Kretschmer added that the current exorbitant prices for the fuel are “ruining Germany’s industry”. Okay, sorry to hear that. So that means that Russian energy matters lots, correct ?

Russian gas supplies are critical for Germany, and will remain so in the foreseeable future”. In an interview with Germany’s Funke Mediengruppe Michael Kretschmer also added: “We are already witnessing that we can’t do without Russian gas.” Hmmm….. But then Kretschmer went on to say that now Berlin should try to make sure that it keeps receiving Russian gas after the armed conflict is over. But would that be soon, please tell us ? Because saying that implies ignoring that the end of the armed conflict will most probably not be decided in the battlefield and just come about by a NATO-EU surrender. Why so you may ask ? Well precisely because NATO & the EU leadership provoked and sustained Russian gas to be cut off, so that can be reverted only by them, not the other way around. So whatever happens militarily in the battlefield does not actually matter that much any more unless it were 101% decisive. But many months have elapsed and it does not seem to be anywhere close to that, does it ? So finally EU politicians on their own will have to end this unnecessary war that they started simply because the Overton window for European public opinion will not stand it and they will have to admit they were dead wrong and plain go home, if not to jail.

Ref #23 https://www.rt.com/news/563458-saxony-governor-germany-needs-russian-gas/

Clare Daly (Irish MEP)

Clare Daly is a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and from the very beginning in March 2022 she has voted against its Resolutions on this matter basically considering them to be “a recipe for prolonging war with escalation”. She believes that “ignoring the role played by the US and NATO in destabilising the area for the past decade,using Ukraine as a pawn in its battles with Russia, only serves to prevent an understanding of the measures necessary to secure peace”. Per Clare Daly, the EP Resolutions “accelerate the provision of military equipment and weapons to Ukraine, strengthen NATO’s forward presence, increase defence spending…and strengthen the European pillar within NATO” while also ”opportunistically call for opening the European energy market to fracked American liquefied natural gas (LNG)…which is far more polluting and terribly far more expensive”. Clare Daly believes that ”there is no military solution to this crisis as the policy of flooding Ukraine with weapons will, at worst, lead to a permanent condition of conflict, as has happened in Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, at best, a greater loss of life and destruction in Ukraine”. Furthermore, Clare Daly believes that the EP Resolutions on this topic do not sufficiently “take into account the impact of the war on workers,their working conditions, and the recognition of the hardship that this entails”.

Ref #24 https://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/197731/CLARE_DALY/other-activities/written-explanations

Ref #25 https://rmx.news/article/shock-eu-commission-president-threatens-italy-on-eve-of-election-says-brussels-has-tools-if-wrong-parties-win/ Ref #26 https://tomluongo.me/2022/09/23/as-democracy-dies-eu-its-sins-are-revealed/

Ref #27 https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/London-Banks-Prepare-For-Possible-Blackouts.html

Saint Greta of Thunberg

Days ago Greta Thunberg at the London’s Royal Festival Hall left on record that there is no going “back to normal” as it would mean returning to the Global North climate crisis “system” i.e. “colonialism, imperialism, oppression, genocide and racist, oppressive extractionism”. So only the overthrow of “the whole capitalistic system” will suffice, says Greta. No explanation was given — or even a mild attempt made — to describe how the required transition could possibly be made to get from our current evil point A to future greatly-improved point B. Apparently, there’s no GDP growth — especially of the capitalist sort — without increasing carbon emissions. Supposedly the only solution to this state of emergency is “for rich countries to immediately abandon economic expansion as a social goal.” Full interview credit to Nicholas Harris at Ref #28 https://unherd.com/thepost/greta-thunberg-throws-her-lot-in-with-the-anti-capitalist-left/

C:\Users\Jorge Vilches\Desktop\index.jpg

entitlements & cakeism vs. the chicken and the egg DE-globalization economics: FIRE vs real STUFF

If really interested in reducing greenhouse gas emissions mankind worldwide would need to drastically change its way of life in many important ways already very firmly considered by the collective mind-set as genuinely valid entitlements So, politically speaking such proposal is a non-starter waaaay outside any current Overton window we may come up with. In turn, we also can´t have our own cake and eat it too. So which will it be ? On top of it, let´s add that “All service industries (– including FIRE finances –) remain completely dependent on the raw materials and manufactured goods sectors to function… So DE-globalization will increasingly favor those who produce and control the STUFF which underpins everything else…(of course necessarily) leading to devastating closures of (almost all ?) energy and/or resource-intensive industrial operations in Europe due to high energy prices that make their products uncompetitive.” Ref #29 https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/East-vs-West-Stuff-vs-Finance.html . Full credit to Kurt Cobb via OilPrice.com.

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

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

October 31, 2022

Global Research,

By Pepe Escobar

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

From Shakespeare to the assassination of Gen Soleimani;

from musings on spirituality to the structure of the UN;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do we do after the orgy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This article was first published by Strategic Culture Foundation

Note to readers: Please click the share buttons above. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter and subscribe to our Telegram Channel. Feel free to repost and share widely Global Research articles.

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

He is a regular contributor to Global Research.

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the Translate Website button below the author’s name.

To receive Global Research’s Daily Newsletter (selected articles), click here.

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter and subscribe to our Telegram Channel. Feel free to repost and share widely Global Research articles.

The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Pepe Escobar, Global Research, 2022

Everybody wants to hop on the BRICS Express

Eurasia is about to get a whole lot larger as countries line up to join the Chinese and Russian-led BRICS and SCO, to the detriment of the west

October 27 2022

By Pepe Escobar

Photo Credit: The Cradle

Let’s start with what is in fact a tale of Global South trade between two members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). At its heart is the already notorious Shahed-136 drone – or Geranium-2, in its Russian denomination: the AK-47 of postmodern aerial warfare.

The US, in yet another trademark hysteria fit rife with irony, accused Tehran of weaponizing the Russian Armed Forces. For both Tehran and Moscow, the superstar, value-for-money, and terribly efficient drone let loose in the Ukrainian battlefield is a state secret: its deployment prompted a flurry of denials from both sides. Whether these are made in Iran drones, or the design was bought and manufacturing takes place in Russia (the realistic option), is immaterial.

The record shows that the US weaponizes Ukraine to the hilt against Russia. The Empire is a de facto war combatant via an array of “consultants,” advisers, trainers, mercenaries, heavy weapons, munitions, satellite intel, and electronic warfare. And yet imperial functionaries swear they are not part of the war. They are, once again, lying.

Welcome to yet another graphic instance of the “rules-based international order” at work. The Hegemon always decides which rules apply, and when. Anyone opposing it is an enemy of “freedom,” “democracy,” or whatever platitude du jour, and should be – what else – punished by arbitrary sanctions.

In the case of sanctioned-to-oblivion Iran, for decades now, the result has been predictably another round of sanctions. That’s irrelevant. What matters is that, according to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), no less than 22 nations – and counting – are joining the queue because they also want to get into the Shahed groove.

Even Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, gleefully joined the fray, commenting on how the Shahed-136 is no photoshop.

The race towards BRICS+

What the new sanctions package against Iran really “accomplished” is to deliver an additional blow to the increasingly problematic signing of the revived nuclear deal in Vienna. More Iranian oil on the market would actually relieve Washington’s predicament after the recent epic snub by OPEC+.

A categorical imperative though remains. Iranophobia – just like Russophobia – always prevails for the Straussians/neo-con war advocates in charge of US foreign policy and their European vassals.

So here we have yet another hostile escalation in both Iran-US and Iran-EU relations, as the unelected junta in Brussels also sanctioned manufacturer Shahed Aviation Industries and three Iranian generals.

Now compare this with the fate of the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drone – which unlike the “flowers in the sky” (Russia’s Geraniums) has performed miserably in the battlefield.

Kiev tried to convince the Turks to use a Motor Sich weapons factory in Ukraine or come up with a new company in Transcarpathia/Lviv to build Bayraktars. Motor Sich’s oligarch President Vyacheslav Boguslayev, aged 84, has been charged with treason because of his links to Russia, and may be exchanged for Ukrainian prisoners of war.

In the end, the deal fizzled out because of Ankara’s exceptional enthusiasm in working to establish a new gas hub in Turkey – a personal suggestion from Russian President Vladimir Putin to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

And that bring us to the advancing interconnection between BRICS and the 9-member SCO – to which this Russia-Iran instance of military trade is inextricably linked.

The SCO, led by China and Russia, is a pan-Eurasian institution originally focused on counter-terrorism but now increasingly geared towards geoeconomic – and geopolitical – cooperation. BRICS, led by the triad of Russia, India, and China overlaps with the SCO agenda geoeconomically and geopoliticallly, expanding it to Africa, Latin America and beyond: that’s the concept of BRICS+, analyzed in detail in a recent Valdai Club report, and fully embraced by the Russia-China strategic partnership.

The report weighs the pros and cons of three scenarios involving possible, upcoming BRICS+ candidates:

First, nations that were invited by Beijing to be part of the 2017 BRICS summit (Egypt, Kenya, Mexico, Thailand, Tajikistan).

Second, nations that were part of the BRICS foreign ministers’ meeting in May this year (Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand).

Third, key G20 economies (Argentina, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Turkiye).

And then there’s Iran, which has already already shown interest in joining BRICS.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has recently confirmed that “several countries” are absolutely dying to join BRICS. Among them, a crucial West Asia player: Saudi Arabia.

What makes it even more astonishing is that only three years ago, under former US President Donald Trump’s administration, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MbS) – the kingdom’s de fact ruler – was dead set on joining a sort of Arab NATO as a privileged imperial ally.

Diplomatic sources confirm that the day after the US pulled out of Afghanistan, MbS’s envoys started seriously negotiating with both Moscow and Beijing.

Assuming BRICS approves Riyadh’s candidacy in 2023 by the necessary consensus, one can barely imagine its earth-shattering consequences for the petrodollar. At the same time, it is important not to underestimate the capacity of US foreign policy controllers to wreak havoc.

The only reason Washington tolerates Riyadh’s regime is the petrodollar. The Saudis cannot be allowed to pursue an independent, truly sovereign foreign policy. If that happens, the geopolitical realignment will concern not only Saudi Arabia but the entire Persian Gulf.

Yet that’s increasingly likely after OPEC+ de facto chose the BRICS/SCO path led by Russia-China – in what can be interpreted as a “soft” preamble for the end of the petrodollar.

The Riyadh-Tehran-Ankara triad

Iran made known its interest to join BRICS even before Saudi Arabia. According to Persian Gulf diplomatic sources, they are already engaged in a somewhat secret channel via Iraq trying to get their act together. Turkey will soon follow – certainly on BRICS and possibly the SCO, where Ankara currently carries the status of extremely interested observer.

Now imagine this triad – Riyadh, Tehran, Ankara – closely joined with Russia, India, China (the actual core of the BRICS), and eventually in the SCO, where Iran is as yet the only West Asian nation to be inducted as a full member.

The strategic blow to the Empire will go off the charts. The discussions leading to BRICS+ are focusing on the challenging path towards a commodity-backed global currency capable of bypassing US dollar primacy.

Several interconnected steps point towards increasing symbiosis between BRICS+ and SCO. The latter’s members states have already agreed on a road map for gradually increasing trade in national currencies in mutual settlements.

The State Bank of India – the nation’s top lender – is opening special rupee accounts for Russia-related trade.

Russian natural gas to Turkey will be paid 25 percent in rubles and Turkish lira, complete with a 25 percent discount Erdogan personally asked of Putin.

Russian bank VTB has launched money transfers to China in yuan, bypassing SWIFT, while Sberbank has started lending out money in yuan. Russian energy behemoth Gazprom agreed with China that gas supply payments should shift to rubles and yuan, split evenly.

Iran and Russia are unifying their banking systems for trade in rubles/rial.

Egypt’s Central Bank is moving to establish an index for the pound – through a group of currencies plus gold – to move the national currency away from the US dollar.

And then there’s the TurkStream saga.

That gas hub gift

Ankara for years has been trying to position itself as a privileged East-West gas hub. After the sabotage of the Nord Streams, Putin has handed it on a plate by offering Turkey the possibility to increase Russian gas supplies to the EU via such a hub. The Turkish Energy Ministry stated that Ankara and Moscow have already reached an agreement in principle.

This will mean in practice Turkey controlling the gas flow to Europe not only from Russia but also Azerbaijan and a great deal of West Asia, perhaps even including Iran, as well as Libya in northeast Africa. LNG terminals in Egypt, Greece and Turkiye itself may complete the network.

Russian gas travels via the TurkStream and Blue Stream pipelines. The total capacity of Russian pipelines is 39 billion cubic meters a year.

Photo Credit: The Cradle
Map of Russian gas route via Turkey

TurkStream was initially projected as a four-strand pipeline, with a nominal capacity of 63 million cubic meters a year. As it stands, only two strands – with a total capacity of 31,5 billion cubic meters – have been built.

So an extension in theory is more than feasible – with all the equipment made in Russia. The problem, once again, is laying the pipes. The necessary vessels belong to the Swiss Allseas Group – and Switzerland is part of the sanctions craze. In the Baltic Sea, Russian vessels were used to finish building Nord Stream 2. But for a TurkStream extension, they would need to operate much deeper in the ocean.

TurkStream would not be able to completely replace Nord Stream; it carries much smaller volumes. The upside for Russia is not being canceled from the EU market. Evidently Gazprom would only tackle the substantial investment on an extension if there are ironclad guarantees about its security. And there’s the additional drawback that the extension would also carry gas from Russia’s competitors.

Whatever happens, the fact remains that the US-UK combo still exerts a lot of influence in Turkey – and BP, Exxon Mobil, and Shell, for instance, are actors in virtually every oil extraction project across West Asia. So they would certainly interfere on the way the Turkish gas hub functions, as well on determining the gas price. Moscow has to weigh all these variables before committing to such a project.

NATO, of course, will be livid. But never underestimate hedging bet specialist Sultan Erdogan. His love story with both the BRICS and the SCO is just beginning.

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

Far-Reaching Impact of the 20th National Congress of CPC

October 27, 2022

by Zamir Awan

China has reached a stage where it can reshape the world order. It has emerged as the second largest economy, just after the US. But, the pace of growth is so steady and fast, that it will surpass the US within a few years. It has also emerged as a major power and is proactive in International Affairs. It is a key player in geopolitics already.

During the last four decades, China has made unprecedented progress in all dimensions. Especially during the last decade, under the visionary leadership of President Xi Jinping, has strengthened the overall leadership of the Party at all levels and the centralized, unified leadership of the Central Committee. And devoted great energy to finishing building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. It has fully and faithfully applied the new development philosophy on all fronts, focused on promoting high-quality development, and worked to create a new pattern of development.

China has persuaded reform at a swift and steady pace, made solid progress in developing whole-process people’s democracy, and advanced law-based governance across all fields of endeavor. It has actively developed advanced socialist culture and ensured improved public well-being as a matter of priority and pooled resources to wage a critical battle against poverty. It has made a big push to enhance ecological conservation and worked with a firm resolve to safeguard national security, fended off and defused major risks, and ensured social stability. It has devoted great energy to modernizing national defense and the armed forces.

It has conducted major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics on all fronts. And have made sweeping efforts to advance the great new project of Party building through political reforms.

In responding to the sudden outbreak of Covid-19, China has put the people and their lives above all else worked to prevent both imported cases and domestic resurgences, and tenaciously pursued a dynamic zero-Covid policy. In launching an all-out people’s war to stop the spread of the virus. It has protected the people’s health and safety to the greatest extent possible and made tremendously encouraging achievements in both epidemic response and economic and social development.

In the face of turbulent developments in Hong Kong, the central government exercised its overall jurisdiction over the special administrative region as prescribed by China’s Constitution and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was formulated and put into effect, ensuring that Hong Kong is administered by patriots. Thanks to these moves, order has been restored in Hong Kong, marking a major turn for the better in the region. Further headway has been made in developing the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and supporting Hong Kong and Macao in growing their economies, improving living standards, and maintaining stability.

In response to separatist activities aimed at “Taiwan independence” and gross provocations of external interference in Taiwan affairs, China has resolutely fought against separatism and countered interference, demonstrating its resolve and ability to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and to oppose “Taiwan independence.” It has strengthened the strategic initiative for China’s complete reunification and consolidated commitment to the one-China principle within the international community.

Confronted with drastic changes in the international landscape, especially external attempts to blackmail, contain, blockade, and exert maximum pressure on China, China put its national interests first, focused on internal political concerns, and maintained firm strategic resolve. It has shown a fighting spirit and a firm determination to never yield to coercive power. Throughout these endeavors, it has safeguarded China’s dignity and core interests and kept it well-positioned for pursuing development and ensuring security.

Over the past five years, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has rallied the people and led them in solving a great number of problems that had long gone unsolved, securing many accomplishments that hold major future significance, and achieving impressive advances in the cause of the Party and the country.

In the past decade, China’s GDP has grown from 54 trillion yuan to 114 trillion yuan accounting for 18.5 percent of the world economy, up 7.2 percentage points. China has remained the world’s second-largest economy, and its per capita GDP has risen from 39,800 yuan to 81,000 yuan. It ranks first in the world in terms of grain output, and it has ensured food and energy security for its more than 1.4 billion people. The number of permanent urban residents has grown by 11.6 percentage points to account for 64.7 percent of the population. China’s manufacturing sector is the largest in the world, as are its foreign exchange reserves. China has built the world’s largest networks of high-speed railways and expressways and made major achievements in building airports, ports, water conservancy, energy, information, and other infrastructure.

It has accelerated efforts to build self-reliance and strength in science and technology, with nationwide R&D spending rising from 1 trillion yuan to 2.8 trillion yuan, the second highest in the world. It is now home to the largest cohort of R&D personnel in the world. It has grown stronger in basic research and original innovation, made breakthroughs in some core technologies in key fields, and boosted emerging strategic industries. It has witnessed major successes on multiple fronts, including manned spaceflight, lunar and Martian exploration, deep sea and deep earth probes, supercomputers, satellite navigation, quantum information, nuclear power technology, new energy technology, airliner manufacturing, and biomedicine. China has joined the ranks of the world’s innovators.

It has implemented the Party’s thinking on strengthening the military for the new era, followed the military strategy for the new era, and upheld absolute Party leadership over the people’s armed forces. Having established combat effectiveness as the sole criterion, it has acted with resolve to focus the entire military’s attention on combat readiness. We have coordinated efforts to strengthen military work in all directions and domains and devoted great energy to training under combat conditions. It has carried out bold reforms of national defense and the armed forces, restructuring the military leadership and command systems, the modern armed forces system, and the military policy system and has moved faster to modernize its national defense and the armed forces and reduced the number of active service personnel by 300,000. With new systems, a new structure, a new configuration, and a new look, the people’s armed forces have become a much more modern and capable fighting force, and the Chinese path to building a strong military is growing ever broader.

The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was held on 16-22 October 2022 in Beijing and has transformed China into a more united, more strong, more committed, and more proactive in all respect. The Newly appointed leadership is fully aware of their task, responsibility, and capabilities. They will meet the expectations of the people of China as well as global responsibilities.

The Communist Party of China is dedicated to pursuing happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. It is also dedicated to human progress and world harmony. It will expand its global vision and develop keen insight into the trends of human development and progress, respond to the general concerns of people of all countries, and play its role in resolving the common issues facing humankind. With an open mind, it will draw inspiration from all of human civilization’s outstanding achievements and work to build an even better world.

We will leverage the strengths of China’s enormous market, attract global resources and production factors with its strong domestic economy, and amplify the interplay between domestic and international markets and resources. This will position China to improve the level and quality of trade and investment cooperation.

It will steadily expand institutional opening up with regard to rules, regulations, management, and standards and will upgrade trade in goods, develop new mechanisms for trade in services, and promote digital trade, in order to accelerate China’s transformation into a trader of quality.

China will better plan regional opening up, consolidate the leading position of eastern coastal areas in opening up, and more widely open the central, western, and northeastern regions. It will accelerate the construction of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor in the western region and will work faster to develop the Hainan Free Trade Port, upgrade pilot free trade zones, and expand the globally-oriented network of high-standard free trade areas.

China will promote the internationalization of the RMB in an orderly way, deeply involve itself in the global industrial division of labor and cooperation, and endeavor to preserve the diversity and stability of the international economic landscape and economic and trade relations.

For its part, China has always been committed to its foreign policy goals of upholding world peace and promoting common development, and it is dedicated to promoting a human community with a shared future. It remains firm in pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace. It has always decided its position and policy on issues based on its own merits, and it has strived to uphold the basic norms governing international relations and safeguard international fairness and justice.

China respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries. It stays true to the principle of equality of all countries big or small, strong or weak, and rich or poor, and it respects the development paths and social systems independently chosen by all the world’s peoples.

China stands firmly against all forms of hegemonies and power politics, the Cold War mentality, interference in other countries internal affairs, and double standards. China pursues a defensive national defense policy, and its development strengthens the world’s forces for peace. No matter what stage of development it reaches, China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansionism.

China adheres to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in pursuing friendship and cooperation with other countries. It is committed to promoting a new type of international relations, deepening and expanding global partnerships based on equality, openness, and cooperation, and broadening the convergence of interests with other countries. China works to enhance coordination and positive interaction with other major countries to build major-country relations featuring peaceful coexistence, overall stability, and balanced development. Acting on the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit, and inclusiveness and the policy of forging friendships and partnerships with its neighbors, China strives to enhance friendly ties, mutual trust, and converging interests with its neighboring countries. Guided by the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity, and good faith and with a commitment to the greater good and shared interests, China endeavors to strengthen solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries and safeguard the common interests of the developing world.

China is committed to its fundamental national policy of opening up to the outside world and pursues a mutually beneficial strategy of opening up. It strives to create new opportunities for the world with its own development and to contribute its share to building an open global economy that delivers greater benefits to all people.

China adheres to the right course of economic globalization. It strives to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, advance bilateral, regional, and multilateral cooperation, and boost international macroeconomic policy coordination. It is committed to working with other countries to foster an international environment conducive to development and create new drivers for global growth. China opposes protectionism, the erection of “fences and barriers,” decoupling, disruption of industrial and supply chains, unilateral sanctions, and maximum-pressure tactics.

China is prepared to invest more resources in global development cooperation. It is committed to narrowing the North-South gap and supporting and assisting other developing countries in accelerating development. China plays an active part in the reform and development of the global governance system. It pursues a vision of global governance featuring shared growth through discussion and collaboration. China upholds true multilateralism, promotes greater democracy in international relations, and works to make global governance fairer and more equitable.

China is firm in safeguarding the international system with the United Nations at its core, the international order underpinned by international law, and the basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. It opposes all forms of unilateralism and the forming of blocs and exclusive groups targeted against particular countries.

China works to see that multilateral institutions such as the WTO and APEC better play their roles, cooperation mechanisms such as BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) exert greater influence, and emerging markets and developing countries are better represented and have a greater say in global affairs.

China is actively involved in setting global security rules, works to promote international security cooperation, and takes an active part in UN peacekeeping operations. China plays a constructive role in safeguarding world peace and regional stability.

Building a human community with a shared future is the way forward for all the world’s people. An ancient Chinese philosopher observed that “all living things may grow side by side without harming one another, and different roads may run in parallel without interfering with one another.” Only when all countries pursue the cause of the common good, live in harmony, and engage in cooperation for mutual benefit will there be sustained prosperity and guaranteed security. It is in this spirit that China has put forward the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative, and it stands ready to work with the international community to put these two initiatives into action.

China is committed to building a world of lasting peace through dialogue and consultation, a world of universal security through collaboration and shared benefits, a world of common prosperity through mutually beneficial cooperation, an open and inclusive world through exchanges and mutual learning, and a clean and beautiful world through green and low-carbon development.

We sincerely call upon all countries to hold dear humanity’s shared values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom; to promote mutual understanding and forge closer bonds with other peoples, and to respect the diversity of civilizations. Let us allow cultural exchanges to transcend estrangement, mutual learning to transcend clashes, and coexistence to transcend feelings of superiority. Let us all join forces to meet all types of global challenges.

Although this is an era fraught with challenges, it is also an era brimming with hope. The Chinese people are ready to work hand in hand with people across the world to create an even brighter future for humanity.

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Founding Chair GSRRA, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, and Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization). (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

Everything is building up to a major showdown

October 24, 2022

Source

By Aram Mirzaei

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More

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

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

October 20 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to develop tech independence

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

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

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

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

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

‘Small fortresses with high walls’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BRI or bust

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mackinder on crack

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Western Empire Attacks Russia: The World Strikes Back

October 14, 2022

Source

by Jo Red

In war, as in life more generally, the concept of tempo is essential.

In his masterpiece Philosophy and Real Politics, British “Leninist” philosopher Raymond Geuss emphasizes “priorities, preferences, timing” (p. 30) as defining differences between “real politics” and the abstract, universalistic philosophy that flattens everything in the unfathomable ignorance of timeless present and depthless surface.

Be reminded of that while you celebrate Putin’s birthday by cheering at the destruction of the Crimean bridge – and the loss of 3 innocent lives. Please be reminded of that. Either one or the other must hold: you plan and execute war – just like anything else – with a view to its intrinsic logic – dictating its own and specific tempo – or else, you go on the offensive and strike with an ear for audience and a view for choreographic photo ops. No, world history and Putin’s, or any other individual’s, private life events being synchronized is not a possibility. That’s called “delusion of reference” and might be a sign of serious mental illness.

The point I’m trying to get across is that, contrary to Ukraine, Russia will not rush to respond to Ukraine’s symbolic provocations in the timing of any mediatic agenda. Big Serge has explained very convincingly that they are probably following the schedule dictated by military and political necessity, rather than the “events” that attract the attention of Western so-called “politicians”. By the way, has Zelensky been reminded of Putin’s b-day by Facebook?

Be it as it may, it would be a mistake to think that, because of the advances of the Ukrainians on the ground, Russia’s offensive is not “proceeding”. While the UA’s junta continues to push Ukraine’s youth forward to be uselessly massacred in occupying some almost empty 2000 sq km under Russian target shooting, global developments unfold in the embarrassed “distraction” of Western media.

Putin in his recent speech, Pope Francis since years ago, and well, just anybody else at this point has been able to tell you that this is a global war. The Nord Stream sabotage at the hands of the Anglo-Americans is only additional, unnecessary evidence that the confrontation with Russia reaches from Caucasus to the Danish Sea and beyond.

Only a few days ago, an anti-French and pro-Russian uprising expelled the latest iteration of Parish’s endeared viceroys in the country. I won’t deny that seeing so many, newly liberated Africans waving the Russian flag moved me. It is just another step in the global anti-colonial, liberation struggle outlined by Putin in his programmatic speech.

If you like counting square km, well Burkina Faso stretches over 274 200. The 74th country in the world by surface, with a population of 20 million: we could say, average size. I know, I know, anything happening South to the Mediterranean and involving Black people is irrelevant until they are slave-traded and “integrated” into the Metropolis: only then, and only if they vote right (i.e. left) Black Lives Matter. But whatever the Western empire’s propaganda is saying – or conceiling – the truth is that the colonies are absolutely vital for its hegemony. Africa is the youngest continent, and possibly the richest in resources: it is no coincidence if the French, British, and nowadays the American continue to feast on it. France will simply be unable to retain its standard of living without its neo-colonies. And that moment is coming. The Central African Republic, Mali, and now Burkina, have recently broken free. And it is everything but unlikely that other states in the area will follow. Nearby, Niger and Chad still suffer under the French yoke, but not passively. The Chadian dictator Idriss Déby died at the hands of the rebel in 2021, and his young son is now leading the country. The local junta has just postponed free elections by another two years, yet obviously, as these are NATO’s friends, you won’t read or hear about violations of democracy.

On to another plexus in world power, the Middle East is undergoing a seismic-range transformation as the divides that defined the region cannot be taken for granted anymore. It is already some time since Turkey has timidly restarted some dialogue with Syria. Iran only drew nearer to Russia and China by entering the SCO. Besides being key in assembling a union of Caspian states, ripe with strategic and economic relevance, including tourism, Teheran is pushed in the arms of the continental powers by the suicidal policies of the West. Divide et impera, divide and rule, has been the leitmotiv of any empire since at least the times of the Romans. The US followed it rather carefully, for instance when they divided Russia from China under Nixon’s administration. Now they’re provoking China in Taiwan at the same time as they’re fighting a hybrid war with Russia in Ukraine, and with their imaginary third arm they believe to be able to overturn the Ayatollahs. Evidently, this hubris has since long divorced reason. The US could not deal the coup the grace in the ‘90s and early 2000s, when Russia and China were busy with their own problems if not actively helping the West. Imagining that it could succeed in after decades of internal decline, while fighting an emboldened decolonizing coalition, and at the same time pursuing contradictory attempts at détente to signal discontinuity with Trump is worse than preposterous. The SCO should reward #Iranianlivesmatter, #Iranrevolution, women cutting hairlocks worldwide and such as its most effective PR campaign.

However relevant, this is not even the most significant and impressive turn that has been taken in recent days. Even Western press could not ignore the “detail” that OPEC+, at its summit in Vienna, has brutally smashed US hopes to avoid a reduction in oil outputs in order to keep the prices low. After having played with his declarations, journalists challenged the Saudi representative, who ended up refusing to answer questions from Reuters. They probably did not get the memo that the imperial arrogance of the US is not swallowed with the same servility all the world over anymore. But most interestingly, the Saudis have also explained that they have not been convinced by Russia about the oil prices but are simply protecting their country’s economic interests. Even more outrageous to American ears! They speak of interests that are not our own! How dare they!

At this point, even Biden must be realizing that there were deeper reasons behind the Saudi prince’s decline of his phone call already in March, besides inflicting him and the American government the umpteenth humiliation on the world stage. Not only the US are finally given the brush-off in one of the most important regions of the world: the latter is actively being reshaped by the hatred of them. The Middle East connects three continents, including the two largest, not to mention oceans and seas, and by controlling its straits the Anglo-American have been able to choke the world economy for well over a century. Add the infamously rich resources of the region. It is no coincidence that the same Raymond Geuss considers the British loss of control of the Suez strait in 1956 as the end of their empire, more than the independence of India. Let’s not forget this was “facilitated” by Khrushchev’s threat at the UN to resort to missiles in case the colonial powers did not withdraw from Egypt.

The region continued to be torn apart by the West’s skillful exploitation of its ideological, social, national, and especially religious diversity: first of all, the conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslims. These are behind the most dramatic – and almost completely ignored – humanitarian crisis of our time: the devastation of Yemen.

It won’t be easy, but if the interests of such opposite countries as Saudi Arabia and Iran were to align, with a little help by American hostile resentment against the independence of both, and perhaps a friendly nudge by Russia (and China), this would be a massive blow to Western hegemony. Much more than the temporary occupation of I don’t know how many soccer fields in rural Ukraine.

Last but not least, let’s not forget the Americas. One of the most outspoken admirers of Russia, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is currently not represented at the Organization of the American States. Still, when the OAS voted on a resolution to condemn Russia’s referendums on October 7th, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico voted against.

Of course, in the perspective of the West’s rigged “democracy” the 24 states that voted in favor count more. But excepting the US and Canada for obvious reasons, the like of St. Kitts and Nevis are no match to the largest nations and economies of the continent. It’s the same logic why Biden’s bragging about a majority of states condemning Russia at the UN General Assembly is delusional: if three fourth of the countries actually voted in favor, among those abstaining there were India, China, Pakistan, Vietnam and other immense world players. Even more evident is the diplomatic defeat over the resolution to remove representatives of the Venezuelan opposition from the OAS: only the US, Canada, Guatemala and Paraguay voted against. The resolution didn’t pass, due to a significant number of abstainers and the requirement of a 2/3 majority, but is still a resounding slap in the US face in its very backyard.

So, while the heralds of the Empire are cheerfully selling us memes and Tik-Tok videos about the terrorist bonfire on the Crimea bridge, we still retain many and big reasons to nod in re-reading Putin’s diagnosis about the emergence of a free, sovereign, multipolar world and the end of Western hegemony being inevitable.

Jo Red is “lucky enough to be born in Italy: studied a lot, knows nothing”

Vladimir Putin’s comments at the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit

October 13, 2022

Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit

Vladimir Putin attended the 6th summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA). The meeting is taking place in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

Following the summit, the participants adopted the Astana Statement on Transforming the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and the Statement by CICA Heads of State on Cooperation to Ensure ICT Security. The package of approved documents includes the CICA Action Plan to Implement the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, as well as the summit’s decisions in granting the status of a CICA member state to Kuwait, on CICA presidency issues in 2022–2024 and on holding regular meetings of the Council of Heads of State and Government and the Council of Ministers. The CICA Fund Regulations have also been approved.

* * *

Speech by the President of Russia at the 6th CICA summit

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President [of Kazakhstan] Kassym-Jomart Tokayev,

Colleagues,

Over the past 30 years, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia has been discussing vital aspects of strengthening security and stability in the vast Asian region.

Today we have met against the backdrop of serious changes in global politics and economy. The world is becoming truly multipolar, and Asia, where new centres of power are growing, is playing a major, if not the key role in this.

Asian countries are drivers of global economic growth. Integration associations, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Eurasian Economic Union, are working dynamically and effectively here.

Russia is actively contributing to these processes. We are committed to the development and prosperity of Asia, to creating an open trade and investment cooperation space and broadening and deepening cooperation ties in various economic sectors towards this end.

I would like to remind you that Russia was a founding country of the CICA Business Council, which has held many successful conferences and seminars on the entire range of economic issues over the past years.

We are working hard together with other Asian counties to create a system of equal and indivisible security based on the universally recognised principles of international law and the UN Charter.

Our Conference and other regional associations are dealing with many pressing issues, notably the increased volatility of global prices of energy, food, fertilisers, raw materials and other essential goods, which is affecting the quality of life in industrialised and developing countries. Moreover, this is creating a real threat of hunger and large-scale social upheavals, especially in the poorest countries.

For its part, Russia is doing its best to supply crucial products to the countries that need them. We call for lifting the artificial and illegal obstacles, which are hindering the revitalisation of the normal operation of global supply chains, in order to be able to address pressing tasks in the field of food security.

Like many of our Asian partners, we believe that it is necessary to start a revision of the operating principles of the global financial system, which for decades allowed the self-proclaimed “golden billion,” which has been using capital and technology flows to its sole advantage, to largely live at others’ expense.

As a priority measure, we believe it is necessary to more actively use national currencies in mutual settlements. These measures would definitely help strengthen the financial sovereignty of our states, develop domestic capital markets and deepen regional economic integration.

It is extremely important to take further action, in cooperation with other regional forums and organisations, to resolve any crises and conflicts occurring in Asia, strengthen cooperation between our states on countering terrorism, expose and neutralise extremist groups, block their financial sources, fight drug trafficking and prevent the propaganda of radical ideas.

Unfortunately, Afghanistan remains one of the biggest security challenges for our region, as my colleagues have already said today.

After more than 20 years of US and NATO military presence and their failing policy, that country turned out to be unable to independently deal with the terrorist threat, as indicated by the endless series of violent terrorist attacks, including the blast outside the Russian Embassy in Kabul on September 5.

To normalise the situation in Afghanistan, naturally, we have to work together to help it with economic recovery. But first of all, we strongly insist on compensating for the damage caused to the Afghan people during the years of occupation and unblocking the unlawfully frozen Afghan funds.

In the context of a settlement in Afghanistan, it would be helpful to use the resources of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and its regional anti-terrorist body.

We also invite all Asian countries to engage in closer cooperation with the International Counter-Terrorist Data Bank, established at Russia’s initiative.

I would like to point out that Russia and China have drafted a joint statement for this summit on cooperation in ICT security. We hope that the joint statement will be approved.

Finally, I would like to mention the importance of strengthening multilateral cooperation between the participating countries on social, cultural and humanitarian issues and in promoting the inter-civilisational dialogue and contacts between peoples.

In particular, volunteer movements are among those that require support. The acute stage of the Covid-19 pandemic that we have passed demonstrated the helpful role of volunteer and youth groups in supporting the population. Russia has accumulated extensive and useful experience in these matters and we are ready to share it with interested countries.

Overall, I would like to note with satisfaction that our joint work within this Conference on Mutual Interaction and Confidence Building is making progress. Russia will further develop multi-dimensional cooperation with all represented parties.

We support the initiatives of the Kazakh presidency.

Thank you.

Russia courts Muslim countries as strategic Eurasian partners

Thursday, 13 October 2022 7:10 PM  [ Last Update: Friday, 14 October 2022 9:14 AM ]

Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) attend the CICA summit in Astana, Kazakhstan on October 13, 2022.

By Pepe Escobar

Everything that matters in the complex process of Eurasia integration was once again at play in Astana, as the – renamed – Kazakh capital hosted the 6th Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA).

The roll call was a Eurasian thing of beauty – featuring the leaders of Russia and Belarus (EAEU), West Asia (Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Qatar, Palestine) and Central Asia (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan).

China and Vietnam (East and Southeast Asia) attended at the level of vice presidents.

CICA is a multinational forum focused on cooperation toward peace, security, and stability across Asia.,Kazakh President Tokayev revealed that CICA has just adopted a declaration to turn the forum into an international organization.  

CICA has already established a partnership with the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU). So in practice, it will soon be working together side-by-side with the SCO, the EAEU and certainly BRICS+.

The Russia-Iran strategic partnership was prominently featured at CICA, especially after Iran being welcomed to the SCO as a full member.

President Raeisi, addressing the forum, stressed the crucial notion of an emerging  “new Asia”, where “convergence and security” are “not compatible with the interests of hegemonic countries and any attempt to destabilize independent nations has goals and consequences beyond national geographies, and in fact, aims to target the stability and prosperity of regional countries.”

For Tehran, being a partner in the integration of CICA, within a maze of pan-Asia institutions, is essential after all these decades of”maximum pressure” unleashed by the Hegemon.

Moreover, it opens an opportunity, as Raeisi noted, for Iran to profit from “Asia’s economic infrastructure.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, predictably, was the star of the show in Astana. It’s essential to note that Putin is supported by “all”nations represented at CICA.

High-level bilaterals with Putin included the Emir of Qatar: everyone that matters in West Asia wants to talk to “isolated” Russia.      

Putin called for “compensation for the damage caused to the Afghans during the years of occupation” (we all know the Empire of Chaos, Lies and Plunder will refuse it), and emphasized the key role of the SCO to develop Afghanistan.

He stated that Asia, “where new centers of power are growing stronger, plays a big role in the transition to a multipolar world order”.

He warned, “there is a real threat of famine and large-scale shocks against the backdrop of volatility in energy and food prices in the world.”

Hefurther called for the end of a financial system that benefits the “Golden billion” – who “live at the expense of others” (there’s nothing “golden” about this “billion”: at best such definition of wealth applies to 10 million.)

And he stressed that Russia is doing everything to “form a system of equal and indivisible security”. Exactly what drives the hegemonic imperial elites completely berserk.

“Offer you can’t refuse” bites the dust

The imminent juxtaposition between CICA and the SCO and EAEU is yet another instance of how the pieces of the complex Eurasia jigsaw puzzle are coming together.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia – in theory, staunch imperial military allies – are itching to join the SCO, which has recently welcomed Iran as a full member. 

That spells out Ankara and Riyadh’s geopolitical choice of forcefully eschewing the imperial Russophobia cum Sinophobia offensive.  

Erdogan, as an observer at the recent SCO summit in Samarkand, sent out exactly this message. The SCO is fast reaching the point where we may have, sitting at the same table, and taking important consensual decisions, not only the “RICs” (Russia, India, China) in BRICS (soon to be expanded to BRICS+) but arguably the top players inMuslim countries: Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar.

This evolving process, not without its serious challenges, testifies to the concerted Russia-China drive to incorporate the lands of Islam as essential strategic partners in forging the post-Western multipolar world. Call it a soft Islamization of multipolarity.  

No wonder the Anglo-American axis is absolutely petrified.

Now cut to a graphic illustration of all of the above – the way it’s being played in the energy markets: the already legendary Opec+ meeting in Vienna a week ago.

A tectonic geopolitical shift was inbuilt in the – collective – decision to slash oil production by 2 million barrels a day.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry issued a very diplomatic note with a stunning piece of information for those equipped to read between the lines.

For all practical purposes, the combo behind the teleprompter reader in Washington had issued a trademark Mafia threat to stop “protection” to Riyadh if the decision on the oil cuts was taken before the US mid-term elections. 

Only this time the “offer you can’t refuse” didn’t bite. OPEC+ made a collective decision, led by Russia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 

Following Putin and MBS famously getting along, it was up to Putin to host UAE President Sheikh Zayed – or MBZ, MBS’s mentor – at the stunning Konstantinovsky Palace in St. Petersburg, which datesback to Peter the Great.

That was a sort of informal celebration of how OPEC+ had provoked, with a single move, a superpower strategic debacle when it comes to the geopolitics of oil, which the Empire had controlled for a century. 

Everyone remembers, after the bombing, invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, how US neo-cons bragged, “we are the new OPEC”.

Well, not anymore. And the move had to come from the Russians and US Persian Gulf “allies” when everyone expected that would happen the day a Chinese delegation lands in Riyadh and asks for payment of all the energy they need in yuan.

OPEC+ called the American bluff and left the superpower high’n dry. So what are they going to do to “punish” Riyadh and Abu Dhabi? Call CENTCOM in Qatar and Bahrain to mobilize their aircraft carriers and unleash regime change?

What’s certain is that the Straussian/neocon psychos in charge in Washington will double down on hybrid war.

The art of “spreading instability”

In St. Petersburg, as he addressed MBZ, Putin made it clear that it’s OPEC+ – led by Russia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE – that is now setting the pace to “stabilize global energy markets” so consumers and suppliers would “feel calm, stable and confident” and supply and demand “would be balanced”.

On the gas front, at Russian Energy Week, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller made it clear that Russia may still “save” Europe from an energy black hole.

Nord Stream (NS) and Nord Stream 2 (NS2) may become operational: but all political roadblocks must be removed before any repairing work starts on the pipelines.

And on West Asia, Miller said additions to Turk Stream have already been planned, much to the delight of Ankara, keen to become a key energy hub. 

In a parallel track, it’s absolutely clear that the G7’s desperate gambit of imposing an oil price cap – which translates as the weaponization of sanctions extended to the global energy market – is a losing proposition.

Slightly over a month before hosting the G20 in Bali, Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati could not make it clearer: “When the United States is imposing sanctions using economic instruments, that creates a precedent for everything”, spreading instability “not only for Indonesia but for all other countries.”

Meanwhile, allMuslim-majority countries are paying very close attention to Russia. The Russia-Iran strategic partnership is now advancing in parallel to the Russia-Saudi-UAE entente as crucial vectors of multipolarity.

In the near future, all these vectors are bound to unite in what ideally should be a supra-organization capable of managing the top story of the 21st century: Eurasia integration.    

Pepe Escobar is a veteran journalist, author and independent geopolitical analyst focused on Eurasia.

(The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

Rhetoric Versus Reality

OCTOBER 6, 2022

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

Bouthaina Shaaban

What we are witnessing today is a natural reaction to the level to which Western systems and Western media have used ordinary people and their lives, their well-being, and even their subsistence in order to launch wars.

When the General Assembly was in session, the Italian elections came to prove that the Western rhetoric at the UN, especially that of Joe Biden and Liz Truss, has nothing to do with the reality and aspirations of their people.

Western rhetoric tried to show that the West is absolutely united and that the path they are treading is the one that their people want and are determined to tread. However, the Italian elections, preceded by elections in other European countries, proved that Western officials are in one place, and their people, who they are supposed to represent, are in a totally different place.

A lot of narratives and counter-narratives will prevail in the following weeks about the ascent of the right in Europe. Of course, the ruling oligarchy is trying to describe the right as the far right, the extreme right, perhaps verging on calling the right the terrorist right in an attempt to frighten people from the rise of right movements in Europe. These are nationalist movements saying that the aspirations and the lives of our people should precede liberal doctrine and liberal ideas, which have a frightening social agenda that may prove to be incompatible with the rights and happiness of people.

We all saw the danger of neo-liberalism, especially in the last two years, trying to define human nature by spreading concepts, arguments, and narratives that have nothing to do with the spontaneous lives and feelings of people everywhere. Besides, Covid-19 proved to most people that the solidarity required from them during wars to pay for armaments and to pay for raging wars anywhere in the globe is not matched by the solidarity these people receive at times of plague. Italy, in particular, was struck hard by Covid-19 but received hardly any help either from the US or from other European countries, with whom it is aligned at times of wars of aggression. In the meantime, it received great help from Cuba, China, and Russia. So the Italian people see and understand what is happening to them.

This was aggravated by the economic difficulties caused by the proxy war these countries are fighting in Ukraine against Russia and against the emergence of a multipolar world. Western reports show that inflation is rife and people are getting impoverished and suffering from huge expenses exacerbated by an unprecedented rise in prices and fall in their currencies. Why? Because they are required to feed a nonsensical war in Ukraine and destroy a country, which they have nothing to do with, in order to preserve the American hegemony on other countries and other people

So, for the first time, probably since the second world war, we are witnessing today a real rift between Western people and their true interests on the one hand and those who are supposed to represent them, on the other. In order to fight this trend, and perhaps to corner it, Western media, of course, dictated by Western policymakers, is giving these national trends in most European countries titles that have negative connotations with the aim of frightening people from these movements. They are accusing them of hatred of Muslims, hatred of refugees, wanting to establish Christian states, and being only interested in white and Christian countries. The funny thing about these claims is that they make it seem as if Europe now stands as a paradise for refugees and for Muslims and as if equality is absolutely prevalent and no racism can be traced whatsoever in Europe. When the Ukrainian refugees started to flee into Europe, European commentators and program anchors were saying: those are not Syrians, they are not Iraqis; those are white people with blue eyes. If this is not racism, I don’t know what is?!

I am not saying that the rising movements in Europe or right-wing movements or national movements in Europe do not have a negative attitude toward Arabs and Muslims, but I am saying even if they have, which is regrettable of course, there will be nothing new in that. We have been suffering from these attitudes for decades. But the difference between what Giorgia Meloni, the new Italian representative, and Liz Truss and Joe Biden, for example, is that the Italians say things as they are; honestly, clearly, and straight to the point; whereas Liz Truss and Joe Biden have a double-faced, hypocritical rhetoric that is supposed to address one reality, while brushing under the carpet a very different reality concerning the lives of people, both in the West and across the world.

When I read the Western narrative that is meant to frighten everyone from the emerging national movements in Europe, I remembered the importance of naming, and how sometimes naming things or trends or movements is meant to hide the essence of these entities rather than to express their real nature. I remember when I got my MA, I was offered a place to do my Ph.D. at Warwick University in the UK, where I met the head of the English Department. He asked me, “What is the subject you want to work on for a Ph.D.?” I said, “I want to work on the influence of Romantic poets, particularly Percy Bysshe Shelley on the Chartist Movement.” He was shocked and he immediately retorted: “What the hell do the Romantic poets have to do with the Chartist Movement?!” I said, “Well, that is what I want to find out.” The Chartist Movement is the first working-class movement in the world in 1848. It took place about 20 years after the death of Romantic poets; particularly: Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron.

Through four years of research in newspapers, books, philosophy, literature, and politics, I discovered that the name romantic has nothing to do with the reality of those poets, who were extremely active in the political domain. Lord Byron was killed fighting a war in Greece to liberate it from the Ottoman occupation, and Shelly spent his life trying to liberate Ireland from British rule. Shelly’s poem “Queen Mab” was called “The Chartist’s Bible.” I am relating this incident to show how important naming is and how much the West, particularly the UK, uses naming things or trends or people in order to project the reality it wants rather than the authentic reality that these names should truly reflect.

The war that is still raging in Ukraine is causing the impoverishment of Western people; it is causing great hardships for the majority of Western people. But there are beneficiaries of this war: arms industrialists and senior officials in all domains; whether army, intelligence, or politics… they are the ones who are increasing and multiplying their financial fortunes. Thus, what we are beginning to witness with the rise of the right movements or national movements in Europe are the first indications of real rebellion against these unfair and authoritarian autocratic systems that are calling themselves democracies. The upcoming winter may generate different means that people in Western countries are going to use in order to reach their objectives.

Besides Covid-19 and besides the war in Ukraine, I think that there is a third factor that is motivating people to think deeply about their lives, about the future of their children and their grandchildren. The third factor is the narrative of neo-liberalism that is ignoring all real issues – issues of families, working women, elderly people, poverty, education, childhood, and health – and focusing instead on issues that are almost invented and fabricated by a certain interest group for reasons that have nothing to do with the real lives of people. We all followed the huge concentration in the Western narratives on gay and lesbian relations and same-sex marriages, which in essence contradict human nature. Perhaps there are some people who find themselves in a different boat from most people, but to project this as a necessity and a subject to be forced on the throats of nine-year-olds at schools is something sinister and vicious.

There is no doubt that the destruction of the family nucleus in the West is a huge social problem that most people are suffering from, while yearning to restore the feeling of family and the normal feeling of affection and care among family members. This should be the case instead of putting such a huge stress on the individual and ignoring that the individual is always much happier and performs much better when he/she is raised by a loving family and a loving community and by a social matrix that provides him/her with all the support, love, and affection that help these individuals excel in their lives.

So, what we are witnessing today is a natural reaction to the level to which Western systems and Western media have used ordinary people and their lives, their well-being, and even their subsistence in order to launch wars and make the arms industry the best-thriving industry in the West, through conquering other countries and stealing their resources.

The antithesis for all this is what we read and hear of narratives coming from the East; from China, Russia, Iran, the BRIKS, member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, especially the narrative expressed and confirmed by Xi Jinping over the last decade that we are all living on one planet and that we have to share the resources of this planet and jointly be responsible for the welfare of this planet, without any of us trying to impose things on the other. We have to establish security for all, integrity for all, and prosperity for all because we all share this earth and we should join ranks in order to make sure that people on this earth live well and have the right opportunities to express themselves, build their future, and work hand in hand for the welfare of everybody everywhere.

Of course, this does not suit systems that encourage apartheid and occupation in Palestine and elsewhere… this doesn’t suit racist systems that see white-skinned men and women as superior to black- or brown-skinned people and want to use brown or black-skinned people as slaves; i.e. modern slaves for accumulating more wealth at the expense of other people and other countries.

So, what most people in the world aspire to is a welfare system; a truly fair system. The people crave for justice and not for claims of democracies that have no positive effect on their lives. Democracies had been used as slogans in order to suppress both peoples of these countries and people of other countries as well. Perhaps the cycle of history has reached a point where change is absolutely imperative. People have reached a conviction that this road, which has been charted by Western powers, is an extremely dangerous road, and has led to a dead-end. So, we better stop here and make a U-turn in order to ensure that we restore the balance; the logical balance to human lives.

%d bloggers like this: