Bridging China’s past with humanity’s future – Part 1

June 27, 2020

Bridging China’s past with humanity’s future – Part 1

by Straight-Bat for the Saker Blog

This will be presented in 3 parts and in 3 different blog posts

PART – 1

1. INTRODUCTION

The world is tottering under the omnipresent virus covid19. Since January’2020, economic and sociological parameters went into a tailspin in one after another country across the globe. By end of year 2020, when the corona pandemic would be under control in all the top 25 countries (with GDP PPP more than 1 trillion $ in 2018, as per World Bank estimates), global economic fabric would have been torn apart with unheard of impact on society, few of which are:

  • millions of sick people will need medical care,
  • millions of unemployed people (and continuously growing) will need food and shelter,
  • at least one-third of the medium and large industrial and utility producing units will be financially sick, while close to half of the small scale units permanently closed down,
  • due to decline of overall purchasing power among the citizens, demand of manufactured products will decline dramatically with simultaneous upsurge of demand for medicines,
  • banking system will be under tremendous stress to renegotiate with their clients to reschedule loan repay and/or write-off loans,
  • Governments will be embarrassed with dwindling tax collection, large scale impoverishments which would accompany increasing unrest among common people

Under the above circumstances, what would be the action plan of the global oligarchy who collectively own banking and industrial sectors and who maintain the current unipolar world order through chosen members of the so-called (USA/5Eyes/Israel) Deep State? We need to remember that there exist nothing like ‘national capitalism’ – by virtue of its expansionary characteristic, ‘capitalism’ has always been global in outlook which resulted in ‘world system’ with industrially advanced society forming the ‘core’ and rest of the world forming the ‘periphery’. The global oligarchy has its interest in EVERY nook and corner of the globe. Deep State elites maintain strong economic and political alliances with almost all countries where, ALL significant political parties and large business houses of every hue and colours are joined through invisible covenant to continuously extend their support, and, in return get benefitted from the global oligarchy. (Cuba and North Korea are the exceptions owing to their overtly and fiercely ‘independent’ policy of governance; for past two decades, Russia-China-Iran-Venezuela governments are resisting the global oligarchy and their local partners with gusto.)

The answer to above question is – state policy and implementation of the same would be geared towards accumulation of capital in every country except the above mentioned six countries. Other than getting humongous sums as bailout packages from governments and share buy-back programmes through zero interest loan, the oligarchy (1% of the population) and flunky elites (5% to 15% of the population) has little interest in governance and support to common people in distress.

[ Link: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/21/american-billionaires-got-434-billion-richer-during-the-pandemic.html ]

A closer look reveals that, among those six ‘resistance camp’ countries, only China has both: landmass and population, that can be termed as ‘resources’ necessary to resist unipolar world order, roll back onward march of global capitalism, and simultaneously build a multipolar world order and more equitable society in close coordination with Russia. So it is natural to expect that China leads socio-economic rejuvenation of the world with full support from Russia. China is also well positioned to harness the strengths of Iran-North Korea-Cube-Venezuela. On behalf of peace-loving people who believe in truth-justice-equality, let me dig deeper into the proposition.

The journey will begin with review of Qing Chinese society as well as economy and industry of Qing era, then discuss the current Communist epoch, and end with future possibilities. Looking back is necessary, because a society which have a significant past would have a remarkable future as well.

2. CHINA IN QING ERA

While mentioning three successive empires: Yuan-Ming-Qing in late medieval and early modern China, it is often forgotten that, Yuan empire was divided into two parts: Ming and Northern Yuan empires, and most of the regions falling under these two empires were brought under control by Qing empire. Even though during the ‘century of humiliation’ starting from 1839 CE Qing empire gradually lost large territories in north-east, north, north-west as well as smaller tracts of land in the south and South China Sea, Qing empire should be given due credit for the following:

  1. Notwithstanding the preferential treatments meted out to the Manchu aristocrats, the Qing emperors transformed the Chinese empire as a multi-ethnic multi-language empire in official policy and procedures (in contrast to Ming era that was truly Han chinese in outlook), thereby creating a fundamental basis of a modern Chinese society. Starting in 1618 through renunciation of Ming overlordship and creating Manchu kingdom by Jurchen/Manchu tribal chief, by 1648 Qing dynasty formed by the Jurchen/Manchu tribal chief extended their control over most part of the erstwhile Ming empire through a military force in which Manchu Bannermen represented below 20% of the manpower while Han Bannermen made up more than 70%. This data amply represented the multi-ethnic character of Qing policies.
  2. The successive Qing emperors maintained warm relationship with all tributary states and protectorates until the onset of the ‘century of humiliation’ in 1839. Commentators and academicians who bring up Westphalian concept while discussing relationship between empires/kingdoms in pre-colonial Asia generally forget that Westphalian sovereignty was a concept that was necessary for and was derived under ‘feudal’ environment of medieval and early modern Europe. Except Japan, statecraft in Asian empires/kingdoms never introduced ‘feudalism’ in medieval and early modern Asia. Hence, the relationship between Qing empire and different categories of vassals had multiple vectors that can’t be seen through the Westphalian lens. Even though Qing empire didn’t lack manpower or military resources that would be necessary to directly rule over the vassals, they were comfortable with the tributary system (based on Confucian ideals) whereby different kingdoms surrounding the Chinese empire would accept Chinese emperor as the predominant authority of that part of the world, and the benevolent Chinese empire would guarantee the opportunity of peaceful trading and commerce across central, east and south-east Asia – this ensured continuation of the two millennium long exchange of goods-services-knowledge-culture between Asia and Europe.
  3. Continuation of the merit-based entry through examination system to the bureaucratic institutions and pre-eminence of Confucian family value system (both were adopted from earlier dynasties) ensured that Qing China stepped into the modern era keeping the fundamental socio-political basis of Chinese society intact. Both of these ancient Chinese practices are valued in all modern societies across world.

By the end of the 18th century, Qing empire commanded an area of around 14 million sq.km with estimated population of around 300 million. Qing society was divided into mainly five categories:

  • Bureaucratic Officials
  • Gentry elite aristocracy
  • Literati, scholar
  • Respectable “Commoner”
    • occupational group of farmers
    • occupational group of artisans
    • occupational group of merchants
  • Debased “Mean” people (slaves, bond-servants, entertainers like prostitutes, tattooed criminals, very low-level employees of government officials)

About 80% of total population were peasants. Landholding peasants were largest labour force with presence of insignificant number of hired (landless) labour. The state also recruited army personnel from rural population.

Agriculture and Land-use:

Agriculture sector was the largest source of employment in Chinese society. With private property rights over land, the farmers had natural incentive to produce more quantity and produce variety of crops. This resulted in increased factor productivity. Land owning peasantry also got benefitted from the state policy that supported hiring of labourers. On the other hand, tax from agriculture made up the largest share of state revenue. So, the landholding peasantry and fiscal-military state both had incentive for territorial expansion. And, the state often resettled farmers in new regions with material (seed and farming tools) and finance (free passage and tax holidays). By the 18th century the Han ‘refugees’ from northern China who were suffering from drought and flood were resettled in Manchuria and Inner Mongolia regions. The Han farmers farmed about 0.5 million hectares of privately owned land by Manchu elites in Manchuria and about 200,000 hectares of lands that were part of noble estates and Banner lands.

There were other innovative actions as well – introduction of maize and sweet potatoes, double cropping, fertilizer such as bean-cakes, re-introduction of early-ripening rice – that helped to increase productivity and conversion of marginal land into regular farm land. A system of monitoring grain prices helped the rulers to eliminate severe shortages, as well as to eliminate hoarding and price shock to the consumers.

The farmers on the basis of a high-yield agriculture produced a constant and sizeable ‘surplus’ that ensured development of market economy in (medieval and) early modern China. Historians estimate that up to one-third of China’s post-tax agricultural output was subject to market exchange. This surplus also became the basis of growth and development of other sectors in the economy.

Trade and Commerce:

For the first time, a large percentage of farming households began producing crops for sale in the local and national markets rather than for their own consumption or barter in the traditional economy. Surplus crops were placed onto the national market for sale, integrating farmers into the commercial economy from the ground up. This naturally led to regions specializing in certain cash-crops for export as China’s economy became increasingly reliant on inter-regional trade of bulk staple goods such as cotton, grain, beans, vegetable oils, forest products, animal products, and fertilizer.

Merchant class functioned within the state-imposed boundary. At the apex of the market structure, the state controlled key commodities like salt, wine, iron and steel etc. Qing state refused new mining rights to private merchants. Foreign trade was controlled by the state, participated by both state and private merchants. So the Chinese merchant class was left with unrestricted platform to engage in commercial transactions at village level (surplus-based market exchange with farmers) and at region level (estimated around 1,000–1,500 such regions in Qing empire). Trade between markets at the village level, region level, and province levels developed into a network covering much of Qing empire. Hence, the merchant class became very wealthy but lacked the strength (as a class) to influence the economy and state politics.

Merchant guilds proliferated in all growing cities in China who sourced manufactured items (by artisans and commoners) like textile, handicraft, ceramics, silk, paper, stationary, cooking utensils. More efficient administration of the Grand Canal created new opportunities for private merchants who could transport goods easily within Qing empire. It has been estimated that in the early nineteenth century, as much as one-third of the world’s total manufactures were produced by China. Though In 1685 the state opened maritime trade for the merchants along the coast by establishing customs offices in port cities like Guangzhou, Xiamen, Ningbo, due to internal political moves such trade arrangement was abandoned. By the time when maritime trade was again made legal, trade with west Europe grew to such an extent that, Canton alone housed more than forty mercantile houses. China primarily imported war horses (for the army), and metals (for currency). China exported silk, ceramics, textiles, metal products (made of iron, copper, bronze etc.), non-metal handicrafts, tea. Trade between China and Europe grew at an average annual rate of 4% between 1719 and 1806. Qing state established the Canton System in 1756 CE that restricted maritime trade to Canton/Guangzhou and gave monopoly trading rights to private Chinese merchants. European merchant ‘companies’ British East India Company and Dutch East India Company had been granted similar monopoly rights by their governments long ago. In the early modern era, demand in Europe for Chinese goods were met through import for which payments were made by silver (sourced by European colonial powers from western hemisphere colonies). Resulting inflow of silver expanded the money supply, facilitating the growth of competitive and stable markets. Thus China had gradually shifted to silver as the standard currency for large scale transactions and by the beginning of 18th century collection of the land tax was done in silver. Since China was self-sufficient in all types of consumer goods, very low import caused imbalance of trade vis-à-vis Europe, which in turn resulted in drain of silver from European powers. British East India Company started importing opium into China. Import of opium into China were paid for by silver – It is estimated that between 1821 and 1840, as much as one-fifth of the silver circulating in China was used to purchase opium. Alarmed with both over the outflow of silver and damage that opium smoking was causing to Chinese people, emperor ordered to end the opium trade, which started the conflicts with European powers in 1839 CE.

Apart from short-term credit systems, offering house and farm land as collateral to raise long-term money was also present. But, community and state interference with such contracts by blocking land transfers from debtors to creditors was one of the significant factors that displacement and dispossession (basis of ‘capitalistic’ primitive accumulation) never took root in China.

Due to ‘equal opportunity’ meritocracy and social mobility, the talented youth were generally drawn towards literati and officialdom (‘Pan’ family of Anhui transformed from one of wealthiest merchant family to powerful family of bureaucrats within two centuries). Merchant class was not considered as sufficiently suave which can attract talented people. They could not rival the influence of large landholding aristocracy notwithstanding localised influence of very rich merchants. Instead, the existence of factor markets for land allowed merchants to join the landholding class.

Some merchants with entrepreneurship zeal migrated to the European colonial outposts like Manila, Macau, Jakarta to avoid empire’s policies which were Confucian (assigning merchants and other commoners same level who deserved equal treatment from the state as a patriarch).

Early Banking:

Copper coins were used for everyday transactions, while silver was used for larger transactions as well as for payment of tax to the government. Apart from monetary conversion the money-changers also provided credit, and rudimentary banking services. Remittance banks evolved during this period that would take cash deposits from merchant in one place and issue remittance certificates, which the merchant could then take elsewhere to pay his supplier. That person would in turn go to bank in his vicinity and exchange the certificate for coins. By the 18th century there was a vast network of such banks which played a stellar role for development of commercial activity in China.

Development of Trade Towns:

Due to the commercialization of the surplus agricultural products as well as booming ‘cottage industry’ (if I may say so), merchants were involved in inter-region and inter-province trades with help of long-distance transportation network. Towns popped up as commercial centres to direct the flow of domestic trade. As more and more people travelled, ‘guild halls’ came up in market-towns for lodging and boarding of those people which included merchants, buyers, and sellers. It has been that about 45,000 market towns developed, some of which became home to some of the merchants.

During mid-17th century guild halls were introduced for more specific purpose – to facilitate craftsmen and artisans of specific sectors like textiles weaving, carpentry, medicine, iron and steel work. Thus those guild halls acted as nucleus of industrial-towns, which further developed into large cities with real estate, water supply, sewerage system etc.

Similarities & Dissimilarities with Western Europe:

In 18th century Qing era, the standards of living in south and east regions of China reached a high level which was comparable with wealthy regions of 19th century Western Europe. As per renowned Historians-cum-Sinologists key factors were ‘(1) the rationality of private property rights-led growth, (2) total factor productivity growth associated with China’s green revolutions from Han to Ming-Qing and the economic revolution under Song dynasty, and (3) China’s export capacity (hence China’s surplus output) and China’s silver imports (hence purchasing power of China’s surplus)’.

Ken Pomeranz showed that the core productive regions in China and West Europe both faced major bottlenecks in the form of land and energy constraints in the 19th century. A combination of domestic and international factors as well as much luck enabled England to overcome these challenges and embark on a capital-intensive path of industrialization. As per Pomeranz, two major factors here were ‘(1) the conveniently located coal reserves, which, being near the core areas helped Britain escape its energy constraints more easily, and (2) Britain’s coercive colonization of the western hemisphere, which served as a source of land-intensive goods such as cotton, sugar and grain, while at the same time providing a market for its manufactured goods. In China, where coal reserves were not as readily available, and a policy of coercive colonization, which could provide it with free land, was absent, ecological constraints led to a turn to labour-intensive agriculture.’

Yet another line of thought considers (1) families of ‘strong, urban, entrepreneurial class capable of concentrating the agrarian surplus to foster a capitalist-industrial’ were absent in China unlike in UK, (2) In both agriculture and cottage industry sectors the Qing emperors’ policy of conflict-containment (between landlord and tenant, between owner and labour) contained appeasing and accommodating attitude towards the tenants and labours (very much unlike the UK where merchants, landlords and entrepreneurs received unconditional support from state) which ultimately were detrimental to accumulation of capital.

Socio-economic indicators:

As per Maddison, percentage share of global GDP and GDP per Capita of China, West Europe, and USA:

YearChinaGDPChinaGDP per CapitaWest EuropeGDPWest Europe GDP per CapitaUSAGDPUSAGDP per Capita
150024.91.115.51.4
182033.00.920.41.91.81.8
19406.40.327.52.520.63.6

As per Allen, and Pomeranz, select socio-economic indicators in early-modern China and England:

CountryAverage Life Expectancy at Birth in mid-18th centuryAverage Calorie Intake/male/dayin 19th centuryLand Productivity 1806 to 1820 CE (Pound/Acre)Labour Productivity 1806 to 1820 CE (Pence/Day)
China35 to 39About 260026.151.3
England31 to 342000 to 35003.360.9

Significant observations on Qing China:

1. Even though Chinese society maintained a robust lead over rest of the world in science and technology (as conclusively shown by Joseph Needham) including metallurgy, porcelain, gunpowder, compass, silk, paper, block printing, water turbine, herbal medicines and many other areas, China was slow to catch up with the technology behind (a) industrial machinery, (b) transportation systems, (c) military arms developed in West Europe since mid-18th century

2. By end-18th century when territorial expansion stopped, population continued a healthy growth. Due to prevailing equal-inheritance practice, farm-owners started facing the problem of a shrinking farm that resulted in decreasing prosperity among farmer class, which finally reflected in less than expected tax realisation by the Chinese state. Combination of key factors like (a) the organised hooliganism and colonialism of European trading companies, (b) internal discontent and rebellion among the common people, and (c) territorial competition with Russian and Japanese empire, proved fatal after 1840 CE

3. With a thriving agriculture and a splendid cottage industry that catered domestic demands China mostly needed war horses and metals to be imported. This was in direct contrast to West European states who needed consumer goods to be imported from China but couldn’t offer goods to be exported to maintain somewhat balance in trade, so they brought in opium. Qing administration should have analysed this problematic trading relation beforehand to take necessary actions to forestall such developments

4. The debate among a large number of Historians and Sinologists about ‘why China couldn’t develop capitalism before West Europe’ continues till date. The fact of the matter is that, the social-economic-political checks and balances that existed in China since 1st millennium BCE (largely due to pervasive Confucian thought in Mandarin Chinese mainland as well as Buddhist thought in Mongolian-Tibetan dominated regions) were diametrically opposite to concept of the so-called ‘animal spirit’ of zionist capitalism. The wealthy landlord and merchant class in China could never pursue profit and endless accumulation of capital by controlling state super-structure. However, the hard-working and merit-based dynamic society of China allowed commercialization, trading, proto-industrialization, and urbanization in a big way since medieval Song era.

3. CHINA IN MAO ERA

Since mid-19th century, one-after-another onslaught by the west European colonialist powers, and Russian-Japanese empires devastated China: first the Qing empire up to 1911, then the Nationalist China up to 1945. Overcoming the ‘century of humiliation’, through armed struggle and huge loss of life, the Chinese Communist Party seized state power in mainland China in 1949. Mao Zedong lost his wife, a son, two brothers, and sister, Zhou Enlai lost all his children, while Zhu De found decapitated head of his pregnant wife nailed to the city gate. At the time, China was a backward agrarian economy with widespread poverty, lawlessness and illiteracy; of its five hundred million people, eight in every ten people were illiterate, one in every eight people was drug addict. It was a time when peasants had to give away two-thirds of their produce in rent/tax, and people sold themselves to avoid starvation.

One can only look back at 1949 China with bewildering awe about how the Peoples’ Liberation Army completed their task of liberation under Mao and his comrades, which culminated with CPC’s emphatic take-over of state power. No other revolutionary leader, anywhere in the world till date, could mobilise such vast number of his countrymen through such enormous hardships for decades. Initial acts were swift and effective. The banking system was nationalized and People’s Bank of China became the central bank for the country. The government tightened credit, established value of the currency, implemented centrally controlled government budgets – all of these ensured that inflation was under strict control. CPC undertook a land reform programme through which 45% of the arable land were redistributed to the 65% of peasant families who owned little or no land. These peasants were encouraged to form sort of mutual aid teams among 7-8 households. CPC also nationalised most of the industrial units as soon as they came to power. By 1952, 17% of the industrial units were outside state-owned enterprises compared to about 65% during Kuo Mindang government.

The First Five-Year Plan (1953–57) followed the Soviet Union model which assigned primacy to development of heavy industry. Government of China controlled about 67% as directly state-owned enterprise and 33% as joint state-private enterprise. There was no more privately owned company. Key sectors like Coal and Iron ore mining, Electricity generation, Heavy Machinery manufacturing, Iron and Steel manufacturing, Cement manufacturing etc. were modernised by construction of hundreds of new factories with help from engineers sent by Soviet Union. Growth of industrial production increased at average rate of 19% per year during this period. During this period, more than 90% of cottage/handicraft industries were organized into cooperatives.

The agricultural sector however didn’t perform as per expectation and only clocked average growth rate of 4% per year. From loosely constructed ‘mutual aid teams’, peasants were encouraged to form ‘cooperatives’, in which individual families still received some income on the basis of their contribution of land. In the next stage, ‘collectives’ were formed on which income was based only on the amount of labour contributed by each family. In addition, each family was allowed to retain a small plot to grow vegetables and fruit for their personal consumption. By 1957 the collectivization process covered 93% of all farm households.

Second Five-Year Plan (1958–62) was abandoned. The leadership introduced new set of policies, and decided to engage entire population to produce a “great leap” in production for all sectors of the economy at once. 3-tier Communes were built to spearhead quantum jump in agricultural produce – at the top level commune central administration, at the next level 20 or more production brigades represented by the old ‘collectives’, and the last tier production team that consisted of about 30 families of village. They attempted to build vast irrigation network by employing unemployed and underemployed farmers – final objective was to increase the agricultural output and employment. Similarly, surplus rural labour was also employed in thousands of small-scale, low-technology, industrial projects in rural areas – final objective was enhancement in industrial and agricultural output and employment. Such small scale industry (including steel making furnaces) were also run by communes. The communes proved to be too bulky to carry out administrative functions efficiently. As a result of economic mismanagement, and unfavourable weather for two years, food production in 1960 and 1961 plunged. As a result, China faced a famine – in 1960 the death rate was 2.54% compared to average death rate of 1.14% registered during 1957 and 1958.

In 1958 industrial growth was 55%, in 1961 it was 38%. By 1962 overall economic collapse propelled the leadership to devise a new set of economic policies. Agricultural taxes were reduced, supplies of chemical fertilizer increased, agricultural machinery were made available, procurement prices for agricultural products were raised, the role of the commune central administration was significantly reduced, and private farming plots were restored. In industry, planning was again emphasized, import of technologically advanced foreign machinery started, hydro-electric power plants were setup, old plants were refurbished, chemical fertilizer plants and agro-machinery plants were setup in large numbers. Between 1961 and 1966, average annual growth of industrial output surpassed 10% while agricultural output grew at an average rate more than 9% a year.

The Cultural Revolution, a political upheaval whereby Mao re-established control over the party by pushing aside the right-of-centre and left-of-centre factions of CPC. It didn’t produce major changes in official economic policies or the basic economic model. Nonetheless, the disturbances affected urban society which impacted about 14% decline in industrial production in 1967. By 1969 industrial sector returned to a normal growth rate. Fourth Five-Year Plan (1971-1975) saw resumption of systematic economic growth especially in industrial sector (with new plants setup for Petroleum Exploration and Refinery, Fertilizer, Steel, building materials, Chemicals etc.). Petroleum and Coal were exported since the beginning of 1970s. With industrial sector average rate of 8% and agricultural sector average rate of 3.8% it was clear that, contrary to popular image Mao era targeted industrial growth as the top priority.

CPC leadership re-evaluated the economic state of affairs and Zhou Enlai presented a report to the Fourth National People’s Congress in Jan’1975. He formulated the famous ‘Four Modernizations’ policy targeting agriculture, industry, defence, science and technology. By 1976, when both Mao and Zhou departed, foundation for a strong self-reliant country had been built, and mainland China had (1) a very large, and healthy labour force having basic education, (2) a huge battery of state-owned industrial enterprises across sectors, (3) infrastructure, power, communication required for further economic growth, (4) an economy burdened by extremely low external debt (2.99% of gross national income as of 1981).

Socio-economic indicators:

Except three interludes – Great Leap Forward (1958–60), Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966–69), and post-Mao political struggle (1976–78) – different sectors of the Chinese economy (agriculture, mining, manufacturing) experienced healthy growth, albeit with quite difficulty aroused out of frequent policy changes. Economists estimate that during the period 1952–1978, China’s real GDP per capita grew at a robust 4% average annual rate, the industrial share of GDP rose from 20.9% in 1952 to 47.9% in 1978 (as per Chinese National Bureau of Statistics), industrial labour productivity grew by 236.7% and agricultural labour productivity growth was only 25.5% over the same period, the fraction of the labour force in agriculture declined from 83% to 75% with the value added produced in agriculture declined from 78% in 1953 to 30% in 1977, household consumption grew by only 2.3% annually, retail prices for consumer goods grew at an average rate of 0.6% a year. Life expectancy at birth improved from 43.5 years in 1960 to 66.5 years in 1978, according to World Bank data.

YearGDP Nominal(Billion USD)GDP per Capita(USD)Population(Billion)
195230.55540.569
196059.72890.667
197092.601130.818
1977174.941850.943

Significant observations on Mao China:

1. Treading on the same path taken by Soviet Union, 1949 onwards China went on to implement a mode of production which was essentially ‘state capitalism’. Soviet Union as a state was the owner of the means of production and ‘commodity’ (which by definition is integrated with exchange-value i.e. ‘price’ in the ‘market’) that were produced. Following similar model, China created a new economy that also revolved around commodity production by state-owned enterprises, agricultural output production by state-owned communes and accumulation of capital by the state (through extraction of surplus from the rural agriculture and light industry). In Soviet Union and China, the ideologues termed it ‘socialist commodity’, however, socialism’ can’t theoretically accommodate production of ‘commodity’ that inherently refers to ‘market’.

In fact as Marxism suggests, the concepts of ‘commodity’, ‘market’, ‘capital’ and ‘surplus capital’ are intricately joined with ‘ownership’ of means of production. Marx and Engels were clear that these concepts don’t have place in socialist/communist society. It is not true that ownership pertains to only ‘private’ citizens, even ‘state’ can own assets to be used as ‘capital’ and the profits out of business gets appropriated by the state authority and close followers.  Undoubtedly, Stalin and Mao being the most committed followers of philosophy and ideology of Marx-Engels-Lenin, were well aware of the final destination of the Marxist journey. Why then both of them set out to accumulate capital in the state treasuries? We will come back to this question again in the last part of this hypothesis in section 5.

2. The central planning system initially adopted from Soviet Union, was the punching bag for CPC leaders whenever they reviewed the planned-vs.-achieved results and found variance (actual results were less than planned). The centralised economic planning as a concept was correct – there were shortcomings in the execution process. Firstly, sector-wise prioritization should have been done that reflects the reality in the society – Chinese society being overwhelmingly agrarian, the 1st Five Year Plan should have assigned primary importance to agriculture and next level of importance to light industry, heavy machinery being at the last layer of importance. Secondly, centralised economic planning needs accurate and complete set of data – China being a vast country with wide regional differences in weather, natural resources, social norms, demography, occupation, infrastructure etc., compilation of complete and correct and data for planning process 70 years back was much more complex than we can imagine today. Thirdly, in reality the central planning was a top-down process albeit with participation of all concerned ministries and departments. In a large country like China, bottom-up would have been a better approach.

3. Government introduced hukou system (originated in medieval China) in 1958 through which all rural households got registered through which the family members will get entitlement for housing, education, medical care in the place of their registered birthplace. In a way government controlled migration of rural population towards urban and semi-urban regions. Intellectuals who value human rights as inalienable natural right, termed this system as draconian. However, such arrangements were highly effective in controlling large-scale migration of unemployed rural people to urban areas causing socio-economic problem in both rural and urban areas.

4. The revolutionary spirit of Mao knew no bounds. Undoubtedly, he was right in emphasizing that, (a) not only economic sphere needs transformation from capitalism to socialism, but cultural sphere of society equally calls for such transformation, (b) the proletarian revolution has a long way to go. Time and again he became impatient with policies that were developed by him and his team earlier. Possibly Mao was oblivious of the fact that, frequent changes in political and economic policy would leave a trail of inefficiency, maybe he was not. During the second half of 1950s, the decisive rejection of Stalin’s achievements by CPSU, dampening of Leninist ideals, and withdrawal of all kinds of Soviet support from China made Mao deeply perceptive of the overall challenges on the way to build socialism in a country– this alone can explain Mao’s vacillation in policy issues and in-depth deliberations on socio-cultural aspects of socialist revolution (a territory, which was much less travelled by Lenin and Stalin). Thus Mao delved into too many intangible factors (apart from political economy) that would influence the final outcome of a complete communist transformation of any society.

4. CHINA IN DENG ERA

After a brief struggle for leadership, Deng Xiaoping took control of CPC in 1978. At the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the CPC held in December’1978 in Beijing, the majority party leaders decided to undertake reform and opening up of economy. They repudiated the Cultural Revolution of Mao era. The reform, as Deng proposed, would develop productive forces through increasing role of market mechanisms and reducing role of government planning.

Agricultural production was stimulated by an increase of over 22% in the procurement prices paid to the peasants for farm produces. The commune system was decollectivized but the state still owned the land and household responsibility system was introduced in agriculture starting in 1979 – individual farming families would get ‘right to use’ on plots of land (divided from old ‘communes’) from government, earn profit by selling their products on the market in lieu of delivering a small contractual amount of produce to the state as taxes. This arrangement increased productivity through the profit incentives for the farmers, and about 98% of farm households were brought under this system by 1984. In 1985, by employing 63% of the country’s labour force the agricultural sector achieved 33% of the GNP, agricultural production got increased by about 25%. Among agricultural produces grains like rice, wheat, corn, barley, millet, cash crops like oil seeds, sugarcane, cotton, jute, fruits, vegetables, poultry and pigs were primarily produced by peasant families. Though efficiency of agriculture sector improved a lot with all arable plots producing at least one crop per year, and under favourable conditions two or three crops a year, fundamental problems remained as before – small farm size, and inadequate agriculture equipment.

Apart from a significant category of small handicraft/cottage industry, light industries formed second category while large industry category included Power plants, Petroleum Refineries, Petrochemicals, Chemicals, Fertilizers, Textile, Steel, Cement, and Automobile. Reforms targeted in urban industrial regions. In industrial sectors, state-owned industries received permission to sell production above the ‘plan quota’ at market at prevailing market prices, as well as received affirmation to experiment with the bonuses to reward higher productivity among employees. Industrial Responsibility System introduced in mid-1980s allowed individuals or groups to manage the state-owned enterprise by entering into contract with government. Private businesses (which almost disappeared after the Cultural Revolution) were allowed to operate and price flexibility was introduced, and gradually private ownership enterprises began to make up a greater percentage of industrial output. Bringing in modern business enterprise management process, government allowed managers to gain control over their business operation including recruitment and layoff (with approval from bureaucrats and CPC). Industrial sector generated around 46% of GNP in 1985 by employing only about 17% of the total labour force in China. Enterprises further got incentive when in 1985 the policy of retaining the net profit (after payment of tax-on-profit to government) within the enterprise was made across China. On banking and financing also there were policy changes – bank loans were made available to the enterprises at a very low interest which would have to be paid back to banks. Budgetary support by government was reduced. For industries, foreign trade procedures were made much easier; (soon special economic zones would be launched to be in the forefront of the boom in foreign trade). The effect of profit-driven competitive environment on working class people was that, many enterprises slowly replaced permanent employment with short-term contractual job as well as eliminated welfare packages for workers – this impacted industrial workers’ living standard and social security negatively.

Perhaps the most sweeping policy decision taken by Deng related to the open door policy for foreign investment. Starting in January’1979, Chinese government created initial 5 special economic zones (SEZ) in Shantou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai (all in Guangdong province), Xiamen (in Fujian province), and Hainan province where many additional infrastructure, fiscal incentives, and freedom from too many bureaucratic regulations were provided to foreign investors for setting up industry. Primarily geared to exporting goods, the five SEZs housed foreign joint ventures with Chinese companies as well as fully owned foreign companies. In 1984, China opened 14 coastal cities to MNC investment: Dalian (Liaoning province), Qinhuangdao (Hebei province), Tianjin, Yantai, Qingdao (both in Shandong province), Lianyungang, Nantong (both in Jiangsu province), Shanghai, Ningbo, Wenzhou (both in Zhejiang province), Fuzhou (Fujian province), Guangzhou, Zhanjiang (both in Guangdong province), and Beihai (in Guangxi province). Beginning in 1985, new economic zones were established in Liaodong peninsula, Hebei province, Shandong peninsula, Yangtze river delta, Pearl river delta, Xiamen-Zhangzhou-Quanzhou in southern Fujian province, and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region. In the post-Deng era, these regions became high-power engines of economic growth and technological breakthroughs for the Chinese economy.

The open door policy changed the landscape of foreign trade in China. Before the reforms, combined exports-imports in 1969 was 15% of GDP; with reforms in 1984 it became about 20% and in 1986 it reached 35% of GNP. Textiles, Petroleum, and foodstuff were main export goods while machinery, transport equipment, and chemicals were key import items. By 1986, Japan became the dominant trading partner accounting for 28.9% of imports and 15.2% of exports. During the same time, USA appeared on the horizon as the third largest overall trade partner, next only to Hong Kong which accounted for 13% of imports and 31.6% of exports. Under Deng, the SEZ and foreign trade became significant tools for both foreign direct investment (FDI) and modern technology. Most interesting part of China’s industrial drive was ‘technology transfer’. While historically China was always on the forefront of applied science and technology, as the 18th century was drawing to a close China was slowing down in the technology race compared to west Europe – hence Deng made it a point that following the ‘four modernisation’ programme China should rapidly close the technology gap by upgrading old mining and manufacturing plants as well as installing plants with sophistication.

Apart from huge coal reserves, China had substantial reserves of natural gas. With many rivers running across the country, hydroelectric potential was among the largest in the world. Large number of coal-fired thermal power plants and large hydroelectric projects were undertaken by the government to generate electric energy necessary for a thriving industrial economy.

Undoubtedly Deng’s overall reform programme accomplished very impressive success, but it also gave rise to several serious socio-economic problems – rise of factions attached to neoliberal free-market political economy within CPC, managerial autonomy in state owned and private owned enterprises, rampant corruption, economic crime, widening income disparities, uncontrolled inflation, and large scale moral deterioration. These concerns created huge storm within CPC and party general secretary Hu Yaobang was forced to resign in 1987. The left-of-centre faction of CPC stalled some of the reform programmes. Student leaders mainly based in Beijing and Shanghai who were fascinated by the neoliberal free-market ideology, pointed out to such socio-economic issues in the then Chinese society and built a movement (supported by the Zionist Capitalist Deep State) that aimed at toppling the CPC rule. The People’s Liberation Army was mobilised to break seize by protesting students at Tiananmen Square in Beijing in June’1989.

In November and December of 1990 Deng reopened the Shanghai Stock Exchange and established the Shenzhen Stock Exchange respectively. Party Congress in 1992 echoed Deng’s views while stating that China’s key task ahead would be to create a ‘socialist market economy’. And, in 1992 Deng undertook ‘southern tour’ during which he underscored the need to continue reforms to open up the economy. Through these actions Deng re-established control over the party (which was weakened in the aftermath of Tiananmen Square protests) by pushing aside the far-left and left-of-centre factions of CPC. Deng made Jiang Zemin the CCP’s new top leader. A new round of market reforms was initiated. Private enterprises and enterprises owned by the local governments took advantage of easy loans from state-owned banks to expand their business. This again caused inflation and fiscal deficit during 1993. New policy of floating exchange rate and convertibility for renminbi caused about 33% devaluation of renminbi. Foreign Direct Investment was further encouraged and capital inflows to China poured. Economy cooled down after enterprises owned by local governments transferred a larger portion of revenue to the central government, and bank credits were tightened. Exports surged due to devaluation. In 1996, the economy grew at around 9.5% accompanied by low inflation.

Working on the free trade and economic zone policy after 1990, the government opened the Pudong New Area in Shanghai and cities in Yangtze river delta to overseas investment. Since 1992 the government opened more border cities and capital cities of provinces and autonomous regions.

The total number of industrial enterprises rose from 377,300 in 1980 to nearly 8 million in 1990. During the Deng era, higher levels of inflation appeared with reduced government controls – in 1980 consumer prices rose by 7.5% while in 1985 the increase was 11.9% going down to 7.6% in 1986. In 1995 China exported 24.7 billion USD to USA and 149 billion USD to rest of the world. In 1997, the year when Deng departed, share of private consumption in GDP was only around 43% while share of exports in GDP was around 22%.

Changing socio-economic indicators:

Economists John Whalley and Xiliang Zhao estimated the impressive performance of Chinese economy (using Barro-Lee approach) between 1978 and 1999:

  • Output growth rate – 9.72%
  • Growth rate in Input
    • physical capital – 7.30%
    • labour – 2.03%
    • human capital (represented by average years of schooling) – 2.81%
  • Growth rate in Total Factor Productivity (TFP) – 3.64%
  • Contribution to GDP growth
    • physical capital – 36.35%
    • labour – 10.78%
    • human capital – 14.95%
    • TFP – 37.93%
YearGDP Nominal(Billion USD)GDP per Capita(USD)Population(Billion)
1980306.173120.98
1990394.573481.135
1997961.607821.23

Significant observations on Deng China:

1. The 14th National Communist Party Congress held in the year 1992 not only backed Deng’s continuous push for market reforms but they thought that China was on the way to create a ‘socialist market economy’. This was the official expression of CPC to document their push for reform using market forces. I doubt, if such terminology existed in pre-Deng China or in pre-Gorbachev Soviet Union.

Again, as the Marxist theory proposed, socialism would be antithesis to market-driven economy which had been propelled by capitalistic mode of production. In capitalist society the ‘factor of production’ would be sourced from ‘market’ and commodity would be sold in the ‘market’. In socialist parlance, concept of market shouldn’t exist irrespective of whether the concept is proposed by any faction within the communist party: ‘left’, ‘right’, or ‘centre’. It was, primarily, the inability of the then CPC leadership to reorganise and galvanize the rural and urban economy to unleash the productive forces; instead they got into the ‘market economy’ which was the engine of ‘mercantile’-‘agrarian’-‘industrial’ versions of capitalism that took root in west European societies since 16th century.

2. Deng was the great architect of what can be termed as the ‘Chinese juggernaut for export’. China’s market reform was undertaken much later compared to Japan and other Asian Tigers. Beginning in the 1980s the late-coming exporter did a splendid job of absorbing huge amount of investment and latest manufacturing technology. Relatively stagnant urban living standards and falling rural living standards resulted in massive transfer of rural labour into the growing export sector. Additionally, the state-owned enterprises already had disciplined, educated, and skilled labour force that made the entry of big Multi-National Corporations (MNC) easy into Chinese market – giants like Boeing, Toyota started their businesses in China through collaboration with Chinese state-owned enterprises who were in same sector of aircraft or automobile. This environment was another legacy of the Mao era. China’s attractiveness to global capital was further enhanced by persistently low level of workers’ wage compared to other Asian countries like Japan, Singapore, as well as the competitive pressure among local provinces who raced with one another to achieve high GDP growth by offering favourable terms possible to foreign investors (ranging from tax breaks to free industrial land).

While China went on to build world’s largest export-dependent economy in 2000s, unlike Japan and other Asian Tigers who built on the basis of private-owned enterprises, Chinese government depended on both: state-owned and private-owned enterprises to manufacture and to export an amazing range of consumer goods to every nook and corner of the world. Deng foresaw this economic boom that provided much needed upliftment of living standard of millions of educated Chinese. However, Chinese economy couldn’t avoid the short-term economic hardships unleashed by such rapid reforms to push export-oriented economy.

3. Far from being a follower of liberal capitalist political thought, Deng was a committed socialist unlike many top leaders of Soviet Union at that point of time. Researchers should remember that for Deng, ‘market economy’ was ‘a method of using black cat to catch mice instead of using a red cat’, and capability development in China would follow the policy ‘hide your strength, bide your time’. In my opinion, Deng didn’t have ever any doubt on the final outcome of the Marxist view that, the final history will be written by the classless communist society. Hence, his advice to build strength.

While authorising the deployment of PLA forces to remove the protesting student by force from Tiananmen Square in 1989, Deng was clear that the leadership of protesting students were liberal capitalist ideologues who was trying to bring down the CPC rule in China using the discontent among the people about corruption-inflation-nepotism. Had Deng and most other senior leadership believed an iota of liberal capitalist philosophy, by 1991, words like ‘socialism’, ‘communism’, ‘Marxism’ would have been completely erased from even the written history of civilization.

Part 2 – pending

Part 3 – pending


By profession I’m an Engineer and Consultant, but my first love was and is History and Political Science. In retired life, I’m pursuing higher study in Economics.

I’m one of the few decade-old members of The Saker blog-site. Hope that this website will continue to focus on truth and justice in public life and will support the struggle of common people across the world.

An Indian by nationality, I believe in humanity.

دروس التاريخ التي يجب أن نستخلصها من أجل المستقبل العادل

ألكسندر زاسبكين

في 22 حزيران 1941 بدأت الحرب الوطنية العظمى للاتحاد السوفياتي ضدّ ألمانيا الفاشية وحلفائها. واليوم نتذكر هذا التاريخ لنحيي بطولة الشعب السوفياتي الذي وقف صفاً واحداً ضدّ العدوان، مؤمناً بحتمية هزيمة المعتدي الذي كان يسعى إلى إبادة شعوب الاتحاد السوفياتي على اختلاف قومياتها والاستيلاء على أراضيها. كما نتمسك بالحفاظ على صدق الرواية والوقائع التاريخية لتطورات الأوضاع ما قبل الحرب وأثناءها وبعدها ولا نسمح بتزوير الحقيقة الذي يجري خلال الفترة الأخيرة في أميركا ودول أوروبية.

يحاول هؤلاء وضع ألمانيا الهتلرية والاتحاد السوفياتي في كفة واحدة لجهة تحميلهما معاً وعلى حدّ سواء المسؤولية عن الحرب. وفي الواقع إذ يشوّهون صورة الاتحاد السوفياتي التاريخية فهم يقصدون استهداف روسيا حالياً. والعودة إلى التاريخ تفيدنا أنه في عام 1932 وافقت الولايات المتحدة وإنكلترا وفرنسا على إعادة تسليح ألمانيا وفي عام 1938 تمّ «توحيد» ألمانيا والنمسا ووقعت بريطانيا وفرنسا معاهدة ميونخ مع ألمانيا التي أدّت إلى تقسيم تشيكوسلوفاكيا بمشاركة بولندا وتعزيز القطاع الصناعي العسكري الألماني، وكانت الفكرة الأساسية لكلّ هذه المناورات تشجيع ألمانيا الهتلرية للهجوم على الاتحاد السوفياتي. وتؤكد ذلك حالة «الحرب الزائفة» أيّ عدم تحرك قوات فرنسا وبريطانيا في بداية الحرب العالمية الثانية حتى شنّت ألمانيا هجوماً واسعاً على بلجيكا وهولندا وفرنسا في أيار 1940. أما الاتحاد السوفياتي فخلال سنوات بقي يطرح مبادرات خاصة بالأمن المشترك في أوروبا وتشكيل التحالف ضدّ هتلر، حتى وقع مضطراً في آب 1939 معاهدة عدم الاعتداء مع ألمانيا بعدما فشلت كلّ المبادرات لتحصين المواجهة بموقف موحد. وفرضت عقد هذه المعاهدة ظروف اندلاع الأعمال العسكرية بين الاتحاد السوفياتي واليابان وكانت بذلك خطوة ذكية حمت المصالح الوطنية للاتحاد السوفياتي بتأجيل الحرب مع ألمانيا.

لذلك كله كان من المهمّ جداً نشر الرئيس فلاديمير بوتين لمقال بعنوان «75 عاماً من النصر العظيم: مسؤولية مشتركة تجاه التاريخ والمستقبل» الذي يكشف معلومات عن مرحلة قبل الحرب ودروس يجب أن نستخلصها منها. وورد في المقال: «لم تحدث الحرب العالمية الثانية بين عشية وضحاها، ولم تبدأ بشكل غير متوقع أو فجأة. ولم يكن العدوان الألماني على بولندا من العدم. كانت نتيجة عدد من الميول والعوامل للسياسة العالمية في ذلك الوقت. وقعت جميع أحداث ما قبل الحرب في مكانها لتشكل سلسلة قاتلة واحدة. لكن، بلا شك، كانت العوامل الرئيسية التي حدّدت مسبقاً أكبر مأساة في تاريخ البشرية هي أنانية الدول والجبن واسترضاء المعتدي الذي كان يكتسب القوة وعدم استعداد النخب السياسية للبحث عن حلّ وسط».

نعتبر توضيح وقائع الأجواء السياسية وتصرفات الدول التي أدّت إلى اشتعال الحرب العالمية الثانية حاجة ملحّة لأننا نرى سلوكاً متشابهاً في الظروف الدولية الراهنة عندما تحاول الأوساط الغربية الحاكمة أن تفرض إرادتها على شعوب العالم وتحاول إسقاط الأنظمة الشرعية بذريعة «حماية حقوق الإنسان» أو «تأييد الثوار». وتستخدم هذه الأوساط استفزازات ودعاية كاذبة يشارك فيها السياسيون والخبراء والصحافيون الذين يخلقون عالماً افتراضياً موازياً لتضليل الرأي العام العالمي وذلك للحفاظ على الهيمنة بكلّ الطرق الممكنة بما في ذلك عدوان مباشر وتأييد مجموعات إرهابية ومراهنة على فتن طائفية وفوضى وتفكيك الدول وفرض العقوبات الاقتصادية التي تسفر عن تجويع الناس المدنيين.

في عصر أسلحة الدمار الشامل يحتاج العالم إلى تعزيز الاستقرار الاستراتيجي على أساس مبدأ عدم تجزئة الأمن ومشاركة الجميع على قدم المساواة. لكن الولايات المتحدة تنسحب من المعاهدات الرئيسيّة التي تشكل إطاراً قانونياً دولياً في هذا المجال. علاوة على ذلك يجري العمل التخريبي في المنظمات الدولية لوضع «نظام القواعد» التي يخترعها الغرب لمصلحته بديلاً للشرعية الدولية.

اليوم يكرّر الغرب أخطاء الماضي التي أدّت إلى الكارثة العالمية وما أشبه اليوم بالأمس، وقد شهدنا كيف كرّر الغرب خطأ الرهان على النازية مع ألمانيا الهتلرية بالرهان على الإرهاب، خصوصاً في ما شهدناه خلال الأزمة والحرب في سورية، معتقداً أنه سيبقى بمنأى عن الخطر، عندما يترك النيران تشتعل بثوب مَن يصنفهم خصوماً، وفي المرتين النتيجة ذاتها. فالنوم مع الشيطان في السرير ذاته لا يمكن أن يجلب الأمن ولا أن يحقق السلام .

اليوم وقد تزايدت مشاكل العالم وزاد تعقيدها، لا يمكن تجاهل مخاطر انزلاق إلى نهاية تاريخ البشرية نتيجة للنزاع العالمي بسبب تصرّفات غير مسؤولة للمغامرين والمهووسين بأوهام العظمة والتفوق والجشع وأشكال الفوبيا القديمة.

من المطلوب تكثيف الجهود لمواجهة هذا النهج الذي يهدّد مستقبل البشرية. وبهذا الصدد نشير إلى ضرورة توسيع دائرة الدول والقوى السياسية التي تسعى إلى نضج النظام العالمي المتعدّد والمتوازن الذي يؤمن الحقوق المتساوية لأعضاء المجتمع الدولي والالتزام بميثاق الأمم المتحدة. وإذ نتذكر تحالفاً معادياً لهتلر فتطرح روسيا مبادرات بناءة بخصوص جميع مواضيع الأجندة العالمية ابتداء من الاستقرار الاستراتيجي والتعاون في الفضاء والفضاء السيبراني وصولاً إلى تسوية النزاعات الإقليمية ومكافحة الإرهاب. من المعروف أنّ الرئيس فلاديمير بوتين وجه الدعوة لعقد لقاء لرؤساء الدول الخمس الدائمة العضوية في مجلس الأمن الدولي لمناقشة أهم القضايا الراهنة. ونأمل أن تمثل هذه الخطوة نقطة انطلاق لعملية تنقية الأجواء وانتقالاً إلى مرحلة الحوار والتعاون لأن ذلك حاجة ماسة للبشرية كلها التي تعاني من تراكم المشاكل.

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*سفير روسيا الاتحاديّة لدى الجمهورية اللبنانيّة.

«قيصر» الأميركي لإجهاض النظام العالمي الجديد!

د. وفيق إبراهيم

ما تتعرّض له سورية منذ 2011 من حروب متواصلة وعقوبات وغارات وسطو على ثرواتها واحتلال لمناطقها من دون توقف يتجاوز بكثير محاولة إسقاط نظام سياسي أو حتى تدمير دولة.

فهناك استثمار أميركي في الإرهاب الداعشي – القاعدي والمعارضات الداخلية وأدوار دول الخليج والاحتلال التركي والرعاية الأردنية لإرهابيي الجنوب، وغارات اسرائيلية شبه يومية وتدخل عسكري – أميركي – اوروبي وحتى اوسترالي مباشر، الى جانب قطع كل بلدان المحور الأميركي للعلاقات الدبلوماسية والسياسية والاقتصادية مع سورية، مطبقين عليها نظام عقوبات اقتصادي صارم.

لكن الأميركيين لم يكتفوا بكل هذه الوسائل، فذهبوا لمصادرة النفط السوري وتأسيس معادلة دائمة لبيعه في اسواق تركيا الى جانب تغييرات ديموغرافية موازية مع إثارة أكبر قدر ممكن من الفتن المذهبية والعرقية والطائفية بما يكشف حجم الإصرار الأميركي على تدمير سورية لأسباب تتعلق حكماً بنجاحات يريدها النفوذ الأميركي العالمي في هذه المرحلة بالذات.

لذلك فإن تدمير سورية حاجة عاجلة للجيوبوليتيك الأميركي.

لماذا؟ النفوذ الأميركي خسر معاركه في سورية وإيران واليمن، ملتزماً بهدنة في العراق.

ومتراجعاً في لبنان ما أنتج ولادة معادلة إقليمية راسخة سورية – ايرانية، ومعها حزب الله والحشد الشعبي ودولة صنعاء.

عند هذا الحد، كان بالإمكان الاستمرار في القتال الأميركي بدرجات أعلى من الأساليب المنهزمة.

لكن لسورية أهمية استراتيجية في الجيوبوليتيك الأميركي للعديد من الأسباب، يتربّع على رأسها موقفها الثابت المانع لأي تصفية للقضية الفلسطينية وموقعها في قلب المشرق العربي، خصوصاً للجهة العراقية والأردنية ما يربطها بالخليج حتى حدود المتوسط ويصلها بروسيا عبر تحالفها العميق مع ايران، وهذا يعني ربطاً بالصين ايضاً هناك. هناك أهميات ايضاً أخرى تتعلق بالتنافس الأميركي مع كل من الصين وروسيا وايران، المرتبط بالصراع على هيكلية النظام العالمي الجديد وعديد أقطابه.

فسورية هي المعبر الضروري الذي يجب على روسيا والصين، التموضع فيه للانتقال آنفاً الى فضاءات اخرى.

لذلك فإن أي ضرر يحيق بالدولة السورية يتسبّب فوراً بفرط عقد تحالف شرق أوسطي كبير وتجميد الأدوار الجيوبوليتيكية الصينية – الروسية الى اجل بعيد.

هذا تعرفه الولايات المتحدة الأميركية بشكل عميق، لكنها كانت متأكدة من ان الوسائل العسكرية والاقتصادية والسياسية والإرهابية التي استعملتها من 2011 حتى 2020 اكثر من كافية لتدمير دولة سورية وإضعاف الادوار الايرانية والروسية والصينية.

لكنها بوغِتت بصمود سوري لافت في ظروف مستحيلة لا تنجو منها عادة حتى الدول الجبارة.

إلا أن هناك عنصراً اضافياً لا يمكن إغفاله ويتعلق بارتفاع حدة الصراع الأميركي – الصيني مع ما تسبب به جائحة كورونا من تراجع كبير للاقتصاد الأميركي.

لا بد من لفت النظر الى ان الصينيين قادرون على تحمل التراجع الاقتصادي «الكوروني» أكثر من أميركيين معتادين منذ ستينيات القرن الماضي على اعلى انواع الرفاه الاجتماعي.

وهذا ما ظهر من خلال الاضطرابات الاجتماعية التي تجتاح الولايات الأميركية منذ أسبوع تقريباً. صحيح انها تشكلت كنوع من الاعتراض على مقتل مدني اسود البشرة خنقه شرطي أميركي بوضع ركبته على عنقه حتى الموت، وجسّدت رفضاً للتمييز العنصري الأميركي التاريخي، لكنها تحمل في متن اتساعها في مجمل الولايات المتحدة الأميركية تعبيراً عن قلق من الأميركيين الفقراء على وضعهم الاقتصادي في ظل كورونا وبعدها. ويصادف ان الاقلية السوداء هي التي تحتل مرتبة الأكثر فقراً على المستوى الأميركي.

هذه هي الأسباب التي دفعت الأميركي الى وضع قانون قيصر موضع التنفيذ في سورية. وهو قانون يستهدف كل حركات الاقتصاد السوري الشعبي والرسمي. وهذا هو القتل بعينه الذي تنفذه دولة بمفردها وتفرض على العالم بأسره تطبيق نصوصه بقطع كل انواع العلاقات بسورية وإلا فإنها تخضع بدورها لعقوبات مماثلة.

يتبين اذاً أن سورية مستهدفة لاسباب داخلية تتعلق بجهادية دولتها، وخارجية لكونها المحور الاساسي المعادي للنفوذ الأميركي في المشرق العربي، ولأنها الضرورة الجيوبوليتيكية للتطور الصيني – الروسي في النظام العالمي الجديد.

لذلك فإن «قيصر الأميركي» يستعمل كافة قواه ومرة واحدة للقضاء على الدولة السورية أو اسقاط نظامها واستتباعها لمنظومته.

هذا هو الهدف الأميركي؟ فماذا عن ردود الفعل عليه؟

لا شك في أن سورية لن تبخل بأي قوة تمتلكها لمجابهة الأميركيين في الداخل والعراق ولبنان والاردن، ولها من العلاقات ما يؤهلها لهذا الدور، لكنه لن يكون كافياً ويتطلّب مسارعة المستهدفين لمد يد العون بسرعة، خصوصاً من الطرفين الصيني – الروسي، لان الاستمرار في سياسات التدبّر والتعقل لن يكون الحل في هذه المرحلة بالذات، وهذه ليست دعوة للحرب، بل مطالبة للردّ على الحرب الاقتصادية القاتلة، بأدوات اقتصادية رادعة.

بما يعني أن حماية سورية من طريق تزويدها بحاجاتها الاقتصادية من الصين وروسيا، هي مسألة تاريخية حاسمة لان النجاح فيها هو تعبيد الطريق أمام نظام دولي جديد، ينتزع من الأميركيين ثلاثة مقاعد: اثنان منهما في النظام العالمي الجديد لروسيا والصين وثالث اقليمي واعد لإيران.

فهل هذه ممكن؟

إن كسر العقوبات القيصرية الأميركية على سورية تعني أيضاً إنقاذ الشرق الأوسط من تمديد الهيمنة الأميركية عليه نحو قرن جديد، وتحرير موارد الطاقة، خصوصاً من الغاز في البحر المتوسط، والمعلوم ان الدول القطبية تستند دائماً على موارد طاقة أساسية كحال الولايات المتحدة الأميركية التي بنت الجيوبوليتيك الخاص بها على اساس الهيمنة على النفط العربي وأسواق الاستهلاك فيها، فلماذا نسمح لها إعادة إنتاج معاهدات مع العرب تشبه معاهدة كوينسي التي وقعها روزفلت الأميركي مع عبد العزيز السعودي 1945.

هذا كله رهن بدعم صيني اقتصادي حقيقي لسورية، باعتبار ان روسيا ماضية وبحزم نحو تلبية الحاجات العسكرية للدولة السورية.

يتبين بالاستنتاج أن نظام الحاجات المتبادلة بين الرباعي الروسي الصيني والإيراني السوري كفيل بالقضاء على قيصر الجديد وآخر ما تبقى من أحادية قطبية أميركية، لا تزال تقاتل قبل دخولها في النزع الأخير من عمرها المندثر.

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نتائج حرب كورونا… هل تسرع أفول عصر الإمبراطورية الأميركية

حسن حردان

تزداد المؤشرات التي تؤكد أن نتائج حرب كورونا العالمية سوف تسرع من التحولات في العالم التي بدأت قبل ظهور جائحة كورونا، وتجلت في التغيّر الحاصل في موازين القوى العالمية، وتراجع وانحسار نظام الهيمنة الأميركي الأحادي القطب. ما هي المعطيات والوقائع التي تدلل على ذلك؟

أولاً، من المعروف أن نتائج الحرب العالمية الثانية أسفرت عن أفول الإمبراطورية البريطانية التي كانت الشمس لا تغيب عن مستعمراتها، وإسدال الستار على نظام دولي قديم، لمصلحة ولادة نظام عالمي جديد ثنائي القطب.. كتلة شرقية بقيادة الاتحاد السوفياتي، وكتلة غربية بقيادة الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، استمر هذا النظام العالمي حتى انتهاء الحرب الباردة وتفكك الاتحاد السوفياتي لمصلحة هيمنة الولايات المتحدة على النظام الدولي وولادة نظام القطب الأوحد.

ثانياً، كان لدى كبار الخبراء الاستراتيجيين قناعة بأن نظام القطب الأوحد لا يمكن أن يستمر على قاعدة الهيمنة الأميركية، لأن مثل هذا النظام يؤدي إلى استفزاز الدول الكبرى والإقليمية التي ستعمد إلى التكتل للدفاع عن مصالحها التي تتجاهلها الولايات المتحدة.. وهو ما حصل فعلا.. فبعد أن استعادت توازنها، سارعت روسيا بالتعاون مع الصين إلى تشكيل منظمة شنغهاي التي تضم إليهما، الهند، طاجيكستان، قيرغيزستان، كازاخستان وأوزبكستان، باكستان، فيما حصلت أربع دول اخرى على صفة مراقب فيها، وهي.. إيران، منغوليا، أفغانستان وبيلاروسيا.. وقد نجحت هذه المنظمة في تطوير العلاقات الاقتصادية فيما بين أعضائها وتشكيل قوة اقتصادية عالمية في مواجهة القوة الأميركية الغربية، وكان من أبرز ما سعت إليه المنظمة العمل على وضع حد لنظام الهيمنة الأحادي القطب، والدفع لإنشاء نظام دولي متعدد الأقطاب.. وكان من أهم القرارات التي اتخذتها المنظمة مؤخراً في هذا السياق، قرار اعتماد العملات المحلية الوطنية في التبادل التجاري والاستثمار الثنائي وإصدار سندات، بدلاً من الدولار الأميركي الأمر الذي اعتبر نهاية لعقود طويلة من الهيمنة الأميركية على العالم في التجارة والذهب والتعاملات النفطية.

ثالثاً، منذ عام 2001 وعلى إثر هجمات 11 أيلول التي استهدفت برجي التجارة العالمية في نيويورك، أقدمت واشنطن، وتحت عنوان محاربة الإرهاب، على شن الحرب على أفغانستان واحتلالها، ثم شنت الحرب على العراق واحتلته، لكن الهدف الحقيقي من وراء هذه الحرب السيطرة على أهم احتياطات النفط والغاز في العراق وآسيا الوسطى وطرق إمداد الطاقة من أجل التحكم بالقرار الاقتصادي العالمي ومحاصرة روسيا والصين وتقويض جهودهما لإقامة نظام دولي متعدد الأقطاب بديلاً عن نظام الهيمنة الأمريكي الاحادي.. غير أن الولايات المتحدة فشلت في تحقيق أهدافها المذكورة، نتيجة المقاومة الشعبية والمسلحة التي استنزفت قواتها المحتلة في العراق وافغانستان..وجعلت احتلالها مكلفاً مادياً وبشرياً، فاضطرت واشنطن إلى الانسحاب من العراق عام 2011، وتقليص عديد قواتها في أفغانستان إلى أن عقدت مؤخراً اتفاقاً مع حركة طالبان يقضي بسحب قواتها المتبقية من افغانستان.. في حين أن العدوان الصهيوني على لبنان عان 2006 للقضاء على المقاومة، وحروبها الإرهابية غير المباشرة التي شنتها ضد سورية والعراق فشلت هي الأخرى في محاولة التعويض عن الهزائم الأمريكية العسكرية، وإعادة تعويم مشروع الهيمنة الأميركي الاحادي في المنطقة والعالم.. وكانت النتيجة أن بدأت تولد من انتصارات سورية، وبدعم من حلفائها في محور المقاومة وروسيا، معادلات وموازين قوى جديدة، دولية واقليمية، في مواجهة القوة الأميركية..

رابعاً، في وقت كان العالم ينتظر أن تترجم معادلات وموازين القوى الدولية والإقليمية سياسياً، وأن تسلم الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة بهذه المعادلات، بعد وصول دونالد ترامب إلى البيت الأبيض، عادت واشنطن من جديد إلى مواصلة سياسة الهيمنة، بضغط من المحافظين الجدد واللوبي الصهيوني الأميركي في الولايات المتحدة، وذلك عبر استخدام اخر سلاح متبقي بجعبتها وهو سلاح الهيمنة على القرار المالي الدولي بوساطة الدولار، فلجأت إلى رفد الحصار الاقتصادي الذي تنفذه واشنطن ضد الدول التي ترفض هيمنتها، وضد حركات المقاومة، بحصار مالي يمنع اي تحويلات او تعاملات بالدولار مع إيران وسورية، وعن كل مؤسسة أو شخصية تتعامل او لها صلة بحركات المقاومة في فلسطين المحتلة ولبنان واليمن.. إلخ..

خامساً، راهنت إدارة العدوان في واشنطن على سلاح الحصار الاقتصادي والمالي لتحقيق ما عجزت فيه حروبها العسكرية المباشرة وحروبها الإرهابية بالوكالة، وعمدت إلى تغذية تحركات اجتماعية ومطلبية في لبنان والعراق في محاولة لتغيير المعادلات السياسية في البلدين بإقصاء قوى المقاومة وحلفائهم عن السلطة.. لكنها اصطدمت بموازين قوى وصمود قوى المقاومة، وترافق ذلك مع ظهور فايروس كورونا الذي اجتاح دول العالم دون استثناء، ما أدى إلى شلّ الاقتصاد العالمي وحركة المواصلات وبالتالي احداث ركود اقتصادي عالمي يذكر بأزمة 1929.. وقد أسفر ذلك عن خسائر اقتصادية بمئات المليارات من الدولارات وإفلاس الشركات، وعشرات ملايين العاطلين عن العمل، وزاد الطين بلة، انهيار اسعار النفط إلى نحو 20 دولار للبرميل، ما تسبب بتفاقم أزمات الدول التي تعتمد في مداخيلها بشكل أساسي على عائدات النفط مثل السعودية. وكان واضحاً أن الولايات المتحدة كانت الأكثر تضرراً اقتصادياً ومالياً واجتماعياً بسبب انتشار الفايروس فيها على نطاق واسع بسبب استهتار واستخفاف ترامب منذ البداية بخطر فايروس كورونا..

لقد فاقمت هذه الأزمات الناتجة عن جائحة كورونا، الأزمات التي تعاني منها أميركا أصلاً بفعل تكاليف حروبها الفاشلة في العراق وافغانستان، وأدت إلى تلاشي كل المكتسبات الاقتصادية التي حققها ترامب باعتماد سياسة تدعم الاقتصاد الأميركي في الداخل وابتزاز دول العالم، لا سيما السعودية بالحصول منها على مئات مليارات الدولارات التي اسهمت في إنعاش الاقتصاد الأميركي وتوفير فرص العمل للعاطلين.. وبات ترامب اليوم في وضع صعب عشية الانتخابات الرئاسية يعاني تراجع شعبيته، ويزيد من أزمته فقدانه إمكانية الحصول على المال من السعودية لأن الأخيرة باتت تعاني من عجز كبير في موازنتها، بعد انهيار أسعار النفط وتوقف مواسم الحج والعمرة بسبب كورونا، والتكاليف الباهظة لحرب اليمن.. وهو ما دفع الحكومة السعودية إلى البحث عن الاستدانة لمعالجة العجز في موازنتها والمبالغ نحو 50 بالمئة .. أمام هذا الواقع اضطر ترامب إلى العودة لإحياء شعاره الانتخابي أميركا أولاً، والعمل على تقليص نفقات بلاده في الخارج إن كان لدول أو منظمات دولية، ولأن ذلك لا يكفي لمواجهة الأزمة الناشئة عن حرب كورونا، قرر القيام بتقليص وجود القوات الأميركية في الخارج لخفض النفقات، وفي السياق سحب ترامب بطاريات باتريوت من السعودية، وقرر خفض مستوى التوتر مع إيران، والقول إن وجود قواته في سورية يقترب من الصفر، في وقت كشف النقاب عن اتصالات أميريكية مع روسيا بشأن الحل السياسي للأزمة..

انطلاقاً مما تقدم يمكن القول إن نتائج حرب كورونا سوف تؤدي إلى تسريع أفول عصر الإمبراطورية الأميركية، وإسدال الستار على نظام القطب الأوحد، لمصلحة التعجيل بولادة نظام عالمي متعدّد الأقطاب، لا سيما أن أميركا ظهرت في ظل مواجهة كورونا، دولة عاجزة عن التصدي للأزمة، وغير قادرة على لعب دور عالمي، فيما الصين تقدمت بدلاً منها ولعبت هذا الدور، وهي مرشحة لأن تخرج من هذه الحرب العالمية، الدولة الأقوى اقتصاديا والتي تملك القدرات على النهوض بالاقتصاد العالمي، في وقت تحتاج فيه أميركا للمساعدة، وهو الأمر الذي يذكر بما حصل بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية عندما خرجت أميركا من الحرب أقوى دولة على المستوى الاقتصادي وقامت بمساعدة أوروبا في إعادة إعمارها في إطار مشروع مارشال.. فالصين اليوم تحلّ مكان أميركا، وما يؤكد ذلك سرعة سيطرتها على فايروس كورونا، وعودة آلتها الإنتاجية للعمل وتسجيلها معدلات نمو 3.5 بالمئة في الشهرين الأخيرين، فيما اقتصاديات أميركا والغرب وغيرها من الدول تعاني من الركود والنمو السلبي بين 7 و9 في المئة تحت الصفر..

Putin’s Call for a New System and the 1944 Battle of Bretton Woods: Lessons for Victory Day

May 10, 2020

Putin’s Call for a New System and the 1944 Battle of Bretton Woods: Lessons for Victory Day

By Matthew Ehret for The Saker Blog

As today’s world teeters on the brink of a financial collapse greater than anything the world experienced in either 1923 Weimar or the 1929 Great depression, a serious discussion has been initiated by leaders of Russia and China regarding the terms of the new system which must inevitably replace the currently dying neo-liberal order. Most recently, Vladimir Putin re-initiated his January 16, 2020 call for a new emergency economic conference to deal with the looming disaster based upon a live session with representatives of the five nuclear powers of the UN Security Council.

While Putin’s commitment for this new system is premised upon multi-polar principles of cooperation and respect of national sovereignty, the financial oligarchy and broader deep state structures infesting the western nations who have initiated this crisis over the course of decades of globalization have called for their own version of a new system. This new system as we have seen promoted by the likes of the Bank of England and leading technocrats over the past year, is based upon an anti-Nation State, unipolar system which typically goes by the term “Green New Deal”. In other words, this is a system ruled by a technocratic elite managing the reduction of world population through the monetization of carbon reduction practices under a Global Government.

No matter how you look at it, a new system will be created out of the ashes of the currently dying world order. The question is only: Will it benefit the oligarchy or the people?

In order to inform the necessary decision making going into this emergency conference, it is useful to revisit the last such emergency conference that defined the terms of a world economic architecture in July 1944 so that similar mistakes that were then made by anti-imperialist forces are not made once more.

What Was the Bretton Woods?

As it was becoming apparent that the war would be soon drawing to a close, a major fight broke out during a two week conference in Bretton Woods New Hampshire where representative of 44 nations convened to establish the terms of the new post-war system. The question was: Would this new system be governed by those British Imperial principles similar to those that had dominated the world before the war began or would they be shaped by a community of sovereign nation states?

On the one side, figures allied to American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s vision for an anti-Imperial world order lined up behind FDR’s champion Harry Dexter White while those powerful forces committed to maintaining the structures of a bankers’ dictatorship (Britain was always primarily a banker’s empire) lined up behind the figure of John Maynard Keynes[1].

John Maynard Keynes was a leading Fabian Society controller and treasurer of the British Eugenics Association (which served as a model for Hitler’s Eugenics protocols before and during the war). During the Bretton Woods Conference, Keynes pushed hard for the new system to be premised upon a one world currency controlled entirely by the Bank of England known as the Bancor. He proposed a global bank called the Clearing Union to be controlled by the Bank of England which would use the Bancor (exchangeable with national currencies) and serve as unit of account to measure trade surpluses or deficits under the mathematical mandate of maintaining “equilibrium” of the system.

Harry Dexter White on the other hand fought relentlessly to keep the City of London out of the drivers’ seat of global finance and instead defended the institution of national sovereignty and sovereign currencies based on long term scientific and technological growth. Although White and FDR demanded that U.S. dollars become the reserve currency in the new world system of fixed exchange rates, it was not done to create a “new American Empire” as most modern analysts have assumed, but rather was designed to use America’s status as the strongest productive global power to ensure an anti-speculative stability among international currencies which entirely lacked stability in the wake of WWII.

Their fight for fixed exchange rates and principles of “parity pricing” were designed by FDR and White strictly around the need to abolish the forms of chaotic flux of the un-regulated markets which made speculation rampant under British Free Trade and destroyed the capacity to think and plan for the sort of long term development needed to modernize nation states. Theirs was not a drive for “mathematical equilibrium” but rather a drive to “end poverty” through REAL physical economic growth of colonies who would thereby win real economic independence.

As figures like Henry Wallace (FDR’s loyal Vice President and 1948 3rd party candidate), Representative William Wilkie (FDR’s republican lieutenant and New Dealer), and Dexter White all advocated repeatedly, the mechanisms of the World Bank, IMF, and United Nations were meant to become drivers of an internationalization of the New Deal which transformed America from a backwater cesspool in 1932 to becoming a modern advanced manufacturing powerhouse 12 years later. All of these Interntional New Dealers were loud advocates of US-Russia –China leadership in the post war world which is a forgotten fact of paramount importance.

In his 1944 book Our Job in the Pacific, Wallace said: “It is vital to the United States, it is vital to China and it is vital to Russia that there be peaceful and friendly relations between China and Russia, China and America and Russia and America. China and Russia Complement and supplement each other on the continent of Asia and the two together complement and supplement America’s position in the Pacific.”

Contradicting the mythos that FDR was a Keynesian, FDR’s assistant Francis Perkins recorded the 1934 interaction between the two men when Roosevelt told her: “I saw your friend Keynes. He left a whole rigmarole of figures. He must be a mathematician rather than a political economist.” In response Keynes, who was then trying to coopt the intellectual narrative of the New Deal stated he had “supposed the President was more literate, economically speaking.”

In his 1936 German edition of his General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, Keynes wrote: “For I confess that much of the following book is illustrated and expounded mainly with reference to the conditions existing in the Anglo Saxon countries. Nevertheless, the theory of output as a whole, which is what the following book purports to provide, is much more easily adapted to the conditions of a totalitarian state.”

While Keynes represented the “soft imperialism” for the “left” of Britain’s intelligentsia, Churchill represented the hard unapologetic imperialism of the Old, less sophisticated empire that preferred the heavy fisted use of brute force to subdue the savages. Both however were unapologetic racists and fascists (Churchill even wrote admiringly of Mussolini’s black shirts) and both represented the most vile practices of British Imperialism.

FDR’s Forgotten Anti-Colonial Vision Revited

FDR’s battle with Churchill on the matter of empire is better known than his differences with Keynes whom he only met on a few occasions. This well documented clash was best illustrated in his son/assistant Elliot Roosevelt’s book As He Saw It (1946) who quoted his father:

“I’ve tried to make it clear … that while we’re [Britain’s] allies and in it to victory by their side, they must never get the idea that we’re in it just to help them hang on to their archaic, medieval empire ideas … I hope they realize they’re not senior partner; that we are not going to sit by and watch their system stultify the growth of every country in Asia and half the countries in Europe to boot.”

FDR continued: “The colonial system means war. Exploit the resources of an India, a Burma, a Java; take all the wealth out of these countries, but never put anything back into them, things like education, decent standards of living, minimum health requirements–all you’re doing is storing up the kind of trouble that leads to war. All you’re doing is negating the value of any kind of organizational structure for peace before it begins.”

Writing from Washington in a hysteria to Churchill, Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden said that Roosevelt ”contemplates the dismantling of the British and Dutch empires.”

Unfortunately for the world, FDR died on April 12, 1945. A coup within the Democratic establishment, then replete with Fabians and Rhodes Scholars, had already ensured that Henry Wallace would lose the 1944 Vice Presidency in favor of Anglophile Wall Street Stooge Harry Truman. Truman was quick to reverse all of FDR’s intentions, cleansing American intelligence of all remaining patriots with the shutdown of the OSS and creation of the CIA, the launching of un-necessary nuclear bombs on Japan and establishment of the Anglo-American special relationship. Truman’s embrace of Churchill’s New World Order destroyed the positive relationship with Russia and China which FDR, White and Wallace sought and soon America had become Britain’s dumb giant.

The Post 1945 Takeover of the Modern Deep State

FDR warned his son before his death of his understanding of the British takeover of American foreign policy, but still could not reverse this agenda. His son recounted his father’s ominous insight:

“You know, any number of times the men in the State Department have tried to conceal messages to me, delay them, hold them up somehow, just because some of those career diplomats over there aren’t in accord with what they know I think. They should be working for Winston. As a matter of fact, a lot of the time, they are [working for Churchill]. Stop to think of ’em: any number of ’em are convinced that the way for America to conduct its foreign policy is to find out what the British are doing and then copy that!” I was told… six years ago, to clean out that State Department. It’s like the British Foreign Office….”

Before being fired from Truman’s cabinet for his advocacy of US-Russia friendship during the Cold War, Wallace stated: “American fascism” which has come to be known in recent years as the Deep State. “Fascism in the postwar inevitably will push steadily for Anglo-Saxon imperialism and eventually for war with Russia. Already American fascists are talking and writing about this conflict and using it as an excuse for their internal hatreds and intolerances toward certain races, creeds and classes.”

In his 1946 Soviet Asia Mission, Wallace said “Before the blood of our boys is scarcely dry on the field of battle, these enemies of peace try to lay the foundation for World War III. These people must not succeed in their foul enterprise. We must offset their poison by following the policies of Roosevelt in cultivating the friendship of Russia in peace as well as in war.”

Indeed this is exactly what occurred. Dexter White’s three year run as head of the International Monetary Fund was clouded by his constant attacks as being a Soviet stooge which haunted him until the day he died in 1948 after a grueling inquisition session at the House of Un-American Activities. White had previously been supporting the election of his friend Wallace for the presidency alongside fellow patriots Paul Robeson and Albert Einstein.

Today the world has captured a second chance to revive the FDR’s dream of an anti-colonial world. In the 21st century, this great dream has taken the form of the New Silk Road, led by Russia and China (and joined by a growing chorus of nations yearning to exit the invisible cage of colonialism).

If western nations wish to survive the oncoming collapse, then they would do well to heed Putin’s call for a New International system, join the BRI, and reject the Keynesian technocrats advocating a false “New Bretton Woods” and “Green New Deal”.

Matthew Ehret is the Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Patriot Review , a BRI Expert on Tactical talk, is regular author with Strategic Culture, the Duran and Fort Russ and has authored 3 volumes of ‘Untold History of Canada’ book series. In 2019 he co-founded the Montreal-based Rising Tide Foundation and can be reached at matt.ehret@tutamail.com

  1. You may be thinking “wait! Wasn’t FDR and his New Deal premised on Keynes’ theories??” How could Keynes have represented an opposing force to FDR’s system if this is the case?This paradox only exists in the minds of many people today due to the success of the Fabian Society’s and Round Table Movement’s armada of revisionist historians who have consistently created a lying narrative of history to make it appear to future generations trying to learn from past mistakes that those figures like FDR who opposed empire were themselves following imperial principles. Another example of this sleight of hand can be seen by the sheer number of people who sincerely think themselves informed and yet believe that America’s 1776 revolution was driven by British Imperial philosophical thought stemming from Adam Smith, Bentham and John Locke. 

العقوبات الأميركيّة في زمن كورونا: جريمة ضدّ الإنسانيّة

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

من أجل السيطرة على العالم لا تتورّع أميركا عن استعمال أيّ وسيلة أو سلاح بصرف النظر عن مدى مشروعيته أو لاأخلاقيته أو لاإنسانيته. فالأساس لدى أميركا هو فرض السيطرة وإخضاع مَن يعارضها أو يعرقل سعيها لامتلاك قرار العالم حتى ولو تمّت هذه المعارضة في معرض ممارسة الآخر حقه بالحرية والسيادة والاستقلال واستثمار ثرواته الطبيعية.

وقد تصاعدت وتيرة استباحة أميركا لحقوق الدول والشعوب منذ أن تفكك الاتحاد السوفياتي الذي كان يقاسمها النفوذ والسيطرة على العالم ويضع بوجهها الخطوط الحمر التي تمنعها من الاستئثار بالقرار الدولي، حيث انطلقت أميركا بعد هذا الحدث بذهنية أنها القطب الأوحد في العالم الذي يجب ان تنصاع له المعمورة. وانطلقت معتبرة نفسها أنها الحاكم والقائد والشرطي والقاضي والجلاد لكلّ العالم، وأنّ حاكمها جاء بأمر إلهي وانّ العناية الإلهية اختارته ليكون الضابط والناظم لحكم المعمورة وحركتها، على حدّ ما قال جورج بوش قبل غزوه للعراق في العام 2003، “العناية الإلهية اختارتني لأنقذ العالم”، وكما ضمّن إعلانه الحرب على العراق بأنّ هدفه “نزع أسلحة العراق، وتحرير شعبه، وحماية العالم من خطر قاتم محدق”.

أطلق بوش رئيس الولايات المتحدة هذا القول رغم انّ مجلس الأمن الدولي رفض طلب أميركا غزو العراق ورفض العمل العسكري ضدّه، ورغم هذا تصرّفت أميركا فوق الإرادة الدولية خلافاً للقانون الدولي ونفذت غزوها وتصرفت بذهنية أنها قائد العالم معتبرة انّ تفكك الاتحاد السوفياتي، وعدم قيام الندّ البديل المناهض وامتلاكها القوة بكلّ أنواعها العسكرية والعلمية والاقتصادية والإعلامية، يبرّر لها إقامة نظام عالمي بقيادتها الأحادية يمكنها من السيطرة على المعمورة ويعطيها الحق بأن تلزم العالم بالخضوع والاستسلام لإرادتها او التعرّض لما يفرزه غضبها عندما تصبّه عليه ناراً وحصاراً.

فأميركا المعتدّة بقوّتها والمزهوة بجبروتها تتعامل مع العالم على أساس أنه ميدان نفوذها وأن ليس لأحد حق بالاعتراض على أرادتها، وأسندت موقفها بإطلاق نظريات جديدة كنظرية “التدخل الدولي الإنساني المتقدّم على السيادة الوطنية لأيّ دولة” و”نظرية العولمة” التي تسقط بموجبها الحدود الدولية أمام اجتياح الأقوى إلخ… وأعطت أميركا نفسها الحق بتقدير مصلحة الشعوب كما تراها هي وتعمل على فرضها وفقاً لتصوّرها، بصرف النظر عما إذا كانت هذه الشعوب تقبل هذا او ترفضه. فهي مَن يقرّر وهي مَن يتصرف وتنتظر من الآخر الانصياع وإلا كانت العقوبة التي تختار هي نوعها وحجمها ونطاقها، تفرضها بشتى صنوفها المادية وغير المادية شاملاً ذلك الحرب والقتل والتدمير والحصار والتجويع إلى حدّ الموت.

لقد عانى ويعاني العالم من الاستبداد الأميركي المطلق خاصة في العقود الثلاثة الأخيرة التي أعقبت أربعة عقود أخرى كان فيها نوع من التوازن الاستراتيجيّ الدوليّ الذي كان يقيّد او يحدّ من هذا الاستبداد، معاناة كانت بسبب ما قامت به أميركا من حروب وفتن وثورات مزيّفة بألوان أميركية متعدّدة مترافقة مع تدابير قسرية كيدية نفذتها تحت عنوان “العقوبات” التي تستهدف الدول والمنظمات والأشخاص وكلّ من يقول “لا” لأميركا، التي لم تواجهها علانية ويرفض تسلطها وسياستها العدوانية إلا قلة من المكونات السياسية والشعبية في العالم والتي تبلورت نواتها الأولى في غربي آسيا، حيث تشكلت ما عرفت بالمقاومة، ثم قام محور يقاوم الغطرسة الأميركية الاستعمارية أساسه إيران وسورية وحزب الله وبعض المكونات الفلسطينية، ثم تعاظمت ظاهرة الرفض العالمي العلني للاستبداد الأميركي حتى باتت تشمل دولاً وكيانات وشخصيات وتيارات هامة برزت الصين وروسيا في مقدّمتها.

لم تعبأ أميركا كثيراً بمعارضيها وكانت شبه واثقة بقدرتها على ترويضهم وظنت بأنّ ما تملكه من قوة وعلاقات مع شركاء او حلفاء وفقاً لتسمياتها (في الحقيقة ليس لأميركا شريك او حليف، فأميركا لا تنظر إلى الآخر إلا على أنه تابع وأداة أو عدو وخصم، وأكد بوش الابن على هذه النظرة حيث قال “من ليس معنا فهو ضدّنا”) ظنّت أنها قادرة على إخضاع من يتجرّأ على رفض إرادتها، لكنها صدمت بنتائج المواجهة خاصة نتائج العقد الأخير حيث إنها رغم كلّ ما اعتمدته من تدابير عسكرية وسياسية وغير ذلك من الأعمال القمعية الزجرية ضدّ المناهضين لسياستها، لم تحقق أهدافها في السيطرة ولم يخضع أحد من المعسكر المناهض لها رغم ما نزل بهم من أضرار وخسائر مؤلمة.

لقد نجح معسكر رفض الاستبداد الأميركي في إفشال مساعي أميركا لإقامة النظام الدولي أحادي القطبية ومنع تشكل حالة دولية تكون فيها أميركا القائد الوحيد للعالم، ونجح ذاك المعسكر في الدفاع عن حقوقه رغم أنه لم يشكل حلفاً متماسكاً او منظومة دولية متحدة خلافاً لحال أميركا مع الحلف الأطلسي الذي تمسك به وتستعمله لتنفيذ سياستها الدولية بعد أن غيّرت طبيعته من دفاعية عن أمن الأعضاء إلى هجومية عدوانية لتنفيذ المصالح والأهداف الأميركية.

في ظلّ هذه النتائج السلبية أميركياً للصراع الدولي، حلّت جائحة كورونا في الصين التي اجتاح اقتصادها العالم وتقدّمت على أميركا فيه، وظنّ في البدء أنّ الأمر قد يكون نوعاً من حرب جرثومية تشنّها أميركا ضدّ عدوها الاقتصادي وأنه حلقة من سلسلة حروب لجأت إليها في ظلّ عجزها عن النجاح في المواجهات الأخرى، حرب تترافق مع ما يُقال من تحضيراتها للمواجهة العسكرية مع الصين، ثم تعزز الظنّ هذا عندما اقتحم الفايروس إيران ليجعلها الدولة الثالثة التي يجتاحها الوباء.

لكن تطوّر انتشار الجائحة وسقوط أميركا وشركائها في الحلف الأطلسي فريسة لهذا الفايروس وتقدّمهم كلّ دول العالم في حجم الإصابات والموتى جعل مطلقي نظرية الحرب البيولوجية يتراجعون أو يُخفتون الصوت للانصراف إلى التدقيق بمسائل أخرى أفرزها الفايروس كورونا خاصة في مجال نظام الرعاية الصحية الغربي، والعلاقة بين الحلفاء أعضاء الحلف الأطلسي، وتصرّف الشرق خاصة الصين وروسيا تجاه الغرب الأطلسي، وأخيراً أداء أميركا في معرض مواجهة الوباء.

1

ـ ففي النقطة الأولى تبيّن وضوحاً كم انّ نظام الرعاية الصحية في الغرب واهن وضعيف ويفتقد إلى الجهوزية لمواجهة وباء، وثبت أنّ الذهنية الرأسمالية المادية تغلب المصالح المالية للرأسماليين على الحاجات والحقوق الإنسانية للمواطنين. ما أكد زيف تشدّق الغرب بمقولة حقوق الإنسان التي يتخذها مبرّراً للتدخل في شؤون الدول والشعوب.

2

ـ وفي الثانية فقد ظهر جلياً انّ ما يربط أعضاء الأطلسي ببعضهم هو المصالح والنفعية دون المبادئ والإنسانية، فإذا استوجبت العلاقة التضحية والعطاء فلا يكون للعلاقة أثر او وجود، وأظهر البعض من دول الغرب الأوروبي قدراً من الأنانية وضع مصير الاتحاد الأوروبي كله ومستقبله تحت علامة استفهام كبيرة.

3

ـ أما في الثالثة فقد أكدت الصين وروسيا والشرق عموماً انّ الخلافات الاستراتيجية والسياسية لا تثنيهم عن تقديم المساعدات الإنسانية حتى للخصوم والأعداء، وانّ حاجة ومصلحة الإنسان كإنسان تتقدّم على أيّ اعتبار، وبذلك قدّمت هذه الأطراف نموذجاً فذاً عن التصرّف الإنساني خلافاً للتصرّف الغربي المعادي للإنسانية.

4

ـ أما في الرابعة فقد كانت الفضيحة الكارثة، حيث انهارت صورة أميركا على وجوه ثلاثة… الأول داخلي حيث ظهر وهن الروابط الوطنية بين الولايات الأميركية ما ينذر بالتفكك، وعلى الصعيد التحالفي حيث ظهرت الخفة وعدم الاكتراث بمصائب الشركاء، أما الجريمة الكبرى فقد كانت في الأداء الأميركي ضدّ الخصوم خاصة سورية وإيران اللتين تتعرّضان لعقوبات أميركية إجرامية تفرضها أميركا خلافاً لقواعد القانون الدولي، حيث أصرّ ترامب على تشديد العقوبات بدلاً من وقفها ومنع عن إيران وسورية حاجاتهما من الدواء والمواد الأولية التي تستعمل في تصنيعه او في المجال البحثي لإنتاجه، ورأى في الوباء فرصة نادرة لتجعل العقوبات أكثر فعالية في تركيع الدولتين ما يعني أنّ ترامب انْ لم يكن هو مطلق الفايروس فهو مستثمر به بكلّ تأكيد.

لهذا نرى أنّ السلوك الأميركي في التمسك بالعقوبات على سورية وإيران، رغم الطلبات والمناشدات الدولية لرفعها وحتى من الداخل الأميركي، يُعتبر جريمة يؤدّي ارتكابها إلى منع التصدي لوباء بل يسهم في انتشاره، جريمة تتطابق عناصرها مع عناصر جريمة الإبادة الجماعية التي لا تسقط بمرور الزمن وتوجب أن لا يفلت مرتكبها من العقاب. فترامب ومن خلال إصراره على العقوبات ضدّ سورية وإيران وغيرهما رغم التهديد الوبائي الخطير الذي تتعرّضان له إنما يرتكب جريمة ضدّ الإنسانية لا يمكن اعتبارها جزءاً من حروبه ضدّ الدولتين بل تشكل ملفاً قائماً بذاته منفصلاً عن كلّ ما عداه، ملفاً بعنوان “جرائم ضدّ الإنسانية” بحق شعبي سورية وإيران، جرائم تحيل مرتكبها إلى مجرم دولي لا يستحق أن يوكل إليه شأن في قيادة العالم…

*أستاذ جامعي وخبير استراتيجي.

المدافعون عن أميركا و«إسرائيل» في زمن كورونا

د. محمد سيّد أحمد

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خلال الأسابيع الثلاثة الماضية وبسبب انتشار فيروس كورونا الذي استحوذ على اهتمام كلّ وسائل الإعلام التقليديّة المسموعة والمرئيّة والمقروءة. هذا بالطبع بخلاف وسائل الإعلام الجديدة وفي مقدّمتها وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي، حيث اعتبر الجميع أنه الحدث الأهمّ الذي تتراجع أمامه كلّ الأحداث الأخرى، ولما لا وهو الفيروس الذي يهدّد البشرية جمعاء دون استثناء، ويهدّد جزءاً كبيراً من سكان الكوكب بالفناء إذا لم يتمكّن الإنسان من اكتشاف علاج سريع له، لذلك كنت ضيفاً دائماً لعدد من وسائل الإعلام التقليدية مسموعة ومرئية محلية وإقليمية ودولية هذا بخلاف مقالي الأسبوعي الذي ينشر في بعض الوسائل الإعلامية المقروءة ويتمّ تداوله على بعض المواقع الإلكترونية ومنصات التواصل الاجتماعي والذي تناول الحدث من زوايا عدة.

لكن بعيداً عن الجدل الذي دار سواء معي أو مع غيري حول الموقف من كورونا ومَن المتسبّب فيه؟ وما هي السيناريوات المتوقّعة؟ ومََن سيكون الأكثر تضرّراً الدول الغنية أم الدول الفقيرة؟ وهل فرص الوقاية من الوباء متساوية بين الأغنياء والفقراء أم أنها غير متكافئة من الأصل؟ وهل استطاعت الحكومات في الأنظمة السياسية المختلفة القيام بمسؤوليتها الاجتماعيّة تجاه مواطنيها؟ وهل قام القطاع الخاص ورجال الأعمال بمسؤوليتهم الاجتماعية في الأنظمة الرأسمالية سواء في دول المركز أو دول المحيطات؟ وهل ستتغيّر موازين القوى الدولية في ما بعد كورونا؟ وإلى أين تتجه وهل ستظلّ الولايات المتحدة الأميركيّة هى القطب الأوحد في العالم؟ أم أنّ دورها سيتراجع وتتقدّم الصين للهيمنة منفردة على العالم؟ أم أنّ العالم يتجه إلى فكرة التعددية القطبية بين أميركا والصين وروسيا؟ دون قدرة أي قطب على السيطرة والهيمنة المنفردة؟ بل سوف تتولد خرائط جديدة للصراع بين الأقطاب الثلاثة من أجل السيطرة والهيمنة على العالم؟

كما قلت وبعيداً عن كلّ هذه التساؤلات التي تمّت مناقشاتها بجدية شديدة عبر وسائل الإعلام المختلفة لاحظت أنّ كثيراً من ضيوف البرامج الحوارية يدافعون بشراسة عن أميركا و»إسرائيل» ويتهمون وسائل الإعلام أنها منحازة وتروّج الشائعات ضدهما، وهو ما جعلني أنفعل في أحد البرامج التي جمعتني مع ثلاثة ضيوف في الاستوديو، اثنان منهما ذوا ميول أميركية إلى جانب المذيع المتأمرك وضيف عبر سكايب من أميركا عضو في الحزب الجمهوري من أصل مصري، وضيف آخر من أميركا عبر الهاتف معارض للسياسات الأميركية، حيث أكدت على أنّ الإعلام العالمي صناعة أميركية بالأساس واللوبي الصهيوني هو المموّل الأوّل للميديا العالمية فكيف يكون الإعلام منحازاً ضدّ أميركا، وأن الولايات المتحدة التي يصفونها بأنها قمة الديمقراطية والحرية والدفاع عن حقوق الإنسان ليست كذلك بل هي دولة مستغلة تنهب ثروات الشعوب، وتقوم بإثارة الفتن والصراعات والحروب، وهي الراعي الأول للإرهاب في العالم، وأنّ الأزمة العالمية الراهنة بفعل كورونا كشفت عن الوجه القبيح لأميركا، وأنّ العدو الصهيوني مغتصب للأرض العربية، وما زال يرتكب جرائم ضدّ الإنسانية من دون أن يُدان أو يُعاقب من قبل المجتمع الدولي ومنظماته التي تكيل بأكثر من مكيال.

وفي الوقت الذي وصف فيه أحد الضيوف الصين بأنها دولة أنانية وانتهازية، لأنها رفضت التخلي عن سلاحها النووي، فكان ردّي قبل أن تقول ذلك عن الصين طالب أميركا بالتخلّي أولاً عن سلاحها النووي وكذلك «إسرائيل»، ففي الوقت الذي أجبرت دولنا العربية على التوقيع على اتفاقية حظر الأسلحة النووية كان العدو الصهيوني يمتلك ترسانة نووية ضخمة ويرفض التنازل عنها ويهدّد أمن المنطقة بأكملها.

ولسوء الحظ ونظراً لإجراءات حظر التجوال بعد السابعة مساءً في مصر، اضطررنا أن نسجل اللقاء نهاراً على أن يُذاع ليلاً، وخلال اللقاء وبعد مواجهة الضيوف المدافعين عن أميركا و»إسرائيل» بالحقيقة قام الجميع باتهامي بكراهيتي لأميركا و»إسرائيل» وهي تهمة أعتز وأفخر بها حتماً لأنها مبنية على مواقف ثابتة من إجرام أميركا و»إسرائيل» في حق شعوبنا العربية، وعندما انتقل الحديث لعضو الحزب الجمهوري قرّر الانسحاب من البرنامج وقال للمذيع لم أتفق مع صاحب القناة على الظهور للحديث في مثل هذه الموضوعات والقضايا. حديثي المتفق عليه هو عن كورونا فقط، ولذلك أنا منسحب من البرنامج وأدعوك على نفقة شركتي لزيارة أميركا لترى بعينك عظمتها، هنا سارع المذيع ليؤكد حبه واحترامه لأميركا وشعبها الصديق وأنه زارها ويعلم عظمتها، وطالب الضيف بتوسّل أن يبقى وأن يكون ضيفه في الاستوديو عند زيارته لمصر، وقام أحد ضيوف الاستوديو بتأكيد عظمة أميركا وبالقفز على كلّ النتائج المحتملة بعد كورونا ستظلّ لسنوات طويلة بعدها القوى العظمى الوحيدة المسيطرة على الساحة الدولية.

وانتهى اللقاء وانتظرت بثه في المساء وكما توقعت قام أصحاب القناة بحذف بعض العبارات التي صدرت منّي خوفاً من أميركا و»إسرائيل» أو إرضاءً لهما، خاصة حديثي عن سيطرة اللوبي الصهيوني على وسائل الإعلام في العالم، وامتلاك العدو الصهيوني السلاح النووي واغتصابه للأرض العربية، وهو ما يؤكد ما ذهبت إليه بأنّ المدافعين عن أميركا و»إسرائيل» في زمن كورونا يكنّون عداء حقيقياً لمجتمعاتهم ولا يرون ما تفعله أميركا و»إسرائيل» من عدوان فاجر ما زال مستمراً على كثير من مجتمعاتنا العربية في سورية والعراق واليمن وليبيا وغيرها.

ومما شمله الحذف أيضاً حديثي عن رجال الأعمال الذين لم يقوموا بمسؤوليتهم الاجتماعية خلال الأزمة ولم يساعدوا الدولة على القيام بمسؤوليتها الاجتماعية على الوجه الأكمل، حيث هاج وماج الضيوف والمذيع الذي أكد أنّ هذا الكلام خارج عن موضوع الحلقة، ومن المعروف أنّ غالبية رجال الأعمال المصريين يعملون في خدمة النظام الرأسمالي العالمي لذلك لا عجب من تصريحاتهم وسلوكياتهم وهروبهم من مسؤوليتهم الاجتماعية، وتجنيدهم كتائبهم الإلكترونية على مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي للدفاع عن مواقفهم المخزية تجاه الوطن، لذلك نطالب كلّ الوطنيين والشرفاء في مصر والأمة العربية بالتصدي للمدافعين عن أميركا و»إسرائيل» ورجال الأعمال، ولينتبهوا جيداً لكلّ ما تبثه الآلة الإعلامية الجهنمية الجبارة التي يمتلكونها ويزيّفون وعي الجماهير حول العالم من خلالها، اللهم بلغت اللهم فاشهد.

Russian naval presence in Indian Ocean

By Nat South for The Saker Blog

I am interested in the way that narratives that shape individual events are crafted, curated and disseminated, because ultimately there is a tendency to focus mostly on specific events and ignore the wider context. Ultimately, we end up with being presented with a series of disjointed events, not really understanding the history or the detailed framing of these events. One such example would be “Russian ships are prowling around undersea cables”, in the tenor of overstating the Russian threat. Often, the complexity and background of the issue is left completely blank and important facets are blurred. At worst, we are simply presented with a series of ‘soundbites’ such as this stark example: “Russia invaded Crimea”.

The starting point for this naval oriented briefing is the widely reported incident between a U.S. Navy destroyer and a lightly armed Russian navy intelligence reconnaissance ship somewhere in “northern Arabian Sea”. The U.S. Fifth Fleet alleged that on January 9, a Russian Navy ship ‘Ivan Khurs’ (AGI),“aggressively approached” USS Farragut, an Arleigh Burke DDG (guided missile destroyer), “conducting routine operations in the North Arabian Sea”, (in the words of the U.S. Navy press release). Subsequently, Moscow dismissed Washington’s claims.

Note the tone of stating “aggressively approached”, not really a nuanced interpretation of events. What wasn’t mentioned the likelihood that this took place not far from the carrier, ‘USS Harry S. Truman’. No context whatsoever was provided by authorities on this incident. A classic example of a specific event being framed without any further details as to why and how it happened. Nothing mentioned on what took place before the video snippets that don’t make much sense. What is the wider context to this incident? (More on this specific incident later on in this article).

Without getting into details on the well-publicised Iran / U.S. tensions and U.S. naval deployment to the region, I would like to turn to other broader aspects touching upon the Russian naval presence in the region. In January, a series of articles appeared on the geopolitical aspects of the Indian Ocean, such as this on China’s increased presence , “the Russians are coming”, and this that gives an all-round Indian focused overview. Taking an excerpt from the latter:

During the unipolar moment from 1991 till 2010s, Washington still felt comfortable in its position; however, over the last few years, the situation has changed dramatically.”

The most recent element in the turning point that shows the dramatic change would certainly be the late December trilateral naval exercise between Russia, Iran & China. The high-profile, three-day naval exercise took place in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea. Although not a major strategic exercise, the naval drills conveyed a slight political undertone, particularly with the presence of the Chinese Navy. China’s regional policy remains the same, to engage with all countries in a cautious and balanced manner. This is reflected by the fact the PLAN also held joint naval exercises with Saudi Arabia in November 2019, with the practically the same theme of enhancing maritime security.

The Pentagon’s plan for continued domination of the sea lanes of the Indian Ocean as per Mahan Doctrine in a unipolar world, is started to be eroded by the presence of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy, (PLAN). On paper, the numbers involved is very small compared to the overall U.S. Navy presence in the region. Yet, Chinese encroachment into a space seen by Washington as their turf is already enough of an issue to warrant increased attention in recent years. So far, this has resulted in the creation of dedicated military structures, namely the Indo-Pacific Command, (USINDOPACOM) in 2018 and the release in June 2019 of a US military strategy report specifically on the region.

On top of all of Washington’s angst, is also the presence of the Russian Navy in the region. So, are the Russians just coming to the region now? No. The only noticeable change of recent is the taking part in multi-national exercises, (in Iran and South Africa) jointly with the Chinese.

The Russian Navy has been an occasional visitor for two decades, limited to one combat ship with two support deploying to either bilateral exercises or simply showing the flag as part of naval diplomacy. Take for example the annual bilateral exercises between Russia with India since 2003, (INDRA), with Pakistan since 2014, (Exercise Arabian Monsoon). Both of which are aimed at: “increasing inter-operability amongst the two navies, developing common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations.” Both activities clearly underline the “naval diplomacy” being used by Russia, striking a balance between two significant opposing countries.

What is changing is the nature and format of other newer joint or multilateral exercises. A glimpse of this is the Army International Games “Depth-2019”, competition in July 2017 in Iran. The Black Sea Fleet based rescue tug “Professor Nikolai Muru”, (Project 22870), made a first-ever passage to the Gulf to participate in the event. Insignificant, in the greater scheme of things, probably yes, but interesting the Russian Navy did this.

Lastly let’s not forget that the Russian Navy had infrequently participated in the Horn of Africa anti-piracy missions, probably best remembered by an epic video of the Russian Navy dealing with a pirate boat. Conversely, the PLAN has been a more consistent participant of these types of missions for almost two decades. Nevertheless, as I write this, the Baltic Fleet based ‘Yaroslav Mudry’ is out in the region having recently called in to the Omani port of Salalah. It is in the Gulf of Aden as part of the latest Russian anti-piracy deployment to the Indian Ocean.

A first in the Southern Hemisphere took place in late November 2019 in Cape Town, when Russia and China held their first trilateral naval exercise with South Africa. Exercise ‘Mosi’ was the first time that three countries belonging to BRICS exercised together. Participants included a type 054A frigate Weifang (550) and Slava-class Project 1164 cruiser Marshal Ustinov (055) and the South African Valour class frigate ‘Amatola’.

9th January 2020

Back to the 9th January incident, reminiscent of the era of the Soviet Navy, when there were numerous ‘interactions’ of this kind on and below the waves. Any naval Cold War veteran is able to attest to this. An example of maybe hundreds of incidents and accidents is when the Soviet destroyer ‘Bravyy’ on 9th November 1970, while observing a NATO exercise, collided with the British aircraft-carrier HMS Ark Royal. Other notable incidents were the Black Sea “bumping incidents”, although the context for this was slightly different, taking place in home waters, involving both the USS Caron and the ‘USS Yorktown’, under the activity of “innocent passage and freedom of navigation”. An issue that still provokes intense debate and U.S. FONOP activities, (notably in the South China Sea) as mentioned in a previous article on the Arctic. A snapshot of this rationale for carrying out freedom of navigation voyages can be found in the introduction of a paper presented here.

I had a deja-vu feeling when I heard about this incident. It seems to me practically a re-run of the ‘USS Chancellorsville’ & ‘Admiral Vinogradrov’ incident back in June 2019. I see that many instant experts on Rule 15 have suddenly popped up on social media, hence this specific commentary.  Essentially several things could have done been done to avert this close call situation. The U.S. ship could have speeded up considerably to give the Russian ship more sea room to cross astern with plenty of space. There’s a lot more to this incident than just the videos extracts released by the U.S. Navy. However, this and the June 2019 incident needed to be contrasted with the shenanigans done in 60, 70s and also the 1988 Black Sea bumping incidents. Personally, this is pretty tame stuff in comparison.

The question is why this happens in this manner, (maybe due to saving face or not backing down). The carefully selected excerpts of videos, showing a fraction of the incident in question don’t help to understand the length, context or extent of the incident. The tetchy moments on who had ‘right of way’ (the nautical version of the Road Code – known as COLREGS) regarding the ‘Ivan Khurs’ close encounter with ‘USS Farragut’ can be regarded as just a “braggadocio” event aimed at media sensationalism. Well, not quite. There’s more the story than what it first seems.

As with the June 2019 incident, the U.S. ship was on the port side of the Russian vessel, considered to be a “Constant bearing, decreasing range” (CBDR) situation. Many arguments happened over whether the Ivan Khurs was in crossing situation or overtaking one, (was it 22.5 / 30 degrees angle? Essentially that’s a redundant point given the closeness and the continued CBDR situation, running out of safe sea space). A grey area well-known to mariners, hence the need to be quite clear in intentions from the outset. The video excerpts are equally unhelpful in determining the situation since some time must have passed between the video snippets.

The question that no one asked was why did both sides act early enough to avoid such close approach in the first place. It seems to me, in general one side was blatantly ignoring the CBDR situation and the finer points of Rule 15 or 17 COLREG, while the other won’t try or consider slowing down or bearing away from US ship. Essentially, a total farce where both sides seem to wind each up until the last minute, when finally, the U.S. destroyer actually opens up a bit the throttle. Given that it is a DDG, I’m sure that the USS Farragut has a higher speed than the ‘Ivan Khurs’, so the Russian ship can cross astern safely. Seemingly, neither budged and importantly both sides were basically ignoring parts of Rule 8 which sets out good seamanship practice, well before the Rule 15/17 situation arose, as both had each other on radar and visually for many nautical miles.

The other question is why did this incident occur? Essentially, eyeing each other for intel gathering. Scenario 1: I suspect it is the U.S. ship taking a keen interest, given the ‘Ivan Khurs’ is a probable newcomer to the waters, but was this was close to the area of the U.S. carrier operations. Scenario 2: Possibility of the USS Farragut either wanting to keep the Russian ship away from the U.S. carrier or maybe possibly deploying ASW array.

Of interest to note is the ad hoc presence of Russian AGIs and intelligence reconnaissance ships in the vicinity of U.S. carrier groups. This has been the case elsewhere, in the Eastern Mediterranean particularly, but seemingly a first for the Arabian Sea, (in many decades).

Summary

The Russian Navy is not the Soviet Navy in scope or numbers. As such the remaining current cold war era CCGs & DDGs that visit the region will gradually fade away, to be replaced by a smaller fleet of FFGs & corvettes; yet it will continue to visit the Indian Ocean. Although many pundits see this as a growing Russia’s return to the Indian Ocean as being relatively recent, when in fact it isn’t. So, the muted outcry by Washington of “the Russians are coming” is rather feeble and reveals a deep level of geopolitical insecurity. To paraphrase the Chinese delegate’s question at the Munich Security Conference recently, (see here):

“Do you really think the U.S. Navy presence in the Indian Ocean is so fragile it could be threatened by the occasional visit of Russian and Chinese warships?”

Seemingly yes.

Russia has a new limited strategic presence in the Middle East and Africa and the naval visits are part of the bigger picture. Russian presence will continue given the backdrop of the U.S. public wish for an expansion of a NATO footprint into Gulf & Iraq, adding to the ongoing presence in Afghanistan since 2001.

Russia also has defence-cooperation agreements with about 15 African countries. This is somewhat reflected in the port call make by the ‘Marshal Ustinov’, (en route to South Africa, including Egypt & Algeria, Equatorial Guinea and Cape Verde.

NB:The ‘Marshal Ustinov’ also called into Greece, Cyprus, Turkey (some are NATO countries).

By looking at the Russian Navy’s timid visits, the Indian Ocean is not a high priority regarding Russian maritime presence. Nevertheless, Russia has certainly stepped up its naval diplomacy in the region in different ways, making infrequent regular yearly visits to ports in the region, such as Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka and high-level working visits by heads of navies. Russia is also attentive to maintaining special relationships that it already has with countries like India and Pakistan.

Lastly, I cannot compare the minuscule presence of Russian Navy in region with that of the PLAN which is quickly building a larger force projection capability than the Russian VMF can realistically hope for these days. Let’s be frank, the Chinese PLAN is expanding considerably each year. 2019 alone saw another: 1 aircraft carrier, 1 LDP, 1 LHD & eight 7000t & two 13000t destroyers commissioned) plus 17 corvettes in one year!) The new tonnage must eye watering hard for the West to contemplate.

Further Reading

See this detailed article below I entirely agree with the author, as a civilian ex-mariner.

Who provokes whom and with which goal? https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/us-russian-navy-near-miss-incident-gunter-sch%C3%BCtze

Extra information on the geopolitics of the Indian Ocean:

Indian Ocean: strategic hub or zone of competition? https://uwidata.com/7211-indian-ocean-strategic-hub-or-zone-of-competition/

An visual overview of both recent Chinese and Russian naval port visits in the Indian Ocean is presented on the blog Warvspeace.org


Nat South’s sideline is occasionally commenting on maritime & naval related subjects ,with a special interest in the polar regions.

Interstate competition swallows Bolsonaro´s Government

February 18, 2020

Fabio Reis Vianna for The Saker Blog

When U.S. President Donald Trump announced on December 2 the taxation of Brazilian and Argentine steel, restoring the immediate effect of the “tariffs on all steel and aluminum sent to the United States by these countries,” the amateur members of Bolsonaro´s government were unable to hide their disbelief in their faces of disappointment.

Even with reality falling on their heads, the blindness of the upper echelons of the government regarding the current geopolitical moment is so great that the only character who has perhaps given any hint of understanding was Vice President General Hamilton Mourão, by drawing a parallel between what happened and what, according to his words, he would say about a “characteristic of this geopolitical tension that we are experiencing, which generates protectionism (and) is an anti-cyclical movement in relation to globalization.

Even if his words make sense, what seems to escape the understanding of the vice-president of the Republic and the members of the current government as a whole is the deepest reality of the multipolar world that has been gradually unveiling itself since the beginning of the new century and that, according to the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro(UFRJ) professor José Luís Fiori, intensified between the years 2012 and 2013 with the election of Vladimir Putin and the arrival to power of Xi Jinping.

It should be noted, however, that this multipolar world misunderstood by the strategists of the current Brazilian government (if they exist…), is in no way accepted by the current hegemonic power.

The comfortable hegemony in a unipolar world, conquered by the United States since the collapse of the Soviet Union, is now challenged by new actors that, as a consequence, tension and intensify interstate competition.

Demonstrating the total mismatch of the current Brazilian government with the reality of the international system at the beginning of the 21st century, the reaction of members of the team of the Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes, to Trump’s words is symptomatic.

In the words of one of Guedes’ assistants, “Trump has always been clear in saying that Brazil is very closed. You need something like: ‘Brazil has come up with a better plan for American companies, so I’m going to go back on the decision to raise the rates’”.

In the logic, at the very least, naive of Mr. Guedes’ team, it would therefore suffice to present the US authorities with a well-developed plan for trade opening, and then Trump would retreat.

The concrete fact is that the Brazilian government seems lost and without understanding the new configuration of the multipolar world order, not being aware of the depth of the fierce interstate competition between what, in the words of Professor Fiori, would be “the three great powers fighting for global power at the beginning of the 21st century.

The last meeting of Brics, held in Brasilia in November, was symptomatic of the unpreparedness of the Brazilian authorities in dealing with the current scenario of global dispute.

Symptomatic and worrying, because the events that permeated that summit and the reaction (or non-reaction) of guest presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin to those events demonstrated the subtlety and care with which Russia and China sought to place themselves in this “minefield” that is South America today. A territory so complex and essential to their expansionist interests.

Just three days before the Brics meeting began on Nov. 10, a coup d’état took place in Bolivia, one of the few countries in the region that still had a strategic relationship with the Eurasian axis, and especially Russia, which had planned with former ousted president Evo Morales the construction of a sophisticated nuclear plant in the Bolivian altiplano, as well as plans for lithium exploration and the development of local agriculture. The documents relating to the ambitious projects had been signed in July when Morales made a diplomatic visit to Moscow.

This could be mere coincidence, if the release of former President Lula had not occurred just two days earlier, on November 8.

In addition to being the biggest opponent of Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right government, Lula is directly responsible for the creation and success of Brics and the strengthening of relations among South American nations.

In short, former President Lula, besides remaining very popular among the less favored classes in Brazil, which automatically turns him into a threat, was directly responsible for raising the country to the status of a global player beyond its region and at the same time for articulating, from Brics, a more consistent entry of the Eurasian powers in the South American scenario.

On 13 November, the official opening of the Brics summit took place in the presence of Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi and Cyril Ramaphosa, who were received at the Itamaraty Palace by President Bolsonaro.

On the morning of that same day, November 13, the Venezuelan embassy in Brasilia would be invaded by a group linked to self-proclaimed President Juan Guaidó. This would somehow overshadow the beginning of the Brics summit.

In Brazil, some more hasty analysts even suggested that that invasion would have the tentacles of fundamentalist sectors of Bolsonaro´s government installed in the Brazilian chancellery, headed by the unbelievable Minister Ernesto Araújo.

However, when connecting the dots, we could suppose that there would be some connection between the events that occurred during that hectic month of November, even if this connection does not necessarily follow a linear logic or if the absence of one of the events annulled the occurrence of another.

From the perspective of the dispute for global power between competing states – which often takes off from economic logic itself – the events of November would make sense if looked at in a systemic way.

The new national security strategy of the United States – announced on December 18, 2017 – would make official what had been happening in practice since the emerging Russia, China, India and even Lula’s Brazil began the expansionist onslaughts in Africa and Latin America, and intensified when Russia, in an unprecedented show of force, decided in 2015 to intervene in Syria, defining the course of the war. For the United States it was necessary to put a brake on that. Whatever the cost.

Therefore, both the “classic” and undisguised military coup in Bolivia, the invasion of the Venezuelan embassy and even Trump’s announcement of steel taxation would be a message and would have the same subliminal message: either you move away from our opponents and align yourselves with our strategy or you will suffer the consequences.

Brazil is now at a serious historical crossroads. One of the most delicate issues in the current scenario is the technological warfare (disguised as a trade war) involving the Chinese giant Huawei.

The most visible representation of the advancement of competition in what could be called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the dispute over 5G technology has become one of the spearheads of the expansive forces that clash as power and influence disputes in the world system intensify.

After having already missed the opportunity to participate in important markets such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Taiwan, which closed their doors due to restrictions imposed by the Americans, the auction for the introduction of 5G technology in Brazil, originally scheduled for the year 2020, would be a golden opportunity for the Chinese to put into practice, and in a large and important market, all their know-how for the construction of a vast network of fifth generation mobile Internet.

As the Chinese Ambassador to Brazil, Yang Wanming, rightly said last November: “I am confident in the sense of cooperation between China and Brazil in 5G technology. Brazil will take into account the interest in the country’s development”.

The Chinese rationality expressed in Ambassador Wanming’s words would fit perfectly if we were living in a period of normality in international relations; but we are not, and the technological war that has the 5G prominence race as its backdrop hides the challenging moment of transition between long cycles of international politics. This is a moment in which the world power, no longer fully capable of exercising leadership in the world political system, finds itself challenged by one or more emerging powers.

This has been the case since when, around 1560, the hegemonic power of the time, Portugal, was challenged by Spain, who then took the lead in the newborn world system, to be challenged by the Netherlands and so on until the present day.

In the midst of the tug-of-war between the Chinese and Americans, Brazil will have no choice but to invent a good technical excuse and postpone the 5G auction until, probably, 2021. The National Agency of Telecommunications (Anatel) has already been rehearsing the postponement by claiming that the 5G network would interfere with the signal of open TV in rural areas, because the transmission is made by satellite dish.

In the end, the pressure that the brazilian government is probably suffering behind the scenes from the Trump administration makes us feel that the announcement of the taxing of brazilian steel via Twitter would have a retaliatory bias with regard specifically to the 5G issue. This possibility is even admitted by the unsuspected brazilian economist linked to the financial market André Perfeito.

The fact is that the Brics meeting revealed a much more docile and receptive Bolsonaro to the presence of Eurasian powers than one could have imagined. Facing a serious recession, the brazilian government had no choice but to take advantage of that moment to seek investments from Brics’ partners.

As old and experienced players on the global board, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping were able to position their pawns strategically from their arrival in Brasilia until the last minute on Brazilian soil.

Even with the not friendly invasion of the Venezuelan embassy (a strategic ally of Russia and China) on the day they would be received by Bolsonaro at the Itamaraty Palace, the not at all naive Eurasian heads of state skillfully did not comment on what had happened and tried to reconcile, throughout the summit, the convergent positions among all the partners.

The clear attempt to sabotage the meeting, in the end, only served to highlight the extreme care with which Xi and Putin sewed the treaties, trying to avoid displeasing Bolsonaro on delicate issues such as the Venezuelan issue – which he did until they accepted that the traditional parallel meeting with countries in the region would not occur.

This posture is in line with what Professor Alexander Zhebit of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) said about a fundamental characteristic of Brics since its creation. According to Zhebit, the elements of agreement would be essential for the maintenance of the internal harmony of the group. In this way, the differences would be smoothed out by the constant negotiation of common points.

Not by chance, in the final declaration of the meeting, besides the fact that the Venezuelan question was not touched, any mention of support for Iran (also a strategic Sino-Russian ally in the Eurasian context) was even avoided.

China and Russia are fully aware of the role of subservience to the United States that the Bolsonaro´s Government plays and, as good old players, have the wisdom to understand the relationship with Brazil as a long-term one.

Old countries know that diplomacy and patience live together, and in a way – as researcher Oliver Stuenkel rightly said – Xi and Putin, strategically, know that the more isolated Brazil is on the international scene, the more important they will be.

Fabio Reis Vianna, lives in Rio de Janeiro, is a bachelor of laws ( LL.B), writer and geopolitical analyst. He is currently a columnist in international politics for the printed version of the centennial brazilian newspaper Monitor Mercantil

Caesar Act, Oil and Gas, Chemical Weapons, and the Syrian Response

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is OPCW-fake-Chemical-Attack-Trump-Syria-Sanctions-678x381.jpg

December 31, 2019

Arabi Souri

Caesar Act is one of the main topics discussed by the Media and Political Advisor in the Syrian Presidency Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban in a thorough must watch and learn from interview with Kamal Khalaf of Al-Mayadeen News channel.

Dr. Shaaban discusses and addresses the pressuring issues and recent developments relating to Syria and the impact the Syrian sacrifices and steadfastness caused throughout the world. The shift from unipolar world to a multipolar world, the US sanctions including the passing of Caesar’s Act, the Turkish invasion and the Syrian Arab Army’s military operation to clean Idlib from NATO terrorists, the oil and gas, and many other topics. How will the Syrian government respond and what is underway, including two new revelations for the first time.

Preface:

The junta ruling the United States of America is taking advantage of its financial power it posses based on the petrodollar trade, its military power in uniforms and covert operations stretching worldwide, and worse its evil propagandists in the mainstream media whitewashing its bad doing and demonizing its enemies, promoting its evil nature allowing it to commit crimes against the rest of the world and against its own people with no remorse, just to amass more money, more wealth, and kill more people, of everybody else. It has resorted to all what it has in its arsenal and it’s capable of using against Syria, yet not able to break this small nation.

The interview took place in Damascus and was recorded by Al-Mayadeen on 25 December 2019. The following is the interview in Arabic with English subtitles, followed by the transcript of the English translation and the Arabic transcript of the interview.


Part 1 of 2, Part 2 on the second page – Full video is also available on BitChute: https://www.bitchute.com/video/7RIb2T3xHfWJ/

The transcript of the English translation:
Today when we came to Damascus, the streets of Damascus were decorated with celebrations and there was joy that we were afraid you will be late for this live episode, because of this congestion, happy holidays.
 
Dr. Buthaina Shaaban: Happy Holidays, truly, what you mentioned Mr. Kamal is very important, I have not seen Damascus decorated as I saw it tonight, and I think this is a beautiful and natural reaction from the Syrian people after all the attempts of sedition between Muslims and Christians, this year I felt that the Syrian people are telling the whole world that we are all Christians and we are all Muslims.
 
Q: The Algerian people today bid farewell to a great figure, Ahmed Qayed Saleh, chief of staff of the Algerian army, in a sensitive circumstance and he also saved Algeria, as many Algerians say, from a major crisis, I know the depth of the relationship between Syria and Algeria and how Algeria stood with Syria, the relationship with Syria has not changed during all the years of war.
 
 
Dr. Buthaina Shaaban: True, and I’d like through your honorable screen to condole the Algerian government and people of losing this great personality and today the Algerian people have given testimony to this leader, they gave testimony against all attempts at sedition when demonstrations were appearing in the streets and various talks about the Algerian army and its stand against the people or the people’s stand against the army, today the Algerian people put an end to all these sayings and proved that they all had nothing to do with reality, the people gathered around the army and God bless Qayed Saleh, who will remain a model for those who really saved their country and left.
 
Q: We begin our episode, our viewers Damascus is currently under the biggest campaign of American pressure and not only the signing of the American president a few days ago the Law of Caesar to punish Syria, but the law comes within a multifaceted campaign, these include expanding the tasks of the chemical attack investigation team for the first time in the organization’s history, assigning the team the task of identifying specific names, as well as the (U.S.) administration blatantly obstructing the returning of the Syrian refugees from neighbouring countries and returning Arab relations with Syria. What are the direct economic and political implications of Caesar’s law on Syria? What does Damascus think of the foundations of the law, and what are the ways and options to counter the U.S. pressure campaign? What does the heightened pressure on Syria have to do with the strategy of extreme pressure on Iran and what is happening in Both Lebanon and Iraq? During this episode, we also look at the most prominent developments on the ground and political in Syria.
 
These topics are presented directly to Dr. Buthaina Shaaban tonight. I welcome you again and start with the Caesar Act. Today, the Syrian people have anxiety, they have concerns, we listened through the people we meet on social media, fearing or worried of the passing of Caesar’s bill by the United States President on Syria. Is there really something to worry about this law that has direct implications for the lives of Syrian citizens?
 
Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban: The truth is that this law is an episode of the pressure campaigns on Syria that started from 2011 to today,and I remember when we went to Geneva in 2014 and met With Wolf Blitzer from CNN, the first question he asked me about this “Caesar” was that he collected photos and testimonials… Etc. But as you know, this law has been presented more than once before Congress and didn’t move in Congress, I think until it had the support of the Zionist lobby and the AIPAC, It doesn’t make sense to be anyone, whoever it is, and I think they didn’t intentionally reveal the character of this “Caesar” because they know that he is just a small tool, but the real work was done by the lobbies against Syria and the Republican and Democratic parties, because it was assigned to the United States defense budget for 2020, which accounts for more than one-third of the U.S. budget and no one can put this law in this budget unless it is from the military or the Zionist lobby, so for us as a Syrian government it is part of all the pressure attempts and all the attempts they tried to take over Syria, but they could not, and this law will not be able to get Syria.
There is no doubt that it is a criminal and unjust law that has nothing to do with international legitimacy or international law, nor respect for state sovereignty, but the Syrian people who have been going through these years know how to face all these challenges.
 
 
Q: Do you know who Caesar is? Is he a real character?
Page 1 of 11 – Continue on next page, link below

CHINA-IRAN -RUSSIA ALLIANCE ENDING US UNILATERAL GLOBAL HEGEMONY

Posted on 30/12/2019 by Elijah J Magnier

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

The “maritime security belt” trilateral four-day drill between Iran, China and Russia in the sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean will mark the Middle East for decades to come. It signals the end of US absolute hegemony and control of the Middle East- and of the world. The joint drills are being carried out at the heart of the zone of US maritime influence. The drills are tactical exercises simulating the rescue of frigates under attack by a mutual enemy over a 17,000 km area. They are not strategic, because China and Russia will not have access to Iranian harbours on an ongoing basis. No common adversary is expected to face Russia, China or Iran together in these waters. The aim of these exercises is for all three countries to send a common message to the US. The maritime ‘message’ addressed to the world this December 2019 realistically is that the period of the global dominance of the USA as the sole and self-elected “policeman of the world” is coming to an end.

It was the first time Iran has held a joint exercise with two major world naval powers on this scale since the “Islamic Republic” in 1979. Iran invited and hosted the trilateral drills, starting from its southeastern port of Chabahar, to challenge the US “maximum pressure” policy. Tehran is sending a message to the world that it is developing its military capabilities in the midst of the harshest ever US sanctions, demonstrating that the US policy of isolating Iran is ineffective. President Donald Trump and his team have  managed to hurt the Iranian population with their unprecedented sanctions and siege: but the government of Tehran has effectively adapted to these punitive measures, countering with a new “budget of Resistance” to limit its dependence on oil exports.

President Donald Trump’s policy is speeding the formation of an alliance between Iran, China and Russia (all affected by US sanctions). These countries, notwithstanding the “maritime security belt” drills, have not actually signed strategic alliances among themselves, but are finding ways to protect themselves while operating in the Sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean. These drills can be considered a challenge to US sanctions, taking place in the most important worldwide maritime traffic waterway, considered vital to the US with 18.5 million barrels of oil transiting through this area daily.

The US sun is setting. It has shone brightly since 1991 when the cold war ended between Washington and Moscow. This is when President George Bush announced US policy and the vision of “a new world order where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind: peace and security, freedom and the rule of law.”

That day marked the beginning, in fact, of an imbalanced world order based on the political, economic and military dominance of the US. It was the beginning of a “destructive-constructive” strategy to crush any country rejecting US hegemony. Iran was at the top of the list.

Under President George W. Bush, Washington decided to surround Iran, China and Russia further and occupied Afghanistan – due to its geopolitical strategic position overlooking at the west of China, middle of Asia and the east of Iran and its richness of Uranium – and then Iraq. The control of Middle Eastern oil was the priority followed by a “new Middle East” plan to break Iran’s alliance with Lebanon (Hezbollah) and the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The US has constantly been looking for ways to divide continents, to rule them and thus prevent the emergence of any threatening alliance. Eurasia, which contains two-thirds of the world’s energy, was under constant close US watch, similar to Iran.

But Iran 2019 is different from Iran in 1979. Following the “war of the tankers” in the Straits of Hormuz, the downing of the most expensive US drone and the targeting and destruction of Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities (reducing its export capability by half) with Iranian precision cruise missiles, the US discovered a bitter reality. All US military bases surrounding Iran were easy targets for Iran cruise missiles in the case of a decision by Washington to attack the “Islamic Republic”. Iran didn’t need to bother looking for a US target in far off territories.

Moreover, Iran did not hesitate to intercept and confiscate a British tanker, sending a confrontational message to Great Britain and expressing its readiness for a military skirmish if necessary. Iran signalled its ability to fight on multiple fronts against its enemies. Iranian officials made crystal clear to all surrounding countries’ leaders (Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Iraq, north-east Syria, Israel) that its precision missiles would spare no country where a US base is stationed or used as a starting point for an attack on Iran.

Many elements indicated Iran was ready for the worst-case scenario and was trained for an extreme situation, knowing that the US would not venture into an unpredictable war where victory is far from guaranteedPresident Trump was ready for a few battles here and there, a “battle between wars” Israeli-style rather than a totally destructive war. Trump and his team became aware that the US’s enemies had equipped themselves with enough missiles to be simultaneously engaged on multiple fronts in different Middle Eastern countries.

Trump has sought to avoid human losses during his presence in office. He knows that Iran’s allies will dive into any future confrontation against the “Islamic Republic” and will hit US allies in the Middle Eastern region.

Iran has equipped its strongest and most organised ally in the Middle East, Hezbollah in Lebanon, with tens of thousands of rockets and precision missiles, enough to destroy Israeli targets, already included in its bank of objectives. The Israeli targets are within a few kilometres of Hezbollah bases, not far enough for the Israeli interception missiles to neutralise all missiles and rockets if simultaneously launched. But that is not the real problem: in fact, the Israeli domestic front is far from ready for war, as even Israeli military officials acknowledge.

Hezbollah managed to break the Israeli deterrence policy and succeeded in breaking the will of Israel, as the world observed in the last confrontation. Indeed, Israel chose to abandon for two weeks all positions along 100 kilometres from the Lebanese borders and 5 kilometres deep due to a single threat launched via local television by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. A very strong indication that though Israel can continue verbally threatening Lebanon, war is unlikely for a very long time to come.

Iran’s allies are also present in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, all equipped with precision missiles. The US and its allies are not in a position to ignore this reality and the fact that (notwithstanding the US and Israel’s great destructive power) serious damage can be inflicted on the US camp in case of war.

Another crucially important element, not to be neglected, is the fact that the US is taking further distance from the Middle East. In 2019 I witnessed the US’s clear detachment from the Iraqi selection of a Prime Minister, for the first time since 2003. The US is also, unusually, not intervening in Lebanon’s choice of a Prime Minister. These are two important countries where the US was positioned in the front line to curb Iran’s influence. Likewise, in Syria (where the US is flagrantly stealing Syrian oil), the US seems to have lost its appetite to remain in the Levant and compel Iran’s departure from Syria- to the great discontent of Israel.

Only the weapon of economic sanctions remains for the US, a weapon that soon will be less efficient as countries adapt to their new situation. Trump is sanctioning his friends, enemies and competitors, exhausting US financial power. That is giving an advantage to the countries concerned to prepare themselves for counter-measures in the long-term. The US, despite its attempt at hegemony, is returning to the era before the 1991.

It is true that the US has managed, under President Trump, to sell huge quantities of weapons to Middle Eastern countries. The US military industry has benefitted for a few years but this is coming to an end. These weapons will no longer be used in any future war because the possibility of a military confrontation in the Middle East is fading and all parties and potential belligerents are well equipped and armed with destructive firepower.

Today the US is looking at Russia, China and their allies as sources of danger from highly competitive technology and artificial intelligence developments. There is little room for future military confrontation. The time has finally come for the Middle Eastern countries to solve their domestic and regional problems among themselves without outside interference. 

Proofread by  Maurice Brasher and C.G.B.

This article is translated free to many languages by volunteers so readers can enjoy the content. It shall not be masked by Paywall. I’d like to thank my followers and readers for the confidence and support. If you like it, please don’t feel embarrassed to contribute and help fund it for as little as 1 Euro. Your contribution, however small, will help ensure its continuity. Thank you.

Copyright © https://ejmagnier.com  2019

Review of 2019 and Preview for 2020: the Final Combat of Western Hegemonism

December 26, 2019

By Paul Schmutz Schaller for The Saker Blog

The world situation is changing very fast and one needs to make an effort in order to keep pace with the events. The end of a year is a welcome opportunity for an assessment of the current situation. I shall concentrate on two main subjects.

2019: The West has lost the supremacy in the Middle East

I think that this was the most important change in the year drawing to a close. Iran has successfully and creatively defended herself against the „maximal pressure“ from the USA and has kept her distance with the West European countries. Economically, the country has suffered from the US-sanctions, but she has now passed the biggest crisis. The country took the imposed problems as a motivation to improve the economical governance and to diminish the dependance from petrol. While in June, say, there was a more or less real danger of an aggressive war against Iran, now, this treat haas faded into the background. The report of UN-Secretary-General Guterres of Desember 10 saying that the UN, after an investigation in Saudi Arabia, cannot verify the US and Saudi claims that Iran was behind the strikes on Aramco in September, is a diplomatic victory for Iran. As for the Iranian trade, an official recently said that, during the last 9 months, China, Iraq, UAE, Afghanistan and Turkey were major destinations for the Iranian exports while Turkey, UAE and Germany are biggest Iranian trade in terms of imports.

Syria has made further important progress in the fight against terrorism, in particular in the province Idleb. Moreover, the government and the army were able to utilize the partial withdrawal of the US occupying army in the north-east of the country. The reconstruction in Syria moves forward, Russian and Chinese enterprises will thereby play an important role. Hundreds of thousands refugees have come back. In short, as President Assad said in the interview with Italian Rai News 24: „[… ] the situation is much, much better […] and I think that the future of Syria is promising; we are going to come out of this war stronger.“

In the absurd war of Saudi Arabia against Yemen, the strategic situation has completely changed. Saudi Arabia has lost the initiative and different Arabian and African countries have stopped the support for the Saudi army. The Ansarallah movement of the Houthis has made important attacks, in particular against Aramco, and the movement has now strong official relations with Iran.

The West and Israel are still trying hard to exploit the economical and political crisis in Lebanon and Iraq. However, the patriotic forces in both countries were able to keep a positive outlook of the situation and could avoid to fall into the traps.

There is no reason to think that the positive development in the Middle East will change in the next months. Quite the contrary. One can expect that the fight in Afghanistan against terrorism and US occupation will make important progress. Moreover, the influence of China and Russia will further increase. However, the general situation will remain tense. This is of course due to the fact that there is a country like Israel in this region which is utterly hostile against the neighboring countries and tyrannizes the indigenous population.

Asia a a whole has already widely casted off the yoke of Western hegemonism. As of South America, the developments in 2019 show – despite of the coup in Bolivia – a movement to more independence which very probably will continue. I would assume that this vague will also grow in Africa, in particular in Western and central Africa, due to the fight against terrorism and the beneficial influence of China and Russia.

2020: The fight between the American national imperialism and Western hegemony will come to a decision

Trump has won in 2016, based on his program of „America first“. Since then, it has become more and more clear that this program is in fact a program of an American national imperialism. Trump is not interested in a „Western“ perspective. A typical example are the US sanctions against numerous countries, even against traditional allies. This is a crucial change. Since the end of World War 2, the USA were constructed as a worldwide leading power. During the cold war, this has developed into the collective Western hegemony – including countries like Japan, Australia and others – with the USA as the undisputed leader. The emergence of an American national imperialism is a somewhat unexpected challenge for all other Western countries. Nevertheless, it is a logical evolution, provoked among other things by the declining power of Western hegemony and the appearance of China, the new Russia, as well as their strategic collaboration.

The traditional Western hegemonic forces have never accepted the election of Trump in 2016. They are very strong inside the US Democratic Party and in the US parliament in general, but also in Western Europe. With the impeachment and the US election in 2020, the fight between the both tendencies will reach a decision. One should expect that this fight will be very hard. The only logical outcome will be a victory of Trump; however, it is still to be seen whether this will be a clear victory or not. In other words, will the Western hegemonic forces be obliged to accept it this time? I think that these questions will be very crucial in 2020.

Also for Western Europe, the influence of this fight will be immense. Concerning this matter, the UK is the most advanced country in Western Europe. After a struggle of 3 and half years, the population has given a clear mandate to the Johnson government to deliver Brexit. It is probable that now, where this central question is resolved, the development in the UK will be quite dynamical. The formation of a national imperialism will advance quickly. France also is rather well prepared for a victory of the American national imperialism; with the period of de Gaulle in the 1960s, she has a historical model.

On the other hand, I believe that Germany is the less prepared country. Germany is very anti-Trump. In 2016, polls in Germany indicated that up to 90% would vote for Hillary Clinton and only 4% for Donald Trump. The polls during the last years have clearly confirmed this rejection of Trump in the German population. Also, German Chancellor Merkel has been widely seen as a stronghold of the traditional Western hegemony and against American national imperialism. However, the situation is changing. Merkel has lost her authority and is now rather isolated. The awareness is growing that Trump does not stand for a parenthesis in history, but for a fundamental change. The impeachment is not judged as positive as one could await. Moreover, the German industry would like to have better relations with Russia. The US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 will only reinforce the will in Germany to become more autonomous.

There is still another problem. While national imperialism has a long tradition in the UK and in France and will probably be accepted without too much of resistance, in Germany, national imperialism is not popular, for historical reasons. Therefore, one may predict that Germany will have a big debate on her political identity; even a profound crisis is possible. This is certainly complicated by the fact that Merkel has to be replaced and that there is – actually – no convincing successor. I am however quite confident that Germany will be able to find a way for playing a quite positive role in the future world.

We therefore may anticipate that Western hegemony is replaced by national imperialisms. Of course, they will remain a big problem for the world, even if the classical Western hegemony will suffer an important defeat. But the contradictions of other Western countries with the USA will strongly expand. This gives the remaining world much better perspectives.

From my point of view, 2019 was a very positive year and I am convinced that the same will be the case for 2020.

انتفاضة في البحارعلى القطبية الأميركيّة!

ديسمبر 27, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

المناورات البحرية الضخمة التي تجريها روسيا والصين وإيران في مياه المحيط الهندي وبحر عمان لها طابع استراتيجي يطوق الأحاديّة الأميركيّة دافعاً بها نحو نظام دولي جديد ميزته أنه متعدّد الأقطاب.

صحيح أن هذا التحوّل المرتقب ليس ناتجاً من انتصارات عسكرية مباشرة بين المتنافسين، لكنها ثمرة صراعات اقتصادية وأخرى نشبت بين روسيا وأميركا عبر نظام قيادة الحروب من الخلف أو بتدخل نسبي مباشر.

هناك العديد من الأسباب تجعل لهذه المناورات أهمية في الصراعات الأساسية في العالم أولها أهمية المشاركين بها الذي يعلنون من خلالها أنهم انتقلوا من التساند اللفظي والآني إلى تنسيق عسكري عميق له مدى عالمي بالإضافة الى أهمية المكان الذي تجري فيه المناورات لاحتوائه على أكبر كمية معروفة من احتياطات الغاز والنفط مع قدرة هائلة على الاستهلاك لأن دولها غير منتجة. الى جانب توسُّط منطقة المناورات في الشرق الأوسط والهند وباكستان للعالم بأسره. كما يمكن اعتبار هذه المنطقة قلب العالم الروحي حيث مهد الإسلام والمسيحية واليهودية والبوذية، ومنطقة عبور بحري، بأبوابه الأربعة من هرمز الى المحيط الهندي من جهة وباب المندب وقناة السويس والبحر المتوسط من جهة ثانية.

هي اذاً مناورات بحرية تقتفي نظرية “دبلوماسية الأساطيل” التي تقوم على مناورات عنيفة لعرض قوة كامنة يجب أن تظهر لإقناع الأعداء بقوتها.

بماذا يمكن لهذه البلدان أن تسند بعضها بعضاً؟

تتعرّض روسيا والصين وإيران لعدوانية أميركية اقتصادية تدرك حدود الخنق. فالصين المنتشرة اقتصادياً على مستوى العالم تتلقى كل أسبوع أو أكثر عقوبات أميركية اقتصادية لشلّ انتشار سلعها وعرقلة شرائها لمواد ضرورية لإنتاج بضائعها، كما أن الأميركيين يستعينون بالمراكز الإسلامية التقليدية والإرهابية في الشرق الأوسط لتحريك أقلية الأيغور الإسلامية في الصين ضد دولتها.

لروسيا ايضاً حسابات كبرى عند الأميركيين، يكفي أنها لا تزال قطباً عسكرياً عالمياً يضارع الأميركيين وربما أكثر، لذلك تذهب موسكو عن تسويق ثرواتها من الغاز عن اوروبا والصين عبر أربعة خطوط من البلطيق – المانيا – روسيا اوكرانيا، روسيا الصين وروسيا تركيا نحو أوروبا. ولا تنسى بذل جهود جبارة لتحديث صناعاتها، وهذا يتطلب وقتاً، فتستغله بالانتشار العسكري والسياسي في العالم من مركزها الأساسي في سورية الى أميركا اللاتينية والخليج والعراق ومصر مع محاولات لاختراق شمالي افريقيا.

بما يؤكد أنها تريد توسيع الجيوبوليتيك الخاص بها لاستعادة قطبيتها المفقودة مع الراحل السوفياتي.

اما إيران فهي الثالثة المستهدفة بجنون أميركي لم يدخر أسلوباً للقضاء على جمهوريتها الاسلامية، واذا كانت لا تشكل خطراً عسكرياً او اقتصادياً على الأميركيين، فإنها تجسّد لهم رعباً في عرينهم الشرق الأوسطي حيث الغاز والنفط والجيوبوليتيك، فطهران اليوم موجودة سياسياً في لبنان وعلى كل المستويات في اليمن والعراق وسورية، ولها أدوار وازنة في افغانستان وباكستان، مع علاقات عميقة بدول في أميركا اللاتينية والهند وآسيا وتيارات شعبية في أفريقيا، ما يجعلها في دائرة رصد استراتيجي أميركي يرى فيها تهديداً إسلامياً لهيمنة واشنطن على العالم الاسلامي، حيث مركز القوة الأميركي الاساسي.

لماذا ضرورة التنسيق بين هذه الدول الثلاث؟

السبب المركزي الأول أنها مستهدفة من الأميركيين بشكل بنيوي قد تُركز السياسة الأميركية على روسيا حيناً مقابل التخفيف من خنق الصين وإيران، أو تخنق إيران وتتراخى مع موسكو وبكين، لكنها لا تنسى أبداً الخطر الاقتصادي الصيني الذي أصبح وسواس الاقتصاد الأميركي.

لجهة السبب الثاني الدافع للتنسيق العميق فهو افتقار كل دولة من الدول الثلاث بمفردها لكامل عناصر القوة الضرورية لمقاومة العدوانية الأميركية، فالصين معتدلة عسكرياً ومتقدمة اقتصادياً فيما روسيا رهيبة عسكرياً ومتراجعة اقتصادياً أما إيران فأهميتها اقتصادية وشرق أوسطية وإسلامية.

لذلك تبدو هذه الدول بحاجة لتنسيق قواها فتصبح قادرة على فرض تراجع بنيوي على الأميركيين يؤدي فوراً لولادة عالم متعدّد القطب تنخفض فيه الصراعات والحروب على الطريقة الأميركية التي لا يهمها إلا بيع السلع والسلاح على جثث الأبرياء والشعوب الضعيفة.

إن ما يمنح هذه الفرضيّة ميزات إضافية، بنجاح ممكن في ردع الأميركيين هي القوة السكانية الصينية التي تشكل بمفردها ربع العالم تقريباً بمدى اقتصادي اخترق الحدود السياسية في القارات الخمس، كذلك روسيا راعية تحالفات شنغهاي والبريكس التي تضمّ دولاً تزيد عن 60 في المئة من سكان العالم.

بالعودة الى المناورات البحرية التي تعطي الفرصة بولادة التوازن العالم، يكفي أنها تجري في منطقة تستوطن الجيوبوليتيك الأميركي منذ ستة عقود تقريباً.

ويمكن اعتبارها المدخل البحري إلى أكبر آبار نفط وغاز في العالم وتسيطر على بحار الشرق الأوسط من الخليج الى الأحمر فالمتوسط، وصولاً الى شواطئ باكستان والهند.

هل نحن فعلاً عشية التغيير القطبي؟

استناداً الى القراءة العلمية الدقيقة يمكن الجزم ان العالم مندفع نحو إعادة استقرار نسبي الى ربوعه تحت ضغط هذه المنافسة الثلاثية للنفوذ الأميركي.وكما قال الرئيس الفرنسي ماكرون فإن عالماً متعدّد القطب في طريقه للتشكل من روسيا والصين والأميركيين وأوروبا مجتمعة، وربما تلحق بهم الهند، أما العرب فمستمرون على حالهم من الضعف الشديد الذي يضعهم دائماً ضحية صراعات الأمم على ثرواتهم وتحت رحمة أنظمتهم المتضعضعة.

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مواضيع متعلقة

بعد ثماني سنوات

بقلم د. بثينة شعبان

حين أخذت روسيا والصين أول فيتو مزدوج في مجلس الأمن في 4تشرين الأول2011 ضد المخططات العدوانية الغربية التي تستهدف سورية أرضاً وشعباً غصّ مكتبي بوسائل الإعلام العربية والأجنبية ليسألوني ما شعور القيادة السورية والشعب السوري تجاه هذا الفيتو غير المسبوق في مجلس الأمن.

وأتذكر أنني وبعد شكر الدولتين على موقفهما من سورية ودعمهما للشعب السوري قلت:

لقد تغيّر العالم اليوم، وأثر هذا الفيتو لا يخصّ سورية وحدها وإنما يخصّ العالم بأسره، لأنه الإشارة الأولى لانتهاء هيمنة القطب الواحد والانتقال إلى عالم متعدد الأقطاب، الأمر الذي تصبو إليه معظم شعوب العالم بعد أن عانت من الحروب الكارثية الأميركية.

واليوم وبعد ثماني سنوات تقريباً بالضبط، تستخدم كل من سورية والصين في مجلس الأمن في 19 أيلول 2019 حق الفيتو لإجهاض قرار مبني على الأكاذيب التي روّجها البعض في محاولة أخيرة ومستميتة منهم لحماية ما تبقى من فلول الإرهابيين في إدلب والذين يشكلون آخر ما لديهم من أدوات إرهابية من الخونة والمرتزقة الأجانب للاستمرار في استهداف الشعب السوري الذي تمكّن وبمساعدة الحلفاء والأصدقاء من إحباط كل مخططاتهم التي كلّفتهم المليارات، كما كلّفتهم سمعتهم وكشفت عن جوهر نواياهم العدوانية وحقيقة مقاصد سياساتهم الاستعمارية القائمة على النهب والحروب. أما اليوم وبعد ثماني سنوات من الفيتو الأول المزدوج فما مؤشرات السياسة الدولية وإلى أين تتجه الأمور؟

لقد استمرت الدول الاستعمارية الغربية خلال هذه السنوات بممارسة طرائقها الشيطانية المعروفة من إعلام كاذب ومغرض يقلب الحقائق رأساً على عقب، وبثّ روح الفتنة الطائفية لشق صفوف الشعوب في البلدان المستهدفة، أملاً منها بتفتيت هذه البلدان من الداخل مستخدمين الخونة وضعاف النفوس والوعي. وواكبت خطواتها هذه بفرض عقوبات مجرمة على الشعوب والبلدان تسببت في قتل مئات الآلاف من الأشخاص إما بسبب نقص الغذاء وإما الدواء أو الطاقة، غير آبهة بأي معاناة إنسانية في أي مكان. وكانت العقوبات والتهديدات السمتين الأساسيتين لهذه المرحلة مع استمرار استخدام العصابات الإرهابية المأجورة من الخونة والمرتزقة حيثما أمكن ذلك لتغيير ميزان القوى لصالحها.
ولكن ما النتيجة الحقيقية التي تزداد ثباتاً على الأرض يوماً بعد يوم بعيداً عن تهويل الأكاذيب الزائفة التي تصوغها مخابراتهم معتمدة على مخبريهم من المرتزقة الذين يقومون ببثها على أكبر مساحة في أكبر عدد من وسائل تواصل أصبحت مكشوفة للجميع؟ حقيقة الأمر هي أن هذه السنوات قد كشفت بما لا يقبل الشك حقيقة النظم الاستعمارية الغربية وأنها نظم تهدف أولاً وأخيراً إلى نهب ثروات الشعوب وخاصة النفط العربي، معتمدة على النظم النفطية المتهالكة حيث لا تقيم وزناً لهذه الشعوب ولا للحياة الإنسانية في أي مكان. فسقطت أقنعة ما أسموها «منظمات إنسانية» أو «حقوق إنسان» أو «أطباء بلا حدود» أو «الخوذ البيضاء»؛ لنكتشف أن معظم هذه المنظمات مجنّدة من قبل المخابرات الغربية، إما للتجسس على من هم في أماكن وجودها أو لجمع الأموال لتمويل الإرهاب. كما سقطت بشكل صارخ مقولة «الإعلام الحر» وأصبح واضحاً للجميع أن الإعلام الغربي يخدم دوائر صنع القرار السياسي والمخابراتي والأهداف التي ترسمها هذه الدوائر لزيادة ثروات النخبة الرأسمالية الحاكمة من خلال قمع الآخرين وفرض أقسى العقوبات عليهم، وفي هذا الصدد، والحق يقال، كانت الحرب على سورية أول كاشف لحقيقة هذا النظام الرأسمالي الغربي وأهدافه بعيداً عمّا يروّج له من أكاذيب. كما كان صمود الجيش العربي السوري بدعم من الحلفاء والأصدقاء والأشقاء وبمساعدة المواقف التي اتخذتها روسيا والصين في مجلس الأمن ملهماً للآخرين ومبرهناً على أن ما تخطط له الولايات المتحدة ليس قدراً، وأن الشعوب قادرة وبإمكانات ضئيلة على الانتصار على الباطل مهما كانت قوته وثرواته.

خلال الحرب على سورية أخذت كوريا الشمالية مواقف مهمة في مقارعة الولايات المتحدة وأثبتت أنها قوة لا يستهان بها. وخلال الحرب على سورية أخذت فنزويلا موقفاً جريئاً ومهماً من العقوبات الأميركية وتهديد الولايات المتحدة باجتياح فنزويلا وتغيير الحكم بها، وصمد الشعب الفنزويلي رغم العقوبات الظالمة والتهديدات المستمرة عليه. وفي الحين ذاته انسحبت الولايات المتحدة من الاتفاق النووي الإيراني مع ضجة إعلامية كبرى بأن هذا الانسحاب سينهي إيران وسيجعلها لقمة سائغة لمن يستهدفها من عملاء الولايات المتحدة. كما راهنوا على بثّ الفرقة بين أبناء الشعب الإيراني وسخّروا كل إمكاناتهم لهذا الهدف، ولكن أين هم الآن رغم كل العقوبات المجرمة التي اتخذوها بحق إيران والتي ولا شك سببت مصاعب جمة لكل الإيرانيين ولكنهم صمدوا وتفوقوا بإرادتهم وإصرارهم وكبريائهم على كلّ محاولات الغرب لخرق صفوفهم أو النيل من صمودهم.

اا حرب اليمن فقد ضربت مثلاً في صمود شعب فقير لا يملك إلا النزر اليسير، في وجه قوى مموّلة ومتغطرسة، وقلب هذا الشعب الأبيّ معادلة العدوان ليصبح هو الذي يحدد سير المعركة. ومع أن روسيا الاتحادية نالت نصيباً كبيراً من العقوبات الأميركية فقد استمرت بإثبات ذاتها على الساحتين الإقليمية والدولية كقطب لا يمكن تجاهل آرائه ومواقفه بعد اليوم. وبالتوازي؛ فإن كلاً من الصين وروسيا وإيران وسورية وفنزويلا واليمن والعراق وكوريا تنشر ثقافة العالم المتعدد الأقطاب وتبرهن للعالم مع كل مطلع شمس أن هذه العقوبات لن تؤثر في مسار الدول الرافضة للظلم والهيمنة، وأنها لا تزيد الذين يعانون منها إلا إصراراً، ليس على تجاوزها فقط وإنما على تجاوز النظم التي فرزتها وجعلت منها أداة لكسر إرادة الشعوب وفرض المسار الاستعماري عليها. اليوم وبعد سنوات ثمانٍ من أول فيتو مزدوج تأخذه روسيا والصين في مجلس الأمن، فقد النظام الاستعماري الغربي قدرته على إقناع أحد بالسير على خطاه كما فقد قدرته على إقناع العالم أنه قابل للعيش والاستمرار. اليوم البحث جار في دول كثيرة وعلى مستويات مختلفة عن صيغ ديمقراطية تناسب ثقافة وتاريخ الشعوب والبلدان ولا تمتّ إلى الليبرالية الغربية بصلة.

اليوم يتشكل العالم الجديد على أسس مختلفة عن تلك التي أمسك بها الغرب وفرضها على معظم دول العالم. اليوم بداية مسار تحرر للبلدان والشعوب، تحرر ليس فقط من الهيمنة العسكرية الغربية والنهب الاستعماري، وإنما تحرر من القرار الغربي ومن كلّ تمظهراته، بعد أن انكشف مرة وإلى الأبد بُعد هذا النظام عن المعيار الإنساني الحقيقي. اليوم لا يمكن للغرب أن يتحدث عن نفسه كما اعتاد منذ سنوات قليلة مدعياً أنه الأسرة الدولية، فالأسرة الدولية تتشكل في مكان آخر وعلى أسس وقيم مختلفة جذرياً عمّا اعتاد الغرب فرضه على العالم منذ عقود. لاشك لدي أننا وبعد سنوات قليلة سنكون قد اجتزنا جزءاً مهماً من الدرب الذي بدأ أول مؤشّر له في 4 تشرين الأول 2011.

 

   ( الاثنين 2019/09/23 SyriaNow)

World at a Crossroads and a System of International Relations for the Future

Source

September 21, 2019

World at a Crossroads and a System of International Relations for the Future

World at a Crossroads and a System of International Relations for the Future” by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for “Russia in Global Affairs” magazine, September 20, 2019

These days, the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly opens up. So does a new international “political season”.

The session begins at a highly symbolic historical moment. Next year we will celebrate two great and interconnected anniversaries – the 75th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic and Second World Wars, and the establishment of the UN.

Reflecting on the spiritual and moral significance of these landmark events, one needs to bear in mind the enormous political meaning of the Victory that ended one of the most brutal wars in the history of mankind.

The defeat of fascism in 1945 had fundamentally affected the further course of world history and created conditions for establishing a post-war world order. The UN Charter became its bearing frame and a key source of international law to this day. The UN-centric system still preserves its sustainability and has a great degree of resilience. It actually is kind of a safety net that ensures peaceful development of mankind amid largely natural divergence of interests and rivalries among leading powers. The War-time experience of ideology-free cooperation of states with different socioeconomic and political systems is still highly relevant.

It is regrettable that these obvious truths are being deliberately silenced or ignored by certain influential forces in the West. Moreover, some have intensified attempts at privatizing the Victory, expunging from memory the Soviet Union’s role in the defeat of Nazism, condemning to oblivion the Red Army’s feat of sacrifice and liberation, forgetting the many millions of Soviet citizens who perished during the War, wiping out from history the consequences of the ruinous policy of appeasement. From this perspective, it is easy to grasp the essence of the concept of expounding the equality of the totalitarian regimes. Its purpose is not just to belittle the Soviet contribution to the Victory, but also to retrospectively strip our country of its historic role as an architect and guarantor of the post-war world order, and label it a “revisionist power” that is posing a threat to the well-being of the so-called free world.

Interpreting the past in such a manner also means that some of our partners see the establishment of a transatlantic link and the permanent implanting of the US military presence in Europe as a major achievement of the post-war system of international relations. This is definitely not the scenario the Allies had in mind while creating the United Nations.

The Soviet Union disintegrated; the Berlin Wall, which had symbolically separated the two “camps,” fell; the irreconcilable ideological stand-off that defined the framework of world politics in virtually all spheres and regions became a thing of the past – yet, these tectonic shifts unfortunately failed to bring the triumph of a unifying agenda. Instead, all we could hear were triumphant pronouncements that the “end of history” had come and that from now on there would be only one global decision-making center.

It is obvious today that efforts to establish a unipolar model have failed. The transformation of the world order has become irreversible. New major players wielding a sustainable economic base seek to increase their influence on regional and global developments; they are fully entitled to claim a greater role in the decision-making process. There is a growing demand for more just and inclusive system. The overwhelming majority of members of the international community reject arrogant neocolonial policies that are employed all over again to empower certain countries to impose their will on others.

All that is greatly disturbing to those who for centuries have been accustomed to setting the patterns of global development by employing exclusive advantages. While the majority of states aspire to a more just system of international relations and genuine rather than declarative respect for the UN Charter principles, these demands come up against the policies desighned to preserve an order allowing a narrow group of countries and transnational corporations to reap from the fruits of globalization. The West’s response to the ongoing developments reveals true worldview of its proponents. Their rhetoric on liberalism, democracy and human rights goes hand in hand with the policies of inequality, injustice, selfishness and a belief in their own exceptionalism.

“Liberalism”, that the West claims to defend, focuses on individuals and their rights and freedoms. This begs the question: how does this correlate with the policy of sanctions, economic strangulation and overt military threats against a number of independent countries such as Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea or Syria? Sanctions directly strike at ordinary people and their well-being and violate their social and economic rights. How does the bombing of sovereign nations, the deliberate policy of destroying their statehood leading to the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and condemning millions of Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians and representatives of other peoples to innumerable suffering add up to the imperative of protecting human rights? The reckless Arab Spring gamble destroyed the unique ethnic and religious mosaic in the Middle East and North Africa.

In Europe, the proponents of liberal concepts get along quite well with massive violations of the Russian-speaking population rights in a number of EU and EU-neighboring countries. Those countries violate multilateral international conventions by adopting laws that infringe language and education rights of ethnic minorities.

What is “liberal” about visa denials and other sanctions imposed by the West on residents of Russia’s Crimea? They are punished for their democratic vote in favour of reunification with their historical homeland. Does this not contradict the basic right of the people to free self-determination, let alone the right of the citizens to freedom of movement enshrined in international conventions?

Liberalism, or rather its real undistorted essence, has always been an important component of political philosophy both in Russia and worldwide. However, the multiplicity of development models does not allow us to say that the Western “basket” of liberal values has no alternative. And, of course, these values cannot be carried “on bayonets” – ignoring the history of states, their cultural and political identities. Grief and destruction caused by “liberal” aerial bombings are a clear indication of what this can lead to.

The West’s unwillingness to accept today’s realities, when after centuries of economic, political and military domination it is losing the prerogative of being the only one to shape the global agenda, gave rise to the concept of a “rules-based order.” These “rules” are being invented and selectively combined depending on the fleeting needs of the people behind it, and the West persistently introduces this language into everyday usage. The concept is by no means abstract and is actively being implemented. Its purpose is to replace the universally agreed international legal instruments and mechanisms with narrow formats, where alternative, non-consensual methods for resolving various international problems are developed in circumvention of a legitimate multilateral framework. In other words, the expectation is to usurp the decision-making process on key issues.

The intentions of those who initiated this “rules-based order” concept affect the exceptional powers of the UN Security Council. A recent example: when the United States and its allies failed to convince the Security Council to approve politicized decisions that accused, without any proof, the Syrian government of using prohibited toxic substances, they started to promote the “rules” they needed through the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). By manipulating the existing procedures in flagrant violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, they managed (with the votes of a minority of the countries participating in this Convention) to license the OPCW Technical Secretariat to identify those responsible for the use of chemical weapons, which was a direct intrusion in the prerogatives of the UN Security Council. One can also observe similar attempts to “privatize” the secretariats of international organizations in order to advance interests outside of the framework of universal intergovernmental mechanisms in such areas as biological non-proliferation, peacekeeping, prevention of doping in sports and others.

The initiatives to regulate journalism seeking to suppress media freedom in an arbitrary way, the interventionist ideology of “responsibility to protect”, which justifies violent “humanitarian interventions” without UN Security Council approval under the pretext of an imminent threat to the safety of civilians are part of the same policy.

Separately, attention should be paid to the controversial concept of “countering violent extremism”, which lays the blame for the dissemination of radical ideologies and expansion of the social base of terrorism on political regimes that the West has proclaimed undemocratic, illiberal or authoritarian. This concept provides for direct outreach to civil society over the head of legitimate governments. Obviously, the true goal is to withdraw counterterrorism efforts from beneath the UN umbrella and to obtain a tool of interference in the internal affairs of states.

The introduction of such new concepts is a dangerous phenomenon of revisionism, which rejects the principles of international law embodied in the UN Charter and paves the way back to the times of confrontation and antagonism. It is for a reason that the West is openly discussing a new divide between “the rules-based liberal order” and “authoritarian powers.”

Revisionism clearly manifests itself in the area of strategic stability. The US torpedoing first the ABM Treaty and now the INF Treaty (a decision that enjoys unanimous NATO members’ support) have generated risks of dismantling the entire architecture of nuclear arms control agreements. The prospects of the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (The New START) are vague – because the US has not given a clear answer to the Russian proposal to agree to extend the New START beyond its expiry date in February 2021.

Now we are witnessing alarming signs that a media campaign in the United States is being launched to lay the groundwork for abandoning the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (which has not been ratified by the United States). This calls into question the future of this treaty, which is vital for international peace and security. Washington has embarked upon the implementation of its plans to deploy weapons in outer space, rejecting proposals to agree on a universal moratorium on such activities.

There is one more example of introducing revisionist “rules”: the US withdrawal from the  Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program, a multilateral agreement approved by the UN Security Council that is of key importance for the nuclear non-proliferation.

Yet another example is Washington’s open refusal to implement unanimous UN Security Council resolutions on the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the economic field, the “rules” consist of protectionist barriers, sanctions, abuse of the status of the US dollar as the principle means of payment, ensuring competitive advantages by non-market methods, and extraterritorial use of US laws, even towards the United States’ closest allies.

At the same time, our American colleagues are persistently trying to mobilise all of their foreign partners to contain Russia and China. Simultaneously they do not conceal their wish to sow discord between Moscow and Beijing and undermine multilateral alliances and regional integration projects in Eurasia and Asia-Pacific that are operating outside of the US oversight. Pressure is exerted on those countries that do not play by the rules imposed on them and dare make the “wrong choice” of cooperating with US “adversaries”.

So, what do we have as a result? In politics, erosion of the international legal basis, growth of instability and unsustainability, chaotic fragmentation of the global landscape and deepening mistrust between those involved in the international life. In the area of security, blurring of the dividing line between military and non-military means of achieving foreign policy goals, militarization of international relations, increased reliance on nuclear weapons in US security doctrines, lowering the threshold for the use of such armaments, the emergence of new hotbeds of armed conflicts, the persistence of the global terrorist threat, and militarization of the cyberspace. In the world economy, increased volatility, tougher competition for markets, energy resources and their supply routes, trade wars and undermining the multilateral trade system. We can add a surge of migration and deepening of ethnic and religious strife. Do we need such a “rules-based” world order?

Against this background, attempts by Western liberal ideologues to portray Russia as a “revisionist force” are simply absurd. We were among the first to draw attention to the transformation of the global political and economic systems that cannot remain static due to the objective march of history. It would be appropriate to mention here that the concept of multipolarity in international relations that accurately reflects emerging economic and geopolitical realities was formulated two decades ago by the outstanding Russian statesman Yevgeny Primakov. His intellectual legacy remains relevant now as we mark the 90th anniversary of his birth.

As is evident from the experience of recent years, using unilateral tools to address global problems is doomed to failure. The West-promoted “order” does not meet the needs of humankind’s harmonious development. This “order” is non-inclusive, aims to revise the key international legal mechanisms, rejects the principle of collective action in the relations between states, and by definition cannot generate solutions to global problems that would be viable and stable in the long term rather than seek a propaganda effect within an electoral cycle in this or that country.

What is being proposed by Russia? First of all, it is necessary to keep abreast of the times and recognise the obvious: the emergence of a polycentric world architecture is an irreversible process, no matter how hard anyone tries to artificially hold it back (let alone send it in reverse). Most countries don’t want to be held hostage to someone else’s geopolitical calculations and are determined to conduct nationally oriented domestic and foreign policies. It is our common interest to ensure that multipolarity is not based on a stark balance of power like it was at the earlier stages of human history (for example, in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century), but rather bears a just, democratic and unifying nature, takes into account the approaches and concerns of all those taking part in the international relations without an exception, and ensures a stable and secure future.

There are some people in the West who often speculate that polycentric world order inevitably leads to more chaos and confrontation because the “centers of power” will fail to come to terms among themselves and take responsible decisions. But, firstly, why not try? What if it works? For this, all that is necessary is to start talks on the understanding that the parties should seek a balance of interests. Attempts to invent ones’ own “rules” and impose them on all others as the absolute truth should be stopped. From now on, all parties should strictly comply with the principles enshrined in the UN Charter, starting with the respect for the sovereign equality of states regardless of their size, system of government or development model. Paradoxically, countries that portray themselves as paragons of democracy actually care about it only as they demand from other countries to “put their house in order” on a West-inspired pattern. But as soon as the need arises for democracy in intergovernmental relations, they immediately evade honest talk or attempt to interpret international legal norms at their own discretion.

No doubt, life does not stand still. While taking good care of the post-WWII system of international relations that relies on the United Nations, it is also necessary to cautiously though gradually adjust it to the realities of the current geopolitical landscape. This is completely relevant for the UN Security Council, where, judging by today’s standards, the West is unfairly overrepresented. We are confident that reforming the Security Council shall take into account interests of the Asian, the African and the Latin American nations whilst any such design must rest upon the principle of the broadest consensus among the UN member states. The same approach should apply to refining the world trade system, with special attention paid to harmonizing the integration projects in various regions.

We should use to the fullest the potential of the G20, an ambitious, all-encompassing global governance body that represents the interests of all key players and takes unanimous decisions. Other associations are playing a growing role as well, alliances projecting the spirit of a true and democratic multipolarity, based on voluntary participation, consensus, values of equality and sound pragmatism, and refraining from confrontation and bloc approaches. These include BRICS and the SCO, which our country is an active member of and which Russia will chair in 2020.

It is evident that without collective effort and without unbiased partnership under the central coordinating role of the UN it is impossible to curb confrontational tendencies, build up trust and cope with common threats and challenges. It is high time to come to terms on uniform interpretation of the principles and norms of international law rather than try to follow the old saying “might goes before right”. It is more difficult to broker deals than to put forward demands. But patiently negotiated trade-offs will be a much more reliable vehicle for predictable handling of international affairs. Such an approach is badly needed to launch substantive talks on the terms and conditions of a reliable and just system of equal and indivisible security in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasia. This objective has been declared multiple times at the top level in the OSCE documents. It is necessary to move from words to deeds. The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) have repeatedly expressed their readiness to contribute to such efforts.

It is important to increase our assistance to the peaceful resolution of numerous conflicts, be it in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America or the post-Soviet space. The main point is to live up to the earlier arrangements rather than to invent pretexts for refusing to adhere to the obligations.

As of today, it is especially relevant to counter religious and ethnic intolerance. We urge all the nations to work together to prepare for the World Conference on Interfaith and Inter-Ethnic Dialogue that will be held in Russia in May 2022 under the auspices of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the UN. The OSCE that has formulated a principled position condemning anti-Semitism should act with equal resolve toward Christianophobia and Islamophobia.

Our unconditional priority is to continue providing assistance to the unhindered formation of the Greater Eurasian Partnership, a broad integration framework stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific that involves the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and all other countries of the Eurasian continent, including the EU countries. It would be unwise to contain the unifying processes or, worse still, to put up fences. It would be a mistake to reject the obvious strategic advantages of the common Eurasian region in an increasingly competitive world.

Consistent movement towards this constructive goal will allow us not only to keep up the dynamic development of the national economies and to remove obstacles to the movement of goods, capital, labor and services, but it will also create a solid foundation of security and stability throughout the vast region from Lisbon to Jakarta.

Will the multipolar world continue to take shape through cooperation and harmonization of interests or through confrontation and rivalry? This depends on all of us. Russia will continue to promote a positive and unifying agenda aimed at removing the old dividing lines and preventing the appearance of new ones. Russia has advanced initiatives to prevent an arms race in outer space, establish efficient mechanisms for combating terrorism, including chemical and biological terrorism, and to agree upon practical measures to prevent the use of cyberspace for undermining national security or for other criminal purposes.

Our proposals to launch a serious discussion on all aspects of strategic stability in the modern era are still on the table.

There have been ideas floated recently to modify the agenda and update the terms. The proposed subjects for discussion vary between “strategic rivalry” and “multilateral deterrence.” Terminology is negotiable, but it is not terms but the essence that really matters. It is now much more important to start a strategic dialogue on the existing threats and risks and to seek consensus on a commonly acceptable agenda. Yet another outstanding statesman from our country, Andrey Gromyko (his 110th birth anniversary we mark this year) said wisely: “Better to have ten years of negotiations than one day of war.”

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العالم في مفترق طرق ونظام العلاقات الدولية من أجل المستقبل

US Global Power: The Trump Period, The End of Unipolarity

Global Research, May 02, 2019

Introduction

US global power in the Trump period reflects the continuities and changes which are unfolding rapidly and deeply throughout the world and which are affecting the position of Washington.

Assessing the dynamics of US global power is a complex problem which requires examining multiple dimensions.

We will proceed by:

  • Conceptualizing the principles which dictate empire building, specifically the power bases and the dynamic changes in relations and structures which shape the present and future position of the US.
  • Identifying the spheres of influence and power and their growth and decline.
  • Examining the regionsof conflict and contestation.
  • The major and secondary rivalries.
  • The stable and shifting relationsbetween existing and rising power centers.
  • The internal dynamics shaping the relative strength of competing centers of global power.
  • The instability of the regimes and states seeking to retain and expand global power.

Conceptualization of Global Power

US global power is built on several significant facts.  These include:  the US victory in World War II, its subsequent advanced economy and dominant military position throughout five continents.

The US advanced its dominance through a series of alliances in Europe via NATO; Asia via its hegemonic relationship with Japan, South Korea, Philippines and Taiwan as well as Australia and New Zealand in Oceana; Latin America via traditional client regimes; Africa via neo-colonial rulers imposed following independence.

US global power was built around encircling the USSR and China, undermining their economies and defeating their allies militarily via regional wars.

Post WWII global economic and military superiority created subordinated allies and established US global power, but it created the bases for gradual shifts in relations of dominance.

US global power was formidable but subject to economic and military changes over time and in space.

US Spheres of Power:  Then and Now

US global power exploited opportunities but also suffered military setbacks early on, particularly in Korea, Indo-China and Cuba. The US spheres of power were clearly in place in Western Europe and Latin America but was contested in Eastern Europe and Asia.

The most significant advance of US global power took place with the demise and disintegration of the USSR, the client states in Eastern Europe, as well as the transformation of China and Indo-China to capitalism during the 1980’s.

US ideologues declared the coming of a unipolar empire free of restraints and challenges to its global and regional power. The US turned to conquering peripheral adversaries.  Washington destroyed Yugoslavia and then Iraq – fragmenting them into mini-states. Wall Street promoted a multitude of multi-national corporations to invade China and Indo-China who reaped billions of profits exploiting cheap labor.

The believers of the enduring rule of US global power envisioned a century of US imperial rule.

In reality this was a short-sighted vision of a brief interlude.

The End of Unipolarity: New Rivalries and Global and Regional Centers of Power: An Overview

US global power led Washington into  ‘overreach’, in several crucial areas:  it launched a series of costly prolonged wars, specifically in Iraq and Afghanistan, which had three negative consequences:  the destruction of the Iraq armed forces and economy led to the rise of the Islamic State which overtook most of the country; the occupation in Afghanistan which led to the emergence of the Taliban and an ongoing twenty year war which cost hundreds of billions of dollars and several thousand wounded and dead US soldiers; as a result the majority of the US public turned negative toward wars and empire building

The US pillage and dominance of Russia ended, when President Putin replaced Yeltsin’s vassal state.  Russia rebuilt its industry, science, technology and military power.  Russia’s population recovered its living standards.

With Russian independence and advanced military weaponry, the US lost its unipolar  military power.  Nevertheless, Washington financed a coup which virtually annexed two thirds of the Ukraine.  The US incorporated the fragmented Yugoslavian ‘statelets’ into NATO.  Russia countered by annexing the Crimea and secured a mini-state adjacent Georgia.

China converted the economic invasion of US multi-national corporations into learning experiences for building its national economy and export platforms which contributed which led to its becoming an economic competitor and rival to the US.

US global empire building suffered important setbacks in Latin America resulting

from the  the so-called Washington Consensus.  The imposition of neo-liberal policies privatized and plundered their economies, impoverished the working and middle class, and provoked a series of popular uprising and the rise of radical social movements and center-left governments.

The US empire lost spheres of influence in some regions (China, Russia, Latin America, Middle East) though it retained influence among elites in contested regions and even launched new imperial wars in contested terrain.  Most notably the US attacked independent regimes in Libya, Syria, Venezuela, Somalia and Sudan via armed proxies.

The change from a unipolar to a multi polar world and the gradual emergence of regional rivals led US global strategists to rethink their strategy.  The Trump regime’s aggressive policies set the stage for political division within the regime and among allies.

The Obama – Trump Convergence and Differences on Empire Building

By the second decade of the 21stcentury several new global power alignments emerged:  China had become the main economic competitor for world power and Russia was the major military challenger to US military supremacy at the regional level.  The US replaced the former European colonial empire in Africa.  Washington’s sphere of influence extended especially in North and Sub Sahara Africa:  Kenya, Libya, Somalia and Ethiopia.  Trump gained leverage in the Middle East namely in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and Jordan.

Israel retained its peculiar role, converting the US as its sphere of influence.

But the US  faced regional rivals for sphere of influence in Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Algeria.

In South Asia US faced competition for spheres of influence from China, India, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In Latin America sharp and abrupt shifts in spheres of influence were the norm.  US influence declined between 2000 – 2015 and recovered from 2015 to the  present.

Imperial Power Alignments Under President Trump

President Trump faced complex global, regional and local political and economic challenges.

Trump followed and deepened many of the policies launched by the Obama- Hillary Clinton policies with regard to other countries and regions . However Trump also radicalized and/or reversed policies of his predecessors. He combined flattery and aggression at the same time.

At no time did Trump recognize the limits of US global power.  Like the previous three presidents he persisted in the belief that the transitory period of a unipolar global empire could be re-imposed.

Toward Russia, a global competitor, Trump adopted a policy of ‘rollback’.  Trump imposed economic sanctions, with the strategic ‘hope’ that  by impoverishing Russia, degrading its financial and industrial sectors that he could force a regime change which would convert Moscow into a vassal state.

At the beginning of his Presidential campaign Trump flirted with the notion of a business accommodation with Putin. However, Trump’s ultra-belligerent appointments and domestic opposition soon turned him toward a highly militarized strategy, rejecting military – including nuclear – agreements, in favor of military escalation.

Toward China, Trump faced a dynamic and advancing technological competitor. Trump resorted to a ‘trade war’ that went far beyond ‘trade’ to encompass a war against Beijing’s economic structure and social relations.  The Trump regime-imposed sanctions and threatened a total boycott of Chinese exports.

Trump and his economic team demanded China privatize and denationalize its entire state backed industry.  They demanded the power to unilaterally decide when violations of US rules occurred and to be able to re-introduce sanctions without consultations.  Trump demanded all Chinese technological agreements, economic sectors and innovations were subject and open to US business interests.  In other words, Trump demanded the end of Chinese sovereignty and the reversal of the structural base for its global power.  The US was not interested in mere ‘trade’ – it wanted a return to imperial rule over a colonized China.

The Trump regime rejected negotiations and recognition of a shared power relation: it viewed its global rivals as potential clients.

Inevitably the Trump regime’s strategy would never reach any enduring agreements on any substantial issues under negotiations.  China has a successful strategy for global power built on a 6 trillion-dollar world-wide Road and Belt (R and B) development policy, which links 60 countries and several regions. R and B is building seaports, rail and air systems linking industries financed by development banks.

In contrast, the US banks exploits industry, speculates and operates within closed financial circuits.  The US spends trillions on wars, coups, sanctions and other parasitical activities which have nothing to do with economic competitiveness.

The Trump regime’s ‘allies’ in the Middle East namely Saudi Arabia and Israel, are parasitic allies who buy protection and provoke costly wars.

Europe complains about China’s increase in industrial exports and overlook imports of consumer goods.  Yet the EU plans to resist Trump’s sanctions which lead to a blind alley of stagnation!

Conclusion

The most recent period of the  peak of US global power, the decade between 1989-99 contained the seeds of its decline and the current resort to trade wars, sanctions and nuclear threats.

The structure of US global power changed over the past seven decades.  The US global empire building began with the US command over the rebuilding of Western European economies and the displacement of England, France, Portugal and Belgium from Asia and Africa.

The Empire spread and penetrated  South America via US multi-national corporations. However, US empire building was not a linear process as witness  its unsuccessful confrontation with national liberation movements in Korea, Indo China, Southern Africa (Angola, Congo, etc.) and the Caribbean (Cuba).  By the early 1960’s the US had displaced its European rivals and successfully incorporated them as subordinate allies.

Washington’s main rivals for spheres of influence was Communist China and the USSR with their allies among client state and overseas revolutionaries.

The US empire builders’ successes led to the transformation of their Communist and nationalist rivals into emergent capitalist competitors.

In a word US dominance led to the construction of capitalist rivals, especially China and Russia.

Subsequently, following US military defeats and prolonged wars, regional powers proliferated in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and Latin America. Regional blocs competed with US clients for power.

The diversification of power centers led to new and costly wars.  Washington lost exclusive control of markets, resources and alliances.  Competition reduced the spheres of US power.

In the face of these constraints on US global power the Trump regime envisioned a strategy to  recover  US dominance – ignoring the limited capacity and structure of US political , economic and class relations.

China absorbed US technology and went on to create new advances without following each previous stage.

Russia’s recovered from its losses and sanctions  and secured alternative trade relations to counter the new challenges to the US global empire.  Trump’s regime launched a ‘permanent trade war’ without stable allies. Moreover, he failed  to undermine China’s global infrastructure network; Europe demanded and secured autonomy to enter into trade deals with China, Iran and Russia.

Trump has pressured many regional powers who have ignored his threats.

The US still remains a global power.  But unlike the past, the US lacks the industrial base to ‘make America strong’.  Industry is subordinated to finance; technological innovations are not linked to skilled labor  to increase productivity.

Trump relies on sanctions and they have failed to undermine regional influentials.  Sanctions may temporarily reduce access to US markets’ but we have observed that new trade partners take their place.

Trump has gained client regimes in Latin America, but the gains are precarious and subject to reversal.

Under the Trump regime, big business and bankers have increased prices in the stock market and even the rate of growth of the  GDP, but he confronts severe domestic political instability, and high levels of turmoil among the branches of government.  In pursuit of loyalty over competence, Trump’s appointments have led to the ascendancy of cabinet officials who seek to wield unilateral power which the US no longer possesses.

Elliot Abrams can massacre a quarter-million Central Americans with impunity, but he has failed to impose US power over Venezuela and Cuba.  Pompeo can threaten North Kore, Iran and China but these countries fortify alliances with US rivals and competitors.  Bolton can advance the interests of Israel but their conversations take place in a telephone booth – it lacks resonance with any major powers.

Trump has won a presidential election, he has secured concessions from some countries but he has alienated regional and diplomatic allies.  Trump claims he is making America strong, but he has undermined lucrative strategic multi-lateral trade agreements.

US ‘Global Power’ does not prosper with bully-tactics.  Projections of power alone, have failed – they require recognition of realistic economic limitations and the losses from regional wars.

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Award winning author Prof. James Petras is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Russia and China Are Containing the US to Reshape the World Order

Russia and China Are Containing the US to Reshape the World Order

Russia and China Are Containing the US to Reshape the World Order

Fortunately the world today is very different from that of 2003, Washington’s decrees are less effective in determining the world order. But in spite of this new, more balanced division of power amongst several powers, Washington appears ever more aggressive towards allies and enemies alike, regardless of which US president is in office.

China and Russia are leading this historic transition while being careful to avoid direct war with the United States. To succeed in this endeavor, they use a hybrid strategy involving diplomacy, military support to allies, and economic guarantees to countries under Washington’s attack.

The United States considers the whole planet its playground. Its military and political doctrine is based on the concept of liberal hegemony, as explained by political scientist John Mearsheimer. This imperialistic attitude has, over time, created a coordinated and semi-official front of countries resisting this liberal hegemony. The recent events in Venezuela indicate why cooperation between these counter-hegemonic countries is essential to accelerating the transition from a unipolar to a multipolar reality, where the damage US imperialism is able to bring about is diminished.

Moscow and Beijing lead the world by hindering Washington

Moscow and Beijing, following a complex relationship from the period of the Cold War, have managed to achieve a confluence of interests in their grand objectives over the coming years. The understanding they have come to mainly revolves around stemming the chaos Washington has unleashed on the world.

The guiding principle of the US military-intelligence apparatus is that if a country cannot be controlled (such as Iraq following the 2003 invasion), then it has to be destroyed in order to save it from falling into Sino-Russian camp. This is what the United States has attempted to do with Syria, and what it intends to do with Venezuela.

The Middle East is an area that has drawn global attention for some time, with Washington clearly interested in supporting its Israeli and Saudi allies in the region. Israel pursues a foreign policy aimed at dismantling the Iranian and Syrian states. Saudi Arabia also pursues a similar strategy against Iran and Syria, in addition to fueling a rift within the Arab world stemming from its differences with Qatar.

The foreign-policy decisions of Israel and Saudi Arabia have been supported by Washington for decades, for two very specific reasons: the influence of the Israel lobby in the US, and the need to ensure that Saudi Arabia and the OPEC countries sell oil in US dollars, thereby preserving the role of the US dollar as the global reserve currency.

The US dollar remaining the global reserve currency is essential to Washington being able to maintain her role as superpower and is crucial to her hybrid strategy against her geopolitical rivals. Sanctions are a good example of how Washington uses the global financial and economic system, based on the US dollar, as a weapon against her enemies. In the case of the Middle East, Iran is the main target, with sanctions aimed at preventing the Islamic Republic from trading on foreign banking systems. Washington has vetoed Syria’s ability to procure contracts to reconstruct the country, with European companies being threatened that they risk no longer being able to work in the US if they accept to work in Syria.

Beijing and Moscow have a clear diplomatic strategy, jointly rejecting countless motions advanced by the US, the UK and France at the United Nations Security Council condemning Iran and Syria. On the military front, Russia continues her presence in Syria. China’s economic efforts, although not yet fully visible in Syria and Iran, will be the essential part of reviving these countries destroyed by years of war inflicted by Washington and her allies.

China and Russia’s containment strategy in the Middle East aims to defend Syria and Iran diplomatically using international law, something that is continuously ridden roughshod over by the US and her regional allies. Russia’s military action has been crucial to curbing and defeating the inhuman aggression launched against Syria, and has also drawn a red line that Israel cannot cross in its efforts to attack Iran. The defeat of the United States in Syria has created an encouraging precedent for the rest of the world. Washington has been forced to abandon the original plans to getting rid of Assad.

Syria will be remembered in the future as the beginning of the multipolar revolution, whereby the United States was contained in military-conventional terms as a result of the coordinated actions of China and Russia.

China’s economic contribution provides for such urgent needs as the supply of food, government loans, and medicines to countries under Washington’s economic siege. So long as the global financial system remains anchored to the US dollar, Washington remains able to cause a lot of pain to countries refusing to obey her diktats.

The effectiveness of economic sanctions varies from country to country. The Russian Federation used sanctions imposed by the West as an impetus to obtain a complete, or almost autonomous, refinancing of its main foreign debt, as well as to producing at home what had previously been imported from abroad. Russia’s long-term strategy is to open up to China and other Asian countries as the main market for imports and exports, reducing contacts with the Europeans if countries like France and Germany continue in their hostility towards the Russian Federation.

Thanks to Chinese investments, together with planned projects like the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the hegemony of the US dollar is under threat in the medium to long term. The Chinese initiatives in the fields of infrastructure, energy, rail, road and technology connections among dozens of countries, added to the continuing need for oil, will drive ever-increasing consumption of oil in Asia that is currently paid for in US dollars.

Moscow is in a privileged position, enjoying good relations with all the major producers of oil and LNG, from Qatar to Saudi Arabia, and including Iran, Venezuela and Nigeria. Moscow’s good relations with Riyadh are ultimately aimed at the creation of an OPEC+ arrangement that includes Russia.

Particular attention should be given to the situation in Venezuela, one of the most important countries in OPEC. Riyadh sent to Caracas in recent weeks a tanker carrying two million barrels of oil, and Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has taken a neutral stance regarding Venezuela, maintaining a predictable balance between Washington and Caracas.

These joint initiatives, led by Moscow and Beijing, are aimed at reducing the use of the US dollar by countries that are involved in the BRI and adhere to the OPEC+ format. This diversification away from the US dollar, to cover financial transactions between countries involving investment, oil and LNG, will see the progressive abandonment of the US dollar as a result of agreements that increasingly do away with the dollar.

For the moment, Riyadh does not seem intent on losing US military protection. But recent events to do with Khashoggi, as well as the failure to list Saudi Aramco on the New York or London stock exchanges, have severely undermined the confidence of the Saudi royal family in her American allies. The meeting between Putin and MBS at the G20 in Bueno Aires seemed to signal a clear message to Washington as well as the future of the US dollar.

Moscow and Beijing’s military, economic and diplomatic efforts see their culmination in the Astana process. Turkey is one of the principle countries behind the aggression against Syria; but Moscow and Tehran have incorporated it into the process of containing the regional chaos spawned by the United States. Thanks to timely agreements in Syria known as “deconfliction zones”, Damascus has advanced, city by city, to clear the country of the terrorists financed by Washington, Riyadh and Ankara.

Qatar, an economic guarantor of Turkey, which in return offers military protection to Doha, is also moving away from the Israeli-Saudi camp as a result of Sino-Russian efforts in the energy, diplomatic and military fields. Doha’s move has also been because of the fratricidal diplomatic-economic war launched by Riyadh against Doha, being yet another example of the contagious effect of the chaos created by Washington, especially on US allies Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Washington loses military influence in the region thanks to the presence of Moscow, and this leads traditional US allies like Turkey and Qatar to gravitate towards a field composed essentially of the countries opposed to Washington.

Washington’s military and diplomatic defeat in the region will in the long run make it possible to change the economic structure of the Middle East. A multipolar reality will prevail, where regional powers like Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran will feel compelled to interact economically with the whole Eurasian continent as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The basic principle for Moscow and Beijing is the use of military, economic and diplomatic means to contain the United States in its unceasing drive to kill, steal and destroy.

From the Middle East to Asia

Beijing has focussed in Asia on the diplomatic field, facilitating talks between North and South Korea, accelerating the internal dialogue on the peninsula, thereby excluding external actors like the United States (who only have the intention of sabotaging the talks). Beijing’s military component has also played an important role, although never used directly as the Russian Federation did in Syria. Washington’s options vis-a-vis the Korean peninsular were strongly limited by the fact that bordering the DPRK were huge nuclear and conventional forces, that is to say, the deterrence offered by Russia and China. The combined military power of the DPRK, Russia and China made any hypothetical invasion and bombing of Pyongyang an impractical option for the United States.

As in the past, the economic lifeline extended to Pyongyang by Moscow and Beijing proved to be decisive in limiting the effects of the embargo and the complete financial war that Washington had declared on North Korea. Beijing and Moscow’s skilled diplomatic work with Seoul produced an effect similar to that of Turkey in the Middle East, with South Korea slowly seeming to drift towards the multipolar world offered by Russia and China, with important economic implications and prospects for unification of the peninsula.

Russia and China – through a combination of playing a clever game of diplomacy, military deterrence, and offering to the Korean peninsula the prospect of economic investment through the BRI – have managed to frustrate Washington’s efforts to unleash chaos on their borders via the Korean peninsula.

The United States seems to be losing its imperialistic mojo most significantly in Asia and the Middle East, not only militarily but also diplomatically and economically.

The situation is different in Europe and Venezuela, two geographical areas where Washington still enjoys greater geopolitical weight than in Asia and the Middle East. In both cases, the effectiveness of the two Sino-Russian resistance – in military, economic and diplomatic terms – is more limited, for different reasons. This situation, in line with the principle of America First and the return to the Monroe doctrine, will be the subject of the next article.

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Munich Conference Showed That America Is Losing Ground

Source

February 18, 2019

Munich Conference Showed That America Is Losing Ground

by Ruslan Ostashko

Translated by Scott and captioned by Leo.

The annual Security Conference, traditionally hosted by Germany in Munich, this time was not attended by neither the leader of Russia nor by the head of the United States. The latter was replaced by Vice President Mike Pence, who tried to convince the audience that America is strong. This came out not very convincing.

It has been 12 years since Vladimir Putin delivered his famous “Munich speech.” It was dubbed the starting point for a new “Cold War” between Russia and the West. A year and a half later an “Olympic war” commenced and ended with bringing Georgia to its senses despite it being pumped up by the “most advanced” American weapons. And going on further, everything following was deepening of the conflict.

Now, after 12 years, we can sum up some results. The first and the main result: a “unipolar world” has been destroyed. Flown in from Washington, the Vice President of the United States, of course, puffed up his cheeks. But his demands weren’t concerning Russia, but the European vassals of America, who reacted to Pence’s demands without usual enthusiasm. Here’s what was written on this by my friend and colleague Ivan Danilov.

“By and large, on the Munich stage, the world was shown a completely different America, its new image only seen so far by very few people: it’s an image of a Hegemon affronted by the entire world, which is experiencing mental suffering from the fact that its desires are no longer fulfilled like before. Pence presented Germany in particular and the European Union as a whole a fairly large list of grievances that cause irritation in Washington. Vice President of the US criticized the Nord Stream 2 and virtually accused Germany that support for this project, Berlin contributes to the increasing dependency of the EU on Russia.’We cannot protect the West if our allies depend on the East,’ he said. The European Union was required to immediately abandon attempts to circumvent American sanctions against Iran and possibly join them.”

The fact that Pence did not want to talk about cooperation, and demanded submission, has been noticed even by the American media. The New York Times wrote  that the Vice President of the United States “focused on the list of requirements for American allies.”

How exactly these same allies took Pence’s demands is clearly demonstrated in the title of the German magazine Spiegel: Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz Trumps Bauchrednerpuppe. l

“America is not the leader, it is losing ground,” the newspaper writes in response to Pence’s words that ‘the US has become the leader of the free world.’ If we translate from politically correct into Russian, the German journalists actually declared that the “king of democracy” is naked.

The Russian delegation, that had enough of the slogan “America is the strongest,” was adding fuel to the fire. This is what Deputy foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said:

“The West, with its self-conceit, self-aggrandizement, and its belief in the infallibility of its own approaches to civilization, world development, values, should stop and think for a moment: if you value your world order so much, can you increase the risks of your existence for the sake of the pursuit of ephemeral establishment of a universal, God forbid, New Order for the rest of the world?”

It sounds sarcastic and in its form and in its content. Actually, our delegation headed by Sergey Lavrov, focused on shaking the “Euro-Atlantic unity” in Munich. For example, the Russian Foreign Minister sarcastically pointed to the duality of the behavior of representatives of the EU. They were publicly stigmatizing Moscow, but in private whined about the fact that they needed the normalization of relations with Russia.

“Apparently, while this has not happened, they somehow have to be guided by their mutual responsibility and follow the course, which is fixed in the European Union under the pressure of an aggressive Russophobic minority. But we patiently explain our readiness to resume relations on an equal basis to the extent and with such speed in which it will be convenient to our partners.”

That is, the second result of the “Cold War 2.0” can be formulated as follows: “the US sustainable sovereignty over the EU is no more.” Sergey Lavrov used constructive terms to describe the situation:

“The common European house needs major repairs. The tasks are really large-scale. They can only be effectively addressed together, on a universal basis.”

The participants of the conference who listened to these words burst into thunderous applause. They only applauded more to Angela Merkel, while Mike Pence did not receive any applause at all.

*Clip plays*

I thank you for your attention, and I’m ready to answer your questions.

*Loud applause*

Finally, about the third result of the Cold War 2.0. It’s the fact that the plan to strangle Russia with the notorious “isolation” failed. Moreover, as admitted by the same Lavrov before leaving for Moscow, Russian diplomats would not mind a bit of “isolation.”

“We would even like to see some isolation, because the negotiations went back-to-back for more than two dozen meetings. Our entire delegation worked without a break.”

What is 12 years on the historical scale? Nothing. To destroy in such a short period of time all that the United States has built up over the decades since the creation of NATO and to the peak of its power at the beginning of the XXI century – is something remarkable. It will take another 12 years to compare the “overhaul” of the world order with the situation today. Do you have any predictions about what our country will achieve by February 2031?

State of Denial: Will The American Empire Die Before It Wakes Up?

By Michael Howard
Source

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At the start of a 1986 essay for The Nation, in which he had the chutzpah to tell the truth about Israel and American Zionism, Gore Vidal gave his prescription for the moribund American empire, its once-unrivaled economy having been caught up to by Tokyo and Beijing. “For America to survive economically in the coming Sino-Japanese world,” he wrote, “an alliance with the Soviet Union is a necessity. After all, the white race is a minority race with many well deserved enemies, and if the two great powers of the Northern Hemisphere don’t band together, we are going to end up as farmers—or, worse, mere entertainment—for the more than one billion grimly efficient Asiatics.”

Needless to say, the empire didn’t take his advice. The Russkis remained an “existential threat” until the fall of the Soviet Union, at which point NATO (aka Washington) set off on its belligerent march eastward. Said march is still going strong: Montenegro was gobbled up in June of last year, while Ukraine, Georgia and Macedonia have been tagged “aspiring members.” Ukraine and Georgia were promised future membership in 2008.

Cursory inspection of a map of Europe demonstrates why sane people are worried about this. As things stand, three countries—Norway, Estonia and Latvia—have the special distinction of sharing a border with Russia and belonging to a military alliance openly hostile to Russia. Ukraine and Georgia, should NATO make good on its promise, would bring that number up to five. The West is not prepared to rest until Russia is completely hemmed in. Recent military conflicts in Georgia and Ukraine (all Moscow’s fault, naturally) can only be understood in that context.

For those without access to a map, or whose brains have been permanently damaged by the US propaganda machine, a quick thought experiment. Suppose a Russian-led military alliance which has been expanding steadily westward for the past twenty-odd years, bombing and dismembering countries along the way, included most of Central America and had plans to incorporate Canada and Mexico. Suppose, moreover, that this hypothetical entity was in the process of surrounding the United States with a system of missile defense interceptors. Last, suppose Russia had a nasty habit of unilaterally invading and attacking sovereign countries, and a military budget eleven times the size of the United States’.

You could be forgiven for (1) feeling disconcerted and (2) concluding that Russia was a outlaw state, led by a gang of reckless thugs, that represented a grave threat not only to the US but to the whole planet. And the US could be forgiven for doing everything in its power to protect itself against Russia’s malignant behavior—would have an obligation to, in fact.

The reverse situation is what we now find ourselves in. It’s another Cold War, only without the parity that characterized the first one: today there’s no equivalence between US and Russian power (reminder: the Warsaw Pact was dissolved in 1991), nor is there any between their actions and intentions. Washington wants world domination; Moscow wants national security and a multi-polar world order. Russia is not a rival of, let alone a threat to, the United States. China, on the other hand, is. Having already surpassed the US as the world’s largest economy, Beijing is now in a position to challenge the American empire’s claim to global primacy. No amount of jailed Chinese executives is going to change that.

Which means that Vidal’s words are as relevant as ever, more than thirty years after they were written. If the US intends to hold on to its major-power status, a friendlier relationship with Russia is essential. (It’s also essential if we intend to avoid a nuclear exchange, but no one seems to care very much about that.) Demonizing and provoking Russia is a counterproductive waste of time—it will serve only to push Moscow closer to Beijing, as well as other, smaller countries being bullied by Washington.

Consider the case of Iran, on whose economy Washington has once again declared war. Europe may be spineless enough to play along, but what incentive does Moscow have to stop trading with Tehran? None at all. As George Galloway noted after Venezuela (also under economic attack) announced it would no longer use the dollar, it doesn’t make a bit of sense for countries like Iran, China and Russia to trade in dollars when that very currency is being weaponized against them. They have every reason to rebuff the US and, by extension, the petrodollar. By sanctioning everyone in sight, the US is undermining its own interests and contributing to its own decline.

Don’t count on the movers and shakers in Washington to recognize this any time soon. They’re determined to make as many enemies as possible. Caspar Milquetoast’s evil twin, The Honorable John Bolton (THJB), evinced this in a recent speech outlining the Trump regime’s new policy toward Africa. Going forward, THJB warned, the US will work to push back against China and Russia’s “predatory practices” on the continent. Per THJB, “China uses bribes, opaque agreements, and the strategic use of debt to hold states in Africa captive to Beijing’s wishes and demands. Its investment ventures are riddled with corruption, and do not meet the same environmental or ethical standards as US development projects.”

Trump’s strategy to counteract this? Blackmail.

“The United States will no longer provide indiscriminate assistance across the entire continent, without focus or prioritization,” THJB said. “And we will no longer support unproductive, unsuccessful, and unaccountable UN peacekeeping missions.” Elaborating, he added: “We want something more to show for Americans’ hard-earned taxpayer dollars”—like illegal Israeli settlements, for example.

In other words, Africa must choose between being exploited by China and being exploited by the United States. This continent ain’t big enough for two geopolitical rapists. So pick, and pick wisely, or you can kiss your peacekeeping missions goodbye. A fine example of Washington’s impeccable “ethical standards.”

As for them Russians, THJB says they export weapons and energy to Africa in exchange for votes at the UN that keep “strongmen in power, undermine peace and security, and run counter to the best interests of the African people.” The Trump regime, needless to say, is opposed to strongmen, in favor of peace and security, and has the African people’s best interests at heart. This trio of principles accounts for our humanitarian intervention in Libya, now a failed state marked by widespread violence, terrorism and human trafficking. It also accounts for AFRICOM, the Pentagon’s shady operation in West Africa. AFRICOM’s express purpose is—you guessed right—to fight terrorism and ensure regional security (they’re doing a bang-up job). Back in 2008, however, Vice-Admiral Robert Moeller let slip a grain of truth: one of AFRICOM’s “guiding principles” is to facilitate “the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market.” Shocking!

China, we’re told, uses “bribes, opaque agreements, and the strategic use of debt” to get what it wants in Africa. The United States uses soldiers. Africa, would you prefer to be strangled or stabbed to death?

The gangsters in DC evidently think that they can have the entire continent of Africa to themselves. That’s the level of delusion on which the United States is operating. The more vulnerable it becomes, the more convinced it is of its invulnerability. As it runs out of steam, it moves the throttle up a notch. It’s an acute case of verleugnung. We’re into Norma Desmond territory at this point.

The empire is on its death bed—it will die, and it will be an ugly death. That is, unless we wake up to the blindingly obvious reality that the world is no longer ours to rule, and that, in order to soften the blow of our impending collapse, we must make nice with old enemies. We can start with the Russians. After all, according to THJB, their hobbies include shoring up dictators, disrupting peace and security, and taking advantage of third world countries. We’ll get along famously.

Seven Days of Failures for the American Empire

By Federico Pieraccini
Source

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On November 25, two artillery boats of the Gyurza-M class, the Berdiansk and Nikopol, one tugboat, the Yany Kapu, as well as 24 crew members of the Ukrainian Navy, including two SBU counterintelligence officers, were detained by Russian border forces. In the incident, the Russian Federation employed Sobol-class patrol boats Izumrud and Don, as  well as two Ka-52, two Su-25 and one Su-30 aircraft.

Ukraine’s provocation follows the advice of several American think-tanks like the Atlantic Council, which have been calling for NATO involvement in the Sea of Azov for months. The area is strategically important for Moscow, which views its southern borders, above all the Sea of Azov, as a potential flash point for conflict due to the Kiev’s NATO-backed provocations.

To deter such adventurism, Moscow has deployed to the Kerch Strait and the surrounding coastal area S-400 batteries, modernized S-300s, anti-ship Bal missile systems, as well as numerous electronic-warfare systems, not to mention the Russian assets and personnel arrayed in the military districts abutting Ukraine. Such provocations, egged on by NATO and American policy makers, are meant to provide a pretext for further sanctions against Moscow and further sabotage Russia’s relations with European countries like Germany, France and Italy, as well as, quite naturally, to frustrate any personal interaction between Trump and Putin.

This last objective seems to have been achieved, with the planned meeting between Trump and Putin at the G20 in Buenos Aires being cancelled. As to the the other objectives, they seem to have failed miserably, with Berlin, Paris and Rome showing no intention of imposing additional sanctions against Russia, recognizing the Ukrainian provocation fow what it is. The intention to further isolate Moscow by the neocons, neoliberals and most of the Anglo-Saxon establishment seems to have failed, demonstrated in Buenos Aires with the meeting between the BRICS countries on the sidelines and the bilateral meetings between Putin and Merkel.

On November 30, following almost two-and-a-half months of silence, the Israeli air force bombed Syria with three waves of cruise missiles. The first and second waves were repulsed over southern Syria, and the third, composed of surface-to-surface missiles, were also downed. At the same time, a loud explosion was heard in al-Kiswah, resulting in the blackout of Israeli positions in the area.

The Israeli attack was fully repulsed, with possibly two IDF drones being downed as well. This effectiveness of Syria’s air defenses corresponds with Russia’s integration of Syria’s air defenses with its own systems, manifestly improving the Syrians’ kill ratios even without employing the new S-300 systems delivered to Damascus, let alone Russia’s own S-400s. The Pantsirs and S-200s are enough for the moment, confirming my hypothesis more than two months ago that the modernized S-300 in the hands of the Syrian army is a potentially lethal weapon even for the F-35, forbidding the Israelis from employing their F-35s.

With the failed Israeli attack testifying to effectiveness of Russian air-defense measures recently deployed to the country, even the United States is finding it difficult to operate in the country. As the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War confirms:

“Russia has finished an advanced anti-access/area denial (A2AD) network in Syria that combines its own air defense and electronic warfare systems with modernized equipment. Russia can use these capabilities to mount the long-term strategic challenge of the US and NATO in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East, significantly widen the geographic reach of Russia’s air defense network. Russia stands to gain a long-term strategic advantage over NATO through its new capabilities in Syria. The US and NATO must now account for the risk of a dangerous escalation in the Middle East amidst any confrontation with Russia in Eastern Europe.”

The final blow in a decidedly negative week for Washington’s ambitions came in Buenos Aires during the G20, where Xi Jinping was clearly the most awaited guest, bringing in his wake investments and opportunities for cooperation and mutual benefit, as opposed to Washington’s sanctions and tariffs for its own benefit to the detriment of others. The key event of the summit was the dinner between Xi Jinping and Donald Trump that signalled Washington’s defeat in the trade war with Beijing. Donald Trump fired the first shot of the economic war, only to succumb just 12 months later with GM closing five plants and leaving 14,000 unemployed at home as Trump tweeted about his economic achievements.

Trump was forced to suspend any new tariffs for a period of ninety days, with his Chinese counterpart intent on demonstrating how an economic war between the two greatest commercial powers had always been a pointless propagandistic exercise. Trump’s backtracking highlights Washington’s vulnerability to de-dollarization, the Achilles’ heel of US hegemony.

The American-led world system is experiencing setbacks at every turn. The struggle between the Western elites seems to be reaching a boil, with Frau Merkel ever more isolated and seeing her 14-year political dominance as chancellor petering out. Macron seems to be vying for the honor of being the most unpopular French leader in history, provoking violent protests that have lasted now for weeks, involving every sector of the population. Macron will probably be able to survive this political storm, but his political future looks dire.

The neocons/neoliberals have played one of the last cards available to them using the Ukrainian provocation, with Kiev only useful as the West’s cannon fodder against Russia. In Syria, with the conflict coming to a close and Turkey only able to look on even as it maintains a strong foothold in Idlib, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States are similarly unable to affect the course of the conflict. The latest Israeli aggression proved to be a humiliation for Tel Aviv and may have signalled a clear, possibly definitive warning from Moscow, Tehran and Damascus to all the forces in the region. The message seems to be that there is no longer any possibility of changing the course of the conflict in Syria, and every provocation from here on will be decisively slapped down. Idlib is going to be liberated and America’s illegal presence in the north of Syria will have to be dealt with at the right time.

Ukraine’s provocation has only strengthened Russia’s military footprint in Crimea and reinforced Russia’s sovereign control over the region. Israel’s recent failure in Syria only highlights how the various interventions of the US, the UK, France and Turkey over the years have only obliged the imposition of an almost unparalleled A2AD space that severely limits the range of options available to Damascus’s opponents.

The G20 also served to confirm Washington’s economic diminution commensurate with its military one in the face of an encroaching multipolar environment. The constant attempts to delegitimize the Trump administration by America’s elites, also declared an enemy by the European establishment, creates a picture of confusion in the West that benefits capitals like New Delhi, Moscow, Beijing and Tehran who offer instead stability, cooperation and dialogue.

As stated in previous articles, the confusion reigning amongst the Western elites only accelerates the transition to a multipolar world, progressively eroding the military and economic power of the US.

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