U.S. Relations with China Were Just Destroyed, and Nothing Will Ever Be the Same Again

Global Research, November 21, 2019
The Most Important News 19 November 2019

Our relationship with China just went from bad to worse, and most Americans don’t even realize that we just witnessed one of the most critical foreign policy decisions of this century. The U.S. Senate just unanimously passed the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019”, and the Chinese are absolutely seething with anger.

Violent protests have been rocking Hong Kong for months, and the Chinese have repeatedly accused the United States of being behind the protests. Whether that is true or not, the U.S. Senate has openly sided with the protesters by passing this bill, and there is no turning back now.

The protesters in Hong Kong have been waving American flags, singing our national anthem and they have made it exceedingly clear that they want independence from China. And all of us should certainly be able to understand why they would want that, because China is a deeply tyrannical regime. But to the Chinese government, this move by the U.S. Senate is essentially an assault on China itself. They are going to argue that the U.S. is inciting a revolution in Hong Kong, and after what the Senate has just done it will be very difficult to claim that is not true.

The Chinese take matters of internal security very seriously, and the status of Hong Kong is one of those issues that they are super sensitive about. China will never, ever compromise when it comes to Hong Kong, and if the U.S. keeps pushing this issue it could literally take us to the brink of a military conflict.

And you can forget about a comprehensive trade agreement ever happening. Even if a Democrat is elected in 2020, that Democrat is going to back what the Senate just did. That is why it was such a major deal that this bill passed by unanimous consent. It sent a message to the Chinese that Republicans and Democrats are united on this issue and that the next election is not going to change anything.

And the trade deal that President Trump was trying to put together was already on exceedingly shaky ground. “Phase one” was extremely limited, nothing was ever put in writing, and nothing was ever signed. And in recent days it became quite clear that both sides couldn’t even agree about what “phase one” was supposed to cover

A spokesperson for China’s Commerce Ministry said earlier this month that both countries had agreed to cancel some existing tariffs simultaneously. Trump later said that he had not agreed to scrap the tariffs, lowering hopes for a deal.

“They’d like to have a rollback. I haven’t agreed to anything,” the president said.

On Tuesday, Trump was visibly frustrated by how things are going with China, and he publicly warned the Chinese that he could soon “raise the tariffs even higher”

President Donald Trump threatened higher tariffs on Chinese goods if that country does not make a deal on trade.

The comments came during a meeting with the president’s Cabinet on Tuesday. The U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies, have been locked in an apparent stalemate in trade negotiations that have lasted nearly two years.

“If we don’t make a deal with China, I’ll just raise the tariffs even higher,” Trump said in the meeting.

Unfortunately, raising tariffs isn’t going to fix anything at this point.

In fact, Trump can raise tariffs until the cows come home but it isn’t going to cause the Chinese to budge.

That is because on Tuesday evening everything changed.

When they passed the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019” by unanimous consent, the U.S. Senate essentially doused our relationship with China with kerosene and set it on fire. The following comes from Zero Hedge

In a widely anticipated move, just after 6pm ET on Tuesday, the Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan bill, S.1838, showing support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong by requiring an annual review of whether the city is sufficiently autonomous from Beijing to justify its special trading status. In doing so, the Senate has delivered a warning to China against a violent suppression of the demonstrations, a stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s near-silence on the issue, the result of a behind the scenes agreement whereby China would allow the S&P to rise indefinitely as long as Trump kept his mouth shut.

As we reported last week, the vote marks the most aggressively diplomatic challenge to the government in Beijing just as the US and China seek to close the “Phase 1” of their agreement to end their trade war. The Senate measure would require annual reviews of Hong Kong’s special status under U.S. law to assess the extent to which China has chipped away the city’s autonomy; in light of recent events, Hong Kong would not pass. It’s unclear what would happen next.

I am finding it difficult to find the words to describe what this means to the Chinese.

We have deeply insulted their national honor, and our relationship with them will never be the same again.

Many will debate whether standing up to China on this issue was the right thing to do, but in this article I am trying to get you to understand that there will be severe consequences for what the U.S. Senate just did.

There isn’t going to be a comprehensive trade deal, the global economy is going to suffer greatly, and the Chinese now consider us to be their primary global adversary.

Shortly after the Senate passed the bill, a strongly worded statement was released by the Chinese government. The following excerpt comes from the first two paragraphs of that statement

On November 19th, the US Senate passed the “Hong Kong Bill of Rights on Human Rights and Democracy.” The bill disregards the facts, confuses right and wrong, violates the axioms, plays with double standards, openly intervenes in Hong Kong affairs, interferes in China’s internal affairs, and seriously violates the basic norms of international law and international relations. The Chinese side strongly condemns and resolutely opposes this.

In the past five months, the persistent violent criminal acts in Hong Kong have seriously jeopardized the safety of the public’s life and property, seriously trampled on the rule of law and social order, seriously undermined Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, and seriously challenged the bottom line of the “one country, two systems” principle. At present, what Hong Kong faces is not the so-called human rights and democracy issues, but the issue of ending the storms, maintaining the rule of law and restoring order as soon as possible. The Chinese central government will continue to firmly support the Hong Kong SAR Government in its administration of the law, firmly support the Hong Kong police in law enforcement, and firmly support the Hong Kong Judiciary in punishing violent criminals in accordance with the law, protecting the lives and property of Hong Kong residents and maintaining Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.

For a long time I have been warning that U.S. relations with China would greatly deteriorate, and this is the biggest blow that we have seen yet.

The U.S. and China are now enemies, and ultimately that is going to result in a tremendous amount of pain for the entire planet.

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Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared NowThe Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News

China Just Went Nuclear in the Trade War, and There Is No Turning Back Now

Global Research, August 07, 2019

When will Americans start to wake up and realize what is happening?  At the end of last week, President Trump announced that the U.S. would be imposing a 10 percent tariff on 300 billion dollars worth of Chinese imports, and that marked a dramatic escalation in our trade war with China.  This move by Trump came as a total shock to Chinese officials, and global financial markets were thrown into a state of turmoil.  Since that announcement, we have been waiting for the other shoe to drop, because we knew that the Chinese would retaliate.  But honestly, very few of the experts expected something like this.  On Monday, China announced that it is going to completely stop buying U.S. agricultural products

China confirmed reports that it was pulling out of U.S. agriculture as a weapon in the ongoing trade war.

A spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said Chinese companies have stopped purchasing U.S. agricultural products in response to President Trump’s new 10% tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods.

This is essentially a trade war equivalent of a nuclear bomb.

If the Chinese would have slapped U.S. agricultural products with tariffs, that would have been a proportional response.  But to quit buying them entirely is an unprecedented escalation in a trade war that is really starting to spiral out of control.

And it is also clearly a political attack on President Trump.  The Chinese know that Trump is highly popular in rural areas, and this ban on U.S. agricultural products is going to severely hurt farmers in rural areas all across the United States.

U.S. voters tend to be more influenced by their bank accounts than by anything else, and so this is a smart strategic move by the Chinese if they would like to see a Democrat get elected in 2020.

In 2017, the Chinese bought 19.5 billion dollars worth of U.S. agricultural products, and that number dropped to just 9.1 billion dollars in 2018.

Now that number is going to zero, and according to Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvallthis latest move by China is going to be “a body blow to thousands of farmers and ranchers who are already struggling to get by.”

Please say a prayer for our farmers, because they really need it.

In addition to ending purchases of U.S. agricultural products, the Chinese also allowed the value of the yuan to decline dramatically on Monday.  This really rattled global financial markets, and shortly thereafter U.S. Treasury officials formally designated China as a “currency manipulator”.  The following comes directly from the official website of the Treasury Department

The Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 requires the Secretary of the Treasury to analyze the exchange rate policies of other countries. Under Section 3004 of the Act, the Secretary must “consider whether countries manipulate the rate of exchange between their currency and the United States dollar for purposes of preventing effective balance of payments adjustments or gaining unfair competitive advantage in international trade.” Secretary Mnuchin, under the auspices of President Trump, has today determined that China is a Currency Manipulator.

As a result of this determination, Secretary Mnuchin will engage with the International Monetary Fund to eliminate the unfair competitive advantage created by China’s latest actions.

This is the first time since the 1990s that the Treasury Department has used this designation on any of our trading partners, and it is the kind of move that would not be made unless all hopes for a trade deal were completely gone.

Of course the Chinese wouldn’t have made the moves that they made either if they were still holding out hope for a negotiated solution.  According to one market analyst that was quoted by CNBC, the Chinese are “signalling that they have lost confidence that they can reach an agreement with Trump.”

So what this means is that in the short-term things are going to get bad for the global economy.

Really bad.

In the longer term, the structure of the entire global economic system could change dramatically, and this will especially be true if Donald Trump emerges triumphant in 2020.  According to economist Neil Shearing, we could literally be looking at “the end of the world as we know it”…

Among the implications for more deterioration in the global picture that Shearing cites are the “disintegration of the rules-based system” that has governed international commerce since the end of the World War II, and a potential “Balkanization” of the world economy as the U.S. and China develop their own standards, tech platforms and payment systems.

“It’s too soon to say exactly how events will pan out, but this casts the escalation in the US-China trade war over the past year in an altogether more ominous light. We may be witnessing the end of the world as we know it,” he wrote.

It is difficult to imagine a world in which there is no trade between the United States and China, and many would argue that we would be far better off today if we had never gone down that road in the first place.

But now that our two economies are so deeply integrated, trying to decouple is going to be an exceedingly painful process.

If you are familiar with my work, than you already know that I am not a fan of the Chinese government at all.  Something needed to be done about China, because they have been brazenly taking advantage of us and flouting the rules for decades.

Having said that, it is imperative that the American people understand that a messy breakup with China is going to cause an extraordinary amount of pain for us, for them and for the whole world.

It looks like this trade war could be the spark that plunges the global economy into utter chaos, and right now very few Americans seem to understand the true scope of the economic nightmare that appears to be headed our way.

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Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared NowThe Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News.

Featured image is from Foreign Policy

حرب الخلجان والمضائق طهران تمنع تقدّم الأطلسي باتجاه موسكو وبكين

يوليو 22, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

كلّ شيء يحصل في بحر العرب وخليج فارس من حرب ناقلات وتحفز وأرصاد الى تعارض إرادات وديبلوماسية حياكة السجاد تشي بما يلي:

انّ ما يطلق عليه الأزمة الأميركية الإيرانية، الدائرة الآن في الخليج وبحر العرب وبقية مناطق الإقليم، من اليمن الى العراق وسورية ولبنان وفلسطين، ليست أزمة عادية وإنما هي معركة استراتيجية كبرى بين كتلتين دوليتين هما :

الهضبة الإيرانية المتمثلة بالجغرافيا ونظام الحكم والأمة الإيرانية ومعه حلف المقاومة، بدعم روسي صيني متعدد الأوجه والمسارات…

الولايات المتحدة الاميركية، مدعومة من حلف شمال الأطلسي بشكل كامل ومن الأنظمة العربية العميلة في جزيرة العرب، الى جانب الكيان الصهيوني طبعاً.

وهي بمعنى من المعاني إنهاء هيمنة القطب الواحد، ايّ الولايات المتحدة، على العالم.

لا يوجد أيّ أفق، لا على الصعيد التكتيكي ولا على الصعيد الاستراتيجي، لتحقيق أيّ من أهداف الولايات المتحدة، لا في منطقة الصراع المفتوح حالياً ولا مناطق أخرى من ساحات المواجهة، مثل وسط آسيا أو بحر الصين أو منطقة البحر الأسود/ أوكرانيا. وكذلك هو الوضع في منطقة بحر البلطيق/ شمال غرب روسيا، حيث يستمرّ تحشيد قوات كبيرة لحلف الناتو بالقرب من الحدود الروسية الشمالية الغربية/ أيّ بالقرب من مدينة لينينغراد ذات الرمزية التاريخية والوطنية الكبرى في روسيا خضعت لحصار الجيوش الألمانية لمدة 900 يوم دون أن تستسلم .

يتمثل الجانب الاستراتيجي، في المعركة الدائرة حالياً، في انّ إيران تتصدّى بشكل مباشر لمحاولات الولايات المتحدة السيطرة، ليس فقط على منابع النفط الموجودة في الجزيرة العربية وإيران بهدف التحكم في إمدادات الطاقة للأسواق الصينية والباكستانية وأسواق دول شرق آسيا لإبطاء نمو اقتصاديات هذه الدول وإضعاف قدرتها على منافسة الولايات المتحدة، على الصعيد الدولي، وانما تتعدّى الأهداف الأميركية كلّ ذلك، حيث انّ طبيعة هذه المواجهة تشمل قبل كلّ شيء الجوانب الاقتصادية الدولية. وبكلام أكثر وضوحاً فإنّ واشنطن ودول الناتو يحاولون السيطرة على منطقة المواجهة الحاليّة، الممتدة من سواحل فلسطين المحتلة غرباً وحتى سواحل الصين وروسيا الشرقية على المحيط الهادئ.

اما كلمة سر هذا الجانب الاستراتيجي فهي: مشروع الطريق والحزام الصيني، ذو الطابع الدولي والعابر للقارات، الذي سيكرّس إنهاء السيطرة الاقتصادية والمالية الأميركية على مقدرات شعوب العالم.

وهذا يعني أنّ معركة إيران، ومعها حلف المقاومة، الحاليّة، مع الأطراف الاستعمارية المذكورة أعلاه، هي معركة فرط استراتيجية، يتمثل هدف إيران وحلفائها، من وراء خوضها، في ما يلي:

ـ إنجاز حقوق إيران، ليس فقط في المجال النووي، وإنما في الحفاظ على أمن الملاحة البحرية في كلّ المنطقة الممتدة من خليج عدن وحتى غرب المحيط الهندي. وهو ما يشكل مانعاً قوياً أو خط دفاع أوّل عن حدود الصين الغربية وحدود روسيا الجنوبية الغربية.

ـ إنهاء عوامل التوتر المتجدّد في الإقليم وذلك باقتلاع جذور أسبابه، المتمثلة في الوجود العسكري الاميركي الأطلسي المكثف في جزيرة العرب وفي بحار المنطقة وصولاً الى بحر الصين الجنوبي، خاصة أنّ سلاح البحرية الإيراني قادر، ودون أدنى شك، على تأمين خطوط الملاحة بكلّ كفاءة واقتدار.

ـ أما آلية الحماية المنشودة فيمكن تحقيقها، وبكلّ سهولة، عبر تطبيق الاقتراح الإيراني، المقدّم منذ أشهر، والذي ينص على إنشاء نظام أمني إقليمي تشارك فيه كلّ دول المنطقة، العربية منها وغير العربية، كباكستان وإيران، وإخلاء المنطقة من القواعد والأساطيل الأجنبية.

أما في ما يتعلق باحتمالات سير هذه المعركة، وتطوراتها في الميدان، فإنّ ذلك لن يتعدّى مرحلة ممارسة التفاوض تحت النار، أيّ انّ طرفي المعركة، خاصة إيران وحلف المقاومة، سيواصلان تنفيذ خطوات للضغط العسكري على العدو، على امتداد ساحة المواجهة، وذلك لثقتها الكاملة بنفسها وقدراتها أولاً ولتيقنها من محدودية قدرات العدو ثانياً.

وعندما نتحدث عن محدودية قدرات العدو فإننا بالأكيد لا نعني انّ قدرات إيران العسكرية تفوق في حجمها قدرات المعسكر المعادي، وإنما نعني محدودية قدرة العدو في استخدام ما لديه من قدرات عسكرية. وهذا ما يسمّى في علم السياسة: محدودية استخدام القوة. الأمر الذي يعود الى أسباب عديدة لا مجال لتعدادها في هذا المجال…

وإنما لا بدّ من التذكير بأهمّها، ألا وهو عدم وجود ايّ نية حقيقية، لدى الرئيس الأميركي الحالي، في خوض حرب ضدّ إيران وحلفائها. علاوة على تخوّف الرئيس ترامب من تدحرج أيّ عمليات، حتى ولو كانت محدودة، ضدّ إيران إلى حرب شاملة، الأمر الذي لا قدرة للولايات المتحدة الأميركية على المغامرة به، إذ انّ مثل هكذا تطوّر سيحتاج الى نشر ما لا يقلّ عن 750 ألف جندي أميركي/ أطلسي في منطقة العمليات إيران والعراق وسورية ، بالإضافة الى قراءة الفاتحة على روح قاعدة واشنطن العسكرية في فلسطين المحتلة، «إسرائيل»، والتي ستزول عن الوجود خلال ساعات بدء الحرب الأولى.

إذن… فالولايات المتحدة لديها القوة العسكرية، المجمّدة او المشلولة او المغلولة الأيدي، بسبب ظروف الميدان السياسية والعسكرية. بينما تستند القيادة الإيرانية الى يد مطلقة في اتخاذ القرارت الحازمة والمبنية على الظروف الموضوعية المؤاتية أيضاً ما يجعل القارئ الموضوعي لمسرح العمليات، يخرج بنتيجة لا تقبل الشك ألا وهي:

انّ الطرف الأقوى في المواجهة سيكون بالتأكيد ذلك الطرف الذي تقاتل معه الجغرافيا والإرث الحضاري الإيراني، الأكبر والأعمق والذي يستند اليه الإمام السيد علي الخامنئي في قيادته للمعركة وفي قراراته وتوجيهاته للآلة السياسية والديبلوماسية والعسكرية في إيران، المتكئة الى فقه إسلامي ديناميكي ثوري أكثر عمقاً وزخماً من كلّ ما يمكن ان يتصوّره السياسيون التقليديون.

ثمة معادلة جديدة تتشكل في العمل السياسي الدولي تشي بحصول هزائم مدوية تنتظر الأميركيين وأذنابهم وانتصارات كبرى غير مسبوقة في المسرح الدولي لصالح إيران وحلفائها.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

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هرمز مقابل جبل طارق… ومثله

يوليو 22, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– لا نعلم إذا كان البريطانيون قد انتبهوا أم لم ينتبهوا إلى أهمية ما وفروه لإيران في معركتها التاريخية حول السيادة والقوة في مضيق هرمز، الذي يمثل مفصل الاستراتيجية الإيرانية في الإفادة من ميزات الجغرافيا الدولية الاقتصادية والعسكرية التي تعرف كيف تدير معادلاتها. فالخطوة الرعناء لبريطانيا في إيقاف الناقلة الإيرانية في مضيق جبل طارق، لا تستقيم إلا إذا تصرفت لندن على أساس أن الدولة التي تملك السيادة البرية على طرف المضيق تملك الحق بتفتيش السفن التي تتجاوزه وفقاً لمفهوم المرور العابر قانونياً، أي المرور باتجاه مقصد نهائي آخر، دون التوغل في المياه الداخلية للدولة المشاطئة، بينما المواجهة التي تخوضها واشنطن مع إيران حول المرور العابر في مضيق هرمز تنطلق من إنكار أي حقوق للدول المشاطئة للمضيق في التعامل مع «المرور العابر».

– الخطوة الإيرانية التي استهدفت الناقلة البريطانية أخذت وقتاً قبل أن تعتمد إيران تنفيذها رغم السهولة التكتيكية لعملية التنفيذ، لأن إيران كانت تحسب المداخل والمخارج للعملية. فالأصل بالنسبة للأميركي عندما ورط بريطانيا في عملية السيطرة على الناقلة الإيرانية، كان وضع إيران أمام موقف محرج، بين ردّ يتضمن المخاطرة بخسارة وقوف بريطانيا ضمن ثلاثي أوروبي مساند للاتفاق النووي، يضم بريطانيا وفرنسا وألمانيا، وهو ما لا تريده إيران رغم عدم رضاها عن حدود الاستجابة الأوروبية لموجبات الاتفاق النووي تجارياً ومالياً، ورغم إدراكها لكون بريطانيا تشكل أضعف الحلقات الأوروبية في التمسك بالاتفاق، لكن طهران تدرك الخطة الأميركية التي تنطلق من استشعار الفشل بعزل إيران، ومن الشعور بالضيق لكون واشنطن لا تزال وحدها خارج الاتفاق، من أصل الخمسة زائداً واحداً، وتسعى عبر إخراج بريطانيا، أن تخطو الخطوة الأولى قبل الانتقال للتركيز على شريك آخر، صولاً لإسقاط الشركاء الأوروبيين، ووضع إيران أمام معادلة تضعها طهران في حسابها كاحتمال وارد طالما قررت البدء بخطوات إجرائية للخروج من الاتفاق النووي، لكنها لا تسعى لتقديمها خدمة مجانية لواشنطن.

– بالمقابل تدرك طهران أن ترك التصرف البريطاني دون ردّ رادع سيعني فتح الباب للتمادي في التعامل مع إيران من موقع التطاول على حقوقها القانونية، في ميادين كثيرة من مجالات التجارة العالمية، لذلك رسمت طهران معادلة مبتكرة لتعاملها مع بريطانيا، فتركت لندن تخوض المعركة السياسية والقانونية والدبلوماسية لتأكيد أن عملية إيقاف الناقلة الإيرانية عمل قانوني، استناداً إلى بدء سيادة الدولة المشاطئة للمضيق، وبعدما اكتملت المرحلة قامت إيران بما يترجم هذا المبدأ من موقعها على مضيق هرمز، بحجز الناقلة البرطانية، وهو شأن مختلف عن تهديدات إيران السابقة بإقفال المضيق، وطورت إيران المفهوم القانوني بالإعلان عبر مجلس الشورى عزمها عن فرض رسوم مرور في مضيق هرمز، والأمر ليس بالعائد المالي للمرور، وهو في كل حال ليس بسيطاً، بل في كون تسديد الرسوم سيعني التوقف عند نقطة جمارك إيرانية بما يعنيه ذلك من حق التفتيش، والتحقيق وربما التوقيف، وما يعنيه عموماً من تثبيت حق الإمساك بالعبور من المضيق.

– لم تتأخر إيران بعد ذلك عن منح بريطانيا الجواب الإيجابي على قبول مساعٍ عمانية للوساطة من أجل حل النزاع، وما قد يتضمنه من صيغة لمقايضة الناقلتين الإيرانية والبريطانية، وضمان متبادل لحرية عبور الناقلات البريطانية في مضيق هرمز مقابل حرية عبور الناقلات الإيرانية في مضيق جبل طارق، ويكون على واشنطن بذلك البحث عن طرق أخرى لمواجهة إيران، طرق لا تمنح إيران فرص تحويل التحدي إلى فرصة، كما قالت أغلب الطرق الأميركية حتى الآن، فمعادلة هرمز مقابل جبل طارق ومثله، لم تكن ورادة في الحسابات الإيرانية الذكية لو لم تقدّمها لها الحسابات الأميركية الغبية.

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US vs China: Smartphone Wars

July 7, 2019 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – If Washington’s goal was to pressure and isolate China by targeting smartphone giant Huawei, it seems to have accomplished the exact opposite. In the process, the US has only accomplished in exposing its own growing weakness and unreliability as a trade partner amid a much wider, misguided and mismanaged “trade war.”

While we’re only talking about smartphones and economic competition, however fierce, the outcome of this smartphone battle amid a much wider trade war will have an impact on global power and who wields it in the years to come.

Losing Ungracefully  

By May 2019, Huawei had firmly climbed to the number two spot in global smartphone sales at the expense of US-based Apple. By the first quarter of 2019 it had shipped 59.1 million phones compared to Apple, now third place, at between 36-43 million phones, IDC (International Data Corporation) reported.

IDC and many other articles based on its data would note that while Huawei and Apple have traded places in the past over who held second place among global smartphone sales, Huawei’s ascension this time seemed much more permanent.

Those watching the trajectory and inner workings of both tech giants will have noticed Apple’s decline as endemic internal management problems coupled with growing global competition tattered its reputation and consumer appeal.

Was it just a coincidence that just as first quarter sales data emerged, the US announced one of its more dramatic turns amid its wider trade war with China? The Trump administration would announce a ban on all American-made goods to Huawei including microchips made by Intel and Qualcomm as well as the Android operating system (OS) made by US tech giant Google.

Coupled with this move was a public relations blitz across the US media and their partners working within nations moving closer to China. In Thailand, for example, local media trained and influenced by US interests attempted to undermine consumer confidence in Huawei in the wake of US sanctions against the company.

This one-two punch was a partial success. Sales did slump and Huawei was faced with significant obstacles. But significant obstacles are not the same as insurmountable obstacles, and overcoming obstacles is often how true competitors strengthen themselves.

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger 

For Huawei, a tech giant integral to China’s wider economic and political success upon the global stage, it has all the resources and support it needs to weather the toughest of storms.

In the wake of US sanctions, and even in the lead up to them, Huawei has begun to source critical parts from non-US companies. It is also investing significantly in its own in-house alternatives to US manufactured microchips and even in an alternative OS to replace Android.

Digital Trends in its article “Huawei’s Android-alternative operating system: Everything you need to know,” helps illustrate just how determined Huawei is to overcome these obstacles.

The fact that work on the OS supposedly began as early as 2018 indicates that Huawei executives are under no illusions regarding American goodwill. If America is to play nicely with Huawei and other Chinese companies, it will be because Huawei and other Chinese companies took steps leaving the US no other choice but to do so.

Android is an open source OS. This means that its code is free for all developers to access and use. It was the key to Android’s wide success, and thus Google’s domination of the smartphone OS market, but it is also a weakpoint in Google and the US government’s attempts to hobble Huawei.

Huawei’s alternative OS will be compatible with the open source Android system. Android applications can still be downloaded and used on a Huawei phone running Huawei’s OS, but instead of doing so through Google’s online application store, it will be done through Huawei’s.

As some media have pointed out, this means that Huawei’s setbacks by being restricted from Android will only be temporary. Long-term, Google stands to lose tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of customers who will instead be using Huawei’s alternatives.

Google could even lose its dominion over smartphone OS development if Huawei made its own alternative as accessible and as appealing as Android, minus the political and economic threats aimed at nations Washington finds displeasing.

Maybe this is why the US appears to be backing off (for now), if only partially, from its initial threats against Huawei. Nothing the US is doing to Huawei actually addresses why US companies themselves are losing the smartphone war to begin with. Should companies like Huawei overcome what little leverage the US still has over global telecom tech, it will have a stronger smartphone product coupled with stronger, alternative infrastructure out of reach of US influence.

In efforts to isolate China, the US may be succeeding in only isolating itself.

US Threats Undermine Confidence in the US, Not China  

Other nations needed little imagination to realise that if the US could target Chinese companies simply for outcompeting American corporations, they could easily find themselves next. This has made them sympathetic to China’s current challenges.

While media influenced by the US in various nations have aided US efforts to undermine China’s Huawei, the nations themselves have not.

In Thailand, for example, the Thai government has moved forward with plans to partner with Huawei to develop its national 5G network despite mounting pressure not to from the US, NPR would report.

Huawei is still a popular brand in Thai markets, in third place behind Oppo (also a Chinese brand) and Samsung, Bangkok Post reported.

Thai government agencies have been assuring consumers that US sanctions will not impact Huawei goods sold in Thailand in the short-term, while Huawei takes steps to ensure there will be no impact in the long-term.

Since Huawei is not the first Chinese tech company targeted by the US in such a manner, and with other Chinese-made smartphones becoming popular in nations like Thailand (Oppo for example), China as a nation will only pour further resources in protecting Chinese companies from the coercive measures taken by the US.

Other nations are not only sympathetic toward Chinese efforts, they themselves will likely take similar measures regarding their own industries.

The ongoing trade war with China is not the only example of economic warfare used by the US. We see much more extreme examples of US economic warfare aimed at Iran and Venezuela.

Growing US pressure placed on Russia is another example. The US has even gone as far as threatening nations like Germany with sanctions for moving ahead with a German-Russian pipeline (Nord Stream 2).

The US has revealed itself as an unreliable trade partner, bitter at any prospect of competition or genuine cooperation. Amid its trade war with China it has pressured its own allies to hamper trade with China, a move that benefits China’s trade partners in no conceivable way. The US is willing to do anything to anyone to cling to global economic supremacy and the power that stems from holding it in its own hands. Sharing it with China and Russia or even its own allies in Europe and East Asia dilutes both the potency of that power, and its ability to weild it with potent impunity.

False Pretexts Aren’t Just for Hot Wars

The US regularly uses false pretexts to launch its many real wars around the globe. Fabrications regarding “weapons of mass destruction” were used to justify the US invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. Disingenuous humanitarian concerns regarding imaginary abuses were used to justify the US military intervention in Libya. Serial but baseless accusations over chemical weapon use has been used to justify US military intervention in Syria.

But fabricating justifications to go off to war isn’t reserved merely for hot wars. The US is citing supposed security concerns to target China’s Huawei, coincidentally just as it permanently overtakes US-based Apple in global smartphone sales, and amid a wider trade war built on entirely different (but also fabricated) claims.

The fact that the US is lying about its motivations to target Huawei should be another warning to Beijing over the trustworthiness of the current circles dominating US economic and political power. It should also be a warning to the rest of the world when doing business with the US.

A robust strategy must be adopted by nations and between nations to protect themselves from the still potent and disruptive power the US holds over global economics.

Whether it is attempts by the US to undermine confidence in a nation’s economy, smear a nation’s tourism industry, attempts to reverse the global success of companies like Huawei or even sabotage energy deals made by the US’ own allies with nations Washington considers adversaries, what amounts to highly dangerous American-led economic warfare remains a critical threat to global peace and stability.

Strategies for protecting national industries by developing domestic industrial capacity and relying less on sourcing critical components from unreliable partners like the US is essential. So is protecting bilateral trade through the creation of financial exchange systems out of reach of US sanctions. Being able to counter Washington’s manufactured narratives used to justify its coercive economic behavior is also key.

Just as growing military prowess and unity of purpose among Eurasian nations have helped impede the growing number of America’s many and very destructive real wars, similar economic prowess and unity of purpose will be required to stifle America’s likewise disruptive economic warfare waged globally.

Huawei’s success or failure serves as a weather vane indicating in just what direction this balance of power is headed.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

The World Is Dedollarizing

Global Research, July 19, 2019

What if tomorrow nobody but the United States would use the US-dollar? Every country, or society would use their own currency for internal and international trade, their own economy-based, non-fiat currency. It could be traditional currencies or new government controlled crypto-currencies, but a country’s own sovereign money. No longer the US-dollar. No longer the dollar’s foster child, the Euro. No longer international monetary transactions controlled by US banks and – by the US-dollar controlled international transfer system, SWIFT, the system that allows and facilitates US financial and economic sanctions of all kinds – confiscation of foreign funds, stopping trades between countries, blackmailing ‘unwilling’ nations into submission. What would happen? – Well, the short answer is that we would certainly be a step close to world peace, away from US (financial) hegemony, towards nation states’ sovereignty, towards a world geopolitical structure of more equality.

We are not there yet. But graffities are all over the walls signaling that we are moving quite rapidly in that direction. And Trump knows it and his handlers know it – which is why the onslaught of financial crime – sanctions – trade wars – foreign assets and reserves confiscations, or outright theft – all in the name of “Make America Great Again”, is accelerating exponentially and with impunity. What is surprising is that the Anglo-Saxon hegemons do not seem to understand that all the threats, sanctions, trade barriers, are provoking the contrary to what should contribute to American Greatness. Economic sanctions, in whatever form, are effective only as long as the world uses the US dollar for trading and as reserve currency.

Once the world gets sick and tired of the grotesque dictate of Washington and the sanction schemes for those who do no longer want to go along with the oppressive rules of the US, they will be eager to jump on another boat, or boats – abandoning the dollar and valuing their own currencies. Meaning trading with each other in their own currencies – and that outside of the US banking system which so far even controls trading in local currencies, as long as funds have to be transferred from one nation to another via SWIFT.

Many countries have also realized that the dollar is increasingly serving to manipulate the value of their economy. The US-dollar, a fiat currency, by its sheer money mass, may bend national economies up or down, depending in which direction the country is favored by the hegemon. Let’s put the absurdity of this phenomenon in perspective.

Today, the dollar is based not even on hot air and is worth less than the paper it is printed on. The US GDP is US$ 21.1 trillion in 2019 (World Bank estimate), with current debt of 22.0 trillion, or about 105% of GDP. The world GDP is projected for 2019 at US$ 88.1 trillion (World Bank). According to Forbes, about US$ 210 trillion are “unfunded liabilities” (net present value of future projected but unfunded obligations (75 years), mainly social security, Medicaid and accumulated interest on debt), a figure about 10 times the US GDP, or two and a half times the world’s economic output.

This figure keeps growing, as interest on debt is compounded, forming part of what would be called in business terms ‘debt service’ (interest and debt amortization), but is never ‘paid back’. In addition, there are about one to two quadrillion dollars (nobody knows the exact amount) of so-called derivatives floating around the globe. Aderivative is a financial instrument which creates its value from the speculative difference of underlying assets, most commonly derived from such inter-banking and stock exchange oddities, like ‘futures’, ‘options’, ‘forwards’ and ‘swaps’.

This monstrous debt is partly owned in the form of treasury bonds as foreign exchange reserves by countries around the world. The bulk of it is owed by the US to itself – with no plans to ever “pay it back” – but rather create more money, more debt, with which to pay for the non-stop wars, weapon manufacturing and lie-propaganda to keep the populace quiet and in lockstep.

This amounts to a humongous worldwide dollar-based pyramid system. Imagine, this debt comes crashing down, for example because one or several big (Wall Street) banks are on the brink of bankruptcy, so, they claim their outstanding derivatives, paper gold (another banking absurdity) and other debt from smaller banks. It would generate a chain reaction that might bring down the whole dollar-dependent world economy. It would create an exponential “Lehman Brothers 2008” on global scale.

The world is increasingly aware of this real threat, an economy built on a house of cards – and countries want to get out of the trap, out of the fangs of the US-dollar. It’s not easy with all the dollar-denominated reserves and assets invested abroad, all over the globe. A solution may be gradually divesting them (US-dollar liquidity and investments) and moving into non-dollar dependent currencies, like the Chinese Yuan and the Russian Ruble, or a basket of eastern currencies that are delinked from the dollar and its international payment scheme, the SWIFT system. Beware of the Euro, it’s the foster child of the US-dollar!

There are increasingly blockchain technology alternatives available. China, Russia, Iran and Venezuela are already experimenting with government-controlled cryptocurrencies to build new payment and transfer systems outside the US-dollar domain to circumvent sanctions. India may or may not join this club – whenever the Modi Government decides which way to bend – east or west. The logic would suggest that India orients herself to the east, as India is a significant part of the huge Eurasian economic market and landmass.

India is already an active member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – an association of countries that are developing peaceful strategies for trade, monetary security and defense, comprising China, Russia, India, Pakistan, most Central Asian countries and with Iran waiting in the wings to become a full-fledged member. As such, SCO accounts for about half of the world population and a third of the world’s economic output. The east has no need for the west to survive. No wonder that western media hardly mention the SCO which means that the western average public at large has no clue what the SCO stands for, and who are its members.

Government-controlled and regulated blockchain technology may become key to counter US coercive financial power and to resist sanctions. Any country is welcome to join this new alliance of countries and new but fast-growing approach to alternative trading – and to finding back to national political and financial sovereignty.

In the same vein of dedollarization are Indian “barter banks”. They are, for example, trading Indian tea for Iranian oil. Such arrangements for goods to be exchanged against Iranian petrol are carried out through Indian “barter banks”, where currencies, i.e. Iranian rials and Indian rupees, are handled by the same bank. Exchange of goods is based on a list of highest monetary volume Indian trade items, against Iranian hydrocarbon products, for example, Iran’s large import of Indian tea. No monetary transaction takes place outside of India, therefore, US sanctions may be circumvented, since no US bank or US Treasury interference can stop the bilateral trade activities.

At this point, it might be appropriate to mention Facebook’s attempt to introduce a globe-spanning cryptocurrency, the Lira. Little is known on how exactly it will (or may) function, except that it would cater to billions of facebook members around the world. According to Facebook, there are 2.38 billion active members. Imagine, if only two thirds – about 1.6 billion – opened a Libra account with Facebook, the floodgate of libras around the world would be open. Libra is or would be a privately-owned cryptocurrency – and – coming from Facebook – could be destined to replace the dollar by the same people who are now abusing the world with the US-dollar. It may be projected as the antidote to government-controlled cryptocurrencies, thus, circumventing the impact of dedollarization. Beware of the Libra!

Despite US and EU sanctions, German investments in Russia are breaking a 10-year record in 2019, by German business pouring more than €1.7 billion into the Russian economy in the first three months of 2019. According to the Russian-German Chamber of Commerce, the volume of German companies’ investments in Russia is up by 33% – by € 400 million – since last year, when total investments reached € 3.2 billion, the largest since 2008. Despite sanctions which amounted to about € 1 billion combined for 140 German companies surveyed and registered with the Chamber of Commerce, and despite western anti-Russia pressure, Russia-German trade has increased by 8.4 percent and reached nearly € 62 billion in 2018.

In addition, notwithstanding US protests and threats with sanctions, Moscow and Berlin continue their Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project which is expected to be finished before the end of 2019. Not only is the proximity of Russian gas a natural and logical supply source for Germany and Europe, it will also bring Europe independence form the bullying sales methods of the United States. And payments will not be made in US dollars. In the long-run, the benefits of German-Russian business and economic relations will far outweigh the illegal US sanctions. Once this awareness has sunk in, there is nothing to stop Russian-German business associations to flourish, and to attract other EU-Russian business relations – all outside of the dollar-dominated banking and transfer system.

President Trump’s trade war with China will eventually also have a dedollarization effect, as China will seek – and already has acquired – other trading partners, mostly Asian, Asian-Pacific and European – with whom China will deal in other than dollar-denominated contracts and outside the SWIFT transfer system, for example using the Chinese International Payment System (CIPS) which, by the way, is open for international trade by any country across the globe.

This will not only circumvent punishing tariffs on China’s exports (and make US customers of Chinese goods furious, as their Chinese merchandise is no longer available at affordable prices, or no longer available at all), but this strategy will also enhance the Chinese Yuan on international markets and boost the Yuan even further as a reliable reserve currency – ever outranking the US-dollar. In fact, in the last 20 years, dollar-denominated assets in international reserve coffers have declined from more than 90% to below 60% and will rapidly decline further as Washington’s coercive financial policies prevail. Dollar reserves are rapidly replaced by reserves in Yuan and gold, and that even in such staunch supporters of the west as is Australia.

Washington also has launched a counter-productive financial war against Turkey, because Turkey is associating and creating friendly relations with Russia, Iran and China – and, foremost, because Turkey, a NATO stronghold, is purchasing the Russian S-400 cutting-edge air defense system – a new military alliance which the US cannot accept. As a result, the US is sabotaging the Turkish currency, the Lira which has lost 40% since January 2018.

Turkey will certainly do whatever it can to get out from under the boot of the US-dollar stranglehold and currency sanctions – and further ally itself with the East. This amounts to a double loss for the US. Turkey will most likely abandon all trading in US dollars and align her currency with, for example, the Chinese Yuan and the Russian ruble, and, to the detriment of the Atlantic alliance, Turkey may very likely exit NATO. Abandoning NATO will be a major disaster for the US, as Turkey is both strategically, as well as in terms of NATO military power one of the strongest – if not the strongest – nation of the 29 NATO members, outside of the US.

If Turkey exits NATO, the entire European NATO alliance will be shaken and questioned. Other countries, long wary of NATO and of storing NATO’s nuclear weapons on their soils, especially Italy and Germany, may also consider exiting NATO. In both Germany and Italy, a majority of the people is against NATO and especially against the Pentagon waging wars form their NATO bases in their territories in Germany in Italy.

To stem against this trend, the former German Defense Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, from the conservative German CDU party, is being groomed to become Jean-Claude Juncker’s successor as President of the European Commission. Mr. Juncker served since 2014. Ms. Von der Leyen was voted in tonight, 17 July, with a narrow margin of 9 votes. She is a staunch supporter of NATO. Her role is to keep NATO as an integral part of the EU. In fact, as it stands today, NATO is running the EU. This may change, once people stand up against NATO, against the US vassal, the EU Administration in Brussels, and claim their democratic rights as citizens of their nation states.

Europeans sense that these Pentagon initiated and ongoing wars and conflicts, supported by Washington’s European puppet allies, may escalate into a nuclear war, their countries’ NATO bases will be the first ones to be targeted, sinking Europe for the 3rdtime in 100 year into a world war. However, this one may be all-destructive nuclear – and nobody knows or is able to predict the damage and destruction of such a catastrophe, nor the time of recovery of Mother Earth from an atomic calamity.

So, let’s hope Turkey exits NATO. It would be giant step towards peace and a healthy answer to Washington’s blackmail and sabotage against Turkey’s currency. The US currency sanctions are, in the long run, a blessing. It gives Turkey a good argument to abandon the US dollar and gradually shift towards association with eastern moneys, mainly the Chinese Yuan, thereby putting another nail in the US-dollar’s coffin.

However, the hardest blow for Washington will be when Turkey exits NATO. Such a move will come sooner or later, notwithstanding Ms. Von der Leyen’s battle cries for NATO. The breaking up of NATO will annihilate the western power structure in Europe and throughout the world, where the US still maintains more than 800 military bases. On the other hand, the disbanding of NATO will increase the world’s security, especially in Europe – for all the consequences such an exit will bear. Exiting NATO and economically exiting the US-dollar orbit is a further step towards dedollarization, and a blow to US financial and military hegemony.

Finally, investments of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also called the New Silk Road, will be mostly made in Yuan and local currencies of the countries involved and incorporated in one or more of the several BRI land and maritime routes that eventually will span the globe. Some US-dollar investments may serve the People’s Bank of China, China’s Central Bank, as a dollar-divesting tool of China’s huge dollar reserves which currently stands at close to two trillion dollars.

The BRI promises to become the next economic revolution, a non-dollar economic development scheme, over the coming decades, maybe century, connecting peoples and countries – cultures, research and teaching without, however, forcing uniformity, but promoting cultural diversity and human equality – and all of it outside the dollar dynasty, breaking the nefarious dollar hegemony.

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This article was originally published on New Eastern Outlook.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; TeleSUR; The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

IRGC Captures Foreign Tanker Smuggling Fuel in Gulf

By Staff, Agencies

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps [IRGC] seized a foreign oil tanker in the Gulf that was carrying one million liters of smuggled fuel.

The IRGC Navy said in a statement on Thursday that the foreign tanker ship has been captured on Sunday, July 14, by the military vessels patrolling the first naval zone in the Gulf as part of the operations to detect and fight against organized smuggling.

The IRGC Navy’s patrol vessels confiscated the foreign tanker that was carrying one million liters of smuggled fuel in a surprise operation after making sure that the ship was smuggling fuel, it added.

According to the statement, the foreign tanker was seized in southern parts of Larak, a small island in the Gulf, after obtaining a judicial warrant.

There were 12 foreign crew on board the tanker which has a capacity of 2 million liters of fuel, the statement noted, saying it had received smuggled fuel from the Iranian launches and was going to deliver the fuel to the foreign ships in more distant regions.

The IRGC Navy also denied reports by the Western media that Iran has captured another foreign vessel in recent days, saying judicial processes are going on in relation to the smuggling tanker.

On Tuesday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said it has helped a foreign oil tanker that had been stalled in the Gulf due to technical failure.

According to Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi, the foreign oil tanker has been taken to the Iranian coasts for assistance in line with the international regulations after the vessel sent out a mayday distress call.

“A foreign oil tanker encountered problem in the Gulf due to technical failure, and the Iranian forces, in accordance with the international regulations, rushed to help it after receiving a mayday distress call, and pulled it toward the Iranian waters with tugboat to carry out the necessary repairs,” Mousavi noted.

The comments came after the Associated Press claimed a small oil tanker from the United Arab Emirates travelling through the Strait of Hormuz has entered Iranian waters and turned off its tracker a few days ago, leading the US to suspect Iran seized the vessel amid heightened tensions in the region.

The Panamanian-flagged Riah turned off its transponder late Saturday night but an Emirati official said it sent no distress call.

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