China in the crosshairs – is a war in the Far East and Pacific next?

OCTOBER 03, 2021

China in the crosshairs – is a war in the Far East and Pacific next?

As in my previous post, I will begin with referring you to two pieces.

First, the typical China-bashing propaganda: https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/taiwan-bristles-lashes-out-after-chinas-record-aerial-show-force

Second, a very solid debunking of the China-bashing crap above: https://www.moonofalabama.org/2021/10/how-ap-reuters-and-scmp-propagandize-their-readers-against-china.html

By the way, I also highly recommend to all my readers to read Moon of Alabama  (https://www.moonofalabama.org/) at least once a day.  ‘b’ is a very solid analyst and his website is superb.  Even better is the fact that he often writes about topics I do not cover, or he covers them differently, so make sure to check him out daily 🙂

Now about China.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Anglos have had China in the crosshairs for a while and that now China has become the evil, devious boogeyman #1, displacing Russia from that position.   By the way, this hysterical paranoia and hatred of China is equally shared by the two indistinguishable factions of the single Imperial Party which runs the USA: hatred for China is a political consensus, at least in the USA ruling class (hence the stupid “CCP virus” expression and other such illiterate infantilisms).

Here is my strictly personal and subjective interpretations of what happened and why China is now the Official Enemy Number One Hypervillain.

I will being by comparing China to the other two AngloZionist Official Hypervillain Enemies Number 2 and 3.

Russia.  The US/NATO/EU policy on Russia has comprehensively failed.  It has failed politically (the Evil Putin “KGB killer” is still in power and does not even have a semi-serious competitor – pro-western sentiments in Russias are now somewhere in the 1-2 percent max), economically (Russia has recovered from both sanctions and the COVID induced crisis and is booming, at least compared to the West) and militarily (the US and NATO are now the proverbial paper tigers).  Finally, the entire “Ukrainian strategy” has also faceplanted and has now turned into an unmanageable nightmare for the EU (which richly deserves this). In other words, Europe is now a “bad place” for the USA which really can’t do much to change this reality.

Iran.  The US/NATO/EU policy on Iran has also comprehensively failed.  Yes, Iran is going through very difficult times, the sanctions and COVID did, and are still, hurting it, but militarily Iran has successfully defeated the AngloZionist alliance in two ways: first, by deterring the AngloZionists from a direct attack (so far) and by showing its true capabilities in its superb missile strikes on US bases: a CENTCOM+Israeli attack on Iran would be suicidal, and the AngloZionists know it (even while they deny it).  Add to this the Russian+Iranian victory in Syria and the terminal inability of the Israelis to deal with Hezbollah and and Saudis to deal with the Houthis, and you will see that the Middle East is yet another “bad place”  for the USA which really can’t do much to change this reality (if they attack Iran it will be the end of Israel and CENTCOM). And I won’t even mention the Kabul event which showed to the word the true face and capabilities of the US armed forces.

Which logically leaves only China as the Official Enemy Number One Hypervillain.  Here are a few reasons for that:

  • China is the biggest and strongest economic power on the planet and the Chinese are geniuses in commerce and trade.
  • China is run by a leadership which the US cannot control, break, corrupt or otherwise subdue (I am talking about the leadership collectively, not individuals;  traitors exist everywhere).
  • China and Russia have a very successful alliance which the Anglos tried very hard to break by spreading anti-Chinese propaganda in Russia and anti-Russian propaganda in China.  The result?  The two countries are MORE than “just” allied, they are symbionts who are so “perfectly different” and that “fit together” like Lego pieces!
  • China has made incredible progress in the military field: in the 80s and 90s, China had a huge military, but which was decades behind the USA and the USSR/Russia.  This is now changing very very fast and has been for 20 years.
  • While the US has a money printing press, China has actual technologies and real manufacturing capabilities and the outcome here is not in doubt: it’s just a matter of time before the quasi industrialized USA becomes un-resucable by just printing billions of dollars.
  • The US cannot control the Chinese Internet, which deprives it from is main weapon (all that crap about human rights, the (non-) massacre in Tienanmen, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet etc. etc. etc. as if the West was not the worst violator of human rights on the planet, and by far!)

I am sure there are many more reasons, but the above is just a sample.  It is crucial to keep in mind the difference between reasons and pretexts.  Nobody in the western ruling class give a damn about human rights or any other Chinese problems (fictional or very real).  And I am not denying that there are real problems in China, like in any other country by the way.  I am saying that the western rhetoric about China is hypocritical crap.

Also, China does have real weaknesses.  I will list only the few I am aware of:

  • While the Chinese military has made immense progress, it is mostly technological.  Russian officers who trained with their Chinese counterparts regularly report that “culture” of the Chinese ground forces is still much inferior to, say, the Russian ones.  But I bet you that a Chinese solider in defense of his own land will outperform any Anglo imperialist solider fighting for “democracy” (Ha!) thousands of miles away from home.  Again, like the USA, the Chinese culture is not really a military one and the strengths of the Chinese lie elsewhere (commerce, emigration, business, etc.).  Also, it is likely that the problems reported by Russian military advisors about the Chinese ground forces do not apply to “high tech” domains such as aerospace, acoustics, etc.  Finally, even if  historically the Chinese are not a nation born warriors, it is likely that this weakness is much more evident in “general purpose” military forces and is much less applicable to the PRC’s specialized and high-tech forces (Air Force, Navy, special forces, ELINT, etc.)
  • The Chinese are still struggling in some key military technology domains, such as aircraft engines, but they are catching up really fast.  From the Anglo point of view, this means that it is a “now or never” situation, lest China accomplishes what Russia did between 2000 and 2021, which they might.
  • China, like Russia, is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious state, which is why the Anglos always try to use this diversity against the peoples of China (they failed in Russia, but in Chechnia they came very close, do we should never discount that real Anglo capability!).
  • China is run by the Chinese Communist Party which inevitably brings images of Nike-Gulags, devious secret agents and all the rest of the stuff Anglos like to scare themselves with.  That the word “Communism” in 2021 has a totally different meaning than in the 20th century is too complex a notion for many to even contemplate.
  • As many of my readers know, I do not consider that Russia is culturally part of Europe, but it is geographically European, at least west of the Urals, and the Russians are (mostly) “White” which western racists nowadays seem to like a lot (not so much in the times of Nazi Europe, obviously).  So the bad old European racism, itself a pretext for imperialism, is even worse with these “Fu-manchu gooks”.  Sinophobia has a particularly long history in the United States, much older than russophobia, by the way.
  • China is at least partially surrounded by Anglo colonies run comprador elites (Taiwan, Japan, etc.) and by countries who fear the very real regional influence and power of China (Philippines, India, etc.).
  • The US has some truly ideal “unsinkable bases” in the region (Japan, Hawaii, Australia, etc.) which are hard to neutralize (but that is also changing, and quickly).

Again, this is a partial list, and I am sure that our commentators can expand on this, or point out that some of my assumptions are simply wrong.

But let’s not overthink this either.

The western ruling elites are in a panic and they are consolidating into a smaller but potentially tougher “Anglosphere” whose best (or “least bad”) positions are in the Pacific (as I have always maintained, big, multinational alliances are great as fig-leafs to justify imperialism, but militarily they inevitably suck, badly).  From their point of view this policy of “circling the wagons” (expression straight from genocidal, imperialistic times) makes sense and is really the own viable option.

I will mention a few good news, and then let our commentators take over.  Here are a few good ones:

  • Russia will never allow the Anglosphere to defeat China militarily.  Simply put, she can’t afford it.  I will make a prediction: Chinese SSNs will, in the near future, get much better sensors and integration, they “develop” better quieting technologies and faster SSNs with smaller crews and superior automation.  As for Chinese aircraft, they are already very impressive, and China does not have the same need as Russia for advanced long range strategic bombers (where they still lag behind the most): they can use missiles instead.
  • The pace of progress of the PRC is truly amazing and, unlike Russia’s, the Chinese industrial base is huge and once they “get” a technology “right” – they can produce it in huge amounts.  So even IF the best Chinese submarine is still inferior or, at best, more or less on par, with the original Los Angeles class, they can produce them (and other ships or aircraft) in much larger amounts than the Anglosphere.
  • The Chinese space program does, to my admittedly non-engineer eyes, look much more promising that the PR crap of Bezos or Musk managed to peddle to the terminally misinformed US tax payer.  This is very important, crucial even, for modern warfare.
  • The Chinese leaders are (FINALLY!) speaking up!!  In the past, it was all Putin and Russia, the Chinese mostly kept a low profile, but now they are confident enough to call a “stone and stone” and they are very successfully hitting back at the Anglo propaganda, openly and bluntly.
  • By all accounts, the Chinese are proud patriots who will not sell their newly and very painfully acquired sovereignty to anybody (good for them, may all countries follow this model!).  They also know history, including how the Anglos waged war on them to sell opium (no crap about human rights then, just brute gang warfare).  They can also look at modern Japan and see what true Anglo domination can do to a ancient and noble culture.

Again, I invite you all to add to this list, or dispel my misconceptions!

My personal bottom line is this: the major powers are all preparing for a major war in Far East Asia and the Pacific.  God willing, and with the wise leadership of Putin and Xi, it will never happen.

But yes, China is, in my opinion, definitely in the Anglo crosshairs.

Now I turn this over to you.

Hugs and cheers

Andrei

Decentralization of Afghanistan – the road to peace

September 30, 2021

Decentralization of Afghanistan – the road to peace

by Batko Milacic – Independent analyst – for The Saker Blog

The Taliban really wants to prove to the whole world their legitimacy and readiness for dialogue. The radical Islamists who have established control over most of the territory of Afghanistan have learned from their mistakes 20 years ago. They even created an anti-terrorist structure, however, the question is, who will it catch? Now the Taliban need international recognition and diplomatic relations with the leading players in international politics.

True, they do not intend to hold elections and referendums, having taken power by force, which is not very welcomed by international law. However, as long as there is even a drop of hope in the West and in Russia that the Taliban will be able to turn Afghanistan into some kind of a stable country, the Taliban can really count on the actual recognition of their power. China, which simultaneously persecutes its own citizens, the Islamist Uyghurs, and supports Pakistan, which actually lives according to Sharia law, is not afraid of the Taliban. China’s tough laws allow Beijing to believe that the People’s Army and Security Services will easily eliminate any threat of terrorism.

However, the West should not flatter itself for two reasons. First, because of democratic values. They are the cornerstone of European democracy, which is at the heart of the very existence of the EU. Only a democratically elected government is legitimate. And in Kabul, radical Islamists have not held and will not hold anything even remotely resembling an election. Secondly, the Taliban is not a political party, but a very radical political and religious organization. It pursues the goal of spreading its ideology to at least all the historical lands of Muslims from Chinese Xianjing to Spain! And their weapons are terror, sabotage, propaganda.

Seeing Taliban Afghanistan as a way to distract Russia from European problems is like taking napalm to ants in your house. The ants will burn, but the house also will burn with them. Terror has no boundaries. So, whether old Europe wants it or not, the only alternative to the Taliban now is the abandoned leader of the National Resistance Front, Ahmad Masud, who continues to fight in the Panjshir Gorge! However, he has enough potential allies. It must be known that the Taliban are, first of all, the Pashtun movement – an ethnic group that makes up 50% of the population of Afghanistan.

Massoud, on the other hand, represents not only the democratic forces, but also 23% of local Tajiks. He, in turn, is supported by the Hazaras (10%) and Uzbeks (9%).

In addition, the danger of ethnic cleansing of local Tajiks and Uzbeks is forcing Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to support the last stronghold of democratic forces in Afghanistan. Namely, relying on the ethnic diversity of Afghanistan, Masood, who still remains in the country and controls part of the Panshir province, repeatedly declares the need to create a more decentralized government and de facto federalization of the country.

He started talking about it back in August after giving up his decorative position in the Taliban government and continues now. According to Massoud’s plan, the regions should receive more autonomy, and ethnic groups more rights. This, at least, will allow them to protect themselves from the Taliban laws at the local level. This is especially significant if we keep in mind that Taliban laws are contrary to all modern legal norms. In support of Massoud’s ideas, rallies are held in the provinces inhabited by Uzbeks and Hazaras. For example, in the mountainous Bamiyan, 130 kilometers from Kabul. There, under the pro-Masudian slogans, the riots have been going on for days. Locals are asking the Taliban to leave, and radical Islamists are afraid to take tough measures …

Russia also demands an inclusive, democratic government from the Taliban, although it is obvious that Moscow, will in any case, be forced to communicate with the new masters of Kabul. Without the intervention of the Kremlin, the region will face a big war, and this is not good for Europe. The flow of refugees, and with it the terrorists, will rush not to the north, to Russia, but along the old routes through Turkey and Greece to prosperous Europe.

So, Ahmad Massoud remains the only hope for containing the Taliban, and perhaps those who can transform Afghanistan into a relatively peaceful federation, where there will be no ethnic cleansing that radical Islamists have already begun in Panjshir. And the Western world is simply obliged to support him, to support pro democratic forces – perhaps even enlisting the support of Russia.

Iran’s SCO promotion & the rise of a new world order: Report

September 27, 2021

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A recent report published on Al Mayadeen’s website highlights the significance of Iran’s accession to full membership status at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a powerful international body that just grew even bigger.

The report suggests that Iran’s admission into the SCO is part of a broader global shift to a new world order in which the Asian region plays a central role.

Source:  Al Mayadeen (Website)

Date:  September 17, 2021

(Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations by contributing a small monthly amount here )

Transcript:

Iran is a Full Member of the “Shanghai Organization” … Timing and Economic Importance

17 September, 2021

The acceptance of Iran as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at this time  indicates(positive) signs (for the Islamic Republic), as it coincides with changes inside and outside the country. (These) changes appear to be in (Iran’s) favor, especially after it broke the US economic embargo by signing a strategic partnership agreement with China.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit began today in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, on the 20th anniversary of the foundation of this organization. The (SCO) defines itself as an international political, economic and security organization with a regional character represented by the Eurasia region. It was founded by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in the year 2001.

In 2005, Iran, India and Pakistan joined the organization as observer members, and in 2017, India and Pakistan became permanent members. Afghanistan, Mongolia and Belarus are currently observer member states of the organization, while the countries of Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Nepal, Cambodia, Turkey and Sri Lanka applied to join the organization in 2015.

However, the role of this organization and its political influence extend beyond the Eurasia region to other regions of the Asian continent, and even beyond (Asia’s) borders, given the economic and military weight enjoyed by its members. It is also gradually expanding outside its narrow scope by including other countries from the Central Asian region, the most important of which are India and Pakistan.


Iran as a Full Member of the Shanghai Organization

In another expansionary step with great significance at various levels, the Organization announced at its meeting today – through the words of Chinese President Xi Jinping – its acceptance to grant Iran full membership after (Tehran) had been an observer member for years. The Chinese president said: “Iran will be considered a full member of the Shanghai Organization at today’s meeting.”


The Significance of the Timing of the Membership

Granting Iran full membership within the Shanghai Organization at this time seems remarkable as it comes after:

1)  The China-Iran strategic agreement, which was signed in Tehran on March 27 (2021), after a regional tour by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that included the Gulf states and Turkey. The Strategic Partnership Agreement, as it was called, is a 25-year agreement between the two countries covering the political, economic, military and industrial fields.

This agreement serves both countries, as it guarantees the global economic giant (China) further expansion in its role and establishment of its presence on the international scene, especially in the countries that the United States has placed on the list of “forbidden regions” upon which harsh economic sanctions are imposed. It also gives Iran an opportunity to liberate itself from these sanctions and sell its oil products which the US not only refuses to buy, but also prevents other countries from buying by threatening them with sanctions, in an attempt to put economic pressure on Iran to change its political positions.

(According to this agreement), in return for its exported oil, Iran can import what it needs in terms of industrial equipment, machinery and expertise, and prepare (develop) its ports and infrastructure with Chinese assistance. (This step) allows China to use these facilities to export its products via land and sea towards the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, and on to the European continent in the north, and Africa in the south.


2) The complete and rushed US military withdrawal from Afghanistan, the country that has been occupied by the United States and its NATO allies for 20 years.

Afghanistan is located within the borders of the Eurasian region, between the two major countries in the world, China and Russia. The United States sought to prevent the rapprochement (between these two countries) and impede their economic growth, especially China’s, by cutting off the routes for its land and sea exports to the West, and threatening its security by igniting wars and security disturbances.

It is worth noting that it is no coincidence that the organization was formed only 4 months before the date of the American invasion of Afghanistan, and to the sound of the drums of war that the US and Britain started after the September 11 attacks that toppled the World Trade Center in New York and targeted the US Department of Defense (Pentagon).

The US role in obstructing the work of the Shanghai Organization and the growth of China’s economic standing was demonstrated by the rush of the “Taliban” movement leaders – which quickly and gradually seized all the Afghan regions in conjunction with the departure of the occupying (US) forces – to visit China, meet officials in its Foreign Ministry, emphasize China’s pivotal role in the reconstruction of the country exhausted by occupation and conflicts, and reassure (Beijing) that they will not use Afghan territory to target the security of other countries.


3) The election of a new president of Iran last June.

The (former) head of the judiciary and a strongman, Ibrahim Raisi won by a large margin of votes over his remaining rivals, this after the withdrawal of the most famous candidates in his favor, one of which was the former chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.

Since the beginning of his term, Raisi has sought to enhance his country’s presence and position in the world by strengthening its relations at the regional level, and benefiting from all its capabilities, foremost of which is its geographical location. During his speech at the (Shanghai) summit, the Iranian president stated that “Iran can be a bridge for Eurasia linking the north to the south.”

Before heading to Tajikistan, Raisi said that his country’s participation in the summit “will focus on our economic and cultural relations with Asian countries,” stressing that “cooperation with neighboring countries and the region is a top priority of Iran’s foreign policy.” Last August, Raisi declared that strengthening Iran’s relations with Russia and China, the two main members of the organization, was one of the priorities of his foreign policy.


Creating Economic Opportunities for Iran and Liberating it from the US Embargo

Of the three previous points, the strategic agreement between Iran and China – Beijing forming the most prominent pillar of the organization – is the most important thing that contributed to Iran’s full membership. What occurred appears to be nothing other than the expansion of the official international recognition of Iran’s regional role and presence; a greater facilitation (for Iran) to help it get through the (all-out) US embargo; and the creation of opportunities for Iran in different fields by China and Russia.

President Vladimir Putin stated during his speech at the summit that his country “supports the decision submitted for approval by the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization regarding the start of procedures for Iran’s admission to the organization,” stressing the mutual importance of its admission by saying that this would “increase the international influence of the organization.”

The first Iranian comment came from the spokesman for the head of the Iranian Parliament, Nizamuddin Mousavi, who said in an interview with ISNA that what we are witnessing is “the establishment of a new world order, where the Eastern Power Quartet (Russia, China, India, Iran) brings together some of the most important international players in this new world order.” He added that “Iran’s admission into this organization, despite Washington’s opposition, proves that the era of unilateral policies is over, and that we are witnessing the establishment of a new world order.”

In economic terms, Mousavi said that his country’s admission “means reaching a market of 3 billion people, and this is a great opportunity that requires a roadmap so that we can benefit from it in the best way.”

This accession was preceded by the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 states, several rounds of which were conducted in the Austrian capital Vienna in the last months of the term of former President Hassan Rouhani. There was talk of future rounds of negotiations after the formation of the first Iranian government under President Ibrahim Raisi. The accession (of Iran to SCO membership) also came after the positive visit of the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, to Tehran, and his meeting with the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Mohammad Eslami.

All the foregoing factors contribute to the reassurance that Iran feels at the beginning of Ibrahim Raisi presidency, and brings the country closer to an international position that (Tehran) seeks despite the obstacles posed by its enemies. However, to hold on to these gains and take advantage of the new opportunities available, Iran will face major challenges (in the road ahead).


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China in Action – Carbon Neutral by 2050

September 24, 2021

China in Action – Carbon Neutral by 2050

By Peter Koenig for the Saker Blog

The Glasgow Conference will focus at implementation of the Paris Agreement in a comprehensive, balanced and effective manner, building a fair global climate governance system, equitable and centered on win-win cooperation – with focus on renewable energy, the phase-out of fossil fuels, zero-emissions vehicles, resilience-building, carbon-pricing, green finance, nature-based climate solutions such as afforestation and reforestation, biodiversity conservation, and waste management.

Transcript of a presentation at a Webinar sponsored by the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University, Beijing
23 September 2021

An early priority for China – at least two to three decades back – was to reduce Carbon Dioxide (CO2) output, as well as that of other greenhouse gases, such as methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and some artificial chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), to eventually reach carbon neutrality, meaning, eliminating as much CO2 as is produced, by 2050.

With industrialization and excessive consumption, the output of CO2 and other greenhouse gases has increased rapidly and especially in later years. And this despite repeated pledges during numerous UN-sponsored Environmental Conferences, to reduce the world’s carbon footprint.

Global Carbon dioxide levels reached 419 parts per million (ppm) in May 2021, the highest since CO2 output has been measured 63 years ago. Compare this to China’s CO2 output of 409 ppm by 2018.

China is often blamed as being the world’s largest polluter which may be the case in absolute terms, as China also has the world’s largest population. However, putting China’s CO2 output in perspective, on a per capita basis, China ranks only 5rd, after Australia, the US, Russia and Germany:
– Australia: 17.27 tons per capita
– USA: 15.52 tons p/c
– Russia: 11.33 tons p/c
– Germany: 8.52 tons p/c
– China: 7.38 tons p/c (less than half the US level)
– India: 1.91 tons p/c
These are 2019 figures.

—-

China’s 14th Five Year Plan (14th FYP), published in March 2021, included 2025 energy and carbon intensity reduction targets, as well as a mid-point non-fossil share target to achieve her nationally determined contributions, or NDC.

At China’s Leaders Climate Summit in April 2021, President Xi Jinping announced that China will strictly control coal generation until 2025 when she will start to gradually phase out of coal.

President Xi just announced at the UN General Assembly in NYC of 2021, that China seizes using coal powered plants as of now.
——-
To understand the concept and the lingo of the different terms and terminologies, lets back track a bit.

It all began decades ago – with the First United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the ‘Earth Summit’, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 3-14 June 1992. It set the stage for the reduction of greenhouse gases, the most important of which is Carbon Dioxide.

CO2 emissions are toxic and harmful for the environment and life, when produced in excess.

However, lets also keep in mind – CO2 is one of the most important gases on earth, because the plants use it to produce carbohydrates in a process called photosynthesis. Since humans and animals depend on plants for food, thus, CO2 is necessary for the survival of life on earth.

—–
In the meantime, there have been numerous climate change conferences around the world, most of them UN-sponsored, the latest one – if I’m not wrong, was the Santiago Climate Change Conference, the 25th so-called Conference of the Parties (COP25) of December 2019, meaning the 25th conference to the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The names of these conferences and their results are often confusing, at times also controversial, especially between the industrialized countries and the so-called developing countries, or the Global South.

A chief reason for potential conflicts is rapid industrialization – excessive consumption, particularly in the West, or the Global North. The output of CO2 and other greenhouse gases has increased rapidly and unequally between the Global North and the Global South. Yet, developing countries are often asked to take similar measure to reduce greenhouse gases, in particular, CO2.

A safe level of CO2 in the air, according to one of the first 21st Century UN Conferences – it may have been the 2009 Copenhagen Conference, was suggested to be 350 ppm. This figure was already exceeded in 1987, reaching, as mentioned before, 419 ppm in May 2021.

Despite covid, the concentration has not been significantly changed for the better. In some cases, to the contrary.

Despite pledges to the contrary, the main source of energy has changed little in the last 20 years. Hydrocarbons are still king. Today’s world economy still depends on some 84% of hydrocarbons (petrol, gas, coal) of all energy used, as compared to 86% at the turn of the century.
—–
What does Carbon Neutral mean?

Carbon neutral – the amount of CO₂ emissions put into the atmosphere is the same as the amount of CO2 removed from the atmosphere. The impact is neutral. This is not making it actively worse, but it doesn’t make it better either, especially when the average output is above 400 ppm, meaning above the considered “safe” target of 350 ppm.

Carbon negative, or carbon net zero might be a step in the right direction. It means the amount of CO₂ removed from the atmosphere, is bigger than the CO₂ output. The impact is positive; something is actively done to reduce the harm to the atmosphere – and to improve the air for every breathing life.

We have the historical responsibility to urgently cleaning up the atmosphere to eventually get back to the civilized level of 275 ppm.

Since the beginning of human civilization, our atmosphere contained about 275 ppm of carbon dioxide. According to renowned climatologist Dr. James Hansen, these are the conditions under which civilization developed and to which life on earth adapted. Going beyond this indicator, risks disrupting our global climate system’s 1,000,000+ years of relative stability. Beginning in the 18th century, with the age of industrialization, humans began to burn coal, gas, and oil to produce energy and goods. The carbon in the atmosphere began to rise, at first slowly and, then ever more rapidly.

Many of the activities we do every day, rely on energy sources that emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. We’re redistributing millions and millions of years’ worth of carbon, once stored beneath the earth as fossil fuels, and releasing it into the atmosphere.

Just a thought.

Apologies for this long background. The environmental agenda is very complex.

—-
As to China – China’s Ministry of Environment and Ecology publishes regularly CO2 concentration levels. China’s greenhouse gas emission in 2018 reached 409.4 ppm with an estimated annual growth of 1.3%.

While in full action towards Carbon neutrality, China was hosting the 5th Ministerial meeting on Climate Action in April 2021. A virtual event attended by the European Union and Canada, plus ministers and representatives from 35 governments and international organizations, from all the world’s regions.

The meeting aimed at drastically reducing the carbon level in the air, through significant shifts from fossil fuel energy to alternative sources for the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), hosted by the UK, from 31 October to 12 November 2021 in Glasgow.

China is already pushing ahead with this agenda.

The Ministers asked for an equitable transition throughout the implementation process. This may include financial, technological and capacity building support to developing countries, especially the poorest and most vulnerable ones. Implementation of the Paris Agreement should also reflect the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances.

China’s ambitious agenda to reach carbon neutrality or better, by 2050, includes …

  • Investing in projects of liquid hydrogen which can be used, for instance, in hydrogen fuel cell automobiles, and Hydrogen metallurgy, a technology that applies hydrogen instead of carbon.
  • Third generation photovoltaic energy with efficiency above 40%, is another sector where China’s world-class development and vast demands may attract global investors.
  • In addition, China has ambitious research projects into generating energy from photosynthesis, the process plants use to transform carbon dioxide and sunlight into energy. It’s an ecosystem’s way of producing fuel at a high level of efficiency (>90%) without polluting residues.
  • Green parks in urban areas and reforestation as well as improved water management, so as to reduce areas of frequent droughts and convert them into green agricultural crop lands.
  • At the same time, China is seeking new alternative energy investments abroad, such as an automotive lithium-ion battery production in Germany – a planned investment of 1.8 billion euros.

And much more….

China is not only on the right track to seek environment-friendly renewable sources of energy, thus, reducing her carbon footprint – but to exceed the 2050 net zero emissions target into a carbon negative project.

China, as in other matters of importance to the world’s societies, just to mention one – poverty alleviation – may be again an example on environmental progress. Towards a human society with shared benefits for all.

************

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

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He is also is a non-resident Sr. Fellow of the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University, Beijing.

Eurasia takes shape: How the SCO just flipped the world order

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With Iran’s arrival, the SCO member-states now number nine, and they’re focused on fixing Afghanistan and consolidating Eurasia.Photo Credit: The Cradle
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SEPTEMBER 22, 2021

By Pepe Escobar posted with permission and cross-posted with The Cradle

Part 1 of 2 on Eurasia

With Iran’s arrival, the SCO member-states now number nine, and they’re focused on fixing Afghanistan and consolidating Eurasia.

As a rudderless West watched on, the 20th anniversary meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was laser-focused on two key deliverables: shaping up Afghanistan and kicking off a full-spectrum Eurasian integration.

The two defining moments of the historic 20th anniversary Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan had to come from the keynote speeches of – who else – the leaders of the Russia-China strategic partnership.

Xi Jinping: “Today we will launch procedures to admit Iran as a full member of the SCO.”

Vladimir Putin: “I would like to highlight the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed today between the SCO Secretariat and the Eurasian Economic Commission. It is clearly designed to further Russia’s idea of establishing a Greater Eurasia Partnership covering the SCO, the EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union), ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI).”

In short, over the weekend, Iran was enshrined in its rightful, prime Eurasian role, and all Eurasian integration paths converged toward a new global geopolitical – and geoeconomic – paradigm, with a sonic boom bound to echo for the rest of the century.

That was the killer one-two punch immediately following the Atlantic alliance’s ignominious imperial retreat from Afghanistan. Right as the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15, the redoubtable Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s Security Council, told his Iranian colleague Admiral Ali Shamkhani that “the Islamic Republic will become a full member of the SCO.”

Dushanbe revealed itself as the ultimate diplomatic crossover. President Xi firmly rejected any “condescending lecturing” and emphasized development paths and governance models compatible with national conditions. Just like Putin, he stressed the complementary focus of BRI and the EAEU, and in fact summarized a true multilateralist Manifesto for the Global South.

Right on point, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan noted that the SCO should advance “the development of a regional macro-economy.” This is reflected in the SCO’s drive to start using local currencies for trade, bypassing the US dollar.

Watch that quadrilateral

Dushanbe was not just a bed of roses. Tajikistan’s Emomali Rahmon, a staunch, secular Muslim and former member of the Communist Party of the USSR – in power for no less than 29 years, reelected for the 5th time in 2020 with 90 percent of the vote – right off the bat denounced the “medieval sharia” of Taliban 2.0 and said they had already “abandoned their previous promise to form an inclusive  government.”

Rahmon, who has never been caught smiling on camera, was already in power when the Taliban conquered Kabul in 1996. He was bound to publicly support his Tajik cousins against the “expansion of extremist ideology” in Afghanistan – which in fact worries all SCO member-states when it comes to smashing dodgy jihadi outfits of the ISIS-K mold .

The meat of the matter in Dushanbe was in the bilaterals – and one quadrilateral.

Take the bilateral between Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Chinese FM Wang Yi. Jaishankar said that China should not view “its relations with India through the lens of a third country,” and took pains to stress that India “does not subscribe to any clash of civilizations theory.”

That was quite a tough sell considering that the first in-person Quad summit takes place this week in Washington, DC, hosted by that “third country” which is now knee deep in clash-of-civilizations mode against China.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was on a bilateral roll, meeting the presidents of Iran, Belarus, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The official Pakistani diplomatic position is that Afghanistan should not be abandoned, but engaged.

That position added nuance to what Russian Special Presidential Envoy for SCO Affairs Bakhtiyer Khakimov had explained about Kabul’s absence at the SCO table: “At this stage, all member states have an understanding that there are no reasons for an invitation until there is a legitimate, generally recognized government in Afghanistan.”

And that, arguably, leads us to the key SCO meeting: a quadrilateral with the Foreign Ministers of Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi affirmed: “We are monitoring whether all the groups are included in the government or not.” The heart of the matter is that, from now on, Islamabad coordinates the SCO strategy on Afghanistan, and will broker Taliban negotiations with senior Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara leaders. This will eventually lead the way towards an inclusive government regionally recognized by SCO member-nations.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was warmly received by all – especially after his forceful keynote speech, an Axis of Resistance classic. His bilateral with Belarus president Aleksandr Lukashenko revolved around a discussion on “sanctions confrontation.” According to Lukashenko: “If the sanctions did any harm to Belarus, Iran, other countries, it was only because we ourselves are to blame for this. We were not always negotiable, we did not always find the path we had to take under the pressure of sanctions.”

Considering Tehran is fully briefed on Islamabad’s SCO role in terms of Afghanistan, there will be no need to deploy the Fatemiyoun brigade – informally known as the Afghan Hezbollah – to defend the Hazaras. Fatemiyoun was formed in 2012 and was instrumental in Syria in the fight against Daesh, especially in Palmyra. But if ISIS-K does not go away, that’s a completely different story.

Particular important for SCO members Iran and India will be the future of Chabahar port. That remains India’s crypto-Silk Road gambit to connect it to Afghanistan and Central Asia. The geoeconomic success of Chabahar more than ever depends on a stable Afghanistan – and this is where Tehran’s interests fully converge with Russia-China’s SCO drive.

What the 2021 SCO Dushanbe Declaration spelled out about Afghanistan is quite revealing:

1. Afghanistan should be an independent, neutral, united, democratic and peaceful state, free of terrorism, war and drugs.

2. It is critical to have an inclusive government in Afghanistan, with representatives from all ethnic, religious and political groups of Afghan society.

3. SCO member states, emphasizing the significance of the many years of hospitality and effective assistance provided by regional and neighboring countries to Afghan refugees, consider it important for the international community to make active efforts to facilitate their dignified, safe and sustainable return to their homeland.

As much as it may sound like an impossible dream, this is the unified message of Russia, China, Iran, India, Pakistan and the Central Asian “stans.” One hopes that Pakistani PM Imran Khan is up to the task and ready for his SCO close-up.

That troubled Western peninsula

The New Silk Roads were officially launched eight years ago by Xi Jinping, first in Astana – now Nur-Sultan – and then in Jakarta.

This is how I reported it at the time.

The announcement came close to a SCO summit – then in Bishkek. The SCO, widely dismissed in Washington and Brussels as a mere talk shop, was already surpassing its original mandate of fighting the “three evil forces” – terrorism, separatism and extremism – and encompassing politics and geoeconomics.

In 2013, there was a Xi-Putin-Rouhani trilateral. Beijing expressed full support for Iran’s peaceful nuclear program (remember, this was two years before the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the JCPOA).

Despite many experts dismissing it at the time, there was indeed a common China-Russia-Iran front on Syria (Axis of Resistance in action). Xinjiang was being promoted as the key hub for the Eurasian Land Bridge. Pipelineistan was at the heart of the Chinese strategy – from Kazakhstan oil to Turkmenistan gas. Some people may even remember when Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, was waxing lyrical about an American-propelled New Silk Road.

Now compare it to Xi’s Multilateralism Manifesto in Dushanbe eight years later, reminiscing on how the SCO “has proved to be an excellent example of multilateralism in the 21stcentury,” and “has played an important role in enhancing the voice of developing countries.”

The strategic importance of this SCO summit taking place right after the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok cannot be overstated enough. The EEF focuses of course on the Russian Far East – and essentially advances interconnectivity between Russia and Asia. It is an absolutely key hub of Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnership.

A cornucopia of deals is on the horizon – expanding from the Far East to the Arctic and the development of the Northern Sea Route, and involving everything from precious metals and green energy to digital sovereignty flowing through logistics corridors between Asia and Europe via Russia.

As Putin hinted in his keynote speech, this is what the Greater Eurasia Partnership is all about: the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), BRI, India’s initiative, ASEAN, and now the SCO, developing in a harmonized network, crucially operated by “sovereign decision-making centers.”

So if the BRI proposes a very Taoist “community of shared future for human kind,” the Russian project, conceptually, proposes a dialogue of civilizations (already evoked by the Khatami years in Iran) and sovereign economic-political projects. They are, indeed, complementary.

Glenn Diesen, Professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway and an editor at the Russia in Global Affairs journal, is among the very few top scholars who are analyzing this process in depth. His latest book remarkably tells the whole story in its title:  Europe as the Western Peninsula of Greater Eurasia: Geoeconomic Regions in a Multipolar World. It’s not clear whether Eurocrats in Brussels – slaves of Atlanticism and incapable of grasping the potential of Greater Eurasia – will end up exercising real strategic autonomy.

Diesen evokes in detail the parallels between the Russian and the Chinese strategies. He notes how China “is pursuing a three-pillared geoeconomic initiative by developing technological leadership via its China 2025 plan, new transportation corridors via its trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, and establishing new financial instruments such as banks, payment systems and the internationalization of the yuan. Russia is similarly pursuing technological sovereignty, both in the digital sphere and beyond, as well as new transportation corridors such as the Northern Sea Route through the Arctic, and, primarily, new financial instruments.”

The whole Global South, stunned by the accelerated collapse of the western Empire and its unilateral “rules-based order, now seems to be ready to embrace the new groove, fully displayed in Dushanbe: a multipolar Greater Eurasia of sovereign equals.

Russian World as a global project

SEPTEMBER 19, 2021

Russian World as a global project

Most of us at The Saker Blog are involved in either understanding or have fully joined the Russian World as a global project.  In one simplistic sense, we still talk about the splitting of the world into Zone A (hegemonic) and Zone B (resistance and this is on various levels of maturity).  This is a fine new era model to start with but we are beginning to deal with the actual consequences of what today is seen as a bifurcation.  It is of course not that simple and our model needs to be further developed.  Rostislav Ishchenko‘s article begins to plumb the depths of this major change.  I machine translate it here, for the start of a discussion on this massive global change.


I don’t like terminological discussions in politics. They usually do not explain anything and do not unite anyone, causing pointless disputes and dangerous splits from scratch. Something similar happened with the discussion about the “Russian World”. For fifteen or twenty years, only the lazy did not try to give a complete definition of this phenomenon.

However, all these attempts were futile, since they consisted in giving world-historical significance to one’s own subjective views, beliefs, and even feelings. In fact, each of those who tried to give a complete definition of the term “Russian World” only translated into society their incomplete and completely unformed views on the immediate prospects for the development of Russia and the entire post-Soviet space as a whole.

When in 2014 I once wrote that the ” Russian World “is still an un-established concept, the final content of which depends on us, because if it becomes attractive, France (as well as any other country) can become part of the” Russian World “after some time, a considerable number of critics from” professional Russians “immediately arose, who themselves appointed themselves the only correct Russians, and appropriated the right to decide what is true and what is not true, from the point of view of”true Russianness”. All their claims were reduced to repeating a thesis that explains nothing and proves nothing: “We are Russians! Based on this thesis, they concluded that I was trying to blur the uniquely noble Russianness with a foreign language, spreading the potential ” Russian World “to Westerners and other”barbarians”.

The fact that this thesis was stated by Generalissimo Suvorov, during whose service the officer corps of the Russian army consisted of non-Russian percentages by 40, reaching 60% or more in senior positions, did not stop those who operated with this thesis. They agreed to consider the Georgian Bagration, the Scotsman Barclay de Tolly, the German Bennigsen, Catherine the Great herself, the mass of Ostsee nobles, the Tatars, Yakuts, Buryats, and Dzungars as Russians — basically everyone who was part of Russia before the collapse of the USSR. All the others, even if they were three times Russian, from their point of view did not fall into the Russians, and they considered it blasphemy to assume that France would ever be part of the “Russian World”.These same people start to fight in rodimchik, hearing the term Russian. They believe that in this way some hidden enemies (probably reptilians) are derussififying the Russian people.

Meanwhile, in Russia, Russians are the state-forming people, but not only Russians live in it. Accordingly, Ramzan Kadyrov, for example, is a Chechen by nationality, a Muslim by religion, and a Russian by citizenship. Vladimir Putin is Russian by nationality, Orthodox by religion, but the same Russian by citizenship. At the same time, a non-Russian Russian is an absolute part of the “Russian World”. But the same part is also a foreign Russian (if he considers himself a part of the” Russian World”), even if he is a citizen of another state. On the other hand, you can be Russian by nationality, live in Russia, but not be part of the “Russian World” and dream of leaving “this country” forever at the first opportunity.

To be a part of the Russian world, you just need to share the principles on which Russian civilization is based. Russia is the center of Russian civilization, but it does not exhaust it completely.From this point of view, not every Frenchman or Chinese is part of the “Russian World”, but everyone can become one if they want. As for the state, we can count it among the “Russian World” if its society is dominated by the idea of universal attractiveness of the foundations of Russian civilization.In 2014, the end of American hegemony was not yet obvious to many. Therefore, they believed that Pax Romana and Pax Americana were one thing, and the “Russian World” was something else. This view was caused by the psychological trauma received as a result of the collapse of the USSR and the acquisition by the United States of the position of global hegemon. It was easy for people who lived through the 90s to understand why Germans or French were part of the “American World”, but it was absolutely unclear how they could be part of the “Russian World”in the future.Well, it’s been almost eight years and we’re in a new era. The post-Soviet era, characterized by American dominance, has finally come to an end. The post-American era has begun, and the early stage of it (which we are experiencing now) is characterized by multipolarity, which determines the competition of civilizational models.

Some Western elites continue to promote the left-liberal model of globalist tolerance as the” bright future of all mankind”. It may seem to us that this model is doomed due to its discrediting in the light of the landslide foreign policy defeat of the United States. But in reality, everything is not so simple. It still has quite a few ideologized adherents in the West, who still retain control over American and, to a large extent, over European politics. They are trying to win the current round against their domestic political opponents (representing the conservative model) by temporarily curtailing international activity, concentrating on domestic political issues and gaining a preponderance in domestic politics by attracting large numbers of migrants from Africa, Asia and Latin America, and giving them citizenship and the right to vote in elections. Thus, the left-liberal part of the West expects to gain a decisive advantage in the fight against its right-conservative domestic political opponents. Having solved their domestic political problems, they expect to once again turn to an active foreign policy. At the same time, they hope that their tolerant migration policy will attract the sympathies of the countries of origin of migrants to them, and thus they will also gain a preponderance in foreign policy.

I think that in this last case they are wrong. Left-liberal policies lead to accelerated destruction of the national economy. In the context of the rejection (even if from their point of view temporary) of global hegemony, the Western elites cannot compensate for their own economic decline by redistributing the global resource in their favor, as it was before. Thus, they should lose in the foreign policy arena faster than they will win in the domestic political arena.

However, history and politics are not deterministic. The loss of the West is inevitable only if non-Western states that offer alternative models build their international game correctly. In this case, they will indeed succeed in preventing a new unification of the West and the third world, leaving the West alone with its exhausted resource base and forcing it to capitulate.

The first danger that threatens Russia and China, as centers of alternative civilizational proposals, is the overestimation of the adequacy of Western right—wing conservative elites. They are really close to us with their commitment to traditional family values, their desire to abandon the left-liberal policy of global tolerance and return to the model of classical civilization. Hence, in our society, there is a fairly high percentage of sympathizers with Trumpism or the European new right.

These sympathies would be justified, if not for one “but”. Despite their proximity to our civilizational model, the right-wing conservatives of the West are still trying to restore the world of Western hegemony, only the model is not 2013, but 1993. They are also trying to reduce their foreign policy activity and solve the domestic political problem by defeating their own left-liberal globalists. But after this victory, they, just like their domestic political opponents after their own, intend to restore the world of global domination of the West, because they simply cannot live in another.

Thus, from the point of view of our interests, at this stage, only tactical alliances with the struggling elites of the West are possible, designed to prolong this struggle as long as possible. Russia does not need (and even is dangerous) the current Western elites as strategic allies. Russia needs them to destroy each other (in the political sense), and new elites will sprout from the land they have destroyed, whose conservatism will not be complicated by imperialism and for whom the values of the “Russian World” will be close and understandable.

In other words, Western elites must fight each other and China until they naturally (by destroying other opportunities and discrediting other paths) come to realize their own commitment to the civilizational values of the “Russian World” and express a desire to become a part of it.

For Russia, such an expansion of the “Russian World” to include a reformatted Western civilization is also important because China also offers the world an alternative civilizational model. This model was recently sketched out by Xi Jinping. Prior to this speech, it was possible to expect that the Russian and Chinese models would coincide in general terms, which would ensure a strategic partnership for several decades or even a century, ahead. But the recent speech of Comrade Xi showed that the Chinese model will be based on similar, but not only not identical, but also in many ways contradicting the Russian civilizational foundations.

In fact, Xi Jinping predestined the development of Chinese statehood along the path of the paternalistic dictatorship of the party aristocracy. Total control, universal austerity (“voluntary” restriction of consumption according to the standards defined by the leadership), and living according to the principle: what is good for the state is good for every citizen of it are the foundations of a”bright future” in Chinese. If Deng Xiaoping urged not to pay attention to the color of the cat, if it catches mice well, then Xi Jinping decided that the cat was already sufficiently skilled in catching so that it could be painted in the color approved by the party without consequences.

China, of course, can still stop and return to the path of Deng Xiaoping, but today the situation is developing in the direction of changing the model based on the professionalism of cats, to a model based on the correct cat coloring.

The first model is pragmatic and within its framework, we could move towards a merger in a single Russian-Chinese world (civilizational, not state merger). The second model is ideological, which means that no matter what the Chinese comrades think about it today, it will suffer from messianism and expansionism. Moreover, as practice and experience shows, such ideologized Messianic models very quickly come to a resource shortage. All of them (from the collapsed USSR to the current Belarus) require a regular influx of resources from outside. This means that in the foreseeable future, Chinese expansionism will become not only ideological but also mercantile. Just like Washington at the end of Pax Americana, the “Chinese World” will need global hegemony simply to maintain its current level of development and material prosperity.

Thus, if China does not return to Deng Xiaoping’s pillar road, after a while it will become a civilizational competitor for Russia, and the convergence of the” Russian World “and the” Chinese World ” will become impossible.

In this case, it is precisely the spread of the civilization of the “Russian World” to the West, which is highly likely to lose its own civilizational identity by that time and will be in search of a new one, and with the help of the West, to a significant part of the third world, that will allow Russia to balance China and achieve peaceful coexistence and healthy competition between the two worlds. In this case, Russia will need healthy competition within the rules. In it, all other things being equal, a free society will always win the paternalistic regime in the economic competition.

Thus, today the Russian World, as a new global civilizational project, is based on the principle of unobtrusiveness.

For domestic politics, this means the principle of ” what is good for the state is what is good for the majority of its citizens.” This does not mean that the state begins to automatically distribute cakes and ice cream to everyone, declaring labor optional for obtaining material benefits, since most of any society is prone to laziness and parasitism. The ideal state protects precisely the deep, long-term interests of society, providing it with maximum employment, decent wages for work, provision of the widest range of goods at the most affordable prices, high-quality medicine, high-quality and generally accessible, but not compulsory (outside of primary school) education. Freedom of spiritual, cultural development, and political activity. Reasonable protection of the rights of the minority against the dictatorship of the majority. Not by creating privileged minorities, but by prohibiting State and/or public interference in the affairs of voluntarily created communities that do not violate the law.

If you want, you can buy a plot of land (for how much money is enough), put a fence around it, and build communism there for your family and friends, or if you want, you can also create a community of anti—vaccinators, or fans of the “new chronology”, or fighters against the dominance of reptilians. The state should only ensure that those who have recovered can freely leave the walls of your monastery of sorrow and that children have a free choice: follow the path of their parents or live in a normal society.

The state’s priority in domestic policy should be to ensure internal stability and continuity of policy. It is the politicians who have already learned to ensure the continuity of the team. Now it is necessary that the successor should not be eager to prove that he can do more than his predecessor, but rather strive to maintain the progressive development set by his predecessor.

The Russian economy needs stable and calm, moderate and steady growth, without sudden spurts and deep crises. The source of this growth should be an internal resource, and its task, resource accumulation (further increase).

Foreign policy should ensure that the country continues to gain peaceful weight. Any military campaign is undesirable and is sanctioned only if there are no ways to avoid a collision without losses exceeding the losses from the war (not only human but also general resource). The country needs at least another 50 years of “golden peace”, and preferably as long as possible without a crisis life. It is necessary to avoid the characteristic mistake of the winner in a fundamental conflict, which, by the way, the United States made after becoming the hegemon of the post-Soviet world. Intervention in the affairs of other countries can only be carried out at the request of these countries themselves and with the aim of overcoming the crisis as soon as possible. In all other cases, it is possible to offer intermediary services, help with advice, but do not insist. Forcing peace to prevent genocide and other unpleasant things should be carried out only with the UN Security Council’s approval on an international basis.

On the basis of a balanced and economical foreign and domestic policy, as well as the completion of the creation of a self-sufficient economic cluster within the Russian borders and an environment interested in expanding economic interaction and trade with Russia, it is necessary to solve the problem of leveling the demographic pit and ensuring moderate (without jerks and recessions) population growth by about 1.5-2 million.  In general, Russia needs to continue (as so far) to protect and strengthen its resource base inside and reputation outside.

We must come to a situation where the “Russian World” becomes much more attractive to the world’s population than the American world recently was when being part of the Russian civilization is dreamed of as a great honor, and the consent of Russia, at the request of the local population, to include some territory (for example, Switzerland or Finland) is considered both by those who join, and

Let me emphasize that Russkiy Mir does not aim at Russian territorial expansion. This is just a civilizational proposal. But if a certain nation wants to become part of Russia, then it must meet the criteria of the “Russian world”, and the Russian state. The most important of these criteria is the feeling of not joining, but reuniting, merging two parts of a divided whole, as well as the mutually beneficial combination (together, two combining parts should live and develop much better; and both of them than each of them separately).

Over the past twenty years, Russia has created a clear outline of the civilizational foundations of the “Russian World”. Now the most difficult thing remains: to win the competition of civilizational projects without hurrying, without considering your work as a great universal mission, without breaking down, without aggression and coercion, to ensure the globality of the” Russian World ” and extend it into eternity.

Читать далее: https://ukraina.ru/opinion/20210916/1032260829.html

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The Vocabulary of Neoliberal Diplomacy in Today’s New Cold War

September 13, 2021

The Vocabulary of Neoliberal Diplomacy in Today’s New Cold War

by Michael Hudson posted by permission

Mr. Soros has thrown a public sissy fit over the fact that he can’t make the kind of easy money off China that he was able to make when the Soviet Union was carved up and privatized. On September 7, 2021, in his second mainstream editorial in a week, George Soros expressed his horror at the recommendation by BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, that financial managers should triple their investment in China. Claiming that such investment would imperil U.S. national security by helping China, Mr. Soros stepped up his advocacy of U.S. financial and trade sanctions.

China’s policy of shaping markets to promote overall prosperity, instead of letting the economic surplus be concentrated in the hands of corporate and foreign investors, is an existential threat to America’s neoliberal priorities, he spells out. President Xi’s “Common Prosperity” program “seeks to reduce inequality by distributing the wealth of the rich to the general population. That does not augur well for foreign investors.”[1] To neoliberals, that is heresy.

Criticizing China’s “abrupt cancellation of a new issue by Alibaba’s Ant group in November 2020,” and “banishment of U.S.-financed tutoring companies from China,” Mr. Soros singles out Blackstone’s co-founder Stephen Schwarzman (Note that Blackstone under Schwartzman is not to be confused with BlackRock under Larry Fink) and former Goldman Sachs President John L. Thornton for seeking to make financial returns for their investors instead of treating China as an enemy state and looming Cold War adversary:

The BlackRock initiative imperils the national security interests of the U.S. and other democracies because the money invested in China will help prop up President Xi’s regime … Congress should pass legislation empowering the Securities and Exchange Commission to limit the flow of funds to China. The effort ought to enjoy bipartisan support.

The New York Times published a prominent article defining the “Biden Doctrine” as seeing “China as America’s existential competitor; Russia as a disrupter; Iran and North Korea as nuclear proliferators, cyberthreats as ever-evolving and terrorism as spreading far beyond Afghanistan.” Against these threats, the article depicts U.S. strategy as representing “democracy,” the euphemism for countries with minimal governments leaving economic planning to Wall Street financial managers, and infrastructure in the hands of private investors, not provided at subsidized prices. Nations restrict monopolies and related rent-seeking are accused of being autocratic.

The problem, of course, is that just as the United States, Germany and other nations grew into industrial powers in the 19th and 20th century by government-sponsored infrastructure, progressive taxation, and anti-monopoly legislation, the post-1980 rejection of these policies has led them into economic stagnation for the 99 Percent burdened by debt deflation and rising rentier overhead paid to the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sectors. China is thriving by following precisely the policies by which the former leading industrial nations grew rich before suffering from the neoliberal financialization disease. This contrast prompts the article’s thrust, summarized in its summary of what it hopes will become a Congressionally supported Biden Doctrine of escalating a New Cold War against non-neoliberalized economies, juxtaposing U.S.-sponsored liberal-democratic imperialism against foreign socialism:

Last month, Mr. Blinken warned that China and Russia were ‘making the argument in public and in private that the United States is in decline – so it’s better to cast your lot with their authoritarian visions for the world than with our democratic one.[2]

Mr. Soros had seen the ending of the Cold War open the path for him and other foreign investors to use “shock therapy” to provide easy pickings in Russia, followed by the much broader Asian Crisis of 1997 as a grab-bag opportunity to buy up the most lucrative rent-yielding assets. He is upset that President Xi is not emulating Boris Yeltsin and letting a client kleptocracy emerge in China to carve up Russia’s economy – which made Russia’s stock market the world’s darling for a few years, 1995-97.

Right after the Asia Crisis, Bill Clinton’s administration admitted China to the World Trade Organization, giving U.S. investors and importers access to low-priced labor able to undersell U.S. industrial labor. That helped stop U.S. wage gains, while China used foreign investment as a means of upgrading its technology and labor to become economically self-reliant. It has not let its monetary system or social organization become financially dependent on “markets” functioning as vehicles for the U.S. control that Mr. Soros hoped would occur when he began investing in China.

China recognized from the beginning that its insistence on maintaining control of its economy – steering it to promote overall prosperity, not to enrich a client oligarchy fronting for a foreign investor class – would create political opposition from U.S. Cold War ideologues. China therefore sought allies from Wall Street, offering profit-making opportunities for Goldman Sachs and other investors whose self-interest has indeed led them to oppose anti-China policies.

But China’s success has creating so many billionaires that it is now moving to curtail exorbitant wealth. That policy has sharply cut prices for the leading Chinese stocks, prompting Mr. Soros to warn U.S. investors to bail out. His hope is that this will bring China to heel and reverse its policy of raising living standards at the expense of sending its economic gains to U.S. and other foreign investors.

The reality is that China does not need U.S. or other foreign money to develop. The Peoples’ Bank of China can create all the money that the domestic economy needs, while its export trade already is flooding it with dollars and pushing up its exchange rate.

John McCain characterized Russia as a gas station with atom bombs (neglecting to acknowledge that it is now the world’s largest grain exporter, no longer dependent on the West for its food supply – thanks largely to U.S.-sponsored trade sanctions). The corollary image is the United States as a financialized and monopolized economy with atom bombs and cyber threats, in danger of becoming a failed state like the old Soviet Union but threatening to bring the entire world economy down with it if other countries do not subsidize its debt-ridden New Cold War economy.

Presenting itself as the world’s leading democracy despite its financial oligarchy at home and its support of client oligarchies abroad, the United States has consolidated financial power in the wake of the 2008 junk-mortgage and bank-fraud.

Policy making and resource allocation have passed out of the hands of meaningful electoral politics into those of the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector, and what Ray McGovern has called MICIMATT the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academic-Think Tank complex, including the major foundations and NGOs. These institutions seek to concentrate income and wealth in the hands of a FIRE-sector oligarchy just as the Roman Senate blocked reform with veto power over popular legislation, and Europe’s upper houses of parliament such as Britain’s House of Lords used similar chokehold power to resist government control in the public interest.

The rise of U.S.-sponsored neoliberalism means that the 19th-century’s fight to free markets from predatory finance sponsoring rentier parasitism and has failed. This failure is celebrated as a victory for the rule of law, democracy, property rights and even free markets over the authority of public power to regulate private wealth-seeking. Integrating the global economy along unipolar lines enabling U.S. financial interests and those of allied NATO economies to appropriate the most profitable and highest rent-yielding assets of foreign countries is idealized as the natural evolution of civilization, not as the road to neoliberal serfdom and debt peonage embodied in what U.S. officials call the Rule of Law.

What is the Rule of Law?

The United States refuses to join the World Court, or any international organization in which it does not have veto power. And it simply withdraws from international treaties and agreements that it has signed if its vested interests believe that these no longer serve their interests. This always has been U.S. policy, from the many treaties with Native American tribes broken by Andrew Jackson and his successors down through the U.S.-Soviet agreements ending the Cold War in 1991 broken by Bill Clinton to the treaty removing sanctions on Iran broken by Donald Trump. This policy has introduced a new term into the world’s diplomatic vocabulary to describe U.S. diplomacy: non-agreement-capable.

The evangelistic neocon administration of George W. Bush , effectively run by his Vice President Dick Cheney, followed the principle that “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.” [3] To impose this reality on other countries, U.S. “intelligence” is selected, invented or censored to give the appearance of whatever reality is deemed to serve U.S. interests at any given moment of time. Past and present reality is redefined at will to provide a guide for action. Whatever U.S. diplomacy dictates is claimed to reflect the rule of law, giving the United States the right to definite what is legal and what is not when it imposes economic and military sanctions against countries that do not follow pro-American policies. The resulting dictates laying down the law are always wrapped in the rhetoric of free markets and democracy.

What is a free market?

To the classical economists, the objective of 19th-century reform was to replace the rentier class’s political power with democratic power to create state policies to either tax away land rent and other economic rent, or to take (return) land, natural resources and natural monopolies such as transportation, communications and other basic infrastructure needs to the public domain. A free market was defined as one free from economic rent – the land rent imposed by heirs of the feudal warlord landlord class, whose economic role was purely extractive, not productive. Natural resource rent was said to belong to the public domain as national patrimony, and monopoly rent was to be prevented by keeping natural monopolies in the public domain, or firmly regulating them if privatized.

The 20th century’s anti-classical reaction has inverted the concept of a free market, Orwellian Doublethink style, to create one “free” for rent-seekers to carve out free-lunch rent income. The result is a rentier economy in which land, natural resources and natural monopolies are privatized and, in due course, financialized to turn rent into a flow of interest payments to the financial sector as the economy is driven into debt to afford the rentier overhead and debt-financed asset-price inflation for rent-yielding assets.

The “freedom” of such markets is freedom from governments to tax away economic rent and regulate prices to limit rent extraction. An exponential growth of unearned rentier income and wealth in the hands of a sector diverts income away from the “real” production-and-consumption economy.

As for free trade, the United States also retains the right to impose tariffs at will (euphemized as “fair trade”) and levy fines and sanctions to prevent companies from being free to sell technology to China. The aim is to concentrate technological monopolies in U.S. hands. Any “proliferation” of technology (which is treated much like nuclear weaponry as a national security issue) is deemed to be “unfair” and antithetical to U.S. freedom to control the world’s trade and investment patterns in its own interest.

This attempt to promote “free markets” and “fair trade” is defended by U.S. claims to protect democracy against autocracy, and to intervene throughout the world to promote Free World members defined ipso facto as being democratic simply by virtue of being U.S. allies. Today’s New Cold War is all about maintaining and extending such a captive U.S.-oriented “free market” by force, from Henry Kissinger’s coup in Chile to impose Chicago-style “free markets” to Hillary Clinton’s coups in Ukraine’s Maidan and Honduras and her NATO-backed destruction of Libya and assassination of Qadhafi.

What is democracy?

Aristotle wrote that many constitutions appear superficially to be democratic, but actually are oligarchic. Democracy always had been the deceptive euphemism for oligarchy making itself into a hereditary aristocracy. Democracies tend to evolve into oligarchies as creditors expropriate debtors (the “rule of law” guaranteeing a hierarchy of “property rights” with creditor claims at the top of the legal pyramid).

The move toward democratic political reform in the late 19th and early 20th century was supposed to create rent-free markets. But the dynamics of political democracy have been managed in a way that blocks economic democracy. The very meaning of “democracy” is degraded to mean opposition to the government’s power to act against the oligarchic rentier One Percent on behalf of the 99 Percent. The resulting travesty of a democratic free market serves to block political attempts to use public power to promote the interests of the wage-earning population at large, and indeed of the industrial economy itself to avid financial asset stripping and debt deflation of markets.

In the language of international diplomacy, “democratic” has become a label for any pro-U.S. regime, from the Baltic kleptocracies to Latin America’s military dictatorships. Countries using state power to regulate monopolies or to tax rentier income are denounced as “autocratic,” even if they have elected heads of state. In this new Orwellian rhetoric of international diplomacy, Boris Yeltsin’s kleptocratic Russian regime was democratic, and the natural move to stop the corruption and depopulation was called “autocracy.”

What is autocracy and “authoritarianism”?

Foreign moves to defend against U.S. financial takeovers and sponsorship of client oligarchies are denounced as authoritarian. In the U.S. diplomatic vocabulary, “autocracy” refers to a government protecting the interests of its own population by resisting U.S. financial takeover of its natural resources, basic infrastructure and most lucrative monopolies.

All successful economie throughout history have been mixed public/private economies. The proper role of government is to protect economies from a rentier oligarchy from emerging to polarize the economy at the expense of the population at large. This protection requires keeping control of money and credit, land and natural resources, basic infrastructure and natural monopolies in the hands of governments.

It is oligarchies that are autocratic in blocking reforms to overrule their rent-seeking by keeping basic needs and infrastructure in the public domain. To confuse understanding, Rome’s oligarchy accused social reformers of “seeking kingship,” much as Greek oligarchies accused reformers of seeking “tyranny” – as if their reforms were merely for personal gain, not to promote general prosperity. The resulting Orwellian Doublethink is woven into the rhetoric of neoliberalism.

What is neoliberalism?

Neoliberalism is an exponentially expanding financial dynamic seeking to concentrate the world’s most profitable and highest rent-yielding resources in the hands of financial managers, mainly in the United State and its client oligarchies that act as proconsuls over foreign economies.

The liberal mass media, academia, and “think tank” lobbying institutions, policy foundations and NGOs sponsor the above-described rhetoric of free markets to create vehicles for capital flight, money laundering, tax evasion, deregulation and privatization (and the corruption that goes with emerging kleptocracies). Neoliberal doctrine depicts all public moves to protect general prosperity from the burden of rentier overhead as being authoritarian autocracy “interfering” with property rights.

What are property rights?

In today’s financialized economies “property rights” means the priority of creditor rights to foreclose on the housing, land and other property of debtors. (In antiquity that included the personal freedom of debtors condemned to debt bondage to their creditors.)

The World Bank has promoted such creditor-oriented property rights from the former Soviet Union to Latin American indigenous communities in order to privatize hitherto communal or public property, including land occupied by squatters or local communities. The idea is that once communal or public property is privatized as individual rights, it can be pledged as collateral for loans, and duly forfeited or sold under economic duress.

The effect is to concentrate property in the hands of the financial sector. That in turn leads inevitably to a failed austerity-ridden economy.

What is a failed economy?

Economies fail because of the rising power of vested interests, primarily in the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector that control most of the economies assets and wealth. A failed economy is one that cannot expand, usually as a result of becoming burdened by rising rentier overhead in the form of land rent, natural-resource rent and monopoly rent as the financial sector replaces democratically elected governments as central planner and resource allocator.

The FIRE sector is a symbiosis between finance and real estate, along with insurance. Its business plan involved a highly political dimension seeking to centralize control of money and credit creation in hereditary private hands, and to turn this economic rent. “free” from taxation, public collection or regulation, into a flow of interest. The effect of lending primarily to buyers of assets, which are pledged as collateral for loans, is not to create new means of production but to inflate asset prices for property already in place.

The resulting finance-capital gains have become the easiest way to acquire fortunes, which take the form of rent-extracting claims on the economy, not new means of production to support “real” economic prosperity and rising living standards.

Financialized economies are doomed to become failed states because the exponentially growing expansion path of debt accumulating at compound interest plus new credit creation and “quantitative easing” far exceeds the economy’s underlying growth rate of producing goods and services to carry this burden. These financial dynamics threaten to doom the U.S. and its satellite economies to become failed states.

The underlying question is whether Western civilization itself has become a failed civilization, given the roots of its legal system and concepts of property rights in oligarchic Rome. Rome’s polarized economy led to a Dark Age, which recovered by looting Byzantium and subsequently the East and new conquest of the New World and East and South Asia. For the past twenty years it has been China’s socialist growth that has primarily sustained Western prosperity. But this dynamic is being rejected, denounced as an existential threat precisely because it is successful socialism, not neoliberal exploitation.

In times past there always was some part of the globe to survive and carry on. But Super Decadence occurs when the whole world is being dragged down together, with no region able to resist the polarizing and impoverishing rentier dynamics imposed by the militarized imperial core. Following the U.S. lead, the West is cutting itself off from survival. Rejection of neoliberalism by China and other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is met by U.S. trade and financial sanctions whose self-defeating effect is to drive them together to create a state regulatory system (“autocracy”) to resist dollarization, financialization and privatization. That is why they are being isolated as an existential threat to the dynamics of neoliberal rentier decadence.

The Alternative

It does not have to be this way, of course. China is defending itself not only by the productive industrial and agricultural economy its socialist government has sponsored, but by a guiding concept of how economies work. China’s economic managers have the classical concepts of value, price and economic rent, that distinguish earned from unearned income, and productive labor and wealth from unproductive and predatory financial and rentier fortunes.

These are the concepts needed to uplift all society, the 99 Percent rather than just the One Percent. But the post-1980 neoliberal reaction has stripped away from the Western economic vocabulary and academic curriculum. The present economic stagnation, debt burden and locked-in zero interest rates are a policy choice by the West, not a product of inevitable technological determinism.

  1. George Soros, “BlackRock’s China Blunder,” Wall Street Journal, September 7, 2021. 
  2. Helene Cooper, Lara Jukes, Michael D. Shear and Michael Crowley, “In the Withdrawal from Afghanistan, a Biden Doctrine Surfaces,” The New York Times, September 5, 2021. 
  3. Ron Suskind, “Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush,” New York Times Magazine, October 17, 2004, quoting Bush-Cheney strategist Karl Rove. 

Speech by President of Russia Vladimir Putin at the BRICS summit + New Delhi Declaration

September 10, 2021

Speech by President of Russia Vladimir Putin at the BRICS summit + New Delhi Declaration

The theme of the summit is “BRICS@15: Intra-BRICS cooperation for continuity, consolidation and consensus.”

The summit was attended by President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, President of China Xi Jinping, and President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa.

The key agreements have been laid down in the New Delhi Declaration.

* * *

Speech by President of Russia Vladimir Putin at the BRICS summit

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Prime Minister Modi, President Xi Jinping, President Ramaphosa, President Bolsonaro,

Ladies and gentlemen,

First, I would like to join my colleagues who spoke before and thank Prime Minister Modi and all our Indian friends for the active work conducted by India as the BRICS chair this year.

Despite the special conditions related to the coronavirus pandemic, India as the chair has done everything it could to ensure the progressive development of strategic partnership of the BRICS countries without any setbacks.

I agree with my colleagues who expressed this opinion that the authority of our association is growing. Its role in international affairs is on the rise and it is substantial. This is a logical result of the BRICS ability to develop effective cooperation in the entire range of topical global and regional issues during 15 years of our joint activities.

Such close partnership of the BRICS countries is greatly in demand, considering that the global situation still remains very turbulent. The risks of the coronavirus pandemic are obvious to all of us, and my colleagues have just spoken about this. This threat has affected practically all aspects of our life, impeding the development of the global economy and exacerbating many social problems.

In addition to this, what is happening around the world remains very tense. Global security is subjected to serious trials and the system of strategic stability has noticeably deteriorated. Far from being settled, long-standing regional conflicts are flaring up with renewed force.

The withdrawal of the US and their allies from Afghanistan has led to a new crisis situation, and it remains unclear how it will affect regional and global security, so it is absolutely right that our countries pay special attention to this issue.

Understandably, just like its BRICS partners, Russia has consistently advocated the establishment of long-awaited peace and stability in Afghanistan, where the people have been fighting for many decades and have earned the right to independently determine what their state will be like.

At the same time, we are not interested in Afghanistan remaining a threat to neighbouring countries or having terrorism and illegal drug trafficking coming from the Afghan territory threaten us. We are interested in stopping the migration flow and we want the Afghans to be able to live a peaceful and dignified life in their own country.

I have mentioned many times that the current round of the crisis in Afghanistan is a direct consequence of irresponsible extraneous attempts to impose someone else’s values on the country and to build “democratic structures” using socio-political engineering techniques, ignoring the historical and national specifics of other nations and the traditions by which they live.

All of that leads to nothing but destabilisation and, ultimately, chaos, after which the masterminds behind these experiments hastily retreat leaving their charges behind. The entire international community then has to face the consequences.

I am convinced that peaceful progress in international relations can be guaranteed only through ensuring the existence of states with different political and social systems, their own national interests and spiritual and moral values, but with mandatory observance of the fundamental principles of international law enshrined in the UN Charter, including non-interference in internal affairs and respect for sovereignty.

It is likewise important to maintain and promote mutually respectful, constructive and meaningful interaction at the global level, to strengthen the emerging multipolar system which comprises independent centres of economic growth and political influence, of which BRICS is, of course, a part.

In this context, we consider very relevant the topic of our meeting and the topic of the entire year in BRICS that was chosen by our Indian partners and the Indian chairmanship which is promoting cooperation on the basis of continuity, consolidation and consensus. In fact, the entire international community is facing this challenge, and five BRICS countries are playing a significant and noticeable role in addressing it.

I hope our work today will be substantive and productive. I would like to emphasise once again that Russia stands ready to continue close interaction with the BRICS countries in all areas.

Thank you.

George Soros’s dream: To turn China into a neoliberal grabitization opportunity

September 01, 2021

George Soros’s dream: To turn China into a neoliberal grabitization opportunity

By Michael Hudson and posted with special permission.

In a Financial Times op-ed, “Investors in Xi’s China face a rude awakening” (August 30, 2021), George Soros writes that Xi’s “crackdown on private enterprise shows he does not understand the market economy. … Xi Jinping, China’s leader, has collided with economic reality. His crackdown on private enterprise has been a significant drag on the economy.”

Translated out of Orwellian Doublethink, the “crackdown on private enterprise” means cutting back on what the classical economists called rent-seeking and unearned income. As for its supposed “drag on the economy,” Mr. Soros means the economy’s polarization concentrating wealth and income in the hands of the richest One Percent.

Soros lays out his plan for how U.S. retaliation may punish China by withholding U.S. funding of its companies (as if China cannot create its own credit) until China capitulates and imposes the kind of deregulation and de-taxation that Russia did after 1991. He warns that China will suffer depression by saving its economy along socialist lines and resisting U.S.-style privatization and its associated debt deflation.

Mr. Soros does recognize that China’s “most vulnerable sector is real estate, particularly housing. China has enjoyed an extended property boom over the past two decades, but that is now coming to an end. Evergrande, the largest real estate company, is over-indebted and in danger of default. This could cause a crash.” By that, he means a reduction of housing prices. That’s just what is needed in order to deter land becoming a speculative vehicle. I and others have urged a policy of land taxation in order to collect the land’s rising site value, so that it will not be pledged to banks for mortgage credit to further inflate china’s housing prices.

Warning about the economic consequences of China’s falling birth rate, Soros writes: “One of the reasons why middle-class families are unwilling to have more than one child is that they want to make sure that their children will have a bright future.” This is of course true of every advanced nation today. It is most extreme in the neoliberalized countries, e.g., the Baltics and Ukraine – Soros’s poster countries.

Soros gives his game away by stating that “Xi does not understand how markets operate.” What he means is that President Xi rejects rapacious rent-seeking, exploitative free-for-all, and shapes markets to serve overall prosperity for China’s 99 Percent. “As a consequence, the sell-off was allowed to go too far,” Soros continues. What he means is, too far to maintain the dominance of the One Percent. China is seeking to reverse economic polarization, not intensify it.

Soros claims that China’s socialist policies are hurting its objectives in the world. But what he really is complaining about is that it is hurting America’s neoliberal objectives for how it had hoped to make money for itself off China. This leads Soros to remind Western pension fund managers to “allocate their assets in ways that are closely aligned with the benchmarks against which their performance is measured.” But the tragedy of financializing pensions is that fund managers are rated on making money financially – in ways that hurt the industrial economy by promoting financial engineering instead of industrial engineering.

“Almost all of them claim that they factor environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) standards into their investment decisions,” Soros writes. At least, that’s what their public relations advisors advertise. Exxon claims to be cleaning up the environment by expanding offshore oil drilling in Guyana, etc. As for “social standards,” the neoliberal mantra is trickle-down economics: by making our stock prices rise, by stock buybacks and higher dividend payouts, we are helping wage-earners earn a pension, even though we are offshoring and de-industrializing the economy, de-unionizing it and “freeing” the economy from consumer and workplace protection laws.

Soros has a radical solution, which he suggests “should obviously apply to the performance benchmarks selected by pensions and other retirement portfolios: … The US Congress should pass a bipartisan bill explicitly requiring that asset managers invest only in companies where actual governance structures are both transparent and aligned with stakeholders.”

Wow. Such a bill would block Americans from investing in many American companies whose behavior is not at all aligned with stakeholders. What proportion: 50%? 75? More?

“If Congress were to enact these measures,” Soros concludes, “it would give the Securities and Exchange Commission the tools it needs to protect American investors, including those who are unaware of owning Chinese stocks and Chinese shell companies. That would also serve the interests of the US and the wider international community of democracies.” So Mr. Soros wants to block the United States from investing in China. He seems not to see that this is President Xi’s objective also: China doesn’t need U.S. dollars, and is in fact de-dollarizing.

George Soros is obviously upset that President Xi is not Boris Yeltsin, and that China is not following the kleptocracy dependency that warped Russia’s economy. Soros thought the ending of the Cold War would simply let him buy up the most lucrative rent-yielding assets, as he has aimed to do in the Baltics and Ukraine. China said “No,” so it is not deemed to be a “market economy,” Soros-style. It has not made its social organization marketable, and has avoided the financial dependency that makes “markets” a vehicle for U.S. control via sanctions and foreign buyouts.

Here comes China: Afghanistan, 7 Deadly Sins, Space, Common Prosperity

August 28, 2021

Afghanistan is where the eyes of the world are. In my view, and according to the Chinese media and commentary, China is the inheritor of Afghanistan in terms of possible rebuilding of the country (finance, economy, industry, and trade) and also to ensure that a terrorist problem does not threaten across the border with China. The jury is out in terms of the trajectory here. China though has its embassy open, and this photo possibly says it all.

Afghanistan’s China Town reopens, not disrupted by the deadly blasts in Kabul airport

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping.

In the context of the 20th anniversary of the Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation, the presidents noted with satisfaction that the Russian-Chinese strategic partnership has been developing progressively and dynamically. The main thing is that both sides are interested in further strengthening cooperation on the entire complex of issues on the bilateral and international agenda.

The leaders had an in-depth discussion on the Afghanistan problem. They expressed readiness to step up efforts to counter the threats of terrorism and drug trafficking emanating from Afghanistan and emphasised the importance of achieving peace as soon as possible and preventing the spread of instability to neighbouring regions. It order to do this, the presidents intend to use the potential of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation as much as possible, among other things. The two leaders also agreed to step up bilateral contacts and close cooperation, above all between the foreign ministries.

On the occasion of the upcoming 76th anniversary of the end of World War II, the relevance of the work to preserve the truth about the events of that period and prevent attempts to falsify history was noted.

The conversation was held in a traditionally friendly and trust-based atmosphere.


From the Chinese media, 7 deadly sins that the US committed in Afghanistan

Sin 1: Warmonger

Sin 2: Machiavellian

Sin 3: Human Rights Abuses

Sin 4: State-Sponsored Terrorism

Sin 5: Heroin Trafficking

Sin 6: Blasphemy

Sin 7: Environment Destruction

http://www.news.cn/english/2021-08/24/c_1310146023.htm


In Afghanistan, China Is Ready to Step Into the Void, by Zhou Bo

This complete article is available on Godfree’s newsletter and this is but a short excerpt.  However, it illustrates the internal view of China on Afghanistan:

Zhou Bo is a senior fellow at the Center for International Security and Strategy at Tsinghua University and a member of the China Forum. He was a senior colonel in the People’s Liberation Army from 2003 to 2020 and is an expert on the Chinese army’s strategic thinking on international security. He directed the Centre for Security Cooperation in the Office for International Military Cooperation at the Ministry of National Defense.

The speed and scope of the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan have prompted introspection in the West over what went wrong, and how, after billions of dollars spent on a 20-year war effort, it could all end so ignominiously. China, though, is looking forward. It is ready to step into the void left by the hasty U.S. retreat to seize a golden opportunity.

While Beijing has yet to formally recognize the Taliban as Afghanistan’s new government, China issued a statement on Monday saying that it “respects the right of the Afghan people to independently determine their own destiny” and will develop “friendly and cooperative relations with Afghanistan.”

The message here is clear: Beijing has few qualms about fostering a closer relationship with the Taliban and is ready to assert itself as the most influential outside player in an Afghanistan now all but abandoned by the United States.

Unlike the United States, China brings no baggage to the table in Afghanistan. China has kept a low profile in the country since the U.S. invasion, not wishing to play second fiddle to the United States in any power politics. Beijing watched as Washington’s foray in Afghanistan became a messy and costly morass. In the meantime, China provided Afghanistan millions of dollars in aid for medical assistance, hospitals, a solar power station and more. All the while, Beijing was fostering stronger trade relations, eventually becoming one of Afghanistan’s largest trading partners.

With the U.S. withdrawal, Beijing can offer what Kabul needs most: political impartiality and economic investment. Afghanistan in turn has what China most prizes: opportunities in infrastructure and industry building — areas in which China’s capabilities are arguably unmatched — and access to $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits, including critical industrial metals such as lithium, iron, copper and cobalt. Though critics have raised the point that Chinese investment is not a strategic priority in a less secure Afghanistan, I believe otherwise.


Digital Yuan

Through the ages, money has taken various forms, (shells, stones, beads, various types of coins where the value was inherent in the material that the coin was made from and other that used a worthless material but assured by some kind of backing like gold, or simply trust in sovereign promises).

In terms of paper money, in the 13th century, the Chinese emperor Kublai Khan embarked on a bold experiment. China at the time was divided into different regions, many of which issued their own coins, discouraging trade within the empire. So Kublai Khan decreed that henceforth money would take the form of paper.

This was a huge step and even today we use paper money to an extent, but more and more we use digitized currencies. It is not strange that China again comes up with the major step of disintermediating the current technology of money by the creation of its DCEP. (This is not a cryptocurrency, however, technologically, it functions like one).  Transactions are fast, the basis is cash, and China is building it out as a two tier system (PBC and local banks assuring stable financial infrastructure and supervision, which, in effect, is the ‘backing’), as well as multi-scheme, which is the connection to retailers and third-party payment platforms (think of something like Paypal). Ownership of the currency business is then an open new market economic category.

We see more and more countries following suit but there is no one that is as far along as China on roll-out of digital currency, already trading with it, using it via smart contracts and more and more in cross border trade.

China builds cross-border finance blockchain platform

http://www.news.cn/english/2021-08/25/c_1310148785.htm

As all technology changes, the technology of money will also change and in reality, is in the process of change as we speak. The size of the change in financial technology spearheaded by China could well be of the magnitude, as was the acceptance of paper money, i.e., the whole world, just as Kublai Khan created his system in the 13th century. The prospective use cases of digital money at this level staggers the imagination and the strength of an economic weapon of this kind is routinely underestimated.


While we have money going all digital, why not do the same with the rest:

Following China’s push for a digital currency, the country plans to roll out digital driver’s licenses nationwide by 2022. Nearly 2 million residents have obtained digital driver’s licenses so far, as cited by Xinhua. Digital licenses will have the same legal effect as physical licenses and can be used to rent vehicles, file insurance claims and handle traffic violations. An official mobile app accepts applications for a digital license. 400 million people are licensed to drive in China. Read full article →


Space, yes, one cannot get away from China these days without talking about space.

A Chinese satellite has tested a technology that could offer the most accurate means yet of tracking air traffic from space, in the hope of preventing repeats of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 tragedy. Each aircraft in the sky emits a radio signal, and constantly monitoring all planes over a large area is technically challenging. But Beihang Kongshi 1, a small satellite in near-Earth orbit, can update the status of an aircraft every eight seconds – about twice as fast as American technology, meaning the tracking is more accurate. Read full article  $→

In the mean time the Mars Rover is an unadulterated success. The National Space Administration said on its website Friday that Zhurong completed its 90-day program on August 15 and was in excellent technical condition and fully charged. Read full article →


Technology and Legal

In modern terms, China is a young country and in certain areas, specifically technology, legal structures lag behind technological development. This is not new if you are in technology but given the size and growth of China’s technology sector, may create some problems. In case you’ve been living under a very large rock: Regulators in Beijing have been on a mission to constrain the market dominance of China’s tech behemoths for months now. The principle value in the technological companies is that of building big fast and getting rich fast. But, the common value in the Chinese government is ‘common prosperity’. Wealth inequality is not as pronounced as in the west and China wants to keep it that way.  You may build big fast and get rich fast, but do not forget the country that gave you the platforms to create your behemoth of an industry.  Get rich, but not too rich.

The new legislation has all kinds of knock-on effects.  For example, labor laws (for one) and the value of all work and no play is being shaved. For example, ‘996’ work hours are illegal. “The ‘996’ work culture — a 12-hour, six-day work schedule that had been popular among Chinese tech companies until recently — is a serious violation of Chinese labor law, according to China’s Supreme People’s Court and its Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.” Read full article →


Defense

The People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force has improved the accuracy and range of its ballistic missile force, the world’s largest, according to a new US Army report. The DF-11, the most widely deployed short-range ballistic missile, was originally designed to hit targets up to 300km away, but newer models have expanded ranges beyond 700km. “Accuracy has also increased, reducing” the intended target point to only 30m, “giving theatre commanders a long-range precision strike capability”, according to the army publication. The DF-11 can employ both conventional and nuclear warheads. The “solid-fuel rocket and mobile transporter-erector-launchers enable rapid launch and reload operations”, it added. Read full article $→

China has successfully tested two short-range conventional missiles designed to take out enemy communications systems. The PLA Rocket Force recently tested two new missiles that can overcome “complex electromagnetic interference” to destroy facilities in a “fast-reaction” operation. “[The missiles] successfully hit the target in an enemy camp equipped with multilayer defences several hundred kilometres away and effectively paralysed the enemy’s key communications node,” CCTV reported. Read full article $→


The legal machinations around Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou house arrest in Canada seem to be drawing to a close, if in fact it will be allowed to draw to a close. Jeff J. Brown provided a solid analysis and background of the story.


To conclude, yes, the elephants are back home but nobody is betting that they will stay home this time. They may at any time decide to again go on a walk-about.

And on Winnie the Pooh:

Selections from Godfree Roberts’ extensive weekly newsletter: Here Comes China. You can get it here: https://www.herecomeschina.com/#subscribe

Further selections and editorial and geopolitical commentary by Amarynth.

بكين وصلت إلى دمشق.. ماذا بعد؟

22 تموز2021

المصدر: الميادين

أحمد الدرزي

حملت زيارة الصين إلى دمشق 3 أبعاد، فقد تم فيها دعوة دمشق إلى الدخول في مشروعها الكبير وبدأ العمل فيها على البنى التحتية الضرورية.

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كان واضحاً الحرص الصيني على الوصول إلى دمشق في تاريخ القسم الرئاسي نفسه، للدلالة على الدعم الكبير لها.

تعاطى السوريون مع قدوم وزير الخارجية الصيني في يوم القسم الرئاسي إلى سوريا، والذي حمل دلالات رمزية عميقة، بمشاعر متباينة بين التفاؤل والتشاؤم، وخصوصاً أن الوضع الاقتصادي ضاغط بشدة على القاعدة الأكبر منهم، التي تجاوزت 90% من مجموع السكان، فأي مسارات ستسلكها العلاقات بين البلدين؟ وما انعكاسها على الوضع السوري الداخلي والخارجي؟

لا يعدّ اهتمام قادة بكين بسوريا وليد اللحظة، إذ إنه يمتد إلى نهايات الألفية الثانية، مع صعود الصين التي بدأت نهضتها الحقيقية في العام 1978، بمجيء دينغ هسياو بينغ. وكان من المفترض أن تحصل قفزة كبيرة في العلاقة بين البلدين بعد زيارة الرئيس الأسد لبكين في العام 2004، ولكن المشاريع الاقتصادية التي كان من المفترض أن تقوم بها الأخيرة في مدينة عدرا العمالية تم إيقافها لأسباب غير معروفة.

مع مجيء تشي جينبينغ في العام 2013 إلى موقع الرئاسة في الصين، تم الإعلان عن مبادرة “الحزام والطريق” التي قُدّرت كلفتها بحدود 4 تريليون دولار. وكان اللافت للنظر هو استبعاد سوريا والعراق من المشروع، واعتبار شمال غرب إيران وجنوب شرق تركيا الممرَّ البري نحو أوروبا، واعتبار مرفأ حيفا في فلسطين المحتلة المرفأ المعتمد في شرق البحر الأبيض المتوسط. 

أخذت السياسات الصينية تُظهر نفسها على المستوى السياسي بعد إدراك قادة بكين أن القدرات الاقتصادية الهائلة التي أتاحت لهم بناء قدرة عسكرية دفاعية، تتيح لهم ترجمة ذلك، لتحويل الصين إلى قطب دولي موازٍ للقطب الأميركي الأوحد، ما دفع الرئيس جينبينغ إلى الإعلان عن اعتباره أن العالم أصبح متعدد الأقطاب، ولا عودة عن ذلك، وذلك من منبر الأمم المتحدة في العام 2015.

ارتفعت نبرة التحدي الصيني بعد مجيء الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة بقيادة بايدن، واعتبارها كلاً من الصين وروسيا تهديدين استراتيجيين للولايات المتحدة، ما دفع الرئيس الصيني إلى الإعلان عن أنَّ “زمن التنمّر على الصين ولَّى بلا رجعة”.

كما أحدث الانسحاب الأميركي غير المشروط من أفغانستان، وتركه الفوضى والاضطرابات من خلال سيطرة حركة “طالبان”، قلقاً لدى دول الجوار، ما دفع 40 دولة إلى عقد مؤتمر آسيا الوسطى والجنوبية في مدينة طشقند في أوزباكستان بتاريخ 15 تموز/يوليو الماضي، بعنوان لافت للنظر هو “الترابط الإقليمي، تحديات وفرص”.

وكان من الواضح من خلال طبيعة تحركات وزير الخارجية الصيني أنَّ القرار اتخذ بضرورة تأمين منطقة غرب آسيا، التي تشمل المنطقة الممتدة من أفغانستان إلى شرق البحر الأبيض المتوسط، وهو ما يقتضي بطبيعة الحال إخراج سوريا من منطقة الصراعات الدولية والإقليمية، فالتقى القوى الدولية والإقليمية المؤثرة في الملف السوري، ممثّلة بكل من وزيري خارجية روسيا سيرغي لافروف والمملكة العربية السعودية سعود الفرحان في اليوم الأول. وفِي اليوم الثاني، التقى وزير خارجية تركيا مولود جاويش أوغلو قبل التوجّه إلى دمشق.

كان واضحاً الحرص الصيني على الوصول إلى دمشق في تاريخ القسم الرئاسي، للدلالة على الدعم الكبير لها، وعلى أنّ بقاء الرئيس الأسد في سدة الحكم لم يكن سوى مظهر لنتائج الصراع الدولي والإقليمي وتحولاته الكبرى، وتأكيداً على دور الصين في المرحلة القادمة في تأمين الجغرافيا السورية كمنطقة آمنة، بالتعاون والتنسيق بشكل أساسي مع موسكو وطهران، وإشراك المملكة العربية السعودية التي تعتبر قاطرة دول الخليج، إضافة إلى مصر التي زارها في اليوم التالي، والتقى فيها الرئيس المصري عبد الفتاح السيسي، ومعالجة الدور التركي السلبي الذي لم يفِ بتعهداته لبكين بتسليم القيادات الإرهابية التركستانية، رغم الدعم الاقتصادي الصيني لها.

وكان لاتصال وزير الخارجية وانغ يي بوزير الخارجية الإيراني محمد جواد ظريف في اليوم الذي زار فيه دمشق دلالة كبيرة، وخصوصاً أن بيان وزارة الخارجية الصيني أعلن استعداد الصين للعمل مع إيران على مواجهة السياسات الأحادية والهيمنة، وهو ما يعني بالضرورة التوافق مع استراتيجيتها بإخراج الأميركيين من غرب آسيا بأكملها، وخصوصاً سوريا والعراق، ما يمهّد الطريق لدخول مبادرة “الحزام والطريق” إلى كل من العراق وسوريا ولبنان.

حملت الزيارة الصينية إلى دمشق 3 أبعاد، فقد تم فيها دعوة دمشق إلى الدخول في مشروعها الكبير، أسوةً ببقية الدول التي وافقت عليه، وبدأ العمل فيها على البنى التحتية الضرورية. 

وللتأكيد على ذلك، وقعت على اتفاقيات الاستثمار في كل مدينة عدرا الصناعية واللاذقية، وعلى إنشاء خط بري من الشمال إلى الجنوب، يربط دول الخليج العربي وشمال أفريقيا بتركيا وأوروبا، وبناء خط لسكك الحديد يربط مرفأ طرطوس بالعراق وإيران وباكستان والصين، إضافةً إلى الاستثمار في قطاع النفط والغاز، والجانب الآخر يتعلق بالمساعدات التي يمكن أن تقدمها إلى سوريا.

وقد توج ذلك بمبادرة للحل السياسي وفق قرارات الأمم المتحدة، مع الدعم الكبير لتصورات دمشق في أكثر القضايا، وخصوصاً ما يتعلق بالإدارة الذاتية والاحتلال التركي، عندما لمّحت المبادرة إلى “رفض جميع المخططات المحفزة على الانقسامات العرقية تحت ذريعة مكافحة الإرهاب”، إضافةً إلى شرط أساسي: “ينبغي دعم حل سياسي شامل وتصالحي للقضية السورية” بقيادة السوريين.

من الواضح أنَّ المساهمة الصينية في مساعدة سوريا اقتصادياً وسياسياً مرتبطة بتحقيق متطلبات أساسية، تتعلق بتغيير بيئة العمل الاقتصادي وتغيير التشريعات الاقتصادية، وهو ما تعهّد به الرئيس الأسد في خطاب القسم، عندما أكّد أن العمل في المرحلة القادمة سيكون على مكافحة الفساد وإصدار تشريعات اقتصادية جديدة.

أما الحلّ السياسي، فقد يذهب نحو مسار تشكيل منصّة للمعارضة السورية الداخلية بعنوان منصة دمشق، تكون مهمّتها الأساس إيجاد أرضية للحوار والتفاوض بين الطرفين في دمشق، وليس جنيف، وإنهاء دور المنصات التي تشكل امتدادات دولية وإقليمية.

بعد أن اختارت دمشق قرار التوجّه شرقاً، تطلَّب منها ذلك الشروع في تحقيق المتطلبات الثلاثة الآنفة الذكر، وهو ما ينتظره أغلب السوريين الذين طحنتهم الحرب، والذين يبحثون عن مخرج لاسترداد حياتهم السابقة واستعادة المناطق المحتلة في الشمال السوري وجنوبه، والبدء بإعادة إعمار ما تهدم على الصعيد الاجتماعي والاقتصادي، والّذي تعجز عنه الدولة السورية وحدها.  

How CPC succeeded in transforming China into a global power

How CPC succeeded in transforming China into a global power

July 15, 2021

By Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

With the beginning of the 20th century, geopolitics was changing rapidly. The centries old, empires, Kingdoms, Dynasties were facing severe challenges, and many revolutions were witnessed. The biggest change was the Russian revolution in 1917, as the Marxist first country in the world. People fed up with imperialism, feudalism, capitalism, and Western Style liberalism, democracy, and colonialism were looking at the Russian revolution as a ray of hope and solutions to all problems.

Since the beginning, anti-Marxism forces, led by America, provided a platform to all Western Style democracies to prove the Russian revolution a failure. However, the world has witnessed a Marxist revolution in many countries around the globe, Eastern Europe, was prominent. In many Arab countries also, a so-called socialist revolution took place like Egypt, Syria, Libya, Iraq, etc. In few African and Asian countries also similar revolutions happened. But most prominent was in China.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) was founded on 01 July 1921 in shanghai. After 28 years of intense struggle, succeeded in establishing the People’s Republic of China as a socialist state in 1949, under the great leadership of Chairman Mao.

The US launched a cold war against Marxism and socialism and formed NATO and non-NATO alliances against the communism threat. The US and its allies did everything possible to harm all Marxist states and used all possible tools against them, like media as narrative building, sanctions, covered operations, coercion, military and non-military operations, espionage, conspiracies, etc.

The former USSR was disintegrated in 1991 and followed series of many Marxist states to collapse, especially, in Eastern Europe. Only a few countries claiming Marxism, are still existing, among them is China, the most prominent.

Why Marxism is still alive and successful in China whereas failed in many other countries? What are the secrets behind the CPC for its success? Before getting any conclusion, we need to understand the structure, and nature of Chinese characteristics of Socialism, which is based on Marxism, with Chairman Mao’s thoughts, Deng Xiao Ping’s theory of opening up and economic reforms, and President Xi’s vision. We must explore the reasons for the success of CPC in China and learn a lesson if suits.

Fortunately, China was blessed with visionary, sincere, and competent leadership uninterruptedly. The Chinese leadership kept on transforming CPC from time to time to meet the emerging situations. Like, pre-1949, Chairman Mao led CPC for guerrilla war to outs the corrupt, incompetent, and disloyal to the nation, the Guo-Ming Dang (Nationalist Party, ruling China at that era. But after 1949, Chairman Mao transformed the CPC to rule the country and develop a governance system, to unite the nations, political reforms, agriculture developments, industrialization, etc. In 1978, Deng Xiao Ping, introduced his theory of opening up and economic reforms, the CPC was reformed to implement his thoughts and transformed China from a poor and backward country into the Second largest Economy in the world, and the property was visible in China everywhere. President Xi’s vision was to globalize China, he transformed CPC to suits his vision. Today China has emerged as a strong, modern, prosperous global power. All these successes were achieved because of the hard work of the people of China and the visionary leadership of China. The introduction of the right policies at the right time was key to all these achievements. The CPC deserves credit os all achievements.

The Induction of new members is based on strict merit, and regular training of party members is also contributing toward the Chinese achievements. The regular strict monitoring of officials and accountability also plays its role to keep the transparency, merit, and corruption-free systems. CPC is well disciplined, well organized, competent, and sincerely working for the total welfare of people.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), President Xi Jinping delivered an outstanding historic speech before a jubilant and roaring crowd of more than 70,000 people at the famous Tiananmen Square in Beijing. President Xi who is also the general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission declared that the nation is advancing with unstoppable momentum and rejuvenation.

Then-President Xi’s speech provided a much larger impetus to the momentum for the already strong and confident nation where he made a promise to continue this glorious journey for the next 100 years.

This rejuvenated nation eradicated absolute poverty, fought a heroic battle against the once-in-a-century pathogen, created a thriving economy, made immense agriculture advancement and technological progress, including successful space expeditions, and above all brought happiness to its people, all of which are significant highlights of a prosperous and peaceful China.

President Xi declared that China has finally achieved the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. He was drawing attention to recent triumphs that China has accomplished: poverty alleviation and economic stability. A sense of confidence and pride with humility is reflected from the speech when President Xi said that China is marching towards becoming a great modern socialist country in all respects.

It is important that President Xi also highlighted in his speech how the CPC has achieved great success in making people united, worked through the revolution, famines, and wars, and later kicked off reforms, opening up and marched forward in the new era. When the CPC was established in 1921, there were only a few members but today, it has grown into a family of 95 million people in a country of 1.4 billion people. The CPC is one of the largest parties in the world and has remarkable global influence especially because of its visionary leadership.

The language of the speech reflects the poise that the CPC leadership has after working tirelessly day and night to transform China from rags to riches, to a modern socialist country with Chinese characteristics. An interesting aspect is that in this entire change period, the CPC led Chinese people in developing their model of governance and their indigenous way to reform their society for all-around prosperity.

For the past 100 years, Chinese people have not launched any foreign war, but rather they fought for their destiny and left a glorious legacy for the peaceful rise. As a result of the CPC leadership, nearly 800 million people are now out of poverty and China amounts to one of the largest consumer markets with thriving foreign direct investment wherein its GDP exceeds 100-trillion yuan.

As the CPC enters the next phase of 100 years, the leadership is firm and ready to uphold the foundation and lifeblood of the party and the country. President Xi encouraged the party members to unite and lead the nation to work tirelessly for a better life.

Any attempt to divide the CPC leadership or members will bound to fail as the 1.4 billion Chinese people will never let this happen. There is also a vow to continue developing socialism with Chinese characteristics as China has built its indigenous new model for human civilization. This model is based on peaceful coexistence. President Xi however warned anyone who would attempt to bully Chinese people will find themselves forged against a great wall of steel of 1.4 billion Chinese people.

CPC has a history full of achievements and demonstrated success on many fronts. On the occasion of the 100th Anniversary, global leaders have congratulated the CPC and acknowledged the performance of CPC. Let’s congratulate the CPC and learn the secrets of their success which suits our nations.

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

Entranced Earth: the hegemonic dispute engulfs Brazil

July 13, 2021

Entranced Earth: the hegemonic dispute engulfs Brazil

By Fabio Reis Vianna for The Saker Blog

Even if the rhetoric and the interim security strategy of the Joe Biden administration itself tries to give a multilateralist veneer to the idea that the benevolent hegemon would be back, the reality imposed by the increase in competitive pressure, which deepens after the outbreak of the pandemic, and acquires dramatic contours in the so-called “vaccine war”, reveals a challenging scenario for the coming years.

The gradual increase in competitive pressure, symptom of a phenomenon justified in the theory of the Expanding Universe, would have its origins after the September 11 attacks, when the “universal war on terrorism” unveils a world where the power of an omnipotent hegemon revealed itself in the need for the permanent expansion of power through the use of its military infrastructure.

Then arises the figure of the “terrorist enemy”, which could be any person or group, inside or outside the United States, a universal enemy that could be destroyed anywhere, even if that meant violating individual rights or the sovereignty of other states.

The unilateral power expansionism carried out by the Americans after September 11 would therefore have generated the seed of escalation in conflicts, leading to increased destabilization and consequently to a reactive movement of the other states in the world system.

As if in a movement of self-protection, former powers of the interstate system return to a game that seemed dead, but in practice was only sleeping: the old geopolitics of nations, where national interest and the resumption of sovereignty would return to play the cards against the dogmas of globalization and liberal order.

The return of Russia, which in 2015 intervened in the Syrian war – demonstrating a warlike power not seen for some time – represented a turning point, which apparently began with the reelection of Vladimir Putin himself in 2012, but also with the coming to power of the current Chinese president Xi Jinping in 2013. From then on, the interstate dispute would have accelerated considerably with the rise of these two Eurasian giants.

The spread of international competition and instability would be, therefore, in line with the idea that for international political actors the effort for changes in the system would be preponderant for the achievement of their own interests.

The appearance of new emerging actors in the world system, even if considered a destabilizing factor of the system itself, on the other hand, would boost in the hegemonic state the expansionist impulse necessary for it to remain at the top of the system.

The global instability caused by the clash between the powers that would be benefiting from the instituted international order, and those states that would aim to climb the power ladder, would suggest the end, or at least an interruption of the minimum consensus necessary for harmonious coexistence within what Hedlley Bull would call a “society of states”.

From this perspective, the hypothesis of war would emerge as an almost inevitable expedient to resolve the tensions caused by power imbalances and global instability. It is from war, therefore, and especially from the so-called hegemonic war, that the state or coalition of states that would lead the new international order would emerge.

At the moment in which the crisis or the end of the so-called liberal order created in the 20th century and led by the United States of America is being discussed, what seems evident is the occurrence of an increasingly deeper questioning of the current international order by other nations.

In this sense, the global instability reflected in the increase of competitive pressure would be explicit in the context of a generalized conflictive ambience, or on the way to generalization.

To better conceptualize this idea, Robert Gilpin’s Theory of Hegemonic War would indicate that a generalized conflictive environment, even if not configured in an apparent hegemonic war, would already suggest such a situation if we think that what differs a hegemonic war from other categories of war would be precisely the systemic conception existing in the relations between individual states. This being so, and given that it is a systemic relationship, the whole structure itself would be affected by it.

What has been happening internally in a country like Brazil is a very peculiar and local-scale example of this global phenomenon that has spread throughout the interstate system.

Therefore, just as the pandemic accelerated and deepened the global systemic crisis, internally it had a devastating effect by fusing conflicts and contradictions within societies in many countries around the world.

At a time when the parliamentary commission investigating the pandemic crisis is exposing the viscera of corruption in the Bolsonaro administration, exposing the Armed Forces to a public embarrassment not seen for some time, the repudiation note of the three military commands in a clear threat to the National Congress confirms the thesis that the internal war within the institutions and oligarchic elites is something real and increasingly out of control.

The strange visit of the CIA director to Brasilia, and his meeting behind closed doors with Bolsonaro and the head of Brazilian espionage, General Augusto Heleno, sounded like an intimidating message to Brazilian civil society that the Biden administration would endorse a hypothetical regime closure in Brazil.

As it happened during the Jimmy Carter administration – when the military dictatorship was strongly pressured by the United States -, even if the pressure of American public opinion may lead the Biden administration to abandon the nefarious Bolsonaro administration, it is still very useful for the current American security strategy that a vassal government like the Brazilian one ensures the removal of the Eurasian presence in the “Western Hemisphere”, and even contributes to the destabilization of hostile countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela and Cuba.

The erratic way in which the privatization of Eletrobrás is being carried out – which will lead to an unprecedented increase in costs – as well as the energy crisis that is looming, signal a growing distancing of powerful sectors of the business elites from a government that reveals an openly militarized, authoritarian face that is oblivious to reality.

The fraying, therefore, of social relations at the top of the Brazilian pyramid reveals a scenario that finds historical precedent only in that period that led to the so-called Revolution of 1930, when the dispute between the oligarchies of the time reached its peak.

Following the example of what is happening at this very moment in Cuba and South Africa, the escalation of systemic social conflicts seems to have no end, and even if for different reasons, it would be the result of the pandora’s box opened by the pandemic.

Even if at first glance it doesn’t seem relevant, certainly the deepening of tensions at a global level – within the universe of the great hegemonic dispute – will be decisive for the future of the much debilitated Brazilian democracy.

The classic “Entranced Earth”, by the great filmmaker Glauber Rocha, never came so handy for the Brazilian reality.


Fabio Reis Vianna, lives in Rio de Janeiro, is a bachelor of laws (LL.B), MA student in International Relations at the University of Évora (Portugal), writer and geopolitical analyst. He currently maintains a column on international politics at the centennial Brazilian newspaper Monitor Mercantil.

China’s Communist Party – A 100-Year Legacy of Success and a Forward Vision

June 30, 2021

China’s Communist Party – A 100-Year Legacy of Success and a Forward Vision

By Peter Koenig with permission and written for China’s Chongyang Institute of the Renmin University in Beijing – for the 100 Anniversary – 1 July 2021 – of China’s Communist Party.

The legendary Chinese success story goes hand-in-hand with the evolution of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and China’s Communist Revolution that began in 1945. The foundation of the CPC on 1 July 1921 signaled the end of some 200 years of China’s oppression by foreign powers, to western invasions and exploitation, grabbing China’s territories and especially her rich natural resources – and to gain trading advantages, including from the riches of China’s resources and crafts.

Background and History
About two centuries ago, foreign interferences were dominated by illegal Opium Trade that eventually culminated in two Opium WarsIn the 18th and 19th centuries Western countries, mostly Great Britain, exported opium grown in India to China. In turn, the Brits used the profits from opium sales largely to buy Chinese luxury goods, like porcelain, silk, and tea. These goods were in high demand in the west.

Much of this opium export was illegitimate and created widespread addiction throughout China, causing serious social and economic calamities. The wars were triggered by China’s attempting to suppress the trade, that grew tremendously from about 1820 onwards. In early 1839 the Chinese government confiscated and destroyed more than 20,000 chests of opium (chest = about 63.5 kg) — some 1,400 tons of the drug—that were warehoused at Canton, Guangzhou Province by British merchants. By 1838 imports had grown to some 40,000 chests annually.

In July 1839, British sailors killed a Chinese villager. The British government refused to turn the accused over to be judged in Chinese courts. The Brits did not wish its subjects to be tried in the Chinese legal system, and refused to turn the accused men over to the Chinese courts.

This conflict prompted the first Opium War (1839 – 1842), fought between the UK and the Qing dynasty (1644 to 1912), with the British objective to legalize the opium trade. This did not happen, which led to the Second Opium war (1856 – 1860), also called the Anglo-French war. But China did not win the wars and the nefarious addiction-causing trade continued for several more decades.

China’s British-forced war-concession to the winner, was to hand over the island of Hong Kong to British administration. In addition, China had to legalize the opium trade and concede a number of trading ports to the Brits, as well as opening travel for foreigners into China and granting residencies for Wester envoys to China. And an important concession for a predominantly Buddhist country was that China had to grant freedom of movement to Christian missionaries throughout China.

The wars and the resulting multiple concession of China, prompted an era of unequal treaties between China and foreign imperialist powers, aka, the UK, France, Germany, the United States, Russia and Japan. China was forced to concede many of her territorial and sovereignty rights. These encroachments on Chinese sovereignty weakened and eventually brought down the Qing dynasty, leading to a revolution on October 10, 1911, bringing the Kuomintang (KMT) to power. They are also referred to as the Chinese National Party and founded the Republic of China on 1 January 1912. 

The founder of the KMT and initial ruler of China after the 1911 revolution, Sun Yat-sen attempted to modernize China along western lines and values – which was not accepted by the Chinese people. The next couple of decades of KMT rule were rather chaotic times, during which Sun Tat-sen was unable to control China which fractured into many regions controlled by warlords. To strengthen its position and to gain back control of the country, the KMT was seeking alliance with the new fledgling Communist Party, forging the first United Front, but was still unable to control all of China. After Sun Yat-sen died in 1925, Chiang Kai-shek (1887–1975) took over and became the KMT strong man.

——–

The creation of the Communist Party of China on 1 July 1921, was deeply marked by the preceding history. One of the CPC’s key objective was that China would never again be dominated by wester colonial powers. The CPC became a force to be reckoned with, as it grew stronger by increased solidarity forged throughout communities and regions of China which all pursued the same goal – independence from foreign colonization and exploitation and the creation of a sovereign communist China, with a sovereign socialist economy.

With the support of the west, notably the UK and the United States, the KMT-led government of the Republic of China (ROC) entered in 1927 into a civil war with the forces of the CPC. The war was intermittent, but basically played out in two major phases, until 1949. The first phase can be described as a war of attrition. It lasted until 1937, when due to the Japanese invasion of China, KMT-CPC hostilities were put on hold. Instead, a KMT-CPC alliance fought and defeated the Japanese. This was also called the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression(1937–1945).

The KMT – CPC civil war resumed with the victory over the Japanese forces, and entered its second, but most violent and decisive final phase from 1945 to 1949. This phase is also called the beginning of the Chinese Communist Revolution, during which the CPC gained the upper hand and finally defeated the Kuomintang on the Chinese mainland.

The leader of KMT (1928 – 1975), Chiang Kai-shek, fled the mainland and established himself and the KMT in what was originally called by her Portuguese discoverers in 1542, Ilha Formosa (“beautiful island”), located north of the Philippines and the South China Sea, some 180 km off the Southeastern coast of China.

In 1895 Formosa became “Taiwan” meaning “foreigners” referring to the early Chinese settlers on the island. Today Taiwan is again integral part of China, since the Treaty of San Francisco (WWII Allied Forces Peace Agreement with Japan, signed on 8 September 1951), when Japan ceased its occupation of Taiwan, returning the island back to China.

Though an integral part of China, Taiwan is still occupied by the KMT Regime, calling it the Republic of China or ROC, the name taken over from KMT’s reign over mainland China until their defeat by the CPC in 1949, which also marked the beginning of the new communist People’s Republic of China (PRC).

This internationally illegal control of Taiwan by the KMT has been going on since 1949, but especially for the last 50 years, when on 25 October 1971, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the PRC, led by the CPC, as “the only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations” and removed the representatives of the Chiang Kai-shek ROC regime of Taiwan from the United Nations. Nevertheless, today still 15 nations, including the Vatican, of the 193 UN member nations recognize Taiwan as the official China. Many of them would like to switch to the officially recognized CPC-led mainland China, but are coerced, predominantly by the US and the UK, not to do so.

Over the past several decades, the United States, the UK and other western allies have continually sought to destabilize China by interfering in Taiwan, meaning in China’s internal affairs. The latest such events include the US weapons sale for US$ 5 billion to Taiwan in December 2020, and earlier this year, the U.S. Ambassador to the Pacific Island of Palau (Palau being one of the states recognizing Taiwan), became the first US envoy to travel to Taiwan in an official capacity, since Washington cut formal ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing in 1979.

In addition, the US is promoting closer relations with Taiwan through the so-called Taipei Act, signed in April 2020, calling for strengthening trade relations and diplomatic ties between the US and Taiwan to bring Taiwan closer into “international space”, meaning politically distancing the island territory from the mainland.

This and other interferences of the US in China’s internal affairs, are attempts at disrupting peaceful co-existence with China. They include the US-provoked trade war with Beijing, during the last almost 4 years; the stationing of about 60% of the American Navy in the South China Sea; the Washington orchestrated interference in Honk Kong, seeking independence from Beijing; and wildly falsified accusation of Human Rights abuses of the Uyghurs in the officially known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, in Northwestern China; as well as similar claims in Tibet. 

Thanks to the steadfast leadership of President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China and of the Communist Party of China, these interferences are being dealt with carefully by Beijing, always trying to find diplomatic and non-belligerent solutions. China is a master in following the paths of non-aggression, while constantly creating and moving peacefully forward – always with the goal of achieving a multipolar world, where people of different nations, regions, races, roots, cultures and believes can prosper peacefully together.
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Present – and Vision for the Future
Since the foundation of the Communist Party on 1 July 1921, China strove for total independence, and never surrendered to foreign invasions or attempts to influence China’s internal, as well as foreign relations policies. What the CPC has attained over the past 100 years is truly remarkable. It comprises not only maintaining internal solidarity, but also and foremost, people’s trust in the government, moving peacefully forward, becoming food, health and education-wise autonomous and self-sufficient and, not least, lifting 800 million people out of poverty. No other nation in the world has achieved such extraordinary objectives for their people’s well-being.

The CPC has today 91 million members. It is by far the largest single party in the world. In addition, thanks to her leadership, starting with Mao Tse Tung in 1949 and today by President Xi Jinping, China, with a population of 1.4 billion people, has become the second largest economy in the world in absolute terms, and since 2017 already the largest, assessed by the only real measure – the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). This is an indicator of how much people can buy for their money. Within a few years, China is expected to surpass the currently largest economy, the United States, also in absolute terms.

This is, of course, representing a threat for the country that has declared itself as THE Empire of the world, controlling all vital essentials, like energy, food supply and the international monetary system – though faltering, but still dominated by the US-dollar. The self-styled empire is already crumbling. And Washington knows it. Its strongest asset, the US-dollar, is gradually being dismantled. The US-currency has been widely used throughout the world, almost exclusively, to buy vital goods and services, like energy, food and communication services, as well as for other international trade, but it is losing its weight in the international arena.

The reasons for this are both political and economic. On the economic front, the US have created by their 1913 Federal Reserve Act, a fiat currency without any backing, a currency of which the flow and money mass can be expanded at will. This allowed and still allows Washington to “print” money as per necessities, i.e. to finance extensive wars and conflicts around the globe and to accumulate debts that the US Treasury and Federal Reserve (the totally privately owned US Central Bank), will never be able to pay back.

The US-dollar has absolutely no backing whatsoever. When Washington abandoned in 1971 their self-designed so-called gold-standard (Bretton Woods Conference, 1944), the US-dollar became de facto the “new gold standard”, since the gold standard was based on the value of the US-dollar (US$35 / troy ounce, about 31 grams), instead of on a basket of currencies. Since everybody needed US dollars for their reserves, this gave the US Treasury free range to increase its money supply almost infinitely.

When the US, also at the beginning of the 1970s, negotiated with Saudi Arabia, head of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), that all hydrocarbons, petrol gas and coal, should be traded in US-dollars, it gave the US another dollar boost – printing freely dollars in abundance, because the entire world needed US-dollars to buy hydrocarbon energy. Even today about 84% of all energy consumed worldwide consists of hydrocarbons (2019 Forbes).

As a counter-measure, the US promised the House of Saud to always protect Saudi Arabia, and proceeded almost immediately building numerous military bases in Saudi Arabia, from which they are now waging different wars in the Middle East.

Due to this phenomenon of freely generating new US-dollars, creating new debt, the US is by far the most indebted country in the world, with currently US$ 49.8 trillion debt, compared with a 2020 GDP of about US$ 21 trillion (Debt – GDP ratio 2.3 = 237% debt over GDP).

There is another important component of US debt, called by the General Accounting Office (GAO), “Unfunded Liabilities”, US$ 213 trillion (all figures 16 April 2021: US Debt Clock – https://www.usdebtclock.org/current-rates.html). These exceptionally high ratios have undoubtedly also to do with incurred covid-debt.

Unfunded liabilities are debt obligations that do not have sufficient funds or assets set aside to pay them. These liabilities generally refer to the U.S. government’s debt-service (unpaid interest on debt), or pension plans and their impact on savings and investment securities, as well as  health-insurance and social support coverage for soldiers returning from wars.

These astronomical debt figures and an unbacked fiat currency are even further reducing worldwide confidence in the US-dollar. It is clear, the US debt will never be paid-off. The Federal Reserve Chair, Allan Greenspan (1987 – 2006), once answered to a journalist’s question, when will the US pay back her debt: Never. We just print new money. So, spoken, so it was and so it is.
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Today and for the last about 10 years the US-dollar has no longer a hydrocarbon trade monopoly, nor are other international contracts primarily established in US-dollars as used to be the case a couple of decades ago. China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela and others have stopped using the US-dollar and are trading in local currencies and increasingly in Chinese yuan.

Why? – Countries’ treasurers around the world started realizing that the dollar is a highly volatile fiat currency, based on nothing, as shown by the above figures. Equally important for the loss of trust in the US-currency is that dollar-denominated international assets and the US banking system are frequently used by Washington to impose draconian, illegal economic sanction on countries that do not follow Washington’s dictate, including blocking countries’ foreign placed reserve assets. These economic and political realities are signaling the end of the US-dollar hegemony.

The trend of diminishing trust in the US-dollar may increase when China rolls out her digital Renminbi (RMB = people’s money) or international Yuan (the terms RMB and Yuan are used interchangeably) which may be used for international trade without touching the international US-dominated SWIFT transfer and US banking system. The Chinese currency being backed by a strong and solid Chinese economy, confidence in the Chinese currency is growing rapidly. Already today, the Chinese currency’s use as an international reserve asset is increasing quickly.

While the US Federal Reserve (FED) is also contemplating a new digital currency, it is not clear to what extent it can be detached from the current dollar and its debt burden. In any case, with US international trade waning, and Chinese trade rapidly increasing, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for a declining empire to catch up with China.

For example, in the first quarter of 2021, Chinas foreign trade (exports and imports) soared by 29.2%, with Exports jumping 38.7% from the year before, while imports climbed 19.3 percent in yuan terms, according to the General Administration of Customs (GAC).

If anything, these developments – plus the fact that China has been highly successful in overcoming the covid-crisis – within less than 6 months – and putting her industrial apparatus back on line, are testimony for a solid CPC leadership, a sound Chinese economy and fiscal policy. China is the world’s only major economy reporting economic growth in 2020, amounting to 2.3% according to the Wall Street Journal. It is what China calls “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics” – a feature demonstrating a spirit of constant creation and evolution of the CPC.
These facts will further enhance international trust in the Chinese economy, as well as in the Chinese way of seeking a more equal, more egalitarian and more just multipolar world, where nations may keep their national sovereignty over their internal and external political inclinations, their culture, national resources, monetary policies and foreign relations – and live peacefully together.
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CPC and the Chinese Vision

The New Silk Road, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is President Xi Jinping’s brilliant brainchild. It’s based on the same ancient principles as was the original Silk Road, adjusted to the 21st Century, building bridges between peoples, exchanging goods and services, research, education, knowledge, cultural wisdom, peacefully, harmoniously and ‘win-win’ style. On 7 September 2013, President Xi presented BRI at Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev University. He spoke about “People-to-People Friendship and Creating a better Future”. He referred to the Ancient Silk Road of more than 2,100 years ago, that flourished during China’s Western Han Dynasty (206 BC to 24 AD).

Referring to this epoch of more than two millenniums back, President Xi pointed to the history of exchanges under the Ancient Silk Road, saying, “they had proven that countries with differences in race, belief and cultural background can absolutely share peace and development as long as they persist in unity and mutual trust, equality and mutual benefit, mutual tolerance and learning from each other, as well as cooperation and win-win outcomes.”

President Xi’s vision may be shaping the world of the 21st Century. The Belt and Road Initiative is designed and modeled loosely according to the Ancient Silk Road. President Xi launched this ground-breaking project soon after assuming the Presidency in 2013. The endeavor’s idea is to connect the world with transport routes, infrastructure, industrial joint ventures, teaching and research institutions, cultural exchange and much more. Since 2017, enshrined in China’s Constitution, BRI has become the flagship for China’s foreign policy.

BRI is literally building bridges and connecting people of different continents and nations. The purpose of the New Silk Road is “to construct a unified large market and make full use of both international and domestic markets, through cultural exchange and integration, to enhance mutual understanding and trust of member nations, ending up in an innovative pattern with capital inflows, talent pool, and technology database”.

BRI is a global development strategy adopted by the Chinese Government. Already today BRI has investments involving more than 150 countries and international organizations – and growing – in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. Since the onset of BRI in 2013, BRI investments have exceeded US$ 5 trillion equivalent.

BRI is a long-term multi-trillion investment scheme for transport routes on land and sea, as well as construction of industrial and energy infrastructure and energy exploration – as well as trade among connected countries. Unlike WTO (World Trade Organization), BRI is encouraging nations to benefit from their comparative advantages, creating win-win situations. In essence, BRI is to develop mutual understanding and trust among member nations, allowing for free capital flows, a pool of experts and access to a BRI-based technology data base.  At present, BRI’s closing date is foreseen for 2049 which coincides with the People’s Republic of China’s 100th Anniversary. The size and likely success of the program indicates, however, already today that it will most probably be extended way beyond that date. It is worth noting, though, that only in 2019, six years after its inception, BRI has become a news item in the West. Remarkably, for six years, the west was in denial of BRI, in the hope it may go away. But away it didn’t go. To the contrary, many European Union members have already subscribed to BRI, including Greece, Italy, France, Portugal – and more will follow, as the temptation to participate in this projected socioeconomic boom is overwhelming.

The BRI, also called Belt and Road, or One Belt One Road, is not the only initiative that will enhance China’s economy and standing in the world.

After decades of western aggressions, denigrations and belligerence towards China, in a precautionary detachment from western dependence, China is focusing trade development and cooperation on her ASEAN partners. In November 2020, after 8 years of negotiations, China signed a free trade agreement with the ten ASEAN nations, plus Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, altogether 15 countries, including China.

The so-called Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, covers some 2.2 billion people, commanding some 30% of the world’s GDP. This is a never before reached agreement in size, value and tenor.

The RCEP’s trade deals will be carried out in local currencies and in yuan – no US dollars. The RCEP is, therefore, also an instrument for dedollarizing, primarily in the Asia-Pacific Region, and gradually moving across the globe. Moving away from the dollar-based economies may be an effective way to stem against the western “sanctions culture”. China is soon rolling-out her new digital Renminbi (RMB) or yuan, internationally, as legal tender for inter-country payments and transfers. The digital RMB is primed to become also an international reserve currency, thereby further reducing demand for the US-dollar.

Orientation towards China’s internal economic development – so-called horizontal instead of vertical growth – is a strategy to develop local Chinese internal production and infrastructure to build up and enhance Chinese internal capacities and markets and bringing about wellbeing and a better equilibrium between China’s vast hinterland and China’s prosperous eastern coastal areas.

The future belongs to China
After two thousand years of western “white supremacy”, relentless exploitation, colonization, discrimination and outright enslavement of other colored people, other cultures, throughout the world, the time has come to turn the wheel – and to veer the future of mankind into a more peaceful, more just and more egalitarian world.

During the next hundred years and under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party – China will guide the East into the era of the Rising Sun – prosperity and good health for all.

This new epoch will strive for a multi-polar world, with win-win trade relations, and bringing about new environmental, social and technological challenges, but also a new awakening for a social consciousness and solidarity. A key instrument for achieving major goals for human wellbeing is the Belt and Road Initiative, providing a steady flow of new ideas, creations, cultural exchange and mutual learning. The future focus may be on:

  • Renewable sources of energy, based mainly on hydro- and solar power, developed with cutting edge technologies, i.e. capturing solar power with a process of photosynthesis, producing high efficiency energy yields;
  • Increasing green areas in urban centers to bring about a balance of natural CO2 absorption and Oxygen production, aiming at zero pollution;
  • Protecting the world’s rain forests and water resources;
  • Keeping natural resources and public services – health, education, food supply, water and sanitation services, electricity, and public transport – in the public domain;
  • Promoting biological and multi-crop agriculture;
  • Developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help increase production and transport efficiency and to serve humanity; and
  • Adopting public banking as the primary means of socioeconomic development funding, Leading humanity to building a community with a shared future for mankind.

—–

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

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization and a Non-resident senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China

皮特·凯尼格(Peter Koenig),世界银行前高级经济学家、中国人民大学重阳金融研究院外籍高级研究员(瑞士)

CPC Centenary – China on the Cusp of a Socialist Society

June 25, 2021

CPC Centenary – China on the Cusp of a Socialist Society

by Straight-Bat for the Saker Blog

1. Prelude

The other day, I was trying to visualize the conversation that would take place on a rainy humid day in July 2021, in a cafeteria in the Eurasian region of heaven where Karl Marx, Robert Owen, Comrade Lenin, Chairman Mao, and Generalissimo Chiang would meet. Purpose – to exchange critical views around the Communist Party of China (CPC) centenary and China.

Generalissimo Chiang would start the conversation, “Mr. Mao, congratulations on the hundredth anniversary. Tell me what did you really achieve by pushing me and Kuomintang out of mainland China?”

Chairman Mao would reply, “It was obvious! We wanted to build a socialist China based on Marxist-Leninist principles, for which you were the biggest opposing force. The CPC was always looking out for enlarging the anti-imperialist democratic front – even a section of Kuomintang joined us! But you steadfastly denied, on the contrary you acted viciously to wipe out the proletarian struggle in China.”

Chiang chuckled, “Well, that happened in past. Now, mainland China progressed a lot to become the largest economic power ahead of my friend (USA) and second largest military power next to your friend (Soviet Union or Russia), but it still has too much of inequality among three types of citizens – filthy rich businessmen and capitalists, struggling workers in farms and factories, and self-employed city dwellers burning midnight oil in their small ventures. If only economic growth and military power were the objectives, even Kuomintang (after emancipation from the cliques with vested interests) would have achieved similar targets!”

At this point, Comrade Lenin, the eternal revolutionary, came to the rescue of his cherished student Mao, even though they never met. Lenin replied, “Mr. Chiang, it’s a long haul, it would be a very complicated journey. My follower relentlessly struggled to establish the CPC as the vanguard of socialist revolution. His team had to develop the productive forces, build the initial social capital for further economic development – that called for a capitalist economy. Unfortunately, the European geopolitics didn’t allow my New Economic Policy to succeed in developing the productive forces in Soviet Union”.

The old ‘patriarch’ Karl Marx couldn’t remain silent anymore. He appeared to be in a reflective mood and shied, “I was sure about the appraisal of ‘capital’, but wasn’t sure how to turn the ‘surplus value’ into irrelevance after gaining the political power. Also, neither I nor Engels got came out with a definite blue-print on how ‘state’ would wither away! As long as a few fellows could own land, and resources as their property, get hold of technology, and could exert influence on the state apparatus, neither ‘capital’ nor extreme inequality would go away. Mao’s team still has a long way to go. However, this is a great occasion to cheer up the Communist Party that was founded in China hundred years back.” Marx would turn to Lenin with silent reprimand, as if Lenin stood guilty of his team’s failure to reach a century even after scoring a swashbuckling half-century under the leadership of Stalin against the Zionist-capitalist clique who staged two world wars by then for wanton destruction of Eurasian heartland!

Marx would continue, “so many groups of revolutionaries in dozens of European and non-European countries came forward since 1848 to build a socialist society through a socialist revolution, but most of them messed up their movements mid-way. The CPC withstood the test of time, which is now leading the most populous country (with 18% of the total global population) and churning out approximately 19% of the total global GDP on purchasing power parity basis. Even if the CPC hasn’t yet closed the first step of a socialist society, this is an occasion to celebrate their incredible perseverance!”

Chiang obviously didn’t want to join issues, for he never had time for such ideological discussions; Mr. Chiang’s faction only understood power and wealth based on rudimentary nationalism.

The discussion so far was not to the liking of Mr. Owen. He deemed it fit to jump in, with apparently robust argument, “Mr. Marx, aren’t you ashamed of so much of bloodshed by your followers, the so-called revolutionaries, and yet not even the first step of Marxist Socialism is complete in case of China?”

The quintessential activist in Marx flared up suddenly, “Mr. Owen, enough of such allegations! Let me ask you two simple questions – firstly, even if other groups of socialists also fought against injustice and inequality globally, why there was not a single case where they could come to political power?” Owen was speechless, Marx continued, “Let me respond! Whether in the past or in present, no socialist group other than the Marxists will be able to come to power AND build truly socialist society, because their ideology was based on only compassion and courage, it lacked the foundation of scientific analysis.”

Marx leaned towards Owen, and murmured in a soft tone, “Did you notice the difference of the present status of the standard of life between China and India, both of which started their journey as a modern independent country with humongous load of population as the decade of 1940s was drawing to a close? The proletariat and petit bourgeoisie in China are leading a quality life which is way ahead of what their brethren enjoy in India – on all parameters like education, health, employment, income, household expenditure, leisure, life expectancy etc.! There were dangerous obstacles in the struggle of the poor Chinese for emancipation and dignity under the banner of communist party, hence there was bloodshed. If such impediments do not arise, then a socialist revolution would become peaceful without bloodshed! Now the Chinese people are leading a life which is worth living! Compared to that, what did the social democrat faction (of the most prominent political party) achieve in India, even if they ruled India for more than four decades immediately after independence? Now, after three decades of exploitation under neoliberal capitalism, on one side, two-thirds of population, the plebs, earn on average even less than a dollar per person per day, and on the other side, the Indian bourgeoisie continue accumulating more wealth than others in Asia!”

The moment was ripe for Lenin to take a centre-stage. He became brutally frank while addressing Owen, “Mr. Owen, the Utopian socialists, the Anarcho-socialists, and the social democrats are blinded by jealousy of our limited success – otherwise how could they blame the Marxist socialists for every problem that overwhelm the humanity! Isn’t that utterly funny? Not only us, but all other socialist groups were equally sickened with the exploitation and injustice meted out by the capitalist bourgeoisie! The capitalists have not changed, so is it that the Utopian socialists, Anarcho-socialists, and social democrats changed their track to become lackeys of the capitalists?”

Lenin continued, “if they have truly anti-capitalist anti-imperialist anti-Zionist ideology then, there is every possibility that the Utopian socialists, the Anarcho-socialists, and the social democrats would become successful in the long run – maintain your separate identity as a party, if you wish so, but adopt our goal which wisely mix empathy with wisdom, which identify actions along with the dream. Join our front in every nook and corner of the globe!”

And, that ended my day-dream. Is the dream, a blasphemy in the ‘post-modern’ era when half of the 1% Zionist-capitalist oligarchy fund a section of academia and media to beat the hollow drum of democratic nationalism, while the other half of the same 1% oligarchy fund another section of academia and media to sound the trumpet of capitalist globalism, thereby creating a false dichotomy that would perpetually keep 90% of the population of the globe engaged in stupid arguments over the future of humankind? Is the dream, a wickedness in the current ‘post-modern’ era when the 1% Zionist-capitalist oligarchy successfully obscured the real issue of accumulation of wealth and power by them, and obfuscated the very definition of ‘democracy’, ‘autocracy’, ‘capitalism’, ‘socialism’, and ‘communism’ to turn their meaning upside down? Be that as it may, now, as the CPC celebrates a splendid 100 years journey, I would like to look into the details of how socialism, the only antidote to Zionist-capitalism, has been welcomed in China!

2. Socialist Revolution & China

In the medieval world the traders and businessmen were inseparable from their wealth/money/capital. The evolution of ‘capital’ as a separate entity from the businessmen, traders and entrepreneurs took quite a long time. During 15th, 16th, and 17th century when aristocrats and financers of west European kingdoms and empires were fully absorbed into ‘mercantile capitalism’ and ‘agrarian capitalism’, the underlying dynamics were fully related to ‘primitive accumulation’ (even though no body spelt it out that way). The primitive accumulation of wealth (as capital) taking place within the entrepreneurs- traders-bankers of different countries of west Europe through their far-flung imperial ‘colonies’ in the continents of North America, South America, and Africa soon became the harbinger of ‘industrial capitalism’ at the dawn of 18th century west Europe. Even before that, the capitalist system of finance matured in the beginning of 17th century Netherlands – world’s first stock exchange as well as world’s first bank using the fractional reserve system were established in Amsterdam. Capital became a global force to reckon with, by the end of 19th century, when the entire world came under the sway of west European Zionist-capitalist oligarchy whose primary objective was to relentlessly pursue accumulation of capital – essentially, the journey of ‘capital’ to reproduce itself infinitely, passed through extermination of hundreds of communities across the globe and ceaseless exploitation of natural resources of mother earth. Karl Marx bared it all in the ‘Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume I’ as “The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalized the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief momenta of primitive accumulation ……The different momenta of primitive accumulation distribute themselves now, more or less in chronological order, particularly over Spain, Portugal, Holland, France, and England. In England at the end of the 17th century, they arrive at a systematical combination, embracing the colonies, the national debt, the modern mode of taxation, and the protectionist system. These methods depend in part on brute force, e.g., the colonial system. But, they all employ the power of the State, the concentrated and organized force of society.”

Between 18th to 20th century in Europe, many intellectuals, economists, politicians, philosophers, and social activists raised their voice against the Zionist-capitalist savagery in which their state became willing accomplice. They did extensive analysis of how the different stages of capitalism exploited the society and transformed majority of the people into poor plebs ruled by a group of wealthy aristocrats who would bend any established rule to ensure accumulation of profit and wealth from any kind of business – from slave trade to opium trade. Different European thinkers (in Britain, Germany, France, Sweden, Russia) became political activists trying to organize (a) political party that would fight for rights of the working class, (b) awareness among public about inhuman treatment meted out to the people in the colony owned by the state. Different political groups were formed by the advent of industrial capitalism during this period, each of which professed to a particular ‘ideology’ of political economy built over time by few intellectual-cum-activists – prominent among them were Utopian socialists, Anarcho-socialists, social democrats, and Marxist socialists. All of these ‘socialist thoughts’ had one common theme – working class people are exploited by the business owning class, and the workers must get their due share of revenue from industrial operation.

Throughout the second half of 19th century, Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels enriched the philosophical basis of socialist thoughts and carried out extensive economic analysis of mode of exploitation – thus ‘Marxist socialism’ evolved, and the political activists who would follow the socialist thoughts of Marx and Engels came to be known as Marxists or Marxist socialists or Communists. Till date, hundreds of intellectuals, politicians, economists, activists, and philosophers across the globe contributed to the development of Marxist socialism, and enriched the Marxist literatures. Most prominent among them was Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, the Russian revolutionary better known as ‘Lenin’, who during his short lifespan of 53+ years (a) formulated the procedures of practical implementation of Marxist socialism in a country, (b) analyzed the economic relation between imperialism and capitalism, (c) coordinated the Russian Revolution that formed the first socialist government in Russia, (d) guided the newly created Russian government towards economic and geopolitical. Since mid-20th century, most of the political parties across the globe who followed Marxism, identified themselves as ‘Marxist-Leninist’ – that made perfect sense, for it was Comrade Lenin who first brought the theory down to practice.

2.1 Basics of Socialist Dream

Any country and its people can be depicted as interplay among five socio-political entities, where community as the central entity deals with four other entities which are modern historical constructs (with roots in ancient and medieval history). Four relationships between community (identified as ‘1’) at one side and state apparatus (identified as ‘2’), political party (identified as ‘4’), ally states (identified as ‘3’), adversary states (identified as ‘5’) on the other side are crucial for a community to survive and flourish. This has been the case ever since human civilization started experimentations with political entity. In reality, the state and the party both are extended part of a community itself (hence, intraneous entity), while outside states can be termed as extraneous entity. The following block diagram figure 2.1 depicts it:

Every society/community is the expression of a continuous interaction between the ecosystem and a group of people. A community lives and thrives within the boundaries of the ecosystem – if the ecosystem is frayed, the community can’t thrive. The main socio-economic actors in the modern history, after industrial capitalism transformed the lifestyle of human beings, are portrayed in the schematic diagram figure 2.2 given below.

Significant observations that can be noted from a glance at the above diagram are:

1. There is a clear pattern emerging out of the interaction between ecosystem and community – the economic activities of the community draws EVERY MATERIAL (except finance, technical, managerial knowledge, and labour efforts) from the ecosystem that is processed into goods and services. The 1% people (termed as bourgeois capitalist) who have inclination towards wealth accumulation, contributed towards the creation of the social superstructure containing state apparatus, law, monetary and banking system etc. in such a way that, the output of economic base would continue to enrich them generation after generation through a benefit accrual cycle:

Ecosystem → Economic Base → Capitalists → Ecosystem

2. Since the economic base is using every material input from the ecosystem (other than labour and other efforts of the society) for production and distribution of goods and services, and NO INPUT CAN BE FUNDAMENTALLY CREATED BY THE BOURGEOIS OR ANYBODY ELSE, how could a class of people (termed as proletariat) of the community be deprived of the fruits of the economic activities? Every person has a ‘natural right’ to the benefits as per the concept of ‘natural justice’. Laws are made by humankind, but NATURAL JUSTICE AND NATURAL RIGHTS ARE IMMUTABLE CONCEPTS of the creation that can’t be challenged by humankind. Hence Marx-Engels-Lenin-Mao (the doyens of Marxist socialist theory) unambiguously wanted to create a benefit accrual cycle that would scotch the earlier fallacy and create an appropriate cycle:

Ecosystem→ Economic Base→ Community→ Ecosystem

2.1.1 The Essence of Marxism

A socialist society would convert all classes of people into stakeholders of economic performance of the country instead of leaving it on to invisible ‘market forces’ (which is a façade under which the Zionist-capitalist operated economy accumulates wealth and power on behalf of the 1% oligarchy). The objective of socialism is to bring widest possible freedom and maximum possible development for every citizen in a classless stateless society. Every human being (irrespective of background identity like age, sex, ethnicity, language, religion, and region) should become free from hunger-disease-insecurity-injustice, each citizen should spend time in socially useful productive work, people can carry out research in academic areas, they can seek entertainment-pleasure at leisure time, without any of these being morally or physically harmful to any other people or section of the society.

As per Marx, the history of humankind is a struggle between antagonist ‘classes’ over the fruits of economic activities. Whether the slave mode of production in ancient era, or feudal mode of production in medieval era, or capitalist mode of production in modern era, the working class was always exploited by the dominant class of the era who constructed the system of state, law, bureaucracy etc. as institutions to perpetuate their rule – hence, the majority plebs remained paupers throughout the history while the aristocrats remained wealthy.

In the capitalist mode of production, some of the elements of ‘factors of production’ (viz. the ‘means of production’, and financial capital) are treated as ‘capital’ and two other elements of factors of production (viz. labor, and entrepreneurship) utilize the capital to produce goods and services. The produced goods (and services) have different ‘use-value’, and in a barter society real and specific useful labor that went into making of the goods would be considered as ‘exchange-value’ which is tied closely to the ‘use-value’. In modern capitalist society, that real labor is removed from the goods, and abstract value of labor is attached to the produced goods which results in the labor efforts getting objectified. Similarly value of the produced goods get transformed from use-value – in the capitalist market, artificially calculated exchange-value dominates. In order to generate surplus (monetary capital as profit), price of the produced goods in money-form becomes cost of input materials plus labor plus ‘surplus/‘profit’ (ignoring things like interest and depreciation). Thus, the capitalist who owns the finance capital and means of production, earns profit (in monetary form), accumulates profit endlessly, while the laborer don’t get the price of labor.

Every means of production whether the ‘subjects of labor’ (raw materials, natural resources including source land, energy, water) or the ‘instruments of labor’ (tools, machinery, factory including land, other infrastructure) which go into production of any material (from a grain of wheat to a car) and service (from electricity supply to 5G communication) is drawn from natural resources, while the processing is done by a team of people (Labour) supervised by technical specialists. Hence, any entity like a family, or a business that use such ‘produced goods and services’ only utilize natural resources and human labour. Thus the capitalists’ accumulation of profit is more immoral because he/she is not the creator of natural resources.

As per the Marxist theory, there should be two-stage transformation in a socialist society which looks like:

The stage 1 transformation >> Capitalist society (bourgeoisie democracy) to

Socialist society (dictatorship of proletariat)

The stage 2 transformation >> Socialist society (dictatorship of proletariat) to

Classless socialist society (also termed as Communist society)

The most significant modification of Marxism happened with Lenin’s theory that proposed: a Marxist political party would act as a vanguard party of the proletariat which would seize the state power, and steer the economy and society until the political environment across the world is conducive for classless stateless society (where party would lose its significance).

If Marx was 100% right, ‘capitalism’ as an economic system has to go. David Harvey (2015) criticizes capitalism as ‘a system which lives beyond its means through a banking and finance system that takes on too much debt’, ‘a system which pays its workers too little to consume all of the goods it produces’, ‘one which is ruining the environment’. There is little doubt that Zionist-capitalist oligarchy created a globalized society of monumental inequality – Oxfam said in January’2020 that, 2,153 dollar billionaires across the world have more wealth than the 4.6 billion people (i.e. 60% of the planet’s population), and top 162 billionaires have the same wealth as the poorest 50% of global population (link: https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/billionaires-inequality-oxfam-report-davos_n_5e20db1bc5b674e44b94eca5?ri18n=true). There can be even less doubt that, nature abhors the state of disequilibrium.

2.2 Socialist Dream – China, the Last Man Standing

As on date, there are 155 countries in the world with population more than 1 million. At least two-thirds of the countries have one or two political outfits which identify Marxist socialism as their guiding principle – these parties/outfits have been around for a long time, may be on average 75 years. However, the current environment is a downward slide after the world-wide socialist movement witnessed phenomenal success in three regions apart from east and south-east Asia:

1. East Europe – Soviet Union helped many communist parties of east European countries to come to state power after WW II. Later on these countries formed ‘Warsaw pact’ that included Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and East Germany. Not only Soviet Union led the economic rejuvenation of the Warsaw pact countries after complete devastation of WW II, Soviet Union contributed immensely towards national liberation of African countries.

2. Africa – many countries that fought liberation war against the west European colonial masters saw the triumphant parties professed Marxist socialism as their guiding principle. Countries like Algeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Namibia, Angola, and Zimbabwe had governments and ruling party leadership who wanted to progress the newly independent countries through the past of socialism.

3. Latin America – in most of the countries in South American continent and Central American region, Marxist parties were organized against the well-entrenched lobby of local oligarchy and American oligarchy who would invariably manipulate every government towards oligarch-friendly policies that would exploit the natural resource and 90% plebs. In countries like Chile, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador Marxist parties struggled, but success eluded most of them.

Apart from the above mentioned countries where Marxist socialist political parties and discourse were popular in the past (and in some countries, still popular), there were many more South American, North American, African, and Asian countries where multiple groups of revolutionaries stood against exploitation and dehumanization by the local and comprador oligarchy, and struggled to seize political power through a socialist revolution. But, most of them messed up their movements mid-way – some of them couldn’t withstand the onslaughts by Zionist-capitalist oligarchs masquerading as democratic populist party leaders, some other simply betrayed the ideal in order to stash illegitimate wealth offered by the Zionist-capitalist clique, and finally there were a few leaders who were wrong from the very beginning about what is socialism! There was another unfortunate factor which played to the detriment of the worldwide socialist movements – unity among various ideological factions within a Marxist party was mostly absent, hence the policy and planning for struggle towards achieving political power differed. In many countries, the struggle within various factions of a Marxist party resulted in multiple splits and continuous depletion of resources, time and efforts of leadership of all factions.

With the implosion of the Soviet Union as a state and CPSU as a party between 1989 CE and 1991 CE, Marxist socialist political parties around the world lost much of the moral and material support to continue their journey towards socialism, and as matter of fact, most of those political parties changed their ideology to identify democratic capitalism as their goal. Only 5 countries viz. China, Vietnam, Laos, North Korea, and Cuba still got a Marxist socialist party controlling the state power. The socio-economic realities in all countries, however, point out towards high degree of exploitation, dispossession, lack of income, and overall poverty among the plebs, 90% of the population – the significance of Marxist socialism refuses to go away!

The CPC has always been one of the most vibrant communist parties in the world, which witnessed many violent field battles against adversaries as well as ideological battles between various factions within the party built around policy and implementation programmes since its birth in July’1921. Between July’1921 and October’1949 the CPC built the mass base in rural and urban regions as well as created an army (Peoples Liberation Army) that fought against the Kuomintang after it became clear that Chiang Kaishek faction of Kuomintang party would not share power at the central government with the CPC. In October’1949 People’s Republic of China (PRC) was proclaimed by Mao as the PLA won the war against the Kuomintang army – the leadership of Kuomintang settled in Taiwan group of islands declaring Republic of China (ROC) as an independent country. Technically PRC and ROC both claim to be the legal representative of China.

While none of the CPC leaders seriously debated about what would be the final shape of China after achievement of 2nd and final stage of socialism (class-less state-less communist society was never really a subject of detail discussion among Marxist socialists because Marx was vehemently opposed to any such blue-print of a distant future), senior leaders like Mao, Zhou, Liu, Deng, and their factions debated exhaustively on what would the 1st stage of socialism look like and how to achieve that. Marx-Engels-Lenin mostly engaged in deliberating the advent of capitalism in European society, hence theoretical discussions and writings on socialism in ‘Asiatic’ society remained a far cry from what was expected by the 20th century socialist revolutionaries in China, India, and Indonesia. Rightly judging that, the social capital and productive forces built in China between 1950 CE and 1980 CE as grossly inadequate for a stage 1 socialist society for sustaining in the highly competitive global economy and complex geopolitical reality (ideological divide between the CPC and Communist Party of Soviet Union in mid-1950s turned into unfortunate hostility by end of 1960s), Deng and his successors went on to develop theoretical framework of ‘Socialism with Chinese Characteristics’. When judged unbiased, ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’ appears to be built on three pillars – (a) Leninist principle of communist party acting as the ‘vanguard of socialist revolution’ was followed with complete dedication and the CPC remained all-powerful authority, (b) the terminology of ‘market socialism’ propounded by Oskar Lange was borrowed and used with ingenuity by the CPC, but the concept of Lange was never really implemented anywhere in Europe or in China, (c) the productive forces including the ‘animal spirit’ of capitalists were unleashed under strict control of the Chinese state.

During the next 40-year period from 1980 CE to 2020 CE, the CPC spearheaded the rejuvenation of the Chinese society and state through astounding growth of China’s economy, complete eradication of absolute poverty, and imbibing all sorts of technology. The drive towards industrial capitalism in China using the global finance owned by the Zionist-Capitalist bankers and industrialists (initiated by Deng) was followed up by the succeeding CPC leadership in such sincerity that, the Zionist-capitalist Deep State representatives like Kissinger concluded that transformation of the Chinese society and economy into a Zionist-capitalist system was forthcoming. With China’s entry into the world order triad (USA-West Europe-Japan), the new configuration would have become USA-West Europe-East Asia. Meanwhile, Soviet Union and Warsaw pact got dissolved. Zionist-capitalist clique was sure about China ditching Marxist socialism to join USA camp by the turn of the past century. Chinese government went all-out to create free trade zones for global Zionist-Capitalist interests which wanted more and more profits towards endless accumulation of capital, and hence were busy shifting their manufacturing base to China to harness low-cost labour and slack regulations. By 2008, China became the third largest economy in terms of GDP nominal (as per IMF estimates USD 4604 billion) and largest export base in the world (In 2007-2008, its Export-to-GDP ratio reached 32%, and its Exim-to-GDP ratio was 59%). But during this process, China also became a society where inequality was one of the highest in the world – Gini coefficient increased from around 0.3 in early 1980s to 0.49 in 2008. The media, and academia funded by the Deep State went all-out to woo the CPC leadership towards ushering a new era of ‘political reforms’ after such a brilliant success of ‘economic reforms’ – by ‘political reforms’ they meant introduction of democratic election based multi-party system with liberal capitalism. However, after 2 decades of continuous and intensive persuasion, by 2008 CE, the Zionist-capitalist Deep State cabal concluded that, the CPC would never change their ideological color – the CPC leadership just utilized the capitalist system, capital, and technology from USA, Japan and west Europe to perform a ‘great leap’ forward towards the industrialisation of China! Since then, the world order controlled by the Zionist-capitalist Deep State has been putting up innumerable obstacles on the path for further economic and social transformation of China.

As it stands today, only a few Marxist communist/socialist/ workers parties, who continue to be led by bold, capable, and visionary leaders through generations, are able to sustain their journey. Among the 5 countries which still got a Marxist socialist party running their government, China has the largest Marxist socialist party. If China shied away from the ideology of Marxist socialism, the philosophy of socialism will get a quiet burial across the globe. Remaining 4 countries (Vietnam, Laos, North Korea, and Cuba) possess too insignificant landmass and population to gather sufficient moral and material strength to continue their journey on the road to socialism against the brutal economic sanctions by Zionist-capitalist world order. China led by the CPC, is the proverbial ‘last man standing’!

3. Socialist Revolution – All’s Well That Ends Well

3.1 Stage 1 Socialist Dream in China

While every socialist-minded people all over the world applaud the stupendous achievements of mainland China led by the CPC, as it celebrates the centenary, they also point out that, there is still a long way to go before the CPC can claim a successful socialist society in China.

A news article with a headline “600 million with $140 monthly income worries top” appeared on the Global Times website on 29th May 2020 (refer link: https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1189968.shtml) and another with a headline “China’s 400 Richest 2020: Total Wealth Surges Amid Pandemic” appeared on the Forbes website on 4th Nov 2020 (refer link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/russellflannery/2020/11/04/chinas-400-richest-2020–total-wealth-surges-amid-pandemic/?sh=5b1c42d13d7a). In a Marxist socialist country, such income inequality is a natural outcome of the phenomenon, what I paraphrase as: the significant aspects of stage 1 socialism are yet to be achieved in China. Chinese government took remedial action as noted in the article “China to issue 20 billion yuan in subsidies to farmers” (refer link: https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202106/1226522.shtml) that appeared on the Global Times website recently. However, such corrective action is not really a substitute for permanent resolution – remedial measures need to be taken up at the level of policy formulation and implementation.

During past 4 decades, China implemented a mix mode of economy, which was essentially a combination of ‘state capitalism’ and ‘private capitalism’ supported by the Zionist-capitalist global oligarchy with finance and technology until about 2008 CE. The Zionist-capitalist motive force generated very high degree of momentum within the Chinese mainland unmatched in any of its past ‘enterprises’ whenever the force went to ‘invade’ new territory around the globe. The main challenge for the present Chinese leadership is to dissipate the energy of that storm so that, the energy can be harnessed for social benefits as much as possible, while damage from the storm is kept at a minimum as the society turns deep into socialism. With Zionist-capitalism so well-entrenched within the bourgeois class and the economy, the CPC wouldn’t be able to a take an ingenious decision of a single-stage transformation to a classless and stateless society. On the eve of centenary celebrations, the CPC should finalize on a prudent realistic approach of two-stage transformation. The following tasks should be taken up to implement the final aspects of the stage 1 socialism in China:

(a) Action point 1 – Implementing the concept of ‘restricted-profit enterprise’ to bring all economic activities (as mentioned in the sub-section 3.1.1) under its sway EXCEPT a few vital sectors, and simultaneously making all classes of society stakeholders for enterprise performance (as owners of the enterprises), instead of only the capitalist class and the state owning industrial enterprises;

(b) Action point 2 – Implementing a robust banking and monetary policy by following a judicious mix of the ‘fractional reserve theory of banking’ (broad banking for creating credit money) through 50% of the banking/financial institutions and ‘financial intermediation theory of banking’ (narrow banking that is transactional in nature) through remaining half of the institutions, instead of individual bank/ financial institution practicing the ‘credit creation theory of banking’ to create debt money out of thin air in connivance with the ever-greedy capitalist class;

(c) Action point 3 – Restructuring the agriculture and related sectors towards liberating tens of millions of surplus workforce (currently underemployed and unemployed), and simultaneously making new initiatives for agro-based industry in rural regions, instead of the rural economy remaining burdened with an overcrowded agriculture sector;

(d) Action point 4 – Planning and control of national economy with an eye to increasing the spending capacity of all sections of the society, so that the household consumption expenditure becomes the mainstay of the economic growth by contributing at least 50% of the GDP, instead of investment and export playing the lead role to support economic growth;

While action point 1 and 2 are truly (socialist) revolutionary concepts directly favouring the proletariat (and the petit bourgeois) against the bourgeois capitalists, action point 3 and 4 are concepts related to sound economics that fight against inefficiency and unsustainability. Four action points collectively target to erase exploitation and inequality which are still part of the quasi-capitalist economy of China and to implement robust monetary and economic measures that will be instrumental in achieving the stage 1 socialism.

At least the following subjective impact analysis should be done meticulously during detail planning:

1. Impact on GDP and GNI

2. Impact on prices and inflation

3. Impact on employment and income

4. Impact on consumer households (i.e. people from different classes of the Chinese society who consume goods and services)

5. Impact on producers (i.e. different enterprises, and individuals of the Chinese society who manufactures/produces goods and services)

6. Impact on Chinese importers (the enterprises in China who import goods and services from foreign countries)

7. Impact on Chinese exporters (the enterprises in China who export goods and services to foreign countries)

8. Impact on MNC with business operation in China (imports and sells in China, manufactures and sells in China)

9. Impact on MNC with business operation in China (manufactures and exports to foreign countries)

10. Impact on local governments

11. Impact on central governments

12. Impact on Peoples Bank of China (PBoC)

13. Impact on global banks with business operation in China

14. Impact on foreign governments

15. Impact on Multilateral trade organizations

16. Impact on projects funded by Chinese government

17. Impact on projects funded by foreign governments

Socio-economic scenario simulation should also be done during detail planning:

1. Computerized simulation of pessimistic scenario that assumes actual duration of implementation to be double than planned duration calling for almost double resource and efforts

2. Computerized simulation of optimistic scenario that assumes actual duration of implementation to be 80% of the planned duration thereby saving resource and efforts

3. Computerized simulation of probable scenario that assumes actual duration of implementation to be 20% more than the planned duration thereby causing little additional resource and efforts

Both the individual impact analysis and socio-economic scenario simulation need to take into account the past 3 decades of socio-economic landscape of China and make projections for 2 decades into the future. We need to remember, if central planning system of Soviet Union failed to take into account the population, geography, and goods/services requirements satisfactorily, lack of enough computational power and adequate information were to be blamed – the theory and proposition was not responsible for its debacle. The following subjects should be considered as part of the socio-economic landscape:

i. Parameters on national GDP accounting

ii. Parameters on production

iii. Parameters on sales

iv. Parameters on prices and inflation

v. Parameters on labour force

vi. Parameters on international finance and trade

vii. Parameters on balance of payments

viii. Parameters on income and expenditure

ix. Parameters on Human Development Index (HDI)

x. Parameters on environmental sustainability

3.1.1 Action Point 1:

Ever since the intellectuals and economists in early modern Europe raised their voice against the exploitation by the privately owned industries, the question of ‘ownership of means of production’ took central position (along with the question of ‘money as finance capital’) in every debate concerning struggle against capitalist mode of economy. Mainly three different ideas got substantial support among different shades of socialists – (a) ownership by public/community, (b) ownership by ‘State’, and (c) ownership by ‘workers’ cooperative’. Mode (b) had been the most preferred option for the socialist parties that came to power in Soviet Union, East European countries, China, Vietnam, and Cuba, because it was assumed that a ‘state’ represented a ‘community’. However, in my opinion, mode (a) is the most genuine because only that can deliver all the benefits of ownership to the individual level of the community – not only the appearance of ‘state’ as expropriator gets averted, but people’s self-esteem and involvement with the economy increases. Let’s revisit what happened in Soviet Union and East European countries in the beginning of 1990s – when the Zionist-capitalists were dissolving the socialist state, constitution and system, they picked up all productive assets – factories, mines, facilities – at almost no cost by manipulating the then state administration of Soviet Union. The ‘state’ was the owner of all productive assets, hence the people were just bystanders, they didn’t resist since they didn’t own. In future, if and when the Zionist-capitalists in China organize themselves to stake its claim on state power, community ownership of means of production and other productive forces will be the ONLY repelling force that would save the day for the CPC.

The action point 1 should be implemented at every sector/sub-sector of the Chinese economy (that are concerned with natural resources and economic base of the society as shown in figure 2.2) and its interaction with every class in the society in such a way that address specific issues and concerns of the society as well as the economy. Because of the unparalleled significance of ‘Manufacturing (defense & space)’, ‘Banking, Finance, Insurance’, ‘Education’, and ‘Healthcare’ sectors, ownership of those four sectors should be only vested in the state, to begin with. The ownership of remaining all categories of means of production needs to be legally transferred to the community (and the state) in an orderly manner – EVERY CITIZEN AS HE/SHE TURNS 25 YEARS, SHOULD BECOME ELIGIBLE FOR ALLOTMENT OF EQUITY OF ENTERPRISE(S) TO BECOME AN ‘OWNER’ under this scheme, what easily can become the largest transfer of wealth in the history of humankind. The ownership would remain non-transferrable which means that the share is not trade-able at the share market, and at death the ownership gets terminated. An indicative scheme of ownership for the 12 sectors/sub-sectors is given below in table 3.1.1. It is to be noted that, the percentage of ownership indicated in the table is for EVERY ENTERPRISE/FACILITY and NOT for a sectors/sub-sectors in totality – e.g. in the ‘Real Estate & Construction’ sector, equity of each of the organizations/facilities should be distributed among citizens belonging to 5 classes/sub-classes of the community as noted in the same table so that, each class gets 20% equity, it does NOT mean that 20% of the enterprises/facilities in the ‘Real Estate & Construction’ sector should be owned by each of the 5 classes. Approximately 73% of the population of China would be beneficiary. Since the entire conceptual philosophy behind this proposition is to put an end to basic causes of exploitation and inequality among various sections of society, the implementation of this vast programme has to be done in such a way that at least 1 member of every family residing in 22 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, and 4 municipalities of PRC becomes beneficiary of this scheme.

The table 3.1.1 given below has been constructed with a certain degree of thought process that took into consideration things like (a) criticality of a sector to the sustenance of the state and the party (a ‘vital’ sector shouldn’t be opened for community ownership at this point of time), (b) future urban-rural population (urban population would become two-thirds of the total population, hence more sectors should be serving that compared to rural people), (c) the state (and the party) should play a role as ‘stabilizer’ among different classes of owners in every enterprise, hence a token presence is required on the ownership table. However, before implementation, the concerned team of CPC should suitably modify to reflect the ground realities more appropriately (except increasing the share for bourgeois).

Table 3.1.1

Economy sectors & sub-sectorsCommunityState
Proletariat –Rural labourer, unemployedProletariat –Urban labourer, employed, unemployedPetit bourgeois – Rural peasant, craftsmenPetit bourgeois – Urban technologist, manager,self-employedBourgeois – owning or controlling capital
i) Agriculture & related areas20% Ownership70% Ownership10% Ownership
ii) Mining & related areas20% Ownership70% Ownership10% Ownership
iii) Utility40% Ownership40% Ownership10% Ownership10% Ownership
iv) Manufacturing(traditional)40% Ownership40% Ownership10% Ownership10% Ownership
v) Manufacturing(hi-tech)40% Ownership40% Ownership10% Ownership10% Ownership
vi) Manufacturing(defence & space)100% Ownership
vii) Banking, Finance, Insurance100% Ownership
viii) Real estate & construction15% Ownership20% Ownership15% Ownership20% Ownership20% Ownership10% Ownership
ix) Technology-based services15% Ownership20% Ownership15% Ownership20% Ownership20% Ownership10% Ownership
x) Education100% Ownership
xi) Healthcare100% Ownership
xii) Other Services20% Ownership20% Ownership20% Ownership20% Ownership10% Ownership10% Ownership

There would be a couple of significant counter-arguments to suggest the proposed implementation of action point 1 as an ‘impossible task’ or a ‘utopia’:

1. Primarily there are four types of domestic enterprises operating in China mostly in industry and services – state-owned big/medium sized corporates, private-owned big/medium sized corporates, state and private joint ownership companies, small companies owned by individual professionals. How could the ownership pattern be changed without disturbing the management as well as without impacting the performance of the enterprise? Answer to that can follow similar logic of how a company maintains its structure and functioning after it is taken over by another corporate entity through acquisition of majority equity share with an understanding that existing setup won’t be disturbed by the new owner;

2. Assuming on average 4-member family, there would be about 350 million families in China spread over about 9.6 million sq.km. How could even 1 member from each family get ownership share in even 1 enterprise that brings material benefit to him/her? There is no standard answer. There has to be rigorous analysis covering all types of enterprises (According to a report by China’s Administration for Industry and Commerce released on 14 January 2016, more than 77 million companies were active in mainland China) in all sectors/sub-sectors to explore physical and financial capital base built over past 7 decades, and thereafter optimum restructuring of equity capital has to be done for each of those enterprises in all sectors/sub-sectors (except 2). Then only a clear picture would evolve about how so vast number of citizens can be accommodated;

3. Another significant question is whether the existing private owners would at all accept proposed dilution of their equity stake, and if they agree then what would be the terms-conditions, and if everything is settled, then whether they would continue to manage the enterprise as they did in past. This is the most significant question from legal perspective. The bourgeois class executives would not mind diluting their equity stake in existing enterprises because (a) China’s private entrepreneurs are politically co-opted by the CPC, (b) by working through the party-state networks all over the country, private businessmen understand that they are a very important part of the current national economy, (c) bourgeois class is a numerically very small part, may be 1% of the Chinese community, still sizeable equity stake for them has been proposed in 6 sector/sub-sectors (as given in table 3.1.1) which is disproportionately high when compared to numerically much larger part of the society;

4. Last but not least is the question – how could a business enterprise function under ‘restricted-profit’ environment. Generally, an enterprise functions with ‘profit’ (e.g. business operation) or ‘non-profit’ (e.g. social work) orientation. But, as per the guiding principles of socialism, endless accumulation of profit can’t be an objective for a socialist society. Hence, during implementation of action point 1, procedures for enterprise functioning with restricted profit has to be laid out that neither violates the socialist principles nor kills the spirit of business operation. Steps may be – (a) exhaustive analysis of all factors of production that go into production and distribution process for all types of business operation under each of the listed 12 sectors/sub-sectors (e.g. ‘Manufacturing – traditional’ has, say, 15 sub-sectors like food & beverages, textile & garments, metal processing, light engineering goods, consumer durables, heavy machineries, automobiles, chemicals & fertilizers, hydrocarbon processing, pharmaceuticals, rolling stock, shipbuilding etc.); (b) setting up of optimum range of operational expenditures – input material cost, input labour hour, input energy cost, factory and machinery depreciation, cost of financial capital, cost of technology, cost of managerial coordination etc. – across the entire value chain of each of the sub-sectors (e.g. 15 sub-sectors of ‘Manufacturing – traditional’); (c) setting up of optimum range with upper and lower limit of operating margin, product/service price, profit, share of profit to be reserved and share of profit to be distributed among shareholders. We, the protagonists, need to always remember ‘when there is a will, there is a way’

3.1.2 Action Point 2:

In commodity exchange, one exchanges a commodity for money, and that money is exchanged again for some other commodity. One sells in order to buy something else for consumption – Marx identified this cycle as Commodity-Money-Commodity (C-M-C). In modern economy, with ‘money’ as the exchange medium as well as store of value, one can buy in order to sell at a higher price – Marx defined this as Money-Commodity-Money (M-C-M), the formula for capital. Free from the use-value of an item, this ‘money’ can move on continuously as profit-making finance capital. For the business of usury, the cycle becomes even sharper – Money-Money (M-M). Till 1970 CE, the traditional capitalist concept of accumulation of monetary capital as ‘profit from business operation’ continued as usual. Money supply through banking system (exogenous money created either by manufacturing paper/metal currency or by fractional reserve system, also called money multiplier model) of a country not only positively impact the business cycle, but it has an impact on inflation, and the price level also. Empirical evidence suggests a direct relation between growth in the money supply and long-term price inflation. In the post-Keynesian Europe and America, Zionist-capitalist oligarchy found that, in order to tackle inflation and price more effectively, the central banking institutions of countries across the globe (including the countries in European and American continents) were restricting the money supply for their economy (by NOT creating new money), which in turn restricted the flow of credit money to grow businesses owned by the capitalists. On the other hand, in the 1970s and 1980s most of the businesses were operating in severe competitive environment across the globe, input costs were not favourable always, fuel costs were up, product prices were too competitive with Japanese companies becoming more cost-effective – all these factors impacted the traditional process of seeking exorbitant profit from businesses in the era of ‘industrial capitalism’. Thus, as a result of two simultaneous pressures, the endless accumulation of (money) capital became much more difficult than the Zionist-capitalist oligarchy expected.

Hence, the academia and media funded by the Zionist-capitalist oligarchy dusted off an old theory of endogenous money and gave it a new life – credit creation theory of banking. This concept of credit money heralded a new era of Zionist-capitalist exploitation of the earth and humanity through ‘financial capitalism’. Starting in 1980s beginning, financial capitalism saw its ‘golden era’ during the 1990s and 2000s until the financial crisis overwhelmed American and European economy in 2007. But soon after the financial shock, financial capitalism found its way in the same fashion like before. Central banks in advanced countries maintain their official stand as exogenous money creation through fractional reserve system, but in practice, many banks in developed countries create endogenous credit money while paying lip service to principles of prudence and conservatism (refer “Post Keynesian Endogeneity of Money Supply: Panel Evidence” from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257594497_Post_Keynesian_Endogeneity_of_Money_Supply_Panel_Evidence). Under the endogenous money theory (and, practice), ‘the supply of money is a function of profit expectation’. As per the Jewish tradition of banking and usury, the central theme of this theory is endless accumulation of money. The bourgeois capitalist businessmen would start calculation from ‘profit expectation’ which would derive the ‘income of firm’, this in turn would derive the ‘demand for credit’ as per which the ‘credit money creation’ would become the responsibility of the banker (the leader of the team of capitalists). Hence, the traditional flow of causality through fractional reserve system (Reserve → Deposits→Loan) gets reversed as Loan → Deposits → Reserve under this endogenous credit creation system. For endogenous money, the interest rate is not determined by the market mechanism (like the supply of and the demand for savings, the supply of and the demand for money). Nominal interest rate set by the central bank is applicable.

During past 4 decades of the era of financial capitalism, as and when the Zionist-capitalist oligarchy in a country decide to accumulate more money without going into the ‘painful’ mode of industrial capitalism, they create a flow of credit money through connivance with the management of commercial banks (staff at the higher positions in industry and banking are ALWAYS selectively appointed by the oligarchy) each of which has country-wide network of regional offices and branch offices, ostensibly for growing business operations. Question can be raised, “so what, the credit money drives creation of new business that helps growth of the overall economy”. The answer is, “no, it is not so”. Apart from a glitzy ‘project report’, none of the business objectives are ever honestly mentioned. Industrial and Service sectors are the prime target areas where hundreds of millions of investments are demanded as ‘project loan’ from commercial banks, and after receiving the amount, half of the amount gets transferred the foreign/domestic accounts of the ‘businessman’ and their accomplices, remaining half may be actually invested in the project. In many cases, after couple of years the businessman declares the project as dead and business operation as bankrupt. In many other cases, where the targeted project came to fruition, it can be easily proved through post-completion report that, the loan taken from bank was about 150 – 200% more than the actual project expenditure. This is how, in all countries throughout the world the wealthy oligarchs have been accumulating money, only a small part of which comes through profit from business operation. And, this ‘mechanism’ of ‘getting rich fast’ has been popular among senior-level technocrats of state-owned enterprises in all developing countries (including China) – Zionist-capitalist oligarchy happily accommodates such turncoats as part of the oligarchy. On the other hand, this swindle of a very large section of Zionist-capitalist business-owners results in bad debt problems for the country.

Government of China has to grapple with the bad debt problem continuously for past two decades (refer link:

 https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/china-s-bad-loan-season-descends-again-and-this-time-it-may-be-really-bad-121021700184_1.html). Writing off trillions of bad debt as non-performing asset from the books year-after-year is not really a solution. Unless and until the procedures and systems of banking-financing and money circulation are made full-proof along with complete prohibition of the endogenous credit money, PBoC won’t be able to see a clean slate ever in the banking sector.

As proposed in action point 2, the worst performers among banks and financial institutions should be converted into ‘narrow banks’ where deposits would be used to buy government bonds, but no investments in shares. Lending would be done using the deposits only (following ‘financial intermediation theory of banking’). Narrow banks are safe banks; there would be very limited credit risk. The danger of non-performing loans and subsequent injections of capital (using taxpayers’ money) would be grossly mitigated through narrow banks. Remaining banking institutions should religiously follow ONLY the money multiplier model of the fractional reserve system for creating credit money required for economic growth. PBoC should keep reserve requirement ratio at 25 – 30% which may be considered as a prudent base for credit money creation through fractional reserve system. Thus supply of money would be maintained, but unscrupulous capitalists won’t find a route to carry out bank robbery any time they wish.

3.1.3 Action Point 3:

Agriculture and related sectors in China has innate unbalances – the country has only 9 – 10% of the total arable land in the world, and 7 – 8% of its fresh water, but the sector’s output has to feed about 18 – 20% of the world’s population. Agriculture in China had been the core economic activity since ancient era. In the post-WW II when PLA won the civil war against Kuomintang, rural peasants were the most significant base of the communist party. The people’s commune system was established in Mao era, which was changed into the household responsibility system in Deng era. With progress of time, the improvement in productivity and income per capita as a result of such structural changes always taper down. Agricultural output has increased leaps and bounds over past 7 decades (with temporary dips). However, current problems of the agriculture and related sectors can’t be wished away:

(a) Diminishing plot size of the arable land (average size – less than 1 hectare) due to division among family members with each generation,

(b) Availability of water for irrigation remains a challenge especially in the northern half of the country

(c) Income of farmers lag behind the urban population by a very large gap

(d) Increasing demands for agricultural and dairy products, meat, and fish due to two simultaneous factors – population growth as well as change in dietary patterns especially in the urban regions

(e) Environmental degradation due to the ever increasing use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides

(f) Decreasing area under cultivation due to rapid township development projects

There are unresolved dichotomies in the agriculture sector in China:

1. If farmers’ income rise becomes more important, then high-value crops need to be cultivated; but that would require releasing arable land currently under food-grain cultivation, which in turn would affect the goal of self-sufficiency in growing food-grain

2. If afforestation is increased as a measure to address environmental pollution, semi-arable land should be released for that purpose; however, that would result in further reduction in the agricultural land, which in turn would impact production of both food-grains and high value crops

Under the restructuring of agriculture and related sectors action point, government should consider a mid-way between village-level people’s commune and household responsibility – contiguous plot-owners should form cooperative enterprises so that plot size remain above 10 hectares. Such plot sizes would enable the cooperative to deploy most modern farm equipment. Government should ensure that farmers’ produces are picked up at farm-gate at a price that covers the cost of inputs, labour, and a net income that is significantly higher than current income per capita in rural regions – essentially it would require subsidy payments in a systematic way. Finally, such cooperatives would indirectly result in release of the surplus labour into industrial and service sectors – migration to urban areas is highly probable, unless government launch new initiatives for agro-based industry and electricity generation system through renewable sources like solar and wind energy.

3.1.4 Action Point 4:

In a brief, accurate write-up, The Guardian website provided the economic data related to Chinese economy from 1980 to 2016 (Link: https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/mar/23/china-gdp-since-1980). The export-oriented economy that Deng set in motion (following other East Asian success stories in 1970s and 1980s) during 1980s has been performing with extreme efficiency and effectiveness till now. The statistical indicators point out to that fact. However, household consumption expenditures remaining slightly below 40% of the GDP still remains a matter of concern for the policy making body of the CPC (GDP of China in 2019 CE was Yuan 99492.74 billion by expenditure approach, out of which Household Consumption Expenditure was Yuan 38589.56 billion i.e. 38.78% of GDP). There are two sides of the issue – (a) household consumption expenditure has been increasing steadily for past few decades, but the growth in GDP due to exports (and investments in infrastructure asset creation) readily outsmarted the household consumption growth, and (b) the potential for household consumption contributing a minimum of 50% of the GDP has not been unleashed yet.

In my opinion, both the perspectives of household consumption ‘dilemma’ need to be seriously addressed. After 2008 CE, the steadily growing trade and commerce between China and USA as well as China and West Europe has been a boon for the Chinese economy and bane for the Zionist-capitalist oligarchy. On top of it, the BRI programme, that aims to revolutionize the infrastructure and trade in Asia, Africa and South America, has sounded the alarm for the existing Zionist-capitalist world order. The existing world order would explore all type of ‘programme’ that attempts to hinder the existing trade and commerce between China and USA-West Europe-Japan triad (link: https://asiatimes.com/2021/06/american-decoupling-from-china-deconstructed/ ) as well as implementation of BRI programme. The CPC leadership should take note of it, and make preparations for absorbing a possible dent in exports (and imports). And, the question of substantial increase in household consumption appears on the horizon right away.

Under the scheme for boosting household consumption, the purchasing power of the rural population needs to be enhanced substantially. For the urban citizens of China, consumption is a way of life – generally, they enjoy life with increased income. However, for the entire country, apart from enacting laws that would ensure increase in salaries-wages-bonus in every types of enterprises, the government has to explore a creative way that would indirectly increase the propensity for consumption expenditure. Chinese government should seriously consider making education and healthcare a subject of governance. Thus, all arrangements, from creation of infrastructure to providing services, related to education and healthcare should be made by the government for every citizen of China. Citizens, as per their income category, would make payments for such services – this would require subsidies, since the poor section of the society won’t be in a position to cover the expenditures fully. However, once the population is free from the biggest concerns of daily life, the consumption expenditure would increase in true sense. (It won’t be inappropriate to mention here that, in the USA, education and healthcare services form a substantial part of the consumer expenditures, because the general population is turned into debt-serfs through credit money created out of thin air by the Zionist-capitalist banking cabal – but following USA as the role model for society and economy is hardly an intelligent decision for a Marxist socialist government).

3.2 Debate on Four Action points

There would be couple of valid questions from China watchers:

1) Question from intellectuals who identify themselves as ‘ideologically pure Marxist socialist/ Communist’ would be invariably on whether the continued presence of ‘market’ and ‘money’ in China (as I envisage in this article) would allow transformation of the society into a stage 1 socialist society. True, most of the early socialists detested market and money by assuming these as the root cause of all evils, and there were serious research in inter-war Europe and Soviet Union to propose how socialist society can function without market and money. The famous socialist calculation debate during the inter-war period between Austrian School (Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek) and neo-classical and Marxists (Oskar Lange, Abba Lerner, Fred Taylor, Maurice Dobb, and others) was a discourse on the subject of how a socialist economy would perform economic calculation in the absence of the price, money, capital market, and private ownership of the means of production. Without getting into the logic and analysis of such research provided by either side, I would like to maintain that socialism as an economic system is far more efficient than capitalism from social and environmental perspective, and that socialism is highly feasible. In my opinion, Socialism won’t be mortally wounded, if centralized economic planning work as complementary to market mechanism, enterprise functions with restricted profit accumulation, and money is used as a medium of exchange and an unit of calculation (instead of labour-time or physical unit of measure). In defense of my stand, I would quote David McMullen from his working paper titled “Re-Opening the Debates on Economic Calculation and Motivation under Socialism”, “there is nothing preventing an economy where the means of production are socially owned from having an effective price system as long as it can replace the profit motive with a desire by people to undertake work for its own sake and to serve the common good.”;

2) The intellectuals who wouldn’t give a damn to ideology, would like to ask, now that China has almost become a superpower in the realms of industry, technology, defense and space, why to bother about little ideological things like ‘yes to community ownership’ and ‘no to endogenous credit money’, that would be akin to rocking the boat. My response would be, without appropriate ideology, CPC members would become a class unto itself and would not be able to keep its mass base intact over the next 50 years. As a result, corruption, manipulation, nepotism and irresponsible behaviour would increase dramatically leading to loss of public support. Thereafter, it would be just a matter of time that, CPC would be challenged by a political entity (created-aided-abated by the Zionist-capitalist world order). Whether China sets up a base in Mars, in my opinion, is less important than whether China implement the crucial aspects of the stage 1 socialism.

3) Inquisitive readers may come forward with a very practical question – what would happen to people and society in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. Well, I would like to keep them separate as part of the “one country two systems” policy. It would be better for everybody if the regions of Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are kept outside of this proposed program of final aspects of the stage 1 socialism in China. Let free entrepreneurship operate in these places, including operation of a business enterprise with even 100% private ownership (if the existing laws of those quasi-states permit). After all, those regions didn’t go through the transformation brought out by the Chinese Revolution.

4) Yet another group of informed readers might like to ask if the CPC has the organizational strength, leadership with ideological bent of mind, and all sorts of resources required to implement such an ambitious program. The question of whether the CPC can lead, whether the CPC can prepare a blueprint, and whether the CPC leadership can mobilize resources required for such a mammoth transformation is, actually, the most important issue for eventual success or failure. If a serious reader scans through the 100-year history of the CPC, he/she can come to a conclusion that the party was not built in a day – over the 100 year period, the Chinese leaders kept no stone unturned to keep the socialist dream alive. Extreme hard work by the leaders and members of all factions strengthened the CPC. Hence, in my opinion, the CPC would be able to register a complete success.

There are couple of key suggestions for strengthening the organization to prepare itself better for any eventuality, like: (a) expand membership strength to 140 million (equivalent to 10% of population), new recruits should cover all regions and at least 80% should come from proletariat and petit bourgeois family background; (b) vigorous training sessions for all party members through class-room and practical training, training should be imparted at least once in every 5 years; (c) while 80 years age should be maximum allowable age for a member in the party, average age should be lowered, so that members are physically fit to perform in difficult circumstances.

4. Conclusion

Coming back to the elders’ discussion in Heaven. China has achieved wonderful all-round progress towards building of social capital in the country. Now, to complete the first stage of socialism, China needs to shift the gear to adopt the cycle: Ecosystem → Economic Base → Community → Ecosystem.

It is time for the CPC to undertake the next journey on the socialist road with careful planning and implementation of the milestones. Couple of afterthoughts:

1. Two most crucial objectives for the CPC – socialist transformation and Taiwan reunification – should be undertaken simultaneously, for any attempt to plan those two objectives at staggered timeline may result in disappointment and stagnation. China (and Taiwan) can continue their journey towards more economic prosperity (with considerable inequality) even without achieving socialist transformation objectives, but the main issue refuses to go away – what happens when the Zionist-capitalists in China organize themselves to seize the political power (as they did in Soviet Union)? So, it is not a question of making a decision so that the elders like Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Mao would be delighted in heaven, it’s a question of life and death for socialism, which the CPC would have to confront, most probably before the centenary of PRC appears on the horizon.

2. The CPC Politbureau should own the entire initiative and meticulously prepare two options (plan A and plan B) on detail roadmap containing high-level tasks, sub-tasks, task-owners, task-locations, resource requirement, and timelines to achieve the objectives between 2026 CE and 2030 CE. It is imperative that pre-requisites for and implications of each task pertaining to each of the two plans are deliberated upon in detail before a plan is approved for implementation. Politbureau may involve all members of the Central Committee in thorough discussions on the final aspects of the stage 1 socialism in China and 2 optional plans, and if required, modify the plans with inputs from these two very important groups.

3. For a trouble-free implementation, the CPC should maintain the same senior level team, hence the CPC and the National People’s Congress should re-elect Xi Jinping as President and Li Keqiang as Premier in March 2023 for next 10 years circumventing the existing party constitution, as a special gesture. President, Premier, and all other Politbureau members should visit the building at Shanghai’s French Concession and Jiaxing site that hosted the party’s founding congress in 1921, and reiterate the commitment to maintain the original aspiration of the founding members and continue the journey towards socialism.

4. In this article, I haven’t touched upon the geopolitical and geo-economic themes that permeate the overall architecture within which the Zionist-capitalist world order has been operating since the dawn of 20th century. Since that invariably includes the Chinese state and its people, the existing fabric of geopolitics and geo-economics would certainly get squeezed to some extent with the proposed implementation of the final aspects of stage 1 socialism in China. The surest way for China to confidently face any unforeseen turmoil outside its border is to maintain an unwavering deep strategic partnership with Russia through thick and thin, as we notice currently.

5. Would an auspicious moment arrive in 2031 when people across the world come to know that the stage 1 socialism fully arrived in China? I am one of them who are convinced that, the CPC has the resources, analytical ability, and organizational wherewithal to do it. If it really happens, there would be a tremendous wave of optimism about the possibility of a society based on truth-justice-equality-morality across the poor sections of the society around the world; the Marxist socialist dream that went sour with the dissolution of the USSR, would get a fresh lease of life!


Short profile:

Straight-Bat is an Engineer by profession, currently pursuing higher study in Economics. A keen observer of global affairs, Straight-Bat enjoys being an analyst of history, politics, economy, and geopolitics.

One of the few decade-old members of The Saker blog-site, Straight-Bat finds this website as a capstone entity that is dedicated to focus on truth and justice in public life across the world.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s video address to the Sixth International Conference Russia and China: Cooperation in a New Era, Moscow, June 1, 2021

June 01, 2021

Source

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s video address to the Sixth International Conference Russia and China: Cooperation in a New Era, Moscow, June 1, 2021
https://thesaker.is/foreign-minister-sergey-lavrovs-video-address-to-the-sixth-international-conference-russia-and-china-cooperation-in-a-new-era-moscow-june-1-2021/

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/4759576

Mr Wang Yi,

Mr Ivanov,

Colleagues, friends,

The further development of strategic partnership with China is one of our  top priorities. It is stipulated in the Foreign Policy Concept, which President of Russia Vladimir Putin approved in November 2016. We are grateful to our colleagues from the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) and Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) for organising a regular, sixth joint conference. We regard it as an opportunity to review the current state and development outlook of our bilateral cooperation and its increasing influence on global developments.

This is a special year for us: 20 years ago on July 16, 2001, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of China Jiang Zemin met in Moscow to sign the Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation. By turning this new page in their relations, the parties demonstrated their resolve to pass their friendship down through the generations. The treaty formalised the previously applied political definition of bilateral relations as “a partnership of (…) equality and trust and strategic collaboration.” In other words, this truly historical international document has put on record the development of a new model of our interstate relations and their progress to a fundamentally new stage.

I would like to note that the Treaty is based on the universally recognised norms of international law, first of all the goals and principles of the UN Charter. It seals the parties’ agreement on mutual support in the defence of the national unity and territorial integrity, as well as their commitment not to be the first to use nuclear weapons against each other and not to target strategic nuclear missiles on each other. The document also formulated the principle of “respecting each other’s choice of the course of political, economic, social and cultural development.” The parties pledged to immediately contact and consult each other in the event of the threat of aggression and not to allow their territory to be used by third countries to the detriment of the national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of the other party. In this way, Russia and China provided a legal framework for the closest possible collaboration on strategic matters bearing on their fundamental interests without creating a formal military-political alliance. In fact, a comprehensive Russian-Chinese partnership is more than just a classical military-political union.

Another vital provision mentions the absence of any territorial claims to each other and the parties’ resolve “to make the border between them into one where everlasting peace and friendship prevail from generation to generation.” The incorporation of this principle promoted the final settlement of the so-called border dispute and greatly strengthened mutual trust.

Colleagues,

The Treaty played a huge role in boosting mutual trade and economic interaction.  We can report positive results to the public. During the past 20 years, our mutual trade increased more than thirteen times, from $8 billion to $104 billion in 2020. Work is underway within the framework of the Intergovernmental Russian-Chinese Commission on Investment Cooperation on 70 projects worth in total more than $120 billion.

Our energy partnership has acquired a strategic dimension. A Russian-Chinese oil pipeline has been functioning for nearly 10 years now, and the Power of Siberia gas pipeline was launched in late 2019. China is taking part in large-scale LNG projects in the Russian Arctic zone. Just a few days ago, on May 19, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of China Xi Jinping launched the construction of four new Russian-designed power units for the Tianwan and Xudapu nuclear power stations in China.

Our industrial and agricultural cooperation is developing constantly. Our interaction in science and innovation is especially important in light of the continued Western attempts to contain our countries’ technological progress. It is for this reason that we are holding the Years of Science, Technology and Innovation in 2020-2021 as part of the successful practice of themed cross-years.

The Treaty also has a great role to play in promoting cultural and humanitarian ties. These activities are helping to maintain the relations of good-neighbourliness and reinforce the social basis of strategic partnership between Russia and China.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has impaired contacts between our citizens. I am sure that, as the epidemiological situation becomes normalised, we will be able to quickly restore and expand them. In our opinion, efforts to promote Russian language studies in China and Chinese language studies in Russia should become an unconditional priority. The same concerns dialogue with young people, who will soon carry on efforts to develop and expand the traditions of Russian-Chinese friendship.

The Treaty, which is ahead of its time in some respects, is not limited to bilateral ties. Its provisions help expand our foreign policy cooperation. Bilateral dialogue is becoming particularly important on the international scene today, when some Western states are trying to demolish the UN-centric system of international law and to replace it with their own rules-based order. Moscow and Beijing consistently advocate the creation of a more equitable, democratic and therefore stable polycentric international order. This system should reflect the cultural and civilisational diversity of the modern world and the natural striving of nations to independently determine their development path. The very fact of the Russian-Chinese accord on this issue serves to stabilise and balance the entire system of international relations. It opens up broad opportunities for truly equitable and free cooperation between large and small countries jointly shaping their historical destiny.

I am satisfied to note the coinciding or largely similar approaches of Moscow and Beijing towards an absolute majority of challenges facing the world today, including efforts to maintain global strategic stability, arms control and counterterrorism operations. We cooperate successfully and fruitfully at such multilateral venues as the UN, the SCO, BRICS, RIC, the G20, APEC and the EAS. We coordinate our steps during the Syrian and Afghan peace processes, the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and on the Iranian nuclear programme. Russia and China advocate the peaceful development of the Asia Pacific region and the creation of reliable regional mechanisms for ensuring equal and indivisible security there based on non-bloc approaches.

Today, the Eurasian region is implementing a number of innovative integration projects, including the Eurasian Economic Union and China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Work to combine their potentials has good prospects. Notably, it lays a solid foundation for establishing a new geo-strategic contour of peace, stability and economic prosperity based on principles of international law and transparency on our shared continent from Lisbon to Jakarta. This contour would be open for all countries, including members of the Eurasian Economic Union, the SCO, ASEAN and, in the future, the EU. The initiative of President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin on establishing a Greater Eurasian Partnership aims to accomplish this truly historic task. We highly value cooperation with our Chinese friends on its well-coordinated implementation together with the Belt and Road Initiative.

Colleagues,

The Treaty on Good-Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation, whose 20th anniversary we are going to mark in July 2021, is an unshakeable foundation of Russian-Chinese relations. We are convinced that it remains a living and working document that makes it possible to expand, finetune and adjust our strategic cooperation in line with the changing realities of the new epoch. This epoch demands that all of us, including experts, diplomats and politicians, always pay attention to new challenges and opportunities, trends and forecasts. Your conference is a good platform for a calm, detailed and professional exchange of opinions and ideas, without which is it is hard to chart the road forward and to determine a joint algorithm of subsequent actions.

Therefore, in conclusion, I would like to wish you fruitful discussions and intellectual insights and revelations for the benefit of strengthening neighbourly relations and friendship between Russia and China.

Thank you.

It’s a Nikolai Patrushev-Yang Jiechi world

May 31, 2021

It’s a Nikolai Patrushev-Yang Jiechi world

As Sino-Russo-Iranophobia dissolves in sanctions and hysteria, mapmakers carve the post-unilateral order

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

It’s the Nikolai Patrushev-Yang Jiechi show – all over again. These are the two players running an up and coming geopolitical entente, on behalf of their bosses Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.

Last week, Yang Jiechi – the director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee – visited Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev in Moscow. That was part of the 16thround of China-Russia strategic security consultations.

What’s intriguing is that Yang-Patrushev happened between the Blinken-Lavrov meeting on the sidelines of the Arctic Council summit in Reykjavik, and the upcoming and highest-ranking Putin-Biden in Geneva on June 16 (possibly at the Intercontinental Hotel, where Reagan and Gorbachev met in 1985).

The Western spin before Putin-Biden is that it might herald some sort of reset back to “predictability” and “stability” in currently extra-turbulent US-Russia relations.

That’s wishful thinking. Putin, Patrushev and Lavrov harbor no illusions. Especially when in the G7 in London, in early May, the Western focus was on Russia’s “malign activities” as well as China’s “coercive economic policies.”

Russian and Chinese analysts, in informal conversations, tend to agree that Geneva will be yet another instance of good old Kissingerian divide and rule, complete with a few seducing tactics to lure Moscow away from Beijing, an attempt to bide some time and probing openings for laying out geopolitical traps. Old foxes such as Yang and Patrushev are more than aware of the game in play.

What’s particularly relevant is that Yang-Patrushev laid the groundwork for an upcoming Putin visit to Xi in Beijing not long after Putin-Biden in Geneva – to further coordinate geopolitically, once again, the “comprehensive strategic partnership”, in their mutually recognized terminology.

The visit might take place on July 1, the hundredth anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party – or on July 16, the 20thanniversary of the China-Russia Treaty of Friendship.

So Putin-Biden is the starter; Putin-Xi is the main course.

That Putin-Luka tea for two

Beyond the Russian president’s “outburst of emotions” comment defending his Belarusian counterpart’s action, the Putin-Lukashenko tea for two in Sochi yielded an extra piece of the puzzle concerning the RyanAir emergency landing in Minsk– starring a blogger from Belarus who is alleged to have lent his services to the ultra-nationalist, neo-Nazi-ridden Azov battalion, which fought against the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in the Ukrainian Donbass in 2014.

Lukashenko told Putin he had “brought along some documents so you can understand what is going on.” Nothing has been leaked regarding the contents of these documents, but it’s possible they may be incandescent – related to the fact that sanctions were imposed by the EU against Belavia Airlines even though the carrier had nothing to do with the RyanAir saga – and potentially capable of being brought up in the context of Putin-Biden in Geneva.

The Big Picture is always Eurasia versus the Atlanticist West. As much as Washington will keep pushing Europe – and Japan – to decouple from both China and Russia, Cold War 2.0 on two simultaneous fronts has very few takers.

Rational players see that the 21st century combined scientific, economic and military power of a Russia-China strategic partnership would be a whole new ball game in terms of global reach compared with the former USSR/Iron Curtain era.

And when it comes to appealing to the Global South, and the new iterations of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), emphasis on an international order upholding the UN Charter and the rule of international law is definitely sexier than a much-vaunted “rules-based international order” where only the hegemon sets the rules.

In parallel to Moscow’s lack of illusions about the new Washington dispensation, the same applies to Beijing – especially after the latest outburst by Kurt Campbell, the former Obama-Biden 1.0 assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific who is now back as the head of Indo-Pacific Affairs on the National Security Council under Obama-Biden 3.0.

Campbell is the actual father of the ‘pivot to Asia’ concept when he was at the State Department in the early 2010s – although as I pointed out during the 2016 US presidential campaign, it was Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State who claimed Mothership of the pivot to Asia in an October 2011 essay.

At a gig promoted by Stanford University last week, Campbell said, “The period that was broadly described as engagement [with China] has come to an end.” After all, the “pivot to Asia” never really died, as there has been a clear Trump-Biden continuum.

Campbell obfuscated by talking about a “new set of strategic parameters” and the need to confront China by working with “allies, partners and friends”. Nonsense: this is all about the militarization of the Indo-Pacific.

That’s what Biden himself reiterated during his first address to a joint session of the US Congress, when he boasted about telling Xi that the US will “maintain a strong military presence in the Indo-Pacific” just as it does with NATO in Europe.

The Iranian factor

On a different but parallel track with Yang-Patrushev, Iran may be on the cusp of a momentous directional change. We may see it as part of a progressive strengthening of the Arc of Resistance – which links Iran, the People’s Mobilization Units in Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah, the Houthis in Yemen and now a more unified Palestine.

The proxy war on Syria was a tragic, massive fail on every aspect. It did not deliver secular Syria to a bunch of takfiris (aka “moderate rebels”). It did not prevent the expansion of Iran’s sphere of influence.  It did not derail the Southwest Asia branch of the New Silk Roads. It did not destroy Hezbollah.

“Assad must go”? Dream on; he was reelected with 95% of Syrian votes, with a 78% turnout.

As for the upcoming Iranian presidential election on June 18 – only two days after Putin-Biden – it takes place when arguably the nuclear deal revival drama being enacted in Vienna will have reached an endgame. Tehran has repeatedly stressed that the deadline for a deal expires today, May 31.

The impasse is clear. In Vienna, through its EU interlocutors, Washington has agreed to lift sanctions on Iranian oil, petrochemicals and the central bank, but refuses to remove them on individuals such as members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

At the same time, in Tehran, something very intriguing happened with Ali Larijani, former Parliament speaker, an ambitious member of a quite prominent family but discarded by the Guardian Council when it chose candidates to run for President. Larijani immediately accepted the ruling. As I was told by Tehran insiders, that happened with no friction because he received a detailed explanation of something much bigger: the new game in town.

As it stands, the one positioned as the nearly inevitable winner on June 18 seems to be Ebrahim Raeisi, up to now the chief justice – and close to the Revolutionary Guards. There’s a very strong possibility that he will ask the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to leave Iran – and that means the end of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as we knew it, with unforeseen consequences. (From the Revolutionary Guards’ point of view, the JCPOA is already dead).

An extra factor is that Iran is currently suffering from severe drought – when summer has not even arrived. The power grid will be under tremendous pressure. The dams are empty – so it’s impossible to rely on hydroelectric power. There’s serious popular discontent regarding the fact that Team Rouhani for eight years prevented Iran from obtaining nuclear power. One of Raeisi’s first acts may be to command the immediate construction of a nuclear power plant.

We don’t need a weatherman to see which way the wind is blowin’ when it comes to the top three “existential threats” to the declining hegemon – Russia, China and Iran. What’s clear is that none of the good old methods deployed to maintain the subjugation of the vassals is working – at least when confronted by real sovereign powers.

As Sino-Russo-Iranophobia dissolves in a fog of sanctions and hysteria, mapmakers like Yang Jiechi and Nikolai Patrushev relentlessly carve the post-unilateral order.

Dealing With Demons

Dealing With Demons

April 06, 2021

By Larry Romanoff for the Saker Blog

The Lockdown

At the outbreak of the epidemic, China implemented the most comprehensive and rigorous measures ever taken. Wuhan was locked down on Jan. 23, with several other cities in Hubei Province quickly thereafter, then the entire province. (1) All public transportation was suspended. Airports, train stations, bus depots, boat and ferry docks were closed, all toll highways shut down and most roads blocked. All The subways and buses stopped running, and all people were to remain in their homes. The initial lockdown in late January involved about 20 million people, extending to about 60 million within a month, this at a time when China had only about 500 infections. The move, unprecedented in modern times and undoubtedly a difficult decision, spoke volumes about the gravity of the situation and the seriousness with which the government viewed the public health threat. China’s President Xi issued a rather stern warning at the time, that “Governments of all levels are obliged to resolutely take all preemptive measures to rein in the fast spread of the virus and be completely transparent about their local situation so that the country can unite to fight the pandemic together, and ensure that the world has a true picture of the situation. As Xi made clear, the mistakes of the past must not be repeated.”

All the evidence suggests the Chinese authorities acted effectively as soon as they realised the danger they might be facing.

Remembering the SARS troubles, they did much more. In most large centers in the country, all sports venues, theaters, museums, tourist attractions, all locations that attract crowds, were closed, as were all schools. All group tours were cancelled. Not only the city of Wuhan but virtually the entire province of Hubei was locked down, with all trains, aircraft, buses, subways, ferries, grounded and all major highways and toll booths closed. Thousands of flights and train trips were cancelled until further notice. Some cities like Shanghai and Beijing were conducting temperature tests on all roadways leading into the cities. In addition, Wuhan was building two portable hospitals of 25,000 square meters each to handle infected patients. As well, Wuhan has asked citizens to neither leave nor enter the city without a compelling reason, and all were wearing face masks.

The scale of the challenge of implementing such a blockade was immense, comparable to closing down all transport links for a city 5 times the size of Toronto or Chicago, two days before Christmas. These decisions were unprecedented, but testified to the determination of the authorities to limit the spread and damage of this new pathogen. They not only addressed the gravity of the situation but also the seriousness of consideration for the public health, unfortunate and difficult decisions since the holiday was destroyed for hundreds of millions of people. Most public entertainment was cancelled, as were tours, and many weddings as well. The damage to the economy during this most festive of all periods, was enormous. Hong Kong will suffer severely in addition to all its other troubles, since visits from Mainland Chinese typically support much of its retail economy during this period.

And already the Western media were in full China-bashing mode, (2) some claiming that lockdowns and quarantines were “a violation of human rights” and were in any case ineffective, with Mr. Pompeo of the US State Department already lamenting the “lack of transparency” in the Chinese government, and London’s Imperial College claiming infections in China were understated by a factor of ten. (3) And of course China’s friends in Langley, Virginia, were busy making posts on Weibo claiming this was “the end of the world” with everyone “on the verge of tears”, while the UK Guardian claimed “panic was spreading” in China. (4)

Within a week of Wuhan being locked down, virtually all rail and air traffic in China had been suspended, to deny the virus a means of travel. This was of course, the most awkward of times, with much of the population on the verge of traveling home for the Chinese New Year holiday. All mass-gathering areas were closed. Restaurants, shopping malls, cinemas, museums, markets, tourist resorts and many similar places were shut down to prevent gatherings, and many factories were seriously challenged by unexpected difficulties in operation due to the quarantines. The strong measures, effective though they were, inevitably inflicted pain on some parts of the Chinese economy and certainly caused inconvenience and some hardship in people’s daily lives, but the unprecedented moves yielded positive results, with new infections quickly dropping.

Using Shanghai as an example, by the end of February the city subjected all travelers from severely-affected countries to medical examination at the city’s airports to prevent imported infections. All incoming passengers who had lived or traveled in the hardest-hit countries were automatically subjected to a 14-day quarantine at home or at designated hotels. (5) (6) These passengers were not permitted to take taxis or public transport but instead were driven to designated quarantine locations by customs authorities, where community workers would be waiting for them with a team of neighborhood officials, and a doctor and a police officer would guide them to home quarantine. This large group consisted of volunteers who lived temporarily in nearby hotels, avoiding their own homes due to the risk of spreading the virus. (7)

Foreign nationals were considered in advance, and offered necessary assistance from the communities where they lived to solve their difficulties after entering the city. (8) By early March China put major restrictions on inbound air travel and effectively closed off the borders. Those without a place of residence and a permanent job in Shanghai were not permitted to enter the city by road, except for medical reasons. (9) The Central Government temporarily suspended entry into the country of foreign passport holders even with valid visas or residence permits, which was an unprecedented but necessary step to prevent imported infections. (10) (11)

Residential areas in most Chinese cities are comprised of communities that are largely self-contained, similar in some ways to gated communities in the West, making isolation and quarantine certainly easier and more effective than in the sprawling suburbs of North America. In my community in Shanghai as an example, the road leading to the community was blocked, meaning no one left and no one entered. Special permits were available for some kinds of official travel or medical needs, but in practice these were few. All businesses in the community were temporarily shuttered as were schools and gathering places. Everyone mostly remained in their homes and, when brief excursions were necessary, masks were always worn and proximity to other persons avoided.

But there was much more leadership and planning that were not visible. Immediately upon executing the community quarantine, local officials contracted with a major food supplier to continue provisions. An online mobile phone APP was designed overnight, which was used to place orders for all foods, fresh vegetables and meat. Every two or three days a delivery truck would clear the barriers and enter the community, the drivers prohibited from human contact. Each order was bagged and sealed separately and set out at the community center office where residents could collect them and pay online after delivery. A similar system was arranged for the regular supply of medications. Courier deliveries were deposited at the road barrier where residents could come one by one to collect their packages. Nothing was overlooked, and dutiful participation was more or less total. It was seen as a civic duty for community residents to remain at home, protect each other, and prevent any spreading of the virus. The local security guards proved extremely helpful. They were well-informed on all procedures, competent to take temperatures and able to make decisions. We had not a single infection.

With most residents remaining secluded in their homes, online ordering and delivery demands surged by a factor of perhaps ten, Shanghai’s supermarkets and e-commerce platforms working intensely to ensure adequate food supplies during the lockdown. (12) The surge in demand posed challenges because many food suppliers and logistics firms had already halted work during the Spring Festival, but China’s domestic supply chains are exceptional, far beyond that existing in any other nation. Each of the large suppliers quickly arranged distribution of between five and ten times their normal daily amounts, each bringing in hundreds of tonnes of food and organising community distributions. At the same time, many e-commerce platforms quickly arranged programs with manufacturers to source urgent medical supplies including masks, disinfectant and protective clothing. Most created special areas on their mobile phone APPs to enable residents to easily purchase all necessary items.

Leadership

One reason the Chinese were able to deal with the epidemic while the UK and USA stumbled in the dark is that the Chinese think, with considerable justification, that they have been under biological attack, on and off since c.1950, and were therefore prepared with well-laid plans and competent organisers to respond to such an event. As soon as the central government learned the specific nature of the outbreak, it responded massively and to a very large extent the population understood the necessity of what was asked of them and cooperated.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said “The Coronavirus is a Demon, and we cannot let this demon hide.” (13) He said China was “faced with the grave situation of an accelerating spread” of the virus, that “The Chinese people are engaging in a serious battle against the outbreak of the new coronavirus pneumonia. People’s lives and health are always the first priority for the Chinese government, and the prevention and control of the epidemic is the most important task at present, so I have been directing and deploying the works myself.”

Mr. Xi gave this battle the highest priority, personally chairing a meeting of the Standing Committee where he listened to all the reports and decided immediately to set up a CPC Central Committee group to oversee the national effort, and also to send a high-level planning group to Hubei to direct the work on the ground. (14) Soon after the outbreak occurred and the pathogen identified, a Central Guiding Group appeared in Wuhan to oversee all COVID-19 efforts, to free the medical staff from administration and planning responsibilities and to ensure they were provided with all necessities. (15)

From this leadership, Wuhan’s available hospital beds increased from 5,000 to about 25,000 within ten days. It was from this that hundreds of medical teams and about 50,000 physicians were dispatched from all across China to Hubei Province. It was from this leadership that the lockdowns and quarantines emerged, and it was from this leadership that China’s fatalities were limited to little more than 4,000, most of those in Wuhan with the entire rest of the nation of 1.4 billion people being spared.

How did China do it? It wasn’t “China”. It was the Chinese people, their civilisation and culture. All of Chinese society was mobilised, not only the Central Government or the medical officials in Hubei, but all citizens, corporations, SOEs, foundations, instantly assessed their abilities to assist, and then acted. (16) Wuhan received timely full-scale support from the entire nation, not only to fight the battle but to recover from the effects of the war. It wasn’t only lockdowns and quarantines to cut off channels of escape for the virus. Hundreds of millions of Chinese sacrificed something of their normal lives to contain the spread of the virus, acting in unison and working together in a collective response. Westerners will never understand this.

The US media were busily trashing China for a “sluggish response” to the virus (while conveniently ignoring the three wasted months in their own country), but Americans understand only dimly (if at all) the Chinese ability for rapid execution which, to the chagrin of all Americans everywhere, is due primarily to two things – China’s political system and the socialism embedded in Chinese cultural DNA. While the English-speaking West is very much an “every man for himself” culture, the Chinese are a civilisation and act in unison as such, with the result that virtually everyone is onside in things of importance to the nation. Thus, in the absence of competing private and selfish interests, a nationwide plan can be conceived, examined, discussed, approved, and executed in a much shorter time than in a country like the US – and with full public cooperation and approval.

China’s political system is much more unified than in the West, making local governments accountable to the central government whereas in Western nations the local authorities are largely autonomous, making cooperation almost impossible. Thus, in times of emergency, bureaucratic blockage simply evaporates, and the country’s massive labor force makes speed of execution possible with no sacrifice in quality. And, with the general population widely sharing the nation’s objectives, courses of action which might be resisted in the West, are widely approved in China. Due to China’s excellent organisation, the central government has the ability to rapidly mobilise any resources it needs. Building a new hospital in ten days or a new high-speed railway in one or two years is a government-led mobilisation of Chinese society. Because China has only one political party and a complete absence of partisan infighting, the government acts as a unit with the population and, once a clear and resolute course of action is determined, virtually the entire Chinese civilisation is not only eager to participate but willing to sacrifice in order to do so, something very difficult for Westerners to imagine. Many workers interviewed on CGTN were proud to say they slept only two hours in three days on construction of the new hospitals. (17)

Martin Jacques said, “The capacity of China to deal with emergencies of this kind is far more developed and far more capable than could be achieved by any Western government. The Chinese system, the Chinese government, is superior to other governments in handling big challenges like this. And there are two reasons: First of all, the Chinese state is a very effective institution, able to think strategically and mobilise society. And the other reason is that the Chinese expect the government to take leadership on these kinds of questions and they will follow that leadership.” (18)

As the numbers of infections rose beyond the capacity of local hospitals, reaching 15,000 new patients per day at the peak, the planning group directed their attention first to the provision of additional hospital capacity, (19) so they planned, designed, and built two large new hospitals. These were not “flimsy bare-bones barracks” as described in the Western media; viewed from the interior, their appearance was identical to any fully-equipped modern hospitals. (20) (21) They were modular concrete units designed for rapid assembly, in a manner similar to setting shipping containers side by side, with full accommodation for A/C, heating, ventilation, negative pressure, abundant electricity, and more. Once assembled, these units function as a whole, and are a regular hospital with all the equipment and facilities one would normally see in any hospital. The first was built in ten days by 16,000 men, the shifts working 24 hours a day. The second hospital was larger, and completed in only 6 days. (22) To clear and level the site and lay the substructure, there were 240 pieces of construction equipment working on the same site at the same time – also 24 hours per day. The Chinese media posted time-lapse videos of the construction process, which were astonishing to watch. Such hospitals were built in several cities in Hubei Province.

Immediately upon completion of the first hospital, more than 3,000 doctors and nurses from about 300 hospitals around the country were sent to staff it. The group did much more than build hospitals. A total of 16 temporary hospitals were created by converting public venues, several existing hospitals were renovated to cater exclusively to COVID-19 patients, and more than 500 hotels, training centers and sanitaria were converted into quarantine sites. (23) One makeshift hospital in Wuhan was transformed from a sports center into a TCM treatment clinic, while many exhibition centers and gymnasiums were converted into temporary hospitals for those with mild symptoms but still requiring quarantine. (24) This Central Guiding Group played an irreplaceable role in Wuhan’s anti-virus battle.

What the world apparently fails to notice is that of China’s total deaths of 4,600, 4,500 of those (98%) were in Hubei Province. If China’s leaders had not immediately locked down the city of Wuhan and then quarantined the entire province, the death toll might well have been in the hundreds of thousands. According to a paper published in late March in the journal Science, (1) co-author Christopher Dye said, “Our analysis suggests that without the Wuhan travel ban and the national emergency response there would have been more than 700,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases outside of Wuhan by [February]. (25) China’s control measures appear to have worked by successfully breaking the chain of transmission.”

Most Asian countries followed China’s example, with similar results. The US refused to do so, permitting the virus to spread freely by avoiding lockdowns and quarantines and, at the time of writing appears headed for at least 100,000 (mostly) unnecessary deaths. The American way of dealing with the epidemic was to do nothing, and throw stones at China. (26) Canada was the same: Shanghai is only two hours from Wuhan and had no time to prepare or plan, yet it had only a few hundred infections and only 7 deaths. Canada, with a population similar to Shanghai, 10,000 kms from Wuhan and with months to prepare, had more infections and fatalities than all of China combined.

Of course, it wasn’t perfect. Let’s accept that a few local officials in Wuhan were reluctant to face the possibility of a major epidemic at such a crucial time and were hesitant to publicise the fact that deaths were already occurring. While that was indeed an embarrassment for China, it can be easily demonstrated that the net effect was zero because the medical detective work continued unabated and, as soon as the new pathogen was discovered, that information was made public to China and to the world. The reluctance of a few local officials to publicise a new illness caused no delay of any kind either in China or internationally, because until that point there was no information to communicate other than the fact that a few dozen people had become ill with an unusual respiratory infection. All the accusations toward China of causing the US to lose two or three months of preparation time were merely juvenile political smoke, because the Chinese authorities communicated everything they knew as soon as they knew it.

For the West, this brief hesitation was a great positive because it provided unlimited (and apparently interminable) opportunities for gleeful China-bashing, political opportunism at its finest. By contrast, the displeasure inside China was real, for both the public and the central government – who immediately fired or replaced those same local officials. As a country, China faces its mistakes openly with the public and takes immediate action. Compare this to the discovery in the US of the CIA operating the largest network of torture prisons in the history of the world. What happened? Much media whining, a fraudulent Congressional hearing, most information classified and suppressed, and the entire matter swept under the rug, removed from the media radar, and quickly forgotten. The torture prisons are still open today and only one minor person paid a trivial penalty. All involved still retained their positions, and nothing changed.

To a foreigner watching from the inside, the Chinese government and the Chinese people were courageous as they took on this formidable task. From the very beginning they put people’s lives and health first. The Central Government mobilised the entire nation, organised massive control and treatment mechanisms, and acted with openness and transparency, with most of the population making significant sacrifices without complaint.

National cohesion and coordination were admirable. All of the 50,000 front-line medical staff and many others who went to Wuhan were volunteers, 90% of them Party members who had sworn to “bear the people’s burden first and enjoy their pleasures last”. To a Western ear, that sounds suspiciously like idle propaganda, but many of these front-line staff died in that battle. It wasn’t propaganda to them. Zhang Wenhong, a prominent Party member and Director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Shanghai’s Huashan Hospital, said, “When we joined the Party, we vowed that we would always prioritise people’s interests and press forward in the face of difficulties. This is the moment we live up to the pledge. All CPC members must rush to the front line. I don’t care what you were actually thinking when you joined the party. Now it’s time to live up to what you promised. I don’t care if you personally agree or not: it’s non-negotiable.” (1) That may sound harshly authoritarian to a Westerner, but there was much compassion behind the words. Zhang said later, “The first-aid team put themselves in great danger. They are tired and need to rest. We shouldn’t take advantage of good people.” At that point, he replaced almost all the front-line medics with members from different sectors.

We Westerners cannot understand that China’s society and culture are much more compassionate than ours. The Chinese place a much higher value on the elderly than do we. In China (as in Italy), grandparents and the elderly live with the family, never tossed out into nursing homes to live and die more or less alone. When it was realised that the elderly primarily were threatened with premature and painful deaths, the Chinese put their entire economy on hold to save these people.

Dr Bruce Aylward, head of the WHO International Mission said, “In the face of a previously unknown disease, China has taken one of the most ancient approaches for infectious disease control and rolled out probably the most ambitious, and I would say, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history. China took old-fashioned measures like the national approach to hand-washing, the mask-wearing, the social distancing, the universal temperature monitoring. But then very quickly, as it started to evolve, the response started to change . . . So they refined the strategy as they moved forward, and this is an important aspect as we look to how we might use this going forward. WHO has been here from the start of this crisis, an epidemic, working every single day with the government of China… WHO was here from the beginning and never left.” He said further, “What struck me most was that every Chinese had a strong sense of responsibility and dedication to contribute to the fight against the epidemic.” WHO Director-General Tan Desai commented, “China’s speed and scale of action is rare … This is the advantage of China’s system, and the relevant experience is worthy of other countries to learn from.”

The Global Times published an editorial titled: “China’s miracles are beyond biased Western understanding”, from which I will quote here:

“The rhetoric accusing China of hiding the truth has already become a cliché. These so-called experts in the US always presume that China is wrong or unreliable, and then try hard to prove the presupposed conclusion with ambiguous evidence and perverted logic. They are used to pinning their eyes on fictional stories about China, but few are willing to learn about what is really happening in the country. For a country which has let the epidemic spin out of control despite clear warnings sent by China, China’s anti-virus fight is indeed a miracle. But for China itself, the outcome appears absolutely normal and deserved in view of the government’s strong sense of responsibility for people’s lives, the governing system’s great ability of mobilization and the Chinese people’s firm willingness to support all containment measures. Nowhere could this work as it works in China and so applying any country’s models to China makes no sense. China has been working miracles over the past decades thanks to the tremendous efforts of both the government and the people. Since reform and opening-up, China has grown to become the world’s second largest economy rapidly and lifted hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty. (27)

The Lancet published an article stating that “China deserves gratitude, not criticism over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic”. Lancet’s editor, Richard Horton, said Chinese researchers were providing crucial information but no one in the West was listening, and they failed to prepare. In January, The Lancet published five papers that “tell the story of what has unfolded in the Western world in the recent months. They showed a deadly virus had emerged that had no treatment and could be passed between people. We knew all of this in the last week of January but most Western countries and the United States of America wasted the whole of February and early March before they acted. That is the human tragedy of COVID-19. Thanks to the work of Chinese doctors and scientists working in international collaborations, all of this info was known in January but for reasons that are difficult to understand, the world did not pay attention. Thousands died unnecessarily as a result.” (28) Horton said further that the attacks on China made by [American] politicians were unwarranted. “I want to be on the record and thank my friends and colleagues who work in medicine and medical science in China for what they have done. As I have said, I think we owe them a great deal… they do not deserve criticism, they deserve our gratitude.” And there was more: On May 15, 2020, the Lancet published a scathing assessment of the Trump administration’s handling of the virus epidemic in which it urged all Americans to vote President Trump out of office [for his incompetence]. “Americans must put a president in the White House come January, 2021, who will understand that public health should not be guided by partisan politics. (29)

The main objective of China’s Government is the rejuvenation of China, in part demonstrably evidenced by the determined efforts made for the betterment and the well-being of its population, which is reflected in the credibility and high level of trust the Chinese people place in their government. These concepts don’t exist in the west. In the US, the “world’s model for everything”, a virus epidemic is seen through lenses of profiteering by large corporations, sick people not being humans in need of assistance but merely a new lucrative “market” – for those with money to pay. An American hospital is not a place for healing the sick but a kind of barnyard filled with cash cows to milk. This is one fundamental reason underlying America’s chaotic and hopeless approach to dealing with the epidemic. The Trump administration failed to help itself and refused to help even its friends, on the one hand ignoring the suffering and extreme difficulties in China and wasting its time scoring cheap political points on the world stage, happy with the loss of life and the economic damage China was suffering.

Socialism at its Finest

On April 4, China held a three-minute nationwide moment of reflection to honor those who died in the coronavirus outbreak, especially the medical staff now seen as “martyrs” who fell while fighting what has become a global pandemic. (30) Commemorations took place in all major cities, but were particularly poignant in Wuhan, and occurring on the traditional Qingming festival, when Chinese visit the graves of their ancestors. China’s State Council ordered that national flags be flown at half-staff around the country and at Chinese embassies and consulates abroad.

It was heartwarming that during the epidemic, privately-owned Chinese hotels in Wuhan voluntarily provided free rooms for medical staff needing rest. Xiao Yaxing, the private owner of a four-star hotel in the city, opened a discussion group on WeChat where he appealed to his peers from more than 40 hotels to offer rooms for doctors and nurses who were working day and night to save lives. He said that since nearly all transportation had ceased in the large city, it was difficult for the medical staff to get to hospitals from home and needed rest places and, as he said, “Many hotels in Wuhan are shut down for travelers, leaving a lot of empty rooms that we can offer for free.” (31) Yi Qingyan, a regional manager of Feizhu’s hotel business in Central China’s Hubei province, said when she heard about Xiao’s group, she asked hotel managers she knew to provide rooms for medical staff. (32)

In March, the Communist Party of China donated 5.3 billion RMB (US$750 million) to be used to “extend solicitude” to the frontline medics, those serving the worst-hit Hubei Province to be favored. (33) The money was delivered to the Ministry of Finance which was entrusted with distribution, with a stipulation that families of medical workers who died on the front line would be eligible recipients, and also that some grassroots-level officials, public security officers, community workers, volunteers and frontline journalists could have access to the funds. Further, nearly 80 million Communist Party of China members across the country donated more than 8 billion RMB for the coronavirus effort, and donations were still arriving at the time of writing. Wouldn’t it have been nice if the Republican or Democrat parties and party members had done that for New York?

Being a socially-oriented society, China also has charities but these are very different animals than those existing in the West, most especially those in North America. Chinese charities don’t spend 80% of collected funds on operating expenses and executive perquisites. In fact they normally don’t collect money at all, but instead real goods that are distributed to the beneficiaries. As one example, when Wuhan hospitals put out a call for help, the Hubei Charity Federation received more than 1 million masks and other medical supplies which were immediately distributed to the hospitals. (34) In this case, they also raised 30 million RMB in cash from the community and from citizens in other provinces, which money was immediately spent on the purchase of more supplies. Moreover, in China the public can supervise the distribution and usage of donated materials and, in the case of COVID-19, the provincial medical headquarters was available to unify the organisation and allocation of the materials to hospitals and medical treatment centers, as well as guaranteeing speedy transportation and delivery.

All of China, in many ways we would never expect, strove to express their gratitude to the medical workers whom they feel saved their nation from catastrophe. As one example, more than 500 tourist areas in China announced free admission for all medical workers during the remainder of 2020, as a way to express local citizens’ sincere gratitude to medical workers’ commitment during the outbreak. (35) Given that the virus epidemic severely damaged China’s internal tourism industry, at least for the short term, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences conducted a poll asking citizens about their travel intentions for the remainder of 2020. According to their report, Wuhan was at the top of the list for Chinese travelers, all of whom said they wanted to contribute to the economic recovery of Wuhan and Hubei following the epidemic. (36)

From late January until April, the streets of Wuhan were deserted with the entire Province of Hubei not much better, but by late May the story was very different, with people around the country emptying supermarket shelves of everything Hubei had to offer – local delicacies, noodles, ducks, crayfish, fruits, manufactured goods of every kind – all with the intention of lifting Hubei’s economy to its former level. “Buying Hubei” became a nationwide campaign with participation from ordinary citizens, officials, celebrities and corporations. (37) Hundreds of companies began live-streaming online broadcasts of Hubei products and hundreds of millions of Chinese were spending money, “not for self-indulgence, but to extend a helping hand to their fellow countrymen in hardship. The result: Tens of millions of dollars were added to the local economy; tens of thousands of businesses and jobs were saved.”

In one instance, a popular live-streaming hostess sold 150,000 lipstick sets within five minutes. In another, two TV celebrities attracted 122 million viewers and sold more than 40 million RMB of Hubei products in a two-hour program. In another session, two celebrities drew 127 million viewers and sold 61 million RMB of Hubei goods, the province’s entire supply of popular duck snacks emptied within seconds. In another livestreaming instance, 6,000 tons of crayfish, worth 220 million yuan, disappeared within minutes, and one company manager said his daily production of 20,000 packages of crayfish snacks cleared out within seconds every day. He said, “The orders just exploded”, adding that he’d never seen anything like it. (38) Alibaba sold 20 million Kgs of Hubei agricultural products to date and reportedly procured 1 billion yuan worth of crayfish and 50 million yuan worth of local oranges to sell on its platforms. (39) JD.com sold 1,400 tonnes in the first week of April alone and vowed to sell 6 billion yuan worth of Hubei products. Boosting consumption became a primary cure to resurrect the virus-hit economy in Hubei.

Many Chinese citizens said they hadn’t any medical skills to help Wuhan during the epidemic, but they could at least show their support by placing orders. That sentiment resonated so broadly across China that millions promised to “gain three jin (1.5 Kg.) of weight” for Hubei. (40) One online hostess said, “Many have described our cooperation as a show of our moral principles and sense of duty. But that is over the top. I am just doing what I’m good at to help Wuhan, to help local companies open the market with livestreaming promotion and to help them resume work quickly.”

A local Party Chief in Hubei said, “I was completely moved and warmed by the active response from consumers all over the country in placing orders for Hubei products to support us, which fully reflects our valued Chinese tradition: When one falls into difficulty, all other parties come to help.” Unfortunately, no other country could replicate this economic model since they haven’t the infrastructure or the market for something of this magnitude, and few nations have the sense of civilisation and the deep social and cultural cohesion which is the enabling force.

As well, many of China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) mobilised to combat the epidemic, from emergency communications installations to providing funds to the hardest-hit areas. (41) These massive Chinese corporations are exemplary in their sense of social responsibility, some constructing low-cost housing apartment communities which they sell at cost or below, many building and supporting local schools and universities, and some providing cash to help eliminate the last traces of poverty in the country. In 2020, these firms are providing more than 3 billion RMB (about $500 million) to the poorest places and many have donated massive medical supplies and funds to these same areas. (42)

Medical Supply

When China experiences a serious public health or similar emergency, the framework exists for immediate supply for all necessities that include personnel, goods and materials, transport vehicles, to be delivered to the site. The Ministry of Transport arranged an absolute prioritisation of the transport of emergency supplies and medical staff to Wuhan, while national medical authorities coordinated the efforts of all medical supply manufacturers to identify and increase the supply of the most urgent and necessary items. (43) When Wuhan appealed to the central government for assistance and supplies, hundreds of tonnes of medical supplies were delivered each week, as were tens of thousands of additional medical staff during the crisis. (44)

Well before the end of January, extensive planning had been done to greatly increase the number of hospital beds for patients with either mild or severe symptoms and for those requiring quarantine and intensive care. The local medical authorities requisitioned and transformed 24 local hospitals into COVID-19 units. Seven hospitals were designated exclusively for COVID-19 patients with fevers higher than 37°C. The National Health Commission said, “Wuhan is actually a city with rich medical resources, having many public hospitals each with more than 3,000 beds. When we requisitioned those hospitals, they complied unconditionally.” (45) Also, the Chinese government requisitioned exhibition centers and stadiums and quickly turned them into temporary hospitals for COVID-19 patients with light symptoms, quarantining them separately from patients in more severe condition. At the same time, the planning and oversight group prepared and released a medical guide to help physicians quickly diagnose conditions and design treatments, this designed specifically to contain the virus locally and prevent spreading to other parts of China or overseas. (46)

At the same time, the Ministry of Commerce was occupied in coordinating the production and supply of all other daily necessities for the residents of Wuhan and Hubei. Many food items like eggs, fish, beef and pork, were released from national reserves and arrangements were made for the increased production and distribution of fresh vegetables specifically for Wuhan, along with oversight to ensure prices remained stable or dropping rather than increasing. (47) Profiteering was virtually absent in China, with the notable exception of a few foreign firms. The MOC also ensured top priority for all vehicles carrying supplies to Wuhan, and all supply firms including even restaurants were encouraged to provide home delivery to help maintain the quarantine with a minimum of inconvenience.

The latter part of January was the most difficult time for the hospitals and medical staff in Wuhan, receiving some 15,000 new fever patients per day, with all resources stretched to the limit and overworked medical staff struggling to save patients’ lives when the mortality rate was initially around 10%, truly a dark moment. “It was only when the entire country mobilised all possible medical resources to aid Wuhan that the grim situation was turned and the mortality rate began to drop.” (48) But, unlike most other nations, China “has unique institutional advantages when it comes to social mobilization”. One of these advantages enabled the national health authorities to organise, collect, and send altogether nearly 50,000 medical staff from all over the country to Wuhan, while other medical officials oversaw the organisational tasks of converting public hospitals into designated COVID-19 units to greatly expand the availability of necessary hospital beds. (49)

The pressure for urgent treatment was such that it was only on February 15 that the world’s first autopsy on a COVID-19 patient was conducted, six weeks after the pathogen was first identified. It was then that the doctors discovered that the virus attacked not only the lungs, but also other organs such as the heart and kidneys as well as the circulatory system, thus altering the treatment methods but also inflicting even more pressure on the overworked medical staff. Still, it was then that Chinese physicians began the use of blood plasma from recovered patients as well as the nearly universal application of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It was these discoveries and treatments that almost instantly halved the mortality rate, especially from the more severe infections, and speeded up the recovery time. The Western media completely ignored this aspect, but it was widely proven that TCM was perhaps the primary factor in reducing the mortality rate by boosting the patients’ immune systems.

By the end of March, the crisis in Wuhan was abating while the demand for medical supplies was increasing exponentially worldwide, with most relevant factories in China running 24 hours a day while simultaneously trying to maintain quality and source raw materials internationally. There was a great deal of organisation behind the scenes to coordinate the manufacture as well as to expand domestic and international transport channels which were greatly suffering due to the collapse of the airline transport industry and the resultant lack of cargo space. The logistical hurdles were enormous in all categories, and a great part of China’s commercial society leaped into the fray in a sincere effort to assist what was now a worldwide pandemic. Chinese auto manufacturers, idle due to the pandemic, retooled within a week and began manufacturing masks, hazmat suits and other supplies by the billions. The international demand was such that more than 12,000 companies in China began producing masks and ventilators, bringing the total to well over 50,000 such firms with about one-third of them being certified exporters. (50)

Thanks to their media who were too busy bashing China to understand the events unfolding, Westerners hadn’t a clue about either the overwhelming demand for medical supplies nor the urgency of those demands. One company alone, Beijing Aeonmed, which makes ventilators, were kept running 24\7 but were overwhelmed by tens of thousands of simultaneous overseas orders from nearly 50 countries. (51) And they weren’t alone, which accounts for the large number of other manufacturers retooling in an attempt to assist other nations then living Wuhan’s experience, in many cases, such as the US, with little or no central government support.

The situation was so dire that many countries, notably Italy, and many cities, notably New York, were so lacking in supplies they were openly stating their medical staff were every day being forced to decide who would live and who would die. It was in this context that Chinese firms, entirely on their own initiative, absorbed the expense of retooling, of arranging specially-chartered aircraft and trains to bring back their staff, of sourcing raw materials, then diving head-first into a new industry to help combat a worldwide pandemic the extent and mortality of which were still largely unknown. And it was in this context that the US media spent all their time denigrating “China” for “sluggish and insufficient” effort, for the usual “lack of transparency”, and blowing out of all proportion the few complaints of unsatisfactory quality. In this context where auto manufacturers and packagers of canned salmon are suddenly manufacturing surgical masks and hazmat suits, we can be genuinely astonished the quality was as good as it was.

While China was still not out of the woods, the Chinese government was doing its best to donate supplies to needy countries all around the world, but local demand was still high and commercial export demand was rising exponentially, far more than China’s combined potential supply. As an example, on one weekend alone, France ordered one billion masks which required 56 cargo flights to transport them, to say nothing of the manufacturing logistics. Part of the problem was that the majority of air cargo is carried in scheduled flights on passenger planes but, with the collapse of the airline industry, there were no passenger planes. In order to accommodate the dire international need, China Eastern Airlines stripped overnight all the seats from their passenger aircraft and loaded them with N95 masks for France – as they did for other nations.

This kind of adjustment to circumstances, to my best knowledge, occurs in no other country on earth. The Chinese, being faced with apparently impossible demands, simply rise to the challenge, find a solution, and immediately execute it. “Just like the response to the epidemic itself, China is really making a nationwide effort to ensure medical supplies to support in the global battle against the coronavirus pandemic.” SF Express, one of China’s prominent express firms, opened new routes including to New York, and delivered nearly 1,000 tonnes of medical supplies to more than 50 countries, with many other Chinese airlines and express firms doing about the same. (52)

There was yet more to the leadership, planning and organising that were not apparent to anyone in the West. The Chinese government, while dealing with all other domestic and international pressures from the pandemic, also remembered its students who were studying abroad and distributed over 11 million face masks and 500,000 health kits with disinfection supplies and health protection manuals, to Chinese students studying abroad. (53) These shipments bypassed the local governments, being delivered to the Chinese embassies and consulates for distribution directly to the students.

It wasn’t only medical supplies but also medical staff transfers that were arranged by China’s central government, to help the country deal with the epidemic. One of the government’s first acts was to select about 500 of the top experts from the military’s medical universities, those with prior experience with SARS and MERS, and with Ebola, and send them to Wuhan to help lead the battle. There were many other such teams, composed of experts in respiratory health, infectious diseases, hospital infection control and the establishing and managing of intensive care units, who were dispatched to the Wuhan hospitals with large numbers of virus-related pneumonia patients. Zhou Xianzhi, President of Air Force Medical University, said “We sent our best staff in various clinical departments. They have rich experience in battling contagious diseases. Some of them took part in major missions such as the battle against SARS and the fight against Ebola in Africa, as well as earthquake rescues.” These were volunteers who canceled their plan to spend the Chinese Lunar New Year with their families, most saying they felt “extremely honored” to join this national mission. (54) As well, immediately upon the discovery of the effectiveness of TCM’s ability to moderate serious infections, a team of 122 TCM specialists was sent to Wuhan from Shanghai with treatment plans already prepared for the combined application of Western and Chinese medicines. (55)

Quality Concerns

“As China mounted a nationwide effort to produce desperately needed medical supplies, concerns over the quality of some Chinese-made equipment have been raised, and some foreign media outlets and politicians have even attempted to hype up recent incidents to smear China’s manufacturing sector and its intention to help other countries.” (56) The Financial Times cited examples of the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey “rejecting” Chinese-made face masks and testing kits, others going so far as to claim Chinese masks could make people sick and even kill them.

There were a few instances of unsuitable products having been sold but, on examination of the eventual details, it appears the media reports were consciously hyped and much overblown, in every case blaming “China” for the products of one manufacturer and the actions a few incompetent or unscrupulous agents, most of whom were not Chinese. The overall quality environment was actually much too complicated to permit understanding within the scope of brief media sound bytes. While there were risks of quality issues in manufacturing, the use of improper procurement channels and fluctuating foreign regulations and standards were responsible for much of the trouble. A further issue was that in two or three prominent cases the purchasers had no experience in applying delicate medical tests or even in the storage and handling of such. To compound the problem even further, the virus proved to lend itself more readily to testing at later stages of progression.

China’s Global Times did a creditable job of investigating the entire medical supply process, interviewing manufacturers and distributors, industry insiders and end users, and concluded that the vast majority of Chinese-made medical equipment was well up to standard, with most of the noise resulting primarily from the US heavily politicising China’s role in the supply process and secondly from much deliberate misinformation on the part of the American media.

In one publicised case, Dutch authorities ordered a recall of 600,000 face masks (57) for lack of ability to filter out a full 95% of airborne particles. An executive at the Chinese manufacturer stated that the world experienced such a shortage of appropriate meltblown fabric that it had become increasingly difficult to exceed 70% (instead of 95%), almost all of this fabric being imported from Switzerland and Turkey. The fault, such as it was, was not due to low-quality manufacturing in China but to degraded production ability of companies in Switzerland and Turkey who provided the raw materials. Nevertheless, “China” took the full blame on the chin. The mask quality issue became even more preposterous since the Netherlands and Belgium had already made clear that those China-made masks obtained by local agents were “commercial products made for non-medical use”, in other words sanding or paint-spraying masks and such. (58)

Having said that, it is true Chinese authorities discovered some companies engaged in the illegal production and sale of masks and other medical products and, though they did respond with an immediate and aggressive crack-down, some of that product did indeed reach foreign markets. The government conducted more than a dozen sweeps throughout the nation and heavily publicised the product confiscations and fines issued to deter such practices.

But the issues were much wider-ranging than this. China’s national government established lists of companies qualified to manufacture various medical supplies for use against the coronavirus, and strongly recommended purchases be made from only those firms and only through officially-recommended channels. However, from the urgency of need and occasional panic, many agents, buyers, and foreign end users ignored the Chinese government with predictable results in quality standards. As well, the EU generally was so eager for supplies they waived formal requirements and permitted the importation of products prior to those gaining regulatory approval. As the Global Times noted in their report, the Dutch officials in the above example “refused to disclose the source or channel” of the masks they later deemed unsuitable, many such purchases having been made through channels unauthorised and unverified by the Chinese government. But “China” still took the blame.

The Global Times reported, “Though local medical authorities and Chinese embassies have explained the misunderstanding and misuse of the test kits, media coverage of life-saving Chinese products has turned a blind eye to these clarifications, revealing some countries’ unfriendly motives. I think the quality issue reported by some media has been politicized. They can’t prove the reported testing kits have quality issues, because the use and transport [of the kits] may influence their stability and sensitivity,” an employee at test kit provider Beijing Beier Bioengineering told the Global Times. Medical workers unfamiliar with the products may have some difficulties, which could affect the accuracy of their results. The Beier employee added that Chinese medical staff also had issues when using the test kits in the early stages of the outbreak and any confusion was resolved after technical training.” (59)

There were also instances of testing kits facing claims of insensitivity or inaccuracy. Spain withdrew about 8,000 such tests, and the Western media created much noise about claims from the Czech Republic of inaccurate or insensitive tests. However, in the Czech case, their officials simply had no understanding of proper methods of application. The manufacturer finally prepared instruction videos illustrating and explaining the precise methods of administering the tests, after which the results were perfectly acceptable. This occurred more than once, and even test kits manufactured by companies not yet on the approved list had the same successful result when proper methods were employed. It occurred surprisingly often in Western countries that the medical staff eventually admitted they had never administered such tests and had no clear idea of proper procedure, and in many cases simply did not follow the instructions.

A major part of the overall quality problem was that foreign companies and governments were too eager to fill their large and increasing demand for supplies and, rather than wait in a queue at a recognised factory, would hire their own private agents in attempts to short-circuit the process, agents who, to satisfy their anxious customers, would often resort to unapproved manufacturers in the hope their actions would not later be discovered. The result was that “China” took this blame on the chin as well, with the great assistance of the politicised Western media.

As one illustrative example of the media presentation of issues with medical supplies, a UK Telegraph article said “Government seeks refund for millions of coronavirus antibody tests”, (60) stating they were “too unreliable to be used by the public.” According to the Telegraph, the UK government ordered 3.5 million such tests “mainly from Chinese manufacturers”, then noting that an additional 17.5 million had been purchased from firms in the US and UK, with none being found sufficiently reliable. But by that time, China’s 10% of the purchases had taken the media hit for the entire lot. But once the media smoke cleared and “China” had sufficiently been tarred and denigrated yet again, the UK government health officials admitted that the tests developed in China were created and designed primarily for use with patients “with a very large viral load”, in other words those more severely infected, and not intended for patients suffering only mild symptoms from minor infections. The difficulty with the UK tests was not a quality problem from “China” but UK physicians hoping for tests with a wider detection range. This was a bit like purchasing a “vehicle” then being disappointed it was unable to function as both sports car and dump truck, hardly the fault of the manufacturer. And finally, in the article’s penultimate paragraph, the Telegraph remembered to report that the UK government was not actually demanding refunds but was negotiating with the manufacturers to increase the sensitivity of the tests. In the end, much ado about nothing.

Fox News joined the parade by yelling “CHINA CASHES IN OFF CORONAVIRUS, SELLING SPAIN $467 MILLION IN SUPPLIES, SOME OF THEM SUBSTANDARD”. Spain purchased 950 ventilators, 5.5 million test kits, 11 million gloves and 500 million masks. The ‘substandard’ part was 9,000 quick-test kits (out of 5.5 million) that lacked the sensitivity Spain wanted. (61)

White House trade advisor Peter Navarro accused China of shipping “low-quality and even counterfeit” antibody testing kits to the US and of “profiteering” from the outbreak. (62) The Chinese Foreign Ministry responded that Navarro’s remarks were “groundless and extremely irresponsible,” stating that China had exported tens of millions of COVID-19 tests, which had won wide acclaim from the international community, and the country had not received any feedback from the US purchasers and users on quality problems. (63) (64)

By the end of April of 2020, Chinese firms had exported tens of millions of testing kits in addition to billions of masks and thousands of tonnes of other supplies to nearly 200 countries, all of which were widely praised by the international community. Barbara Woodward, British ambassador to China, expressed her deep appreciation and satisfaction with the products and speed of response, and many other nations were effuse in their gratitude for both commercial shipments and donations from China. (65) Chinese firms shipped enormous volumes of all nature of medical supplies to the US with not a word of complaint from US purchasers or users regarding the quality of test kits and other products. But also not a single word of praise or appreciation from the Americans. Instead, the US hospitals were silent while the US government and the media were replete with non-stop smears for months.

In all the confusion, the US media failed to notice that the US itself led the world competition for defective medical products. As of the middle of February, 2020, AFP was reporting that even small countries like South Korea had performed hundreds of thousands of tests while the US was below about 8,000, the reason being that all the tests produced by the CDC and American companies were flawed and useless. (66) (67) (68) The kits would produce opposite results on the same patient at the same time, or clearly miss serious infections while declaring infections in clean patients. The CDC eventually had to instruct all hospitals and clinics to discard the tests as unusable. (69) Again, in early to mid-April, the US media were reporting the CDC was still unable to produce usable tests, this time because the test kits themselves were contaminated with the coronavirus for which they were to be testing. This was attributed to “a glaring scientific breakdown” at the CDC’s central lab. (70) (71)

To make matters worse, the CDC shipped those faulty tests not only across the country but sold them to 34 countries around the world, and no evidence emerged anywhere to suggest the CDC informed those other nations of the uselessness of their tests. To my knowledge, the UK was the only nation to discover this – at their own expense. (72) To say that the exported CDC tests were unusable would be quite an understatement. President John Magufuli of Tanzania complained that various fruits, a goat and a quail tested positive for coronavirus using the American tests. (73)

It appears the US ‘national stockpile’ was not an improvement on the CDC. (74) In early April, the media were reporting that many states received medical masks that were rotten, with an expiry date in 2010, and that 150 ventilators (at $30,000 each) sent to Los Angeles were broken, defective, and missing parts. (75) (76) (77) But, no problem. ABC News and other US media including US military channels ran dozens of articles titled, “Have a clean T-shirt? That’s all you need to make this mask.” (78)

And in late April, the UK Telegraph was reporting that the UK NHS staff “had been given flawed coronavirus tests” but, kindly, no mention that the US CDC had supplied them. (79) And even the criticism was muted: the tests were described as “less reliable than first thought because of ‘degraded’ performance”, and that they produced “discordant results”, and “have been found to be flawed and should no longer be relied on”. (80) Health Minister Helen Whately admitted “Some of the early tests were evaluated and the evaluation was that they weren’t effective enough” saying that all patients would be called in for a second test, and that this was a “normal process” when testing for a new illness. (81) No slander, no vitriol, no condemnation. Instead, the Brits and their media were quick to note that all tests have a margin of error accuracy which depends on the skill with which they are administered – among other factors. If only they had been so kind and understanding to China.

Shanghai Dasheng is one of the world’s largest manufacturers (and the world gold standard) of N95 face masks and one of the few certified to make US NIOSH-approved N95s. The company deals directly with medical purchasers only, and states on its website: “We do not have any distributors, dealers or branch factories. Beware of counterfeits.” But some masks (that were clearly fake since they were models the company did not export) bearing this company’s name appeared in the US, apparently purchased through unknown third parties. (82) This was interesting. When someone illegally copies an American product, the culprits (usually purported to be Chinese) are roundly condemned for violating a chastely innocent American company and at least six of the Ten Commandments. But then this is China and things are apparently different here. In the above news report, the American Press wrote: “AP could not independently verify if [Dasheng] are making their own counterfeits”. Charming.

Let’s Look at Death Rates

At the end of the epidemic, China reported 4,645 coronavirus deaths while the US total of 90,000 fatalities was still climbing rapidly. The death rates per 100,000 of population were 26.0 for the US and 0.33 for China. We can legitimately ask why China’s numbers appear so much lower than those of the US and of much of Europe, but we don’t need to follow US President Trump’s approach to repeatedly ask on national television, “Does anybody really believe these figures?”, (83) insinuating that China deliberately underreported its fatalities.

There are many reasons for China’s relatively low infection and death rates. First, if two countries have the same death toll, the death per 100,000 people for the country with a larger population will be lower; China’s population is nearly four times that of the US. Secondly, due to the immediate lockdown of Wuhan and Hubei, almost all of China’s fatalities were restricted to that one area: of China’s 4,645 deaths, 4512 (97%) were in Hubei with the entire remainder of the country having little more than 100 deaths. The statistical result was that Wuhan’s rate was 35.2, Hubei’s 7.6, and China’s 0.33, comparable to 26 for the US. Further, all provinces and major cities executed their own version of lockdown and quarantine, literally preventing the virus from entering even if it should escape Hubei. China’s measures broke the transmission chain and contained the contagion within Hubei Province. The tough measures in Wuhan bought the rest of China time to prepare and execute their own restrictions, and China bought the rest of the world at least two and probably three months in which to prepare for the epidemic. Looking at the statistics below, you can see which countries followed China’s example and which did not.

Still on the above scale for the US, New York was at 140.0, New Jersey at 107.0, Connecticut at 85 and Massachusetts at 75, while some states were near zero. (84) Comparably within China, and due to the aggressive quarantines, Shanghai was at 0.02 and Beijing similar. Turning to Europe (on the same scale of death rate per 100,000), Belgium was hit very hard with 76, with Spain, Italy, the UK, France, Sweden and the Netherlands ranging down from around 60.0 to about 35.0. (85)

The TV presentation made by Mr. Trump and Dr. Brix selected a metric that placed the US well down on the fatality list and displayed a carefully-selected list of countries that appeared to place China on Mars. A lie of omission is still a lie, but this disparity requires context for understanding, so let’s look at Asia.

First, here is the original list presented by Trump and Brix, updated to the date of writing:

COVID-USA Mortality per 100,000 population

Belgium – 76.2

Spain – 59.7

UK – 51.2

Italy – 49.9

France – 42.3

Sweden – 37.7

Netherlands – 32.7

USA – 27.8

Switzerland – 21.9

Canada – 16.1

China – 0.33

Now, let’s look at Asia:

Philippines – 0.83

Japan – 0.61

South Korea – 0.52

Indonesia – 0.44

Australia – 0.40

Malaysia – 0.40

Singapore – 0.38

China – 0.33

Hong Kong – 0.06

Taiwan – 0.03

Macao – 0.00

India – 0.23

Bangladesh – 0.21

Thailand – 0.08

Myanmar – 0.01

Vietnam – 0.00

It should be clear from this that there is nothing unusual in China’s numbers, and thus it would seem if China were lying as Mr. Trump suggested, that would mean all of Asia was lying. In fact, there was no evidence of any sort to suggest countries were deliberately understating infections or fatalities – except for the US itself.

Foreign Help

When COVID-19 first erupted in China, several countries immediately came to China’s aid with scarce and badly-needed medical supplies. South Korea was one example, and in return, as the situation worsened in South Korea, the Chinese government sent large amounts of medical supplies and more than 20 local governments in China donated masks, protective clothing, goggles, test kits, thermometers and other materials. The situation was similar with Pakistan, who sent aircraft loaded with medical supplies, the Chinese government later returning the favor with large volumes of supplies and assistance in building a quarantine hospital. (86) Many provinces and cities in China independently donated masks to Islamabad and Karachi.

China was sending supplies and assistance to other countries long before it fully recovered from its own difficulties. President Xi Jinping stressed on multiple occasions that public health security was a common challenge faced by humanity, and all countries should join hands to tackle it. China saw itself as perhaps the only country in the world able to help smaller nations in various states of medical emergency. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed her gratitude in a videotaped speech broadcast throughout Europe, and Chinese citizens abroad had sound reason to be proud of their nation. Zhang Yujie, a Chinese student in France, said, “The rescue efforts of our motherland make me want to cry”. (87)

As soon as circumstances at home permitted, China began shipping its medical supplies all over the world. This was not so easy as might appear, since much global air cargo is carried on scheduled passenger flights but, since the airline industry collapsed due to the virus, these flights all but disappeared. (88) China Southern Airlines, the country’s largest air carrier, quickly converted hundreds of passenger aircraft to freight usage and, by late April, was sending nearly 200 international cargo flights weekly to support the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic. (89)

China also shared hundreds of documents on the prevention and control of COVID-19 and its diagnosis and treatment, with groups in more than 100 countries, followed by multiple technical exchanges that included personal discussions and teleconferencing. (90) In a short space of time, China released seven different editions of a guideline on diagnosis and treatment of the disease and six editions of a prevention and control plan for the disease, both of which have been translated into dozens of languages.

China’s telecom giant Huawei donated countless millions of masks and other items to most countries where it has staff and does business. When the US cancelled all medical supply exports to Canada in April, the country’s supply shortage became desperate so Huawei quietly shipped millions of masks, plus goggles, gloves, and other protective equipment to Canada to help front-line medical workers to cope. (91) But Canada refused to publicly acknowledge the gifts. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau merely told the media that Canada would be receiving a shipment of millions of masks from “unnamed countries and companies”, and the British Columbia government who were the prime beneficiary of the supplies were so mean-spirited as to tell the Canadian media, “The province has many supply sources . . . We don’t share details about our suppliers.” Others in Canada went so far as to accuse Huawei of “political generosity”, and Trudeau even made a point of saying that donations of medical supplies from foreign companies “will not change how the government views those companies going forward”. Touching.

China’s Fosun Group donated a large batch of medical supplies to Portugal, including 1 million face masks and 200,000 test kits, as did many other Chinese companies. The Fosun Foundation in Shanghai donated large batches of face masks hospitals in Italy, and coordinated with other companies and foundations in more than 10 shipments of medical supplies to countries that included Italy, Japan, Britain and France. (92) The Chinese automaker Geely donated large amounts of medical supplies to 14 countries including Sweden, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belarus and Britain. Chinese privately-owned firms and SOEs built and supplied complete COVID-19 testing labs, constructed or renovated hospitals in many countries. China’s BGI Group built two testing labs in Serbia – in 12 days, and donated all the core equipment and instruments. (93) China State Construction Engineering offered free renovation service for a hospital in Ethiopia, transforming regular wards into virus facilities. (94) (95)

Many Chinese foundations donated medical supplies to support smaller countries. The Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation donated 7.5 million face masks, 485,000 test kits and 100,000 sets of protective clothing, as well as ventilators and thermometers to 23 countries that included Azerbaijan, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. (96) The Jack Ma Foundation also donated a large amount of medical supplies to 54 African countries. (97) China’s northwest Gansu Province, probably China’s poorest province, donated two consignments including tens of thousands of face masks and protective suits to Zimbabwe, added to large donations of medical supplies from other Chinese foundations. (98) Various entities in China, including corporations, social agencies and the Chinese government, donated many air shipments of supplies to Iran, including test kits and respirators, these being especially important since US economic sanctions prevented Iran from possessing the foreign currency to purchase medical supplies abroad. (99) China also sent several teams of medical experts to Iran, to help assess the situation and provide guidance and assistance.

Even small Chinese associations were active in their assistance. Chinese Community Groups in the UK raised money and collected medical supplies from more than 100 local Chinese communities and Chinese people in the UK, donating tens of thousands of medical gowns, surgical masks, and other items. The China Chamber of Commerce in the UK and the Bank of China donated 20 ventilators and nearly 2 million pieces of PPE to local English hospitals. (100) (101)

In March, when the virus was abating in China but increasing in Italy, China sent large teams of medical experts from many provinces and hospitals as well as China’s CDC on specially-chartered flights, with specialists in respiratory, intensive care, infectious disease, hospital infection control, traditional Chinese medicine and nursing. (102) Donated medical supplies included test kits, masks, protective clothing and ventilators. Chinese medical specialists shared China’s diagnosis and treatment plans with countries around the world, held video conferences with health experts from many countries and international organisations, and dispatched medical expert groups to Iran, Iraq, and Italy. (103) By early April, China had already sent more than 300 charter flights carrying medical professionals and emergency supplies to support global anti-epidemic efforts, the flights carrying more than 110 medical specialists, and nearly 5,000 tonnes of medical supplies to about 50 countries, as well as a special flight to Ghana carrying nearly 40 tonnes of medical supplies for Africa. (104) These supplies include ventilators, N95 face masks, protective clothing, gloves and other medical devices and protective equipment.

Altogether, the Chinese government and various states, local governments, corporations and foundations made many hundreds of chartered mercy flights. Several dozen countries after declaring a state of emergency, contacted China with urgent requests for medical supplies, testing equipment and protective gear, China responding in each case even when it was still under immense pressure to contain the epidemic at home and medical materials were still in short supply. These nations included the Philippines, (105) Greece, (106) (107) (108) Serbia, Iran, Kuwait and Cambodia, Japan, South Korea, Italy, (109) the Philippines, Serbia, France, Spain (110), Greece, Peru, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Bosnian Serb Republic, Iran, Spain, Britain, Hungary, Zimbabwe, Czech Republic. (111) The EU President and their European Commissioner for Crisis Management said, The EU and China have been working together since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. We are grateful for China’s support and we need each other’s support in times of need.” In many cases, smaller nations had no idea of the procurement process for medical supplies, and the Chinese national government lent assistance to assure proper purchase and timely delivery.

China also provided an enormous amount of assistance to the US, all of which also went unnoticed by the America press. Zhong Nanshan, China’s top respiratory scientist, held multiple video-link teaching sessions with intensive care specialists from Harvard’s Medical School, explaining the clinical manifestations and difficulties involved in treating severe and critical novel coronavirus patients. (112) As well, the nation’s leading Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) experts shared with US counterparts their diagnosis and treatment experience that proved effective in Wuhan. (113) The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said Chinese experts “spared no effort to share their experience”.

In response to a US government cry for assistance in March, China airlifted a massive amount of vital medical supplies from Shanghai to the US, including 12 million gloves, 130,000 N-95 masks, 1.7 million surgical masks, 50,000 gowns, 130,000 hand sanitizer units and 36,000 thermometers. (114) The assistance increased rapidly. In one week of April alone, there were 75 cargo flights from Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen to New York and Los Angeles, each carrying around 80 tonnes of supplies. By the middle of April, China had provided the US with more than 2.5 billion masks plus nearly 5,000 ventilators and many other needed items. While the US government and media were busy stigmatising China with unreasonable and unjustified accusations, Beijing was taking practical steps to help the US fight its epidemic. (115)

There were also a great many private donations made directly to US hospitals or states by various Chinese companies, foundations, provinces, and social groups. The Wanxiang Group, a Chinese multinational manufacturer in Hangzhou, donated 1.1 million face masks and 50,000 protective masks to 12 US states. (116) China’s Fujian Province, which was Oregon’s sister state, donated 50,000 medical face masks for distribution to frontline workers, in addition to 12,000 masks provided personally by Ambassador Wang Donghua, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco, as a gift to the people of Oregon. (117)

However, the treatment of China in the US Media was nothing short of reprehensible, the press and airwaves filled for months with a ceaseless flood of denigrating rubbish with the result that Pew polls showed that more than two-thirds of Americans held a negative or strongly negative view of China – which was unquestionably the intent of the media assault. Martin Jacques said in a live interview in Beijing that the American behavior was “Absolutely disgraceful.” He said, “Too many Western politicians and the Western media responded to what was a grave medical health crisis in China in a way that was completely lacking in compassion and simply used as a stick to beat China. And in doing so also explicitly or implicitly, they encouraged a certain kind of racism against the Chinese, not just the Chinese in China, but Chinese everywhere.” (118)

Some in the West, led by the US, heavily politicised China’s assistance to other nations, claiming China’s acts were done with murky motives and sinister geopolitical intent. The efforts of the Chinese government to help others were categorised as attempts to vie for global influence by vacuuming up America’s allies with bribes. And, since the global pandemic was “all China’s fault”, those donations were merely gestures of atonement camouflaged as charity, and thus should be taken “without appreciation or even acknowledgement” – which is what the US and Canada managed to do. “Unfortunately, even as COVID-19 accelerates inside our country, the Trump administration seems to view diplomacy as a bludgeon to score points against adversaries and alienate friends rather than an essential tool for helping to protect Americans,” wrote Brett McGurk, a senior diplomat. (119)

The Chinese people generally were not very sympathetic to the US, many comparing America’s confused and corrupted efforts with China’s leadership. One post that received hundreds of millions of views said, “It took China two months to defeat the coronavirus, while it took the coronavirus two months to defeat the US.” Another comment read, “US President Donald Trump said the number will go down to zero. Trump is right. The number will go down to zero when all people die.” (120) Similar topics equally drew 250 or 300 million views. One Weibo post received 150 million views almost immediately when suggesting President Trump responded only after 1 million citizens became infected.

Today’s urban Chinese are much less naive about international affairs, and were quite aware of the Zionist-American hate propaganda that was filling Western airwaves and sheets of print, and of the resulting racism and hatred being generated toward China and the Chinese people, many of them having been victims of abuse in the US. They were also aware of the vast efforts made by their own nation to not only protect the lives of Chinese citizens but of the truly enormous contributions their government, corporations and societies had made to helping other nations while the US helped no one and even denied vital supplies to other countries. (121)

From this, Chinese public sentiment toward the US was by no means as light-hearted or gentle as the comments above might suggest. The enormity of anti-China hate literature during the past decade was producing sentiments suggesting, “Send the supplies to Iran, Venezuela and Cuba, and let the Americans learn a lesson.” I had a long conversation with a senior Chinese executive who told me of operating his factory 24/7 and pushing his staff to work 12-hour days to produce vital medical supplies for the US while partially sacrificing his commitments to China. After being exposed to the outrageous denigration of China in the US media, he said he would never again take any action to assist Americans. His final comment to me: “After this, I wouldn’t cross the road to piss on the US if it were on fire.”


Notes

(1) https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202001/24/WS5e2a0374a310128217273141.html

(2)https://guardian.ng/news/china-locks-down-two-cities-to-curb-virus-outbreak/

(3) https://news.yahoo.com/china-warns-virus-could-mutate-spread-death-toll-030352863.html

(4) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/coronavirus-panic-spreads-in-china-with-three-cities-in-lockdown

(5) https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/10/WS5e66fd23a31012821727dcaf.html

(6) https://www.shine.cn/news/nation/2003043372/

(7) https://www.shine.cn/news/metro/2001260649/

(8) https://www.shine.cn/news/metro/2003124131/

(9) https://www.shine.cn/news/metro/2002192363/

(10) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/28/WS5e7e9310a310128217282a28.html

(11) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1183923.shtml

(12) https://www.shine.cn/biz/economy/2001300922/

(13) https://www.rt.com/news/479403-china-xi-coronavirus-demon/

(14) http://www.qstheory.cn/zhuanqu/bkjx/2020-04/28/c_1125917119.htm

(15) https://www.shine.cn/news/nation/2004297248/

(16) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0420/c90000-9681452.html

(17) https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-01-23/Wuhan-to-build-special-hospital-in-six-days-to-receive-patients-NuQ9ulvAo8/index.html

(18) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/19/WS5e72d148a31012821728052b.html

(19) https://www.chinadailyhk.com/article/129477#Medical-leader-calls-makeshift-hospitals-a-success

(20) https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/jan/24/chinese-city-wuhan-plans-to-build-coronavirus-hospital-in-six-days

(21) https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/china-s-coronavirus-hospital-built-10-days-opens-its-doors-n1128531

(22)https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-china-can-build-a-coronavirus-hospital-in-10-days-11580397751

(23) https://www.shine.cn/news/nation/2004287119/

(24) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0311/c90000-9666866.html

(25) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-04/25/c_139005866.htm

(26) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0428/c90000-9684857.html

(27) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185403.shtml

(28) https://newseu.cgtn.com/news/2020-05-02/West-suffering-because-it-failed-to-listen-to-China-Lancet-editor-Q9g3yHGFfq/index.html

(29) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/15/medical-journal-lancet-urges-americans-vote-trump-coronavirus/

(30) https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/china-honors-virus-victims-minutes-reflection-69972806

(31) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0125/c90000-9651777.html

(32) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202001/25/WS5e2bb430a310128217273341.html

(33) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184030.shtml

(34) https://www.chinadailyhk.com/article/119530

(35) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202002/17/WS5e4a3f38a3101282172781a9.html

(36) https://www.chinadailyhk.com/article/129138#Wuhan-tops-travelers’-wish-lists-in-2020

(37) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185879.shtml

(38) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185879.shtml

(39) http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185533.shtml

(40) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185879.shtml

(41) http://english.www.gov.cn/news/topnews/202003/07/content_WS5e6338a8c6d0c201c2cbdbce.html

(42) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202001/25/WS5e2b76faa3101282172732ab.html

(43) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-01/26/c_138733811.htm

(44) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1177867.shtml

(45) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-01/26/c_138734351.htm

(46) https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202001/24/WS5e2a0374a310128217273141.html

(47) https://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202001/25/WS5e2b8102a3101282172732c0.html

(48) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0506/c90000-9687191.html

(49) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-02/16/c_138789227.htm

(50) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184127.shtml

(51) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184127.shtml

(52) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184127.shtml

(53) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-04/02/c_138941573.htm

(54) https://www.shine.cn/news/nation/2001250569/

(55)https://www.shine.cn/news/metro/2002152114/

(56) http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184245.shtml

(57) http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184245.shtml

(58) https://www.chinadailyhk.com/article/126796#China-bashing-syndrome-makes-coronavirus-pandemic-deadlier

(59) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184530.shtml

(60) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/04/06/government-seeks-refund-millions-coronavirus-antibody-tests/

(61) https://www.foxnews.com/world/netherlands-becomes-latest-country-to-reject-china-made-coronavirus-test-kits-gear

(62) http://www.china.org.cn/china/Off_the_Wire/2020-04/29/content_75987996.htm

(63) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-china-idUSKCN2292S8

(64) https://www.chinadailyhk.com/article/129146

(65) https://peoplesdaily.pdnews.cn/2020/04/30/world/washington-rebuked-for-smear-over-testing-kits-148227.html

(66) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/12/health/coronavirus-test-kits-cdc.html

(67) https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/coronavirus-tests-new-york-us-cases-kits-trump-cdc-results-a9365921.html

(68) https://news.yahoo.com/us-health-authority-shipped-faulty-coronavirus-test-kits-205948746.html

(69) https://www.globalresearch.ca/us-health-authority-shipped-faulty-coronavirus-test-kits-across-country-official/5703909

(70) https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/18/coronavirus-tests-delayed-by-covid-19-contamination-at-cdc-lab.html

(71) https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/contamination-at-cdc-lab-delayed-rollout-of-coronavirus-tests/2020/04/18/fd7d3824-7139-11ea-aa80-c2470c6b2034_story.html

(72) https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/covid19-coronavirus-united-states-faulty-test-kits-12429566

(73) https://www.msn.com/en-za/news/africa/covid-19-pawpaw-and-goat-test-positive-for-virus-president-magufuli/ar-BB13AJWO

(74) https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/governors-plead-for-medical-equipment-from-federal-stockpile-plagued-by-shortages-and-confusion/2020/03/31/18aadda0-728d-11ea-87da-77a8136c1a6d_story.html

(75) https://nypost.com/2020/04/04/states-receive-masks-with-dry-rot-broken-ventilators/

(76) https://apnews.com/2b1c7d508dbee187aba31b675f8c5685

(77) https://www.cbsnews.com/news/california-received-broken-ventilators-from-federal-government-governor-gavin-newsom-says/

(78) https://abcnews.go.com/

(79) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/04/21/public-health-england-admits-coronavirus-tests-used-send-nhs/

(80) https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/coronavirus/nhs-staff-offered-new-covid-19-tests-after-initial-checks-found-to-be-flawed/ar-BB131rbF

(81) https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/breaking-coronavirus-nhs-staff-called-21905571

(82) https://apnews.com/850d9e6834fc71967af6d3dda65ad874

(83) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-04/25/c_139005866.htm

(84) https://www.statista.com/statistics/1109011/coronavirus-covid19-death-rates-us-by-state/

(85) https://www.shine.cn/news/world/2003124144/

(86) https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-03-20/China-announces-to-help-82-countries-fight-COVID-19-P1hcQcQKe4/index.html

(87) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0325/c90000-9672307.html

(88) https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/update-china-southern-sends-185-cargo-flights-weekly-to-support-global-covid-19-fight/ar-BB13df1B

(89) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1186745.shtml

(90) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0325/c90000-9672307.html

(91) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202004/09/WS5e8e772ba310e232631a4e08.html

(92) http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202005/08/WS5eb4d906a310a8b24115437d.html

(93) https://www.globalsecurity.org/security/library/news/2020/04/sec-200422-pdo07.htm

(94) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0428/c90000-9684957.html

(95) https://newsghana.com.gh/chinese-enterprises-lend-a-big-hand-to-africa-to-combat-covid-19/

(96) https://www.shine.cn/news/world/2003295304/

(97) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0325/c90000-9672307.html

(98) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0507/c90000-9687490.html

(99) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0321/c90000-9670897.html

(100) http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1186348.shtml

(101) https://times-publications.com/2020/04/22/2333/uk-trade-and-business/

(102) https://www.shine.cn/news/nation/2003255022/

(103) https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-03-20/China-announces-to-help-82-countries-fight-COVID-19-P1hcQcQKe4/index.html

(104) http://www.china.org.cn/china/Off_the_Wire/2020-04/07/content_75903130.htm

(105) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-03/21/c_138901763.htm

(106) http://china.org.cn/world/2020-03/22/content_75844594.htm

(107) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-03/22/c_138904576.htm

(108) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1183326.shtml

(109) http://www.ecns.cn/news/society/2020-04-07/detail-ifzvcazm8251455.shtml

(110) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0504/c90000-9686744.html

(111) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0325/c90000-9672307.html

(112) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0325/c90000-9672307.html

(113) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/20/WS5e740a2ca31012821728094e.html

(114) https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-03-30/First-aircraft-carrying-medical-supplies-from-China-arrives-in-U-S–Ph2wcnA0Ok/index.html

(115) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1186786.shtml

(116) http://www.china.org.cn/world/2020-05/06/content_76010588.htm

(117) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0429/c90000-9685576.html

(118) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/19/WS5e72d148a31012821728052b.html

(119) https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/calls-global-cooperation-us-china-fight-leading-coronavirus/story?id=69898820

(120) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1187121.shtml

(121) The US government (primarily FEMA and/or the CIA, in conjunction with Israel’s Mossad) were widely accused by France, Germany, and other nations of repeatedly hijacking – on airport tarmacs – shipments of medical supplies destined for other countries. These actions were simultaneous with FEMA’s seizures of medical supplies from hospitals and importers all across the US, and there appeared to be substantial evidence much of these supplies were sent to Israel – while US hospitals were bleeding. There isn’t space to follow the story here, but you can follow this set of links below to research the subject.


(1) https://www.rt.com/news/484743-cuba-covid19-us-blockade/

(2) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/17/opinion/cuba-coronavirus-trump.html

(3) https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/cuba-u-s-embargo-blocks-coronavirus-aid-shipment-from-asia-1.4881479

(4) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/02/global-battle-coronavirus-equipment-masks-tests

(5) https://germany.timesofnews.com/breaking-news/us-accused-of-seizing-face-mask-shipments-bound-for-europe-canada

(6) https://dnyuz.com/2020/04/03/us-accused-of-seizing-face-mask-shipments-bound-for-europe-canada/

(7) https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-works-assure-allies-deny-allegations-seizing-supplies/story?id=70019576

(8) https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/04/europe/coronavirus-masks-war-intl/index.html

(9) https://www.rtl.fr/actu/debats-societe/masques-detournes-les-americains-sortent-le-cash-il-faut-se-battre-dit-jean-rottner-sur-rtl-7800346680

(10) https://www.lefigaro.fr/international/coronavirus-l-amerique-relance-la-guerre-des-masques-20200402

(11) https://www.huffingtonpost.fr/entry/coronavirus-des-masques-commandes-par-la-france-detournes-par-des-americains-des-masques-commandes-par-la-france-detournes-par-des-americains_fr_5e84eb13c5b6f55ebf47271a

(12)https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/coronavirus-medical-supplies-countries_in_5e873034c5b63e06281ccebd

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-works-assure-allies-deny-allegations-seizing-supplies/story?id=70019576

(13) https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/04/europe/coronavirus-masks-war-intl/index.html

(14) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185063.shtml

(15) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1186406.shtml

(16) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-huawei-tech-fedex-exclusive-idUSKCN1SX1RZ

(17) https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2020/04/03/des-masques-pour-le-quebec-detournes

(18) https://nationalpost.com/news/what-happened-when-five-million-medical-masks-for-canadas-covid-19-fight-were-hijacked-at-an-airport-in-china?video_autoplay=true

(19)https://dnyuz.com/2020/04/03/us-accused-of-seizing-face-mask-shipments-bound-for-europe-canada/

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-works-assure-allies-deny-allegations-seizing-supplies/story?id=70019576

(20) https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/04/europe/coronavirus-masks-war-intl/index.html

(21) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/04/19/flight-carrying-vital-ppe-supplies-nhs-delayed-turkey/

(22) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/04/18/ministers-plead-overseas-counterparts-allow-shipments-ppe-shortage/

(23) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/06/exclusive-gowns-delayed-ppe-shipment-turkey-impounded-failing/

(24) https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/04/turkey-aid-covid19-coronavirus-erdogan-satterfield-sweden.html

(25) https://apnews.com/b940aca2ab2d0c31af2826da9c30d222

(26) https://www.opednews.com/articles/Are-the-Face-Masks-Stolen-by-Meryl-Ann-Butler-Corona-Virus-Coronavirus-Covid-19-200410-528.html

(27) https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/not-an-ideal-solution-maryland-national-guard-members-advised-to-make-their-own-cloth-masks/ar-BB12eKEL

(28) https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2020/04/24/army-researchers-say-this-is-the-best-material-for-a-homemade-face-mask-theyve-found-so-far/

(29) https://twitter.com/TsahiDabush/status/1247601103006502914

(30) https://urmedium.com/c/presstv/12226

(31) While American health workers beg for PPE, Trump just shipped a million masks to the Israeli army. https://t.co/2sVFLMteo9 — Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) April 8, 2020

(32) https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/US-Department-of-Defense-give-1-million-masks-to-IDF-for-coronavirus-use-623976

(33) https://www.globalsecurity.org/security/library/news/2020/04/sec-200408-presstv01.htm

(34) https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Mossad-bought-10-million-coronavirus-masks-last-week-622890

(35) https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/fema-relied-inexperienced-volunteers-find-coronavirus-protective-equipment/story?id=70519484

(36) https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/kushner-coronavirus-effort-said-to-be-hampered-by-inexperienced-volunteers/2020/05/05/6166ef0c-8e1c-11ea-9e23-6914ee410a5f_story.html

(37) https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/fema-relied-inexperienced-volunteers-find-coronavirus-protective-equipment/story?id=70519484

(38) https://abcnews.go.com/Health/us-short-ppe/story?id=70093430

(39) https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/kushner-backed-program-charters-flights-medical-supplies-behalf/story?id=70291872

(40) https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/white-house-wind-coronavirus-task-force-trump-shifts/story?id=70518706

(41)https://apnews.com/8cd84c260cb6d951ac57a6248542a44f


PT — PT — LARRY ROMANOFF — LIDAR COM DEMÓNIOS — April 03, 2021 (bluemoonofshanghai.com)SP — SP — LARRY ROMANOFF — TRATAR CON DEMONIOS — December 03, 2020 (bluemoonofshanghai.com)

Crucial interview of Foreign Minister Lavrov (MUST READ!)

Crucial interview of Foreign Minister Lavrov (MUST READ!)

Source

April 02, 2021

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview given to Channel One’s Bolshaya Igra (Great Game) talk show, Moscow, April 1, 2021

Vyacheslav Nikonov: The word “war” has been heard increasingly more often lately. US and NATO politicians, even more so the Ukrainian military, have no trouble saying it. Do you have more reasons to be concerned now than ever before?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes and no. On the one hand, the confrontation has hit bottom. On the other, deep down, there’s still hope that we are adults and understand the risks associated with escalating tensions further. However, our Western colleagues introduced the word “war” into the diplomatic and international usage. “The hybrid war unleashed by Russia” is a very popular description of what the West perceives as the main event in international life. I still believe that good judgment will prevail.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: Recently, the United States has ratcheted the degree of confrontation up to never-before-seen proportions. President Joe Biden said President Vladimir Putin is a “killer.” We have recalled Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov.

Sergey Lavrov: He was invited for consultations.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: Hence, the question: How do we go about our relations now? How long will this pause last? When will Mr Antonov return to Washington?

Sergey Lavrov: What we heard President Biden say in his interview with ABC is outrageous and unprecedented. However, one should always see the real actions behind the rhetoric, and they began long before this interview back during the Barack Obama administration. They continued under the Trump administration, despite the fact that the 45th US President publicly spoke in favour of maintaining good relations with Russia, with which he was willing to “get along,” but was not allowed to do so. I’m talking about the consistent degradation of the deterrent infrastructure in the military-political and strategic spheres.

The ABM Treaty has long since been dropped. President Putin has more than once mentioned how, in response to his remark that George W. Bush was making a mistake and there was no need to aggravate relations, the then US President said that it was not directed against Russia. Allegedly, we can take any steps that we deem necessary in response to the US withdrawing from the ABM Treaty. Allegedly, the Americans will not take these actions as directed against them, either. But then they started establishing anti-missile systems in Europe which is the third missile defence position area. It was announced that it was built exclusively with Iran in mind. Our attempts to agree on a transparency format received support during the visit to Moscow by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates, but were later rejected. We now have a missile defence area in Europe. Nobody is saying that this is against Iran now. This is clearly being positioned as a global project designed to contain Russia and China. The same processes are underway in the Asia-Pacific region. No one is trying to pretend that this is being done against North Korea.

This is a global system designed to back US claims to absolute dominance, including in the military-strategic and nuclear spheres.

Dimitri Simes can also share his assessment of what is said and written in the United States on that account. A steadfast course has now been taken towards deploying intermediate and shorter-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific region.

The INF Treaty was discarded by the Americans on far-fetched pretexts. This was not our choice. In his special messages, President Vladimir Putin suggested agreeing, on a voluntary basis and even in the absence of the INF Treaty, on a mutual moratorium with corresponding verification measures in the Kaliningrad Region, where the Americans suspected our Iskander missiles of violating restrictions imposed by the now defunct treaty, and at US bases in Poland and Romania, where the MK-41 units are promoted by the manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, as dual-purpose equipment.

To reiterate, this rhetoric is outrageous and unacceptable. However, President Putin has reacted to it diplomatically and politely. Unfortunately, there was no response to our offer to talk live and to dot the dottable letters in the Russian and English alphabets. All of that has long since gone hand-in-hand with a material build-up in the confrontational infrastructure, which also includes the reckless eastward advance of NATO military facilities, the transformation of a rotational presence into a permanent presence on our borders, in the Baltic States, in Norway, and Poland. So everything is much more serious than mere rhetoric.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: When will Ambassador Antonov return to Washington?

Sergey Lavrov: It’s up to President Putin to decide. Ambassador Antonov is currently holding consultations at the Foreign Ministry. He has met with the members of the committees on international affairs at the State Duma and the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly. He has had conversations at the Presidential Executive Office as well.

It is important for us to analyse the current state of our relations, which did not get to this point overnight, and are not just because of this interview, but have been going this way for years now. The fact that inappropriate language was used during President Biden’s interview with ABC shows the urgency of conducting a comprehensive analysis. This does not mean that we have just been observers and have not drawn any conclusions over the past years. But now the time has come for generalisations.

Dimitri Simes: Now that I am in Moscow, after a year in Washington, I see a striking contrast between statements by the leaders of the two countries. I think you will agree that when officials in Washington talk about relations with Russia, their pattern is simple and understandable: “Russia is an opponent.” Sometimes, Congressmen are more abrupt and call it “an enemy.” However, political leaders from the administration still call it “an opponent.” They allow cooperation with Russia on some issues that are important to the US, but generally it is emphasised that militarily Russia is “the number one opponent,” while politically it is not just a country with objectionable views but a state that “tries to spread authoritarian regimes throughout the world,” that “opposes democracy” and “undermines the foundations of the US as such.”

When I listen to you and President of Russia Vladimir Putin, I have the impression that in Moscow the picture is more complicated and has more nuances. Do you think the US is Russia’s opponent today?

Sergey Lavrov: I will not go into analysing the lexicon of “opponent,” “enemy,” “competitor” or “rival.” All these words are juggled in both official and unofficial statements. I read the other day that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that for all the differences with Russia and China, the US does not have anything against these countries. As for what the US is doing, it is simply “promoting democracy” and “upholding human rights.” I don’t know how seriously one can take this description of US policy towards Moscow and Beijing. However, if they are promoting democracy, practice must justify theory.

George W. Bush announced that democracy was established in Iraq in May 2003. Aboard an aircraft carrier, he declared that Iraq’s liberation from its totalitarian regime was completed and democracy was established in the country. There is no point in elaborating. It is enough to mention the toll of the US-unleashed war – hundreds of thousands of people. We should also remember that the “rule” of the notorious Paul Bremer resulted in the birth of ISIS, which was rapidly joined by members of the Baath Party, employees of Saddam Hussein’s secret services, who had lost their jobs. They simply needed to provide for their families. ISIS emerged not because of ideological differences. Relying on US mistakes, the radicals actively used this fact. This is what democracy in Iraq is all about.

“Democracy” in Libya was established by bombs, strikes and the murder of Muammar Gaddafi which was accompanied by Hillary Clinton’s cry of admiration. This is the result: Libya is a black hole; refugee flows bound for the north are creating problems for the EU that does not know what to do about them; illegal arms and terrorists are being smuggled through Libya to the south, bringing suffering to the Sahara-Sahel Region.

I do not wish to describe what the Americans feel towards the Russian Federation. If their statements about us being their “opponent,” “enemy,” “rival” or “competitor” are based on the desire to accuse us of the consequences of their reckless policy, we can hardly have a serious conversation with them.

Dmitri Simes: When officials in Washington, the Joseph Biden administration or Congress, call Russia an opponent and emphasise this, I think they would not agree that it is simply rhetoric. Nor would they agree that it is designed solely for domestic consumption. The Biden administration is saying that the US did not have a consistent policy towards Russia and that former US President Donald Trump let Russia “do everything the Russian Government of Vladimir Putin wanted.” Now a new sheriff has come in and is willing to talk in a way he sees fit without paying much attention to how Moscow will interpret it; and if Moscow doesn’t like it, this is good. This is being done not to evoke discontent, of course, but to show that Russia is finally realising that it cannot behave like this anymore. Is there any chance that this new Biden administration policy will compel Russia to show some new flexibility?

Sergey Lavrov: The policy you mentioned, which is promoted in the forms we are now seeing, has no chance to succeed. This is nothing new: Joseph Biden has come in, started using sanctions against Russia, toughening rhetoric and in general exerting pressure all along the line. This has been going on for many years. The sanctions started with the Barack Obama administration and, historically, even earlier. Like many other restrictions, they have simply become hypertrophied and ideology-based starting in 2013, before the events in Ukraine.

Dimitri Simes: They will tell you, and you know this better than I do, that this policy has not been pursued sufficiently consistently, that it was not energetic enough, and that now they and their NATO allies will get down to dealing with Russia seriously so as to show us that we must change our behaviour fundamentally not just when it comes to foreign policy but also our domestic policy.

Sergey Lavrov: Dimitri, you are an experienced person, you know the United States better than Vyacheslav Nikonov or I do. What else can they do to us? Which of the analysts has decided to prove the practicability of any further pressure on Russia? How well do they know history? This question is for you.

Dimitri Simes: Mr Minister, you probably know that I am not a fervent supporter of the policy of the Biden administration.

Sergey Lavrov: I am asking you as an observer and an independent expert.

Dimitri Simes: In my opinion, the Biden administration still has a sufficient set of tools it can apply against Russia, including new sanctions, the promotion of NATO infrastructure in Europe, a more “harmonised” pressure on Russia together with its allies, the advance of the US policy not closer to the traditional Old Europe (I am referring to Britain and especially to France and Germany) but to Poland, and lastly, the supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine. It is now believed in Washington that it is very important to show Russia that its current policy in Ukraine has no future and that unless Russia changes its behaviour it “will pay a price.”

Sergey Lavrov: My views on the current developments range from an exercise in absurdity to a dangerous play with matches. You may know that it has become trendy to use examples from ordinary life to describe current developments. All of us played outdoors when we were children. Kids of different ages and with different kinds of family upbringing played in the same places. In fact, we all lived as one big family then. There were two or three bad boys on every street; they humiliated other kids, disciplined them, forced them to clean their boots and took their money, the few kopecks our mothers gave us to buy a pie or breakfast at school. Two, three or four years later, these small kids grew up and could fight back. We don’t even have to grow up. We do not want confrontation.

President Putin has said more than once, including after President Biden’s infamous interview with ABC that we are ready to work with the United States in the interests of our people and the interests of international security. If the United States is willing to endanger the interests of global stability and global – and so far peaceful – coexistence, I don’t think it will find many allies for this endeavour. It is true that the EU has quickly towed the line and pledged allegiance. I regard the statements made during the virtual EU summit with Joe Biden as unprecedented. I don’t remember ever hearing such oaths of allegiance before. The things they said publicly revealed their absolute ignorance of the history of the creation of the UN and many other events. I am sure that serious politicians – there are still some left in the United States – can see not just futility but also the absurdity of this policy. As far as I know, the other day 27 political organisations in the United States publicly urged the Biden administration to change the rhetoric and the essence of the US approach to relations with Russia.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: This is unlikely to happen. I believe that your example with “tough guys” on every street is too mild. The United States has gone beyond the pale, let alone the street ethics, which have always been respected. We can see this happening in Ukraine. President Biden is one of those who created modern Ukraine, the Ukrainian policy and the war in Donbass. As I see it, he takes the situation very personally, and he will try to keep it in its current tense state. How dangerous is the situation in Ukraine in light of the ongoing US arms deliveries, the decisions adopted in the Verkhovna Rada on Tuesday, and the statements made by the Ukrainian military, who are openly speaking about a war?  Where do we stand on the Ukrainian front?

Sergey Lavrov: There is much speculation about the documents that the Rada passed and that President Zelensky signed. To what extent does this reflect real politics? Is it consistent with the objective of resolving President Zelensky’s domestic problem of declining ratings? I’m not sure what this is: a bluff or concrete plans. According to the information published in the media, the military, for the most part, is aware of the damage that any action to unleash a hot conflict might bring.

I very much hope this will not be fomented by the politicians, who, in turn, will be fomented by the US-led West. Once again, we see the truth as stated by many analysts and political scientists, including Zbigniew Brzezinski, being reaffirmed. They look at Ukraine from a geopolitical perspective: as a country that is close to Russia, Ukraine makes Russia a great state; without Ukraine, Russia does not have global significance. I leave this on the conscience of those who profess these ideas, their fairness and ability to appreciate modern Russia. Like President Vladimir Putin said not long ago; but these words are still relevant, – those who try to unleash a new war in Donbass will destroy Ukraine.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: The US and Western diplomacy have definitely accomplished one thing: they put Russia and China in one boat. Indeed, we have already become strategic partners in deeds not just in words. You have just come back from China. You go there more often than once a year, for sure. During this trip, was there anything new that you sensed from Chinese leadership, which has recently come under unprecedented and rude attacks from the Americans? How strong are the bonds that are being established between Russia and China? How high is the bar that we can or have already reached in our relationship?

Sergey Lavrov: Like Russians, the Chinese are a proud nation. They may be more patient historically. The Chinese nation’s national and genetic code is all about being focused on a historical future. They are never limited to 4 or 5- year electoral cycles. They look further: “a big journey begins with a small step” and many other maxims coined by Chinese leaders go to show that they appreciate a goal that is not just on the horizon, but beyond the horizon. This also applies to reunifying Chinese lands – incrementally and without haste, but purposefully and persistently. Those who are talking with China and Russia without due respect or look down on us, or insult us are worthless politicians and strategists. If they do this to show how tough they are for the next parliamentary election in a couple of years, so be it.

Winston Churchill famously said that “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” A big debate is underway about which one is more effective. The coronavirus infection has taken the debate up a notch. To what extent the Western democracies have shown themselves capable of opposing this absolute evil and to what extent countries with a centralised, strong and “authoritarian” government have been successful. History will be the judge. We should wait to see the results.

We want to cooperate; we have never accused anyone of anything, or mounted a media campaign against anyone, even though we are being accused of doing this. As soon as President Putin announced the creation of a vaccine, he proposed establishing international cooperation. You do remember what was being said about Sputnik V. At first, they said that it was not true, and then that this was propaganda and the only purpose was to promote Russia’s political interests in the world. We can see the ripple effect of this. On March 30, Vladimir Putin held talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. We sensed a more realistic commitment to cooperate rather than try to engage in “vaccine discrimination” or “vaccine propaganda.”

Getting back to the heart of the matter, by and large, no one should be rude to other people. But what we see instead is a dialogue with a condescending tone towards great civilisations like Russia and China. We are being told what to do. If we want to say something, we are asked to “leave them alone.” This was the case in Anchorage when the discussion came to human rights. Antony Blinken said that there were many violations in the United States, but the undercurrent was clear – they would sort it out themselves and are already doing so. However, in Xinjiang Uygur, Hong Kong and Tibet, to name a few, things should be approached differently. It’s not just about a lack of diplomatic skills. It runs much deeper. In China, I sensed that this patient nation, which always upholds its interests and shows a willingness to find a compromise, was put in a stalemate. The other day, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson made a relevant comment. I don’t remember that ever happening before.

With regard to whether we are being pushed into the arms of China or China is being pushed into our arms, everyone remembers Henry Kissinger’s words that the United States should have relations with China which are better than relations between China and Russia, and vice versa. He saw this historical process and knew which way it could go. Many are writing now that the United States is committing a huge strategic mistake making efforts against Russia and China at a time, thereby catalysing our rapprochement. Moscow and Beijing are not allying against anyone. During my visit to China, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and I adopted a Joint Statement on Certain Issues of Global Governance in Modern Conditions, where we emphasised the unacceptability of violating international law or substituting it by some secretly drafted rules, of interference in other countries’ internal affairs and, overall, everything that contradicts the UN Charter. There are no threats there. The documents signed by the leaders of Russia and China always emphasise the fact that bilateral strategic interaction and multifaceted partnership are not directed against anyone, but focus exclusively on the interests of our peoples and countries. They build on a clear-cut and objective foundation of overlapping interests. We look for a balance of interests, and there are many areas where it has been achieved and is being used for the benefit of all of us.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: Have you noticed any change in China’s position? It is clear that Beijing is in a very tight situation. How far is China willing to go in its confrontation with the United States? It is obvious that they are now responding harshly. Sanctions are being introduced against Beijing, so it responds with tough counter-sanctions, and not only against the United States, but also against its allies, who are also joining the sanctions. Europe has joined this confrontation. Are we prepared to synchronise our policies with China, for example, our counter-sanctions, as we did with Belarus? Do we have a common strategy to counter the increasing pressure from the so-called alliance of democracies?

Sergey Lavrov: There is a general strategy, and I just mentioned it. Along with the Statement signed during my visit to China, a comprehensive Leaders’ Statement was adopted last year. Now we are preparing the next document, which will be signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, and dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Treaty on Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation. Our strategic treaty will be renewed.

These documents spell out our line of conduct. We are not planning, and will not plan, any schemes to retaliate for what they are doing to us. I do not think that we will synchronise our responses to any new sanction acts against China and Russia.

Our level of cooperation continues to grow qualitatively.

You mentioned military alliances. There is popular speculation out there that Russia and China might conclude a military alliance. First, one of the documents signed at the highest level underscored that our relations are not a military alliance, and we are not pursuing this goal. We regard NATO as an example of a military alliance in the traditional sense, and we know that we do not need such an alliance. NATO clearly breathed a sigh of relief after the Biden administration replaced Donald Trump. Everyone was happy to again have someone to tell them what to do. Emmanuel Macron still occasionally tries to vainly mention the EU’s strategic autonomy initiative, but no one else in Europe even wants to discuss it. It’s over, the boss is here.

That kind of alliance is a Cold War alliance. I would prefer thinking in terms of the modern era where multi-polarity is growing. In this sense, our relationship with China is completely different from that of a traditional military alliance. Maybe in a certain sense, it is an even closer bond.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: The “alliance of democracies” will be created. This is obvious although fewer people in Russia still believe that it’s about democracy. In its election, its attitude towards freedom of the media and opportunities to express opposing views, the US has made it very clear that it has big problems with democracy. Europe also gives examples that compel us to doubt its efforts to promote a strong democratic project. After all, it still holds a position as a player under a big boss.

Vladimir Putin had a conversation with Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel via videoconference on March 30 of this year. Without Vladimir Zelensky, by the way. This is the Normandy format minus Ukraine, which resulted in a bitter response from Kiev.

They discussed a broad range of issues. Meanwhile, you have said more than once that our relations with the EU are frozen or absent altogether. Do you mean that we stay in contact or that contact is possible with individual EU members but not with the EU as a whole?

Sergey Lavrov: This is exactly the case, and this was also mentioned during the March 30 talks, and during Vladimir Putin’s conversation with President of the European Council Charles Michel. We are surprised that this assessment offends the EU. This is simply an objective fact.

It took years to develop relations between Moscow and the EU. By the time the state coup in Ukraine took place these relations included: summits twice a year; annual meetings of all members of the Russian Government with all members of the European Commission; about 17 sectoral dialogues on different issues, from energy to human rights; and four common spaces based on Russia-EU summit resolutions, each of which had its own roadmap.

We were holding talks on visa-free travel. It is indicative that the EU broke them off back in 2013, long before the crisis in Ukraine. As some of our colleagues told us, when it came to a decision on signing the proposed agreement, the aggressive Russophobic minority adamantly opposed it: Russia cannot receive visa-free travel status with the EU before Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova do. This is the entire background. What the EU did after that, braking all channels of systematic dialogue was a burst of emotion. They took it out on us because the putschists insulted the West by throwing out the document signed by Yanukovich and the opposition the day before, this despite the fact that Germany, France and Poland had endorsed this document. The first actions of the new authorities were to remove the Russian language from daily life and to expel Russians from Crimea. When Russian-speakers and Russians in Ukraine opposed this and asked to be left alone, a so-called “anti-terrorist operation” was launched against them.

In effect, the EU imposed sanctions on us and broke off all communication channels because we raised our voice in defence of Russian citizens and ethnic Russians in Ukraine, Donbass and Crimea. We try to discuss issues with them when they start making claims against us. They probably understand this; I hope they are still seasoned politicians. But if they understand this but don’t want to consider it in their practical policy, it means that they are being charged with Russophobia or cannot do anything about the aggressive Russophobic minority in the EU.

Dimitri Simes: I believe when we talk about the EU, it’s important to look at what the EU is and to what extent it has changed compared to what it used to be and what it was supposed to be when it was founded. The EU was primarily designed as an organisation for economic cooperation.

No political component was even envisioned at the start. It was about the EU contributing to European economic integration. The possibility was even mentioned of Russia playing some associated role in that process. But then they said the EU should also have some common values. At first, the idea was that those common values were the cement of the EU itself. Then a new idea emerged in Warsaw that it would be nice for those European values ​​(since they are actually universal) to spread to other regions, as well as for Russia to respect them, or even to obey them. When I look at the EU’s approach to Ukraine, the conflict in Donbass and the demands to return Crimea to Kiev, it seems to me that the EU is becoming a missionary organisation. When you deal with crusaders, trying to reckon with them or appealing to their logic and conscience is probably useless. Do you not think that the EU has journeyed to a place where there are limited opportunities for partnership and great potential for confrontation? Or am I being too pessimistic?

Sergey Lavrov: No, I agree with you, absolutely. This is a missionary style – lecturing others while projecting superiority. It is important to see this tendency, as it has repeatedly brought Europe to trouble.

This is actually the case. Established as the Coal and Steel Community, then the European Economic Community – if you look at the EU now, look at their values, they are already attacking their own members like Poland and Hungary, just because these countries have somewhat different cultural and religious traditions. You said it originated in Poland. I actually forget who started this…

Dimitri Simes: I first heard it from Polish delegates at a conference.

Sergey Lavrov: Now Poland itself is facing the consequences of its ideas, only not outside the EU, but within the organisation.

When anyone tries to impose any values on Russia, ​​related, as they believe, to democracy and human rights, we have this very specific response: all universal values ​​are contained in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights that everyone signed. Any values invented now, which they try to impose on us or other countries, are not universal. They have not been agreed upon by the entire international community. Even inside the EU, look at those street protests! A couple of years ago, they had protests in France in defence of the traditional family, the concepts of “mother,” “father,” and “children.” This lies deep. Playing with traditional values ​​is dangerous.

As to the EU once inviting Russia as an associate member, we never agreed to sign an association document. Now the same is being done with regard to the Eastern Partnership countries – Armenia, Ukraine, and Moldova. As for Russia’s relations with the EU, which Brussels destroyed, only one thing remained – the basic document on the terms of trade and investment. It was indeed the subject of negotiation between the Brussels Commission and the Russian Federation. This is a document that remains valid. We cooperate with individual countries, but not with the EU, because those were the terms agreed upon, and their practical implementation is going through bilateral channels. The only thing the EU is doing in this respect now is imposing sanctions and banning its members from fulfilling some parts of this agreement because they want to “punish Russia.” That’s it, there are no other ties.

We are being told that we are deliberately derailing our relations (although the facts are simply outrageous), trying to shift our ties with Europe to bilateral channels, wanting to “split up” the European Union. We don’t want to split anyone up. We always say that we are interested in a strong and independent European Union. But if the EU chooses a non-independent position in the international arena, as we just discussed, this is their right. We cannot do anything about it. We have always supported its independence and unity. But in the current situation, where Brussels broke off all relations, when certain European countries reach out to us (we have not tried to lure anyone) with proposals to talk, to visit any of the sides and discuss some promising projects in bilateral relations, how can we refuse our partners? It is quite unfair (even a shame) to try to present such meetings as part of a strategy to split up the EU. They have enough problems of their own that split them up.

Dimitri Simes: This is a philosophical issue in Russia’s relations with the EU. When the EU has imposed anti-China sanctions, China made a tough response. This was an unpleasant surprise for the EU and caused indignation. Meanwhile, Brussels does not expect such a response from Russia in the firm belief that Russia has no economic levers to oppose the EU. To my knowledge, Russia has not imposed any serious sanctions on the EU.

This is an interesting situation. Russia supplies Europe with 33 percent of its gas. The figures for oil are about the same. I think during all this time Russia has proved convincingly that it won’t use energy for political leverage in Europe. Understandably, Russia has been interested in this, especially when it comes to the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. It seems to me that certain people in Europe have forgotten that if Russia does not do something, it doesn’t mean that it cannot do it, or won’t be compelled to do it if the EU’s pressure on Russia crosses a line. Do you think this is possible in theory? Or does Russia completely rule out such actions?

Sergey Lavrov: You are saying (metaphorically) that they either have not read (which is most likely) or have forgotten the epic about Ilya Muromets who slept on the stove while nobody paid attention? This is not a threat. We will never use energy supplies or our oil and gas routes in Europe to this end. This is a position of principle regardless of anything else.

Dimitri Simes: Even of you are disconnected from SWIFT and everything else?

Sergey Lavrov: We will not do that. This is a position of principle for President of Russia Vladimir Putin. We will not create a situation where we force EU citizens “freeze.” We will never do this. We have nothing in common with Kiev that shut down water supplies to Crimea and takes delight in it. This is a disgraceful position in the world arena. Frequently accusing us of using energy as an instrument of influence, as a weapon, the West keeps silence on what Kiev is doing with water supplies to Crimea. I believe the provision of basic needs on which the daily life of common citizens depends, should never be an object of sanctions.

Dimitri Simes: In this case, what do you mean by referring to “the phenomenon” of Ilya Muromets?

Sergey Lavrov: It is possible to respond in different ways. We have always warned that we will be ready to respond. We will respond to any malicious actions against us but not necessarily in a symmetric manner. By the way, speaking about the impact of the sanctions on civilians, look what is taking place in Syria under the Caesar Act. My colleagues in Europe and, incidentally, in the region, whisper that they are horrified by the way this act has eliminated any opportunity to do business with Syria. The goal is clear – to stifle the Syrians to make them revolt and overthrow Bashar al-Assad.

Now a few words about our and China’s responses to the European sanctions. After all, China also avoided suspending economic activity. It simply imposed sanctions on a number of individuals and companies that held certain anti-China positions. We are doing basically the same.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: As we know, Ilya Muromets did not shut down oil and gas supplies. He used other methods that were often symmetrical. I think we also have a solid set of instruments.

Don’t we exaggerate the importance of the EU in the modern world? It has an identity and there are European values. I know this since I have dealt with European MPs and experts for many years.

However, I have the impression that there are two main values: the first one is the euro and the second is LGBT and 60 more letters that describe this notion linked with sexual identity, their presence, absence, or mix.

The EU is undergoing a crisis – Brexit. Britain has left the EU. The economic crisis is very bad. Probably, in Europe it is worse than elsewhere. The economy has dropped by up to 10 percent in many countries. The vaccine-related crisis has shown that Europe cannot counter the virus and adopt a common policy. These problems are emerging at all levels. It cannot draft a common economic policy, migration rules, and so on. Maybe, we are really paying too much attention to Europe? Maybe we can act without looking back at this “falling” structure?

Sergey Lavrov: But where are we paying too much attention to Europe? We have a very simple position that President of Russia Vladimir Putin has set forth many times: we do not feel hurt. As we know, hurt people get the short end of the stick, or as we say in Russia, hurt people are made to carry water, something we are short of in Crimea. We will always be willing to revive our relations, practically to raise them from the ashes, but to do this we must know what the EU is interested in. We will not knock on a locked door. They are well aware of our proposals, just as the Americans know our proposals on strategic stability, cyber security and many other things. We have said to all of them: “Our friends and colleagues, we are ready for this. We understand that you will have some reciprocal ideas but we have not yet heard them. As soon as you are ready, let’s sit down and discuss them, seeking a balance of interests.” Meanwhile, now we are being accused of neglecting policy on the EU, so I don’t think we are courting this alliance or exaggerating its importance. It determines its place in the world itself. We have already talked about this today.

As for European values, we have many ongoing debates. Some people need European price tags more than European values. They want to travel there for shopping, recreation, buy some property and return home. As I said, our common values lie in our history, the mutual influence of our cultures, literature, art and music. They are great.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: As for modern European culture and art, have they really…

Sergey Lavrov: I am referring to our historical roots.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: Because I think today’s Europe is pretty empty in terms of culture.

Sergey Lavrov: There are some funny songs; we can listen to them in the car sometimes.

Dimitri Simes: Speaking of relations with the United States, I would like to ask you a personal question because you lived and worked there for a long time when you were Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Of course, you have also been dealing with the US as the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation. I lived in the US for almost 50 years.

Sergey Lavrov: Why past tense?

Dimitri Simes: I am now in Moscow. When I look at the United States today, I have the impression that it is undergoing a cultural revolution. I think that if many people in the Joseph Biden administration or the Democrats in Congress are told this, they would not feel offended in any way. They will say that a cultural revolution is long overdue, that it is finally necessary to eradicate racism, give equal and not-so-equal prevailing opportunities to sexual orientation minorities because they were also discriminated against and to develop a true democracy that requires that all those who want to vote can vote. In practice, this means that millions of people will have an opportunity to vote without necessarily being US citizens at all. This is why the Democrats emphatically oppose a ban on voting on Sundays. As you know, there was never any voting in the US on Sundays. Sunday is called God’s day. The Democrats wanted Sunday elections so that buses could go to Afro-American churches and take people to the polling stations.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: Why take them by bus? They can vote by mail.

Dimitri Simes: Both options are available.

Sergey Lavrov: Why not put a ballot box right in a church?

Dimitri Simes: Exactly. Do you believe the United States is, in many respects, evolving into a different country and that this is not necessarily an irreversible process, though a momentous one? Also, would you agree that this process is not a purely American internal matter because it goes hand in hand with the emergence of a new revolutionary ideology that requires that American values spread around the world and that these American models should not be resisted as they are now in Russia and China? Can this lead to an existential conflict?

Sergey Lavrov: We will talk about this but, first, let me finish what I was saying about European culture. Here is, in my view, a telling illustration of the state of European culture today. If we talk about revolutions, including a cultural revolution, the Eurovision  contest speaks volumes.  What they are doing now to the Belarusians is repulsive. This is sheer censorship that goes like this: since we – nobody knows who exactly, some anonymous individuals – fancy that we heard some innuendoes in your song, we will not allow you to take part in the contest unless you have another song. But then the same fate befalls another Belarusian song. What does this have in common with art, culture or democracy?

As for a cultural revolution in the United States, I do feel that processes which deserve to be described like this are unfolding there. Everyone probably wants to eradicate racism and, as for us, we have never had any doubt regarding this. We were trailblazers behind the movement to secure equal rights for all people, regardless of the colour of their skin. However, we should beware that we do not slip into another extreme, the one we have observed during the Black Lives Matter events, and into aggression against white people, white US citizens.

The other day we marked an international day designated to increase awareness of this issue and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, speaking at a General Assembly meeting, said that the previous year had been a year of the most serious and numerous manifestations of white supremacy. I have asked to be given the full text of his speech, as I want to understand what specifically he had in mind. If this is about having a sense of a trend you talked about and the willingness to follow this trend, it is lamentable. This is still the United Nations Organisation and not a venue for promoting US concepts, some US trends.

As for why they need this, yes, they want to spread this to the rest of the world. They have a huge potential to achieve this goal. Hollywood has also started to change its rules, so that everything reflects the diversity of contemporary society, which is also a form of censorship, art control and the way of imposing some artificial restrictions and requirements on others. I have seen black actors perform in Shakespeare’s comedies. The only thing I do not know is when a white actor will play Othello. You see, this is nothing less than absurdity. Political correctness reduced to absurdity will lead to no good.

The other tool is social networks and internet platforms, as well as servers located in the United States. The US flatly refuses to discuss ways of either making internet governance more democratic or establishing common rules regulating social networks for the sake of avoiding the recurrence of the situation with TikTok and other social networks we encountered during the recent events in Russia, including the spread of abominable information, like personal abuse, pedophilia and many other things. We have already approached TikTok and other social networks about the need to establish elementary rules of respect and propriety but the Americans are unwilling to make these types of rules universal.

In Anchorage, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken lectured the Chinese on human rights, ethnic minorities and democracy in China. Indeed, Mr Blinken said they [in the US] also had to address certain issues in this field but they would do it on their own. During talks with the Americans – the same goes for the Europeans – as soon as you start offering to discuss ways of democratising international relations or the supremacy of law on an international scale, they invariably get away from the subject. They want to replace international law with their own rules, which have nothing in common with the supremacy of law globally, on a universal scale. I already talked about large-scale rallies in France in defence of traditional family values. It appears that to secure the rights of one group of people, the rights of another group have to be infringed upon. That is, promoting these values around the world is not an end in itself, but rather a tool for ensuring their dominance.

Dimitri Simes: Richard Nixon once told Nikita Khrushchev that there would be no true harmony or true partnership between the Soviet Union and America unless the Soviet Union stops spreading its ideology. And that was a big problem in the Brezhnev era, I must say, because they discussed a détente while at the same time supporting a continued international class struggle. As I see it, Leonid Brezhnev was doing it without much conviction. But now, things have turned the other way around. Now the collective West is eager to proliferate its ideology and values. And they seem to be doing so with far greater conviction and perseverance than the Soviet Union under Leonid Brezhnev ever tried. Does this pose a risk of collision?

Sergey Lavrov: Under Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet Union saw no threat to its existence. One can argue whether that stance was far-sighted enough, but that is how it was. Today’s West senses a threat to its dominance. It is a fact. So all those wiggling moves, including the invention of some ‘rules’ – as in the rules-based international order, something the West has come up with to replace the UN Charter – they reflect precisely this tendency.

I agree that we have swapped positions, or rather the Soviet Union and the modern West have. I don’t think this will offend anyone since this is not a big secret. I spoke with Rex Tillerson when he was US Secretary of State. He is a thoughtful and experienced politician and diplomat. It was good to work with him. We disagreed on most things, but we always wanted to continue the dialogue to bring our positions just a little bit closer at least. When he first told me they were concerned about Russia’s interference in some elections, I said they had not proved anything to us yet, and all we heard was accusations. When they began to accuse us of interfering in their elections, we repeatedly proposed using the special channel we had for exchanging information about threats to information networks and organisations. They refused. We had repeatedly offered dialogue even before that, when Barack Obama was president, from October 2016 until Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. They always refused.

I pointed out to Tillerson that they had in fact directly stipulated in legislation that the US State Department should spend $20 million a year to support Russian civil society and promote democracy. That was not even a suspicion on our part as they did it openly (for example, the Ukraine Support Act). There was nothing to prove – they just announced that they would interfere. He told me that was totally different. I asked him why, and he said because we promoted authoritarianism, and they spread democracy. That was it.

Dimitri Simes: And he said it with sincere conviction, didn’t he?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: Mr Lavrov, naturally, this policy leads to a drastic polarisation. The polarisation of international relations is a dangerous thing. We remember the early 19th century, and the early 20th century. It always ended in wars. The Americans, losing their global dominance, will create (they have already announced this) a new ‘alliance of democracies.’ I mean create American and pro-American alliances, compelling everyone else to make their choice. This polarisation will increase. What will this mean for the world and for the alliances where Russia is a member? I mean BRICS (which I think they will try to split up), the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). How far can this go? How dangerous is it?

Sergey Lavrov: This is a deliberate policy and an extension of the agenda we are talking about – about the United States promoting democracy and spreading benefit. The Americans and Europe are very active (but the Americans are especially active) in Central Asia. They are trying to create their own formats such as C5+1. Russia is also part of a 5+1 format in Central Asia, in addition to the SCO, CIS, EAEU and CSTO – one that involves the foreign ministers of five Central Asian countries and your humble servant. That format is useful. True, the volume of economic ties that the US and the EU are now building with Central Asia is still incomparable with our economic interpenetration, but they are pursuing an unambiguous goal to weaken our ties with our allies and strategic partners in every possible way.

The numerous initiatives around the Afghan reconciliation and around the Indo-Pacific region envision Central Asia’s reorientation from its current vector to the South – to help rebuild Afghanistan and at the same time weaken its ties with the Russian Federation.

I could talk for a long time about the Indo-Pacific region and the Indo-Pacific concept. That multi-layered initiative is aimed at hindering China’s Belt and Road Initiative and limiting the Chinese influence in the region, creating constant irritants for that country. There have been some slips about creating an ‘Asian NATO.’ Although in the US interpretation the Indo-Pacific region is described as ‘free and open,’ the chances that positions will be worked out through an equal or open process there are slim. It is already obvious that it isn’t ‘open’. China has not been invited; rather, that country is declared a target for containment. We have not been invited either, which means the attitude to Russia is similar. I would say those are long-term trends. We are talking about this frankly with our neighbours and closest allies. I am confident that they understand all these threats. None of them even considers the possibility of anyone telling them who to talk or not talk to. It is their sovereign right to choose their partners.

The term ‘multi-vector’ has become semi-abusive, but we are not giving up the multi-vector approach. We are open to cooperation and friendship with everyone who is ready for relations based on equality, mutual respect, compromise and balance of interests. That our Western colleagues are clearly abusing this approach, especially in post-Soviet countries, is an obvious fact.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: Is it possible to avoid the actual military scenario in these circumstances? Isn’t it time to create an alliance of free countries given the role reversal that has taken place in the modern world? An alliance, perhaps, of genuine democracies that will oppose the ongoing all-out attack?

Sergey Lavrov: We will not get involved in this kind of political engineering. Russia is committed to the United Nations. When France and Germany put forward the effective multilateralism concept, we asked them what it meant. There was silence followed by joint articles written by the foreign ministers of France and Germany stating that the European Union is an example of effective multilateralism, and everyone needs to adapt to the European processes. Our question why the readily available and universal UN multilateral platform is not a good option remained unanswered. However, the answer is there, and we mentioned it more than once today. They are making up the rules that the international order is supposed to be based on.

Dimitri Simes: Mr Minister, we have taken up much of your time and we appreciate it. But we cannot let you go without asking you one more personal question. What is it like to be Russia’s Foreign Minister in this rapidly changing world?

You have worked in several completely different eras. When you were Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, it was a period of Russia’s “romantic infatuation” with the United States, though perhaps not quite on the terms that were beneficial for Russia. In the early 21st century, Russia was in search of partnerships. Well, then we got what we are witnessing now. How do you, a person who, in many ways, is the architect of this era, a witness and a participant of this process, find your work in this very complex role?

Sergey Lavrov: To put it short, I never get bored. That is if we are talking about the different eras in my career. We all lived in these eras, and we have seen these transitions. You asked me earlier whether the United States has changed. It has. A lot.

Dimitri Simes: Have you changed?

Sergey Lavrov: Probably. It’s not for me to say. A person perceives the environment as a constantly evolving process. People grow up, get smarter or dumber, but they have no way of seeing it.

Dimitri Simes: Do you think we have all become disappointed in many ways, but we have grown, too, as a result of these experiences, and, of course, in the first place, a person holding such positions as yours?

Sergey Lavrov: This is true, of course. How can this not influence the formation of a person? The personality never stops to evolve. It is something that lasts until the end of our lives. Those revolutionary developments had a strong influence on me. I believe the 9/11 attacks were the turning point in the American life. I was in Manhattan, in New York, at the time, and I felt that odour. I was having a hard time trying to make a phone call, because the phones went dead. Since then, New York has become a different city. This free city, living its own life around the clock and enjoying it, became wary and started looking over its shoulder to see if there was someone around who could hurt it.

This suspicion then spread deeply into American society. There were probably serious reasons for that. I have to commend the US intelligence services, because since then, apart from the Boston Marathon, which we had warned them about, there have been no other terrorist attacks. However, wariness and aloofness can still be felt. Perhaps, there are people who want to take advantage of this in order to do things that you just mentioned. If 11 million Americans become eligible to vote, welcome to the one-party system, Back in the USSR.

Vyacheslav Nikonov: Mr Lavrov, thank you very much for the interview. Now that we are within the historic walls of the Foreign Ministry’s Mansion on Spiridonovka, a place where history and great diplomacy were made, including the diplomacy of the great powers, I would like to wish us all the return of diplomacy. If it comes back, as President Vladimir Putin is conveying to President Joe Biden, in the form of a live-stream dialogue, then The Great Game will be at your service and at the service of the two presidents.

Sergey Lavrov: Thank you. President Biden has already said that diplomacy has returned to US foreign policy. Your dream has come true.

source: https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/4662534

Iran-China: the 21st century Silk Road connection

Newly announced China-Iran strategic partnership deal shatters US sanctions while paving the Belt and Road from East to West

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi sign a historic partnership agreement between the two sides in Tehran on March 27, 2021. (Photo by Tasnim)
Iran-China: the 21st century Silk Road connection

March 29, 2021

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

The timing could not have been more spectacular, following what we examined in three previous columns: the virtual Quad and the 2+2 US-China summit in Alaska; the Lavrov-Wang Yi strategic partnership meeting in Guilin; and the NATO summit of Foreign Ministers in Brussels – key steps unveiling the birth of a new paradigm in international relations.

The officially named Sino-Iranian Comprehensive Strategic Partnership was first announced over five years ago, when President Xi Jinping visited Tehran. The result of plenty of closed-door discussions since 2016, Tehran now describes the agreement as “a complete roadmap with strategic political and economic clauses covering trade, economic and transportation cooperation.”

Once again, this is “win-win” in action: Iran, in close partnership with Chibrlna, shatters the glass of US sanctions and turbo-charges domestic investment in infrastructure, while China secures long-term, key energy imports that it treats as a matter of national security.

If a loser would have to be identified in the process, it’s certainly the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” drive against all things Iran.

As Prof. Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran described it to me, “It’s basically a road map. It’s especially important coming at a time when US hostility towards China altogether is increasing. The fact that this trip to Iran [by Foreign Minister Wang Yi] and the signing of the agreement took place literally days after the events in Alaska makes it even more significant, symbolically speaking.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh confirmed the deal was indeed a “roadmap” for trade, economic and transportation cooperation, with a “special focus on the private sectors of the two sides.”

Marandi also notes how this is a “comprehensive understanding of what can happen between Iran and China – Iran being rich in oil and gas and the only energy-producing country that can say ‘No’ to the Americans and can take an independent stance on its partnerships with others, especially China.”

China is Iran’s largest oil importer. And crucially, bill settlements bypass the US dollar.

Marandi hits the heart of the matter when he confirms how the strategic deal actually secures, for good, Iran’s very important role in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI):

The Chinese are getting more wary about sea trade. Even the incident in the Suez Canal reinforces that, it increases Iran’s importance to China. Iran would like to use the same Belt and Road network the Chinese want to develop. For Iran, China’s economic progress is quite important, especially in high-tech fields and AI, which is something the Iranians are pursuing as well and leading the region, by far. When it comes to data technology, Iran is third in the world. This is a very appropriate time for West Asia and East Asia to move closer to one another – and since the Iranians have great influence among its allies in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Hindu Kush, Central Asia and the Persian Gulf, Iran is the ideal partner for China.

In a nutshell, from Beijing’s point of view, the astonishing Evergreen saga in the Suez Canal now more than ever reiterates the crucial importance of the overland, trade/connectivity BRI corridors across Eurasia.

JCPOA? What JCPOA?

It’s fascinating to watch how Wang Yi, as he met Ali Larijani, special adviser to Ayatollah Khamenei, framed it all in a single sentence:

“Iran decides independently on its relations with other countries and is not like some countries that change their position with one phone call.”

It’s never enough to stress the sealing of the partnership was the culmination of a five-year-long process, including frequent diplomatic and presidential trips, which started even before the Trump “maximum pressure” interregnum.

Wang Yi, who has a very close relationship with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, once again stressed, “relations between the two countries have now reached the level of strategic partnership” and “will not be affected by the current situation, but will be permanent”.

Zarif for his part stressed that Washington should get serious about its return to the Iran nuclear deal; lift all unilateral sanctions; and be back to the JCPOA as it was clinched in Vienna in 2015. In realpolitik terms, Zarif knows that’s not going to happen – considering the prevailing mood in the Beltway. So he was left to praise China as a “reliable partner” on the dossier – as much as Russia.

Beijing is articulating a quite subtle charm offensive in Southwest Asia. Before going to Tehran, Wang Yi went to Saudi Arabia and met with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. The official spin is that China, as a “pragmatic partner”, supports Riyadh’s steps to diversify its economy and “find a path of development that fits its own conditions”.

What Wang Yi meant is that something called the China-Saudi Arabia High-Level Joint Committee should be working overtime. Yet there have been no leaks on the absolutely crucial issue: the role of oil in the Beijing-Riyadh relationship, and the fateful day when China will decide to buy Saudi oil priced exclusively in yuan.

On the (Silk) road again

It’s absolutely essential to place the importance of the Iran-China deal in a historical context.

The deal goes a long way to renew the spirit of Eurasia as a geo-historic entity, or as crack French geopolitician Christian Grataloup frames it, “a system of inter-relations from one Eurasian end to another” taking place across the hard node of world history.

Via the BRI concept, China is reconnecting with the vast intermediary region between Asia and Europe through which relations between continents were woven by more or less durable empires with diverse Eurasian dimensions: the Persians, the Greco-Romans, and the Arabs.

Persians, crucially, were the first to develop a creative role in Eurasia.

Northern Iranians, during the first millennium B.C., experts on horseback nomadism, were the prime power in the steppe core of Central Eurasia.

Historically, it’s well established that the Scythians constituted the first pastoral nomadic nation. They took over the Western steppe – as a major power – while other steppe Iranians moved East as far away as China. Scythians were not only fabulous warriors – as the myth goes, but most of all very savvy traders connecting Greece, Persia and the east of Asia: something described, among others, by Herodotus.

So an ultra-dynamic, overland international trade network across Central Eurasia developed as a direct consequence of the drive, among others, by Scythians, Sogdians and the Hsiung-Nu (who were always harassing the Chinese in their northern frontier). Different powers across Central Eurasia, in different epochs, always traded with everyone on their borders – wherever they were, from Europe to East Asia.

Essentially Iranian domination of Central Eurasia may have started as early as 1,600 B.C. – when Indo-Europeans showed up in upper Mesopotamia and the Aegean Sea in Greece while others journeyed as far as India and China.

It’s fully established, among others by an unimpeachable scholarly source, Nicola di Cosmo, in his Ancient China and Its Enemies: The Rise of Nomadic Power in East Asian History (Cambridge University Press): pastoral nomadic lifestyle on horseback was developed by Iranians of the steppe early in the first millennium B.C.

Jump cut to the end of the first century B.C., when Rome was starting to collect its precious silk from East Asia via multiple intermediaries, in what is described by historians as the first Silk Road.

A fascinating story features a Macedonian, Maes Titianos, who lived in Antioch in Roman Syria, and organized a caravan for his agents to reach beyond Central Asia, all the way to Seres (China) and its imperial capital Chang’an. The trip lasted over a year and was the precursor to Marco Polo’s travels in the 13th century. Marco Polo actually followed roads and tracks that were very well known for centuries, plied by numerous caravans of Eurasian merchants.

Up to the caravan organized by Titianos, Bactria – in today’s Afghanistan– was the limes of the known world for imperial Rome, and the revolving door, in connectivity terms, between China, India and Persia under the Parthians.

And to illustrate the “people to people contacts” very dear to the concept of 21st century BRI, after the 3rd century Manicheism – persecuted by the Roman empire – fully developed in Persia along the Silk Road thanks to Sogdian merchants. From the 8th to the 9th century it even became the official religion among the Uighurs and even reached China. Marco Polo met Manicheans in the Yuan court in the 13th century.

Ruling the Heartland

The Silk Roads were a fabulous vortex of peoples, religions and cultures – something attested by the exceptional collection of Manichean, Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Christian manuscripts, written in Chinese, Tibetan, Sanskrit, Syriac, Sogdian, Persian and Uighur, discovered in the beginning of the 20th century in the Buddhist grottoes of Dunhuang by European orientalists Aurel Stein and Paul Pelliot, following the steps of Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang. In the Chinese unconscious, this is still very much alive.

By now it’s firmly established that the Silk Roads may have started to slowly disappear from history with the Western maritime push to the East since the late 15th century. But the death blow came in the late 17th century, when the Russians and the Manchu in China divided Central Asia. The Qing dynasty destroyed the last nomadic pastoral empire, the Junghars, while the Russians colonized most of Central Eurasia. The Silk Road economy – actually the trade-based economy of the Eurasian heartland – collapsed.

Now, the vastly ambitious Chinese BRI project is inverting the expansion and construction of a Eurasian space to East to West. Since the 15th century – with the end of the Mongol Empire of the Steppes – the process was always from West to East, and maritime, driven by Western colonialism.

The China-Iran partnership may have the capacity to become the emblem of a global phenomenon as far-reaching as the Western colonial enterprises from the 15th to the 20th centuries. Geoeconomically, China is consolidating a first step to solidify its role as builder and renovator of infrastructure. The next step is to build its role in management.

Mackinder, Mahan, Spykman – the whole conceptual “rule the waves” apparatus is being surpassed. China may have been an – exhausted – Rimland power up to the mid-20th century. Now it’s clearly positioned as a Heartland power. Side by side with “strategic partner” Russia. And side by side with another “strategic partner” that happened to be the first historical Eurasian power: Iran.

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