Iran-China deal hailed as geopolitical game changer

By VT Editors -April 8, 2021

Carl Zha is an American-Chinese social media activist with an extensive knowledge of Chinese foreign policies. He tells Press TV about the importance of the Iran-China economic pact and its possible ramifications for the region and beyond.

This article is based on an episode of Presscast, a podcast by Press TV

Carl Zha is an American-Chinese social media activist with an extensive knowledge of Chinese foreign policies. He tells Press TV about the importance of the Iran-China economic pact and its possible ramifications for the region and beyond.

This article is based on an episode of Presscast, a podcast by Press TV

Very little has been published on the Iran-China agreement and its possible outcome for the region since it was announced last year.

How important is this deal?

So, we know approximate figure, 400, billion (dollar value of agreement), it’s a pretty big number, and it’s touted as a strategic partnership between China and Iran, where both sides committed to broaden the economic cooperation that both sides already have but increasing investment, increasing cooperation in developing infrastructures. So I think it’s a really big deal because we have all the usual outlets in the mainstream media talking about it or the conservative media in the US are, are taking the stance, oh, you know, like the “Biden’s screwed up. He made Iran and China get together, now they have formed the axis of evil, now we are screwed!” You know it’s a good thing when these people are starting to talk like that.

What are the western media criticisms of the deal?

Um, actually I hear a lot of, you know, I saw a lot of criticism for like the, the Iranian dissidents in the diaspora, I mean a lot of them are posing this as somehow Iran selling out to China. You know I see like an astroturf Twitter campaign about you, Iran, get out of “China, get out of Iran”, right, which is totally overblown because as far as I know, you know China is not is not, you know, posting its military to Iran and China. China is in Iran to do business. Right and it’s a deal, agreed by two sovereign governments between the sovereign government of Iran and China. It’s not like one side is pointing a gun to the other side, say hey, sign at the dotted line, and as a matter of fact, it has nothing to do with the United States.

Iran and China have long standing ties through the Silk Road

The fact that people in the US media are getting worked up about it is rather ridiculous, (since) this is a deal between two nations with long standing ties through the Silk Road, I mean Iran and China have had a historical relationship for over 1000 years, you know, way longer than United States even existed. The fact that the people in Washington, who can barely find Iran and China on a map, are worked up about a deal of cooperation, mind you have a deal of cooperation and friendship between Iran and China. It says a lot more about them than about the deal itself it’s, it’s this fear that oh my god you know all these people are ganging up on us. It’s like no, this has nothing to do with the US.

US foreign policy hostile toward both nations

Iran and China are just continuing their historical relationship. There’s every reason for the two nations to work together, especially when both are being put under pressure by US foreign policy, you know, US foreign policy has been very hostile toward Iran since 1979. US foreign policy has been increasingly hostile toward China since 2010. So I mean, when, when US policymakers realize, China now is in a position strong enough to challenge the US hegemony, and that’s what they’re really worried about they’re worried about the position of the US as a hegemon [sic] in the world; they are worried that US hegemony is going to disappear and be replaced by a multipolar, multilateral world, which, I don’t understand why that’s a bad day, for them it is.

Ever since the United States pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018, and reapplied sanctions China remained the sole buyer of Iranian petroleum, the sole lifeline that Iran could rely on at the time was coming from China and what they’re doing now is just a continuation of their previous businesses dealings which has now been made official.

China and Iran Cooperation goes a long way. I mean not just, just, historically, but also in the modern time, you know China has always dealt with Iran and in the latest round of sanctions  the US placed on Iran, China continue to do business (with Iran) despite the US sanctions because, you know, the, the US sanctions rely on the premise that the US has dominate the global finance right and because US threatened to sanction, any company, any government that has dealing with Iran, but China is in a position today where you can basically ignore the US sanction and continue to, to work on its traditional relationship, normal relationship, with Iran. And I think that is what has upset people in Washington, because they see the US is losing its grip.

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

This deal comes in the backdrop of the broader Belt and Road initiative, if I’m not mistaken, please give us more information if you available. This corridor that China has been trying to build through Pakistan and now it connects Iran to this road and maybe later Turkey can, you know, get added to this, how do you view this?

Yeah, I mean, actually the Belt and Road Initiative serves two purposes. The first, the most important purpose is to build up infrastructures throughout the world, throughout especially the global south. So, people there can be increased interconnectivity in the world, that that, you know, people make it seems like, oh, China is building a port So China’s increasing its inputs, but look, a port is is open, a port sits on the ocean, It’s open to anyone. You know Chinese can use the Japanese can use, anybody who wants to do business in Iran can use that board. So that’s a point that’s increasingly global interconnectivity includes the increase of global trade, which for some weird reason the US is trying to oppose. I mean, they, they’re the real reason is really about preserving the USA, Germany, but they, they’re really bending backwards to perform all kinds of mental gymnastics to justify why that’s, that’s a bad thing. And I think he shows how desperate they are. But, as you mentioned the Belt and Road Initiative, there’s another purpose of building a road initiative, it is to bypass the US Navy’s chokehold on the, the world, shipping, trade, because, you know, US Navy, makes no, they do not even disguise the fact that they, they, they always talk about the chokehold on the Malacca Strait, which is where most of the Middle East oil flows to East Asia like two countries like China, Japan and Korea, and, and what China is doing is kind of diversify its energies, by, by building pipelines and building roads and rails through, you know through Central Asia through Pakistan to Iran so they, the oil or gas doesn’t have to go, get on tankers and goes through the Strait of Malacca to China, they can maybe go overland and then the trade can also be carried on overland, not having to route to avoid a possible US Navy blockade, you know like what they’re currently doing right now, sending warships to the Persian Gulf, sending worships to the South China Sea, that’s basically the US demonstrating “look I can, I can, you know choke off your lifeline, anytime”, and the Belt and Road Initiative bypasses that by building alternative routes.

Peking is increasing its influence with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka which may give India cause for consternation.

https://if-cdn.com/ubIRQ9A?v=1&app=1

Do you think that Delhi may feel left out as the route is not to go through India but through Pakistan or maybe Sri Lanka?

Yeah, I mean, India, feels like the South Asian subcontinent is its own backyard, you know, it feels like you know it feels pressure when China builds a relationship with its neighbors like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal.  But China actually very much want to include India in the Belt and Road Initiative, because India is a huge nation with 1.3 billion people, it’s a large market, and China very much want India to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative, by having deepened economic engagement with India. But the problem with India is that if you wants to keep China at arm’s length, because they see this rather than as an opportunity of cooperation and engagement, they see this as some kind of, you know Chinese influence encroaching on other nations. India is also  participating in the so called plod the, you know the cloud of democracy that’s promoted by the United States that’s the US, Japan, Australia, India to form this circle of containment around China, and that will just increase the kind of the friction between, between India and China, but like I said, you know, like, I think Chinese government will be very happy if India just suddenly says we’re going to be on board with the Belt and Road Initiative, you know we love to trade with China, but that’s not happening right now, India has recently banned all the Chinese apps in their market. So, so they’re, they’re following the kind of the US led initiative to decouple from the Chinese economy, and also India had, you know that Iran and India, they had a deal concerning the port of Chabahar. So, so, like India did have this opportunity to, you know, engage with Iran, engage with China, it’s really up to India to decide what they really want.

I think they had payment issues due to US sanctions and that stopped them from developing further. Iran certainly needed this agreement, for certain reasons that you might be aware of. But do you think that China also needed this agreement to happen?

Oh sure, I mean, you know, the whole point of the Belt and Road initiative is, you know, China was to engage more deeply with the global south countries and Iran is a very important strategic country in the Middle East. It sits right by the Persian Gulf, but you know, it sits right across Hormuz Strait, a very strategic point. And so, you know China very much would like to deepen its engagement with Iran, especially right now, when both China and Iran face heavy diplomatic pressure from the United States it makes even more sense for the two sides to to cooperate and, you know, China also wanted, like, kind of, you know, make more inroads into the broader Middle East market because you know, traditionally China imports its energy from the Middle East, including Iran. But right now, you know, China has, has built up a lot of capacity in the past decades, just building out its own domestic infrastructure. And now, China has acquired all this expertise, and all these capacity but China is is being built out in China are people seeing videos of Chinese high speed rails and bridges. Now, all these Chinese companies they have all these expertise and all this capacity. The whole point of the Belt and Road initiative is to invest abroad, you know, to continue to provide opportunities for these Chinese companies to do business abroad, and to export the excessive Chinese capacity, and Iran is a very important country in the Middle East; traditionally Iran is like the centrepiece of the Middle East. It sits right, square, in the middle of the Silk Road and culturally, politically, economically Iran has always been important. So, so for this (reason), I think it’s a major win for China as well.

How do you think this deal can change the geopolitical alignment in the region, what do you think things will change in the region in the next five years?

Yeah, I think, like you said there has always been a relationship between Iran and China. This just makes it more official, you know, traditionally, China has always traded with Iran buying energy, selling everything including weapons. So, but, but it’s more of an ad hoc basis, because there’s almost never like any kind of formal alliance between the two nations, despite both facing the Western pressures, but not now. I think they, this is like the official blessing of the relationship like, let’s, let’s get together, I think it provides a more supportive network, a framework for them to be engaged in a more productive, cooperation.

Now, maybe this deal can give Iran, another bargaining chip by telling the United States okay you’re not going to buy our oil anymore. No problem. We sold it to China. Do you think this is going to help Iran in it negotiations?

Oh yeah, definitely no doubt I mean what China did in a lot of places was to provide an alternative to the World Bank, in that to all these US dominated international institutions, and, now Iran can play that China card like luck. You know it’s not; we’re not coming to you because you are our only option, you know, you can give us a better deal, or we can walk away.  You are totally right that you give yourself a stronger negotiation position at the table.

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“The one Who Accuses is the One Who Is” – President Putin’s Response to Biden’s Calling him a “Killer”

“The one Who Accuses is the One Who Is” – President Putin’s Response to Biden’s Calling him a “Killer”

March 24, 2021

By Peter Koenig for the Saker Blog

On March 16, 2021, ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos held an exclusive interview with President Joe Biden. In the context of the United States’ chief intelligence office releasing an unclassified report on foreign meddling in the 2020 US election, concluding that Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw sweeping efforts aimed at “denigrating” President Joe Biden’s candidacy, Biden told Stephanopoulos that he had warned Putin about a potential response during a call in late January.

This is verbatim the ABC News Report of March 17, 2021:

“He will pay a price,” Biden said. “We had a long talk, he and I, when we — I know him relatively well. And the conversation started off, I said, “I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.”

Stephanopoulos then asked: “So you know Vladimir Putin. You think he’s a killer?”
“Mmm hmm, I do,” Biden replied
.

Stephanopoulos: “So, what price is he going to pay?”
Biden: “The price he is going to pay, well, you’ll see shortly.”

Stephanopoulos also asked Biden, when you met him (Putin, in the past), you told him that he didn’t have a soul… and Biden retorted: yes, I told him. And Putin responded, “we understand each other.”

When President Putin spoke later to the media in Moscow, answering a question about his reaction to Biden’s accusing him to be a “killer”, Putin just said, “I wish him good health, and I mean it without irony.”

Speaking on television, reflecting philosophically, Putin said, “I remember when we were young, playing in the playground and accusing each other of little things, we always see ourself in the mirror and project our own image of ourselves on to the other, like “the one who accuses is the one who did it”.

President Putin last Thursday (18 March) challenged Biden to talk, I invite President Biden to talk on Friday or on Monday publicly online live… to which Biden did not respond. Presumably Given Biden’s often confused mind, to put it benignly, he was advised to abstain from such a conversation with President Putin.

The tension between the US and Russia has hardly been stronger and the diplomatic relation between the two countries is at its lowest in the past decades. President Putin recalled immediately the Russian Ambassador from Washington for “consultation” – a euphemism for declaring a serious rupture in the relationship of the two countries.

Later in a small media gathering in Moscow, Mr. Putin said he would deal with America on his terms. He also philosophized about Biden’s thoughtless slandering, when he talked to ABC’s anchor Stephanopoulos. He referred to children accusing one another, the going saying is, “the one who accuses is the one who is”. This is equally valid for adults.

When later asked at a Press Conference whether Biden regretted having suggested Putin was a “killer”, the White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, replied, “No. The President gave a straight answer to a straight question.” – That reflects all too well the intellectual and diplomatic level of US Presidents and their entourage. Though Biden may be a special case of being a blind-folded bully, previous US Presidents’ track record is not much better.
——

President Putin is one of the world’s most brilliant Statesman. The other one is China’s President Xi Jinping. Together, their alliance, their vision and diplomacy, their conflict avoidance – and constant search for peaceful solutions to world disorders – have kept our planet out of a nuclear Armageddon for the last couple of decades. That’s quite an achievement, given the warmongers in Washington and by extension in Europe – and given the over two-dozen NATO bases in Europe, inching ever closer to the gates of Moscow and surrounding China – all the way through the South China Sea.

Obama once promised he would station more than half of the US Navy fleet in the South China Sea, making sure China was surrounded from everywhere. He made true on his promise. Its Obama’s infamous “Pivot to Asia”. And so, he did with Russia. That included and still includes deadly economic sanctions on countries that once-upon-a-time counted with Washington – and Europe – as partners.

How many people were killed by these sanctions in North Korea, Russia, China? How many were – and still are – being killed by the totally illegal sanctions – illegal by any standards of international law – in Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Libya, Iran, Pakistan, DPRK (North Korea) – and by extension through Israel in Palestine – and many more nations of our planet? – Let alone the “eternal war on terror” – an invention to keep killing people for the good of the United States, for their control over humanity – and not least for the enormous profit bonanza of the US military industrial complex.

Shall we mention the mass killing caused by President Clinton’s initiated NATO intervention in former Yugoslavia; or the six still ongoing wars, initiated by President father Bush with the first Gulf war in 1991, then officially expanded by son Bush in 2001 and 2003 with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, then further expanded by four more wars in the Middle East – Libya, Syria, Sudan and Yemen – under the Obama Administration. And how about the explicitly Obama-approved massive extra-judiciary drone killings around the world, with focus on the Middle East?

Aren’t we talking about tens and tens of thousands of deaths, assassinated people, a genocide by US presidents with the complicity of so-called European leaders (sic)?

Did President Putin and President Xi ever call them “killers” or murderers? – They could have, but they didn’t. However, that is what President Putin meant when he referred to Biden’s call him a “killer” – “It takes one to know one”, or rather “the one who accuses is the one who is”. The emperor and the emperor’s servants are a cabal of “killers” – a better fitting term is mass murderers.
——

Now President Biden, then VP to Obama was an intimate part of it, of clamping down on Russia and China. Biden was also part of the intensification of the Iraq war, as well as of the destruction of Libya and the brutal murder of President Qadhafi. Though Hillary’s initiative (then Obama’s Secretary of State), Biden fully supported her.

So, President Putin’s wise response was remarkable. See here https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-usa-reaction-idUSKBN2BA0S1?fbclid=IwAR2RWXH1UPWt3KhWjffR_TPbwugWlklMjf3k6UYhxdDX37NMS4b2FjS51NY “The one who accuses is the one who is” – he said, referring to a psychic wisdom that one looks in the mirror when accusing others of a crime or a sin. In other words, Biden projects his own character onto Putin. Mr. Putin, politely and diplomatically said, they were different, had different cultures and different values. He also wished President Biden good health – genuinely good health, no irony, he stressed.

Before closing on such a conciliatory note, Putin referred to some American atrocities, dating back to the very beginning of American history which started with the indiscriminate slaughter of tens of thousands of indigenous Americans, for which American Presidents were responsible.

Also mentioned should be the brutal killings in Iraq, with special focus on the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, as well as Afghanistan’s Bagram Airbase detention center and lately the infamous Pul-e-Charkhi Prison, also known as the Afghan National Detention facility, outside of Kabul – and renovated by the US Corps of Engineers to accommodate war prisoners taken by US / NATO forces. And not least, nor last, the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp in Cuba.

These are just a few of the hundreds of detention camps around the world, where thousands of prisoners were tortured and executed under orders and supervision of the US / NATO. Since WWII an estimated 20 to 30 million people were killed due to direct or indirect US intervention around the world. War crimes abound.

Yet, Mr. Putin didn’t call any of the US Presidents a “killer”. But it is crystal clear what he meant, when he said, “The one who accuses is the one who is”.


Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he has worked for over 30 years on water and environment around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020)

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

For Leviathan, it’s so cold in Alaska

For Leviathan, it’s so cold in Alaska

March 18, 2021

Wang Yi and Yang Jiechi will seek to make shark’s fin soup out of Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan at the Anchorage summit

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times.

Leviathan seems to be positioning itself for a geopolitical Kill Bill rampage – yet brandishing a rusty samurai high-carbon-steel sword.

Predictably, US deep state masters have not factored in that they could eventually be neutralized by a geopolitical Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique.

In a searing, concise essay, Alastair Crooke pointed to the heart of the matter. These are the two key insights – including a nifty Orwellian allusion:

1. “Once control over the justifying myth of America was lost, the mask was off.”

2. “The US thinks to lead the maritime and rimland powers in imposing a searing psychological, technological and economic defeat on the Russia-China-Iran alliance. In the past, the outcome might have been predictable. This time Eurasia may very well stand solid against a weakened Oceania (and a faint-hearted Europe).”

And that brings us to two interconnected summits: the Quad and the China-US 2+2 in Alaska.

The virtual Quad last Friday came and went like a drifting cloud. When you had India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the Quad is “a force for global good,” no wonder rows of eyebrows across the Global South were raised.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi remarked last year that the Quad was part of a drive to create an “Asian NATO.”

It is. But the hegemon, lording over India, Japan and Australia, mustn’t spell it out. Thus the vague rhetoric about “free and open Indo-Pacific,” “democratic values,” “territorial integrity” – all code to characterize containment of China, especially in the South China Sea.

The exceptionalist wet dream – routinely expressed in US Thinktankland – is to position an array of missiles in the first island chain, pointing towards China like a weaponized porcupine. Beijing is very much aware of it.

Apart from a meek joint statement, the Quad promised to deliver 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines throughout the “Indo-Pacific” by the end of… 2022.

The vaccine would be produced by India and financed by the US and Japan, with the logistics of distribution coming from Australia.

That was predictably billed as “countering China’s influence in the region.” Too little, too late. The bottom line is: The hegemon is furious because China’s vaccine diplomacy is a huge success – not only across Asia but all across the Global South.

This ain’t no ‘strategic dialogue’

US Secretary of State Tony Blinken is a mere apparatchik who was an enthusiastic cheerleader for shock and awe against Iraq 18 years ago, in 2003. At the time he was staff director for the Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, then chaired by Senator Joe Biden.

Now Blinken is running US foreign policy for a senile cardboard entity who mutters, live, on camera, “I’ll do whatever you want me to do, Nance” – as in Nancy Pelosi; and who characterizes the Russian president as “a killer,” “without a soul,” who will “pay a price.”

Paraphrasing Pulp Fiction: “Diplomacy’s dead, baby. Diplomacy’s dead.”

With that in mind, there’s little doubt that the formidable Yang Jiechi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, side by side with Foreign Minister Wang Yi, will make shark’s fin soup out of their interlocutors Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan at the 2+2 summit in Anchorage, Alaska.

Only two days before the start of the Two Sessions in Beijing, Blinken proclaimed that China is the “biggest geopolitical challenge of the 21st century.”

According to Blinken, China is the “only country with the economic, diplomatic, military and technological power to seriously challenge the stable and open international system – all the rules, values and relationships that make the world work the way we want it to, because it ultimately serves the interests and reflects the values of the American people.”

So Blinken tacitly admits what really matters is how the world works “the way we want it to” – “we” being the hegemon, which made those rules in the first place. And those rules serve the interests and reflect the values of the American people. As in: It’s our way or the highway.

Blinken could be excused because he’s just a wide-eyed novice on the big stage. But it gets way more embarrassing.

Here’s his foreign policy in a nutshell (“his” because the hologram at the White House needs 24/7 instructions in his earpiece to even know what time it is):

Sanctions, sanctions everywhere; Cold War 2.0 against Russia and “killer” Putin; China guilty of “genocide” in Xinjiang; a notorious apartheid state getting a free pass to do anything; Iran must blink first or there’s no return to the JCPOA; Random Guaido recognized as President of Venezuela, with regime change still the priority.

There’s a curious kabuki in play here. Following the proverbial revolving door logic in DC, before literally crossing the street to have full access to the White House, Blinken was a founding partner of WestExec Advisorswhose main line of business is to offer “geopolitical and policy expertise” to American multinationals, the overwhelming majority of which are interested in – where else – China.

So Alaska might point to some measure of trade-off on trade. The problem, though, seems insurmountable. Beijing does not want to eschew the profitable American market, while for Washington expansion of Chinese technology across the West is anathema.

Blinken himself pre-empted Alaska, saying this is no “strategic dialogue.” So we’re back to bolstering the Indo-Pacific racket; recriminations about the “loss of freedom” in Hong Kong – whose role of US/UK Fifth Column is now definitely over; Tibet; and the “invasion” of Taiwan, now on spin overdrive, with the Pentagon stating it is “probable” before 2027.

“Strategic dialogue” it ain’t.

A junkie on a bum trip

Wang Yi, at a press conference linked to the 13th National People’s Congress and the announcement of the next Five-Year Plan, said: “We will set an example of strategic mutual trust, by firmly supporting each other in upholding core and major interests, jointly opposing ‘color revolution’ and countering disinformation, and safeguarding national sovereignty and political security.”

That’s a sharp contrast with the post-truth “highly likely” school of spin privileged by (failed) Russiagate peddlers and assorted Sinophobes.

Top Chinese scholar Wang Jisi, who used to be close to the late Ezra Vogel, author of arguably the best Deng Xiaoping biography in English, has introduced an extra measure of sanity, recalling Vogel’s emphasis on the necessity of US and East Asia understanding each other’s culture.

According to Wang Jisi, “In my own experiences, I find one difference between the two countries most illuminating. We in China like the idea of “seeking common ground while reserving our differences.” We state that the common interests between our two countries far exceed our differences. We define common ground by a set of principles like mutual respect and cooperation. Americans, in contrast, tend to focus on hard issues like tensions over Taiwan and the South China Sea. It looks that the Chinese want to set up principles before trying to solve specific problems, but the Americans are eager to deal with problems before they are ready to improve the relationship.”

The real problem is that the hegemon seems congenitally incapable of trying to understand the Other. It always harks back to that notorious formulation by Zbigniew Brzezinski, with trademark imperial arrogance, in his 1997 magnum opus The Grand Chessboard:

“To put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected and to keep the barbarians from coming together.”

Dr Zbig was referring, of course, to Eurasia. “Security dependence among vassals” applied mostly to Germany and Japan, key hubs in the Rimland.  “Tributaries pliant and protected” applied mostly to the Middle East.

And crucially, “keep the barbarians from coming together” applied to Russia, China and Iran. That was Pax Americana in a nutshell. And that’s what’s totally unraveling now.

Hence the Kill Bill logic. It goes back a long way. Less than two months after the collapse of the USSR, the 1992 Defense Planning Guidance preached total global dominance and, following Dr Zbig, the absolute imperative of preventing the emergence of any future peer competitor.

Especially Russia, defined as “the only power in the world with the capacity of destroying the United States.”

Then, in 2002, at the start of the “axis of evil” era, came the full spectrum dominance doctrine as the bedrock of the US National Security Strategy. Domination, domination everywhere: terrestrial, aerial, maritime, subterranean, cosmic, psychological, biological, cyber-technological.

And, not by accident, the Indo-Pacific strategy – which guides the Quad – is all about “how to maintain US strategic primacy.”

This mindset is what enables US Think Tankland to formulate risible “analyses” in which the only “win” for the US imperatively requires a failed Chinese “regime.”

After all, Leviathan is congenitally incapable of accepting a “win-win”; it only runs on “zero-sum,” based on divide and rule.

And that’s what’s leading the Russia-China strategic partnership to progressively establish a wide-ranging, comprehensive security environment, spanning everything from high-tech weaponry to banking and finance, energy supplies and the flow of information.

To evoke yet another pop culture gem, a discombobulated Leviathan now is like Caroline, the junkie depicted in Lou Reed’s Berlin:

But she’s not afraid to die / All of her friends call her Alaska / When she takes speed / They laugh and ask her / What is in her mind / What is in her mind / She put her fist through the window pane / It was such a / funny feeling / It’s so cold / in Alaska.

From the Earth to the Moon: Biden’s China Policy Doomed from the Start

March 17, 2021

US President Biden and Vice President Harris Meet Virtually with their Counterparts in the ‘Quad’. (Photo: Video Grab)

By Ramzy Baroud

A much anticipated American foreign policy move under the Biden Administration on how to counter China’s unhindered economic growth and political ambitions came in the form of a virtual summit on March 12, linking, aside from the United States, India, Australia and Japan.

Although the so-called ‘Quad’ revealed nothing new in their joint statement, the leaders of these four countries spoke about the ‘historic’ meeting, described by ‘The Diplomat’ website as “a significant milestone in the evolution of the grouping”.

Actually, the joint statement has little substance and certainly nothing new by way of a blueprint on how to reverse – or even slow down – Beijing’s geopolitical successes, growing military confidence and increasing presence in or around strategic global waterways.

For years, the ‘Quad’ has been busy formulating a unified China strategy but it has failed to devise anything of practical significance. ‘Historic’ meetings aside, China is the world’s only major economy that is predicted to yield significant economic growth this year – and imminently. International Monetary Fund’s projections show that the Chinese economy is expected to expand by 8.1 percent in 2021 while, on the other hand, according to data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the US’ GDP has declined by around 3.5 percent in 2020.

The ‘Quad’ – which stands for Quadrilateral Security Dialogue – began in 2007, and was revived in 2017, with the obvious aim of repulsing China’s advancement in all fields. Like most American alliances, the ‘Quad’ is the political manifestation of a military alliance, namely the Malabar Naval Exercises. The latter started in 1992 and soon expanded to include all four countries.

Since Washington’s ‘pivot to Asia’, i.e., the reversal of established US foreign policy that was predicated on placing greater focus on the Middle East, there is little evidence that Washington’s confrontational policies have weakened Beijing’s presence, trade or diplomacy throughout the continent. Aside from close encounters between the American and Chinese navies in the South China Sea, there is very little else to report.

While much media coverage has focused on the US’ pivot to Asia, little has been said about China’s pivot to the Middle East, which has been far more successful as an economic and political endeavor than the American geostrategic shift.

The US’ seismic change in its foreign policy priorities stemmed from its failure to translate the Iraq war and invasion of 2003 into a decipherable geo-economic success as a result of seizing control of Iraq’s oil largesse – the world’s second-largest proven oil reserves. The US strategy proved to be a complete blunder.

In an article published in the Financial Times in September 2020, Jamil Anderlini raises a fascinating point. “If oil and influence were the prizes, then it seems China, not America, has ultimately won the Iraq war and its aftermath – without ever firing a shot,” he wrote.

Not only is China now Iraq’s biggest trading partner, Beijing’s massive economic and political influence in the Middle East is a triumph. China is now, according to the Financial Times, the Middle East’s biggest foreign investor and a strategic partnership with all Gulf States – save Bahrain. Compare this with Washington’s confused foreign policy agenda in the region, its unprecedented indecisiveness, absence of a definable political doctrine and the systematic breakdown of its regional alliances.

This paradigm becomes clearer and more convincing when understood on a global scale. By the end of 2019, China became the world’s leader in terms of diplomacy, as it then boasted 276 diplomatic posts, many of which are consulates. Unlike embassies, consulates play a more significant role in terms of trade and economic exchanges. According to 2019 figures which were published in ‘Foreign Affairs’ magazine, China has 96 consulates compared with the US’ 88. Till 2012, Beijing lagged significantly behind Washington’s diplomatic representation, precisely by 23 posts.

Wherever China is diplomatically present, economic development follows. Unlike the US’ disjointed global strategy, China’s global ambitions are articulated through a massive network, known as the Belt and Road Initiative, estimated at trillions of dollars. When completed, BRI is set to unify more than sixty countries around Chinese-led economic strategies and trade routes. For this to materialize, China quickly moved to establish closer physical proximity to the world’s most strategic waterways, heavily investing in some and, as in the case of Bab al-Mandab Strait, establishing its first-ever overseas military base in Djibouti, located in the Horn of Africa.

At a time when the US economy is shrinking and its European allies are politically fractured, it is difficult to imagine that any American plan to counter China’s influence, whether in the Middle East, Asia or anywhere else, will have much success.

The biggest hindrance to Washington’s China strategy is that there can never be an outcome in which the US achieves a clear and precise victory. Economically, China is now driving global growth, thus balancing out the US-international crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Hurting China economically would weaken the US as well as the global markets.

The same is true politically and strategically. In the case of the Middle East, the pivot to Asia has backfired on multiple fronts. On the one hand, it registered no palpable success in Asia while, on the other, it created a massive vacuum for China to refocus its own strategy in the Middle East.

Some wrongly argue that China’s entire political strategy is predicated on its desire to merely ‘do business’. While economic dominance is historically the main drive of all superpowers, Beijing’s quest for global supremacy is hardly confined to finance. On many fronts, China has either already taken the lead or is approaching there. For example, on March 9, China and Russia signed an agreement to construct the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS). Considering Russia’s long legacy in space exploration and China’s recent achievements in the field – including the first-ever spacecraft landing on the South Pole-Aitken Basin area of the moon – both countries are set to take the lead in the resurrected space race.

Certainly, the US-led ‘Quad’ meeting was neither historic nor a game-changer, as all indicators attest that China’s global leadership will continue unhindered, a consequential event that is already reordering the world’s geopolitical paradigms which have been in place for over a century.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

Chinese Foreign Policy Outlook

Chinese Foreign Policy Outlook

March 13, 2021

By Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

China achieved miraculous progress during the last four decades, which were never seen in humankind’s known history. There must be many reasons for its rapid developments, but its foreign policy was one of the significant reasons. In simple words, China opted for a reconciliation policy and avoided any confrontation with any other nation or country. It helped China to focus only on developments and achieved the desired results.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed outlooks of Chinese foreign policy and answered questions about the country’s foreign policy and external relations at a virtual press conference on Sunday during the fourth session of the 13th National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature. Some of the highlights are given below:-

Pandemic

Through innovative “cloud diplomacy,” President Xi Jinping has championed solidarity in the world’s fight against COVID-19 and pointed the way forward for the international community to jointly fight the virus.

China will continue working with other countries in ongoing efforts to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic ultimately. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, China has carried out its most extensive emergency humanitarian action, contributing to the world’s anti-coronavirus efforts.

On China-Russia relations

In the face of the once-in-a-century pandemic, China and Russia have stood shoulder to shoulder and worked closely to combat “both the coronavirus and the political virus.”

China and Russia should be each other’s strategic support, development opportunity, and global partner. It is both an experience gained from history and an imperative under the current circumstances.

On CPC leadership

Facts have proved that the Communist Party of China’s leadership is the most prominent political advantage of Chinese diplomacy. Leadership will offer fundamental support for China’s diplomatic agenda to secure more victories.

Wang said that China’s diplomacy is people-oriented diplomacy led by the CPC, and the Party set the direction for China’s diplomatic agenda. The original inspiration and mission of the CPC – to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation — determine China’s diplomacy’s responsibility.

On China-Africa relations

Helping African countries contain the COVID-19 pandemic and bringing their economies back on track is the top priority of the China-Africa cooperation. China will always support developing countries. China has started to provide COVID-19 vaccines to 35 African countries and the African Union Commission already.

On ‘patriots administering Hong Kong’

Hong Kong is a particular administrative region of China. One cannot talk about loving Hong Kong without loving its motherland, adding that love for the country and Hong Kong is entirely consistent. Hong Kong enjoyed no democracy during colonial rule. Since its return to the homeland 24 years ago, no one is more concerned about Hong Kong’s democratic development and wishes Hong Kong to remain prosperous and stable than the central government, he said.

On China-US relations

It is logical for China and the US, two countries with different social systems, to have differences and disagreements. “What matters most is to manage them effectively through candid communication to prevent strategic miscalculation and avoid conflict and confrontation.”

China hopes the US can remove its unreasonable restriction on bilateral cooperation as soon as possible and refrain from artificially creating new ones. China is willing to work with the US and set China-US relations on a new path of healthy and steady development.

On Taiwan question

The two sides of the Taiwan Strait must be and will surely be reunified, which is the trend of history and the entire Chinese nation’s collective will, Wang said, adding the one-China principle is the political foundation of the China-US relationship. It is considered a red line and should not be crossed. There is no room for compromise or concession from the Chinese government on the Taiwan question.

“We would hope to see a clear departure from the previous administration’s (Trump Administration) dangerous practice of ‘pushing the red line’ and ‘playing with fire, and we hope that the Taiwan question will be handled prudently and properly,” Wang said.

China stresses the UN’s core status

The UN is not a club for big or rich countries. All countries enjoy equal sovereignty, and no country is in a position to dictate international affairs, Wang said. He also urged efforts to enhance the representativeness and voice of developing countries in the UN to better reflect the common aspiration of most countries.

China, EU not systemic rivals

The China-Europe relationship is equal and open and not targeting any third party or is controlled by anyone else. China never intends to divide relations between Europe and the United States, Wang said, adding that the country is glad to see the European Union uphold multilateralism and remain devoted to coordination and cooperation among major countries.

China opposes ‘vaccine nationalism.’

China opposes “vaccine nationalism,” rejects any “vaccine divide” or any attempt to politicize vaccine cooperation. More than 60 countries have authorized the use of Chinese vaccines. China has provided COVID-19 vaccine aid free of charge to 69 developing countries urgently need while exporting vaccines to 43 countries.

On China-Arab relations

China will work with Arab states in solidarity, pursue expected progress, and prepare for a China-Arab States Summit.

In the past year, relations between China and the Arab States have continued to progress amid various challenges, Wang said, adding their joint fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has set an excellent example for international cooperation.

On multilateralism

Building small circles in the name of multilateralism is, in fact, “group politics,” multilateralism with one’s own interests taking precedence, is still unilateral thinking, and “selective multilateralism” is not the right choice.

Genuine multilateralism means openness and inclusiveness instead of closeness and exclusion. It means equal-footed consultation instead of supremacy over others.

China’s WTO accession

The past two decades had taught China four crucial lessons: China will stay committed to the fundamental policy of opening-up, remain committed to the principle of win-win cooperation, remain committed to the right direction of economic globalization, and we must stay committed to the central role of the WTO.

“China has injected energy into economic globalization and facilitated the optimization of global industry chains and resources,” he said.

On China-Japan relations

China and Japan should remain focused without being distracted by any single event to make the bilateral relations more mature and stable. China and Japan should support each other in hosting the upcoming Olympic Games this year and next year. China hopes the Japanese society would truly embrace an objective and rational perception of China to solidify public support for long-term progress in China-Japan relations.

‘Xinjiang genocide’ claim a thorough lie

The so-called claim of genocide in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region is preposterous, a rumor fabricated with ulterior motives and a complete lie.

Some western politicians chose to believe in the lies cooked up by a few instead of listening to the voice of 25 million Xinjiang residents of various ethnic groups, Wang said, adding that they chose to dance with the clumsy dramas by a few anti-China forces instead of acknowledging the progress in Xinjiang.

On China-ASEAN relations

Wang said that China stands ready to develop an even closer community with a shared future with ASEAN as the two sides celebrate the 30th anniversary of establishing bilateral dialogue relations this year.

China will continue to prioritize efforts to meet vaccine demand from ASEAN and further consolidate beneficial cooperation and see that China’s new development paradigm is better to align with the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, he said.

On the Belt and Road Initiative

China’s commitment to supporting the Belt and Road Initiative has not changed, and the country will continue to work with stakeholders to advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, Wang Yi said.

COVID-19 may have changed the world, but the need for Belt and Road cooperation has not subsided, he said.

“As we pursue a new development paradigm, we will explore better pathways for Belt and Road cooperation and offer greater opportunities to BRI partners,” he added.

In the new development stage

China will create a better business environment, pursue opening-up at a higher level, and work with various countries to accelerate an open world economy, Wang Yi said.

China is like an express train with the greater driving force and load capacity accelerating towards a new goal in the further development stage, he said.

On China-India relations

China stands in a firm position to solve border disputes through dialogue and consultations and, at the same time, is determined to safeguard its own sovereign interests, Wang Yi said.

Border issues are not the whole of the China-India relationship, Wang said, noting that what happened again proves that initiating confrontation will not solve the problem and that returning to peaceful negation is the right way forward.

On climate change

Even though China and the US, and the European Union are in different development stages and face other challenges, they share the same mission in coping with climate change.

Wang urged enhanced communication and coordination between the three sides. They play a leading role in the international community, adding that China welcomes the US’s return to the Paris Agreement and expects that the US will shoulder its responsibility and make its due contribution.

On Iran nuclear issue

China hopes the United States will show sincerity on the Iran nuclear issue, take actions as quickly as possible, including removing unjustified unilateral sanctions and lifting the “long-arm jurisdiction” on third-party entities and individuals, Wang Yi said.

At the same time, he said, Iran should resume compliance with the Iran nuclear deal and shoulder its responsibility of nuclear non-proliferation, Wang said.

On the South China Sea

The only intention of some Western countries, including the United States, is to stir up troubles in the South China Sea in the name of so-called free navigation and undermine peace in the South China Sea and disturb regional stability, Wang said.

He called on China and ASEAN countries to continue to remove distractions and press ahead with Code of Conduct consultations, and continue with the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

On Myanmar tensions

Relevant parties in Myanmar should maintain calm and exercise restraint, address their differences through dialogue and consultation within the constitutional and legal framework, and continue to advance the democratic transition.

“The immediate priority is to prevent further bloodshed and conflict, and ease and cool down the situation as soon as possible,” Wang said.

On China and Latin America

China is providing COVID-19 vaccines to 12 Latin American and Caribbean countries. “China and Latin American and Caribbean countries have stood alongside and supported each other in COVID-19 response and economic recovery,” he said. “Our cooperation best illustrates the saying, that ‘a bosom friend afar brings a distant land near.”

On objective coverage of China

China hopes to see and welcome more journalists in Edgar Snow’s mold in this new era among foreign journalists.

Wang Yi said he hopes that foreign journalists will not apply any filter to their camera, whether beautiful or gloomy, when reporting on China.

“Truthful, objective, and fair stories will always appeal to people and can stand the scrutiny of history,” he said. “However the world changes, the media should stand by their professional ethics.”


Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

Deep State Wars: Trump vs. Biden On China & Iran

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

7 DECEMBER 2020

Deep State Wars: Trump vs. Biden On China & Iran

Should Biden succeed in seizing power from Trump, he’ll be forced to confront serious internal challenges to his envisioned foreign policy decisions towards China and Iran, which will likely lead to a worsening of tensions within the US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) even though the chance still exists for a possible compromise between its two most prominent factions.

“Deep state” deniers — those who refuse to acknowledge the existence of factionalism within the US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies — are attempting to mislead the public into expecting that the implementation of Biden’s envisioned foreign policy decisions towards China and Iran will be perfectly smooth if he succeeds in seizing power from Trump. It’s extremely unlikely that such a scenario will come to pass since the Democrat presidential candidate will almost certainly face intense internal resistance from the pro-Trump elements of the deep state that hang around for his possible presidency. What follows is an extended bullet point summary describing the current deep state dynamics, predicting their forthcoming development under a possible Biden Administration, identifying their fault lines with respect to China and Iran, proposing some areas of compromise, and then touching upon some other common points between their largely contradictory worldviews. The purpose in sharing this insight is to debunk the deep state deniers and provide observers with a glimpse of what might transpire across the coming four years.

Deep State Dynamics

* All permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep states”) in the world are comprised of different factions.

* Each deep state has a different dynamic which changes with time.

* The past four years of the Trump Administration proves that zealous individuals will overtly and covertly attempt to sabotage the President’s foreign policy.

* This unilateral assertion of interests (whether individually or in coordination with like-minded supporters) against the chain of command is very worrying.

* It was seen most prominently with respect to Trump’s envisioned desire to reach a “New Detente” with Russia, which his deep state foes feared (sincerely or not) represented a dire threat to national security.

* Even after four years, Trump was still unable to “purge” and/or “politically neutralize” these forces, hence why they continued to hinder the implementation of his policy in that respect.

* Of relevance as well was the Syrian chemical weapons incident of early 2017 which provoked Trump into hypocritically going against his prior criticism of Obama when he threatened to bomb the country in late 2013.

* The specifics of that incident are in dispute, but Russia and Syria officially alleged that it was a provocation carried out by US intelligence-backed “rebels”.

* That being the case, which is consistent with their prior claims about similar incidents, then it proves that elements of the US deep state can stage provocations to pressure the President in a certain direction.

* There’s no reason to predict that this dynamic will change if Biden seizes the presidency, it’s just that this time it’ll likely be anti-Chinese and anti-Iranian elements of the deep state that might be driving this instead.

Bureaucratic Challenges

* Trump thought that replacing the heads of various departments would lead to positive changes down the chain of command, but this proved to not have been the case.

* In Trump’s experience, some of the individuals who he chose to lead those departments (ex: the CIA’s Gina Haspel and former Defense Secretary Mattis) have/had sharp contradictions of vision with him on some issues.

* It’s impossible to know in advance whether a nominee is “ideologically pure” on all issues since the importance is in immediately selecting someone to lead those departments who seems to be on the same page.

* It’s only throughout the course of time that differences might make themselves apparent, whether they preceded that individual’s nomination or independently developed later on.

* There’s nothing wrong with contrasting visions, but they become problematic when the individuals tasked with leading key departments defy the Executive Branch’s will, whether overtly or covertly.

* Even with the most “ideologically pure” individuals, they’re still literally only just one person and cannot exercise full control of the countless people below them, some of whom might be more zealous in their dissent.

* Institutional safeguards and oversight unique to each department are supposed to prevent this from happening by identifying it in advance and/or rigorously responding after the fact to prevent its recurrence.

* That hasn’t always worked as intended, as the storied experience of the State Department’s many disagreements with Trump’s policies attest, and the President wasn’t able to perfectly impose his will.

* The ideal solution then is for the most “ideologically pure” individuals to take charge of departments and ensure that dissenters who might go against the chain of command are identified and rooted out.

* Nevertheless, these actions are regarded in American political culture (whether rightly or wrongly) as “witch hunts” which go against the country’s traditions, which is how they were described when Trump attempted them.

* Biden, however, is held to different standards by a much more supportive media, so any efforts in this direction likely won’t receive the popular pushback that Trump’s did.

* In this case, dissenters might only receive a platform (whether directly or via leaks) to share their views on suppressed media outlets such as Breitbart and a few others, therefore mitigating their impact on public opinion.

* This might in turn embolden Biden and his team to carry out the “purge” that Trump only dreamed that he’d have been able to do, especially since new nominees are career bureaucrats unlike Trump’s relative “outsiders”.

* The unintended consequence of that success might be the development of more powerful groupthink, which could in turn blind policy makers and increase the risk of ideologically radical policies being promoted.

* As a case in point, the Biden team is known to prioritize “spreading democracy” and “protecting human rights” through Obama-era Color Revolutions and “Humanitarian Interventions”.

* Without responsibly expressed dissent within their ranks against these ideological desires, they might be more prone to resort to coercive (including kinetic) means to impose them abroad.

* That could in effect lead to a more militant foreign policy than was pursued under the comparatively less ideological and much more pragmatic Trump, whose vision was kept in check by deep state dissenters.

Deep State Fault Lines: China

* The primary deep state fault line that’s expected to develop within a possible Biden Administration is over the US’ approach towards China.

* If there’s one deep state front that Trump scored some success on, it’s with installing anti-Chinese individuals into these three institutions (the military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies).

* They’ve already developed clear strategies, implemented tangible policies (some of which irreversibly changed the state of play), and published comprehensive policy documents for guiding the deep state.

* For these reasons, it’ll be extremely difficult for Biden to reverse the trajectory of ever-intensifying US-Chinese competition, although he might try to regulate it a bit better.

* There are already several flashpoints between these two countries — namely the Korean Peninsula and territorial disputes (Japan/Taiwan/South China Sea/India) — that could be exploited by the dissident deep state.

* It’s not even so much the fact that it might just be one “rogue” individual who could spoil everything (unlikely), but that there’s an institutional mindset in the military at least not to “be soft” on China.

* With this in mind, Biden will likely have to compromise with members of the dissident deep state with respect to China the same as Trump had to do vis-a-vis Russia, though it’s unclear whether the same outcome will occur where he ends up bending to their will for the most part.

* What’s meant by this is that Biden can only go so far in seeking to regulate the US’ Great Power competition with China since members of the military might go against him just like diplomats defied Trump on Russia.

* Where Biden has much more flexibility then is on the economic front since that doesn’t fall within the typical domain of the “deep state”, which is also why Trump was so successful in pushing through his trade war agenda.

* Biden, therefore, might try to reach a more comprehensive trade deal with China which mitigates economic tensions but retains most of the military legacy thereof that he inherited from Trump.

* A possible compromise with the dissident deep state might be to continue Trump’s strategy of assembling an anti-Chinese economic coalition with the EU.

* Some exceptions might occur, though, such as if “ideologically pure” intelligence and/or diplomatic allies succeed in “reforming” some of Trump’s anti-Chinese containment measures in Asia.

* For instance, the situation in the South China Sea might remain tense, but it might also not get any worse, with Biden’s allies “freezing” the state of affairs in order to prevent it from spiraling out of control.

* That might not be ideal for the deep state dissenters, but it might also not be unacceptable for them either.

* Ultimately, it still remains to be seen how he’ll manage this complex interplay of shadowy interests since the outcome of this intra-governmental competition will greatly shape global affairs across the next four years.

Deep State Fault Lines: Iran

* The second most consequential deep state fault line lies with Iran, especially considering the influence that the “Israeli” and Gulf lobbies hold over the US government in general and the Trump Administration in particular.

* It already seems like dissident anti-Iranian deep state elements opposed to Biden’s possible return to the Iranian nuclear deal are conspiring to sabotage that scenario.

* This speculation is the result of Pompeo’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia, which Netanyahu was reported to have attended as well despite Tel Aviv and Riyadh’s denial.

* Observers are of the opinion that this wasn’t just a “going away party” for Pompeo, but a plot to undermine any Iranian-friendly outreaches by Biden.

* It can only be speculated what form this might take, but the subsequent assassination of a top Iranian nuclear scientist might suggest possible ways in which this could play out.

* It’s unclear who was responsible, but whether it was the US, “Israel”, or Saudi Arabia, all three (at least under the outgoing Trump Administration) are on the same page that it was a positive development.

* Even in the event that Biden is able to “purge”/”politically neutralize” as much of his deep state as possible of anti-Iranian forces, “Israel” and Saudi Arabia can still engage in similarly destabilizing and provocative acts.

* Moreover, while Gulf influence over the US government can potentially be mitigated, “Israeli” influence is recognized as being much more powerful and unquestionably has strong bipartisan support.

* That observation, however, doesn’t explain why Obama went through with the Iranian nuclear deal in the first place, which shows that there are still some divisions between some of the US deep state and “Israel”.

* That doesn’t mean that a split is imminent, but just that those in the US who might want to assert their view of national interests at “Israel’s” perfecived expense might be emboldened under Biden’s Obama-era team.

* It’s here where Biden’s “purge”/”political neutralization” of anti-Iranian elements will be important because if he roots out Pompeo’s allies, then “Israel” and Saudi Arabia would be more isolated if they sabotaged his policies afterwards.

* Should he fail in this attempt or not do so to the extent that’s needed, then Biden’s Iran policy might be sabotaged from within just like Trump’s Russia one was.

* Unlike with China, it might be more difficult to reach a deep state compromise on Iran because anti-Iranian elements regard the country as an existential threat to their “Israeli” ally, which China doesn’t represent.

* The ideological radicalism influencing their opposition to Iran makes them unlikely to compromise, meaning that this might become the most intense front of dissident deep state subterfuge of Biden’s foreign policy.

* For instance, the military likely won’t agree to any compromise with Iran since it was the military which supported Trump’s anti-Iranian policies the most.

* The intelligence and diplomatic communities, however, were always split in this respect, and if anything, they’ve leaned closer to preferring Obama-era policies, thus making it easier for Biden to promote them.

* Although a compromise is difficult to reach in the Mideast, deep state dissent might be quelled if the US’ return to the Iranian nuclear deal somehow or another has loopholes for intensifying pressure on the country.

* Iranian conservatives were against the initial deal since they didn’t trust the US, and they’re skeptical of any future one which mandates more international inspections and any missile cuts for that reason.

* If Biden were to propose what’s presented (whether rightly or wrongly) as a “perfect deal” but was rebuked, then this might set into motion a chain reaction of escalations that would serve the military’s interests.

* Although it’s only speculative, such a plan of action could be discussed behind closed doors with dissident deep state members from the military to either ensure their support or create staged drama.

* If Iranian conservatives saw that the military vehemently opposed a deal, they might then think that maybe it really is more to their interests than they thought, even if that’s only a ruse to strategically disarm them.

* In any case, it’s still a risky proposal because there’s no way to ensure the military’s support for something that they’re so clearly against even if they promise otherwise, hence why this is only speculation.

Possible Points Of Deep State Compromise

* There are some common points of interest between the Trump and Biden teams, as well as those who are influenced by both of their visions within the deep state.

* The first is the recognition that China is the US’ top strategic competitor, though Trump’s deep state regards it as the greatest threat while Biden’s thinks that Russia fulfills this role instead.

* Nevertheless, they can still find some common ground in strengthening the US’ anti-Chinese alliance system, focusing first on the Quad and 5G, then perhaps on trade (such as what was proposed earlier with the EU).

* The military-industrial complex is also very important to both so there was never any credible risk of either administration — Trump or Biden — pulling away from international affairs and “isolating” despite critics’ claims.

* This nod to the military dimension of the deep state ensures that it remains a prominent force influencing the US’ grand strategic designs, even if the other two (intelligence and diplomacy) override it on topics like Iran.

* Trade and tech (5G especially) are other areas of common interest between the Trump and Biden deep states, and representatives from both spheres regard China as the US’ top global competitor.

* Dissident deep state elements might therefore be appeased if Biden expanded the US’ anti-Chinese global alliance network on the basis of trade and tech even if militarily de-escalating in the South China Sea.

* American values are also important to both too, and these can be incorporated into the basis for a more comprehensive worldwide anti-Chinese alliance system, possibly winning over the dissident deep state.

Concluding Thoughts

As was argued in this analysis, dissident members of the deep state are prone to replicating the Russiagate precedent by actively working to sabotage Biden’s envisioned foreign policy decisions towards China and Iran. While the projected president-elect might make some headway in politically neutralizing the internal opposition to his vision, he’ll more than likely still have to confront significant pushback along these two main fronts. The possibility therefore exists for him to consider a compromise between the deep state’s two most prominent factions which could see the US retaining some elements of its prior strategies against those two countries in exchange for moderating its hostile approach towards them in specific spheres. It’s way to early to predict with a lot of confidence whether this will all play out or not, especially since Biden hasn’t (yet?) been certified as the president-elect, but it’s nevertheless important to begin prognosticating how everything might unfold if that does indeed come to pass. In any case, the importance of this analysis rests with the attention that it gives the deep state level of analysis, which is deliberately neglected by most mainstream analysts.

China’s Reaction to a US Unannounced visit to Taiwan – PressTV Interview

By Peter Koenig

Global Research, November 24, 2020

Background

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China has reacted strongly to a senior US official’s unannounced visit to Taiwan, warning that it will take legitimate and necessary action according to circumstances.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman reiterated Beijing’s firm opposition to any official ties between Taiwan and the US. The reaction came after the media cited sources, including a Taiwanese official, as saying that US Navy’s Rear-Admiral Michael Studeman was on a trip to the self-ruled island. He’s the director of an agency which oversees intelligence at the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command. The administration of US President Donald Trump has recently ramped up support for Taiwan, including with the approval of new arms sales and high-level visits. Beijing has long warned against such moves. China considers Taiwan a breakaway province and maintains its sovereignty over the region under the One-China policy.

Interview of Peter Koenig with Press TV

***

PK

China has of course every right to protest against any visit and any US intervention in Taiwan, be it weapons sales, or provoking conflict over Taiwan self-declared “sovereignty” which it clearly has not, as it is but a breakaway part of Mainland China.

By and large this looks to me like one of Trump’s last Lame Duck movements to do whatever he can to ruin relations between the US and China.

In reality, it will have no impact of significance.
In fact, China’s approach to Taiwan over the past 70 years, has been one of non-aggression. With various attempts of rapprochement – which most of the times were actually disrupted by US interference – as Taiwan is used by the US, not because Washington has an interest in Taiwan’s “democracy’ – not at all – but Taiwan is a tool for Washington to seek destabilizing China – not dissimilar to what is going on in Hong Kong, or Xinjiang, the Uyghur Autonomous Region, or Tibet.

But China’s objectives are long-term and with patience – and not with force.

Just look at China’s recently signed Trade Agreement with 14 countries – the so-called Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. This agreement alone is the largest in significance and volume of its kind ever signed in recent history. It covers countries with some 2.2. billion people and controlling about one third of world GDP.

And the US is not part of it.
Worse, the US-dollar is not even a trading currency.
This must upset the US particularly – especially since the 2-year trade war Trump was waging against China resulted in absolutely zilch – nothing – for the US. To the contrary, it pushed China towards more independence and away from the US.

The same applied to Chinese partners, happy to have honest trading partners, not of the western, especially the Washington-type, that dish out sanctions when they please and when they don’t like sovereign countries’ behavior.

So – no worries for China, but geopolitically, of course, they must react to such acts against international rules of diplomacy.

——
PressTV:
What will change under President Biden?

PK

Most likely nothing. To the contrary, Biden’s likely Secretary of Defense, Michèle Flournoy, played an important behind the scene role in the Obama Administration. She has not changed the aggressive position of Obama’s “pivot to Asia” which essentially consisted in surrounding China with weapons systems and in particular stationing about 60% of the US navy fleet in the South China Sea.

Though at this point, it looks like China is but the target of an off-scale aggression by President Trump, in reality, China is part of a long-term policy of the US, not only to contain China, but to dominate China.

As we see, though, to no avail.

Interestingly, China does not respond with counter-aggression, instead she moves steadily forward with new creations, towards an objective that does not seek domination, but a multi-polar, multi-connected world, via, for example, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – not the type of globalization that especially the Biden camp – along with the corporatocracy behind the World Economic Forum (WEF) is seeking.

The US empire is on the decline and China, of course, is aware of it. Washington may be lashing around in its deteriorating times, to create as much damage as possible and to bring down as many nations as they can. Case in point is the constant aggression, sanctions and punishment against Iran and Venezuela – but here too, these two countries are moving gradually away from the west and into the peaceful orbit of China – pursuing after all a shared bright future for mankind.


Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals such as Global Research; ICH; New Eastern Outlook (NEO) and more. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.
Peter is also co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020)

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Weekly China Newsbrief and Sitrep

Source

By Godfree Roberts selected from his extensive weekly newsletter : Here Comes China

October 16, 2020

Weekly China Newsbrief and Sitrep

Editorial : Before we start with Godfree’s news, a short commentary on Pompeo’s attempt to create an type of NATO by way of the QUAD.  Plot Spoiler – did not work.

From Moon of Alabama

The US administration revived the 2007-2008 Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and rebranded it as the U.S.-Australia-India-Japan Consultations Quad. The aim was to turn it into an Asian NATO under U.S. command:

The U.S. State Department’s No. 2 diplomat said Monday that Washington was aiming to “formalize” growing strategic ties with India, Japan and Australia in a forum known as “the Quad” — a move experts say is implicitly designed to counter China in the Indo-Pacific region.“It is a reality that the Indo-Pacific region is actually lacking in strong multilateral structures. They don’t have anything of the fortitude of NATO, or the European Union,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said in an online seminar on the sidelines of the annual U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum.

The end of this meeting was disappointing for Pompeo as he could not even break through to a joint statement.  It is not that Mr Pompeo’s diplomacy failed, it is just that nobody is interested any longer.

MK Bhadrakumar, a very well known and now retired Indian career diplomat describes the Indian stance on the Quad meeting and the aftermath as well as the ASEAN positioning.

“The heart of the matter is that India has no reason to be the US’ pillion rider. Whatever remained of the US’ exceptionalism is also gone as the world witnesses its pitiable struggle with Covid-19, repeated displays of racism, gun violence, political venality, xenophobia. No wonder, the transatlantic alliance is withering and Europeans are dissociating from the US’ effort to “contain” China.

The US created the ASEAN but today no Asian security partner wants to choose between America and China. The ASEAN cannot be repurposed to form a coalition to counter China. Thus, no claimant against China in the South China Sea is prepared to join the US in its naval fracas with China.

China has resources, including money, to offer its partners, whereas, the US budget is in chronic deficit and even routine government operations must now be funded with debt. It needs to find resources needed to keep its human and physical infrastructure at levels competitive with those of China and other great economic powers.

Why on earth should India get entangled in this messy affair whose climax is a foregone conclusion? No, things should never be allowed to reach such a pass that India needs to tackle a China-Pakistan collusion.”


from Here Comes China and we start with protest in Thailand

[Ed.] As the lead-up to these protests are very similar to those others that we’ve seen, we have to come to conclusions that these are not grassroots, but the flames are fanned by outside influence.  I cannot help but consider and speculate that Quad Attempt failure may have kicked off this new attempt at influence. 

US efforts to overthrow the Thai government by funding and backing anti-government groups stems from Thailand’s growing ties with China and Washington’s desire to reverse them. China is currently Thailand’s largest trade partner, largest foreign investor, largest source of tourism, largest arms supplier, and a key partner in several major infrastructure projects including Thailand’s rollout of 5G telecommunication technology and a regional high-speed rail network.

Having clearly failed to attract public support since the 2014 coup ousting Thaksin Shinawatra’s sister from power and since 2019 after vowing to reverse the outcome of general elections the opposition squarely lost – protesters have resorted to increasingly violent and confrontational tactics to attract attention and provoke a government response they and their Western media partners want to portray to the world as “crimes” in order to invite wider Western pressure and possibly even intervention.

There are now fears that – having failed to attract public support – the protests will attempt to trigger violence to have their Western media sponsors spin as government-initiated and used as the Western media has in other nations targeted by similar US-backed “soft power” interventions to pressure the Thai government to step down or at the very least sow chaos and clear the way for sanctions and other punitive measures aimed at targeting Thailand’s economy and international standings. The protest leaders have demonstrated extraordinarily poor judgement and leadership throughout their protest campaign – not unlike other US-funded agitators such as in Hong Kong, China. Since their movement is ultimately directed by foreign interests seeking more to agitate China and those doing business with it than actually deliver “victory” to the protesters themselves – the protesters were always seen as expendable – with chaos always more preferable than  building a genuine, constructive, and sustainable opposition. –Tony Cartalucci – ATN. [MORE]


To counter some of the Xinjiang propaganda:

Xinjiang received 15 mln visitors during the holidayup 11% yoy. Tourism revenue during the holiday reached US$1.24 billion U.S. dollars.[MORE]

José Freitas wrote to say that you may have been unable to open Daniel Dumbrill’s Xinjiang links in last week’s issue, so I added more resources from the Qiao Collective and published everything to the web.


Christine Hong’s ‘A Violent Peace’: Race, U.S. Militarism, and Cultures of Democratization in Cold War Asia and the Pacific, arrives at a time when Washington’s Indo Pacific Strategy is driving U.S. political, economic, and military confrontation in the Asia-Pacific, as the culmination of a long process that began in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. A Violent Peace examines how the United States sought to encompass the Asia-Pacific “within the securitized contours of U.S. military empire,” and the responses to that policy by “a range of people’s struggles – black freedom, Asian liberation, and Pacific Islander decolonization.”

Hong focuses her political analysis through the the literary and artistic lens of relevant works by black authors Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin, Japanese writer Kenzaburō Ōe, Japanese-American artist Miné Okubo, and Philippine-American novelist Carlos Bulosan.

Following World War II, the United States swiftly expanded its military presence in the region and established and supported reactionary client states. It aimed to roll back socialism and pursue economic, political, and military domination throughout the region. Those goals remain unchanged to this day. As Hong writes: “Understanding the role of U.S. police and war power within the political economy of postwar U.S. ‘democracy’ entails critically revisiting World War II’s structural legacies. How we explain postwar U.S. militarism—its reliance on superior force to achieve political ends in foreign and domestic arenas—depends on our grappling with the transformation of the United States during World War II, a time of Jim Crow, into a boundary-blurring, total-war state, permanently mobilized not only for war abroad but also for war at its very core.”

The United States imposed regional postwar democratization and development based on how it defined those terms. This was a political project that was “realized at the barrel of a gun,” subsuming Asian and Pacific nations into American military and police power projection that encircled China and the Soviet Union.

The U.S. introduced a democratization model that established postwar Japan as an important client state and anchor for the projection of U.S. war power throughout the region. Rehabilitating capitalism and providing opportunities for Western investors were prioritized as goals over meeting the people’s needs, despite the fact that many Japanese urban areas lay in ruins, and the population faced food shortages and mass unemployment.

For U.S. capitalism, a more pressing task than improving peoples’ quality of life was to solidify a system that would serve U.S. power, and the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps “enlisted the Japanese police in routing out labor organizers with alleged Communist Party ties.” This policy planted “the ideological seeds of anticommunist U.S. police actions to come,” including the wars in Korea and Vietnam. “In the dawning Cold War order, wartime allies thereby morphed into peacetime targets whereas former rightist foes in Japan and the region were rehabilitated as linchpins of anticommunism.”

The Marshall Islands served as a sacrificial offering to U.S. nuclear weapons development. The disregard shown by U.S. officials toward islanders is stunning in its inhumanity. Residents of three islands that were downwind from the Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb test on March 1, 1954 were not evacuated until three days later, by which time their “hair began falling out in clumps” and “their skin displayed burn patterns.” In the view of American officials, U.S. administrative control over the islands trumped the territorial rights of the inhabitants, giving the United States “the right to close areas for security reasons,” as it “anticipated closing them for atomic tests.”

Returning the Rongelapese to their contaminated homes was regarded by American researchers as an opportunity that would “afford most valuable ecological radiation data on human beings.” What better test subjects could there be? As Merril Eisenbud, director of the Atomic Energy Commission’s Health and Safety Laboratory, observed in an internal 1956 memorandum, “While it is true that these people do not live…the way Westerners do, civilized people, it is nevertheless true that these people are more like us than mice.” One may question just who is civilized and who is uncivilized in designating Marshallese people as “model organisms for biomedical study.”

As Marshallese politician Tony deBrum noted, “Some of our people were injected with or coerced to drink fluids laced with radiation. Other experimentation involved the purposeful and premature resettlement on islands highly contaminated by weapons tests to study how human beings absorb radiation from their foods and environment.” Hong observes that in this context, “no Marshallese could sustain the illusion that near-likeness meant an assurance of their humanity.”

Although the Marshallese were routinely denied medical care, U.S. researchers diligently conducted examinations and blood tests to gather data. Noting islander resentment, researcher Robert Conrad suggested that “next trip we should consider giving them more treatment or even placebos.” In a scathing public letter to Conrad in 1975, Rongelap magistrate Nelson Anjain wrote: “There is no question about your technical competence, but we often wonder about your humanity.”

U.S. policy in the postwar Philippines followed a familiar pattern, prioritizing opportunities for Western investors to exploit the land, labor, and natural resources. The United States “installed, most flagrantly in the office of the president, Filipino collaborators with the Japanese” and “secured military basing rights, transforming the Philippines into a launching pad for its anticommunist insurgencies in the region.” Inevitably, leftist guerrillas who had fought against Imperial Japanese occupation discovered that with the advent of peace, they were transformed into “targets of brutal U.S.-backed counterinsurgency campaigns.”

Postwar decolonization in the Asia-Pacific generally failed to free the region’s nations from domination, transferring that relationship from Imperial Japan to the United States. “Having returned in the garb of antifascist liberator,” Hong observes, “the United States erected a formidable extraterritorial garrison state, unleashing catastrophic violence throughout the region and placing the Asian communist opponents of Japanese fascism in its war machine’s crosshairs.”

In contrast to the punishment meted out to erstwhile wartime allies, the United States installed in power many of those who had collaborated with Japanese occupiers, valuing their experience in fighting against liberation movements. Hong points out, “In rehabilitating the empire it succeeded, the Pax Americana, as a military-imperial regime in its own right, strategically gave new life to subfascist figures who had served under the Japanese, thus thwarting the process of decolonization.”

U.S. power abroad is interrelated to issues of class and race at home. As was often the case when American soldiers encountered the local citizenry in Vietnam, there was and is a mirrored pattern at home. In both environments, “racial profiling presumes guilt not just by association but by location, sweepingly conflating racialized humanity with areas where ‘mere presence in a certain place’ is tantamount to a crime.” In that context, people are erased as individuals and incorporated into the category of “perceived threat.”

In the postwar era, the persistence of black exclusion from U.S. society contrasted with the image of inclusion provided through the U.S. military’s desegregation. This “liberal cover of integration, coalition, multiculturalism, and democratization” masked what was mainly “un-visible” to the U.S. domestic population – the “U.S. national security apparatus, military-industrial complex, empire of bases, and permanent war economy.” The military offered a politically equivocal personal emancipatory model that was essentially “extractive and destructive.” The “harnessing of race to the war machine required that racial labor risk its own obliteration” in performing its role in a “lethal agenda geared toward the devastation of distant lifeworlds.” The image of the military’s inclusivity “belied the U.S. war machine’s brute geopolitics and antihumanism.”

Black radical appeals to the United Nations General Assembly, such as W.E.B. Du Bois’s 1947 petition and William Patterson’s 1951 indictment We Charge Genocide, outlined a structural relationship between U.S. domestic and foreign policy, “construing racism within the United States to be the domestic expression of a global pattern of U.S. imperialism.” These appeals fell victim to intensifying Cold War pressures and the unequal power relationship between imperialism and Third World nations. Patterson approached several UN delegations, only to be informed that while they were in sympathy with the appeal, “championing such a petition, no matter how valid, would not be diplomatically prudent.” The United Nation’s human rights program was, and remains so today, inextricably bound with U.S. power. “Any account of black radical human rights as an oppositional politics,” Hong explains, “thus must theorize U.S. dominance in the Cold War system, the very institutional basis for human rights that emerged out of World War II’s ashes.”

U.S. domestic repression against oppositional voices during the Vietnam War, including COINTELPRO, the CIA’s Operation CHAOS, and other repressive mechanisms, blurred the distinction between the home front and war front, unleashing a “national security juggernaut” against “Americans perceived to be enemies.” The methods deployed against activists and organizers “uneasily mirrored, though by no means on the same scale, U.S. strategies of pacification and neutralization in Vietnam.”

Racial counterintelligence aimed to neutralize enemies both at home and abroad. “Predictably,” Hong notes, “each author of black radical human rights petitions to the UN – Du Bois, Patterson, Newton, and Seale – as well as key affiliates like Robeson, would be subjected to counterintelligence investigation.” Hundreds of thousands of American citizens were the targets of investigation and surveillance, while COINTELPRO engaged in burglaries, disinformation programs, and efforts to create discord and conflict within oppositional groups. “The vast military-industrial complex and intelligence apparatus that emerged from World War II paved the way” for police militarization and human rights violations throughout the “U.S. military empire, including at its imperial core.”

In the space of a short review, it is only possible to touch on a few of the book’s themes. A Violent Peace covers a much broader spectrum of topics, from which even the most knowledgeable reader will find much to learn. Christine Hong has written a profound and multilayered analysis of the U.S. military’s role in the postwar Asia-Pacific, and its relationship to militarized repression at home. Enriched by a deeply sympathetic understanding of black and Asian oppositional voices, Hong’s book exposes the reality behind comforting myths about the American democratization mission.

With great eloquence, she draws insightful connections between race, class, and power, while vividly demonstrating how the expansion of U.S. power into the Asia-Pacific in the postwar era has led to the world we live in today. Deeply considered and thought-provoking, A Violent Peace is essential to understanding our current predicament. [AMAZON]


Cover Art : A 75-minute bidding battle broke out as collectors competed to acquire Ren Renfa’s

Five Drunken Princes Returning on Horseback,

a late 13th / early 14th scroll from the Yuan dynasty. Over 100 bids pushed the final sale price to US$39,555,000, well beyond the pre-high estimate of US$15,484,000. The sum establishes the scroll as the most valuable work sold at auction in Asia in 2020, and the most valuable Chinese ink painting sold by Sotheby’s Hong Kong.  Ren’s masterpiece was already highly prized duringf the Ming dynasty, in the words of painter Zhang Ning (1426-1496), “Black, Yellow, Red, White, and Mottled Horses. Every horse is worth a thousand taels of gold.”

Selections and editorial comments by Amarynth.  (Go Get that newsletter – it again is packed with detail).

POMPEO’S DILEMMA: US IS RUNNING OUT OF AIRCRAFT CARRIERS AND TARGETS TO UP PRESSURE AGAINST CHINA

The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan cruising around somewhere near China

Source

02.08.2020

As South Front reported last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dedicated a major address to insulting and threatening China. However, his extravagant rhetoric and threats to further increase US pressure on the Asian giant have a major flaw. The deployment of US military assets to menace China’s frontier zones are already at historically high levels, leaving very little room for additional pressure short of an amphibious landing or missile strike.

As reported by the South China Morning Post last week, US military aviation flights around its maritime borders in July were the highest on record. According to the Beijing-based South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI), during the week ending 25 July US air force E-8C surveillance planes were spotted closer than 100 nautical miles to the southeast coast of Guangdong province on four separate occasions.

“At the moment the US military is sending three to five reconnaissance aircraft each day to the South China Sea,” SCSPI said. “In the first half of 2020 – with much higher frequency, closer distance and more variety of missions – the US aerial reconnaissance in the South China Sea has entered a new phase.”

US planes have ventured “unusually close” to Chinese airspace several times since April. The closest flight to date was in May when a US navy P-8A Poseidon – designed for anti-submarine warfare – almost reached the 12 nautical mile limit near Hainan Island, on China’s southernmost tip.

SCSPI said its statistics showed flights by US planes approaching up to 50 to 60 nautical miles off the mainland were “frequent”. A record of 50 sorties – flying from US land bases located in the vicinity of the South China Sea – was set in the first three weeks of July, coinciding with separate Chinese and US military exercises in the area.

On peak days, SCSPI said it had counted as many as eight US aircraft, including the aircraft types P-8A EP-3E, RC-135W and KC-135. One such peak occurred on July 3, as aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz, along with their respective strike groups, entered the region.

The two aircraft carrier strike groups conducted drills in the area on two separate occasions, commencing on July 4 and July 17. In between the exercises, the US State Department issued a statement describing China’s claim to the disputed waterway as “unlawful” and adding that Washington supported the other Southeast Asian claimants.

The resource-rich South China Sea is one of the world’s busiest waterways, with around a third of international shipping passing through it. China claims most of the area while Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia all have overlapping claims.

The range of US military planes involved in the South China Sea missions was an indication of their purpose, according to SCSPI director Hu Bo. These included anti-submarine patrol, communication signal collection, and radar frequency detection, among others.

With the People’s Liberation Army also exercising in the Paracel Islands earlier this month, the US intelligence aircraft were probably collecting data on the PLA electronics, Hu said, adding. “The increasing US military operations have become the largest risk and potential source of conflicts.”

These operations have led to a number of incidents, and occasionally crises, in the past. The most serious occurred in April 2001 when a US navy EP-3E Aries II flew to within 59 nautical miles of Hainan Island and collided with an intercepting PLA navy J-8II fighter.

The Chinese pilot died and the US plane was forced to land on Hainan, giving then-president George W. Bush the first diplomatic crisis of his tenure.

In 2014, 2015 and 2017, the Pentagon repeatedly accused Chinese fighters of nearly causing accidents by making “unsafe” interception manoeuvres with US spy planes near the Chinese coast in the South China Sea, East China Sea and the Yellow Sea.

Hong Kong-based military commentator Song Zhongping said the PLA could be expected to send fighters out to intercept and expel US aircraft on every close reconnaissance mission.

“The PLA has developed a standard operating protocol on these US planes approaching Chinese airspace. With more frequent US provocations, the PLA will have more frequent interceptions too,” he said.

“It poses a challenge to pilots’ skills and training, but the PLA has also become quite proficient to avoid possible accidents or collisions.” LINK

The record number of military flights was accompanied by a large spike in navy deployments as well, with three aircraft carriers cruising around the South China Sea during June and July. Prior to the extended excursions of the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz mentioned above, the USS Theodore Roosevelt had wound up its latest trouble-plagued deployment to the north-western Pacific, much of which was spent at Guam as the crew desperately tried to contain an outbreak of the Coronavirus, with a short patrol towards China’s maritime border zone.

While the US’ increasingly hostile and hysterical tone against China has done nothing to alter the latter’s implacable resolve to pursue and defend their maritime claims and vital national interests, the US its placing its allies and partners in the region in an increasingly difficult position, South Korea in particular but also Japan and others, as they try to maintain amicable relations with China whilst hosting substantial US military forces whose distant commanders seem determined to pick a fight with China.

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موسكو طهران وبكين… نموذج اقتصادي متكامل

د. حسن مرهج

من الواضح أنّ السياسية الصينية في المنطقة تسير وفق مسارين:

الأول – تسعى الصين إلى الالتفاف على العقوبات الأميركية وبناء تحالفات استراتيجية مع دول عديدة تناهض السياسات الأميركية في المنطقة، في محاولة لإنشاء منظومة سياسية وعسكرية واقتصادية، توازي شبكة العلاقات الأميركية قوة وتنظيماً وتأثيراً في سياسات المنطقة.

الثاني – هناك رغبة صينية واضحة لوضع حدّ للتحكم الأميركي في السياسات الدولية والإقليمية، ولا سبيل لوضع آلية تُقيد السياسات الأميركية، إلا بتحالفات مع دول قوية في المنطقة، وعلى رأس تلك الدول الجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية.

انطلاقاّ من هذين المسارين، ترى الصين أنّ إيران واحدة من أهمّ الدول لربط آسيا بأوروبا من خلال مبادرة الحزام والطريق، التي تمثل المحرك الأساس للسياسة الخارجية الصينية منذ أعلنها الرئيس الصيني شي جين بينغ في العام 2013، ولاعب أساسي في الحفاظ على استقرار منطقة الخليج العربي التي تعدّ الشريان الرئيس لوصول النفط إلى الصين.

وعليه، بات واضحاً أنّ أحد أهمّ أوجه العلاقة الصينية الإيرانية، تعزيز المصالح الاقتصادية والاستراتيجية، بُغية تقويض الأهداف الأميركية في المنطقة، إذ يبدو واضحاً أنّ الصين وإيران تعملان منذ مدّة على شراكة استراتيجية لمدة 25 عاماً، والواضح أيضاً أنّ الشراكة ستسمّى شراكة استراتيجية شاملة بين الصين وإيران.

وبما أنّ علاقات إيران مع الصين جادّة وتشكّل أساس التعاون الاقتصادي والاستراتيجي بين البلدين في شكل وثيقة مدتها 25 عاماً، فمن الطبيعي أن تهتمّ الدول الغربية بهذه العلاقات، وبشكل أساسي فإنّ السياسة الأنجلو ساكسونية للأميركيين والبريطانيين هي التركيز على الضغط على إيران من أجل إبعادها عن الصين وروسيا، لكن فشلت هذه السياسة، وفشلت معها السياسة الأميركية لاستعمار إيران، وما يؤكد هذا الأمر أنّ الصين ستُشارك في “بناء البنية التحتية الأساسية لإيران” كجزء من مبادرة “حزام واحد وطريق واحد”؛ هذا المشروع الذي يُعدّ مشروعاً للتكامل الاقتصادي بين البلدين.

فقد أدركت الصين وإيران وضمناً روسيا، أنّ الاتحاد والتعاون هما الوسيلة الوحيدة لتعزيز التبادل على المستويات كافة، وبات ضرورة لمحاربة المشكلات الداهمة التي يمثلها تنامي النفوذ الأميركي في الشؤون الداخلية للدول، حيث أن النفوذ الأميركي أجبر طهران وبكين وموسكو على تحييد الخلافات الثانوية، وتبني استراتيجية موحدة من أجل المصلحة المشتركة للدفاع عن مصالحهم في المنطقة.

والواضح أن أحداث مثل الحرب على سورية، والأزمة في ليبيا، والإطاحة بالنظام الديمقراطي في أوكرانيا، والعقوبات على إيران، والضغط المباشر على بكين في بحر الصين الجنوبي، كلها عوامل سرّعت في التكامل بين الصين وإيران وروسيا.

في جانب آخر مُتعلق بعمق العلاقة الإيرانية الصينية، نجد أنّ جوهر هذه العلاقة يرتكز على الاقتصاد، في المقابل ومن خلال تحليل القوة الاقتصادية نجد أن المنظمات العابرة للحدود مثل منظمة التجارة العالمية وصندوق النقد الدولي والبنك الدولي، تضمن دور واشنطن كزعيم اقتصادي، والركائز التي تدعم مركزية الولايات المتحدة في الاقتصاد العالمي يُمكن أن تُعزى إلى السياسة النقدية للبنك الاحتياطي الفيدرالي ووظيفة الدولار كعملة احتياط عالمية، خاصة مجلس الاحتياطي الاتحادي لديه قدرة غير محدودة لطباعة النقود ولتمويل القوة الاقتصادية للقطاعين الخاص والعام، وكذلك لدفع الفاتورة الواجبة للحروب المكلفة جداّ، وضمن ذلك فإنّ الدولار الأميركي يلعب دوراً رئيسياً كعملة احتياطية عالمية، وكذلك يستخدم كعملة للتجارة، وهذا يُحتم على كلّ بنك مركزي امتلاك احتياطيات بالعملة الأميركية، وتكريس أهمية واشنطن في النظام الاقتصادي العالمي. من هنا فإنّ إدخال اليوان الصيني والتومان الإيراني في التعاملات التجارية بين بكين وطهران، ومن الممكن أن تتسع مروحة هذه التعاملات بالعملات المحلية للبلدين، لتشمل دولاً عديدة ترغب بالابتعاد عن مخاطر التعامل بالدولار الأميركي، كلّ ذلك وسائل وأجراس إنذار الاستراتيجيين الأميركيين حول خطر تآكل مكانة العملة الأميركية.

في المحصلة، فإنّ الصين وإيران وضمناً روسيا بحاجة لإيجاد نظام اقتصادي بديل، لتأمين الجوانب الحيوية للاقتصاد المحلي، فقد لقد لعب انهيار سوق الأسهم في الصين، وانخفاض قيمة الروبل في روسيا، والعقوبات غير القانونية المفروضة على إيران، دوراً عميقاً في تثبيت أهداف موسكو وطهران وبكين، لإيجاد نقاط التلاقي بين البلدان الثلاثة، ولتشكيل منظومة اقتصادية قادرة على ضعضعة الهيمنة الأميركية على العالم.

The heart of the matter in the South China Sea

The heart of the matter in the South China Sea

July 30, 2020

by Pepe Escobar for The Saker Blog and originally posted at Asia Times

When the Ronald Reagan and Nimitz carrier strike groups recently engaged in “operations” in the South China Sea, it did not escape to many a cynic that the US Pacific Fleet was doing its best to turn the infantile Thucydides Trap theory into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The pro forma official spin, via Rear Adm. Jim Kirk, commander of the Nimitz, is that the ops were conducted to “reinforce our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, a rules-based international order, and to our allies and partners”.

Nobody pays attention to these clichés, because the real message was delivered by a CIA operative posing as diplomat, Secretary of State Mike “We Lie, We Cheat, We Steal” Pompeo: “The PRC has no legal grounds to unilaterally impose its will on the region”, in a reference to the Nine-Dash Line. For the State Dept., Beijing deploys nothing but “gangster tactics” in the South China Sea.

Once again, nobody paid attention, because the actual facts on the sea are stark. Anything that moves in the South China Sea – China’s crucial maritime trade artery – is at the mercy of the PLA, which decides if and when to deploy their deadly DF-21D and DF-26 “carrier killer” missiles. There’s absolutely no way the US Pacific Fleet can win a shooting war in the South China Sea.

Electronically jammed

A crucial Chinese report, unavailable and not referred to by Western media, and translated by Hong Kong-based analyst Thomas Wing Polin, is essential to understand the context.

The report refers to US Growler electronic warplanes rendered totally out of control by electronic jamming devices positioned on islands and reefs in the South China Sea.

According to the report, “after the accident, the United States negotiated with China, demanding that China dismantle the electronic equipment immediately, but it was rejected. These electronic devices are an important part of China’s maritime defense and are not offensive weapons. Therefore, the US military’s request for dismantling is unreasonable.”

It gets better: “On the same day, former commander Scott Swift of the US Pacific Fleet finally acknowledged that the US military had lost the best time to control the South China Sea. He believes that China has deployed a large number of Hongqi 9 air defense missiles, H-6K bombers, and electronic jamming systems on islands and reefs. The defense can be said to be solid. If US fighter jets rush into the South China Sea, they are likely to encounter their ‘Waterloo.’”

The bottom line is that the systems – including electronic jamming – deployed by the PLA on islands and reefs in the South China Sea, covering more than half of the total surface, are considered by Beijing to be part of the national defense system.

I have previously detailed what Admiral Philip Davidson, when he was still a nominee to lead the US Pacific Command (PACOM), told the US Senate. Here are his Top Three conclusions:

1) “China is pursuing advanced capabilities (e.g., hypersonic missiles) which the United States has no current defense against. As China pursues these advanced weapons systems, US forces across the Indo-Pacific will be placed increasingly at risk.”

2) “China is undermining the rules-based international order.”

3) “China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States.”

Implied in all of the above is the “secret” of the Indo-Pacific strategy: at best a containment exercise, as China continues to solidify the Maritime Silk Road linking the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean.

Remember the nusantao

The South China Sea is and will continue to be one of the prime geopolitical flashpoints of the young 21st century, where a great deal of the East-West balance of power will be played.

I have addressed this elsewhere in the past in some detail, but a short historical background is once again absolutely essential to understand the current juncture as the South China Sea increasingly looks and feels like a Chinese lake.

Let’s start in 1890, when Alfred Mahan, then president of the US Naval College, wrote the seminal The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783. Mahan’s central thesis is that the US should go global in search of new markets, and protect these new trade routes through a network of naval bases.

That is the embryo of the US Empire of Bases – which remains in effect.

It was Western – American and European – colonialism that came up with most land borders and maritime borders of states bordering the South China Sea: Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam.

We are talking about borders between different colonial possessions – and that implied intractable problems from the start, subsequently inherited by post-colonial nations.

Historically, it had always been a completely different story. The best anthropological studies (Bill Solheim’s, for instance) define the semi-nomadic communities who really traveled and traded across the South China Sea from time immemorial as the Nusantao – an Austronesian compound word for “south island” and “people”.

The Nusantao were not a defined ethnic group. They were a maritime internet. Over centuries, they had many key hubs, from the coastline between central Vietnam and Hong Kong all the way to the Mekong Delta. They were not attached to any “state”. The Western notion of “borders” did not even exist. In the mid-1990s, I had the privilege to encounter some of their descendants in Indonesia and Vietnam.

So it was only by the late 19th century that the Westphalian system managed to freeze the South China Sea inside an immovable framework.

Which brings us to the crucial point of why China is so sensitive about its borders; because they are directly linked to the “century of humiliation” – when internal Chinese corruption and weakness allowed Western “barbarians” to take possession of Chinese land.

A Japanese lake

The Nine Dash Line is an immensely complex problem. It was invented by the eminent Chinese geographer Bai Meichu, a fierce nationalist, in 1936, initially as part of a “Chinese National Humiliation Map” in the form of a “U-shaped line” gobbling up the South China Sea all the way down to James Shoal, which is 1,500 km south of China but only over 100 km off Borneo.

The Nine Dash Line, from the beginning, was promoted by the Chinese government – remember, at the time not yet Communist – as the letter of the law in terms of “historic” Chinese claims over islands in the South China Sea.

One year later, Japan invaded China. Japan had occupied Taiwan way back in 1895. Japan occupied the Philippines in 1942. That meant virtually the entire coastline of the South China Sea being controlled by a single empire for the fist time in history. The South China Sea had become a Japanese lake.

Well, that lasted only until 1945. The Japanese did occupy Woody Island in the Paracels and Itu Aba (today Taiping) in the Spratlys. After the end of WWII and the US nuclear-bombing Japan, the Philippines became independent in 1946 and the Spratlys immediately were declared Filipino territory.

In 1947, all the islands in the South China Sea got Chinese names.

And in December 1947 all the islands were placed under the control of Hainan (itself an island in southern China.) New maps duly followed, but now with Chinese names for the islands (or reefs, or shoals). But there was a huge problem: no one explained the meaning of those dashes (which were originally eleven.)

In June 1947 the Republic of China claimed everything within the line – while proclaiming itself open to negotiate definitive maritime borders with other nations later on. But, for the moment, there were no borders.

And that set the scene for the immensely complicated “strategic ambiguity” of the South China Sea that still lingers on – and allows the State Dept. to accuse Beijing of “gangster tactics”. The culmination of a millennia-old transition from the “maritime internet” of semi-nomadic peoples to the Westphalian system spelled nothing but trouble.

Time for COC

So what about the US notion of “freedom of navigation”?

In imperial terms, “freedom of navigation”, from the West Coast of the US to Asia – through the Pacific, the South China Sea, the Malacca Strait and the Indian Ocean – is strictly an issue of military strategy.

The US Navy simply cannot imagine dealing with maritime exclusion zones – or having to demand an “authorization” every time they need to cross them. In this case the Empire of Bases would lose “access” to its own bases.

This is compounded with trademark Pentagon paranoia, gaming a situation where a “hostile power” – namely China – decides to block global trade. The premise in itself is ludicrous, because the South China Sea is the premier, vital maritime artery for China’s globalized economy.

So there’s no rational justification for a Freedom of Navigation (FON) program. For all practical purposes, these aircraft carriers like the Ronald Reagan and the Nimitz showboating on and off in the South China Sea amount to 21st century gunboat diplomacy. And Beijing is not impressed.

As far as the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is concerned, what matters now is to come up with a Code of Conduct (COC) to solve all maritime conflicts between Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and China.

Next year, ASEAN and China celebrate 30 years of strong bilateral relations. There’s a strong possibility they will be upgraded to “comprehensive strategic partner” status.

Because of Covid-19, all players had to postpone negotiations on the second reading of the single draft of COC. Beijing wanted these to be face to face – because the document is ultra-sensitive and for the moment, secret. Yet they finally agreed to negotiate online – via detailed texts.

It will be a hard slog, because as ASEAN made it clear in a virtual summit in late June, everything has to be in accordance with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).

If they can all agree on a COC by the end of 2020, a final agreement could be approved by ASEAN in mid-2021. Historic does not even begin to describe it – because this negotiation has been going on for no less than two decades.

Not to mention that a COC invalidates any US pretension to secure “freedom of navigation” in an area where navigation is already free.

Yet “freedom” was never the issue. In imperial terminology, “freedom” means that China must obey and keep the South China Sea open to the US Navy. Well, that’s possible, but you gotta behave. That’ll be the day when the US Navy is “denied” the South China Sea. You don’t need to be Mahan to know that’ll mean the imperial end of ruling the seven seas.

Diplomacy is reciprocal

July 25, 2020

Diplomacy is reciprocal

Chris Faure for the Saker Blog

The US suddenly ordered China to end operations from its embassy in Houston, Texas (remember when they did the same to Russia). However, diplomacy is reciprocal and the Chinese so far refrained from a further provocative reaction. They are implementing a fair tit for tat measure, closing the US Consulate in Chengdu, keeping options open for further retaliation. They could have fanned the flames and closed the US Consulate in Hong Kong, or even a bigger one in Beijing, but kept to a fair reciprocal closure – so far.

More about the Consulate spat https://www.moonofalabama.org/

China responded to Mr Pompeo’s highly advertised ‘very important’ speech this week in short, not giving Pompeo that attention that he so craves. The Chinese stance is that Mike Pompeo maliciously attacked the Communist Party of China (CPC) and China’s socialist system, and he made remarks that ignored the facts, were full of ideological bias and turned black into white, which showed his Cold War mentality. From the Chinese Foreign Ministry: “Some US politicians have deliberately stirred up ideological disputes, talked about changing China, denied China-US relations, and provoked China’s relationships with other countries. Their purpose is to suppress China’s development and divert the public’s attention from their own country. These tricks cannot fool the Americans and international community.”

The US have stopped all basic diplomatic standards in a grab for their self-delusional rules-based international order. Just recently, Pompeo announced that they will not respect or accept any of the agreements in the South China Sea. He must be thinking that all of the ASEAN countries like him enough to drop their raft of regional negotiated agreements.

Despite Chinese accusations that the US opens their diplomatic pouches, which is in flagrant violation of all Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular relations, the most important is the following which shows that China is still keeping to fair diplomatic and pragmatic standard:

“It must be emphasized that China has no intentions to change the US in terms of its social system, and the US cannot change China either.”

https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/xwfw_665399/s2510_665401/2511_665403/t1800221.shtml

Having followed the Russian reactions on these types of actions by the US toward Russia, we have become accustomed to the frustratingly pragmatic and clinically diplomatic methods of dealing with western bullying. The Chinese are different and they enthusiastically take part in the war of words that is reaching cold war status if one adds in the trade war announced by Mr Trump +- two years ago and which he thought would be ‘easy to win’. What we see now as reaction to the US provocation to China in the US social sphere, many ordinary Americans are deeply into the ‘crush China’ rhetoric which attempts to blame China for all of the US ills.

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/202007241079970310-us-heading-towards-quagmire-in-the-south-china-sea-by-inciting-tensions-with-beijing-activist-warns/

While it remains unclear if this can be written off completely to electioneering and election rhetoric, what does clarify is that the harm done is not easily fixed, no matter the reason. It is however quite breathtaking how far Pompeo will push this, hoping for retaliation which he can then use to prove himself and the current US administration right. It is beyond a level of comprehension that Pompeo and Co could really think that they will make war against China.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202007/24/WS5f1a5b8da31083481725be24.html

In this time of ‘rhetorical cold war of words’, Godfree Roberts who regularly writes on China for the Unz Review started a new weekly newsletter, Here Comes China, Skulduggery, Good News, Offbeat Opinions, chock-a-block full of what is happening in China.

Godfree has offered the first four newsletters free to Saker readers. From economics, to space, to China-Iran Trade and Military Partnership, to the cleanup and recovering of the Yangtze river, a Hong Kong section, the media war on Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and an in-depth look at Human rights in China, this newsletter stands unique in its scope and its presentation of Western opinions and Eastern opinions.

Godfree’s new book on China is just about ready for release. The book is called:

Why China leads the world: Democracy at the bottom, Data in the middle, Talent at the top.
A preview: https://www.herecomeschina.com/why-china-leads-the-world-the-book/

I also want to draw the readers’ attention to a two part essay written on Mao, Mao Reconsidered, and published in greanvillepost.com. Part 1Part 2

China Sitrep – 5 selected topics from the Here Comes China newsletter:

Trump Empowers CIA to Launch Cyberattacks

The secret authorization, known as a presidential finding, gives the spy agency more freedom in both the kinds of operations it conducts and who it targets–including Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, which are mentioned directly in the document. The finding allows the CIA to more easily authorize its own covert cyber operations, rather than requiring the agency to get approval from the White House. The “very aggressive” finding “gave the agency very specific authorities to really take the fight offensively to a handful of adversarial countries,” said a former U.S. government official. The Central Intelligence Agency has conducted a series of covert cyber operations against Iran and other targets since winning a secret victory in 2018 when President Trump signed what amounts to a sweeping authorization for such activities. [MORE]

Belt and Road Finds New Life in Pakistan

China and Pakistan have signed deals for two hydro-power generation projects costing $3.9 billion in the disputed Kashmir region, and another to revamp the South Asian nation’s colonial-era railways for $7.2 billion — the most expensive Chinese project yet in Pakistan. The Chinese financing has helped rid Pakistan of an electricity deficit that left exporters unable to meet orders and major cities without electricity for much of the day. [MORE]

T.P. Wilkinson: The Yemen

The West encourages dissolution of state entities that could engage in normal relations with China or any other potential competitors. The Yemen is one of those long-term victims of British imperialism. When Britain nominally withdrew from Egypt, Nasser promoted his new government’s participation in his movement for Arab unity, opposed by British clients in Riyadh (the Saud family’s Wahhabi gangsters). The Saud family would like to have annexed the Yemen but could not without war against Egypt-against which the tiny mob had no chance. So David Stirling led a counter-insurgency funded by the British and Saudis to drive Egypt out of the Yemen and leave the country as a quasi-protectorate of Britain/US. Attempts to change that have been fought for decades but until a decade ago the client regime was well protected. Clearly chaos is profitable for the empire which between Somalia and Yemen prevent any stability in opposition to its interests. Not only do Somalia and Yemen lie close to the Suez route they also form part of the ancient East African trading basin that links Asia with Africa. As part of the overall strategy of Denial, this policy is aided by the designs of the mob in Riyad which lacks the population to occupy territories it would like to annex.

Xinjiang

This section from Here Comes China is an in-depth analysis. I suggest you read it in the newsletter itself. Main points:

Islam is neither the Uyghurs’ native religion nor their only one but, in its Wahhabi form, has caused problems around the world, for which we can thank to two fervent Christians, Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski,[2] who considered a united Eurasia, “The only possible challenge to American hegemony.” In 1979, months before the Soviet entry into Afghanistan, Brzezinski drafted and Carter signed a top-secret Presidential Order authorizing the CIA to train fundamentalist Muslims to wage Jihad against the Soviet Communist infidels and all unbelievers of conservative Sunni Islam and the Mujahideen terror war against Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan became the largest covert action in CIA history.[2] Brzezinski’s ‘Arc of Crisis’ strategy inflamed Muslims in Central Asia to destabilize the USSR during its economic crisis and, when Le Nouvel Observateur later asked if he had any regrets, Brzezinski snapped, “What is most important to the history of the world? Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe?”

Twenty years later, in 1999, the CIA’s Islam strategist, Graham E. Fuller, announced, “The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against the Russians. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia.”[3]

Today, NED money supports the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) which calls China’s Xinjiang Province ‘East Turkistan’ and China’s administration of Xinjiang as ‘Chinese occupation of East Turkistan,’ runs articles like, “Op-ed: A Profile of Rebiya Kadeer, Fearless Uyghur Independence Activist,” and admits that Kadeer seeks Uyghur independence from China.

Faced with an armed insurrection, most states impose martial law or a state of emergency, as Britain did in Malaya from 1945 to 1957 and the US did with the Patriot Act, but China decided–despite popular outrage–to write off its losses and play the long game and founded The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO),[1] a political, economic, and security alliance, with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, who stopped funneling money and providing corridors for Uyghur terrorists to move into and out of China. The SCO has since expanded to include India and Pakistan and Iran has begun the accession process, making it world’s largest security pact in both area and population and the only one whose membership includes four nuclear powers.

Forming the SCO was easier than assuaging public outrage. An unheard-of lawsuit by victims’ relatives accused the government of reverse discrimination so they stepped up security and published their objectives:

  1. restore law and order
  2. prevent terrorists from inflicting more violence
  3. use ‘high-intensity regulation’
  4. contain the spread of terrorism beyond Xinjiang
  5. purge extremists and separatists from society.

Neighborhood community centres–labelled ‘concentration camps’ in the western press–educate rural Uyghurs about the perils of religious extremism and train them for urban jobs.
In 2013 President Xi toured Eurasia and proposed the Belt and Road Initiative for three billion people, designed to create the biggest market in the world with unparalleled development potential, and built a gas pipeline to China from Turkmenistan through Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan which, like China’s other western pipelines, power lines, and rail and road networks, runs through the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Beijing then moved jobs to Xinjiang and opened vocational schools to train rural youth in literacy and job skills and swore to protect its neighbors from terrorism in exchange for their pledge to reciprocate. To create jobs in the province Xi directed investment from forty-five of China’s top companies and eighty Fortune 500 manufacturers to Urumqi. Corporate investment increased from $10 billion in 2015 to $15 billion in 2017 and infrastructure investments of $70 billion in both 2017 and 2018 lifted the annual goods shipments past 100 million tons with a goal of hourly departures to fifteen European capitals. Half a million Uyghurs have relocated from remote villages to cities and, as a result, 600,000 Uighurs were lifted out of poverty in 2016, 312,000 in 2017 and 400,000 in 2018. The last poor Uyghurs will join the cash economy in mid-2020.

The PBOC, China’s central bank, is partnering with ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing to test the use of its sovereign digital currency, AKA Central Bank Digital Currency, CBDC. The regulator is working with Didi to apply digital currency electronic payment (DCEP) to the ride-hailing app, which currently serves a total of over 550 million users and is often described as China’s Uber. According to Didi, “the government seeks to support the development of the real economy sectors with innovative financial services.” Didi has more than 30 million daily ride-sharing orders and its bike-sharing daily orders reached 10 million. Meituan and Bilibilibili are also cooperating with banks in the digital yuan project. Meituan’s service platform has over 240 million consumers and five million local merchants, and Bilibilibili is China’s largest video-sharing website.

Sign up for your free one month sub to Godfree’s very extensive newsletter here. At the Saker blog, only a fraction of all the material can be covered.

US Armed Forces Continue To Test China’s Patience, Prowling Around Disputed Maritime Borders

Source

US Armed Forces Continue To Test China’s Patience, Prowling Around Disputed Maritime Borders

The Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs unit has announced that two B-1B Lancer bombers assigned to the 37th Bomb Squadron have been deployed to Andersen Air Force Base on Guam, along with approximately 170 support personnel, as part of a Bomber Task Force deployment.

According to the statement, the move is instended to demonstrate the US Indo-Pacific Command’s continuing commitment to allies and partners in the region.

The Stripes reported that before arriving on Guam, the bombers conducted intercept training over the Sea of Japan with F-15J fighter jets belonging to the Japanese Air Self-Defence Force. LINK

B-1s were last deployed to Guam in May when they flew in from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. The duration of the current deployment has not been announced.

US Armed Forces Continue To Test China’s Patience, Prowling Around Disputed Maritime Borders

Against the backdrop of worsening relations between the US and China, the nuclear Ronald Reagan and Nimitz aircraft carrier groups as well as other US Navy vessels have been conducting exercises in and around the South China Sea over the last few weeks. The exercises and manoeuvres have also involved a strategic long range bomber B-52H Stratofortress. LINK

Earlier this week, the US officially rejected Chinese claims to a number of territories in the South China Sea.

The South China Morning Post reports that China’s Ambassador to the Philippines has urged Southeast Asian countries to be on guard against US attempts to “sabotage” the region’s stability by inserting itself into the South China Sea disputes.

He urged Southeast Asian nations to “properly resolve disputes” with China and “prevent them from being capitalised on by the US to sabotage stability in the Asia-Pacific region”.

The comments followed a shift in Washington’s posture on China’s claims in the area reflected in an op-ed in which his American counterpart, Sung Kim, declared Washington’s support for Manila in the “West Philippines Sea”.

This is the term Manila uses to refer to the portion of the South China Sea it claims as part of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and includes areas claimed by Beijing. The use of the term by a US state department official is rare and has been interpreted as being deliberately provocative in Beijing. LINK

Last week, one of the US Navy’s MQ-4C Triton high altitude long endurance (HALE) reconnaissance drones was spotted entering the South China Sea on Wednesday – the latest addition to an increasingly long list of US spy planes plying the waterway in recent months. LINK

In addition to flight operations by the US Navy carrier USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan and other US military aircraft, the destroyer USS Ralph Johnson carried out a still-more-provocative act on July 14, a so-called “freedom of navigation operation” inside the waters surrounding the Spratly Islands, which are claimed by China as part of its territory, in a deliberate attempt to repudiate and challenge Chinese claims. Chinese media outlet stated in response to the latest manoeuvres:

“These incidents, taking place thousands of miles away from the US and on China’s doorstep, have again proven that the US is the real pusher of militarization in the South China Sea, and China is forced to take countermeasures to safeguard its national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Global Times wrote, citing an unnamed Chinese military expert.

“If US military provocations in the South China Sea persist, China could be left with no choice but to conduct more drills and deploy more warships and warplanes in the South China Sea, to the extent of setting up a possible air defence identification zone (ADIZ).”

Sputnik reports that while the two US Navy carrier strike groups drilled in the South China Sea last week, Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) jets practiced anti-ship attacks nearby.

The US aircraft carriers have been carrying out drills in waters near China for several weeks, including in the Philippine Sea and South China Sea. Last week, the Chinese military decided to stage their own drills, holding live-fire exercises in which PLAAF jets rehearsed how they would carry out strikes against enemy warships in the region.

The drills involved JH-7A and J-16B naval strike aircraft, which practiced firing anti-ship missiles, the Global Times reported. The military exercises were held on 15 and 16 July. LINK

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

Is America Up for a Naval War With China?

Is America Up for a Naval War with China? | RealClearPolitics

July 18, 2020

Patrick BUCHANAN

Is the U.S., preoccupied with a pandemic and a depression that medical crisis created, prepared for a collision with China over Beijing’s claims to the rocks, reefs and resources of the South China Sea?

For that is what Mike Pompeo appeared to threaten this week.

“The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire,” thundered the secretary of state.

“America stands with our Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources … and (we) reject any push to impose ‘might makes right’ in the South China Sea.”

Thus did Pompeo put Beijing on notice that the U.S. does not recognize its claim to 90% of the South China Sea or to any exclusive Chinese right to its fishing grounds or oil and gas resources.

Rather, in a policy shift, the U.S. now recognizes the rival claims of Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines.

To signal the seriousness of Pompeo’s stand, the U.S. sent the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz carrier battle groups through the South China Sea. And, this week, the guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson sailed close by the Spratly Islands.

But what do Mike Pompeo’s tough words truly mean?

While we have recognized the claims of the other littoral states of the South China Sea, does Pompeo mean America will use its naval power to defend their claims should China use force against the vessels of those five nations?

Does it mean that if Manila, our lone treaty ally in these disputes, uses force to reclaim what we see as its lawful rights in the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy will fight the Chinese navy to validate Manila’s claims?

Has Pompeo drawn a red line, which Beijing has been told not to cross at risk of war with the United States?

If so, does anyone in Washington think the Chinese are going to give up their claims to the entire South China Sea or retreat from reasserting those claims because the U.S. now rejects them?

Consider what happened to the people of Hong Kong when they thought they had the world’s democracies at their back.

For a year, they marched and protested for greater political freedom with some believing they might win independence.

But when Beijing had had enough, it trashed the Basic Law under which Hong Kong had been ceded back to China and began a crackdown.

The democracies protested and imposed economic sanctions. But the bottom line is that Hong Kong’s people not only failed to enlarge the sphere of freedom they had, but also they are losing much of what they had.

The Americans, seeing Hong Kong being absorbed into China, are now canceling the special economic privileges we had accorded the city, as the British offer millions of visas to Hong Kong’s dissidents who fear what Beijing has in store for them.

In June, Pompeo also charged Beijing with human rights atrocities in Xinjiang: “The world received disturbing reports today that the Chinese Communist Party is using forced sterilization, forced abortion, and coercive family planning against Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, as part of a continuing campaign of repression.”

These reports, said Pompeo, “are sadly consistent with decades of CCP practices that demonstrate an utter disregard for the sanctity of human life and basic human dignity.”

China has rejected U.S. protests of its treatment of Uighurs and Kazakhs and of its handling of Hong Kong as interference in its internal affairs and none of America’s business.

As for the South China Sea, China dismissively replied, the U.S. seems to be “throwing its weight around in every sea of the world.”

These American warnings, and Beijing’s response, call to mind the darker days of the Cold War.

So, again, the question: Is America prepared for a naval clash in the South China Sea if Beijing continues to occupy and fortify islets and reefs she claims as her own? Are we prepared for a Cold War II — with China?

While China lacks the strategic arsenal the USSR had in the latter years of the Cold War, economically, technologically and industrially, China is a far greater power than Soviet Russia ever was. And China’s population is four times as large.

Can we, should we, begin to assemble a system of alliances similar to what we had during the Cold War — with NATO in Europe and Asian security pacts with Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand? Should we adopt a policy of containment of Communist China, which, says Pompeo, is an expansionist and “imperialist” power?

Should we start issuing war guarantees to China’s neighbors? Should we start putting down red lines China will not be allowed to cross?

Before we plunged into our half dozen Middle East wars, we didn’t think through where those would end. Have we considered where all our belated bellicosity toward Beijing must invariably lead, and how this all ends?

creators.comThe views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

The Future for China

Source

The Future for China

July 15, 2020

by Eric Zuesse for the Saker Blog

On July 14th, the two conjoined gangster-regimes, U.S. & UK, simultaneously started, with deadly seriousness, their aggressive economic war against China.

Business Insider headlined “US Navy warship challenges China in South China Sea as US blasts Beijing’s ‘unlawful’ claims and ‘gangster tactics’” and reported that,

After the US Department of State declared Beijing’s maritime claims in the South China Sea and efforts to assert dominance to be unlawful, the US Navy destroyer USS Ralph Johnson further challenged China with a sail-by operation.

The Navy released a couple of photos on Tuesday of the destroyer sailing near the contested Spratly Islands, and a Navy spokesman confirmed that the ship conducted a freedom-of-navigation operation in the area.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) steams near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Ralph Johnson is deployed conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts for a free and open Indo-Pacific. U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Anthony Collier

On the same day, Russia’s RT headlined “George Galloway: UK ban on Huawei is national self-harm. China’s riposte could devastate the ailing British economy”, and he reported that

Having alienated the remaining 27 members of the European Union and set Anglo-Russian relations back a century, Boris Johnson has just declared an economic war on China. … The proximate reason – that allowing Huawei into Britain’s 5G roll-out is a “security risk” – is patently false. If that were true for 5G, it would be true of 3 and 4G. If it were true then the company would have to be banished now, not in 2027 (by when, incidentally, 5G will be so last year).

There is not a shred, not a scintilla, not a jot or tittle, of evidence that Huawei has ever done anything wrong during its highly successful penetration of the British market, from which Britain has economically benefited mightily.

And if Chinese investment in 5G is not wanted – indeed, is being ejected – what of China’s powerful stake in Britain’s energy sector? What happens if China pulls the plugs on its nuclear power stations? Do all our lights go out? Has anyone thought this Chinese Kick-Away through? … BoJo’s decision to throw the Huawei 5G deal on the scrapheap shows UK poodle still obeys its US master

In this triple whammy of sanctions, gunboats and settlement, the brassy note of Jingoism plays ‘Rule Britannia’, but no one seems to have noticed that China is a vastly richer and more powerful adversary than it was when we extorted Hong Kong from them in punishment for their attempt to halt the flood of British opium into China which caused the addiction of 90 million Chinese people.

The economic sanctions imposed on China in the Huawei affair will be returned several-fold by Beijing.

Galloway might be correct, that China will be able to survive UK’s attempts to stifle China’s rise as a global economic competitor to the UK-U.S. empire, but if the U.S. is allowed to block China’s shipments through the South China Sea, then the war against China has already been won. It’s much more serious.

China has internationally been losing each one of the major rounds in its territorial disputes regarding its territorial claims in the South China Sea. It’s as if the U.S. were losing territorial claims in the Caribbean, except that the South China Sea is far more geostrategically important to China than the Caribbean is to the United States. So, China’s losses here are geostrategic ones. Those are disputes versus the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia, and the U.S. regime has played a decisive role in each case on the basis of its bilateral treaties, such as the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty, which enables the Philippines to call upon U.S. military backing in case the Philippines needs muscle in order to assert a territorial claim against another country, such as, say, China, which is the giant in their neighborhood.

U.S. President Harry S. Truman strongly disagreed with his predecessor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s, opposition to imperialism, and he went for it almost as soon as he became the U.S. President. Actually, he became President at FDR’s death on 12 April 1945, and then, less than four months later, on 26 July 1945, committed himself to the Military-Industrial Complex’s dream of establishing an all-encompassing U.S. global empire. He made that decision, on 26 July 1945, which subsequently created the coups, military invasions, importations of thousands of Nazi officials into The West, to help America’s fight against the Soviet Union, and construction of the CIA’a program to control what international ‘news’ would be off-limits to report in the U.S., and in its vassal-nations.

Elliott Roosevelt, FDR’s son who accompanied his father during crucial international meetings, felt that Truman was a traitor to his father’s anti-imperialistic legacy. FDR, according to his son, Elliott, also wasn’t too fond of Churchill, who agreed with Truman because Churchill had always been a champion of British imperialism and he needed U.S. acceptance of that.

Elliott wrote:

——

https://www.mtholyoke.edu/

Roosevelt and Churchill Discuss Colonial Questions, August 10, 1941, excerpt from Elliott Roosevelt, As He Saw It (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1946).”

Father [FDR] started it.

“Of course,” he remarked, with a sly sort of assurance, “of course, after the war, one of the preconditions of any lasting peace will have to be the greatest possible freedom of trade.”

He paused. The P.M.’s [Churchill’s] head was lowered; he was watching Father steadily, from under one eyebrow.

“No artificial barriers,” Father pursued. “As few favored economic agreements as possible. Opportunities for expansion. Markets open for healthy competition.” His eye wandered innocently around the room.

Churchill shifted in his armchair. “The British Empire trade agreements,” he began heavily, “are — ”

Father broke in. “Yes. Those Empire trade agreements are a case in point. It’s because of them that the people of India and Africa, of all the colonial Near East and Far East, are still as backward as they are.”

Churchill’s neck reddened and he crouched forward. “Mr. President, England does not propose for a moment to lose its favored position among the British Do-minions. The trade that has made England great shall continue, and under conditions prescribed by England’s ministers.”

You see,” said Father slowly, “it is along in here somewhere that there is likely to be some disagreement between you, Winston, and me.

I am firmly of the belief that if we are to arrive at a stable peace it must involve the development of backward countries. Backward peoples. How can this be done? It can’t be done, obviously, by eighteenth-century methods. Now — ”

Who’s talking eighteenth-century methods?”

Whichever of your ministers recommends a policy which takes wealth in raw materials out of a colonial country, but which returns nothing to the people of that country in consideration. Twentieth-century methods involve bringing industry to these colonies. Twentieth-century methods include increasing the wealth of a people by increasing their standard of living, by educating them, by bringing them sanitation — by making sure that they get a return for the raw wealth of their community.”

Around the room, all of us were leaning forward attentively. [Harry] Hopkins [a major FDR adviser] was grinning. Commander [C. R.] Thompson, Churchill’s aide, was looking glum and alarmed. The P.M. himself was beginning to look apoplectic.

“You mentioned India,” he growled.

“Yes. I can’t believe that we can fight a war against fascist slavery, and at the same time not work to free people all over the world from a backward colonial policy”

What about the Philippines?”

I’m glad you mentioned them. They get their independence, you know, in 1946. And they’ve gotten modern sanitation, modern education; their rate of illiteracy has gone steadily down

There can be no tampering with the Empire’s economic agreements.”

They’re artificial …”

They’re the foundation of our greatness.”

The peace,” said Father firmly, “cannot include any continued despotism. The structure of the peace demands and will get equality of peoples. Equality of peoples involves the utmost freedom of competitive trade. …”

It was after two in the morning when finally the British party said their good nights. I helped Father into his cabin, and sat down to smoke a last cigarette with him.

Father grunted. “A real old Tory, isn’t he? A real old Tory, of the old school.”

“I thought for a minute he was [you were] going to bust, Pop.”

“Oh,” he smiled, “I’ll be able to work with him. Don’t worry about that. We’ll get along famously.”

“So long as you keep off the subject of India.”

“Mmm, I don’t know. I think we’ll even talk some more about India, before we’re through. And Burma. And Java. And Indo-China. And Indonesia. And all the African colonies. And Egypt and Palestine. We’ll talk about ’em all.”

http://east_west_dialogue.

At the Casablanca Conference

A similar kind of discussion occurred between Roosevelt and Churchill at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943. The following is Elliott’s description of his father’s talk with him one evening during that meeting:

His thoughts turned to the problem of the colonies and the colonial markets, the problem which he felt was at the core of all chance for future peace. ‘The thing is,’ he remarked thoughtfully, replacing a smoked cigarette in his holder with a fresh one, ‘the colonial system means war. Exploit the resources of an India, a Burma, a Java; take all the wealth out of those countries, but never put anything back into them, things like education, decent standards of living, minimum health requirements — all you’re doing is storing up the kind of trouble that leads to war. All you’re doing is negating the value of any kind of organizational structure for peace before it begins.

‘The look that Churchill gets on his face when you mention India!

India should be made a commonwealth at once. After a certain number of years — five perhaps, or ten — she should be able to choose whether she wants to remain in the Empire or have complete independence.

As a commonwealth, she would be entitled to a modern form of government, an adequate health and educational standard. But how can she have these things, when Britain is taking all the wealth of her national resources away from her, every year? Every year the Indian people have one thing to look forward to, like death and taxes. Sure as shooting, they have a famine. The season of the famine, they call it.’

He paused for a moment, thinking.

‘I must tell Churchill what I found out about his British Gambia today,’ he said, with a note of determination.

‘At Bathurst?’ I prompted.

This morning,’ he said, and now there was real feeling in his voice, ‘at about eight-thirty, we drove through Bathurst to the airfield. The natives were just getting to work. In rags … glum-looking. … They told us the natives would look happier around noontime, when the sun should have burned off the dew and the chill. I was told the prevailing wages for these men was one and nine. One shilling, ninepence. Less than fifty cents.’

An hour?’ I asked, foolishly.

A {day!} Fifty cents a {day!} Besides which, they’re given a half-cup of rice.’ He shifted uneasily in his big bed. ‘Dirt, disease. Very high mortality rate. I asked. Life expectancy — you’d never guess what it was. Twenty-six years. Those people are treated worse than the livestock. Their cattle live longer!’

He was silent for a moment.

Churchill may have thought I wasn’t serious, last time. He’ll find out, this time.’ He looked at me thoughtfully for a moment. ‘How is it, where you are? How is it in Algeria?’ he asked.

I told him it was the same story. Rich country, rich resources, natives desperately poor, a few white colonials that lived very well, a few native princes that lived very well, otherwise poverty, disease, ignorance. He nodded.

And then he went on to tell of what he thought should be done: France to be restored as a world power, then to be entrusted with her former colonies, as a trustee. As trustee, she was to report each year on the progress of her stewardship, how the literacy rate was improving, how the death rate declining, how disease being stamped out, how. …

Wait a minute,’ I interrupted. ‘Who’s she going to report all this to?’

The organization of the United Nations, when it’s been set up,’ answered Father. It was the first time I’d ever heard of this plan. ‘How else?’ I asked Father. ‘The Big Four — ourselves, Britain, China, the Soviet Union — we’ll be responsible for the peace of the world after. …

‘… It’s already high time for us to be thinking of the future, building for it. … These great powers will have to assume the tasks of bringing education, raising the standards of living, improving the health conditions — of all the backward, depressed colonial areas of the world.

And when they’ve had a chance to reach maturity, they must have the opportunity extended them of independence. After the United Nations as a whole have decided that they are prepared for it.

If this isn’t done, we might as well agree that we’re in for another war.’

https://www.marxists.org/

Elliott’s book as quoted in the 17 September 1946 Look Magazine:

Father remarked,” says Elliott Roosevelt, “on how British and French financiers had dredged riches out of colonies. …” He continued later, “How do they belong to France? Why does Morocco, inhabited by Moroccans, belong to France? By what logic and custom and historical rule?”

——

Obviously, Winston Churchill’s dream came true when FDR died on 12 April 1945 and became replaced by Truman.

Among those statements by FDR, the one specifically regarding the Philippines has particular relevance today. The 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty violated what FDR had said to Churchill, “I’m glad you mentioned them. They get their independence, you know, in 1946.” That U.S. commitment, “freedom,” to the Philippine nation, had already been made. He promised to Churchill that it would be fulfilled, and that therefore Churchill would not be able to say that America is an imperialist power as England is. It was a basic commitment from him. Furthermore, FDR said:

No artificial barriers,” Father pursued. “As few favored economic agreements as possible. Opportunities for expansion. Markets open for healthy competition.” His eye wandered innocently around the room.

Churchill shifted in his armchair. “The British Empire trade agreements,” he began heavily, “are — ”

Father broke in. “Yes. Those Empire trade agreements are a case in point. It’s because of them that the people of India and Africa, of all the colonial Near East and Far East, are still as backward as they are.”

And: “‘The peace,’ said Father firmly, ‘cannot include any continued despotism. The structure of the peace demands and will get equality of peoples.’”

He linked bilateral, and also multilateral, trade treaties, to the creation of both World Wars. The United States, after his death, has used them in exactly the same way — building toward a WW III. Truman was the death of FDR’s plan. For example, Barack Obama’s proposed TTIP international-trade treaty for the Pacific was specifically designed against China, so as to isolate and diminish China in international trade — precisely the sorts of things that FDR had condemned in his statements to Churchill. Obama was an anti-FDR, pro-Truman, Democrat, who repeatedly emphasized, “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation.” Every other nation is “dispensable.” Hitler had agreed with Obama’s view, except that in Hitler’s mind, Germany was the only indispensable nation.

In a sense, Hitler posthumously won WW II. His ideology, imperialistic fascism certainly did.

The Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, condemns U.S. imperialism and repels any dependency of his country upon the U.S. military. He explains “I have nothing against America. They’re perfectly alright. Trump is my friend. But my foreign policy has shifted from the pro-Western one. I am now working on alliance with China, and I hope to start a good working relationship with Russia. Why? Because the Western world, the EU, and everything – it’s all this double talk.”

CONSEQUENTLY:

The path forward for China will be increasingly for China to serve as a defender of the independence of the nations in its area (such as the Philippines), so that they won’t need to accept the U.S. regime’s offers of military assistance. Either this, or else China itself will cede control of its own neighborhood over to a distant enemy-nation, the ceaselessly grasping U.S. regime, and might as well just quit altogether, and become an American pawn itself.

Either all of the nations in that area will thrive together, or else the U.S.-UK alliance will succeed at crushing and swallowing-up them all.

This means that in the conflicts that China has with its nearby nations, China must grant those nations’ interests as being also China’s interests. China must accept its obligation to defend their interests in order to become enabled to assert its own. Only if this is done will those nearby nations ally with China against the U.S. Empire, not just militarily, but also in regard to commerce and trade. For China not to take on this obligation would be unacceptable, not only for China, but for the entire world. Regardless of what China wants, China has this obligation, now, to protect its region, against America’s billionaires, and their military, and their corporations.

However, the U.S. regime’s unmistakable threat now to block China’s freight-traffic through the South China Sea will succeed if China becomes the first side to attack and tries to down any U.S. forces there. Even if the U.S. strikes without warning and with no clear excuse, China will need to hold back for a while, before retaliating. The U.S. has arrayed an awesome striking force in that area. China will have to wait until the U.S. attacks it first, in any event, but now is the time for China to negotiate with its neighbors. Otherwise China will have almost the whole world against it, if China provides the bad optics of having been the first to strike.

During this time, therefore, China needs to be negotiating with each of the other regional players in order to persuade each one that only a unified facing-down against the U.S. in that region can even possibly salvage the independence of each one of them from now on. Russia may also need to be brought into the arrangement as a protector of China, just in case the U.S. turns out to be uncompromising in its intention to take over the entire world. Either Russia will soon enter this new World War that the UK-U.S. regimes are already waging, or else Russia will be forced to enter it only after Russia’s major allies will already have been swallowed-up by the U.S. The safer choice for Russia is consequently to enter the war sooner, as a guarantor for their side, their allies, the independent nations, than to enter it after those nations have already been defeated and swallowed-up.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

US Calls China the New East India Company at Sea

Source

July 14, 2020

US China flags

A senior US official on Tuesday likened China’s state enterprises to Britain’s colonizing East India Company as Washington takes a tougher stance against Beijing in the dispute-rife South China Sea.

A day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo branded most of Beijing’s claims in the sea illegal, his top aide for East Asia denounced a proliferation of rigs, survey ships and fishing boats sent by Chinese state-run companies.

Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell said that oil major CNOOC and other firms were serving as “battering rams” to intimidate other nations.

“In all our societies, citizens deserve to know the differences between commercial enterprises and instruments of foreign state power,” Stilwell said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“These state enterprises are modern-day equivalents of the East India Company,” he said.

The British East India Company seized control of most of the Indian subcontinent in the guise of trading in tea, cotton, spices and other goods before Britain formally took charge in the mid-19th century.

The reference is especially loaded due to the East India Company’s role in smuggling opium into China, culminating in Britain’s 1843 colonization of Hong Kong — the start of what Beijing calls a century of humiliation.

China has recently triggered international outrage by clamping down on freedoms promised to Hong Kong before Britain handed back the financial hub in 1997.

In the latest rift between the United States and China, Pompeo on Monday sided with the Philippines, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations in rejecting China’s vast claims in the South China Sea.

The United States had previously said that China’s claims were unlawful but had taken no explicit position on individual disputes in the resource-rich and strategic sea.

Stilwell renewed US concerns on China’s long-running talks with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on a South China Sea code of conduct, whose target date of next year has been pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Beijing may have backed off its arbitrary 2021 deadline for concluding the talks, but its hegemonic goals remain,” Stilwell said.

While the United States has no claims in the sea, he warned that US interests were “clearly at stake” in the code of conduct.

“A code of conduct that in any way legitimates Beijing’s reclamation, militarization or unlawful maritime claims would be severely damaging, and unacceptable for many nations,” he said.

Source: AFP

Kazakhstan may hold the secret for Greater Eurasia

Source

July 06, 2020

Kazakhstan may hold the secret for Greater Eurasia

Submitted by Pepe Escobar – source Asia Times

The no holds barred US-China strategic competition may be leading us to the complete fragmentation of the current “world-system” – as Wallerstein defined it.

Yet compared to the South China Sea, the Korean peninsula, the Taiwan Straits, India-China’s Himalayan border, and selected latitudes of the Greater Middle East, Central Asia shines as a portrait of stability.

That’s quite intriguing, when we consider that the chessboard reveals the interests of top global players intersecting right in the heart of Eurasia.

And that brings us to a key question: How could Kazakhstan, the 9th largest country in the world, manage to remain neutral in the current, incandescent geopolitical juncture? What are the lineaments of what could be described as the Kazakh paradox?

These questions were somewhat answered by the office of First President Nursultan Nazarbayev. I had discussed some of them with analysts when I was in Kazakhstan late last year. Nazarbayev could not answer them directly because he has just recently recovered from Covid-19 and is currently in self-isolation.

It all harks back to what was Kazakhstan really like when the USSR dissolved in 1991. The Kazakhs inherited a quite complex ethno-demographic structure, with the Russian-speaking population concentrated in the north; unresolved territorial issues with China; and geographical proximity to extremely unstable Afghanistan, then in a lull before the all-out warlord conflagration of the early 1990s which created the conditions for the emergence of the Taliban.

To make it even harder, Kazakhstan was landlocked.

All of the above might have led to Kazakhstan either dispatched to political limbo or mired in a perpetual Balkan scenario.

Have soft power, will travel

Enter Nazarbayev as a fine political strategist. From the beginning, he saw Kazakhstan as a key player, not a pawn, in the Grand Chessboard in Eurasia.

A good example was setting up the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building measures in Asia (CICA) in 1992, based on the principle of “indivisibility of Asian security”, later proposed to the whole of Eurasia.

Nazarbayev also made the crucial decision to abandon what was at the time the fourth nuclear missile potential on the planet – and a major trump card in international relations. Every major player in the arc from the Middle East to Central Asia knew that selected Islamic nations were extremely interested in Kazakhstan’s nuclear arsenal.

Nazarbayev bet on soft power instead of nuclear power. Unlike the DPRK, for instance, he privileged Kazakhstan’s integration in the global economy in favorable terms instead of relying on nuclear power to establish national security. He was certainly paving the way for Kazakhstan to be regarded as a trustworthy, get down to business neutral player and a mediator in international relations.

The trust and goodwill towards Kazakhstan is something I have seen for myself in my pan-Eurasia travels and in conversations with analysts from Turkey and Lebanon to Russia and India.

The best current example is Astana, currently Nur-sultan, becoming the HQ of that complex work in progress: the Syrian peace process, coordinated by Iran, Turkey and Russia – following the crucial, successful Kazakh mediation to solve the Moscow-Ankara standoff after the downing of a Sukhoi Su-24M near the Syria-Turkish border in November 2015.

And on the turbulent matter of Ukraine post-Maidan in 2014, Kazakhstan simultaneously kept good relations with Kiev and the West and its strategic partnership with Russia.

As I discussed late last year, Nur-sultan is now actively taking the role of the new Geneva: the capital of diplomacy for the 21st century.

The secret of this Kazakh paradox is the capacity of delicately balancing relations with the three main players – Russia, China and the US – as well as leading regional powers. Nazarbayev’s office boldly argues that can be even translated to Nur-sultan placed as the ideal venue for US-China negotiations: “We are tightly embedded in the US-China-Russia triangle and have built trusting relationships with each of them.”

In the heart of Eurasia

And that brings us to why Kazakhstan – and Nazarbayev personally – are so much involved in promoting their special concept of Greater Eurasia – which overlaps with the Russian vision, discussed in extensive detail at the Valdai Club.

Nazarbayev managed to set a paradigm in which none of the big players feel compelled to exercize a monopoly on Kazak maneuvering. That inevitably led Kazakhstan to expand its foreign policy reach.

Strategically, Kazakhstan is smack in the geographical heart of Eurasia, with huge borders with Russia and China, as well as Iran in the Caspian Sea. Its territory is no less than a top strategic bridge uniting the whole of Eurasia.

The Kazakh approach goes way beyond connectivity (trade and transport), two key planks of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), to get closer to the converging vision of BRI and the Russian-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU): a single, integrated Eurasian space.

Nazarbayev sees the integration of the Central Asian “stans” with Russia and with Turkic-speaking countries, including of course Turkey, as the foundation for his concept of Greater Eurasia.

The inevitable corollary is that the Atlanticist order – as well as the Anglo-American predominance in international relations – is waning, and certainly does not suit Asia and Eurasia. A consensus is forming across many key latitudes that the driving force for the reboot of the global economy post-Covid-19 – and even a new paradigm – will come from Asia.

In parallel, Nazarbayev’s office make a crucial point: “A purely Asian or Eastern answer is unlikely to suit the collective West, which is also in search of optimal models of the world’s structure. The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative clearly showed that Western countries are not psychologically ready to see China as a leader.”

Nur-sultan nonetheless remains convinced that the only possible solution would be exactly a new paradigm in international relations. Nazarbayev argues that the keys to solve the current turmoil are not located in Moscow, Beijing or Washington, but in a strategic transit node, like Kazakhstan, where the interests of all global players intersect.

Thus the push for Kazakhstan – one of the key crossroads between Europe and Asia, alongside Turkey and Iran – to become the optimal mediator allowing Greater Eurasia to flourish in practice. That is the uplifting option: otherwise, we seem condemned to live through another Cold War.

Central Downtown Nur-Sultan: in center Bayterek tower

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