A LEMMING LEADING THE LEMMINGS: SLAVOJ ZIZEK AND THE TERMINAL COLLAPSE OF THE ANTI-WAR LEFT

JUNE 23RD, 2022

JONATHAN COOK

Have you noticed how every major foreign policy crisis since the U.S. and U.K.’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 has peeled off another layer of the left into joining the pro-NATO, pro-war camp?

It is now hard to remember that many millions marched in the U.S. and Europe against the attack on Iraq. It sometimes feels like there is no one left who is not cheerleading the next wave of profits for the West’s military-industrial complex (usually referred to as the “defense industry” by those very same profiteers).

Washington learned a hard lesson from the unpopularity of its 2003 attack on Iraq aimed at controlling more of the Middle East’s oil reserves. Ordinary people do not like seeing the public coffers ransacked or suffering years of austerity, simply to line the pockets of Blackwater, Halliburton, and Raytheon. And all the more so when such a war is sold to them on the basis of a huge deception.

So since then, the U.S. has been repackaging its neocolonialism via proxy wars that are a much easier sell. There have been a succession of them: Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iran, Venezuela and now Ukraine. Each time, a few more leftists are lured into the camp of the war hawks by the West’s selfless, humanitarian instincts – promoted, of course, through the barrel of a Western-supplied arsenal. That process has reached its nadir with Ukraine.

NUCLEAR FACE-OFF

recently wrote about the paranoid ravings of celebrity “left-wing” journalist Paul Mason, who now sees the Kremlin’s hand behind any dissension from a full-throttle charge towards a nuclear face-off with Russia.

Behind the scenes, he has been sounding out Western intelligence agencies in a bid to covertly deplatform and demonetize any independent journalists who still dare to wonder whether arming Ukraine to the hilt or recruiting it into NATO – even though it shares a border that Russia views as existentially important – might not be an entirely wise use of taxpayers’ money.

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It is not hard to imagine that Mason is representative of the wider thinking of establishment journalists, even those who claim to be on the left.

But I want to take on here a more serious proponent of this kind of ideology than the increasingly preposterous Mason. Because swelling kneejerk support for U.S. imperial wars – as long, of course, as Washington’s role is thinly disguised – is becoming ever more common among leftwing academics too.

The latest cheerleader for the military-industrial complex is Slavoj Zizek, the famed Slovenian philosopher and public intellectual whose work has gained him international prominence. His latest piece – published where else but The Guardian – is a morass of sloppy thinking, moral evasion and double speak. Which is why I think it is worth deconstructing. It encapsulates all the worst geostrategic misconceptions of Western intellectuals at the moment.

Zizek, who is supposedly an expert on ideology and propaganda, and has even written and starred in a couple of documentaries on the subject, seems now to be utterly blind to his own susceptibility to propaganda.

COD PSYCHOLOGY

He starts, naturally enough, with a straw man: that those opposed to the West’s focus on arming Ukraine rather than using its considerable muscle to force Kyiv and Moscow to the negotiating table are in the wrong. Opposition to dragging out the war for as long as possible, however many Ukrainians and Russians die, with the aim of “weakening Russia”, as US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wants; and opposition to leaving millions of people in poorer parts of the world to be plunged deeper into poverty or to starve is equated by Zizek to “pacifism.”

“Those who cling to pacifism in the face of the Russian attack on Ukraine remain caught in their own version of [John Lennon’s song] ‘Imagine’,” writes Zizek. But the only one dwelling in the world of the imaginary is Zizek and those who think like him.

The left’s mantra of “Stop the war!” can’t be reduced to kneejerk pacifism. It derives from a political and moral worldview. It opposes the militarism of competitive, resource-hungry nation-states. It opposes the war industries that not only destroy whole countries but risk global nuclear annihilation in advancing their interests. It opposes the profit motive for a war that has incentivised a global elite to continue investing in planet-wide rape and pillage rather than addressing a looming ecological catastrophe. All of that context is ignored in Zizek’s lengthy essay.

Instead, he prefers to take a detour into cod psychology, telling us that Russian president Vladimir Putin sees himself as Peter the Great. Putin will not be satisfied simply with regaining the parts of Ukraine that historically belonged to Russia and have always provided its navy with its only access to the Black Sea. No, the Russian president is hell-bent on global conquest. And Europe is next – or so Zizek argues.

Even if we naively take the rhetoric of embattled leaders at face value (remember those weapons of mass destruction Iraq’s Saddam Hussein supposedly had?), it is still a major stretch for Zizek to cite one speech by Putin as proof that the Russian leader wants his own version of the Third Reich.

Not least, we must address the glaring cognitive dissonance at the heart of the Western, NATO-inspired discourse on Ukraine, something Zizek refuses to do. How can Russia be so weak it has managed only to subdue small parts of Ukraine at great military cost, while it is at the same time a military superpower poised to take over the whole of Europe?

Zizek is horrified by Putin’s conceptual division of the world into those states that are sovereign and those that are colonized. Or as he quotes Putin observing: “Any country, any people, any ethnic group should ensure their sovereignty. Because there is no in-between, no intermediate state: either a country is sovereign, or it is a colony, no matter what the colonies are called.”

SOVEREIGN OR COLONIZED?

The famed philosopher reads this as proof that Russia wants as its colonies: “Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Finland, the Baltic states … and ultimately Europe itself”. But if he weren’t so blinded by NATO ideology, he might read Putin’s words in a quite different way. Isn’t Putin simply restating Washington realpolitik? The U.S., through NATO, is the real sovereign in Europe and is pushing its sovereignty ever closer to Russia’s borders.

Putin’s concern about Ukraine being colonized by the U.S. military-industrial complex is essentially the same as U.S. concerns in the 1960s about the Soviet Union filling Cuba with its nuclear missiles. Washington’s concern justified a confrontation that moved the world possibly the closest it has ever come to nuclear annihilation.

Both Russia and the U.S. are wedded to the idea of their own “spheres of influence”. It is just that the U.S. sphere now encircles the globe through many hundreds of overseas military bases. By contrast, the West cries to the heavens when Russia secures a single military base in Crimea.

We may not like the sentiments Putin is espousing, but they are not especially his. They are the reality of the framework of modern military power the West was intimately involved in creating. It was our centuries of colonialism – our greed and theft – that divided the world into the sovereign and the colonized. Putin is simply stating that Russia needs to act in ways that ensure it remains sovereign, rather than joining the colonized.

We may disagree with Putin’s perception of the threat posed by NATO, and the need to annex eastern Ukraine, but to pretend his speech means that he aims for world domination is nothing more than the regurgitation of a CIA talking point.

Zizek, of course, intersperses this silliness with more valid observations, like this one: “To insist on full sovereignty in the face of global warming is sheer madness since our very survival hinges on tight global cooperation.” Of course, it is madness. But why is this relevant to Putin and his supposed “imperial ambition”? Is there any major state on the planet – those in Europe, the United States, China, Brazil, Australia – that has avoided this madness, that is seeking genuine “tight global cooperation” to end the threat of climate breakdown.

No, our world is in the grip of terminal delusion, propelled ever closer to the precipice by capitalism’s requirement of endless economic growth on a finite planet. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing great ecological damage, but so are lots of other things – including NATO’s rationalization of ever-expanding military budgets.


UKRAINIAN HEROISM

But Zizek has the bit between his teeth. He now singles out Russia because it is maneuvering to exploit the consequences of global warming, such as new trade routes opened up by a thawing Arctic.

“Russia’s strategic plan is to profit from global warming: control the world’s main transport route, plus develop Siberia and control Ukraine,” he writes. “In this way, Russia will dominate so much food production that it will be able to blackmail the whole world.”

But what does he imagine? As we transform the world’s climate and its trade routes, as new parts of the world turn into deserts, as whole populations are forced to make migrations to different regions, does he think only Putin and Russia are jostling to avoid sinking below the rising sea waters. Does he presume the policy hawks in Washington, or their satraps in Europe, have missed all this and are simply putting their feet up? In reality, maneuvering on the international stage – what I have called elsewhere a brutal nation-state version of the children’s party game musical chairs – has been going on for decades.

Ukraine is the latest front in a long-running war for resource control on a dying planet. It is another battleground in the renewed great power game that the U.S. revived by expanding NATO across Eastern Europe in one pincer movement and then bolstered it with its wars and proxy wars across the Middle East. Where was the urge for “tight global cooperation” then? To perceive Ukraine as simply the victim of Putin’s “imperialism” requires turning a blind eye to everything that has occurred since the fall of the Soviet Union three decades ago.

Zizek gets to the heart of what should matter in his next, throw-away line:

Those who advocate less support for Ukraine and more pressure on it to negotiate, inclusive of accepting painful territorial renunciations, like to repeat that Ukraine simply cannot win the war against Russia. True, but I see exactly in this the greatness of Ukrainian resistance.”

Zizek briefly recognises the reality of Ukraine’s situation – that it cannot win, that Russia has a bigger, better-equipped army – but then deflects to the “greatness” of Ukraine’s defiance. Yes, it is glorious that Ukrainians are ready to die to defend their country’s sovereignty. But that is not the issue we in the West need to consider when Kyiv demands we arm its resistance.

The question of whether Ukrainians can win, or whether they will be slaughtered, is highly pertinent to deciding whether we in the West should help drag out the war, using Ukrainians as cannon fodder, to no purpose other than our being able to marvel as spectators at their heroism. Whether Ukrainians can win is also pertinent to the matter of how urgent it is to draw the war to a close so that millions don’t starve in Africa because of the loss of crops, the fall in exports and rocketing fuel prices. And arming a futile, if valiant, Ukrainian struggle against Russia to weaken Moscow must be judged in the context that we risk backing Russia into a geostrategic corner – as we have been doing for more than two decades – from which, we may surmise, Moscow could ultimately decide to extricate itself by resorting to nuclear weapons.

INTELLECTUAL CUL DE SAC

Having propelled himself into an intellectual cul de sac, Zizek switches tack. He suddenly changes the terms of the debate entirely. Having completely ignored the U.S. role in bringing us to this point, he now observes:

Not just Ukraine, Europe itself is becoming the place of the proxy war between [the] U.S. and Russia, which may well end up by a compromise between the two at Europe’s expense. There are only two ways for Europe to step out of this place: to play the game of neutrality – a short-cut to catastrophe – or to become an autonomous agent.”

So, we are in a U.S. proxy war – one played out under the bogus auspices of NATO and its “defensive” expansion – but the solution to this problem for Europe is to gain its “autonomy” by …

Well, from everything Zizek has previously asserted in the piece, it seems such autonomy must be expressed by silently agreeing to the U.S. pumping Ukraine full of weapons to fight Russia in a proxy war that is really about weakening Russia rather than saving Ukraine. Only a world-renowned philosopher could bring us to such an intellectually and morally barren place.

The biggest problem for Zizek, it seems, isn’t the U.S. proxy war or Russian “imperialism”, it is the left’s disillusionment with the military industrial complex: “Their true message to Ukraine is: OK, you are victims of a brutal aggression, but do not rely on our arms because in this way you play into the hands of the industrial-military complex,” he writes.

But the concern here is not that Ukraine is playing into the arms of the war industries. It is that Western populations are being played by their leaders – and intellectuals like Zizek – so that they can be delivered, once again, into the arms of the military-industrial complex. The West’s war industries have precisely no interest in negotiations, which is why they are not taking place. It is also the reason why events over three decades have led us to a Russian invasion of Ukraine that most of Washington’s policy makers warned would happen if the U.S. continued to encroach on Russia’s “sphere of influence”.

The left’s message is that we are being conned yet again and that it is long past the time to start a debate. Those debates should have taken place when the U.S. broke its promise not to expand “one inch” beyond Germany. Or when NATO flirted with offering Ukraine membership 14 years ago. Or when the U.S. meddled in the ousting of the elected government of Ukraine in 2014. Or when Kyiv integrated neo-Nazi groups into the Ukrainian army and engaged in a civil war against the Russian parts of its own populace. Or when the U.S. and NATO allowed Kyiv – on the best interpretation – to ignore its obligations under the Minsk agreements with Russia.

None of those debates happened. Which is why a debate in the West is still needed now, at this terribly late stage. Only then might there be a hope that genuine negotiations can take place – before Ukraine is obliterated.

CANNON FODDER

Having exhausted all his hollow preliminary arguments, we get to Zizek’s main beef. With the world polarizing around a sole military superpower, the U.S., and a sole economic superpower, China, Europe and Russia may be forced into each other’s arms in a “Eurasian” block that would swamp European values. For Zizek, that would lead to “fascism”. He writes: “At that point, the European legacy will be lost, and Europe will be de facto divided between an American and a Russian sphere of influence. In short, Europe itself will become the place of a war that seems to have no end.”

Let us set aside whether Europe – all of it, parts of it? – is really a bulwark against fascism, as Zizek assumes. How exactly is Europe to find its power, its sovereignty, in this battle between superpowers? What vehicle is Zizek proposing to guarantee Europe’s autonomy, and how does it differ from the NATO one that is – even Zizek now seems to be conceding – actually just a vassal of the U.S., there to enforce Washington’s global-spanning “sphere of influence” against Russia and China.

Faced with this problem, Zizek quickly retreats into mindless sloganeering: “One cannot be a leftist if one does not unequivocally stand behind Ukraine.” This Bushism – “You are either with us or with the terrorists” – really is as foolish as it sounds.

What does “unequivocal” mean here? Must we “unequivocally stand behind” all of Ukraine’s actions – even should, say, neo-Nazi elements of the Ukrainian military like the Azov Brigade carry out pogroms against the ethnic Russian communities living in Ukraine?

But even more seriously, what does it mean for Europeans to stand “unequivocally” behind Ukraine? Must we approve the supply of U.S. weapons, even though, as Zizek also concedes, Ukraine cannot win the war and is serving primarily as a proxy battleground?

Would “unequivocal support” not require us to pretend that Europe, rather than the U.S., is in charge of NATO policy? Would it not require too that we pretend NATO’s actions are defensive rather intimately tied to advancing the U.S. “sphere of influence” designed to weaken Russia?

And how can our participation in the U.S. ambition to weaken Russia not provoke greater fear in Russia for its future, greater militarism in Moscow, and ensure Europe becomes more of a battleground rather than less of one?

What does “unequivocal” support for Ukraine mean given that Zizek has agreed that the U.S. and Russia are fighting a proxy war, and that Europe is caught in the middle of it? Zizek’s answer is no answer at all. It is nothing more than evasion. It is the rationalization of unprincipled European inaction, of acting as a spectator while the U.S. continues to use Ukrainians as cannon fodder.

MUDDYING THE WATERS

After thoroughly muddying the waters on Ukraine, Zizek briefly seeks safer territory as he winds down his argument. He points out, two decades on, that George W. Bush was similarly a war criminal in invading Iraq, and notes the irony that Julian Assange is being extradited to the U.S. because Wikileaks helped expose those war crimes. To even things up, he makes a counter-demand on “those who oppose Russian invasion” that they fight for Assange’s release – and in doing so implicitly accuses the anti-war movement of supporting Russia’s invasion.

He then plunges straight back into sloganeering in his concluding paragraph: “Ukraine fights for global freedom, inclusive of the freedom of Russians themselves. That’s why the heart of every true Russian patriot beats for Ukraine.” Maybe he should try telling that to the thousands of ethnic Russian families mourning their loved ones killed by the civil war that began raging in eastern Ukraine long before Putin launched his invasion and supposedly initiated his campaign for world domination. Those kinds of Ukrainians may beg to differ, as may Russians worried about the safety and future of their ethnic kin in Ukraine.

As with most things in life, there are no easy answers for Ukraine. But Zizek’s warmongering dressed up as European enlightenment and humanitarianism is a particularly wretched example of the current climate of intellectual and moral vacuity. What we need from public thinkers like Zizek is a clear-sighted roadmap for how we move back from the precipice we are rushing, lemming-like, towards. Instead he is urging us on. A lemming leading the lemmings.

Feature photo | Graphic by MintPress News

Jonathan Cook is a MintPress contributor. Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

The Future to the Back

June 02, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

‘For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places’.

Words recorded by Matthew in his Gospel, chapter 24, verse 7, April 33

‘It is Russia that is now at the forefront of the clash of civilisations’.

Boris Mezhuyev, Professor of Russian Philosophy at the VIII Russian Philosophical Congress in Moscow, 26 May 2022

We were promised the future. That of globalism. This was one in which the whole world would become ever more prosperous, though nobody would become as prosperous as the already prosperous elite of the Western world. So those living off a dollar a day would live off two dollars a day and those living off 10,000 dollars a day would live off 20,000 dollars a day. Sounds fair? And all this in a world where all would have the chance, if they wished, to dress like Americans, watch Hollywood films, eat at MacDonalds and drink coffee at Starbucks, that is, to live in a unipolar world, the only pole being the USA. And this world would by 2100 have reached its maximum population of perhaps 11 billion, up from today’s nearly 8 billion.

Then came some annoying people who pointed out that not everyone can live like that, even 8 billion of us, let alone 11 billion, in a world of finite resources and a warming climate (regardless of whether that warming was manmade or not).

And then there came covid (regardless of whether that was manmade or not) and some people of all races died from it. And then came some very annoying people who pointed out that if there is one pestilence, there can be another and another, far, far worse, like the American/Kansas flu of 1918-1920. Unlike covid, this killed perhaps 60 million, ten times more than covid, on a planet with a population less than a quarter of today’s, so was 40 times more lethal. And so, they concluded, anything people do is infinitely fragile, here today, gone tomorrow, and all our much-vaunted vast technology is useless against a mere tiny microbe. The balloon of arrogance was rather punctured.

And then, after pestilence, there came war in the Ukraine and the increasing realisation that actually the future that we were being promised, or rather, that was being imposed on us, was not one that we wanted. There had been just too many injustices down the centuries, not least inside Europe and caused by Europe outside Europe. Such were the ‘World Wars’, that is, the European Wars which Europe exported worldwide. What sort of future can you build, if it is built on the bones of the hundreds of millions of victims of genocide and injustice down the ages? And then came some even more annoying people who pointed out that not everyone wants to live according to that unipolar model. We do not want to be the slaves of Antichrist. And as we do not want that, then to defend Russia is actually to defend the world.

And so the future that had been proposed to us has gone to the back of our minds.

And so now we have to think about the future that we do want, in the front of our minds.

First of all, we know what we do not want. In the words of Sergei Lavrov in his interview with RT Arabic in Moscow on 26 May 2022:

‘Instead of delivering on their obligations under the UN Charter and honouring, as is written in this charter, the sovereign equality of states and abstaining from interfering in their domestic affairs, the West churns out ultimatums every day, issuing them through their ambassadors or envoys….blatantly blackmailing ….The reaction of Arab countries and almost all other countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America that we are seeing shows that these countries do not want to disregard their national dignity, running errands, in a servile manner, for their senior colleagues. This situation is yet another example of colonial thinking….It is wrong and regrettable, and flies in the face of the historical process, which objectively shows that a multipolar world is now taking shape’.

What does this mean, politically, economically and socially?

Firstly, politically we think that in the future every country, people, culture and religion should be respected. That does not mean that we will agree with each other, that there are no differences, it means that we accept the differences of others in freedom, but that we in no way feel obliged to follow other ways. In other words, our relations should be those of good neighbours, live and let live is what we do. We are not superior and narcissistic busybodies who carry out Blairite ‘humanitarian interventions’ in the sovereign rights of others, arrogantly trying to enforce our domination on the deluded pretext of do-gooding. Because we respect ourselves, so we respect others.

Secondly, economically we think that trade between different countries is normal, following the law of supply and demand, but that in the future all trade should be sustainable. Free trade very often becomes the law of the jungle. Free trade has to be regulated, to avoid exploitation, profiteering and the impoverishment of those countries which have fewer resources and advantages. Justice must reign in all international trading relations.

Thirdly, socially, we think that social justice for all in every country is essential. We realise that if you gave a million dollars each to twenty individuals, very quickly you would find that one had ten million dollars and that others had nothing. People are different. It is therefore part of the role of the State to provide some kind of safety net for the weak, without demotivating them from work, and also making sure that those who become rich do not abuse their wealth in order to obtain tyrannical power and commit injustices like gangsters. Money should be a tool to do good. Sadly, often it is not. We no longer want to live in a world in which there are massive gaps between rich and poor. The word ‘oligarch’ has been associated with Russia, only not the Russia we knew, but with the westernised and corrupt Russia of Yeltsin, which is now disintegrating. There will always be richer and poorer, yes, there will always be such. But why should there be multimillionaires, billionaires and even centibillionaires? There is something wrong with such a world, when at the same time there are so many desperately poor.

This is not an ideology, this is not an ism, it is a balance. If you press down on one end of a seesaw without a counterweight on the other end, there is no balance, no possible play. When the world is out of balance, disasters, especially wars, come. This is what has happened in the Ukraine. Retrieve the balance and all will work better. This is what the phrase ‘a multipolar world’ means, a balanced world.

So, the unipolar future to the back. And forward to the multipolar future.

Vladimir Putin addressed the plenary session of the 1st Eurasian Economic Forum

May 26, 2022

First Eurasian Economic Forum

Also attending the meeting were Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov, Prime Minister of Belarus Roman Golovchenko, and Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Mikhail Myasnikovich. The forum moderator was Alexander Shokhin, President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, member of the Presidium of the EAEU Business Council.

The purpose of the Eurasian Economic Forum, established by a decision of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council and timed to coincide with a meeting of the SEEC, is to further deepen economic cooperation between the EAEU member states.

The EEF 2022 in Bishkek, themed Eurasian Economic Integration in the Era of Global Shifts: New Investment Opportunities, will focus on promising areas for the strategic development of integration. The participants will discuss ways to deepen industrial, energy, transport, financial, and digital cooperation.

* * *

Address at the plenary session of the 1st Eurasian Economic Forum.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: I am grateful for this opportunity to address you, to speak on the issues which you [Alexander Shokhin] have raised and which, as you suggested, should be addressed in greater detail.

First of all, I would like to thank President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov and his team for organising this event. I can see many people in the audience, including businesspeople and government officials. I am sure that the media will take a keen interest in the forum.

This is what I would like to begin with when answering your question. The development of Eurasian integration has no connection whatsoever to current developments or market conditions. We established this organisation many years ago. In fact, we established it at the initiative of the First President of Kazakhstan [Nursultan Nazarbayev].

I remember very well the main conversation we had on that issue, on that subject, when he said, “You must choose what is more important to you: working more actively and more closely with your direct neighbours and natural partners, or prioritising, for example, admission to the World Trade Organisation.” It was in this connection that we had to make decisions.

And although we were interested in joining the WTO and in developing relations accordingly with our Western partners, as you said and as I continue to say, we nevertheless regarded as our main priority the development of relations with our direct and natural neighbours within the common economic framework of the Soviet Union. This is my first point.

The second. Already at that time, we started developing ties – I will speak about this later – within the framework of the Greater Eurasian Partnership. Our motivation was not the political situation but global economic trends, because the centre of economic development is gradually – we are aware of this, and our businesspeople are aware of this – is gradually moving, continues to move into the Asia-Pacific Region.

Of course, we understand the tremendous advantages of high technology in advanced economies. This is obvious. We are not going to shut ourselves off from it. There are attempts to oust us from this area a little but this is simply unrealistic in the modern world. It is impossible. If we do not separate ourselves by putting up a wall, nobody will be able to isolate such a country as Russia.

Speaking not only about Russia, but also about our partners in the EAEU and the world in general, this task is completely unfeasible. Moreover, those who are trying to fulfil it harm themselves the most. No matter how sustainable the economies of the countries pursuing this shortsighted policy are, the current state of the global economy shows that our position is right and justified, even in terms of macroeconomic indicators.

These advanced economies have not had such inflation for the past 40 years; unemployment is growing, logistics chains are breaking and global crises are growing in such sensitive areas as food. This is no joke. It is a serious factor affecting the entire system of economic and political relations.

Meanwhile, these sanctions and bans are aimed at constraining and weakening the countries that are pursuing an independent policy, and they ate not limited to Russia or even China. I do not doubt for a second that there are many countries that want to and will pursue an independent policy and their number is growing. No world policeman will be able to stop this global process. There will not be enough power for this and the desire to do so will evaporate due to a host of domestic problems in those countries. I hope they will eventually realise that this policy has no prospects whatsoever.

Violating rules and norms in international finances and trade is counterproductive. In simple words, it will only lead to problems for those who are doing it. Theft of foreign assets has never done any good to anyone, primarily those who are engaged in these unseemly deeds. As it has transpired now, neglect for the political and security interests of other countries leads to chaos and economic upheavals with global repercussions.

Western countries are sure that any persona non grata who has their own point of view and is ready to defend it can be deleted from the world economy, politics, culture and sports. In fact, this is nonsense, and, as I said, it is impossible to make this happen.

We can see it. Mr Shokhin, as a representative of our business, you certainly face problems, especially in the field of supply chains and transport, but nevertheless, everything can be adjusted, everything can be built in a new way. Not without losses at a certain stage, but it leads to the fact that we really become stronger in some ways. In any case, we are definitely acquiring new skills and are starting to focus our economic, financial, and administrative resources on breakthrough areas.

True, not all the import substitution goals were achieved in previous years. But it is impossible to achieve everything: life is faster than administrative decisions, it develops faster. But there is no problem. We have done everything necessary in key areas that ensure our sovereignty.

Let us move on. After all, import substitution is not a pill for every ill, and we are not going to deal exclusively with import substitution. We are just going to develop. But we will continue to arrange import substitution in those areas where we are forced to do so. Yes, maybe with some mixed results, but definitely we will only become stronger thanks to this, especially in the field of high technologies.

Look, after the CoCom lists – I have already spoken about this many times – after what you said about our work, for instance, within the same former G8 and so on, restrictions still remained. In the most sensitive areas, everything was still closed. In fact, fundamentally – I want to emphasise this – nothing has changed fundamentally.

These issues related to large-block assemblies and so on, it took so much effort to increase localisation within the country, in our economy, in the real sectors of the economy, in industry. And even then we did not agree on key issues in many respects.

Actually, import substitution was necessary

to create not just assembly shops, but also engineering centres and research centres. This is inevitable for any country that wants to increase its economic, financial and ultimately political sovereignty. It is inevitable.

This is why we have been doing it, and not because the current state of affairs demands it from us, but simply because life itself demanded this, and we were active.

And, of course, we will work actively within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union and within the CIS in general, we will work with the regions of Asia, Latin America and Africa. But I assure you, and you can see it yourselves, many of our companies from Europe, our partners from Europe, have announced that they are leaving. You know, sometimes when we look at those who are leaving, we ask ourselves: isn’t it a good thing that they have left? We will take up their niches: our business and our production – they have matured, and they will safely take root on the ground that our partners have prepared. Nothing will change.

And those who want to bring in some luxury goods, they will be able to do so. Well, it will be a little more expensive for them, but these are people who are already driving Mercedes S 600, and will continue to do so. I assure you, they will bring them from anywhere, from any country. That is not what is important for us. What is important for the country, for its development – I have already said this and I will repeat it – are the engineering centres and research centres that are the basis of our own development. This is what we must think about and what we must work on both within the EAEU and in a broad sense with our partners – those who want to cooperate with us.

We have a very good base that we inherited from the old days, we only need to support it and to invest resources there. As for those areas, in which we did not invest appropriate resources before, including, say, administrative resources, relying on the fact that everything can be bought by selling oil and gas, life itself has now forced us to invest there.

And thank God that this has happened. I do not see any problem here with the fact that we have not completed something in the field of import substitution. We will not do it just because the current economic situation forces us to do so, but only because it is in the interests of our country.

The Eurasian Economic Union has developed a roadmap for industrialisation, with over 180 projects with a total investment of over $300 billion. A programme for agricultural development has been prepared, including more than 170 projects worth $16 billion.

Russia has something to offer here, and businesspeople are well aware of this. We have grown to be highly competitive at the global level, in the global markets. Russia remains – if we speak about agriculture – the largest exporter of wheat, number one in the world. Until recently, we were buying it – now we are selling it, number one in the world. True, countries such as the United States or China produce even more, but they also consume more. But Russia has become number one in international trade.

Our high-tech industries are growing successfully, too. And we would like to continue growing together with our EAEU partners. We can and should restore our collaborative competencies.

I have discussed this with my colleagues, with the President of Kazakhstan and the Prime Minister of Armenia – not because some of Russia’s IT workers have moved to Armenia, not at all. They are free to relocate and work anywhere, and God bless them. But again, it is a certain challenge for us: it means we must create better conditions.

We have opportunities to work with the Republic of Belarus in a number of areas of cooperation, and we will definitely do this, because the Republic of Belarus has retained certain expertise that is very important for us, including in microelectronics. President Lukashenko and I just met in Sochi and talked about it, and even agreed to set aside funding for those projects in Belarus. The products that these enterprises, these industries will make will enjoy demand in Russia. This is a very interesting and promising area.

The EAEU countries have laid the foundation for a common digital landscape, including a unified products traceability system. Various platform solutions are being developed, for example, the Work without Borders search system. The project is very important for all our countries. Despite all the crises and challenges caused by the current political situation, labour migrants continue to send almost as much money home from Russia as before. Moreover, some countries are receiving even more money now, as my colleagues from the CIS have told me.

The practice of payments in national currencies is expanding, which is very important. Notably, their share in the mutual trade of the Union’s countries has already reached 75 percent. We will continue to work on interlinking our national payment systems and bank cards.

We believe it is important to expedite the dialogue on internal international financial and payment mechanisms, such as transitioning from SWIFT to direct correspondent contacts between the banks of the friendly countries, including through the Russian Central Bank’s financial messaging system. We also propose strengthening cooperation with key lending and financial centres in the Asia-Pacific Region.

New topics related to Eurasian integration include developing cooperation in green technology, environmental protection and energy saving. We expect to receive support and proactive suggestions from the business community.

Colleagues,

In the current international conditions when, unfortunately, traditional trade and economic links and supply chains are being disrupted, Russia’s initiative to form a Greater Eurasian Partnership– an initiative we have been discussing for many years – is gaining a special meaning.

We are thankful to the leaders of the EAEU countries for supporting this proposal from the very beginning. BRICS members such as China and India as well as several other countries also supported creating a Greater Eurasian Partnership. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, ASEAN and other organisations have shown interest in this initiative.

Here, I would like to mention several specific ideas pertaining to the comprehensive development of the Greater Eurasian Partnership.

First, it is reasonable to develop shared institutions for specific growth points, including creating a Eurasian export centre and trade houses, expediting the establishment of a Eurasian reinsurance company, examining the issue of developing special trans-border economic zones, probably even with supranational authority.

The second point. It is important to step up the EAEU’s cooperation with foreign partners and inform them about the benefits and advantages of working with the EAEU and of our key projects and plans. My colleagues know that interest in our association is growing. In this context, the EAEU Business Council could play a significant role. It is already successfully developing ties beyond our union. Its business dialogue system may become an example for a potential business cooperation platform in Greater Eurasia.

That said, as I have already noted, it would be desirable to support the freedom of business initiative, the creative activity of business, of our investors. I suggest creating additional, better incentives for this purpose and investing more in Eurasian projects. Naturally, the companies representing national businesses of the EAEU countries must receive priority support.

My third point. It is time to draft a comprehensive strategy for developing large-scale Eurasian partnership. It must reflect the key international challenges facing us, determine future goals and contain instruments and mechanisms for achieving them. We must consider further steps in developing our system of trade and investment agreements, in part, with the participation of the SCO, ASEAN and BRICS member countries.

In fact, we may draft new agreements that will develop and supplement WTO rules. In this context, it is important to pay attention not only to tariffs but also to the removal of non-tariff barriers. This may produce considerable results without subjecting our national economies to risks.

In conclusion, I would like to say the following. It would be no exaggeration to say that Greater Eurasia is a big civilisational project. The main idea is to create a common space for equitable cooperation for regional organisations. The Greater Eurasian Partnership is designed to change the political and economic architecture and guarantee stability and prosperity on the entire continent – naturally, taking account of the diverse development models, cultures and traditions of all nations. I am confident, and this is obvious anyway, that this centre would attract a big audience.

I would like to wish success and productive cooperation to all participants of the Eurasian Economic Forum.

Thank you for your attention. Thank you.

Sitrep: Zone B

April 18, 2022

Source

By Amarynth

By now everyone has read Andrei (The Saker’s) excellent essay on what he termed Zone A and Zone B.

Zone B exists, thus there is hope, I promise you!

This sitrep will look at three Zone B country actions, all driven by those that understand we are in a civilizational moment of change in our world.

Mexico:  A week ago, AMLO fulfilled his promise to the electorate and had what is generally called a re-call vote.  Simply, if you don’t like what I do, you can recall me right now and we will have new elections – a direct democracy action.  He won, by an astonishing 91.86 percent of the vote — or 15.1 million out of 16.5 million votes cast.  We can conclude that he is a popular president and the Mexican people are with him.

Yet, he has been under pressure for the same reasons that other Zone B countries are being pressurised.  He refused to criticize Russia’s actions and refused to join the sanctions regime.  In a moment of harsh pressure, he made a statement that again did not criticize Russia per se, but criticized war.   Today is the day that there is a discussion on energy sovereignty, and whereas I don’t know the minute details, this is a long term objective of AMLO.  I would read the tea leaves and suggest that the pressure on AMLO had to do with where Mexico sells its oil.

Given Mexico’s geographic position in the world, this looks like a very gutsy Zone B move to me.

Pakistan: Imran Khan was removed as Prime Minister of Pakistan via a very easy mechanism of regime change. A few of his key legislators joined the opposition and he found himself without a majority. He (and his remaining legislators) walked out, minutes before a new leader was elected, as they refused to be part of a US-imposed government structure. It did not end there. He called people to the streets to fight for the sovereign principles of a Zone B country.

Take a look:

Then, as usual, we find out the reason for this regime change. After the change of leader, Pakistan sent air attacks against Afghanistan. Under Khan, they refused to give space to US forces for a new attack base against Afghanistan, whether the Taliban is in control or not. China somewhat ‘adopted’ Afghanistan and is doing much work there to bring the Taliban into a fair governance position.

This is early days and we will see if the massive Zone B populace in the streets of Pakistan makes a difference.  Early elections are being called for.

And from Russia:

Do read the full article:  https://thecradle.co/Article/news/9248

Exclusive: Russian geo-economics Tzar Sergey Glazyev introduces the new global financial system

The world’s new monetary system, underpinned by a digital currency, will be backed by a basket of new foreign currencies and natural resources. And it will liberate the Global South from both western debt and IMF-induced austerity.

April 14 2022

By Pepe Escobar

Sergey Glazyev is a man living right in the eye of our current geopolitical and geo-economic hurricane. One of the most influential economists in the world, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and a former adviser to the Kremlin from 2012 to 2019, for the past three years he has helmed Moscow’s uber strategic portfolio as Minister in Charge of Integration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU).

https://media.thecradle.co/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Unknown-6.jpeg
Leading Russian economist Sergey Glazyev says a complete overhaul of the western-dominated global monetary and financial system is under works. And the world’s rising powers are buying into it. Photo Credit: The Cradle

Glazyev’s recent intellectual production has been nothing short of transformative, epitomized by his essay Sanctions and Sovereignty and an extensive discussion of the new, emerging geo-economic paradigm in an interview to a Russian business magazine.

In another of his recent essays, Glazyev comments on how “I grew up in Zaporozhye, near which heavy fighting is now taking place in order to destroy the Ukrainian Nazis, who never existed in my small Motherland. I studied at a Ukrainian school and I know Ukrainian literature and language well, which from a scientific point of view is a dialect of Russian. I did not notice anything Russophobic in Ukrainian culture. In the 17 years of my life in Zaporozhye, I have never met a single Banderist.”

Glazyev was gracious to take some time from his packed schedule to provide detailed answers to a first series of questions in what we expect to become a running conversation, especially focused to the Global South. This is his first interview with a foreign publication since the start of Operation Z. Many thanks to Alexey Subottin for the Russian-English translation.

The Cradle: You are at the forefront of a game-changing geo-economic development: the design of a new monetary/financial system via an association between the EAEU and China, bypassing the US dollar, with a draft soon to be concluded. Could you possibly advance some of the features of this system – which is certainly not a Bretton Woods III – but seems to be a clear alternative to the Washington consensus and very close to the necessities of the Global South?

Glazyev: In a bout of Russophobic hysteria, the ruling elite of the United States played its last “trump ace” in the hybrid war against Russia. Having “frozen” Russian foreign exchange reserves in custody accounts of western central banks, financial regulators of the US, EU, and the UK undermined the status of the dollar, euro, and pound as global reserve currencies. This step sharply accelerated the ongoing dismantling of the dollar-based economic world order.

Over a decade ago, my colleagues at the Astana Economic Forum and I proposed to transition to a new global economic system based on a new synthetic trading currency based on an index of currencies of participating countries. Later, we proposed to expand the underlying currency basket by adding around twenty exchange-traded commodities. A monetary unit based on such an expanded basket was mathematically modeled and demonstrated a high degree of resilience and stability.

At around the same time, we proposed to create a wide international coalition of resistance in the hybrid war for global dominance that the financial and power elite of the US unleashed on the countries that remained outside of its control. My book The Last World War: the USA to Move and Lose, published in 2016, scientifically explained the nature of this coming war and argued for its inevitability – a conclusion based on objective laws of long-term economic development. Based on the same objective laws, the book argued the inevitability of the defeat of the old dominant power.

Currently, the US is fighting to maintain its dominance, but just as Britain previously, which provoked two world wars but was unable to keep its empire and its central position in the world due to the obsolescence of its colonial economic system, it is destined to fail. The British colonial economic system based on slave labor was overtaken by structurally more efficient economic systems of the US and the USSR. Both the US and the USSR were more efficient at managing human capital in vertically integrated systems, which split the world into their zones of influence. A transition to a new world economic order started after the disintegration of the USSR. This transition is now reaching its conclusion with the imminent disintegration of the dollar-based global economic system, which provided the foundation of the United States global dominance.

The new convergent economic system that emerged in the PRC (People’s Republic of China) and India is the next inevitable stage of development, combining the benefits of both centralized strategic planning and market economy, and of both state control of the monetary and physical infrastructure and entrepreneurship. The new economic system united various strata of their societies around the goal of increasing common wellbeing in a way that is substantially stronger than the Anglo-Saxon and European alternatives. This is the main reason why Washington will not be able to win the global hybrid war that it started. This is also the main reason why the current dollar-centric global financial system will be superseded by a new one, based on a consensus of the countries who join the new world economic order.

In the first phase of the transition, these countries fall back on using their national currencies and clearing mechanisms, backed by bilateral currency swaps. At this point, price formation is still mostly driven by prices at various exchanges, denominated in dollars. This phase is almost over: after Russia’s reserves in dollars, euro, pound, and yen were “frozen,” it is unlikely that any sovereign country will continue accumulating reserves in these currencies. Their immediate replacement is national currencies and gold.

The second stage of the transition will involve new pricing mechanisms that do not reference the dollar. Price formation in national currencies involves substantial overheads, however, it will still be more attractive than pricing in ‘un-anchored’ and treacherous currencies like dollars, pounds, euro, and yen. The only remaining global currency candidate – the yuan – won’t be taking their place due to its inconvertibility and the restricted external access to the Chinese capital markets. The use of gold as the price reference is constrained by the inconvenience of its use for payments.

The third and the final stage on the new economic order transition will involve a creation of a new digital payment currency founded through an international agreement based on principles of transparency, fairness, goodwill, and efficiency. I expect that the model of such a monetary unit that we developed will play its role at this stage. A currency like this can be issued by a pool of currency reserves of BRICS countries, which all interested countries will be able to join. The weight of each currency in the basket could be proportional to the GDP of each country (based on purchasing power parity, for example), its share in international trade, as well as the population and territory size of participating countries.

In addition, the basket could contain an index of prices of main exchange-traded commodities: gold and other precious metals, key industrial metals, hydrocarbons, grains, sugar, as well as water and other natural resources. To provide backing and to make the currency more resilient, relevant international resource reserves can be created in due course. This new currency would be used exclusively for cross-border payments and issued to the participating countries based on a pre-defined formula. Participating countries would instead use their national currencies for credit creation, in order to finance national investments and industry, as well as for sovereign wealth reserves. Capital account cross-border flows would remain governed by national currency regulations.

The Cradle: Michael Hudson specifically asks that if this new system enables nations in the Global South to suspend dollarized debt and is based on the ability to pay (in foreign exchange), can these loans be tied to either raw materials or, for China, tangible equity ownership in the capital infrastructure financed by foreign non-dollar credit?

Glazyev: Transition to the new world economic order will likely be accompanied by systematic refusal to honor obligations in dollars, euro, pound, and yen. In this respect, it will be no different from the example set by the countries issuing these currencies who thought it appropriate to steal foreign exchange reserves of Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, Afghanistan, and Russia to the tune of trillions of dollars. Since the US, Britain, EU, and Japan refused to honor their obligations and confiscated the wealth of other nations which was held in their currencies, why should other countries be obliged to pay them back and to service their loans?

In any case, participation in the new economic system will not be constrained by the obligations in the old one. Countries of the Global South can be full participants of the new system regardless of their accumulated debts in dollars, euro, pound, and yen. Even if they were to default on their obligations in those currencies, this would have no bearing on their credit rating in the new financial system. Nationalization of extraction industry, likewise, would not cause a disruption. Further, should these countries reserve a portion of their natural resources for the backing of the new economic system, their respective weight in the currency basket of the new monetary unit would increase accordingly, providing that nation with larger currency reserves and credit capacity. In addition, bilateral swap lines with trading partner countries would provide them with adequate financing for co-investments and trade financing.

The Cradle: In one of your latest essays, The Economics of the Russian Victory, you call for “an accelerated formation of a new technological paradigm and the formation of institutions of a new world economic order.” Among the recommendations, you specifically propose the creation of “a payment and settlement system in the national currencies of the EAEU member states” and the development and implementation of “an independent system of international settlements in the EAEU, SCO and BRICS, which could eliminate critical dependence of the US-controlled SWIFT system.” Is it possible to foresee a concerted joint drive by the EAEU and China to “sell” the new system to SCO members, other BRICS members, ASEAN members and nations in West Asia, Africa and Latin America? And will that result in a bipolar geo-economy – the West versus The Rest?

Glazyev: Indeed, this is the direction where we are headed. Disappointingly, monetary authorities of Russia are still a part of the Washington paradigm and play by the rules of the dollar-based system, even after Russian foreign exchange reserves were captured by the west. On the other hand, the recent sanctions prompted extensive soul searching among the rest of the non-dollar-block countries. western ‘agents of influence’ still control central banks of most countries, forcing them to apply suicidal policies prescribed by the IMF. However, such policies at this point are so obviously contrary to the national interests of these non-western countries that their authorities are growing justifiably concerned about financial security.

You correctly highlight potentially central roles of China and Russia in the genesis of the new world economic order. Unfortunately, current leadership of the CBR (Central Bank of Russia) remains trapped inside the intellectual cul-de-sac of the Washington paradigm and is unable to become a founding partner in the creation of a new global economic and financial framework. At the same time, the CBR already had to face the reality and create a national system for interbank messaging which is not dependent on SWIFT, and opened it up for foreign banks as well. Cross-currency swap lines have been already set up with key participating nations. Most transactions between member states of the EAEU are already denominated in national currencies and the share of their currencies in internal trade is growing at a rapid pace.

A similar transition is taking place in trade with China, Iran, and Turkey. India indicated that it is ready to switch to payments in national currencies as well. A lot of effort is put in developing clearing mechanisms for national currency payments. In parallel, there is an ongoing effort to develop a digital non-banking payment system, which would be linked to gold and other exchange-traded commodities – the ‘stablecoins.’

Recent US and European sanctions imposed on the banking channels have caused a rapid increase in these efforts. The group of countries working on the new financial system only needs to announce the completion of the framework and readiness of the new trade currency and the process of formation of the new world financial order will accelerate further from there. The best way to bring it about would be to announce it at the SCO or BRICS regular meetings. We are working on that.  

The Cradle: This has been an absolutely key issue in discussions by independent analysts across the west. Was the Russian Central Bank advising Russian gold producers to sell their gold in the London market to get a higher price than the Russian government or Central Bank would pay? Was there no anticipation whatsoever that the coming alternative to the US dollar will have to be based largely on gold? How would you characterize what happened? How much practical damage has this inflicted on the Russian economy short-term and mid-term?

Glazyev: The monetary policy of the CBR, implemented in line with the IMF recommendations, has been devastating for the Russian economy. Combined disasters of the “freezing” of circa $400 billion of foreign exchange reserves and over a trillion dollars siphoned from the economy by oligarchs into western offshore destinations, came with the backdrop of equally disastrous policies of the CBR, which included excessively high real rates combined with a managed float of the exchange rate. We estimate this caused under-investment of circa 20 trillion rubles and under-production of circa 50 trillion rubles in goods.

Following Washington’s recommendations, the CBR stopped buying gold over the last two years, effectively forcing domestic gold miners to export full volumes of production, which added up to 500 tons of gold. These days the mistake and the harm it caused are very much obvious. Presently, the CBR resumed gold purchases, and, hopefully, will continue with sound policies in the interest of the national economy instead of ‘targeting inflation’ for the benefit of international speculators, as had been the case during the last decade.

The Cradle: The Fed as well as the ECB were not consulted on the freeze of Russian foreign reserves. Word in New York and Frankfurt is that they would have opposed it were they to have been asked. Did you personally expect the freeze? And did the Russian leadership expect it?

Glazyev: My book, The Last World War, that I already mentioned, which was published as far back as 2015, argued that the likelihood of this happening eventually is very high. In this hybrid war, economic warfare and informational/cognitive warfare are key theaters of conflict. On both of these fronts, the US and NATO countries have overwhelming superiority and I did not have any doubt that they would take full advantage of this in due course.

I have been arguing for a long time for the replacement of dollars, euro, pounds, and yen in our foreign exchange reserves with gold, which is produced in abundance in Russia. Unfortunately, western agents of influence which occupy key roles at central banks of most countries, as well as rating agencies and key publications, were successful in silencing my ideas. To give you an example, I have no doubt that high-ranking officials at the Fed and the ECB were involved in developing anti-Russian financial sanctions. These sanctions have been consistently escalating and are being implemented almost instantly, despite the well-known difficulties with bureaucratic decision making in the EU.  

The Cradle: Elvira Nabiullina has been reconfirmed as the head of the Russian Central Bank. What would you do differently, compared to her previous actions? What is the main guiding principle involved in your different approaches?

Glazyev: The difference between our approaches is very simple. Her policies are an orthodox implementation of IMF recommendations and dogmas of the Washington paradigm, while my recommendations are based on the scientific method and empirical evidence accumulated over the last hundred years in leading countries.

The Cradle: The Russia-China strategic partnership seems to be increasingly ironclad – as Presidents Putin and Xi themselves constantly reaffirm. But there are rumbles against it not only in the west but also in some Russian policy circles. In this extremely delicate historical juncture, how reliable is China as an all-season ally to Russia?

Glazyev: The foundation of Russian-Chinese strategic partnership is common sense, common interests, and the experience of cooperation over hundreds of years. The US ruling elite started a global hybrid war aimed at defending its hegemonic position in the world, targeting China as the key economic competitor and Russia as the key counter-balancing force. Initially, the US geopolitical efforts were aiming to create a conflict between Russia and China. Agents of western influence were amplifying xenophobic ideas in our media and blocking any attempts to transition to payments in national currencies. On the Chinese side, agents of western influence were pushing the government to fall in line with the demands of the US interests.

However, sovereign interests of Russia and China logically led to their growing strategic partnership and cooperation, in order to address common threats emanating from Washington. The US tariff war with China and financial sanctions war with Russia validated these concerns and demonstrated the clear and present danger our two countries are facing. Common interests of survival and resistance are uniting China and Russia, and our two countries are largely symbiotic economically. They complement and increase competitive advantages of each other. These common interests will persist over the long run.

The Chinese government and the Chinese people remember very well the role of the Soviet Union in the liberation of their country from the Japanese occupation and in the post-war industrialization of China. Our two countries have a strong historical foundation for strategic partnership and we are destined to cooperate closely in our common interests. I hope that the strategic partnership of Russia and the PRC, which is enhanced by the coupling of the One Belt One Road with the Eurasian Economic Union, will become the foundation of President Vladimir Putin’s project of the Greater Eurasian Partnership and the nucleus of the new world economic order.

April 15, 2022

The world’s new monetary system, underpinned by a digital currency, will be backed by a basket of new foreign currencies and natural resources. And it will liberate the Global South from both western debt and IMF-induced austerity.

By Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and cross-posted at The Cradle. 

Leading Russian economist Sergey Glazyev says a complete overhaul of the western-dominated global monetary and financial system is under works. And the world’s rising powers are buying into it. Photo Credit: The Cradle

Sergey Glazyev is a man living right in the eye of our current geopolitical and geo-economic hurricane. One of the most influential economists in the world, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and a former adviser to the Kremlin from 2012 to 2019, for the past three years he has helmed Moscow’s uber strategic portfolio as Minister in Charge of Integration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU).

Glazyev’s recent intellectual production has been nothing short of transformative, epitomized by his essay Sanctions and Sovereignty and an extensive discussion of the new, emerging geo-economic paradigm in an interview to a Russian business magazine.

In another of his recent essays, Glazyev comments on how “I grew up in Zaporozhye, near which heavy fighting is now taking place in order to destroy the Ukrainian Nazis, who never existed in my small Motherland. I studied at a Ukrainian school and I know Ukrainian literature and language well, which from a scientific point of view is a dialect of Russian. I did not notice anything Russophobic in Ukrainian culture. In the 17 years of my life in Zaporozhye, I have never met a single Banderist.”

Glazyev was gracious to take some time from his packed schedule to provide detailed answers to a first series of questions in what we expect to become a running conversation, especially focused to the Global South. This is his first interview with a foreign publication since the start of Operation Z. Many thanks to Alexey Subottin for the Russian-English translation.

The Cradle: You are at the forefront of a game-changing geo-economic development: the design of a new monetary/financial system via an association between the EAEU and China, bypassing the US dollar, with a draft soon to be concluded. Could you possibly advance some of the features of this system – which is certainly not a Bretton Woods III – but seems to be a clear alternative to the Washington consensus and very close to the necessities of the Global South?

Glazyev: In a bout of Russophobic hysteria, the ruling elite of the United States played its last “trump ace” in the hybrid war against Russia. Having “frozen” Russian foreign exchange reserves in custody accounts of western central banks, financial regulators of the US, EU, and the UK undermined the status of the dollar, euro, and pound as global reserve currencies. This step sharply accelerated the ongoing dismantling of the dollar-based economic world order.

Over a decade ago, my colleagues at the Astana Economic Forum and I proposed to transition to a new global economic system based on a new synthetic trading currency based on an index of currencies of participating countries. Later, we proposed to expand the underlying currency basket by adding around twenty exchange-traded commodities. A monetary unit based on such an expanded basket was mathematically modeled and demonstrated a high degree of resilience and stability.

At around the same time, we proposed to create a wide international coalition of resistance in the hybrid war for global dominance that the financial and power elite of the US unleashed on the countries that remained outside of its control. My book The Last World War: the USA to Move and Lose, published in 2016, scientifically explained the nature of this coming war and argued for its inevitability – a conclusion based on objective laws of long-term economic development. Based on the same objective laws, the book argued the inevitability of the defeat of the old dominant power.

Currently, the US is fighting to maintain its dominance, but just as Britain previously, which provoked two world wars but was unable to keep its empire and its central position in the world due to the obsolescence of its colonial economic system, it is destined to fail. The British colonial economic system based on slave labor was overtaken by structurally more efficient economic systems of the US and the USSR. Both the US and the USSR were more efficient at managing human capital in vertically integrated systems, which split the world into their zones of influence. A transition to a new world economic order started after the disintegration of the USSR. This transition is now reaching its conclusion with the imminent disintegration of the dollar-based global economic system, which provided the foundation of the United States global dominance.

The new convergent economic system that emerged in the PRC (People’s Republic of China) and India is the next inevitable stage of development, combining the benefits of both centralized strategic planning and market economy, and of both state control of the monetary and physical infrastructure and entrepreneurship. The new economic system united various strata of their societies around the goal of increasing common wellbeing in a way that is substantially stronger than the Anglo-Saxon and European alternatives. This is the main reason why Washington will not be able to win the global hybrid war that it started. This is also the main reason why the current dollar-centric global financial system will be superseded by a new one, based on a consensus of the countries who join the new world economic order.

In the first phase of the transition, these countries fall back on using their national currencies and clearing mechanisms, backed by bilateral currency swaps. At this point, price formation is still mostly driven by prices at various exchanges, denominated in dollars. This phase is almost over: after Russia’s reserves in dollars, euro, pound, and yen were “frozen,” it is unlikely that any sovereign country will continue accumulating reserves in these currencies. Their immediate replacement is national currencies and gold.

The second stage of the transition will involve new pricing mechanisms that do not reference the dollar. Price formation in national currencies involves substantial overheads, however, it will still be more attractive than pricing in ‘un-anchored’ and treacherous currencies like dollars, pounds, euro, and yen. The only remaining global currency candidate – the yuan – won’t be taking their place due to its inconvertibility and the restricted external access to the Chinese capital markets. The use of gold as the price reference is constrained by the inconvenience of its use for payments.

The third and the final stage on the new economic order transition will involve a creation of a new digital payment currency founded through an international agreement based on principles of transparency, fairness, goodwill, and efficiency. I expect that the model of such a monetary unit that we developed will play its role at this stage. A currency like this can be issued by a pool of currency reserves of BRICS countries, which all interested countries will be able to join. The weight of each currency in the basket could be proportional to the GDP of each country (based on purchasing power parity, for example), its share in international trade, as well as the population and territory size of participating countries.

In addition, the basket could contain an index of prices of main exchange-traded commodities: gold and other precious metals, key industrial metals, hydrocarbons, grains, sugar, as well as water and other natural resources. To provide backing and to make the currency more resilient, relevant international resource reserves can be created in due course. This new currency would be used exclusively for cross-border payments and issued to the participating countries based on a pre-defined formula. Participating countries would instead use their national currencies for credit creation, in order to finance national investments and industry, as well as for sovereign wealth reserves. Capital account cross-border flows would remain governed by national currency regulations.

The Cradle: Michael Hudson specifically asks that if this new system enables nations in the Global South to suspend dollarized debt and is based on the ability to pay (in foreign exchange), can these loans be tied to either raw materials or, for China, tangible equity ownership in the capital infrastructure financed by foreign non-dollar credit?

Glazyev: Transition to the new world economic order will likely be accompanied by systematic refusal to honor obligations in dollars, euro, pound, and yen. In this respect, it will be no different from the example set by the countries issuing these currencies who thought it appropriate to steal foreign exchange reserves of Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, Afghanistan, and Russia to the tune of trillions of dollars. Since the US, Britain, EU, and Japan refused to honor their obligations and confiscated the wealth of other nations which was held in their currencies, why should other countries be obliged to pay them back and to service their loans?

In any case, participation in the new economic system will not be constrained by the obligations in the old one. Countries of the Global South can be full participants of the new system regardless of their accumulated debts in dollars, euro, pound, and yen. Even if they were to default on their obligations in those currencies, this would have no bearing on their credit rating in the new financial system. Nationalization of extraction industry, likewise, would not cause a disruption. Further, should these countries reserve a portion of their natural resources for the backing of the new economic system, their respective weight in the currency basket of the new monetary unit would increase accordingly, providing that nation with larger currency reserves and credit capacity. In addition, bilateral swap lines with trading partner countries would provide them with adequate financing for co-investments and trade financing.

The Cradle: In one of your latest essays, The Economics of the Russian Victory, you call for “an accelerated formation of a new technological paradigm and the formation of institutions of a new world economic order.” Among the recommendations, you specifically propose the creation of “a payment and settlement system in the national currencies of the EAEU member states” and the development and implementation of “an independent system of international settlements in the EAEU, SCO and BRICS, which could eliminate critical dependence of the US-controlled SWIFT system.” Is it possible to foresee a concerted joint drive by the EAEU and China to “sell” the new system to SCO members, other BRICS members, ASEAN members and nations in West Asia, Africa and Latin America? And will that result in a bipolar geo-economy – the West versus The Rest?

Glazyev: Indeed, this is the direction where we are headed. Disappointingly, monetary authorities of Russia are still a part of the Washington paradigm and play by the rules of the dollar-based system, even after Russian foreign exchange reserves were captured by the west. On the other hand, the recent sanctions prompted extensive soul searching among the rest of the non-dollar-block countries. western ‘agents of influence’ still control central banks of most countries, forcing them to apply suicidal policies prescribed by the IMF. However, such policies at this point are so obviously contrary to the national interests of these non-western countries that their authorities are growing justifiably concerned about financial security.

You correctly highlight potentially central roles of China and Russia in the genesis of the new world economic order. Unfortunately, current leadership of the CBR (Central Bank of Russia) remains trapped inside the intellectual cul-de-sac of the Washington paradigm and is unable to become a founding partner in the creation of a new global economic and financial framework. At the same time, the CBR already had to face the reality and create a national system for interbank messaging which is not dependent on SWIFT, and opened it up for foreign banks as well. Cross-currency swap lines have been already set up with key participating nations. Most transactions between member states of the EAEU are already denominated in national currencies and the share of their currencies in internal trade is growing at a rapid pace.

A similar transition is taking place in trade with China, Iran, and Turkey. India indicated that it is ready to switch to payments in national currencies as well. A lot of effort is put in developing clearing mechanisms for national currency payments. In parallel, there is an ongoing effort to develop a digital non-banking payment system, which would be linked to gold and other exchange-traded commodities – the ‘stablecoins.’

Recent US and European sanctions imposed on the banking channels have caused a rapid increase in these efforts. The group of countries working on the new financial system only needs to announce the completion of the framework and readiness of the new trade currency and the process of formation of the new world financial order will accelerate further from there. The best way to bring it about would be to announce it at the SCO or BRICS regular meetings. We are working on that.  

The Cradle: This has been an absolutely key issue in discussions by independent analysts across the west. Was the Russian Central Bank advising Russian gold producers to sell their gold in the London market to get a higher price than the Russian government or Central Bank would pay? Was there no anticipation whatsoever that the coming alternative to the US dollar will have to be based largely on gold? How would you characterize what happened? How much practical damage has this inflicted on the Russian economy short-term and mid-term?

Glazyev: The monetary policy of the CBR, implemented in line with the IMF recommendations, has been devastating for the Russian economy. Combined disasters of the “freezing” of circa $400 billion of foreign exchange reserves and over a trillion dollars siphoned from the economy by oligarchs into western offshore destinations, came with the backdrop of equally disastrous policies of the CBR, which included excessively high real rates combined with a managed float of the exchange rate. We estimate this caused under-investment of circa 20 trillion rubles and under-production of circa 50 trillion rubles in goods.

Following Washington’s recommendations, the CBR stopped buying gold over the last two years, effectively forcing domestic gold miners to export full volumes of production, which added up to 500 tons of gold. These days the mistake and the harm it caused are very much obvious. Presently, the CBR resumed gold purchases, and, hopefully, will continue with sound policies in the interest of the national economy instead of ‘targeting inflation’ for the benefit of international speculators, as had been the case during the last decade.

The Cradle: The Fed as well as the ECB were not consulted on the freeze of Russian foreign reserves. Word in New York and Frankfurt is that they would have opposed it were they to have been asked. Did you personally expect the freeze? And did the Russian leadership expect it?

Glazyev: My book, The Last World War, that I already mentioned, which was published as far back as 2015, argued that the likelihood of this happening eventually is very high. In this hybrid war, economic warfare and informational/cognitive warfare are key theaters of conflict. On both of these fronts, the US and NATO countries have overwhelming superiority and I did not have any doubt that they would take full advantage of this in due course.

I have been arguing for a long time for the replacement of dollars, euro, pounds, and yen in our foreign exchange reserves with gold, which is produced in abundance in Russia. Unfortunately, western agents of influence which occupy key roles at central banks of most countries, as well as rating agencies and key publications, were successful in silencing my ideas. To give you an example, I have no doubt that high-ranking officials at the Fed and the ECB were involved in developing anti-Russian financial sanctions. These sanctions have been consistently escalating and are being implemented almost instantly, despite the well-known difficulties with bureaucratic decision making in the EU.  

The Cradle: Elvira Nabiullina has been reconfirmed as the head of the Russian Central Bank. What would you do differently, compared to her previous actions? What is the main guiding principle involved in your different approaches?

Glazyev: The difference between our approaches is very simple. Her policies are an orthodox implementation of IMF recommendations and dogmas of the Washington paradigm, while my recommendations are based on the scientific method and empirical evidence accumulated over the last hundred years in leading countries.

The Cradle: The Russia-China strategic partnership seems to be increasingly ironclad – as Presidents Putin and Xi themselves constantly reaffirm. But there are rumbles against it not only in the west but also in some Russian policy circles. In this extremely delicate historical juncture, how reliable is China as an all-season ally to Russia?

Glazyev: The foundation of Russian-Chinese strategic partnership is common sense, common interests, and the experience of cooperation over hundreds of years. The US ruling elite started a global hybrid war aimed at defending its hegemonic position in the world, targeting China as the key economic competitor and Russia as the key counter-balancing force. Initially, the US geopolitical efforts were aiming to create a conflict between Russia and China. Agents of western influence were amplifying xenophobic ideas in our media and blocking any attempts to transition to payments in national currencies. On the Chinese side, agents of western influence were pushing the government to fall in line with the demands of the US interests.

However, sovereign interests of Russia and China logically led to their growing strategic partnership and cooperation, in order to address common threats emanating from Washington. The US tariff war with China and financial sanctions war with Russia validated these concerns and demonstrated the clear and present danger our two countries are facing. Common interests of survival and resistance are uniting China and Russia, and our two countries are largely symbiotic economically. They complement and increase competitive advantages of each other. These common interests will persist over the long run.

The Chinese government and the Chinese people remember very well the role of the Soviet Union in the liberation of their country from the Japanese occupation and in the post-war industrialization of China. Our two countries have a strong historical foundation for strategic partnership and we are destined to cooperate closely in our common interests. I hope that the strategic partnership of Russia and the PRC, which is enhanced by the coupling of the One Belt One Road with the Eurasian Economic Union, will become the foundation of President Vladimir Putin’s project of the Greater Eurasian Partnership and the nucleus of the new world economic order.

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

Russian SMO: day 47 “crazies in the basement” and a poem

April 12, 2022

Today let’s begin with this news item today:

Seven-in-Ten Americans Now See Russia as an Enemy Attitudes toward NATO increasingly positive.

You got to love the “logic” of these folks!

Russia intervenes in a country which neighbors Russia, thousands of miles away, and the US Americans see that as a threat to the USA.  And nevermind that the USA is the country which forced Russia into this war which the Kremlin spent eight years trying to avoid.

How is such a result even possible?  Here are a few options:

  1. A majority of US Americans are simply stupid and cannot think
  2. A majority of US Americans are unbelievably ignorant
  3. A majority of US Americans are brainwashed by their media and schools
  4. A majority of US Americans have been trained/conditioned to fear and hate whomever their rulers designate for demonization
  5. A majority of US Americans sincerely believe that the USA ought to be the planet’s cop and no matter where a conflict starts, even when that conflict started by the USA, they believe that it is Uncle Shmuel business to deal with it.  In their tiny minds, the USA has a God given right to intervene anywhere and attack anyone.
  6. A majority of US Americans perceive any truly sovereign country as a direct threat to their way of life.
  7. The PYSOP campaign to demonize Russia has been a resounding success.

A mix of all of the above is probably the most accurate cause for such a result.

Next, I bumped into a Foxnews propaganda piece featuring a clown which, apparently, in some very distant past was a US Lt. General in the USA military, his last name is Kellogg.  I decided to give it a try and I have to say that I sat absolutely *transfixed* listening to him: according to him, Russia has already suffered a huge defeat at the hands of the Ukronazis and with NATO’s help the Ukraine can, and probably will, win this war.

And both that “general” and the presstitute “interviewing” him delivered that crock of shit with great gravitas and appropriate facial expressions (angled eyebrows, the way the journos try to look very sincere).  I was expecting at least one of them to burst out laughing but, no, of course not.

These two simply lack both the brain and the humor to realize how terminally stupid and ridiculous they both sound.

As I have written many times in the past, US generals are much more “corporate CEO in combat fatigues” than real combat officers.  By Russian standards this guy would not even be allowed to clean latrines in a construction battalion.  A man who says with a straight face that delivering 20 Soviet era aircraft or S-300 to the Ukrainians will make a difference in this war is either a clueless civilian or a deliberate liar prostituting his (putative and now former) officer’s honor for a few bucks.

No wonder the Russians have stopped taking telephone calls from these clowns.

Does anybody still wonder why “Kabul” happened or why the USA cannot win a war against anybody except Grenada (and that one barely, they had to bring the 82nd to fix the usual SNAFU created by US “special” operation forces)?

As for the German Eurolemmings, they have truly lost any sense of decency or even basic common sense: they are now seriously thinking about sending old Leopard 1 tanks to the Ukraine!

Let me explain something really basic here:

  • You cannot just send weapons to the Ukraine and have that make a difference.  I mean, yes, if you send AKs, bullet and clubs, they might get used.  But modern weapon systems require training.  They also require maintenance.  Then they need to be integrated into the rest of the armed forces.  Then your forces need to train and practice a lot to perfect their combat coordination.  Then you need a supply/maintenance/repairs network to maintain/repair your systems.  Advanced air defense systems require crews with sometimes many years of training.  Considering that the reinforcements sent by Kiev to the Donbass even include their Volkssturm, you can imagine how utterly useless the operators of the few weapons systems surviving the trip from Lvov to the Donbass will be.  And the interval between the moment this ancient S-300 goes live and the moment a Russian ARM hit it will be counted in minutes at most.
  • Next, old weapons (ex-Soviet or ex-NATO) are just fat targets.  In almost all cases, Russian equivalents are one or even two generations ahead, so why are all the EU sending them?  Well, for a couple of reasons, the main one is to get rid of them, since storage or recycling of such systems is rather costly.  The next reason is that it makes NATO politicians look “tough” – after all, if Zelenskii wants old tanks, artillery or air defense systems (he ain’t exactly a military genius either!) then, by all means, we give it to him and look like we are doing *something*.  By the way, the four S-300 sent by the Slovaks were, apparently, already destroyed in a strike yesterday.  And the Slovak taxpayer did not spend a penny on this.  How is that not a good deal for Slovakia?  Oh sure, this is an act of war, a casus belli, as are ALL but UNSC approved “sanctions”, but the Euroemmings Master Race are so superior in every sense to the accursed Rooskies that, screw that!  The only thing which can bring the Eurolemmings back to reality is a Russian strike on such a weapons convoy INSIDE a NATO member country because, as I have already explained, when the Eurolemmings to hide behind Uncle Shmuel’s back, all he will offer them are statements of support, outrage, freshly printed fiat money and the usual mix of threats, fear and hate western politicians always spew about Russia.  But the US won’t allow NATO to go to war with Russia over one such strike, especially if the Russians clearly explain what they did and why (I actually expect that quite a few “old-time” western officers will get a good kick out of their newfound NATO “allies” hysterics once that happens).
  • As I have mentioned in the past, weapons convoys in the western Ukraine (and, possibly, even inside Poland) make for easy and lucrative targets for the Russians.  Just mix in enough civilians and, voilà!, sooner or later you will have a “Russian atrocity”, something like “the Russians kill scores of innocent feeling Ukrainian civilians” or “the Russians attacked trucks clearly marked with red crosses” (FYI – the SBU and Azov uses red crosses on its vans and ammo/supply trucks!).  This is likely one of the reasons the Russians have, so far, chosen not to attack early on but to wait for solid intelligence and then strike the NATO forces/hardware when it is nicely concentrated somewhere.  Still, we know that Azov ALWAYS used civilians (especially those perceived as “not sufficiently patriotic”!) as human shields.  By the way, NATO taught them this technique.  Anyway, to expect NATO weapon convoys NOT to be protected by human shields would be simply stupid.  The Russians simply have to ASSUME that NATO/SBU/Azov will ALWAYS be surrounded by captive civilians.

Which brings us to the issue of false flags.  Here are a few headlines about this topic:

Need I say anything more?

Even by British standards, this is the most pre-announced pre-publicized false flag in history, I am amazed I don’t see ads and previews for it on Amazon and Netflix…

I guess, I will just say that if the public opinion is being prepared for a Russian chemical attack (maybe even with the – apparently harmless –  “Novichok”) then we know for sure which side is winning and which side is not winning.

Medvechuk, one of the main leaders of the opposition at held in the SBU offices, according to Zelenskii who is very proud of that “capture”

There are also a few other reasons why the Empire of Hate and Lies badly and urgently needs a false flag:

  • Mariupol has fallen and all the rescue or escape attempts have failed.  Yes, there are probably several hundred, possibly around 1000 Nazis still left in the deep and many underground facilities under the industrial complex, but they have become militarily irrelevant so the Russian National Guard forces are taking their sweet time to avoid any unnecessary losses on the Russian side.
  • Reports of Nazi atrocities are literally all over the place, especially on Telegram.  A few of these have leaked into the legacy corporate ziomedia thereby creating the first, still tiny, cracks in the official narrative.
  • Nobody knows what/who exactly is hidden deep in the bowels of Azovstal, but considering the immense efforts to get “it/him/them” out of there, the inevitable takeover of the underground floors by the Russians will result in some major embarrassment for the Empire, unless the Kremlin decides to show “goodwill” again and mistakenly believe that any such goodwill will be appreciated in the West.  IF there is a deal made, it will have to offer the Russians something really substantive and very quickly verifiable since just promises won’t do, not even with the Atlantic Integrationists (who are now busy rebranding themselves as “patriotic Russians”).
  • There are also lots of reports of atrocities in the Nazi-controlled Ukraine, including public floggings and executions.  Again, Telegram is flooded with such reports and footage and the Bucha false flag petered out without providing the needed “distraction” and return to the “correct” narrative.  The Ukronazis even reportedly told the Brits that they have no intention of abiding by the Geneva Conventions (what a surprise!).
  • On the photo above and on the closeup, check out the face and expression of Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of the Ukrainian opposition.  If that is how the SBU OFFICIALLY – the photo is from ‘Ze’ himself – treats a top political figure, just imagine what they have done to the thousands of people they have “disappeared” over 8 years now!

Over the past week or so, the western PSYOPs have begun to lose control of the narrative, which means that they need to seize the initiative and regain control of the narrative.  Not exactly a difficult task when dealing with a terminally stupidified public in Zone A.

In the meantime, the Eurolemmings are continuing their acts of highway robbery.  European “values” at work, from the Crusades to the modern age 🙂

A few weeks back I wrote that while the immediate objective of the SMO in the Ukraine was to denazify and disarm the Nazi-occupied Ukraine, the real end goal was to chance the European collective security architecture which, itself, is the cornerstone of our entire, worldwide, international order.  I called that “denazify the planet” and I am pretty sure that many readers reading these words thought “what’s Andrei smoking?”.

Well, how about we now listen to both Sergei Lavrov and Sergei Karaganov?

The first one, Lavrov, called the “end of the course for US hegemony as the goal of the operation in Ukraine“.  As for Karaganov, he declared that “we are at war with the West. The European security order is illegitimate“.

Still, for the time being, the big event will be the initiation of the 2nd phase of the war: the elimination of the Ukrainian forces inside the Donbass cauldron.  Very few people know how long such an operation would last, it depends on so many things that it makes no sense to try to guess it, but the outcome itself is not in doubt.

Only God, and Satan, know what kind of demented scheme the likes of Nuland or Blinken will come up next.

All we can say is that a rabid dog is cornered, it makes it even more dangerous.

And we have to keep in mind that they REALLY and SINCERELY thought they would (finally!) break the will of the Russian people and that they know this long awaited and oh-so-sweet revenge-victory is slipping away from them – just imagine the rage they must feel.  After eight years of endless provocations, insults and “negotiations” the Neocons have FINALLY forced Russia to intervene openly, which was always the dream of the Neocons.  But what they did not expect (and neither did anybody else, myself included) was that instead of “just” liberating the LDNR from constant Ukronazi strikes, Putin chose to liberate the entire Ukraine and change the entire collective security architecture of Europe.  Even better, Putin has confirmed this openly in his ultimatum and many times since.

You could say that Putin’s message to NATO was short: “We are coming for you”.  I think of it as the modern equivalent of the ancient words “хочу на вы идти” (pronounced “khochu na vy idti”) spoken to his enemies by the famous commander of ancient Russia, the Grand Duke of Kiev Svyatoslav Igorevich (955-972) and which can be loosely translated as “my intention is to attack you”.

I don’t believe that NATO has fully understood this or, to the extent they did, they will dismiss it as “bluff” (as if Putin ever bluffed, which is really something Russians very rarely do).

But by the time the 2nd phase is over, this reality will have trickled into the delusional minds of the likes of Borrell or Stoltenberg and you can be sure they will run to their beloved Uncle Shmuel for protection.  At which point the Empire of Lies will have exactly two options left:

  1. Admit a total political defeat of NATO in Europe or
  2. Commit suicide and try to attack Russia.  And since the US/NATO/EU/etc do not have anywhere near the force levels to take on the Russian military a direct US military intervention, this would be utterly pointless and bring the leaders of the USA to the same choice (to nuke or not to nuke?), except that a really embarrassing military defeat will be added on top of an already really embarrassing political defeat

So, apparently, the Eurolemmings are totally willing to die for the Ukraine, as long as the fighting is done by the Ukrainians themselves.

The same Eurolemmings are also willing to eviscerate their own economies only for the privilege to brown-nose Uncle Shmuel and get a “certificate of democratic credentials” as a reward.

But will US soldiers be willing to die for either the Ukraine or the Eurolemmings?  Will the Neocons have enough influence and power to force the US military to execute a civilization-ending order?  Or will there appear some personality/group which would do, but this time REALLY DO, what Trump promised and “drain the swamp” and get rid of the likes of Bliken or Nuland?

I very much doubt it.  But I can still hope for it.

And then there is China which clearly supports Russia, and which is clearly preparing for a war against the USA.  Even their minister of defense said so quite openly.  And here are two things the Chinese know for sure:

  • If the Empire defeats Russia, China will be next, thus China cannot afford a Russian defeat under ANY circumstances (and neither can Russia afford a hypothetical Chinese defeat at the hands of the Empire).
  • If the US and Russia go at each other in earnest, this will be the perfect time to not only solve the Taiwan issue, but to boot the US out of the Far East just as Iran booted the USA out of the Middle-East.  From the Chinese point of view, “just” liberating Taiwan is not enough – the US must be removed from Taiwan, Japan and even the ROK.  So yes, China also wants to denazify the planet, they are less blunt about it than the Russians, but it is clear to me that this world denazification plan was agreed to by both Putin and Xi.

The folks at the Pentagon must realize that – at least a sufficient critical mass must do so.  Yes, I agree with Andrei Martyanov, the former US generals on TV sound like ignorant infantiles, but I will never believe that all US military commanders are that stupid.  I studied in Washington DC from 1986 to 1991 and most of my teachers were active-duty military, and none of them were stupid.  I also had a lot of fellow students who were from the US military, in the “lieutenant to major” range, and, again, these were smart men, very well educated and, I believe, honorable men.  By now some of them must hold very senior ranks and they could make the difference.

Again, I don’t expect that to happen, but I get to still hope that it will.

I did not study with either General Mattis or General Milley and I know very little about them except this: Mattis seems to be the person who deliberately botched the US missile strike on Syria to avoid a possible Russian reaction leading to war and General Milley called his Chinese counterpart to tell him that the US has no intention of striking at China thereby telling the Chinese that they are NOT in a “use them or lose them” situation, which would have put the entire USA in the very real danger of getting nuked by a desperate China.  In both of these cases, these generals appear to have contravened direct orders for the greater good of service to their country and protection of the US population of the imbecilic orders given by imbecilic US Presidents.  Mattis was “let go” pretty soon by The Donald while Milley was subjected to a vicious smear campaign.

So if “Biden” (meaning Nuland, Sullivan, Blinken or any other demented psychopath) gives the order to attack Russian forces I still want to believe that there will be a critical mass at the Pentagon to tell the “crazies in the basement” to finally shut up and get back to where they belong: the basement they crawled out of.

Is there enough true and real patriotism left in the USA?  Or is patriotism just waving (Chinese made!) US flags, vote for the “lesser evil” from either branch of the Uniparty, and remain an Israeli colony forever?

Click on the image above to appreciate the irony of HIAS aiding Nazis!

If it wasn’t for the US nuclear triad (old, but still formidable and capable!), I truly wouldn’t give a damn, but alas that is a luxury nobody can afford, at least until the USA is finally denazified and disarmed too.  But until all of Zone A is absorbed and re-civilized by Zone B, that danger will threaten every human being on the planet (and now even in the southern hemisphere courtesy of the comprador leaders of the US colony in Australia which have decided to paint a big Chinese nuclear crosshairs on their brainless heads!).

Okay, I will end with some major good news: the entire 36th Marine Infantry Brigade in Mariupol has surrendered!  That is over 1000 soldiers, including 300 wounded and 90 seriously injured.

Now, careful here, these are NOT the Azov forces hiding in the underground floors of Azovstal.  First, they are not Azov but regular Ukrainian military and, second, they were barricaded in the Illich industrial complex, near the Azovstal, but already cut off from Azovstal.

The Ukrainian 36th Naval Infantry Brigade has surrendered

It is important to note that unlike the Azov Nazis, the Naval Infantry forces are NOT considered as Nazis by the Russians and that they will all get full POW protection under the Geneva Convention.

The very best the Azov people can expect is to be identified and arrested on suspicion of war crimes, crimes against humanity and all kinds of atrocities.  If some of them are clearly clueless idiots who made some bad choices, they might return home one day after either being found innocent (a minority) or after serving their time in Russian jails.

Those found with tattooed swastikas or those who are already on the FSB wanted list will get harsh sentences in equally harsh high-security prisons.

As for Azov commanders, they have already been told by everybody that they will get no mercy.  Which means that they will get interrogated and executed.

[Sidebar: Russia has had a moratorium on the death penalty to appease the Eurolemmings.  Now that Russia has quit all EU institutions, you can expect the death penalty to be reinstated under popular pressure.  Besides, the LDRN republics DO have the death penalty.  As does every single Chechen subunit :-)]

The bottom line is this: while the surrender of the 36th Naval Infantry Brigade is absolutely wonderful news – just think of the saved lives – it is very unlikely to set a precedent to the Azov forces in Mariupol or elsewhere.  Worse, I strongly suspect that the two reasons why the 36th Naval Infantry Brigade could surrender were that:

  • They were cut off (by the Russian National Guard units) from the Azov forces in Azovstal
  • They were considered an elite unit that the Nazis of Azov could not simply and safely massacre

In the Donbass, the situation is, reportedly, much worse: the ratio of Nazi to normal soldier seems to be close to 1:10 which means that the Nazis can act as “barrage forces” and shoot anybody refusing to advance or trying to retreat – a technique which the West loves to blame on Stalin, but which was invented by the Nazis on the Eastern Front.  They can also act as “political commissars”, a category invented by Leon Trotsky himself to force former officers of the imperial Russian military to obey orders given by these commissars or face execution.  And those who will say that 1:10 is a great ratio for the Ukrainians to dispose of their “Nazi commissars” miss the point as any such conspiracy will be detected long before it materializes.

Yet again, I am not expecting this to happen, but I will keep hoping with all my heart that a huge massacre (because that is exactly what this is shaping up to be) can still be avoided.  I really hope that the Russian PSYOPs are doing all they can to reach out to the Ukrainian soldiers in the Donbass cauldron and that the RU+LDNR forces will do everything short of taking serious losses to spare the lives of the 60-70 thousand or so Ukrainians who are now waiting to be obliterated by heavy Russian strikes.

One of my favorite Russian poets, Maksimilian Voloshin, wrote a poem entitled “Civil War” which I love and which I will share with you, in Russian and in a somewhat corrected machine translation:

Одни восстали из подполий,
Из ссылок, фабрик, рудников,
Отравленные темной волей
И горьким дымом городовДругие из рядов военных,
Дворянских разоренных гнезд,
Где проводили на погост
Отцов и братьев убиенных.В одних доселе не потух
Хмель незапамятных пожаров,
И жив степной, разгульный дух
И Разиных, и Кудеяров.В других – лишенных всех корней –
Тлетворный дух столицы Невской:
Толстой и Чехов, Достоевский –
Надрыв и смута наших дней.Одни возносят на плакатах
Свой бред о буржуазном зле,
О светлых пролетариатах,
Мещанском рае на земле…В других весь цвет, вся гниль империй,
Все золото, весь тлен идей,
Блеск всех великих фетишей
И всех научных суеверий.Одни идут освобождать
Москву и вновь сковать Россию,
Другие, разнуздав стихию,
Хотят весь мир пересоздать.В тех и в других война вдохнула
Гнев, жадность, мрачный хмель разгула,А вслед героям и вождям
Крадется хищник стаей жадной,
Чтоб мощь России неоглядной
Размыкать и продать врагам:Сгноить ее пшеницы груды,
Ее бесчестить небеса,
Пожрать богатства, сжечь леса
И высосать моря и руды.И не смолкает грохот битв
По всем просторам южной степи
Средь золотых великолепий
Конями вытоптанных жнитв.И там и здесь между рядами
Звучит один и тот же глас:
«Кто не за нас – тот против нас.
Нет безразличных: правда с нами».А я стою один меж них
В ревущем пламени и дыме
И всеми силами своими
Молюсь за тех и за других.
Some have risen from the underground,
From exiles, factories, mines,
Poisoned by the dark will
And the bitter smoke of cities.Others from the ranks of the military,
Nobles from now ruined nests,
Where they would accompany to the graveyard
The fathers and brothers of those murdered.In some the flame of ancient fires
has not been snuffed out yet
And in the steppes, rebellious spirit of Razins and Kudeyars remains aliveIn others – devoid of all roots –
The corrupting spirit of the capital on the Neva:
Tolstoy and Chekhov, Dostoevsky –
The anguish and turmoil of our days.Some are posting slogans about
Their nonsense and bourgeois evil,
About the bright proletarians,
A petty-bourgeois paradise on earth…In others, all the color, all the rot of empires,
All the gold, all the decay of ideas,
The brilliance of all the great fetishes
And all scientific superstitions.Some go to liberate
Moscow and unite Russia again,
Others, unleashing the elements,
They want to recreate the whole world.In both, the war breathed in
Anger, greed, the dark intoxication of rioting,And following the heroes and leaders
A stalking a greedy pack of predators crawls near
To betray and sell out Russia’s boundless power
to her enemies:Rot her wheat piles,
Her dishonor skies,
Devour riches, burn forests
And suck up dry her seas and springs.And the roar of battles does not cease
Across all the expanses of the southern steppe
Amidst the golden splendors
Horses are trampling upon the harvests.And there and here between the rows
The same voice sounds:
Whoever is not for us is against us.
There are no indifferent ones: the truth is with us.”And I stand alone between them
In the roaring flames and smoke
And with all my strength
I pray for both of them.

These verses were written in November of 1919 and they refer to the Russian Civil war.

Today, the situation is radically different in too many ways to list, but on a spiritual level, I think that this is again yet another Russian civil war.  I have exactly ZERO sympathy or, even less so, empathy for the Ukrainian Nazis, but when I see the young faces of Ukrainian POWs I can’t help it – I see *my* people.  Yes, confused, mistaken, misguided, possibly stupid and even deeply sinful.  And I would not hesitate for 1 second to fight them with more than a keyboard.  But as long as they don’t embrace the Ukronazi/Baderista/Azov/SBU/NATO/EU/US ideology I will always see them as my people and I will never rejoice in their suffering or demise.

Finally, when Voloshin wrote “I pray for both sides” it was not a political statement.  It was a recognition of our common humanity. Even if the core of the Ukronazi/Baderista/Azov/SBU/NATO/EU/US ideology and even IDENTITY is to deny us, Russians, that common humanity (other than in vapid words, of course).

To the demons in Washington DC we need to oppose our saints, both living and long dead.

Our most formidable weapon is not a nuke or any “Tsar-Bomba” but our modest prayer ropes.

Let’s use that most formidable weapon of ours which only we have (there is no real hesychasm in the West, and there has not been for many centuries now),

And strictly in that sense, I do the same, I also pray for our people on both sides.

Andrei

تونس ليست إيالة عثمانية يا إردوغان

الثلاثاء 12 نيسان 2022

المصدر: الميادين نت

خالد البوهالي 

يرى إردوغان أن هزيمة حزب “النهضة” في الانتخابات التشريعية، في حال إجرائها، ستكون ضربةً قاصمةً للنفوذ التركي في تونس.

تونس ليست إيالة عثمانية يا إردوغان

أثارت تصريحات الرئيس التركي رجب طيب إردوغان بخصوص حل البرلمان التونسي والدعوة إلى انتخابات جديدة حفيظة الرئيس التونسي قيس سعيد، ما جعله يرد بشكل عاجل عليه بأن تونس ليست إيالة عثمانية، في حين استدعت وزارة الشؤون الخارجية التونسية السفير التركي المعتمد لديها، وسلمته مذكّرة احتجاجٍ عبرت فيها عن رفضها التدخل في الشؤون الداخلية التونسية، واتصل وزير الخارجية التونسي بنظيره التركي من أجل الموضوع نفسه.

وقد ذكر بيان وزارة الشؤون الخارجية التونسية أن “تونس بقدر التزامها بثوابت سياستها الخارجية وحرصها على بناء علاقة وثيقة مع الدول الشقيقة والصديقة، قوامها التعاون والتضامن والتشاور والثقة المتبادلة، فإنها أيضاً تتمسك باستقلال قرارها الوطني، وترفض بشدة كل محاولة للتدخل في سيادتها وخيارات شعبها أو التشكيك في مسارها الديمقراطي الذي لا رجعة فيه”.

أولاً، ينبغي التأكيد أن من حق القيادة التونسية، سواء اتفق البعض أو اختلف معها، تقديم مذكرة احتجاج على تركيا، لأن مثل هذه التصريحات غير المسؤولة التي أطلقتها الحكومة التركية يعدّ تدخلاً سافراً في شؤون دولةٍ مستقلةٍ ذات سيادة، وبالتالي إنّ رد فعلها يبقى مسألة مفروغة منها، لأنها الجهة المخولة اتخاذ ما تراه مناسباً من القرارات التي تراها تصب في مصلحة البلاد، ولأن هذا الأمر لا يخص سوى الشعب التونسي وحده، الذي يملك حق اتخاذ المتعين من دون تدخلٍ أو تأثيرٍ من أية جهاتٍ خارجيةٍ في ما يخص مستقبله السياسي، وهو ما تكفله له المواثيق والأعراف الدولية.

منذ اندلاع ما سُمي بأحداث “الربيع العربي”، لم يتورع الرئيس إردوغان المهووس والمسكون بتحقيق حلم الخلافة العثمانية البائدة عن التدخل بشتى الوسائل في الشؤون الداخلية للدول الإسلامية والعربية، سواء في منطقة الشرق الأوسط أو شمال أفريقيا، كما لو أنها ما زالت تشكل جزءاً من الإمبراطورية العثمانية التي ترامت أطرافها بين أوروبا وشمال أفريقيا.

سعت تركيا منذ اندلاع الثورة التونسية في العام 2011، التي أطاحت حكم الرئيس التونسي الراحل زين العابدين بن علي، إلى دعمها بكل الوسائل المادية واللوجستية، لمعرفتها المسبقة بأن المنطقة الإسلامية والعربية مقبلة على تحولات دراماتيكية تمس المشهد السياسي وتصب في مصلحة تيار الإسلام السياسي الذي يشكل حزب العدالة والتنمية التركي أحد روافده.

وقد سهل وجود حزب “النهضة” التونسي في سدة الحكم، توسيع مجال النفوذ السياسي والاقتصادي لتركيا إدوغان -بسبب وحدة الأيديولوجيا التي تربط بين الحزبين- من خلال الاستثمارات التركية والمبادلات التجارية بين البلدين، التي لم تكن متكافئة بين الطرفين التونسي والتركي، إذ تميل كفتها لمصلحة الأخير، بسبب رفع الصادرات التركية نحو تونس، من دون رفع صادرات الأخيرة نحو تركيا.

 وصول عجز الميزان التجاري إلى حوالى مليار دولار بين تونس وتركيا شكل عبئاً كبيراً على الاقتصاد التونسي الذي يعاني أزمات عدة، ما دفع السلطات التونسية مؤخراً إلى مراجعة كل الاتفاقيات التجارية المبرمة مع أنقرة. 

كما أن البرلمان التونسي صوت قبل سنتين على مشروع قانون ينص على فرض رسوم جمركية على 90% من السلع والبضائع التركية، ما أثار غضب نواب حركة “النهضة” التي رفضت هذا الإجراء، وانسحبت فور بدء عملية التصويت عليه، إرضاء للحليف التركي.

ويبدو أن الدافع الحقيقي وراء تصريحات الرئيس التركي تجاه تونس هو توجسه من خسارة حزب “النهضة” التونسي الانتخابات التشريعية المقبلة، وبالتالي تقهقره في المشهد السياسي التونسي، بعد أن تداعت إحدى قلاع الإسلام السياسي المتمثلة بحزب العدالة والتنمية المغربي الذي يتزعمه الأمين العام الحالي عبد الإله بن كيران، الذي مني بخسارةٍ فادحةٍ في الانتخابات التشريعية التي نظمت في أيلول/سبتمبر من العام الماضي، في ضربة جديدة لأحلام إردوغان الذي كان يمنّي النفس بحكم حزام إخواني يمتد من سوريا، مروراً بمصر، إلى دول الاتحاد المغاربي، بدعم ومساندة من التنظيم الدولي للإخوان المسلمين.

وتأسيساً على ذلك، يرى إردوغان أن هزيمة حزب “النهضة” في الانتخابات التشريعية، في حال إجرائها، ستكون ضربةً قاصمةً للنفوذ التركي في تونس، وبالتالي تقويض بنيان ما بناه الرئيس التركي طيلة سنواتٍ بتحالفٍ مع صديقه زعيم حركة “النهضة” راشد الغنوشي، الذي يرعى المصالح التركية في تونس، لأن انحسار حضور الأخير يعني عملياً تراجع، إن لم يكن أفول، نجم التأثير السياسي والاقتصادي التركي في تونس، ونهاية أحلام إردوغان في بسط سيطرته على الدول التي كانت واقعة تحت الحكم العثماني.

زد على ذلك، أن الرئيس التركي، ورغم كل ما يشهده من أزمة داخلية بسبب سياساته، يفتعل أزمة خارجية لصرف أنظار الرأي العام التركي عن الداخل. هذا السلوك إن دل على شيء، إنما يدل على أن الرئيس إردوغان أضحى يعيش أسوأ حياته السياسية.

لا شك في أن القرارات التي اتخذها الرئيس التونسي قيس سعيد منذ 25 يونيو/تمور 2021، من قبيل تجميد عمل البرلمان لمدة 30 يوماً، وإقالة رئيس الحكومة هشام المشيشي حليف حزب “النهضة”، طبقاً للمادة 80 من الدستور التونسي، إضافةً إلى العديد من الإجراءات الأخرى المصاحبة لها، أطاحت طموحات إردوغان.

ختاماً، إن الرئيس التركي رجب طيب إردوغان لم يستوعب بعد حقيقة أن عهد وصاية الباب العالي وحكم الدايات والبايات والإيالات ولى إلى غير رجعة، وأن عقارب التاريخ لا يمكن إرجاعها إلى الوراء، لأن الشعب التونسي ليس قاصراً، وهو قادر على قيادة سفينة بلاده نحو بر الأمان، من دون تدخل جهات خارجية تملي عليه ما يجب أن يفعله. لذا، يمكن القول إن تونس ليست إيالة عثمانية يا إردوغان.

إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي صاحبها حصراً

Pakistan PM Accuses US of Funding “Conspiracy” to Topple His Gov’t

April 11, 2022 

By Staff, Agencies

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan accused an unnamed “foreign power” – in a clear reference to the United States – of funding a “conspiracy” to topple his democratically elected government.

Addressing a large rally in the capital Islamabad on Sunday, Khan said the “foreign power” sent millions of dollars to opposition parties to launch a no-confidence vote against him in the parliament.

Khan, who had formed a coalition government after winning the election in 2018, said he was the subject of a “foreign conspiracy” aimed at dislodging his government and that “funding was being channeled into Pakistan from abroad.” 

A no-confidence motion has been tabled in Pakistan’s National Assembly, with days of debates expected to start next week before the vote. The opposition needs a simple majority to oust Khan, after which a new prime minister would be chosen by the parliament.

“We have been threatened in writing but we will not compromise on national interests,” said Khan, who met with Vladimir Putin in Moscow on February 24, the same day the Russian leader ordered a military operation in neighboring Ukraine. 

Before that, Khan visited Beijing in January, defying US President Joe Biden’s call for a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics.

“The money is from abroad and the people that are being used are ours [Pakistan’s]. Some of them unknowingly, and some knowingly, are using this money against us,” the prime minister said.

“Attempts are being made to influence our foreign policy from abroad. We have been aware of this conspiracy for months. We also know about those who have assembled these people [the opposition parties] but the time has changed. This is not the era of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,” he said, referring to the former prime minister of Pakistan who was allegedly threatened by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger over the country’s nuclear program.

Bhutto’s government was toppled and he was hanged by the military in 1979.

“This is the era of social media. Nothing can be hidden. We will not accept anyone’s dictation. We will have friendships with everyone but we will not submit ourselves to anyone,” Khan said.

“Attempts are being made through foreign money to change the government in Pakistan. Our people are being used. Mostly inadvertently, but some people are using money against us. We know from what places attempts are being to pressure us. We have been threatened in writing but we will not compromise on national interest,” the Dawn newspaper reported.

Khan then splashed a letter and said it would prove his point. “I am placing the case of Pakistan’s independence before you. The letter I have is proof and I want to dare anyone who doubts this letter. I will invite them off the record. We have to decide for how long we will have to live like this. We are getting threats. There are many things about the foreign conspiracy which will be shared very soon.”

“The nation wants to know who the man sitting in London is meeting with and whose directions the characters based in Pakistan are following? I am revealing the proofs we have. I cannot talk more in detail because I have to protect the interest of my country. I cannot talk about anything that harms my country. I could have told you about it. I do not fear anyone but I care about Pakistan’s interest,” he stated.

Meet the New, Resource-Based Global Reserve Currency

April 01, 2022

A new reality is being formed:

the unipolar world is irrevocably becoming a thing of the past,

a multipolar one is taking shape.

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

It was something to behold. Dmitri Medvedev, former Russian President, unrepentant Atlanticist, current deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, decided to go totally unplugged in an outburst matching the combat star turn of Mr. Khinzal that delivered palpable shock and awe all across NATOstan.

Medvedev said “hellish” Western sanctions not only have failed to cripple Russia, but are instead “returning to the West like a boomerang.” Confidence in reserve currencies is “fading like the morning mist”, and ditching the US dollar and the euro is not unrealistic anymore: “The era of regional currencies is coming.”

After all, he added, “no matter if they want it or not, they’ll have to negotiate a new financial order (…) And the decisive voice will then be with those countries that have a strong and advanced economy, healthy public finances and a reliable monetary system.”

Medvedev relayed his succinct analysis even before D Day – as in the deadline this Thursday established by President Putin after which payments for Russian gas by “unfriendly nations” will only be accepted in rubles.

The G7, predictably, had struck a (collective) pose: we won’t pay. “We” means the 4 that are not large Russian gas importers. “We”, moreover, means the Empire of Lies dictating the rules. As for the 3 that will be in dire straits, not only they are major importers but also happen to be WWII losers – Germany, Italy and Japan, still de facto occupied territories. History does have a habit of playing perverted tricks.

Denial didn’t last long. Germany was the first to break – even before industrialists from Ruhr to Bavaria staged a mass revolt. Scholz, the puny Chancellor, called Putin, who had to explain the obvious:  payments are being converted into rubles because the EU froze Russia’s foreign exchange reserves – in a crass violation of international law.

With Taoist patience, Putin also expressed hope this would not represent a deterioration in contract terms for European importers. Russian and German experts should sit down together and discuss the new terms.

Moscow is working on a set of documents defining the new deal. Essentially, that spells out no rubles, no gas. Contracts become null and void once you violate trust. The US and the EU broke legally biding agreements with unilateral sanctions and on top of it confiscated foreign reserves of a – nuclear – G20 nation.

The unilateral sanctions made dollars and euros worthless to Russia. Hysteria fits won’t cut it: this will be resolved – but under Russia’s terms. Period. The Foreign Ministry had already warned that refusal to pay for gas in rubles would lead to a serious global crisis of non-payments and serial global-level bankruptcies, a hellish chain reaction of blocked transactions, freezing of collateral assets and closures of credit lines.

What will happen next is partially predictable. EU companies will receive the new set of rules. They will have time to examine the documents and make a decision. Those that say “no” will be automatically excluded from receiving direct Russian gas shipments – all politico-economic consequences included.

There will be some compromise, of course. For instance, quite a few EU nations will accept to use rubles and increase their gas acquisitions so they may resell the surplus to their neighbors and make a profit. And some may also decide to buy gas on the go on energy exchanges.

So Russia is not imposing an ultimatum on anybody. The whole thing will take time – a rolling process. With some sideway action as well. The Duma is contemplating the extension of payment in rubles to other essential products – such as oil, metals, timber, wheat. It will depend on the collective voracity of the EU chihuahuas. Everyone knows that their non-stop hysteria may translate into a colossal rupture of supply chains across the West.

Bye bye oligarchs

While the Atlanticist ruling classes have gone totally berserk but still remain focused on fighting to the last European to extract any remaining, palpable EU wealth, Russia is playing it cool. Moscow has been quite lenient in fact, brandishing the specter of no gas in Spring rather than Winter.

The Russian Central Bank nationalized foreign exchange earnings of all major exporters. There was no default. The ruble keeps rising – and is now back to roughly the same level before Operation Z.  Russia remains self-sufficient, food-wise. American hysteria over “isolated” Russia is laughable. Every actor that matters across Eurasia – not to mention the other 4 BRICS and virtually the whole Global South – did not demonize and/or sanction Russia.

As an extra bonus, arguably the last oligarch capable of influence in Moscow, Anatoly Chubais, is gone. Call it another momentous historical trickery: Western sanction hysteria de facto dismembered Russian oligarchy – Putin’s pet project since 2000. What that implies is the strengthening of the Russian state and the consolidation of Russian society.

We still don’t have all the facts, but a case can be made that after years of careful evaluation Putin opted to really go for broke and break the West’s back – using that trifecta (imminent blitzkrieg on Donbass; US bioweapon labs; Ukraine working on nuclear weapons)  as the casus belli.

The freezing of foreign reserves had to have been forecasted, especially because the Russian Central Bank had been increasing its reserves of US Treasuries since November last year. Then there’s the serious possibility of Moscow being able to access “secret” offshore foreign reserves – a complex matrix built with Chinese insider help.

The sudden switch from dollars/euros to rubles was hardcore, Olympic-level geoeconomic judo. Putin enticed the collective West to unleash its demented hysteria sanction attack – and turned it against the opponent with a single, swift move.

And here we all are now trying to absorb so many in-synch game-changing developments following the weaponization of dollar assets:  rupee-ruble with India, the Saudi petroyuan, co-badged Mir-UnionPay cards issued by Russian banks, the Russia-Iran SWIFT alternative, the EAEU-China project of an independent monetary/financial system.

Not to mention the master coup by the Russian Central Bank, pegging 1 gram of gold to 5,000 rubles – which is already around $60, and climbing.

Coupled with No Rubles No Gas, what we have here is energy de facto pegged to gold. The EU Chihuahuas and the Japanese colony will need to buy a lot of rubles in gold or buy a lot of gold to have their gas. And it gets better. Russia may re-peg the ruble to gold in the near future. Could go to 2,000 rubles, 1,000 rubles, even 500 rubles for a gram of gold.

Time to be sovereign

The Holy Grail in the evolving discussions about a multipolar world, since the BRICS summits in the 2000s featuring Putin, Hu Jintao and Lula, has always been how to bypass dollar hegemony. It’s now right in front of the whole Global South, as a benign apparition bearing a Cheshire cat’s smile: the golden ruble, or ruble backed by oil, gas, minerals, commodity exports.

The Russian Central Bank, unlike the Fed, does not practice QE and won’t export toxic inflation to the rest of the planet. The Russian Navy not only secures all Russian sea lines, but Russian nuclear-powered submarines are capable of popping up all over the planet unannounced.

Russia is far, far ahead already implementing the concept of “continental naval power”. December 2015, in the Syrian theater, was the strategic game-changer. The Black Sea-based submarine 4th division is the star of the show.

Russian naval fleets may now employ Kalibr missiles across a space comprehending Eastern Europe, West Asia and Central Asia. The Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, linked by the Don-Volga canal, offer a space of maneuver comparable to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf combined. 6,000 km-long. And you don’t even need to access warm waters.

That covers around 30 nations: the traditional Russian sphere of influence; historical borders of the Russian empire; and current political/energy rivalry spheres.

No wonder the Beltway is berserk.

Russia guarantees shipping across Asia, the Arctic and Europe, in tandem with the Eurasia-wide BRI railway network.

And last but not least, don’t mess with a Nuclear Bear.

Essentially, this is what hardcore power politics is all about. Medvedev was not bragging when he said the era of a single reserve currency is over. The advent of a resource-based global reserve currency means, in a nutshell, that 13% of the planet will not dominate the other 87% anymore.

It’s NATOstan vs. Eurasia redux. Cold War 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and even 5.0. It doesn’t matter. All the previous Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) nations see which way the geopolitical and geo-economic winds are blowing: the time to assert their real sovereignty is at hand as the “rules-based international order” bites the dust.

Welcome to the birth of the new world system. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in China, after meeting several counterparts from across Eurasia, could not have outlined it better:

“A new reality is being formed: the unipolar world is irrevocably becoming a thing of the past, a multipolar one is taking shape. It’s an objective process. It’s unstoppable. In this reality, more than one power will “rule” – it will be necessary to negotiate between all the key states that today have a decisive influence on the world economy and politics. At the same time, realizing their special situation, these countries ensure compliance with the basic principles of the UN Charter, including the fundamental one – the sovereign equality of states. No one on this Earth should be seen as a minor player. Everyone is equal and sovereign.”

ما هو المضمون السياديّ للحرب من الزاوية الأوكرانيّة؟

الخميس 3 آذار 2022

 ناصر قنديل

يقوم ظاهر الخطاب الأوكرانيّ على خداع بصريّ سياديّ عنوانه مقاومة غزو دولة أجنبية لدولة ذات سيادة، وبالتأكيد فإن بلوغ الأمور مرحلة تتيح منح هذا التوصيف قدراً من المصداقية أتاح للسردية الأوكرانية أن تلقى القبول لدى الكثير من الشعوب والأشخاص المحايدين، وما يحتاج للتدقيق هو المدخل الحقيقي الذي تفجّرت بسببه الحرب ومدى انطباقه على مفاهيم السيادة من جهة، ومدى قدرة القرار السيادي على تفادي الوقوع في الحرب من جهة أخرى. فالقضية التي تتفق عليها الروايات الروسية والأوكرانية والغربية للحرب تبدأ من انضمام أو عدم انضمام اوكرانيا الى حلف الناتو، والسؤال الأهم هو هل قرار الانضمام أو عدم الانضمام هو القرار السيادي؟

قد يتساوى القراران المفترضان من الزاوية النظرية في كونهما نتاج قرار تتخذه مؤسسة سيادية في الدولة، ولكن السياق العملي لمواقف الطرف الثالث المعني وهو حلف الناتو، والذي بات ثابتاً وراسخاً ويثبت ويترسخ كل يوم، بأنه لن يتم ضمّ أوكرانيا الى حلف الناتو مطلقاً، بل إن لا استعداد لدى دول الحلف لتقديم أية مساعدة عسكرية مباشرة من نوع فرض حظر جوي فوق أوكرانيا، والسبب معلن بكلام الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن وسائر قادة حلف الناتو وأبرز أقوالهم كلام رئيس حكومة بريطانيا بوريس جونسون، والسبب هو بلسانهم مكرراً « إننا لا نريد مواجهة عسكرية مع روسيا». فيصير المشهد كما يلي، توضع أوكرانيا بسبب رفض التعهد بعدم الانضمام او الضم الى حلف الناتو في مواجهة عسكرية مع روسيا، بينما الحلف حاسم بعدم ضمّ أوكرانيا لأنه يحافظ على مصالح دوله وشعوبها واقتصادها وأمنها واستقرارها، وربما أيضاً على مستقبل علاقتها بروسيا، بتجنب مثل هذه المواجهة، فيكون قرار دول الناتو سيادياً بحق، لكن هل قرار أوكرانيا كذلك؟

في حصيلة الحرب ومهما كانت نتائجها ثمة شيء وحيد أكيد، وهو أن أوكرانيا لن تكون ضمن حلف الناتو، وثمة شيء أكيد كان يجب توافره كي لا تقع الحرب، هو ألا تكون أوكرانيا ضمن حلف الناتو، والمشترك بين الاثنين هو أن أوكرانيا خارج الناتو، والفرق هو الحرب، فيكون قرار الحكومة الأوكرانية هو الذهاب الى الحرب، واستدراجها وإشعال فتيلها مع الإدراك المسبق بأنها لن تصبح عضواً في حلف الناتو، فهل من تفسير لذلك؟

التفسير واضح، في مكالمات الرئيس الأوكراني مع الرئيس الأميركي، حيث يقول جو بايدن لفلاديمير زيلينسكي، اصمدوا أيها الأبطال وسترضخ روسيا وتتوقف، فالحرب مطلوبة كقرار سيادي للدولة التي تقود حلف الناتو، دون أن تخوضها، بل بأن تدفع أوكرانيا إلى أتونها، وهو القرار السيادي ذاته للدولة ذاتها بأن أوكرانيا لن تكون في الناتو، لأن هذه الدولة السيدة التي تقود الناتو لا تريد مواجهة مع روسيا. والحكومة الأوكرانية تنفذ القرارين السياديين الأميركيين، لا انضمام الى حلف الناتو تسليماً بالقرار الأميركي، وذهاب الى الحرب بالنيابة عن أميركا تنفيذاً لطلب أميركي، لكن لماذا تريد أميركا الحرب لأوكرانيا وتخشاها لنفسها؟

القيادة الأميركية التي أدركت عجزها عن خوض الحروب وقررت الانسحاب من أفغانستان، دخلت في مرحلة ما بعد الانسحاب في حال تراجع، وتفكك لتحالفاتها، وصعود لدور روسيا، وأدركت حاجتها لحرب تعيد تجميع أوروبا وراءها، في مواجهة مع روسيا، تتيح ضرب كل أنواع الشراكات الروسية الأوروبية، وتفتح الطريق لحملة إعلامية لشيطنة روسيا وتلويث سمعتها بتحميلها تبعات حرب على دولة أوروبية وما يرافق الحرب من أذى وخسائر بحق المدنيين، وما توفره الحرب من فرص للإعلام الذي تمسك به واشنطن لخوض حروب الشيطنة، فنفخت في بوق أوكرانيا التي قدمتها حكومتها قرباناً على المذبح الأميركي. فهل هذه سيادة، وهل ما ينتج عنها مقاومة، أم هي حرب أميركية بالوكالة بلا أي سبب او عذر يمكن إدراجهما تحت بند المصلحة الوطنية او السيادة؟

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القمة الصينية الروسية.. ولادة عالَمٍ جديدٍ

الثلاثاء 14شباط 2021

عمرو علان

القمّة الصينية الروسية الأخيرة جاءت استثنائيةً في توقيتها ومضامينها وبيانها الختامي، وهي تشير بما نتج عنها إلى تبلور معسكرٍ في مقابل معسكرٍ غربيٍ استعماريٍ تقليديٍ.

البيان الختامي للقمة تناول في 5000 كلمةٍ العديد من القضايا

عقب قمة الرئيسين الصيني شي جين بينغ والروسي فلاديمير بوتين الثنائية، التي عُقِدت في 4 شباط/فبراير 2022، على هامش دورة الألعاب الأولمبية الشتوية التي تستضيفها الصين هذا الشهر، صدر بيانٌ ختاميٌ مشتركٌ، كما جرت العادة في القمم، لكنْ تميَّز هذا البيان الختامي في كونه جاء مفصلاً وشاملاً، إذ إنه أسَّس لمرحلة تعاونٍ صينيٍ روسيٍ مستقبليةٍ تمتدّ لسنواتٍ أو ربما لعقودٍ، فقد تناول في 5000 كلمةٍ عدة قضايا، كان من بينها:

صفقات استراتيجية في عدة حقول رئيسية، كالطاقة وتكنولوجيا الفضاء.

تنسيق مواقف البلدين تجاه قضايا الأمن الإقليمي الراهنة والمستقبلية في أوروبا ومنطقة الإندو باسيفيك.

أفكار وإشارات حول مرتكزات النظام العالمي ومستقبله، بحسب الرؤية الصينية الروسية.

صفقات استراتيجية

كشف الرئيس بوتين عن عدة مشاريع روسيةٍ صينيةٍ جديدةٍ في مجال الطاقة، من بينها صفقة تزود بموجبها روسيا الصين بعشرة بليون مترٍ مكعبٍ من الغاز سنوياً، وذلك عبر خطّ أنابيبَ جديد، ما يجعل الصين المستورد الأكبر للغاز الروسي، إضافة إلى تواتر أنباء عن أنّ شركة الطاقة الروسية العملاقة “روسنيفت” المملوكة للحكومة، ستصدّر 25% من مجمل إنتاجها النفطي للصين. 

من شأن هذه الاتفاقيات الطويلة الأمد والاستراتيجية تأمين الاستقرار في سوق الطاقة لكلا البلدين، الصين وروسيا على حدٍ سواء، وذلك في مواجهة تقلّبات سوق الطاقة العالمي التي تهدد أوروبا وآسيا. وفي هذا كلّه تدعيمٌ للتكامل الروسي الصيني في مجال الطاقة، الذي يعدّ أحد أهم المجالات الحيوية لدى الدول.

أما في مجال الفضاء، فقد وقَّعت كلٌ من الشركتين الصينية “بيدو” والروسية “جلوناسس” اللتين تديران “أنظمة الملاحة عبر الأقمار الصناعية” الصينية والروسية، على اتفاقيةٍ جديدةٍ تزيد مدى التعاون بين النظامين الصيني والروسي، ليصل إلى حدّ التكامل بينهما.

تأتي هذه الاتفاقية الجديدة لتبني على الاتفاقية المسماة “التعاون للأغراض السلمية لنظامي بيدو وجلوناسس” والتي وقَّعت عليها الصين وروسيا في العام 2018.

وتتيح الاتفاقية الجديدة للنظامين الصيني والروسي مزيداً من التكامل والاستمرارية في حالتي السلم والحرب، إذ سيتمّ استخدام النظام المتكامل للأغراض العسكرية والمدنية على حدٍّ سواء، ناهيك بكون التكامل بين النظامين الصيني والروسي يعطي دقّة لا يتجاوز فيها هامش الخطأ 1.2 متر فقط، على عكس نظام التموضع العالمي “<ج بي أس” الأميركي الذي يتراوح هامش الخطأ فيه بين 5 و10 أمتار.

تنسيق المواقف

أما تنسيق المواقف بين البلدين تجاه القضايا الأمنيّة، كما جاء في البيان الختامي، فكان أبرزه يتمثل برفض روسيا القاطع استقلالَ جزيرة تايوان عن جمهورية الصين الشعبية. في المقابل، رفضت الصين مساعي حلف شمال الأطلسي التوسع في أوروبا من دون مراعاة المخاوف الأمنية الروسية، وذلك في إشارةٍ إلى تأييد الموقف الروسي في الأزمة الروسية الأميركية الراهنة حول أوكرانيا. 

كما نسَّق البيان الختامي مواقف البلدين تجاه قضايا أمنيةٍ أساسيةٍ أخرى في منطقة الإندو باسيفيك والقارة الأوروبية، كالمواقف من حلف “أوكوس” ، والحوار الأمني الرباعي المسمى “كواد” (Quad)، وقضايا أخرى.

رؤية الصين وروسيا إلى النظام العالمي

ما تَقدَّم من أمثلةٍ على بعض ما جاء في بيان القمة الختامي من صفقات استراتيجية وتنسيق لرؤى البلدين حول قضايا أساسيةٍ راهنةٍ في الجغرافيا السياسية، يعطي فكرةً عن الخطوات العملية والملموسة التي اتفق عليها العملاق الاقتصادي الصيني مع شريكه العملاق العسكري الروسي، للدفع نحو تطبيق رؤيتهما للنظام العالمي، والتي تقوم على فكرة أنّ العالم يخرج من مرحلة الهيمنة الأميركية الأحادية الجانب وتسلُّط فكر العولمة الليبرالية على العلاقات الدولية، ليدخل مرحلة التعددية القطبية، واحترام سيادة الدول، وحقّها بتقرير مصيرها وصياغة نُظُمِها السياسية والاقتصادية بما يتماشى مع موروث شعوبها الحضاري، إذ ترى الصين وروسيا أنَّ العلاقات الدولية تدخل حقبة جديدة. وكانت هذه الرؤية واضحةً في عدة فقراتٍ في البيان، وفي روح اللغة المستخدمة فيه عموماً.

جاء في مقدِّمة البيان: “يمرّ العالم اليوم بتغيراتٍ بالغة الأهمية، فالبشرية تدخل مرحلةً جديدةً من التقدم السريع والتحولات العميقة، وترى هذه الظواهر في التعددية القطبية، وعولمة الاقتصاد، وحلول عصر المجتمع المعلوماتي، وتنوع الثقافات، وتحوّل بنية إدارة الشؤون العالمية والنظام العالمي، ويشهد العالم زيادةً في مستوى الترابط والتكامل بين الدول، وتوجهاً لإعادة توزيع القوة حول العالم”. وتبرز جلياً في هذه المقدِّمة الإشارة الواضحة إلى نظام عالمي يقوم على التعددية القطبية وإعادة توزيع القوة بين الدول على رقعة العالم. 

وتمضي مقدِّمة البيان ليتّضح المعنى أكثر، إذ يشير بعد ذلك إلى زيادة التحديات والمخاطر الأمنية على المستويين الدولي والإقليمي، ويضيف: “يستمرّ بعض اللاعبين الذين لا يمثلون سوى الأقلية على مستوى المجتمع الدولي بالتسويق للنهج الأحادي في معالجة القضايا الدولية، عبر اللجوء إلى القوة والتدخل في الشؤون الداخلية للدول، منتهكين بذلك حقوق تلك الدول ومصالحها المشروعة، ومثيرين القلاقل والخلافات، ما يعرقل تطور البشرية، في تحدٍ للمجتمع الدولي”، وفي هذا إشارةٌ واضحةٌ إلى الولايات المتحدة الأميركية ونهجها الذي يرتكز على الأحادية القطبية، لكن من دون ذكر اسمها صراحةً. 

وتتكرّر هذه الإشارات إلى الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، وإلى سعيها للهيمنة على دول العالم في عدة مواضعَ من البيان، فيشير البيان في إحدى الفقرات إلى عدم وجود وصفة واحدة لتطبيق الديمقراطية، بل إنَّ الشعوب وحدها تملك الحق بالحكم على نظامها السياسي إذا ما كان ديمقراطياً، ويعود لكلِّ شعبٍ حقّ اجتراح الطرق الأصلح له من أجل تطبيق الديمقراطية، بما يتماشى ونظامه السياسي والاجتماعي وخلفيته التاريخية وتقاليده وثقافته المميزة.

في المحصّلة، جاءت القمّة الصينية الروسية الثنائية استثنائيةً في توقيتها ومضامينها وبيانها الختامي، فكما عبَّر الرئيس بوتين عن أنَّ روسيا والصين تمران بمرحلة غير مسبوقة من الصداقة والتعاون في كلِّ المجالات من دون سقوف، يشير حجم الصفقات الموقعة وطبيعتها الاستراتيجية، إضافة إلى التصور الذي قدمته القمة حول مستقبل النظام العالمي الذي يتم العمل على ترسيخه، إلى تبلور معسكرٍ في مقابل معسكرٍ غربيٍ استعماريٍ تقليديٍ يضمّ “لاعبين لا يمثلون سوى أقليةٍ على مستوى المجتمع الدولي”، بحسب وصف البيان.

وغالب الظنّ أنَّ هذا المعسكر الناشئ سيكون جاذباً لأعضاء جددٍ، سواء أكانوا من العالم الإسلامي التواق إلى التخلص من الهيمنة الغربية، أم من بعض دول أميركا اللاتينية، أم من دولٍ أفريقيةٍ، حيث توسَّع النفوذ الصيني، كما الروسي، لكن بدرجةٍ أقل.

لكن لا يجب الخلط بين طبيعة هذا المعسكر الناشئ وما كان عليه حال المعسكر الاشتراكي إبان حقبة الاتحاد السوفياتي، فدينامية العلاقات الدولية وبُنية إدارة الشؤون العالمية الحاكمة لهذا المعسكر تنبثق من ركيزتين أساسيتين: تعددية الأقطاب، واحترام خصوصية كلّ شعب في تقرير شكل نظامه السياسي والاقتصادي بما يراه مناسباً.

إذاً، شيّدت الصين وروسيا الهيكلية لمعسكرٍ ناشئٍ وواعدٍ، وتبقى العِبرة في حُسْن التطبيق، وفي عدم تضارب المصالح بين القطبين الشريكين، جراء تبايناتٍ محتملةٍ في بعض الساحات، ولا سيما في منطقتي وسط آسيا وشرق أوروبا، لأنَّ روسيا تستمد حضورها الدولي من كونها عملاقاً عسكرياً، ما يمكن أن يجعلها تستخدم القوة لتثبيت موقعها الدولي في بعض الساحات، بما يتعارض ومصالح الصين التي ترتكز على كونها عملاقاً اقتصادياً.

ورغم هذه التخوفات، ولمحاولة استشراف مستقبل كِلَا المعسكرين، يكفي النظر إلى حجم مخرجات القمة الصينية الروسية وطبيعتها، ومقارنتها بنتائج قمة جو بايدن “من أجل الديمقراطية”، التي جاءت باهتةً وهزيلةً بكل المعايير، ولا سيما بعد نفور الكثيرين حول العالم من الأيديولوجية الليبرالية التي ما انفكت تروج لكلِّ أشكال الموبقات، من ترويجٍ للشذوذ الذي يضرب المجتمعات عبر هدم مفهوم العلاقات الإنسانيّة والأسرة السويَّة، إلى استنزاف موارد كوكب الأرض، إلى الحدّ الذي باتت معه استمرارية الحياة البشرية موضع تساؤلٍ. يلخّص الفيلسوف ألكسندر دوغين نتائج القمة الصينية الروسية بالقول: “المستقبل بالتأكيد للتعددية القطبية… عالَمٌ جديدٌ قد وُلِد”.

إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي صاحبها حصراً

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Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on the International Relations Entering a New Era and the Global Sustainable Development

February 04, 2022

Source

At the invitation of President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir V. Putin visited China on 4 February 2022. The Heads of State held talks in Beijing and took part in the opening ceremony of the XXIV Olympic Winter Games.

The Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, hereinafter referred to as the sides, state as follows.

Today, the world is going through momentous changes, and humanity is entering a new era of rapid development and profound transformation. It sees the development of such processes and phenomena as multipolarity, economic globalization, the advent of information society, cultural diversity, transformation of the global governance architecture and world order; there is increasing interrelation and interdependence between the States; a trend has emerged towards redistribution of power in the world; and the international community is showing a growing demand for the leadership aiming at peaceful and gradual development. At the same time, as the pandemic of the new coronavirus infection continues, the international and regional security situation is complicating and the number of global challenges and threats is growing from day to day. Some actors representing but the minority on the international scale continue to advocate unilateral approaches to addressing international issues and resort to force; they interfere in the internal affairs of other states, infringing their legitimate rights and interests, and incite contradictions, differences and confrontation, thus hampering the development and progress of mankind, against the opposition from the international community.

The sides call on all States to pursue well-being for all and, with these ends, to build dialogue and mutual trust, strengthen mutual understanding, champion such universal human values as peace, development, equality, justice, democracy and freedom, respect the rights of peoples to independently determine the development paths of their countries and the sovereignty and the security and development interests of States, to protect the United Nations-driven international architecture and the international law-based world order, seek genuine multipolarity with the United Nations and its Security Council playing a central and coordinating role, promote more democratic international relations, and ensure peace, stability and sustainable development across the world.

I

The sides share the understanding that democracy is a universal human value, rather than a privilege of a limited number of States, and that its promotion and protection is a common responsibility of the entire world community.

The sides believe that democracy is a means of citizens’ participation in the government of their country with the view to improving the well-being of population and implementing the principle of popular government. Democracy is exercised in all spheres of public life as part of a nation-wide process and reflects the interests of all the people, its will, guarantees its rights, meets its needs and protects its interests. There is no one-size-fits-all template to guide countries in establishing democracy. A nation can choose such forms and methods of implementing democracy that would best suit its particular state, based on its social and political system, its historical background, traditions and unique cultural characteristics. It is only up to the people of the country to decide whether their State is a democratic one.

The sides note that Russia and China as world powers with rich cultural and historical heritage have long-standing traditions of democracy, which rely on thousand-years of experience of development, broad popular support and consideration of the needs and interests of citizens. Russia and China guarantee their people the right to take part through various means and in various forms in the administration of the State and public life in accordance with the law. The people of both countries are certain of the way they have chosen and respect the democratic systems and traditions of other States.

The sides note that democratic principles are implemented at the global level, as well as in administration of State. Certain States’ attempts to impose their own ”democratic standards“ on other countries, to monopolize the right to assess the level of compliance with democratic criteria, to draw dividing lines based on the grounds of ideology, including by establishing exclusive blocs and alliances of convenience, prove to be nothing but flouting of democracy and go against the spirit and true values of democracy. Such attempts at hegemony pose serious threats to global and regional peace and stability and undermine the stability of the world order.

The sides believe that the advocacy of democracy and human rights must not be used to put pressure on other countries. They oppose the abuse of democratic values and interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states under the pretext of protecting democracy and human rights, and any attempts to incite divisions and confrontation in the world. The sides call on the international community to respect cultural and civilizational diversity and the rights of peoples of different countries to self-determination. They stand ready to work together with all the interested partners to promote genuine democracy.

The sides note that the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights set noble goals in the area of universal human rights, set forth fundamental principles, which all the States must comply with and observe in deeds. At the same time, as every nation has its own unique national features, history, culture, social system and level of social and economic development, universal nature of human rights should be seen through the prism of the real situation in every particular country, and human rights should be protected in accordance with the specific situation in each country and the needs of its population. Promotion and protection of human rights is a shared responsibility of the international community. The states should equally prioritize all categories of human rights and promote them in a systemic manner. The international human rights cooperation should be carried out as a dialogue between the equals involving all countries. All States must have equal access to the right to development. Interaction and cooperation on human rights matters should be based on the principle of equality of all countries and mutual respect for the sake of strengthening the international human rights architecture.

II

The sides believe that peace, development and cooperation lie at the core of the modern international system. Development is a key driver in ensuring the prosperity of the nations. The ongoing pandemic of the new coronavirus infection poses a serious challenge to the fulfilment of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is vital to enhance partnership relations for the sake of global development and make sure that the new stage of global development is defined by balance, harmony and inclusiveness.

The sides are seeking to advance their work to link the development plans for the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt and Road Initiative with a view to intensifying practical cooperation between the EAEU and China in various areas and promoting greater interconnectedness between the Asia Pacific and Eurasian regions. The sides reaffirm their focus on building the Greater Eurasian Partnership in parallel and in coordination with the Belt and Road construction to foster the development of regional associations as well as bilateral and multilateral integration processes for the benefit of the peoples on the Eurasian continent.

The sides agreed to continue consistently intensifying practical cooperation for the sustainable development of the Arctic.

The sides will strengthen cooperation within multilateral mechanisms, including the United Nations, and encourage the international community to prioritize development issues in the global macro-policy coordination. They call on the developed countries to implement in good faith their formal commitments on development assistance, provide more resources to developing countries, address the uneven development of States, work to offset such imbalances within States, and advance global and international development cooperation. The Russian side confirms its readiness to continue working on the China-proposed Global Development Initiative, including participation in the activities of the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative under the UN auspices. In order to accelerate the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the sides call on the international community to take practical steps in key areas of cooperation such as poverty reduction, food security, vaccines and epidemics control, financing for development, climate change, sustainable development, including green development, industrialization, digital economy, and infrastructure connectivity.

The sides call on the international community to create open, equal, fair and non-discriminatory conditions for scientific and technological development, to step up practical implementation of scientific and technological advances in order to identify new drivers of economic growth.

The sides call upon all countries to strengthen cooperation in sustainable transport, actively build contacts and share knowledge in the construction of transport facilities, including smart transport and sustainable transport, development and use of Arctic routes, as well as to develop other areas to support global post-epidemic recovery.

The sides are taking serious action and making an important contribution to the fight against climate change. Jointly celebrating the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, they reaffirm their commitment to this Convention as well as to the goals, principles and provisions of the Paris Agreement, including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. The sides work together to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, remain committed to fulfilling the obligations they have undertaken and expect that developed countries will actually ensure the annual provision of $100 billion of climate finance to developing states. The sides oppose setting up new barriers in international trade under the pretext of fighting climate change.

The sides strongly support the development of international cooperation and exchanges in the field of biological diversity, actively participating in the relevant global governance process, and intend to jointly promote the harmonious development of humankind and nature as well as green transformation to ensure sustainable global development.

The Heads of State positively assess the effective interaction between Russia and China in the bilateral and multilateral formats focusing on the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, protection of life and health of the population of the two countries and the peoples of the world. They will further increase cooperation in the development and manufacture of vaccines against the new coronavirus infection, as well as medical drugs for its treatment, and enhance collaboration in public health and modern medicine. The sides plan to strengthen coordination on epidemiological measures to ensure strong protection of health, safety and order in contacts between citizens of the two countries. The sides have commended the work of the competent authorities and regions of the two countries on implementing quarantine measures in the border areas and ensuring the stable operation of the border crossing points, and intend to consider establishing a joint mechanism for epidemic control and prevention in the border areas to jointly plan anti-epidemic measures to be taken at the border checkpoints, share information, build infrastructure and improve the efficiency of customs clearance of goods.

The sides emphasize that ascertaining the origin of the new coronavirus infection is a matter of science. Research on this topic must be based on global knowledge, and that requires cooperation among scientists from all over the world. The sides oppose politicization of this issue. The Russian side welcomes the work carried out jointly by China and WHO to identify the source of the new coronavirus infection and supports the China – WHO joint report on the matter. The sides call on the global community to jointly promote a serious scientific approach to the study of the coronavirus origin.

The Russian side supports a successful hosting by the Chinese side of the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2022.

The sides highly appreciate the level of bilateral cooperation in sports and the Olympic movement and express their readiness to contribute to its further progressive development.

III

The sides are gravely concerned about serious international security challenges and believe that the fates of all nations are interconnected. No State can or should ensure its own security separately from the security of the rest of the world and at the expense of the security of other States. The international community should actively engage in global governance to ensure universal, comprehensive, indivisible and lasting security.

The sides reaffirm their strong mutual support for the protection of their core interests, state sovereignty and territorial integrity, and oppose interference by external forces in their internal affairs.

The Russian side reaffirms its support for the One-China principle, confirms that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and opposes any forms of independence of Taiwan.

Russia and China stand against attempts by external forces to undermine security and stability in their common adjacent regions, intend to counter interference by outside forces in the internal affairs of sovereign countries under any pretext, oppose colour revolutions, and will increase cooperation in the aforementioned areas.

The sides condemn terrorism in all its manifestations, promote the idea of creating a single global anti-terrorism front, with the United Nations playing a central role, advocate stronger political coordination and constructive engagement in multilateral counterterrorism efforts. The sides oppose politicization of the issues of combating terrorism and their use as instruments of policy of double standards, condemn the practice of interference in the internal affairs of other States for geopolitical purposes through the use of terrorist and extremist groups as well as under the guise of combating international terrorism and extremism.

The sides believe that certain States, military and political alliances and coalitions seek to obtain, directly or indirectly, unilateral military advantages to the detriment of the security of others, including by employing unfair competition practices, intensify geopolitical rivalry, fuel antagonism and confrontation, and seriously undermine the international security order and global strategic stability. The sides oppose further enlargement of NATO and call on the North Atlantic Alliance to abandon its ideologized cold war approaches, to respect the sovereignty, security and interests of other countries, the diversity of their civilizational, cultural and historical backgrounds, and to exercise a fair and objective attitude towards the peaceful development of other States. The sides stand against the formation of closed bloc structures and opposing camps in the Asia-Pacific region and remain highly vigilant about the negative impact of the United States’ Indo-Pacific strategy on peace and stability in the region. Russia and China have made consistent efforts to build an equitable, open and inclusive security system in the Asia-Pacific Region (APR) that is not directed against third countries and that promotes peace, stability and prosperity.

The sides welcome the Joint Statement of the Leaders of the Five Nuclear-Weapons States on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races and believe that all nuclear-weapons States should abandon the cold war mentality and zero-sum games, reduce the role of nuclear weapons in their national security policies, withdraw nuclear weapons deployed abroad, eliminate the unrestricted development of global anti-ballistic missile defense (ABM) system, and take effective steps to reduce the risks of nuclear wars and any armed conflicts between countries with military nuclear capabilities.

The sides reaffirm that the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is the cornerstone of the international disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation system, an important part of the post-war international security system, and plays an indispensable role in world peace and development. The international community should promote the balanced implementation of the three pillars of the Treaty and work together to protect the credibility, effectiveness and the universal nature of the instrument.

The sides are seriously concerned about the trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom (AUKUS), which provides for deeper cooperation between its members in areas involving strategic stability, in particular their decision to initiate cooperation in the field of nuclear-powered submarines. Russia and China believe that such actions are contrary to the objectives of security and sustainable development of the Asia-Pacific region, increase the danger of an arms race in the region, and pose serious risks of nuclear proliferation. The sides strongly condemn such moves and call on AUKUS participants to fulfil their nuclear and missile non-proliferation commitments in good faith and to work together to safeguard peace, stability, and development in the region.

Japan’s plans to release nuclear contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean and the potential environmental impact of such actions are of deep concern to the sides. The sides emphasize that the disposal of nuclear contaminated water should be handled with responsibility and carried out in a proper manner based on arrangements between the Japanese side and neighbouring States, other interested parties, and relevant international agencies while ensuring transparency, scientific reasoning, and in accordance with international law.

The sides believe that the U.S. withdrawal from the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, the acceleration of research and the development of intermediate-range and shorter-range ground-based missiles and the desire to deploy them in the Asia-Pacific and European regions, as well as their transfer to the allies, entail an increase in tension and distrust, increase risks to international and regional security, lead to the weakening of international non-proliferation and arms control system, undermining global strategic stability. The sided call on the United States to respond positively to the Russian initiative and abandon its plans to deploy intermediate-range and shorter-range ground-based missiles in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe. The sides will continue to maintain contacts and strengthen coordination on this issue.

The Chinese side is sympathetic to and supports the proposals put forward by the Russian Federation to create long-term legally binding security guarantees in Europe.

The sides note that the denunciation by the United States of a number of important international arms control agreements has an extremely negative impact on international and regional security and stability. The sides express concern over the advancement of U.S. plans to develop global missile defence and deploy its elements in various regions of the world, combined with capacity building of high-precision non-nuclear weapons for disarming strikes and other strategic objectives. The sides stress the importance of the peaceful uses of outer space, strongly support the central role of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in promoting international cooperation, maintaining and developing international space law and regulation in the field of space activities. Russia and China will continue to increase cooperation on such matters of mutual interest as the long-term sustainability of space activities and the development and use of space resources. The sides oppose attempts by some States to turn outer space into an arena of armed confrontation and reiterate their intention to make all necessary efforts to prevent the weaponization of space and an arms race in outer space. They will counteract activities aimed at achieving military superiority in space and using it for combat operations. The sides affirm the need for the early launch of negotiations to conclude a legally binding multilateral instrument based on the Russian-Chinese draft treaty on the prevention of placement of weapons in outer space and the use or threat of force against space objects that would provide fundamental and reliable guarantees against an arms race and the weaponization of outer space.

Russia and China emphasize that appropriate transparency and confidence-building measures, including an international initiative/political commitment not to be the first to place weapons in space, can also contribute to the goal of preventing an arms race in outer space, but such measures should complement and not substitute the effective legally binding regime governing space activities.

The sides reaffirm their belief that the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BWC) is an essential pillar of international peace and security. Russia and China underscore their determination to preserve the credibility and effectiveness of the Convention.

The sides affirm the need to fully respect and further strengthen the BWC, including by institutionalizing it, strengthening its mechanisms, and adopting a legally binding Protocol to the Convention with an effective verification mechanism, as well as through regular consultation and cooperation in addressing any issues related to the implementation of the Convention.

The sides emphasize that domestic and foreign bioweapons activities by the United States and its allies raise serious concerns and questions for the international community regarding their compliance with the BWC. The sides share the view that such activities pose a serious threat to the national security of the Russian Federation and China and are detrimental to the security of the respective regions. The sides call on the U.S. and its allies to act in an open, transparent, and responsible manner by properly reporting on their military biological activities conducted overseas and on their national territory, and by supporting the resumption of negotiations on a legally binding BWC Protocol with an effective verification mechanism.

The sides, reaffirming their commitment to the goal of a world free of chemical weapons, call upon all parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention to work together to uphold its credibility and effectiveness. Russia and China are deeply concerned about the politicization of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and call on all of its members to strengthen solidarity and cooperation and protect the tradition of consensual decision-making. Russia and China insist that the United States, as the sole State Party to the Convention that has not yet completed the process of eliminating chemical weapons, accelerate the elimination of its stockpiles of chemical weapons. The sides emphasize the importance of balancing the non-proliferation obligations of states with the interests of legitimate international cooperation in the use of advanced technology and related materials and equipment for peaceful purposes. The sides note the resolution entitled ”Promoting international Cooperation on Peaceful Uses in the Context of International Security“ adopted at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly on the initiative of China and co‑sponsored by Russia, and look forward to its consistent implementation in accordance with the goals set forth therein.

The sides attach great importance to the issues of governance in the field of artificial intelligence. The sides are ready to strengthen dialogue and contacts on artificial intelligence.

The sides reiterate their readiness to deepen cooperation in the field of international information security and to contribute to building an open, secure, sustainable and accessible ICT environment. The sides emphasize that the principles of the non-use of force, respect for national sovereignty and fundamental human rights and freedoms, and non-interference in the internal affairs of other States, as enshrined in the UN Charter, are applicable to the information space. Russia and China reaffirm the key role of the UN in responding to threats to international information security and express their support for the Organization in developing new norms of conduct of states in this area.

The sides welcome the implementation of the global negotiation process on international information security within a single mechanism and support in this context the work of the UN Open-ended Working Group on security of and in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) 2021–2025 (OEWG) and express their willingness to speak with one voice within it. The sides consider it necessary to consolidate the efforts of the international community to develop new norms of responsible behaviour of States, including legal ones, as well as a universal international legal instrument regulating the activities of States in the field of ICT. The sides believe that the Global Initiative on Data Security, proposed by the Chinese side and supported, in principle, by the Russian side, provides a basis for the Working Group to discuss and elaborate responses to data security threats and other threats to international information security.

The sides reiterate their support of United Nations General Assembly resolutions 74/247 and 75/282, support the work of the relevant Ad Hoc Committee of Governmental Experts, facilitate the negotiations within the United Nations for the elaboration of an international convention on countering the use of ICTs for criminal purposes. The sides encourage constructive participation of all sides in the negotiations in order to agree as soon as possible on a credible, universal, and comprehensive convention and provide it to the United Nations General Assembly at its 78th session in strict compliance with resolution 75/282. For these purposes, Russia and China have presented a joint draft convention as a basis for negotiations.

The sides support the internationalization of Internet governance, advocate equal rights to its governance, believe that any attempts to limit their sovereign right to regulate national segments of the Internet and ensure their security are unacceptable, are interested in greater participation of the International Telecommunication Union in addressing these issues.

The sides intend to deepen bilateral cooperation in international information security on the basis of the relevant 2015 intergovernmental agreement. To this end, the sides have agreed to adopt in the near future a plan for cooperation between Russia and China in this area.

IV

The sides underline that Russia and China, as world powers and permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, intend to firmly adhere to moral principles and accept their responsibility, strongly advocate the international system with the central coordinating role of the United Nations in international affairs, defend the world order based on international law, including the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, advance multipolarity and promote the democratization of international relations, together create an even more prospering, stable, and just world, jointly build international relations of a new type.

The Russian side notes the significance of the concept of constructing a ”community of common destiny for mankind“ proposed by the Chinese side to ensure greater solidarity of the international community and consolidation of efforts in responding to common challenges. The Chinese side notes the significance of the efforts taken by the Russian side to establish a just multipolar system of international relations.

The sides intend to strongly uphold the outcomes of the Second World War and the existing post-war world order, defend the authority of the United Nations and justice in international relations, resist attempts to deny, distort, and falsify the history of the Second World War.

In order to prevent the recurrence of the tragedy of the world war, the sides will strongly condemn actions aimed at denying the responsibility for atrocities of Nazi aggressors, militarist invaders, and their accomplices, besmirch and tarnish the honour of the victorious countries.

The sides call for the establishment of a new kind of relationships between world powers on the basis of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation. They reaffirm that the new inter-State relations between Russia and China are superior to political and military alliances of the Cold War era. Friendship between the two States has no limits, there are no ”forbidden“ areas of cooperation, strengthening of bilateral strategic cooperation is neither aimed against third countries nor affected by the changing international environment and circumstantial changes in third countries.

The sides reiterate the need for consolidation, not division of the international community, the need for cooperation, not confrontation. The sides oppose the return of international relations to the state of confrontation between major powers, when the weak fall prey to the strong. The sides intend to resist attempts to substitute universally recognized formats and mechanisms that are consistent with international law for rules elaborated in private by certain nations or blocs of nations, and are against addressing international problems indirectly and without consensus, oppose power politics, bullying, unilateral sanctions, and extraterritorial application of jurisdiction, as well as the abuse of export control policies, and support trade facilitation in line with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The sides reaffirmed their intention to strengthen foreign policy coordination, pursue true multilateralism, strengthen cooperation on multilateral platforms, defend common interests, support the international and regional balance of power, and improve global governance.

The sides support and defend the multilateral trade system based on the central role of the World Trade Organization (WTO), take an active part in the WTO reform, opposing unilateral approaches and protectionism. The sides are ready to strengthen dialogue between partners and coordinate positions on trade and economic issues of common concern, contribute to ensuring the sustainable and stable operation of global and regional value chains, promote a more open, inclusive, transparent, non-discriminatory system of international trade and economic rules.

The sides support the G20 format as an important forum for discussing international economic cooperation issues and anti-crisis response measures, jointly promote the invigorated spirit of solidarity and cooperation within the G20, support the leading role of the association in such areas as the international fight against epidemics, world economic recovery, inclusive sustainable development, improving the global economic governance system in a fair and rational manner to collectively address global challenges.

The sides support the deepened strategic partnership within BRICS, promote the expanded cooperation in three main areas: politics and security, economy and finance, and humanitarian exchanges. In particular, Russia and China intend to encourage interaction in the fields of public health, digital economy, science, innovation and technology, including artificial intelligence technologies, as well as the increased coordination between BRICS countries on international platforms. The sides strive to further strengthen the BRICS Plus/Outreach format as an effective mechanism of dialogue with regional integration associations and organizations of developing countries and States with emerging markets.

The Russian side will fully support the Chinese side chairing the association in 2022, and assist in the fruitful holding of the XIV BRICS summit.

Russia and China aim to comprehensively strengthen the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and further enhance its role in shaping a polycentric world order based on the universally recognized principles of international law, multilateralism, equal, joint, indivisible, comprehensive and sustainable security.

They consider it important to consistently implement the agreements on improved mechanisms to counter challenges and threats to the security of SCO member states and, in the context of addressing this task, advocate expanded functionality of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure.

The sides will contribute to imparting a new quality and dynamics to the economic interaction between the SCO member States in the fields of trade, manufacturing, transport, energy, finance, investment, agriculture, customs, telecommunications, innovation and other areas of mutual interest, including through the use of advanced, resource-saving, energy efficient and ”green“ technologies.

The sides note the fruitful interaction within the SCO under the 2009 Agreement between the Governments of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member States on cooperation in the field of international information security, as well as within the specialized Group of Experts. In this context, they welcome the adoption of the SCO Joint Action Plan on Ensuring International Information Security for 2022–2023 by the Council of Heads of State of SCO Member States on September 17, 2021 in Dushanbe.

Russia and China proceed from the ever-increasing importance of cultural and humanitarian cooperation for the progressive development of the SCO. In order to strengthen mutual understanding between the people of the SCO member States, they will continue to effectively foster interaction in such areas as cultural ties, education, science and technology, healthcare, environmental protection, tourism, people-to-people contacts, sports.

Russia and China will continue to work to strengthen the role of APEC as the leading platform for multilateral dialogue on economic issues in the Asia-Pacific region. The sides intend to step up coordinated action to successfully implement the ”Putrajaya guidelines for the development of APEC until 2040“ with a focus on creating a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and predictable trade and investment environment in the region. Particular emphasis will be placed on the fight against the novel coronavirus infection pandemic and economic recovery, digitalization of a wide range of different spheres of life, economic growth in remote territories and the establishment of interaction between APEC and other regional multilateral associations with a similar agenda.

The sides intend to develop cooperation within the ”Russia-India-China“ format, as well as to strengthen interaction on such venues as the East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum on Security, Meeting of Defense Ministers of the ASEAN Member States and Dialogue Partners. Russia and China support ASEAN’s central role in developing cooperation in East Asia, continue to increase coordination on deepened cooperation with ASEAN, and jointly promote cooperation in the areas of public health, sustainable development, combating terrorism and countering transnational crime. The sides intend to continue to work in the interest of a strengthened role of ASEAN as a key element of the regional architecture.

The EU, Globalization and the Road to Serfdom

December 28, 2021

By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

PART 1

It might be a good idea to start with some theoretical clarifications. Firstly, nationalism should not be confused with national sovereignty. Nations which are effectively ruled by outside agents – from Greece to Honduras – are not sovereign; they are colonies or vassals of some larger agency. And since they are not sovereign, the cannot be democratic, since decision making, and policies have been abrogated to an external ruling power. Secondly, nationalism: the term which in general is generally regarded as the all-weather bête noire by the orthodox left, can be and often is aggressive, racist, imperialistic, and so forth. But this is only half the story and there are ample reasons to believe that this view is both simplistic and narrowly focussed; ‘nationalism’ can be either a reactionary or a radical/progressive force, depending on the local and political circumstances. This is simply an historical fact. The latter phenomenon is particularly true of those nations which struggled under the yoke of imperialism – from Vietnam to Algeria both ex-French colonies – and who actively engaged in national repeat, national, liberation struggles involving a broad coalition of political forces

However, according to the conventional wisdom of the hyper-globalists both nation states and the whole concept of national sovereignty are now defunct. Their reasoning is based upon the following premises. 1.Most products have developed a very complex geography – with parts made in different countries and then assembled somewhere else – in which case labels of origin begin to lose their meaning. 2. Markets when left unfettered will arrive at optimal price, allocative, and productive efficiency. 3.This means that capital, commodities and labour should be free to move around the globe without let or hindrance to achieve these goals. 4. Any barriers to this process – capital controls, trade unions, exchange rate controls, welfare expenditures, minimum wage legislation, wages and even public goods – will result in price and allocative distortions. Q.E.D.

Such globalization has come to be seen and defined by its proponents as the ‘natural order’, almost a force of nature; an inevitable and inexorable process of increasing geographical spread and increasing functional integration between economic activities. This current orthodoxy goes by various other names, Washington consensus, market liberalisation, neo-liberalism and so on and so forth. In fact, there is nothing ‘natural’ about this stage of historical development, since the whole phenomenon has been politically driven from the outset. (Of which more later).

It is important to note, however, the difference between contemporary imperialism in its present stage – i.e., globalization – and the classical imperialism of pre-1914 vintage that Hobson, Lenin, Bukharin and Rosa Luxemburg were writing about. Classical imperialism was characterised by a shallow integration manifested in arms-length trade in goods and services through independent firms and international movement of portfolio capital and relatively simple direct investment. Note also that the British state granted Charters to investment entities such as the East India Company and the British South Africa Chartered Company to ‘develop’ (exploit) these colonial possessions. Thus, even at this early stage the British state actively intervened to facilitate and open up markets for British capital in India and Africa. This was the liberal epoch trade of the 19th century. Full-on globalization did not develop, however, due to inter-imperialist rivalries and mercantilist policies being carried out by the competing imperial powers (which eventuated in WW1). The opening up and liberalization of markets – which did not at that time occur – was and still is the conditio sine qua non for the development of full-blown globalization, which even today is nowhere near total.

This generalised retreat from a classical liberal colonialism began with the First World War and lasted until the early 1970s. This statist phase of the global economy was universalized in the west after the aftermath of WW2 in the form of social-democracy and the welfare state. Suffice it to say that this period is long gone having been systematically deconstructed by the present neo-liberal counter-revolution which began circa 1979. The neoliberal phase really got going in the 1980s. This was the time of the Washington Consensus a set of ideological prescriptions based upon archaic Ricardian trade theory (comparative advantage) to be followed to the letter and by all and sundry. It was argued that this would result in an economic nirvana attendant on the removal of distortions to the market mechanism brought about by welfare capitalism. To repeat: the tripod on which neoliberalism is based consists of 1. The free-movement of labour and ‘flexible’ labour markets, 2. the free movement of capital and commodities which in essence means the loss of control of monetary policy, exchange rate policy and capital controls. The neo-liberal regimen also involves 3. downward harmonisation of wages and working conditions, involving fixed term contracts, zero-hour contracts, the weakening or in the case of the United States, the virtual elimination of trade unions, stagnant wages, structural unemployment, which in turn leads to increased indebtedness which benefits the rentier class, and ongoing and deepening structural inequality. This is sometimes called austerity, but this is putting the horse before the cart. Austerity is the effect not the cause of liberalised financial, labour and commodity markets.

The present stage of neo-liberal imperialism differs from the classical stage insofar as we currently live in a world of deep integration organized primarily within and between geographical and complex global production networks as well as other mechanisms. Moreover, a new factor became apparent in this Brave New World – financialization. There has been a massive increase in both the size and scope of financial markets, with money moving electronically around the world at unprecedented speeds, generating enormous repercussions and instability. The system of unlimited fiat currencies mainly used for purely speculative purposes is resulting in ongoing asset price bubbles particularly in stocks, bonds and property, as well as other financial instruments, e.g. derivatives.

To wit:

  1. The surge of bank loans to Mexico in the 1970s – Th tequila crisis.
  2. The bubble in stocks and Real Estate in Japan – 1985-89
  3. The 1985-89 bubble in stocks and property in Norway, Finland and Sweden
  4. The bubble in real estate, stocks and currencies in East Asia in 1992-97
  5. The bubble in over the counter (OTC) stocks in the US, including hi-tech start-ups
  6. The 2002-2008. The property bubble in the US, UK, Spain, Ireland, Iceland and Greek sovereign debt. (Manias, Panics and Crashes – Kindleberger and Aliber – 2011)

Additionally, the global institutions, which emerged from the Bretton Woods Conference of 1944, the IMF, GATT/WTO, World Bank, and increasingly central banks around the world, play a crucial role of the construction of trade policies, co-ordination, guidance, as well as providing and enforcing legal statutes designed to keep the globalist ship afloat. But it should be understood that these institutions are highly politicised and ideologically driven and not disinterested arbiters of the common weal. This is amply illustrated by the recurring breakdowns in the various rounds of trade liberalization talks conducted by the WTO when what are perceived by the developing world (with some justification) as being unfair trade agreements foisted on the them by the more affluent and controlling developed states nations who control voting procedures. In passing, it should also be noted that the EU represents a regionalised version of these global institutional structures, the ECB, EC, Council of Ministers, Eurozone Finance Ministers, European Round Table of Industrialists and so forth. Moreover, there exists a revolving door – in career terms – between state institutions and private corporations. N.B. the ease of which big-time globalist financial honchos such as Henry (Hank) Paulson, Steve Mnuchin and Mario Draghi glide effortlessly between the leading US investment bank, Goldman Sachs, and the US Treasury Department and ECB.

Power to shape/control this system is concentrated in the hands of states and/or the newly emergent Transnational Corporations (TNCs). Of course, there is not going to be a simple answer to this as the relationship between these two pillars of modern imperialism is both fractious and permanently mutating. The received wisdom, as put forward by the various spokespersons for globalization, ranging from the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) OECD, and IMF, to the globalist house journals – Financial Times, The Economist and Wall Street Journal – of the global Transnational Uberklasse is predictable enough. Namely that the state is always in a subservient position vis-à-vis the dominant TNCs.

This perhaps would qualify as a procrustean effort to make the facts fit the theory. Contrary to the image of the all-powerful TNC demanding fealty and obedience from prostrate states, the relationship is somewhat more symmetrical; corporations and states are always to a certain degree joined at the hip.

‘’ … they are both competitive and competing, both supportive and conflictual. They operate in a fully dialectical relationship, locked into unified but contradictory roles and positions, neither one nor the other partner completely able to dominate.’’ (Picciotto, S. 1991 The Internationalisation of the State – Capital and Class 43.43-63)

The widespread notion that a TNC can simply up sticks and move lock, stock and barrel to a more compatible venue if its home base no longer suits it purposes is fanciful in the extreme. All TNCs have home bases, national HQs. Here is where global strategy is determined; here is where top-end R&D is carried out; here is where design and marketing strategies take place; here is where the domestic market is situated and where long-term domestic suppliers are located; here is where overseas operations are conceived planned and carried through; here is where AGMs of the Corporations takes place with published accounts circulated to all shareholders; here is where the local workforce, at all levels, is recruited; here is where the political bureaucracy and the above mentioned institutions are situated and amenable to lobbying. Picking an obvious example, the US defence industries, Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin, Northrop-Grumman are all based domestically and are not going to move out anytime soon.

It is unquestionably true that TNCs and states often have divergent goals: TNCs’ primary function is to maximise profits and enhance shareholder value, whereas the economic role of the state should be to maximise the economic welfare of its society. But although this conflictual relationship exists, states and TNCs need and lean on each other in a variety of ways. States might wish that TNCs are bound by allegiance to national borders – and in many ways they are (see above) – but total allegiance is not an option in a liberal capitalist economy. Indeed, it would be true to say that some states regard TNC (activities) as being complementary to their foreign policy. Here economic issues merge with geopolitical imperatives. For example:

‘’American political leaders have believed that the national interest has also been served by the foreign expansion of US corporations in manufacturing and services. FDI has been considered a major instrument through which the US could maintain its relative position in world markets, and the overseas expansion of TNCs has been regarded as a means to maintain America’s dominant world position.’’ (Gilpin, R. 1987 – The Political Economy of International Relations.)

On the other hand. Businesses, Corporations, TNCs, have always needed the state to provide the necessary infrastructure without which their operations would not be possible. This infrastructure includes what are sometimes called ‘public goods’ the built environment of roads, railways, airports, ports, canals, health services, education at all levels, a legal system, a centralised government with the power to tax and spend, as well as control monetary policy by a central bank, various procurement policies – in the US particularly involving the Military Industrial Complex – publicly funded research, which played an absolutely vital role in the development of the internet and Silicon Valley. In addition, there have been a range of cultural and political goods – the media for example – some of which were provided by the state, the BBC and public service broadcasting, and some by the market, newspapers and commercial television, albeit privately subsidised.

In short, the relationship between TNCs and states is complex and symmetrical and does not conform to the simplistic ‘Me Tarzan, you Jane’ globalist trope. In fact, the relationship has betimes been the other way around. During the post-war period both Japan and South Korea were at pains to block Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from overseas TNCs entering their economies, principally by operationalising import controls. This notwithstanding the fact that both countries were export orientated. The reasoning behind this policy was that the type nation-building mercantilism being which has been and is still the only way out of under-development could not work in an open liberalised economy. Similarly, Chinese development included inward FDI by overseas Corporations, BUT this time around the state-TNC roles were reversed. Automobile firms wished to invest in China for the simple reason of access to the world’s largest growing market which served as a powerful incentive for these firms to enter. But the Chinese government, consistent with its state-capitalist, mercantilist policies had complete control over such entry and adopted a policy of limited access to foreign firms. It is customary to imagine that TNCs always have the upper hand in the bargaining process, but this time it was different. Auto TNCs whose experience had conditioned them to play off states against each other, were subjected to the humbling experience of China who – given its control of FDI entry – was able to play off one TNC against another.

In fact, the East Asian development model – which for want of a better label I will call, state-capitalist mercantilism – has been successful in enabling states such as China, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and possibly Thailand, and Malaysia to claw their way out of the trap of underdevelopment. This nation-building developmental strategy was first outlined by the German economist Freidrich List. The policy advocated imposing tariffs on imported goods while supporting free trade of domestic goods and stated the cost of a tariff should be seen as an investment in a nation’s future productivity – worked and was operationalised in the 19th century by both Germany and the United States, with a view to breaking British industrial and trade hegemony, which it did. As for free-trade, that was a policy strictly for the losers who to this day stay under-developed. It is also worth adding that the East Asian development bloc did not seek permission from the imperialist behemoth to carve out their own place in the sun.

We can say, therefore, that ultimately the negotiating relationship and outcomes between states and TNCs will depend on the relative bargaining strength in any specific instance. It is argued that if nation states are capable of so much why does the record show that they have achieved so little.

Well, South Korea was about equal to Tanzania in terms of all the economic, social and cultural indictors in the 1950s when it was just recovering from the Korean war.

South Korea is now one of the developing world’s long-term success stories. The country is now classified by the World Bank as a high-income economy, with PPP income exceeding $29,000.00 in 2010. Korean consumer electronics and other goods – auto-vehicles, Kia and Hyundai – have become synonymous with high quality and low price. Even more impressive is Korea’s achievements in social development, in education, and health. Life expectancy is now over 75 and the country’s HDI was placed 26th in 2004. As was the case in Japan inward investment was discouraged in favour of an infant protection industry and export led growth. Exports in such sectors as consumer electronics and auto-vehicles, and more recently in high technology have grown at an extraordinary rate. One very important reason for this has been a national strategy that has favoured the promotion of increasingly sophisticated exports and technology. Strong financial incentives for industrial firms to move up the value chain of skills and technology were built into most of the government’s policies. These policies included:

1. Currency Undervaluation: The effective exchange rate favoured cheaper exports and more expensive imports – an overt mercantilist approach

2. Preferential access to imported intermediate inputs needed to produce export goods

3. Targeted infant industry protection as a first stage before launching an export drive.

4. Tariff exemption on imports of capital goods needed in exporting activities

5. Tax breaks for domestic suppliers of inputs to exporting firms, which constitutes a domestic content incentive

6. Domestic indirect tax exemptions for successful exporters.

7. Lower direct taxation on incomes gained from exports.

8. The creation of public enterprises to lead the way in establishing a new industry.

9. The setting of export targets for firms.

(Todaro and Smith – Economic Development – 2009)

These policies were, of course, and still are, the exact opposite of the Ricardian free-trade comparative advantage model and are an anathema to any orthodox economists.

Herewith a development comparison Tanzania/South Korea.

Tanzania:

GDP, US$47,652 – GDP per capitaUS$857 – Education Expenditure US$1678.9, Govt Health Expenditure per capita US$24

South Korea:

GDP = US$1,411,042 – GDP per capitaUS$27,535 – Education Expenditure US$ 289,283.4 -Govt. Health Expenditure per capita US$159. (countryeconomy.com)

I think this is enough and don’t wish to labour the point, the gap is self-evidently enormous. But now the subsidiary question arises: what explains the divergent paths of development for two countries starting at the same point?

Well, according to the conventional wisdom ‘‘the incidence of wealth is only weakly related to the way in which the sovereign power of the state is exercised and is much more closely aligned to the ways in which states are aligned with the circuits of global capitalism.’’ Wrong! Political agency has everything to do with economic and social development, ‘‘and the way in which the sovereign power of the state is exercised.’’ If this were not the case East Asian development strategies would never have worked. Modernisation and development requires/required the indispensable political prerequisite of a modernising, nation-building ruling stratum which mobilises the whole nation in this revolution from above. This pattern has always been almost without exception the historical experience of capitalist development.

Such political and state institutions together with modernising class forces have/been and are, notably weak or even absent in what we generally refer to as the under-developed or developing world. ‘States’ (and I use this term advisably) such as Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo lack the political and social modern(ising), structures and institutions as we understand them which might bring about economic and social development. Crucially, the class structure of these societies is dominated by a comprador bourgeoisie, a self-aggrandising, self-serving elite whose interests are intertwined with the imperial overlord in the ongoing exploitation and looting of their own country. We also know that such nations are stuck in the production of raw materials and agricultural products – low value-added, low research-intensive, low-productivity, primary commodities – all of which are both price and income inelastic and have had a tendency toward price stagnation and decline in the long run – a structural deterioration in their terms of trade. (Oil may be an exception to this, but oil prices are notoriously volatile.) Thus, the unequal and increasing gap between the higher income and lower income countries. But is this the end of the matter? Well from a rigidly structuralist point of view it would seem to be. History, however, is an open ended and semi-voluntaristic process – as the famous quote goes, ‘Men make history, but do not do it as they please’ – and a number of possibilities for fundamental structural changes exist. But for real change to take place both economic and political/ideological conditions must be present.

‘’History has shown that the vicious circles of poverty and underdevelopment can be effectively attacked only by qualitatively changing the production structures of poor and failing states. A successful strategy implies an increasing diversification away from sectors with diminishing returns (traditional raw materials and agriculture) to sectors with constant and increasing returns (technology, intensive manufacturing and services) creating a new and more complex division of labour and new social-economic structures in the process. In addition to breaking away from subsistence agriculture, this will create an urban market for goods, which will further induce specialization and innovation, bring in new technologies, create both alternative employment and the economic synergies that unite a nation state. The key to economic development is the interplay between the sectors with increasing and diminishing returns in the same labour market.’’ (How Rich Countries got Rich, Why Poor Countries Stay Poor – Erik Reinert).

Thus, if you wish to bake a cake these are the ingredients. But comprador bourgeoisies and their imperial sponsors have other priorities and preoccupations, nation-building and economic development are not among them.

PART 2

Turning to the EU the regional prototype for the globalization project, it was Patrick Buchanan, an American conservative who once correctly stated in ‘The American Conservative’ that the US Congress ‘is an Israeli occupied zone’’ by which he meant of course that Israel and the Israeli Lobby, both external and internal, has had a huge input into the framing and operation of US foreign policy. In a similar vein the EU is also occupied territory under the tutelage of US imperialism. (This process of blatant meddling in European affairs by the US-CIA started with ‘Operation Gladio’ in the late 1940s) but the perceived enemy was not merely Soviet communism, but also sotto voce European social and political theory and practise, notably, Gaullism and social-democracy, both of which have long since been politically cleansed with the EU being reconfigured as neo-liberal, and (since the alignment of the EU security structures have been aligned with NATO) neo-conservative vassal states overseen and represented by odious little Petainist/Quisling occupation regimes. This is only too apparent when the fawning behaviours of May, Macron and Merkel vis-à-vis the US are observed. Whenever the US master says jump, the Europeans will reply ‘how high’ And this is even more pronounced by the newly arrived Eastern European states. A group which Dick Cheney once described as the ‘new Europe.’ By which meant the political force which was operationalised to fundamentally change the political direction of the EU in the late 20th century. Euro-widening was meant to prevent euro-deepening, and it worked a treat.

The ongoing Americanisation of Europe carries with it the toxic values of liberal individualism, market liberalisation, structural inequality, a philosophy of winner takes all, and a rapacious/murderous imperialism. A nightmare Hobbesian world of a ‘war of everyman against everyman’; John Stuart Mill also weighed in with considerable disdain writing ‘I confess I am not charmed with the ideal of life held out by those who think that the normal state of human beings is that of struggling to get on; that of trampling, crushing, elbowing, and treading on each other’s heels, which forms the existing type of social life are the most desirable lot of humankind … (J.S.Mill – Principles of Political Economy).

The Americanisation process has been going on for the last half century. It degrades Europe, causes it to regress, forces it to abandon everything in its progressive past contribution to the capitalist stage of production the antidotes which it allowed it to resist the liberal poison and promote democracy and equality despite it.

‘’Old Europe’’ has nothing to learn from ‘’Young America.’’ There will be no progress possible on any European project as long as the US grand strategy is not foiled.’’ (The Liberal Virus – Samir Amin)

One particular crisis in the EU – the unfolding to the denouement of the Greek debacle – has presented an archetypal learning curve for an understanding of the structural problems involved in the EU and occasioned a virtual industry of copious tracts which purport to explain the crisis, and I have no wish to repeat the whole sorry tale here. I would say, however, that if Syriza was in earnest in taking on the Troika it would have required not just an imaginary backing of a long-defunct and toothless euro social-democracy, but also a withdrawal from the euro – certainly a leap into the unknown. Assuredly this would have been a high-risk policy – and no-one should be under the illusion that there is any easy way out. The trouble is that social-democracy has vanished into history; the soft-options specialists. The SPD (Germany) PS (France) PASOK (Greece) PSOE (Spain) are political organizations which might (occasionally) refer to themselves as social-democrats, or even on occasion ‘socialists’ but of course they are nothing of the sort. ‘By their works shall thee know them.’

And,

‘’ … Syriza’s strategy was not only long-run but also attempted to incorporate the social virtues of Europe’s once dominant social-democratic heritage. What Syriza did not adequately understand, however, was that heritage was now history, buried deep under the refuse pile of new neo-liberal values.’’ (Looting Greece – Jack Rasmus)

Now we have Varoufakis going on to declare that the ‘nation is dead’. Well, that is certainly true of Greece, which is now to all intents and purposes a colony with the grotesque spectacle of Syriza now playing a governing role in a regime that at one time it stridently opposed. The assertion that nations as such are no longer sovereign – a statement which is wrong both theoretically and empirically – but has a limited application. Truth be told some states are more sovereign than others, and the sovereign nations call the shots vis-à-vis the vassal/colonies which are not sovereign. (One wonders if the United States, or Israel or indeed Syria which has been engaged in physically defending its sovereignty for some time, are not sovereign. I think they are, but Mr Varoufakis may wish to differ) Greek sovereignty and democracy disappeared when the Troika and EU finance ministers and French and German banks forced the surrender and took over the running(-down) of the Greek economy. But this was inevitable in a liberal internationalist globalist economy; open borders will simply mean that TNCs will be free to exploit the productive resources of any country in the world – particularly labour – in order to maximise their economic power at the expense of society’s. In other words, societies with open markets, will be unable to impose any effective controls to protect themselves from the rapacious incursions of TNCs as Polanyi pointed out long ago.

So, what does the ‘supra-national’ solution offer other than comforting words.

Try the following.

‘’DiEM2025 stands today as an attempt to learn the lessons of defeat, and to prepare for future struggles for building a stronger network, not of globalists, but left-wing internationalists whose strategies for advance include the dislocation of imperialist economic chains, as well as real progress in building the capacities of national societies to strengthen democracy and provide for the well-being of their nations.’’

All of which strikes this writer as a series of clichés and meaningless abstractions. Please note, the dog-eared phraseology, ‘learn the lessons of defeat’ ‘prepare for future struggles’ ‘strengthen democracy’ and ‘provide for the well-being of their populations.’ You might as well throw in motherhood and apple pie whilst you’re at it.

Then comes the dawn of realization that ‘a future Labour government which -assuming of course that the next government will be Labour – attempting to carry out its declared programme of bringing some elements of the economy under national control ‘’will come under the assault not only from the EU, but also Washington.’’ Really! Never occurred to me that! What does a Labour government do in this hypothetical situation? Surrender, Syriza style. No, we apparently need a Europe-wide supra-national strategy based upon what policies exactly? We must assume, according to the orthodoxy, that the nation state is either dead or dying, an article of faith of the globalist left and the Washington Consensus. Ergo, the policy the ‘left internationalists’ is one of inter alia ‘strengthening democracy’ – all very noble. But provided that the neo-liberal tripod of the three freedoms of movement – capital, labour, commodities – remains in place, political change will not take place. And provided the institutional infrastructure of globalized capitalism – the IMF, WTO, World Bank, the EU are overseeing and enabling the neoliberal project economic and political change will not take place. It is not the shackles of nationalism that give rise to the bureaucratic monstrosity which is the EU but precisely the opposite. The neo-liberal imperatives of open borders, liberalized markets, flexible labour markets and freedom of movement of labour, capital and commodities, might have had something to do with it. Unless these political/ideological roadblocks are addressed the status quo will continue and continue to deteriorate.

In terms of alliance building, political convergence between states cannot be constructed at regional (for example the EU) or even less so at global levels even if it is not achieved firstly at the level of nations. Because whether we like it or not, nations define and manage concrete realities and challenges, and it is only at these levels that changes in the social and political balance of forces to the advantage of the popular classes will or will not occur. Changes at the regional and global level may reflect national advances and certainly facilitate them – but nothing more.

In order to stop the onward march of globalist neoliberalism governments and state must regain control of their economies. There is no single way to achieve this critical goal, but without it hemispheric co-operation will remain little more than an empty rhetorical flourish. Moreover, everywhere electorates are looking to governments to be a counterweight to footloose corporations. It is this intuitive perception to rein-in markets that will increasingly occupy centre-stage between pro and anti the coming decade. For social-political movements the nation-state continues to be the chosen instrument for the organization of society. However much social institutions will have to adapt to new global pressures, what is not in doubt is that the nation-state remains the crucible for equality seeking movements the world over. Efficiency, profitability and competitiveness have not won the hearts and minds of the peoples worldwide.’’ (States Against Markets – Boyer and Drache)

Reform of the EU, which I understand to be the goal of the campaign of pro-EU aligned leftist factions, fails to take into consideration the fact that the EU cannot be reformed since its whole ideological structure and constitution is built upon neo-liberal technocratic assumptions which can clearly be identified in the interior belief-systems of the bureaucracy and consequently the daily practise and deliberations of its internal institutions. Being explicitly designed on a neoliberal model which was cemented by legal statutes have made such changes impossible.

‘’Any belief that the EU can be ‘democratised’ and reformed in a progressive direction is a pious illusion. Not only would this require an impossible alignment of left movements/governments to emerge simultaneously at the international level. On a more fundamental level, a system that was created with the specific aim of constraining democracy cannot be democratised. It can only be rejected.’’ (Thomas Fawzi – Lexit Digest)

Reinforcing the conservative structure of the EU’s political institutions, and here I have in mind the European Parliament, are dominated by two powerful blocs.

1. An alliance of political parties, centre-left and centre-right which form the usual centrist mish-mash, the extreme centre, as it has been called. This centrist bloc is composed predominantly of euro-enthusiasts and who command a working majority in the European parliament and other EU institutions. 2. The geo-political alliance – i.e., the infusion of members of the ‘New Europe’ into the EU, who were generally very pro-American and fanatically Russophobic, this along with the parallel expansion and incorporation of these new states into NATO has served to undermine some of the earlier Gaullist and social democratic traditions in Europe.

It seems clear, therefore, that the pro-EU bloc which dominates the political, economic and strategic agenda of the EU, in addition to the permanent institutional structures which are mandated to carry out existing policies, will continue to do so for any foreseeable future despite the pipe-dreams of the ‘left-wing internationalists’. Even Varoufakis has admitted that this approach is frankly ‘utopian’ – and if this is the case, the Remainer left can only play games and give a leftish veneer in an attempt to reform what they apparently believe is an unstoppable historical development (globalization). (Lexit Digest)

Having said all this the final outcome of this imbroglio may include elements of piecemeal reform and/and or outright rejection, which is what usually happens. We shall see. But it would be useful perhaps to have an open dialogue between all parties involved rather than highly partisan and misleading attempts to smear and shout down opponents – and we are all guilty to a degree in this respect – who may have something positive to offer.

Sayyed Nasrallah Declares 2nd Phase of Diesel Initiative, Urges Gov’t to Revisit Lifting Medical Subsidies

Nov 26, 2021

By Al-Ahed News

Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered a televised speech on Friday evening in which he tackled the latest local political developments, mainly announcing the beginning of the second phase of distributing diesel oil to the families for heat in Winter.

At the beginning of his speech, the Resistance leader congratulated all the Lebanese people on the Independence Day that was celebrated a few days ago, and wished that they can preserve their country’s sovereignty and independence, stressing that “There must come a day in which the annually renewable argument about the independence of Lebanon in 1943 would be settled.”

“Preserving the independence, unity and liberty of the country requires a continuous battle,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, noting that it is the responsibility of all the Lebanese people to preserve their independence, even if it is a figurative one, and turn it into a real and true independence.

His Eminence hailed the many Lebanese people who resisted and believed in the different types of resistance until they reached the major victory in 1985 when the occupying forces withdrew from the capital Beirut, Mount Lebanon, Saida, and Rashayya, until the most prominent victory of 2000 when the ‘Israelis’ fled South Lebanon.

However, Sayyed Nasrallah lamented the fact that “When Lebanon is banned from benefiting from its resources, and when the US every day blatantly interferes in the judiciary, politics, security, and future parliamentary elections, then the country’s sovereignty is incomplete.”

As long as Lebanon is within the circle of the continued ‘Israeli’ threats, this means that we are in the middle of the battle for independence and sovereignty; the Hezbollah leader underscored, while also noting that “we’ve triumphed in many phases of this battle and we are quite sure that once we continue this path with determination and steadfastness then more victories are to come.”

“There will come a day when, through cooperation with all the faithful people, we will bring for our nation the unquestionable independence, sovereignty, and freedom.”

Moving to the escalating processes of normalization with the ‘Israeli’ occupation regime, Sayyed Nasrallah lashed out at “the accelerating track of normalization many Arab countries are witnessing, the last of which was the shameful and blatant developments that took place in Morocco.”

As for blacklisting Hezbollah, His Eminence suggested that it might be either tied to the regional developments or the [upcoming] parliamentary elections.

Covid-19 in Lebanon

As he warned that the rise in the Coronavirus cases and virus-related deaths in Lebanon is critical, Sayyed Nasrallah reiterated that since the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis in Lebanon, Hezbollah has announced a plan that it implemented and succeeded in, and declared that the resistance movement decided to activate this plan with a 100% effectiveness.

He then urged the Ministry of Health to exert more efforts no matter what are the difficulties, voicing Hezbollah’s readiness to help in all fields.

Meanwhile, His Eminence made it clear that the political affiliation of the health minister is not an important issue as the country is in danger; adding that “as it happened with the previous one, Hezbollah sets all its capabilities at the disposal of the current Health Ministry.”

Additionally, Sayyed Nasrallah called on the Lebanese Prime Minister and all the concerned parties to revisit the recent decision about lifting the subsidies that were offered for some medicines.

“Lifting the subsidies on some drugs could not be justified by saying that the state doesn’t have enough cash for this; there are thousands who are exposed to the danger of death due to such uncalculated decisions,” His Eminence warned.

Moreover, Sayyed Nasrallah called on canceling certain ministries and budgets given the fact that there are thousands of people whose lives are in danger, and explained that this has nothing to do with political bids.

Lebanese Pound Crisis

In reference to the Lebanese currency’s steep crisis, Sayyed Nasrallah urged brave and daring action against the uncontainable prices of the Lebanese Pound against the US Dollar.

“We shouldn’t remain silent regarding the uncontainable price of the US Dollar and the state can make something, but what we need is a will, a decision, and shouldering the responsibility; the matter requires a brave and daring action,” the Hezbollah leader highlighted.

He then declared that Hezbollah decided to activate it institutions and medical centers to meet as much as possible the people’s need for those drugs.

Lebanese Judiciary

Regarding the judicial inspector, Sayyed Nasrallah remarked: “We found out that the concerned judicial parties are submitting to the politics and what happened in the past two days proves what we’ve been talking about over the past year.”

His Eminence then asked: “Is there today within the Lebanese judiciary a judge who dares to disqualify the judicial judge? There is one judge who tended to do this but was threatened in return.”

The Hezbollah leader noted that “what is taking place right now is that the members of the Lebanese judiciary establishment are defending each other; all data indicate that the judges concerned with the Beirut Port blast are within the circle of suspicions and accusation,” warning that the current judicial track of the Beirut Port blast won’t lead to the truth.

The Tayyouneh Incident

With respect to the Tayyouneh incident, Sayyed Nasrallah announced that the issue has been turned to the military judiciary, which, since the first days, has been subjected to huge pressure from religious and political parties.

“Some of the arrestees have been released and pressures are being made to release the other arrestees,” His Eminence said, blasting the religious and political pressures on the judiciary as insults for the martyrs, the wounded, their families, and the sides they are affiliated with, cautioning further that such pressures “might push the families of the victims to take revenge.”

“Adhering to the current track in the Tayyouneh incident is dangerous and may lead the nation to chaos,” His Eminence added.

Hezbollah’s Diesel Oil Initiative

In reference to the initiative Hezbollah has launched to bring in diesel oil from Iran, the party’s secretary general explained once again the reasons behind this move.

“In front of the lines in which people were humiliated being waiting in front of gas stations, the growth of the black market, and the lack of the material, we announced that once the situation remains the same, we will tend to buy gas and diesel oil from Iran to ease the crisis.”

However, Sayyed Nasrallah underscored that although the material became available and the lines of humiliation vanished, Hezbollah didn’t abandon its promise and tends to ease the suffering of the people, yet it doesn’t seek to replace the oil companies but just to ease the crisis.

As part of the process, Sayyed Nasrallah explained that Hezbollah has to transport dozens of oil cisterns from Baniays to Baalbek, a distance that is equal to 250 kilometers, which if unloaded at the Zahrani or Tripoli refineries would have been way easier.

However, due to the US pressures on the Lebanese government Hezbollah brought the diesel oil via Syria despite the difficulties and repercussions, His Eminence outlined.

While declaring that the first stage of the project started in September and ended in November; Sayyed Nasrallah announced that the second stage will start within days. “Hezbollah directly delivered diesel oil to many municipalities, governmental institutions, hospitals, orphanages, and nursing homes, despite all the difficulties.”

Talking numbers, Sayyed Nasrallah stated that the amount of the donations delivered in the first phase hit near US $2,600,000.

“In a period of two months, Hezbollah offered diesel oil to 80 nursing homes and orphanages, 320 municipalities to operate water wells, 22 governmental hospitals, and 71 firefighting teams from the official Civil Defense service.”

The first phase of the diesel oil initiative costed Hezbollah US $7,750,000, Sayyed Nasrallah said, adding that it has been ended with the aim to start preparing for the second phase.

The Hezbollah leader further admitted that the applied mechanism was somehow slow and complicated, saying this is normal as time is needed to make sure that the subsidized Iranian diesel oil will be handed to those who are worth it and not be used in the black market.

“We paid in the first phase of the diesel initiative ten million US dollars under the title of helping certain categories in Lebanon and easing their suffering,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, stressing that “The same categories that received donations in the first phase will receive the diesel oil in the second phase also.”

His Eminence then explained that all families residing in the villages and cities located at least 500 meters above the sea level are to take advantage from the second phase of the diesel oil initiative.

Sayyed Nasrallah also announced that Hezbollah will sell every diesel oil barrel to the families for one million Lebanese Pounds less than the official rate.

“According to Hezbollah’s statistics, hundreds of thousands of families will benefit from this project,” he also noted.

Meanwhile, the best way to distribute diesel oil will be through the municipalities which will be contacted to identify the numbers of the families they have and the needed amounts, then the Amana Company will deliver diesel oil to the stations selected by the municipalities, according to the mechanism clarified by Sayyed Nasrallah.

Additionally, another diesel oil ship will arrive within days, Sayyed Nasrallah announced, urging to complete the process of communicating with people quietly because the main goal is to ease their suffering.

While a big share of the required amount has been transferred to the Lebanese territories, there is another part which is being transferred from Syria.

Defaming Attempts

With respect to the attempts of defaming Hezbollah by faking documents that are allegedly referred to the resistance movement, Sayyed Nasrallah mocked those behind such actions as unprofessional and ridiculous.

“In the past weeks and months there has been a major attack targeting Hezbollah; this is not something new, but the new thing is the intensifying of this attack and the alleged documents.”

Sayyed Nasrallah described those fabricating such fake documents as unprofessional and non-Lebanese sides, noting that the content of the documents is very ridiculous.

“We regret that some sides deal with those fake documents with a high level of ridicule, ignorance, and pettiness. Those are operating based on the saying that you lie and lie and lie then people would believe you!” His Eminence added.

Slamming such attempts in a time of unjustness, defamation, and distortion of Hezbollah image, Sayyed Nasrallah advised those who believe such lies to at least examine what they are being told about the resistance movement.

At the end of his speech, Sayyed Nasrallah labeled the act of firing some Lebanese people who work in the Gulf states as and dishonorable, inhumane, and unethical measure.

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Joint statement by foreign ministers of the SCO countries : SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group

July 15, 2021

Joint statement by foreign ministers of the SCO countries : SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group

Joint statement by foreign ministers of the SCO countries following a meeting in the format of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, July 14, 2021

We, foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member countries,

Advocating the development of Afghanistan as an independent, neutral, united, peaceful, democratic and prosperous state,

Realising that peace and stability in that country is one of the main factors in ensuring security in the SCO region,

Being convinced of the need to continue helping the Afghan people in their efforts to restore the country and return to the road of peace and national accord,

Declare the following:

As friendly neighbours and important partners of Afghanistan, the SCO member states are interested in its development as a peaceful, stable and prosperous country, and confirm their respect for the traditions and culture of all peoples living in Afghanistan.

In accordance with universally accepted principles and norms of international law, primarily the UN Charter, the SCO countries reaffirm their respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan. They intend to facilitate the development of Afghanistan as a country free from terrorism, war and drugs.

We condemn the violence and terror attacks that continue in Afghanistan, killing civilians and representatives of government bodies and call for their cessation as soon as possible. We note that the activities of international terrorist organisations remain one of the key factors of instability in that country. We express our deep concern over the escalation of tensions in the northern provinces of Afghanistan as a result of a sharp increase in the concentration of various terrorist, separatist and extremist groups. We consider it important for the SCO member states to enhance their joint efforts in order to counteract terrorism, separatism and extremism.

We urge all parties involved in the conflict in Afghanistan to refrain from the use of force and actions that may lead to destabilisation and unpredictable consequences near the Afghan borders with the SCO states.

The SCO member states reaffirm their willingness to continue developing cooperation with Afghanistan on countering security threats in the region, in particular, all forms and manifestations of terrorism and drug trafficking, and to jointly oppose double standards in resolving these tasks.

Emphasising the importance of long-term hospitality and effective aid for Afghan refugees, the SCO members consider it important for the international community to take active joint efforts to facilitate their proper, safe and sustainable return home.

We believe that reaching an early settlement in Afghanistan is a major factor in maintaining and strengthening security and stability in the SCO space. In this context, we emphasise the need for the Government and people of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to intensify their efforts to restore peace, promote national economic development and counter terrorism, extremism and drug-related crime. We confirm the position of the SCO members that the conflict in Afghanistan can only be settled by political dialogue and an inclusive peace process conducted and led by the Afghans themselves.

We urge all interested states and international organisations to strengthen their cooperation, with the UN playing a central coordinating role, in order to stabilise and develop the country. In this context, we note the activities of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General and the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy.

We welcome the diplomatic support for the peace process in Afghanistan by the international public, including the inter-Afghan peace talks in Doha, the extended Troika, the Moscow consultations format and the Tashkent venue. We note the outcome of the ministerial meeting of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul process in Dushanbe on March 29-30, 2021.

Respecting the Afghan people’s independent choice of their own path of development, we are convinced that the inter-Afghan negotiations must consider the interests of all ethnic groups living in the country.

We attach much importance to our cooperation in the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group. We consider it necessary to consistently implement the roadmap for further action by the Contact Group, which was adopted in Bishkek on June 14, 2019, with a view to strengthening regional stability and developing relations between the SCO states and Afghanistan.

We reaffirm the willingness of our countries to continue deepening cooperation with Afghanistan in politics and security, as well as in the economic and humanitarian spheres, including by maximising the potential of Afghanistan’s participation as an observer state in the SCO’s activities.

Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

May 07, 2021

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Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Remarks at the meeting of the UN Security Council, “Maintenance of international peace and security: Upholding multilateralism and the United Nations-centred international system,” held via videoconference, Moscow, May 7, 2021

First of all, let me thank Mr Wang Yi, State Councillor and Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China, for organising today’s debates. Maintaining multilateralism and the UN-centred international system is as topical as ever and demands the UN Security Council’s constant attention.

Today the world finds itself in a critical stage of development. The coronavirus pandemic has posed a grave challenge to everyone without exception. Normal life has been completely upended. It is difficult to predict the long-term or deferred consequences of the crisis, although we can see some positive trends thanks to the massive deployment of coronavirus vaccines.

The pandemic broke out in a world that was already far from perfect. In recent years, we have seen growing international tensions, as well as escalating regional conflicts and cross-border challenges and threats. The entire architecture of global governance created after the Second World War is being tested.

It is clear that the prospects of the international community’s sustainable and predictable development are directly connected with our ability to find effective solutions to common problems and our readiness to exercise collective leadership in order for true multilateralism to prevail.

Russia, like the majority of countries, is convinced that such work must be carried out solely on the basis of universally recognised norms of international law. The United Nations must serve as the key platform for coordinating efforts: it is the backbone of the modern global order, where all independent states are represented. Today, its unique legitimacy and unique capabilities are especially needed.

The core tenets of international law enshrined in the UN Charter have withstood the test of time. Russia calls on all states to unconditionally follow the purposes and principles of the Charter as they chart their foreign policies, respecting the sovereign equality of states, not interfering in their internal affairs, settling disputes by political and diplomatic means, and renouncing the threat or use of force. This is especially important at the current stage in the difficult process of forming an international multipolar system. At a time when new centres of economic growth, financial and political influence are gaining strength, it is necessary to preserve the internationally recognised legal basis for building a stable balance of interests that meets the new realities.

Unfortunately, not all of our partners are driven by the imperative to work in good faith to promote comprehensive multilateral cooperation. Realising that it is impossible to impose their unilateral or bloc priorities on other states within the framework of the UN, the leading Western countries have tried to reverse the process of forming a polycentric world and slow down the course of history.

Toward this end, the concept of the rules-based order is advanced as a substitute for international law. It should be noted that international law already is a body of rules, but rules agreed at universal platforms and reflecting consensus or broad agreement. The West’s goal is to oppose the collective efforts of all members of the world community with other rules developed in closed, non-inclusive formats, and then imposed on everyone else. We only see harm in such actions that bypass the UN and seek to usurp the only decision-making process that can claim global relevance.

The well-known idea to convene a Summit for Democracy proposed by the US Administration is in the same vein. The establishment of a new club based on interests, with a clearly ideological nature, has the potential to further inflame international tensions and deepen dividing lines in a world that needs a unifying agenda more than ever. Of course, the list of democracies to be invited to the summit will be determined by the United States.

Another initiative with the goal of global leadership that bypasses the UN is the French and German idea to create an Alliance for Multilateralism. What could be more natural then discussing the tasks of strengthening multilateralism at the UN? However, Berlin and Paris think differently and issue joint documents declaring that “the European Union is the cornerstone of the multilateral international system” and promote the conclusions of the Council of the European Union under the title “The central role of the European Union and European institutions in promoting multilateralism.” Presumptuous, you might say. The EU does not think so and declares its own exceptionalism despite all its invocations of equality and brotherhood.

By the way, as soon as we suggest discussing the current state of democracy not just within states but on the international stage with our Western colleagues, they lose interest in the conversation.

New ambitious initiatives to create narrow partnerships are emerging all the time within the Alliance for Multilateralism, on issues that are already being discussed at the UN or its specialised agencies, for example, on cyber security (with 65 member countries), respect for the international humanitarian law (43 member countries), the Information and Democracy Partnership (over 30 countries), etc.

This also reveals the West’s true attitude toward multilateralism and the UN, which they do not regard as a universal format for developing solutions acceptable to everyone, but in the context of their claims to superiority over everyone else, who must accept what is required of them.

Another example of the dictatorial methods introduced by the West is the practice of imposing unilateral sanctions without any international and legal grounds, with the sole purpose of punishing “undesirable regimes” or sidelining competitors. During the pandemic, such restrictions have limited the capacity of a whole range of developing countries to counter the spread of the infection. Despite UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s call to suspend such unilateral sanctions during the pandemic, we mostly see them becoming harsher.

We believe such efforts to impose totalitarianism in global affairs to be unacceptable, yet we see it more and more from our Western colleagues, above all the United States, the European Union and other allies, who reject all principles of democracy and multilateralism on the global stage. As if to say, either it’s our way, or there will be repercussions.

It is striking that Western leaders, while openly undermining international law, do not hesitate to argue that the main task of world politics should be to counter the attempts of Russia and China to “change the rules-based order.” Such statements were made the other day following the G7 ministerial meeting in London. In other words, there has already been a substitution of concepts: the West is no longer concerned with the norms of international law and now requires everyone to follow its rules and observe its order. What’s more, US representatives freely admit that the USA and Great Britain have had the biggest hand in shaping these rules.

I am not saying all of this to ratchet up the confrontational rhetoric or advance an accusatory agenda. I am simply stating facts. But if we all support multilateralism in word, let us honestly search for ways to ensure that there is fairness in deed, without attempts to prove one’s superiority or infringe on another’s rights. I hope that this approach to maintaining multilateralism and the UN-centred system will guide the activities of the UN Secretary-General and his team.

I am convinced that the time has come to do away with medieval and colonial habits and recognise the reality of today’s interconnected and interdependent world. Honest and mutually respectful cooperation based on equal partnership between all states, guided by pragmatism and devoid of any ideology or politicisation, is what is needed now. It is the only way to improve the atmosphere in the world and ensure predictability in the advancement of the human race. That is especially true of such global challenges as the threat of terrorism and the proliferation of WMDs, climate change, new infectious diseases, and protecting human rights, starting with the most important one – the right to life.

I agree with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken who stressed recently that no country can overcome such global threats to the lives of our citizens alone, not even the United States.

The permanent members of the UN Security Council are called on to play a key role in fostering open and direct dialogue about the most pressing problems of our time. According to the UN Charter, they bear special responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. President of Russia Vladimir Putin proposed convening a summit with the leaders of the five permanent members. We hope to make this idea a reality once the epidemiological situation in the world stabilises.

In conclusion I would like to emphasise that the UN, as the main multilateral platform, must keep pace with changes on the global stage. The organisation must constantly adapt to ever-changing conditions, while continuing to fully respect the division of labour between the main UN Charter bodies and maintaining the support of all the member states. At every stage of change, our actions must be measured by the improvements made to the United Nations’ real-world effectiveness.

Russia stands ready to continue working constructively with all partners who share these approaches in order to bolster the authority and fully unlock the potential of the UN as the true centre of multilateralism.

Thank you for your attention.

Biden Regime’s Hostile Message to China

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by Stephen Lendman

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In early January, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi extended an olive branch to the incoming Biden regime.

Days earlier, head of China’s Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee Yang Jiechi called on Biden/Harris to repair deteriorated bilateral relations under Trump, saying:

His government “is prepared to work with the US to move the relationship forward along the track of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation for the well-being of both countries and peoples.”

His remarks and Wang’s fell on deaf ears in Washington.

Prospects for improved bilateral relations are virtually nil.

President Xi Jinping, Yang, and other Chinese officials know that hostile policies pursued by Trump will likely continue in similar fashion under Biden/Harris.

The new regime in Washington is highly likely to continue imperial rage against China, Russia, Iran, and other nations free from US control.

In stark contrast to Sino/Russian cooperation, both nations renewing their Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation in pursuit of “ever-lasting peace and win-win cooperation,” US relations with both countries are more dismal than any time in recent decades.

On Thursday, China’s PLA said it’s tracking the provocative movements of the USS John McCain guided-missile destroyer as it unacceptably sails through the Taiwan Strait.

The message of its movements is clear. US hostility toward China under Biden/Harris is unchanged.

According to PLA Senior Colonel Zhang Chunhui, movements of the warship are being closely monitored, adding:

The US under Biden/Harris is up to its old tricks — willfully creating tensions, disrupting regional peace and stability.

Because of a pattern of repeated US provocations, the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command is on high alert.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the following:

“China has closely followed and grasped the situation of US warships passing through the Taiwan Strait.”

“China will continue to maintain a high level of alert at all times, respond to all threats and provocations at all times, and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“It is hoped that the United States will play a constructive role in regional peace and stability, not the other way around.”

Chances of Biden/Harris turning a page for improved relations with China are virtually nil — what its leadership and PLA understand well.

Transit of US warships near Chinese waters have nothing to do with freedom of navigation, the rule of law, and what the US navy’s seventh fleet called Washington’s “commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific (sic.”

These unacceptable provocations are all about showing the flag and Washington’s aim to dominate a part of the world not its own.

Similar provocations occur in the Middle East, near Russia’s borders, and elsewhere worldwide.

Along with endless US wars by hot and other means, it’s how Washington’s hegemonic scourge operates everywhere.

While continuing the US one-China policy, Biden affirmed his regime’s support for Taiwan, calling it “rock solid.”

Last week, Beijing warned Biden that supporting Taiwan’s independence “means war.”

According to the South China Sea Probing Initiative, US warships provocatively sailed through the Taiwan Strait 13 times last year.

Pentagon military flights continue near China’s territory.

Biden/Harris support an increased US military footprint in the Indo-Pacific. 

Days after their inauguration, the USS Theodore Roosevelt carrier strike group sailed through the South China Sea.

A Pentagon Indo-Pacific Command  statement said the “7th fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of US national interests throughout a free and open Indo-Pacific area of operations to foster maritime security (sic), promote stability(sic), and prevent conflict (sic).”

US imperial aims are polar opposite the above claims.

According to Sino/US relations expert Shi Yinhong, bilateral “confrontation and arms competition will basically remain unchanged as the US will deploy more strategic weapons to the Indo-Pacific.”

While Sino/US military relations remain stabile, hostile Biden regime actions toward China could change things for the worst.

Pledges by US officials to maintain stable bilateral relations can be broken by Washington in pursuit of its hegemonic aims.

It’s why the US can never be trusted, time and again saying one thing, then going another way.

According to US war secretary Lloyd Austin, Biden regime “strategy will be arrayed against threat(s) (to the US that don’t exist), and China presents the most significant threat going forward because China is ascending (sic).”

“Russia is also a threat (sic), but it’s in decline (sic).”

Military expert Song Zhongping said Austin’s remarks indicate US hostility toward China.

The US tolerates no nations free from its control.

Its policy highlights the risk of war against an invented enemy by accident or design.

The People Vs Navalny: Russia Draws Red Lines To Foreign Meddling In Its Sovereign Affairs

South Front

The flag-bearer of Western influence and globalists in Russia, Alexey Navalny, has been sentenced to 2 years and 8 months in prison for grossly disregarding the terms of his suspended sentence.

The initial sentence was for 3.5 years, but he has already served a part of that term under house arrest. The absurdity of the situation is that his initial sentence was related to corruption – something he allegedly fights against.

Despite claims by MSM and Western diplomats that Navalny is subject to political persecution, his proven and known ties to Western Intelligence were not part of the case.

Just recently, on February 1st, videos were released online showing the joyful cooperation between Navalny’s team and foreign intelligence services. To put it plainly – Navalny’s team requested information from British Intelligence. It planned to employ that “dirt” to hinder Russia’s interests, both internal and external. His Anti-Corruption Foundation, furthermore, promised to work against Russian business, and to promote British companies. For that, these would be paid hefty sums when he, ultimately, somehow managed to come to power. To achieve that, Navalny’s people vowed to stage mass protests, spread propaganda and strike behind the scenes deals with the elites. It can’t be corruption, if it’s for a “good cause”, right?

As further evidence of this foreign support and pressure, at least 20 diplomats from various countries, including the US, made an appearance when Navalny’s case came up in the Moscow Court hoping to pressure the court in his favour thereby meddling in Russian internal affairs. The massive media propaganda campaign was also plain to see.

For proven in court criminal offenses involving embezzlement of funds on a massive scale, dozens of violations of the terms of his suspended sentence, contempt of court, his active and public work in the interests of foreign states against the Russian nation Navalny faced slightly more than 2.5 years in jail. For any neutral observer, this was an expected outcome and the only concern would be the soft punishment that he received. This can be partly explained by Russia once again showing itself to be a stronghold of tolerance and democracy and also by the fact that the decision of the court is related to the violations of the suspended sentence only and it did not review other ‘achievements’ of the anti-Russian clique operating under the Navalny brand.

Following the court decision, Western leaders and diplomats further publicly meddled in internal Russian affairs by calling for violence to demand the release of the self-proclaimed anti-corruption activist. This will also likely be used as a pretext for increasing pressure on Russia, including new sanctions. The remaining Western-funded network inside the country already tried to stage violent protests in Moscow and other big cities. Nonetheless, their attempts failed largely due to a low turnout and to the successful actions of the authorities. There are no doubts that foreign efforts in this field will continue as opponents of Russia need violence on the streets and casualties to push forward their destabilization campaign. At the same time, recent events demonstrated that the hardcore pro-Western opposition has close to no real support among the general Russian population. Therefore, help from Western special services will likely focus on creating pinpoint provocations to escalate the violence and to create some sacred sacrifice. If the government acts successfully to contain these provocations and avoid the escalation of violence, anti-Russian forces will likely focus on keeping up the pressure and some level of instability in the larger cities for the next months. A new round of major provocations can be expected in the runup to the Russian general election in September 2021.

Actions of the global establishment show that hopes for a ‘reconciliation with the West’ demonstrated by the ‘liberal part’ of the Russian elites are largely baseless. Therefore, Russia should be ready for the further confrontation with the so-called ‘Democratic world’, which has for a long time forgotten what the words ‘democracy’ and the ‘rule of law’ really mean.

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Nasrallah in public dialogue: Loyalty to Suleimani and fairness to Assad نصرالله في حوار العام: الوفاء لسليمانيّ وإنصاف الأسد

**Please scroll down for the English Machine translation**

نصرالله في حوار العام: الوفاء لسليمانيّ وإنصاف الأسد

ناصر قنديل

في الحوار الغنيّ والمليء بالمعاني والمعادلات والمعلومات، الذي أجراه الزميل غسان بن جدو مع الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله، محاور كثيرة، لبنانيّة وعربيّة وإقليميّة ودوليّة، لكن في الحوار ثوابت ومحاور دار حولها كلام السيد نصرالله في العقل والقلب والمشاعر، أبرزها ما اتصل بالوفاء لقائد فيلق القدس في الحرس الثوري الإيراني الجنرال قاسم سليماني، وما اتصل بإنصاف الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد، فقد مدّ السيّد يده الى جعبته المليئة بالمعلومات ليكشف ما لم يُقَلْ من قبل ولم يكن في التداول، ليقدّم منها ما يكشف عن جوانب مضيئة في سيرة الشخصيتين اللتين تعنيان الكثير للسيد كما كان واضحاً من مسار الحوار.

في الحديث عن الحاج قاسم، كما يُناديه السيد، تناول السيد نصرالله شخصية الحاج قاسم كمثقف ومناضل ومفكّر وقائد عسكري استراتيجي، وكإنسان مرهَف مؤمن ومتواضع وخلوق وصاحب لهفة ونخوة وشهامة وكرم، لكنه خلال استعراضه للأوضاع في المنطقة كشف أدواراً تاريخية للشهيد سليماني، تُعرَف للمرة الأولى، سواء على مستوى التفكير او التخطيط او المتابعة او التنفيذ، فما يعلمه الناس عن دور قياديّ ميدانيّ للحاج قاسم في حربي سورية والعراق بوجه الإرهاب التكفيريّ، ترجمه في الحضور في المواقع الأماميّة للقتال وتحدّي الخطر ليس إلا القليل مما يمكن قوله عن سيرة هذا القائد.

في فلسطين الحاج قاسم صاحب فكرة تزويد المقاومة بصواريخ الكورنيت، وهي الصواريخ التي نالها حزب الله كمساهمة من القيادة السوريّة بقرار من الرئيس بشار الأسد، والتي لعبت دوراً حاسماً في صناعة انتصار المقاومة في حرب تموز 2006، وشكلت بعد وصولها إلى غزة، عنصراً حاسماً في تشكيل عامل الردع الحاسم في وجه مخططات الهجوم البرّي، وفي العراق لم يكن الحاج قاسم قائد المواجهة مع تنظيم داعش وحسب، بل كان العمود الفقري لتشكيلات حركات المقاومة التي فرضت على الأميركيّ الانسحاب عام 2011، وفي سورية تخطى دوره موقعه الميداني ورعايته لمشاركة قوى المقاومة في الدفاع عن سورية، فهو أول من أضاء على القلق من أن تكون سورية في عين الاستهداف من خلال دراسته لظواهر وبواطن الربيع العربي، وبرؤيته الاستباقية ونقاشها مع الرئيس الأسد والقيادة السوريّة وقيادة المقاومة والقيداة الإيرانية أمكن احتواء المراحل الأولى من التحضير للحرب على سورية، وصولاً لنضج المواجهة الميدانيّة كخيار لا بد منه، وفي سورية كان للحاج قاسم دور مؤثر في حسم الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين قرار المشاركة الميدانية في الحرب على سورية. فالشخصية القيادية السياسية والاستراتيجية للشهيد سليماني التي كشف عنها السيد نصرالله كانت مساهمته في إحياء ذكرى استشهاده.

في الإنصاف الذي يستحقه الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد، بوجه حروب التشويه والإساءة والافتراء، قدّم السيد نصرالله مساهمة راقية وعالية، كشفت عن جوانب من أدوار ومواقف للرئيس الأسد، تسهم في فهمه كقائد تاريخيّ شجاع وملتزم بخيارات حاسمة تجاه مفاهيم الاستقلال والسيادة والمقاومة. فالسيد نصرالله يقول إن الرئيس الأسد لا يقبل أيّ تدخل او وصاية على شؤون سورية من الأعداء ولا من الحلفاء، ويؤكد أنه يتحدّث حديث العارف هنا، وفي منزلة الحديث عن فلسطين يورد السيد نصرالله واقعة أنه عندما سمع من الحاج قاسم سليماني فكرة تزويد المقاومة في فلسطين بصواريخ الكورنيت وتريّث لسؤال الرئيس الأسد صاحب هذه الصواريخ، متوجّهاً للرئيس الأسد بالسؤال، لم يجد لديه أي حسابات كان يمكن انتظارها من رئيس أي دولة في موقعه تجاه نقل سلاح اشتراه الجيش السوري من روسيا الى داخل فلسطين المحتلة، والشهادة اللافتة التي تحدّث عنها السيد نصرالله كانت للميزات الشخصية للرئيس الأسد خصوصاً لجهة سر القوة والثبات والتماسك في أحلك الظروف وأشدّها قسوة وتسبباً بالقلق والخطر.

حوار العام مع السيد نصرالله كان مكرّساً لإعلاء شان محور المقاومة، في الوفاء لرئيس أركان جيوشه الشهيد، وفي إنصاف القائد السياسي والعسكري الذي انتصر على أخطر حرب كونيّة.

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Nasrallah in public dialogue: Loyalty to Suleimani and fairness to Assad

Nasser Kandil

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In the rich dialogue, which is full of meanings, equations and information, which was conducted by colleague Ghassan Ben Jeddou with the Secretary General of Hizbullah many themes, Lebanese, Arab, regional and international, but in the dialogue were constants loyalty to the commander of the Quds Force in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, General Qassem Soleimani, and fairness of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It reveals bright aspects in the biographies of the two characters as was clear from the path of dialogue where Nasrallah revealed what he did not say before and was not in circulation.

In talking about Haj Qassem, as al-Sayyid calls him, Mr. Nasrallah addressed the character of Haj Qassem, as Mr. Nasrallah calls him, as an intellectual, fighter, intellectual and strategic military leader, and as a slender, devious, humble, creative, eager, magnanimous and generous person, , and as a human being delicate, believing, humble, moral, eager, generous, at the level of thinking, planning, follow-up, or implementation, what people know about the field leadership role of Hajj Qassem in the wars in Syria and Iraq in the face of takfiri terrorism, translated into presence in the front sites of the fighting and challenging the danger is nothing but a little of what can be said about the biography of this leader.

In Palestine, Haj Qassem, who had the idea of supplying the resistance with the Kornet missiles, which Hezbollah received as a contribution from the Syrian leadership by the decision of President Bashar al-Assad, which played a crucial role in the manufacture of the victory of the resistance in the July 2006 war, and formed after its arrival in Gaza, a decisive element the decisive deterrence in the face of the Zionist plans of the ground attack, and in Iraq Haj Qassem was not only the leader of the confrontation with ISIS, but was the backbone of the formations of resistance movements that imposed on the American withdrawal in 20111. Haj Qassem through his study of the phenomena and the signs of the “Arab Spring”, is the first to highlight the concern that Syria is in the eye of targeting and his proactive vision and discussion with President Assad and the Syrian leadership and the leadership of the Resistance and Iranian constraints was able to contain the first stages of preparation of the war on Syria, to mature the field confrontation as an option, and in Syria, Haj Qassem had an influential role in resolving President Putin Vladimir’s decision to interfere in the war on Syria. The political and strategic leadership of Shahid Soleimani, revealed by Mr. Nasrallah, was his contribution to the commemoration of his martyrdom.

In the fairness that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad deserves, in the face of wars of distortion, abuse and slander, Mr. Nasrallah has made a high-class contribution, which revealed aspects of the roles and positions of President Al-Assad, which contribute to his understanding as a courageous historical leader committed to decisive choices towards the concepts of independence, sovereignty and resistance. Mr. Nasrallah says that President Al-Assad does not accept any interference or guardianship on the Affairs of Syria from enemies or allies, Mr. Nasrallah mentioned that Haj Qassem Soleimani asked to provide the resistance in Palestine with Cornet missiles purchased by the Syrian army, which was done after getting Assad’s approval being the owner of these missiles

The general dialogue with Mr. Nasrallah was dedicated to promoting the axis of resistance, in loyalty to the chief of staff of his martyr armies, and in the fairness of the political and military leader who triumphed over the most dangerous global war.

The Death of the Nation State has been somewhat exaggerated (Part 2)

The Death of the Nation State has been somewhat exaggerated (Part 2)

October 12, 2020

By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

Globalization – i.e., neo-liberalism writ large – is essentially a negative phenomenon destroying the sovereignty and cohesion of nation states and thereby depriving markets of the social and political guidance without which they cannot function effectively…The result will be a socially divisive, politically destructive, ethically abhorrent and even economically inefficient structure.(1)

JOINED AT THE HIP

Transnational Corporations (TNCs) can be compared to a tree: they have extensive branches everywhere, but their roots are firmly based at National HQ. Of late this has become a disputed view. One of the contemporary clichés in the current discussion of global political economy is the rather dubious concept of the end of the nation state and the subsequent breaking of the shackles which had hitherto tied TNCs to specific geographical and legal locations. It has been argued that these organizations have moved beyond the control of nation states who can no longer exercise effective jurisdiction over their activities.

This ‘state-denial’ thesis has been articulated by the influential hyper-globalist faction ensconced in the financial press, academic economics departments and political parties. In a ‘borderless’ world the state apparently no longer matters; economic power has shifted from sovereign states to global markets. In the words of the German political and social theorist, Wolfgang Streeck, ‘Markets were once fitted into states; now states are fitted into markets.’(2)This change has involved a global transmutation which reputedly has been brought about by the invention of revolutionary technologies in transport and communications. Such is the thesis put forward by the spokespersons of globalization.

True to say that in general terms all states have to choose a global strategy; they have to look at the full range of choices, then they have to decide what is in their best interests. In the current era of global competition, trade liberalization via the market remains the riskiest choice of all. It demands that trade barriers of all kinds be dismantled – the EU model being the archetype. With this policy governments have to let international competitive pressures restructure industries without recourse to state aids or other protectionist methods. This requires states to open their borders regardless of the costs and consequences in industries and vulnerable workers. Russia in the 1990s was a textbook example of what would happen if a state opened its economy too early, namely, a massive economic contraction. In the official textbooks among the neo-classical scribblers in academe and the media, markets are seen to be self-organizing social and economic space responding to universal demand and supply signals.

For countries which accept this view of the world economy, state power to make policy independent of a country’s major trading partner is being progressively eroded as countries find themselves trapped in a seamless web of interdependency. Larger markets do not come without a cost. This much is axiomatic.

Since the 2008 crisis, however, and now the 2020 blowout the state-denialist view has been more difficult if not actually impossible to sustain. It was after all the allegedly redundant state (or states) which pulled capitalism’s chestnuts out of the fire with the bail-out of insolvent American banks in 2008. As the story goes, during the meeting between Obama and the Wall Street elite at the height of the 2008 crisis the President apparently remarked that it was only himself who stood between the assembled financial movers and shakers of Wall Street and ‘the pitchforks’. The US government also ponied up some US$50 billion to bail out distressed auto manufacturers General Motors and Ford who were based in ‘Motor City’ (Detroit). Detroit itself was also bankrupt but the Federal government was unable to find an additional US$13 billion to bail out the city itself. Maybe – just a thought – because the population of Motor City was largely African-American.

However, the received wisdom emanating from the neoliberal elite has been challenged with a more critical assessment coming from heterodox economic theorists.

As follows.

‘’Contrary to the globalist supposition and as a matter of fact, the (sovereign) state always has, and continues to be the mobilizing force in shaping and guiding national economic development, including globalization itself. Given that an increased capability to overcome geographical distance made possible by technological innovations in transport and communication technologies is of little use if there are political barriers to such movements. Thus, policies of liberalization, deregulation and privatisation were necessary to overcome non-technical barriers to the free flow of labour, capital, and commodities. Therefore, the enabling force of globalization was the state. In fact, the bigger and more powerful states have used globalization as a means of increasing their own power and interests.

States actively construct globalization and use it as soft geo-politics and to acquire greater power over, and autonomy from, their national economies and societies respectively … E.g. … The US and G7s other dominant members design and establish the international trade agreements, organizations, and legislation that support and govern trans-border investments, production networks, and market penetration constitutive of contemporary globalization. Advanced capitalist states, particularly, use these political instruments to shape international economic decision making and policy making in their interests.’’ (3)

In addition, nation-states protect, subsidize, manipulate currencies, impose quotas, sanctions, give tax breaks and exemptions to export industries, R&D, and grant patents, use procurement policies and intellectual property rights to their indigenous corporations to both protect their home markets and help them penetrate overseas markets. This is laughingly described as ‘free trade’. States and corporations are not antipodes they are twins, and arguably the state is the senior partner in this arrangement.

For example, in 1934 the Roosevelt administration passed the Glass-Steagall Act. This involved a forced separation of investment banking from commercial banking which stopped banks speculating with depositors’ monies. In 1999, however, Bill Clinton signed the Financial Services Modernization Act, commonly known as Gramm-Leach-Bliley, repealing the key components of Glass-Steagall whose articles became largely toothless. This was what Wall Street had been angling for and which gave an additional push to the eventual debacle in 2008.

The state giveth, and the state taketh away.

Thus, the notion that powerful trends of internationalization and interdependence have ended national sovereignty is vastly overstated. States remain in charge of the essential part of their national sovereignty: monetary policy, (except in the Eurozone of course) law-making, macroeconomic policy, finance and taxation, environment, education, labour markets, industrial relations, pensions, health and welfare, social policy, science and technology and so forth. Arguably no supra-national entity has yet been designed to replace what has been an effective system of national government. Unimpeded global flows of capital in search of lucrative investment opportunities, are hardly conducive for countries wishing to plan and stabilize their future free from the vagaries of uncontrolled markets

TENSIONS

Power to shape/control the global system is concentrated in the hands of states and/or the newly emergent TNCs. Of course, there is not going to be a simple description of this development as the relationship between these two pillars of modern imperialism is both fractious and permanently mutating. The received wisdom, as put forward by the various spokespersons for globalization, ranging from the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) OECD, WTO, World Bank and IMF, and through the globalist house journals of the global Transnational Uberklasse – The Financial Times, The Economist and Wall Street Journal – is predictable enough. Namely that the state is always in a subservient position vis-à-vis the dominant TNCs.

This perhaps would qualify as a procrustean effort to make the facts fit the theory. Contrary to the image of the all-powerful TNC demanding fealty and obedience from prostrate states, the relationship is somewhat more symmetrical; corporations and states are always to a certain degree joined at the hip.

They are both competitive and competing, both supportive and conflictual. They operate in a fully dialectical relationship, locked into unified but contradictory roles and positions, neither one nor the other partner completely able to dominate.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Additionally, the widespread notion that a TNC can simply up sticks and move lock, stock, and barrel to a more compatible venue if its home base no longer suits its purposes, is fanciful in the extreme. All TNCs have home bases, national HQs. Here is where global strategy is determined; here is where top-end R&D is carried out; here is where design and marketing strategies take place; here is where the domestic market is situated and where long-term domestic suppliers are located; here is where overseas operations are conceived planned and carried through; here is where AGMs of the Corporations takes place with published accounts circulated to all shareholders; here is where the local workforce, at all levels, is recruited; here is where the political bureaucracy and the above mentioned institutions are situated and amenable to lobbying. Picking an obvious example, the US defence industries, Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin, Northrop-Grumman, General Dynamics, Boeing, are all based domestically and are not, even if they could, going to jump ship anytime soon.

It is unquestionably true that TNCs and states often have divergent goals: TNCs’ primary function is to maximise profits and enhance shareholder value, whereas the economic role of the state should be to maximise the economic welfare of its society. But although this conflictual relationship exists, states and TNCs need and lean on each other in a variety of ways. States might wish that TNCs are bound by allegiance to national borders – and in many ways they are (see above) – but total allegiance is not an option in a liberal capitalist economy. Indeed, it would be true to say that some states regard TNC (activities) as being complementary to their foreign policy. Here economic issues merge with geopolitical imperatives. For example, American political leaders have believed that the national interest has also been served by the foreign expansion of US corporations in manufacturing and services. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has been considered a major instrument through which the US could maintain its relative position in world markets – as is of course the US$ acting as the world’s reserve currency – with the overseas expansion of TNCs being regarded as a means to maintain America’s dominant world position. As it was succinctly stated. ’What’s good for General Motors is Good for America’.

THE EU: SUPRANATIONAL OR NATIONAL STATES.

Which brings me to the EU. The state-declinist thesis seems to have gained a considerable traction in Europe among the orthodox left. No less a personage than Yanis Varoufakis – the initiator of DiEM2025 (Democracy in Europe) – has been reading the last rites of state democracy and sovereignty in Europe. Apparently, the model of politics based on the nation state is ‘finished’. The sovereignty of national parliaments has been dissolved. Today, national electoral mandates are impossible to fulfil. Hence, reform of the European institutions (specifically the Euro Parliament), is the only remaining option.

Essentially this is the latest version of the TINA ‘argument’, (there is no alternative), pioneered by Mrs Thatcher and rolled out with monotonous regularity ever since by every cornered establishment politician, both left and right. As has been noted elsewhere. ‘’Tell the population that the nation-state is ‘finished,’ that it is unable to guarantee full employment (or to work towards it) and you free yourself of the responsibility of even trying.’’ The same goes for austerity or anything else. If the nation state is ‘kaput’ it is futile to oppose it.’’(4)

Globalization, however, is far from being the all-powerful and all- encompassing Leviathan postulated by the declinists. ’There are major cultural and linguistic differences that preclude a full mobilisation of resources across national borders. There is ‘home bias in investment portfolios. There is a high correlation between national investment rates and national saving rates. Capital flows between rich and poor nations fall considerably short of what theoretical models predict. There are still severe restrictions to the international mobility of labour. The truth is that we do not live in a completely globalised world, far from it. Ergo, nation-states can pursue their own fiscal and monetary policies.

Ex-leader of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn’s (quite moderate) policy proposals, during the 2017 and 2019 UK elections, namely, peoples’ QE, renationalisation of the Railways, taking into public ownership the energy and water industries together with the Royal Mail were not beyond the scope of the UK qua sovereign and democratic state. Additionally, these policies found considerable support among the UK’s population at large. (5) Unfortunately Corbyn’s programme was derailed by pro-EU elements in the Parliamentary Labour Party, the MSM and a vicious and mendacious ‘antisemitic’ smear campaign aimed at Corbyn. But this doesn’t alter the fact that a sovereign country can issue its own currency and formulate its own fiscal and monetary policy that can override the EU neo-liberal package of free movement of labour, capital, and commodities. This in addition to blocking the drive to deregulate labour markets (euphemistically, ‘flexibilization’). The sovereign state is perfectly capable of a policy for growth rather than for continued austerity which has become the hallmark of the EU area. But to carry out such growth policies would require an exit from the EU. There’s the rub. Social-democratic policies are incompatible to the EU’s liberal orientation, which is a structurally, neo-liberal capitalist institution.

The euro has in fact simply been designed to ensure that Germany runs a permanent trade surplus whilst the southern periphery runs continuing trade deficits – a simple accounting identity. Eventually something will have to give. It is also noticeable that Germany seems to be harbouring increasingly regional hegemonic ambitions regarding the rest of Europe. It seems to be positioning itself as the EUs anti-Russian key front-line probably with US backing. Euro state Socialism or even tepid social democracy can never truly thrive within such a hostile and increasingly militarised political environment. But that’s another explosive can of worms.

The position of the globalist left as outlined in the DiEM2025 manifesto, however, seems like a back-to-front attempt to by-pass national institutions and to attempt through a supra-national democracy to make fundamental reforms, through a democratised and strengthened EU. But even Varoufakis regards this as being ‘utopian.’ But he continues, it is ‘a lot more realistic than trying to maintain the system as it is’ or ‘trying to leave.’ (6)

More realistic, really? But this begs the obvious question of why such an entity is going to be any different from the present dispensation; will be any less neo-liberal and undemocratic if it is given greater powers and is integrated further? It seems to make more sense to work from the national to the supra-national level than the other way around – particularly given that most states in the EU are governed by centre right coalitions with social-democrats in tow (but acting like centre right liberals). Moreover, the transfer of local democracy – which we are told is now obsolete – to supranational democracy contributes to a weakening of popular control. This leapfrogging of national democracy to supranational democracy perforce requires a supranational electorate. This is problematic however since for the great majority of ordinary European citizens linguistic barriers and cultural differences impair the opportunity for political participation at a supra-national level. And so the dialogue, such as it is, goes on – ad nauseam.

This should not be considered a mere academic nit-picking issue for Socratic Senior Common Room dialogue. It is the key geopolitical issue of the day, as to whether sovereign nation states can determine their own future and political structures and policies, against the globalist project to turn the world into a borderless playground for international finance, corporate hegemony and the corollary of extinguishing democracy.

IDEOLOGICAL INTEGRATION OF STATES INTO NEOLIBERAL MARKET THEORY

But perhaps a more disturbing feature of the state/economy relationship has been the ongoing and gradual privatisation of the state itself. The role of the state has traditionally been a provider of public goods – education, healthcare, culture, parks, libraries, museums, transport infrastructure, including water, energy, forests and national parks, defence, law and order and judiciary, telecommunications, egalitarian social policies and so forth. The role of the market qua economy is to produce private goods and services for sale on a market. There has always been a tension between ‘the commons’- i.e., that which is public and open for everyone to use – and ‘commodification’ which turns things into commodities for private ownership and money-making. To use Marxist terminology, the commons has use-value, not an exchange-value (a market price) simply because it is not – and by definition cannot be – a commodity that can be bought, sold, or commercialised. The elevation of use-value over exchange-value is integral to the commons.

Throughout history, powerful interests have sought to privatise, close, and commodify the commons whether land, other spaces, amenities, or even intellectual ideas – to contrive scarcity and create income-earning assets. To the extent to which the succeeding enclosure and privatisation drives up rental income and proliferate its sources, increasing private riches while eroding public wealth. Such asset-stripping, rent-seeking behaviour by private companies intent on rent-extraction is not only tolerated by public authorities but actually encouraged.

Other examples of this have been the government/private sector liaison whereby private companies are now employed by the government to perform the role which was once the prerogative of governments. These government/private financial arrangements were called Private Financial Initiatives PFIs or Public Private Partnerships PPPs and were operationalised in both the UK and Australia. These predatory organizations were simply looking for public authority institutions to milk. Their incompetence – and outright looting – was legendary. The privatisation of British Rail, for example, led to increased accidents, higher costs, monopolistic rents (in terms of ticket prices), overcrowded trains, and failure to meet the timetable criteria.

In Australia, a report by the New South Wales Auditor General in 2002 warned of the considerable risks associated with the outsourcing of information technology and of the need to ensure that agencies are clear why they should do so. The previously inconceivable opportunities for the security of private information, collected and held by governments to be compromised, opening the way for identity fraud and held by governments was dramatically exposed in November 2007, when the British Department of Revenue and Customs was unable to account for two compact disks which had been sent through the mail at the National Audit Office. These disks contained highly detailed personal information concerning the 25 million citizens who received child benefits, information which included their addresses and bank account numbers, along with details of their children.

This was not an unusual occurrence it was simply another example – among many – of the ongoing rip-off of the public taxpayer by rent-seeking marauders. The market is always right, always works best, and always delivers the goods, or so it is ordained. Such is the categorical imperative of neoliberalism.

Coming full circle, the point of arrival involves a recognition that the relationship between (usually capitalist) states and markets has been a permanent and alternating process which started with the industrial revolutions in western Europe and North America. On the one side there are the permanent state bureaucracies and organizations which function as the basis for the production of public goods, and the national interest as they define it. This is complemented by the free-wheeling, cosmopolitan, financial and corporate interests whose outlook and policies are global as well as national and whose objectives are both practical and ideological. Practical in the sense that their motives are commercial and predicated on the imperative of growth and development not necessarily restricted to their national base. Ideological in terms of their neo-liberal Weltanschauung.

It was the great American social and political theorist C. Wright Mills who postulated the existence of what he called, The Power Elite as early as 1956. The American elite groups were composed of most importantly The Corporate Rich, The Warlords and The Political Directorate which together with various lower ranking sub-elite groups controlled the United States. State and Economy have to an extent always coexisted, their positions and influence moving back and forth, but in recent years (circa 1980) there has been – to put it mildly – a marked tendency of power and influence to tilt away from the state and toward the corporate/commercial configurations. Whether this trend will continue is an open question; but it would not be amiss to assert that nothing goes on forever.

NOTES

(1)Manfred Bienefeld – Is a Strong National Economy a Utopian Goal at the end of the 20th Century? – States Against Markets – pp. 434,435

(2) Wolfgang Streeck – ‘Buying Time’ – The Democratic Crisis Of Democratic Capitalism. ‘

(3) M. Gritsch – (2005: 2-3) (Nye 2002) Quoted in – The State Really Does Matter, Global Shift 2012 – p.223

(4) Picciotto, S. 1991 The Internationalisation of the State – Capital and Class 43.43-63 – quoted in Global Shift 2012– Peter Dicken)

(5) Although it should be said that the 2019 – the Brexit election – was very much watered down to the policies of the electoral manifesto of 2017.

(6) The IndependentUK Newspaper

(7) In Government We Trust – Market Failure and the Delusions of Privatisation. pp.90

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