NEO – Biden has just crossed the Red Line

Putin is a killer, and Biden, Obama and Trump were not?

BDN

By Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor -March 22, 2021

Valeria Kilkov, with New Eastern Outlook, Moscow, …and the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a research institution for the study of the countries and cultures of Asia and North Africa.

[ Editor’s Note: Putin is a killer, and Biden, Obama and Trump were not? Really? Mr. Obama’s adminstration collected the plum of getting Assad to turn over all of his chemical weapons, where silly me would credit Mr. Assad with half the honor.

Later, the Obama administration claimed Assad to be using chemical weapons, with marginal effect, but which if true would have devastating credibility consequences for Assad’s government, which has never given evidence that it would be so stupid as to hand its head on a silver platter to those trying to destroy it.

VT has not found a shred of credible evidence that Assad ever used such weapons other than when the jihadis fired chlorine gas cannisters at the SAA where it sometimes fired back. Those decisions were made by local units.

You will notice that the endless claims of Syria gassing its own people came from totally discredited sources like the White Helmets. VT debunked one of the claims by having a Turkish film crew go to the scene to interview locals who described the story entirely bogus.

Then we had US pilots flying over the Iraq, Syria border reporting of the endless line of ISIS tankers taking oil through Syria to the back door of Turkey in a mass that high school level astronomy telescopes could see the massed tankers from the moon. The pilots were never allowed to bomb these columns, but the Russians sure did when they came in.

The American government hid (very poorly) its support for terrorist proxies in Syria and Iraq. It now, as cover, admits to training 10,000 ‘resistance fighters’, but thinks we are all too stupid not to know about the former PM and FM of Qatar admitting on the Charlie Rose show that the ‘US coalition’ spent $160 billion trying to carve up Syria. I have never seen the US government refute this.

And then Mr. Biden, you were fully aboard the Yemen disaster, where reports are coming out now that the Al Qaeda presence there was exaggerated to give cause for US forces to operate inside the country.

You are the leader of a country that has a solid provable history of using proxy terror forces. Of all the nice things you are intending to do, I am wondering what you don’t want to ban the use of proxy terrorism or push to have all private military contrators under constant government control to prevent abuses.

The last thing we need from you now is to be a Democratic version of Donald Trump on foriegn affairs, where you have your pet boogie men to defends us from. We are tired of this scam.

The world is much more sophisticated now about fake threats and fake wars. And old intel guys in their 70’s could debate you on this and it would not be pretty if you pretended this was not the case. Please don’t copy Trump on the Mr. Tough guy foreigh policy schtick. It will lower your stature for no gain Jim W. Dean ]

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Yemen

First published … March 22, 2021

In a recent interview that the sitting US president gave to the ABC channel, Joe Biden confirmed that he considers Russia’s president Vladimir Putin a “soulless killer”, adding a series of threats against Russia to those remarks.

Such a statement, that was based purely on Russophobic misinformation, would do no honor to any politician. However, when such remarks are made by a person that occupies the position of the head of the United States, they start looking particularly queer, since Russian leaders, unlike their American counterparts, are not generally known for unleashing bloody senseless conflicts like the Vietnam war or the wars in the Middle East, that resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties.

Such improper and aggressive behavior can hardly be attributed to the mental challenges that Biden might or might not be suffering from.

However, there are a lot of speculations going around in the mainstream media about his mental capabilities, that were first started by the Australian TV show host Cory Bernardi that discussed those issues in his show on Sky News as early as last February.

For sure, one cannot rule out that the entire White House and the Biden family got infected with a “biting frenzy” that first affected Joe’s German Shepherd that had a “biting incident” with a member of White House security. However, if the sitting US president did in fact got affected by this “disease”, it still doesn’t excuse his remarks.

What is clear is that this aggressive posturing was met with widespread outrage in different parts of the world.

Biden’s statement is a triumph of political insanity and senile dementia of the US ruling class said the leader of the ruling United Russia party Andrei Turchak. In turn, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs recalled its ambassador to the US for “consultations”, which occurred for the first time in the entirety of the modern Russian-American relations.

Most of the countries reacted critically to Biden’s statement, as it’s been pointed out by major newspapers and online publications. Readers in their comments to the stories published on those platforms point out that the demonization of Russia and the attempts to publicly insult Russia’s president are plain crazy.

What is curious, even Japanese readers do not hide their surprise and indignation these days. In particular, one can come across comments on Yahoo News Japan, where they argue about Biden’s frail mental state and make remarks that his entourage shouldn’t be allowing POTUS anywhere near the nuclear button.

Indeed, Joe Biden looks weak and his health condition would repeatedly draw the attention of various media outlets. Due to his age, and Biden has recently turned 78, there’s a lot of doubts voiced publicly about his ability to fully perform his duties in the highest position of power. During the presidential race, he would frequently get into awkward situations.

The media discussed his senile gait, his numerous gaffes. When Biden was giving a speech at the beginning of March dedicated to women serving in the US military, he would show symptoms of dementia yet again by forgetting the name of the secretary of defense, Lloyd Austin.

During the presidential campaign, he said that he was trying to get elected to the Senate, and last December he named US vice president Kamala Harris the president of the United States. In November, Biden confused his granddaughter Natalie with his deceased son Beau, he also called his political rival George, confusing Trump him with his predecessor – George W. Bush.

The National Pulse and a number of other American outlets have already pointed out that the better part of important telephone conversations with other world leaders are conducted by Kamala Harris. In this regard, questions about Biden’s physical and mental ability to perform his duties are openly voiced even in the United States.

It’s noteworthy that ever since the days of Franklin Roosevelt both American parties prefer to put forward weak political figures to occupy the Oval Office and Joe Biden that replaced Donald Trump in the capacity of the US president is the pinnacle of this political trend.

One cannot describe such actions as illogical, as it is easier to manipulate such politicians, and when things don’t go the way they were planned those politicians would typically get all the blame for the decisions that were made by someone else.

However, we shouldn’t overlook the fact that the duties of a weak president are still performed by a group of hidden functionaries. Therefore, the “collective Biden” makes the decisions that were approved by leading Democratic party figures, sponsors and lobbyists. Those are the people that are calling the shoots and they know perfectly well what they are up to.

Therefore, behind Biden’s antics in the now scandalous interview one can distinguish a clear desire of the ruling political elite to drive the public discussion away from the failed domestic policies by promoting hysteria about Russia or China, or to build a narrative about such “existential enemies” to the US as Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, etc. The escalation of this hysteria, as the “collective Biden” certainly hopes, will justify a new war of words, a new arms race, and even a new military conflict.

It’s clear that the United States will not dare to take any direct military action against Russia, knowing full well that there’s no use planning a war when Moscow has the advantage of superior weapons and the well-trained army.

However, Washington is thoroughly invested in provoking some of its new “satellites” to pursue an armed escalation with Russia. That is why the “collective Biden” is not just shaking the air with loud statements, but also tacitly aggravates tensions on Russia’s borders by allowing NATO to stage provocations with its reconnaissance and bomber aircraft in the Baltic, Black and Barents Seas, by deploying additional military units and American offensive weapons to Romania, Poland, Norway, and the Baltic States.

What is curious is that the population of all these countries hasn’t been informed yet that, in response to such provocations, Russia would prepare to defend itself with the full might of its entire arsenal.

It is a well-known fact that war has always been one of the solutions to internal crises that different aggressive countries faced throughout history. That is why Western countries would start their wars. However, neither the Soviet Union nor the Russian Federation have resorted to this tactics, on the contrary, they would face the necessity to defend themselves from external aggression.

That is why it is highly probable that under Biden, the United States will be dragged into a new military conflict, or into aggravating the situation in the traditional hot spots of the Middle East or Asia. Under certain conditions, the US may fulfill Israel’s demands to launch air-strikes against Iran, without sending any ground troops in.

Getting a large number of boots on the ground in the Middle East will result in an ever increasing number of casualties, which the US cannot afford, thus it will not succeed in a direct assault against Tehran.

Therefore, it is quite possible that in one of his future public speeches Biden will proclaim that Washington needs a small “victorious campaign” in an area that is geographically closer to the United States – for example, in Latin America, or in Southeast Asia.

And that’s why Biden, as he has fallen victim to an age-related loss of direction, will be lashing out not just against Russia, but against China, and a number of other countries supporting the two, an his remarks are to become ever more and more furious.

Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

BIOGRAPHYJim W. Dean, Managing EditorManaging EditorJim W. Dean is Managing Editor of Veterans Today involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews. Read Full Complete Bio >>>

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How West, Central and South Asia are interconnecting

How West, Central and South Asia are interconnecting

January 02, 2021

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted on Asia Times

It’s one of those quintessential journeys that make people dream: Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad by train. Let’s call it ITI.

Soon, in early 2021, ITI will become a reality. But, initially, just as a freight train. The deal was recently sealed at the 10th meeting of the transport and communication ministers of ECO (Economic Cooperation Organization) in Istanbul.

ITI’s official name is actually the ECO Container Train. Trial runs started in 2019. The 6,500 km overland journey should now take 11 days – compared to the roughly 45 days across sealanes for trade between Western Europe and Pakistan.

ECO is a very interesting – and strategic – organization, virtually unknown outside of Asia, uniting Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, the five Central Asian “stans”, Azerbaijan and Afghanistan.

Some of these players are also members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); some are part of the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU); and almost all of them are partners to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

They have come up with a ECO Vision 2025 that emphasizes connectivity as a springboard to “social and economic development”, privileging trade, transportation, energy and tourism. ECO seeks to de facto integrate West, Central and South Asia plus the Caucasus. For all practical purposes, ECO straddles most of the New Silk Roads developing across a large part of Eurasia.

That pesky Sultan, again

The ITI/ECO Container Train will be yet another layer of connectivity running in parallel to the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, centered on the Caucasus, and as we have seen in a previous Turkey/New Great Game column, a key plank of Ankara’s trade strategy.

Soon, ITI/ECO will also link with the European rail networks via that 76-km long engineering marvel – the undersea Marmaray railway tunnel in Istanbul. Of course opportunities abound for branching out to parts of the Middle East. By the end of the decade, ITI/ECO may well go high-speed rail – think Chinese investment.

The fascinating counterpoint to the Marmaray undersea tunnel is the Trans-Caspian: the actual connection between the BTK in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

As you can see here , the strategically designed layout of the ports allows instant roll on-roll off from the cargo trains to huge freight ferries.

Iran, for instance, is building a roll on-roll off shipping port in Bandar-e Anzalī on the Caspian Sea – which will be used to export merchandise but also oil and gas transiting via Russia or Kazakhstan, both Caspian nations, and thus bypassing any further blockade imposed by the US.

The interlink of ITI/ECO with BTK will solidify yet another important East-West trade corridor. Apart from the northern corridors linking with the Trans-Siberian, every East-West trade corridor across Eurasia goes through Turkey. That gives President Erdogan a wealth of options – as Beijing knows too well. The Xian-Istanbul corridor is as important as the Xian-Kazakhstan-Russia corridor.

Our previous Turkey/New Great Game column provoked serious debate in Istanbul. Political analyst Ceyda Karan remarked Erdogan “has only one card: Turkish geopolitics. He doesn’t care how many soldiers will die in Libya or Syria. He doesn’t care about the Turkish people”.

Esteemed Professor Korkut Boratav, now a nonagenarian eminence in macroeconomics, wondered how I could “ascribe those important roles to our chief”, referencing Erdogan.

Well, it’s all about playing geoeconomics. Erdogan certainly has leveraged his Rolodex across Eurasia, in terms of foreign policy, going no holds barred in the manipulation of all sorts of proxy gangs practicing all manner of extremisms. But ultimately what The Sultan really needs is trade and foreign investment in his battered economy.

So trade connectivity is essential. But the problem always remains his own strategy. Supporting, feeding and weaponizing an army of ISIS/Daesh, Jabhat al-Nusra, and Uighur/Caucasian jihadi proxies is not exactly a sound business strategy.

Erdogan seems to be everywhere – Libya, Azerbaijan, the Turkish-northwest Syrian border. Strategists in Beijing, Moscow, Tehran and Islamabad of course are asking questions: what for, exactly?

There’s no realistic geoeconomic scenario for him to bypass Russia. He may use Azerbaijan as a sort of de luxe messenger between Turkey and Israel – and perhaps, subsequently, profit from Israel’s courtship of Persian Gulf monarchies. After all, as far as allies in the Arab world are concerned, the only player he can really count on is Qatar. Follow the money: Doha by itself won’t finance an economic boom in Turkey.

Let a million trade corridors bloom

Silly rumors about the demise of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are greatly exaggerated – considering they are a sub-section of American propaganda. CPEC is a complex, very long-term project whose implementation, according to the Chinese timetable, has not even started.

What Islamabad must be aware of is how much sexier, in comparison, is Tehran, when seen with Beijing’s eyes. Pakistan counts mostly on Imran Khan’s efforts. Iran has a wealth of oil, gas, gold and an array of crucial minerals. As India famously shot itself in the back – once again – by de facto abdicating from investing in Chabahar port in Iran, China stepped in. The $400 billion China-Iran deal is way more comprehensive than CPEC, at roughly $64 billion.

Back on the road, the good news is Iran-Pakistan seem to be focused on increasing connectivity. It boggles the mind that until recently there was only one crossing along their 900 km border. Finally they decided to open two more border gateways.

This is hugely important, because the first gateway is in ultra-sensitive Sistan-Balochistan province – constantly susceptible to Salafi-jihadi infiltrators – and only 70 km away from strategic Gwadar port.

As far as tourism goes – what the Chinese describe as “people to people exchange” – that’s an extra dimension, because Pakistanis can now easily cross the border, reach Chabahar, and then go by train to Iran’s holy sites Najaf and Karbala.

Finally, there’s the all-important Russian factor – which always commands Erdogan’s undivided attention.

Arguably Moscow’s top strategic priority is to decouple the EU from any US/NATO-imposed Dr. Strangelove impulses. So a EU trade alliance with Beijing – now in progress, via their investment treaty – cannot but be a win-win, as it spells out closer European integration with the Eurasian century, driven by China but with Russia, crucially, positioned as the premier security provider.

And as President Putin once again made it clear in his year end’s vows, BRI and the EAEU are increasingly merging.

Quite a few readers have noted that Russia has now achieved the tripartite capacity that Kissinger once declared essential for US strategic leadership: mastery of weapons exports; control of energy flows; and agriculture exports. Not to mention diplomatic finesse – widely respected all across Eurasia and the Global South.

Meanwhile, Eurasia goes with the flow: let a million trade corridors – Trans-Siberian, BTK, ITI/ECO – bloom.

BRI-LED REGIONALIZATION ROLLS ON AS GWADAR PORT OPENS AFGHAN TRADE TO THE WORLD

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

29 APRIL 2020

The successful opening of Gwadar Port to Afghanistan lays the basis for expanding this trade network to Central Asia and Russia via N-CPEC+, which sets a positive example for how BRI-led regionalization can rejuvenate globalization after the coronavirus is finally defeated.

The speculative talk about the coronavirus supposedly signaling the impending end of globalization was thrown into doubt last week after Gwadar Port was opened to Afghanistan. That facility is the terminal point of the Belt & Road Initiative’s (BRI) flagship project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and will be used to facilitate trade with the South Asian state’s landlocked neighbor, according to the announcement by Abdul Razak Dawood, the adviser for commerce and investment to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He also said that “16,000 MT of diamonium phosphate and World Food Programme cargo of 500,000 MT of wheat for Afghanistan will arrive next month” and that “Ships from China will also offload at Gwadar.” This development is remarkable in more ways than one and thus deserves to be analyzed a bit more in depth in order for the reader to better understand its grand strategic significance in the context of contemporary geopolitics.

First off, it’s especially important that war-torn Afghanistan will receive much-needed aid through this port. Those supplies will help its people better survive the hardships that they’ve been experiencing for decades already, and they come at a crucial time when the country is struggling to counter COVID-19. Not only could Gwadar become a humanitarian lifeline for Afghanistan, but also an economic one too since it opens up its trade to the rest of the world and can therefore help it rebuild after the war finally ends.

The very fact that CPEC is expanding along the northern vector suggests that a branch corridor prospectively called N-CPEC+ could enter into fruition in the future if the project expands into the Central Asian Republics and even further afield to Russia, thus creating a new North-South connectivity corridor in the Eurasian Heartland. Even in the event that the aforementioned scenario doesn’t unfold right way, it’s still noteworthy that BRI’s flagship project is strengthening regionalization between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

This objective observation powerfully refutes the rumors that globalization is destined to die due to the consequences of the world’s uncoordinated lockdowns in response to COVID-19. There will always be a need for countries to import whatever they can’t make at home and export the wares that they produce abroad, which in the Afghan context refers to agricultural imports and prospective mineral exports via CPEC. The present lockdowns will inevitably end, after which globalization will resume, bolstered by regionalization.

Regionalization and globalization are two sides of the same coin since they both involve international trade, albeit to differing geographic extents made obvious by their names. There’s some credence to the claims that regionalization will benefit more in the short term than globalization, though the success of regionalization would strengthen globalization through the creation of more consolidated economic spaces. In the present example, CPEC brings China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan closer together, thus boosting trade between all three.

The successful opening of Gwadar Port to Afghanistan lays the basis for expanding this trade network to Central Asia and Russia via N-CPEC+, as was earlier explained, which sets a positive example for how BRI-led regionalization can rejuvenate globalization after the coronavirus is finally defeated. Both interconnected trends are pivotal to the world’s economic recovery, and seeing as how they’re being championed by China, it can be said that the People’s Republic is taking the leading role in helping humanity return back to normal.

With all of this in mind, while casual observers might have dismissed the opening of Gwadar Port to Afghanistan as an unimportant event compared to everything else going on in the world nowadays (if they were even aware of it in the first place, that is), it’s actually one of the most significant non-health-related developments of the year. China showed that its desire to create a Community of Common Destiny through BRI hasn’t slowed down as a result of the virus, which speaks to its commitment to carry through with this noble vision no matter what.

South Asia’s Role In The Pentagon’s “Indo-Pacific Strategy Report”

By Andrew Korybko
Source

The US’ recently released “Indo-Pacific Strategy Report” envisages India playing a key role in this vast transregional space in order to “contain” China, while Pakistan is conspicuously absent from the text despite being one of the few nuclear weapons states, among the most populous countries in the world, and the transit route for China’s overland access to the Afro-Asian Ocean via CPEC.

“Containing” China

The US officially unveiled its “Indo-Pacific Strategy Report” over the weekend and tasked Defense Secretary Shanahan with sharing a summary of it during the Shangri-La Dialogue forum in Singapore. The gist of the document is that the US is committed to “containing” China through the crucial support of its many regional partners per what can be described as the “Lead From Behind” stratagem. South Asia, and especially aspiring hegemon India, naturally figures prominently in this vision, though the conspicuous absence of the global pivot state of Pakistan from the text — one of the few nuclear weapons states, among the most populous countries in the world, and the transit route for China’s overland access to the Afro-Asian Ocean via CPEC — hints that the US wants to “isolate” it from this seemingly inclusive geostrategic concept. Interestingly, even landlocked and mountainous Nepal has a part to play in this paradigm, but that’s probably because the US regards it as a zone of Indo-Chinese competition unlike Pakistan which is solidly in the Chinese camp, hence why the US sees no need to touch upon it at all because it likely regards the country as a “lost cause”.

The Integral Role Of India

There are only several pages that specifically deal with South Asia (33-36), though India is also briefly  mentioned in other parts as well. The US emphasizes the “common outlook” that it shares with India and how New Delhi’s “Act East” policy of ASEAN engagement supposedly proves its commitment to the “free and open Indo-Pacific” concept, Washington’s new euphemism for “containing” China. The “convergence of strategic interests” between these two Great Powers manifests itself through India’s unique designation as the US’ only “Major Defense Partner” and the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue that was commenced last year between their Defense and Foreign Ministers. The document also lauds the effect that COMCASA will have in improving “interoperability” between their armed forces, though it noticeably omits any mentioning of the LEMOA pact that allows them to use some of the other’s military facilities on a case-by-case “logistical” basis. Even so, the Pentagon praises the increased “scope, complexity, and frequency” of military exercises with India and the upcoming tri-service exercises later this year, on top of their rapidly expanding arms trade.

South Asian Satellite States

As for the other countries of South Asia (apart from Pakistan and Bhutan), the US speaks highly about the “increased cooperation on mutual logistics arrangements” that it agreed to with Sri Lanka earlier this year, as well as the “avenues to expand security cooperation” with the Maldives after its “democratic transition” late last year. Concerning Bangladesh, it’s described as having a “strong defense relationship” with the US and being an “important partner for regional stability and security”. The “Indo-Pacific Strategy Report” also applauds the “annual Bilateral Defense Dialogue” between the two for “setting the strategic direction of their relationship”. Lastly, landlocked and mountainous Nepal is curiously included in the text despite not being a country that ordinarily comes to mind when one thinks of the Afro-Pacific (“Indo-Pacific”) region. The document talks about the opportunity for expanding defense ties in light of last year’s “Land Forces Talks” and several landmark visits by high-ranking US defense officials, including the head of USINDOPACOM.

Network-Centric Proxy Warfare

While the aforementioned South Asian states are implicitly conceived of as Indian satellites whose overall role in the larger paradigm is very limited, the aspiring hegemon itself is expected to fulfill a transregional one as regards the Pacific part of the Afro-Pacific (“Indo-Pacific”) concept. Later on in the document the Pentagon talks about how India is contributing to the formation of a “networked region” by being one of several trilateral partnerships that the US and Japan are forming. It also points out the “emerging intra-Asian security relationships” that India is bilaterally involved in with Japan and Vietnam, as well as the trilateral one between itself, Japan, and Australia. Furthermore, the Quad of the US, India, Japan, and Australia is mentioned once, but it doesn’t play a major role in policy formation, probably because Washington considers it better to expand its “Chinese Containment Coalition” beyond those three major states to include medium and smaller ones too, thus allowing it to incorporate the entire Afro-Pacific region into this concept.

Concluding Thoughts

In sum, the US’ “Indo-Pacific Strategy Report” envisages India playing a leading role in “containing” China in the Afro-Asian (“Indian”) Ocean region and then using its strategic partnerships with Japan, Australia, and Vietnam to expand its influence into the Pacific portion of this transregional space. Likewise, its very presence in its eponymous ocean serves as the gateway for more robust Japanese military involvement on the other side of ASEAN, with these South and East Asian Great Powers strategically uniting in the ASEAN middle ground between them. For all intents and purposes and apart from the exceptional involvement of landlocked Nepal (Laos, and Mongolia), the “Indo-Pacific Strategy Report” deals entirely with maritime nations and therefore naturally has a naval focus, though it’s still strange that nothing is mentioned about Pakistan when considering that S-CPEC+ is China’s multimodal connectivity shortcut to Africa. In any case, Islamabad’s lack of inclusion in this policy planning document doesn’t take away from its global pivot significance, it just means that an entirely separate strategy report will likely need to be written for countering it.

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