Full text of Xi’s speech at SCO Samarkand summit

September 17, 2022

SAMARKAND, Uzbekistan, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the 22nd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) here on Friday.

The following is the full text of the speech:

Ride on the Trend of the Times and Enhance Solidarity and Cooperation to Embrace a Better Future
Statement by H.E. Xi Jinping
President of the People’s Republic of China
At the 22nd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of The Shanghai Cooperation Organization
Samarkand, Sept. 16, 2022

(Emphasis added by me, Andrei)

Your Excellency President Shavkat Mirziyoyev,

Colleagues,

I am delighted to attend the meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). I would like to thank you, President Mirziyoyev, for your warm hospitality and thoughtful arrangements. I salute Uzbekistan for the great job it has done to promote SCO cooperation in various fields during its presidency over the past year.

Samarkand, renowned as the pearl on the Silk Road, witnessed the glory of the ancient Silk Road, a route that greatly boosted the flow of goods, spread of science and technology, interaction of ideas, and integration of diverse cultures on the Eurasian continent. Indeed, the ancient Silk Road has remained a historical source of inspiration for us SCO member states as we pursue peace and development.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the SCO Charter and 15th anniversary of the Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation Between the SCO Member States. Over the years, guided by these two founding documents, we have succeeded in exploring a new path for the development of international organizations, and there is much we can draw on from SCO’s rich practices.

— Political trust. Guided by the vision of forging enduring friendship and peace among the SCO member states, we respect each other’s core interests and choice of development path and support each other in achieving peace, stability, development and rejuvenation.

— Win-win cooperation. We accommodate each other’s interests, stay true to the principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits, enhance synergy between our respective development strategies, and keep to the path of win-win cooperation toward common prosperity.

— Equality between nations. We are committed to the principle of equality among all countries regardless of their size, consensus-based decision-making, and addressing issues through friendly consultations. We reject the practice of the strong bullying the weak or the big bullying the small.

— Openness and inclusiveness. We stand for harmonious coexistence and mutual learning between different countries, nations and cultures, dialogue between civilizations and seeking common ground while shelving differences. We are ready to establish partnership and develop win-win cooperation with other countries and international organizations that share our vision.

— Equity and justice. We are committed to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter; we tackle major international and regional issues on the basis of their merits, and oppose the pursuit of one’s own agenda at the expense of other countries’ legitimate rights and interests.

These five points fully embody the Shanghai Spirit, namely, mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diversity of civilizations and pursuit of common development. It has been shown that this spirit is the source of strength for the development of the SCO. It is also the fundamental guide we must continue to follow in the years to come. We owe SCO’s remarkable success to the Shanghai Spirit. And we will continue to follow its guidance as we forge ahead.

Colleagues,

Human society, like the natural world, has both sunny and rainy days in its development. Our world today is undergoing accelerating changes unseen in a century, and it has entered a new phase of uncertainty and transformation. The once-in-a-century pandemic has continued unabated. Regional conflicts keep flaring up. The Cold War mentality and group politics are resurfacing, so are unilateralism and protectionism. Economic globalization has encountered headwinds. Deficit in peace, development, trust, and governance has grown. Human society has reached a crossroads and faces unprecedented challenges.

Under these new conditions, the SCO, as an important constructive force in international and regional affairs, should keep itself well-positioned in the face of changing international dynamics, ride on the trend of the times, strengthen solidarity and cooperation and build a closer SCO community with a shared future.

First, we need to enhance mutual support. We should strengthen high-level exchanges and strategic communication, deepen mutual understanding and political trust, and support each other in our efforts to uphold security and development interests. We should guard against attempts by external forces to instigate “color revolution,” jointly oppose interference in other countries’ internal affairs under any pretext, and hold our future firmly in our own hands.

Second, we need to expand security cooperation. A proverb in Uzbekistan goes to the effect that “With peace, a country enjoys prosperity, just as with rain, the land can flourish.” The Global Security Initiative put forward by China is to address the peace deficit and global security challenges. It calls on all countries to stay true to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture. We welcome all stakeholders to get involved in implementing this initiative.

We should continue to carry out joint anti-terrorism exercises, crack down hard on terrorism, separatism and extremism, drug trafficking as well as cyber and transnational organized crimes; and we should effectively meet the challenges in data security, biosecurity, outer space security and other non-traditional security domains. China is ready to train 2,000 law enforcement personnel for SCO member states in the next five years, and establish a China-SCO base for training counter-terrorism personnel, so as to enhance capacity-building for law enforcement of SCO member states.

We should ensure that the SCO-Afghanistan contact group and the mechanism of coordination and cooperation among Afghanistan’s neighbors continue to play their roles; and we should encourage Afghan authorities to establish a broadly-based and inclusive political structure and remove the ground that breeds terrorism.

Third, we need to deepen practical cooperation. To deliver a better life for people of all countries in the region is our shared goal. The Global Development Initiative launched by China aims to focus global attention on development, foster global development partnership, and achieve more robust, greener and more balanced global development. China is ready to work with all other stakeholders to pursue this initiative in our region to support the sustainable development of regional countries.

We need to implement the two statements on safeguarding international energy and food security to be adopted by this summit and better protect energy and food security. China will provide developing countries in need with emergency humanitarian assistance of grain and other supplies worth 1.5 billion RMB yuan.

We welcome the Comprehensive Plan for the Implementation of the SCO Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation for 2023-2027 to be adopted at this summit. We should fully implement the cooperation documents in such areas as trade and investment, infrastructure building, protecting supply chains, scientific and technological innovation and artificial intelligence to be adopted within the framework of the summit. It is important to continue our efforts to achieve the complementarity of the Belt and Road Initiative with national development strategies and regional cooperation initiatives, expand sub-multilateral cooperation and sub-regional cooperation, and create more growth drivers in cooperation.

We need to ensure implementation of the roadmap for SCO member states to expand shares of local currency settlement, better develop the system for cross-border payment and settlement in local currencies, work for the establishment of an SCO development bank, and thus speed up regional economic integration. Next year, China will host an SCO ministers’ meeting on development cooperation and an industrial and supply chains forum, and will set up the China-SCO Big Data Cooperation Center to create new engines of common development. China stands ready to carry out space cooperation with all other parties and provide satellite data service to support them in agricultural development, connectivity and disaster mitigation and relief.

Fourth, we need to enhance people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Exchanges promote integration among civilizations, which, in turn, enables civilizations to advance. We should deepen cooperation in such areas as education, science and technology, culture, health, media, radio and television, ensure the continued success of signature programs such as the youth exchange camp, the women’s forum, the forum on people-to-people friendship and the forum on traditional medicine, and support the SCO Committee on Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation and other non-official organizations in playing their due roles. China will build a China-SCO ice and snow sports demonstration zone and host the SCO forums on poverty reduction and sustainable development and on sister cities next year. In the next three years, China will carry out 2,000 free cataract operations for SCO member states and provide 5,000 human resources training opportunities for them.

Fifth, we need to uphold multilateralism. Obsession with forming a small circle can only push the world toward division and confrontation. We should remain firm in safeguarding the UN-centered international system and the international order based on international law, practice the common values of humanity and reject zero-sum game and bloc politics. We should expand SCO’s exchanges with other international and regional organizations such as the UN, so as to jointly uphold true multilateralism, improve global governance, and ensure that the international order is more just and equitable.

Colleagues,

The Eurasian continent is home to us all. Upholding its peace and development is the shared goal of countries both in our region and the world at large, and the SCO shoulders an important responsibility in meeting this goal. In recent years, an increasing number of countries have applied to join our SCO family. This fully demonstrates the power of SCO’s vision and the widely shared confidence in its future. By promoting the development and expansion of the SCO and giving full play to its positive impact, we will create strong momentum and new dynamism for ensuring durable peace and common prosperity of the Eurasian continent and the whole world. China supports advancing SCO expansion in an active yet prudent manner, and this includes going through the procedure to admit Iran as a member state, launching the procedure for Belarus’ accession, admitting Bahrain, the Maldives, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Myanmar as dialogue partners, and granting the relevant applying countries the legal status due to them. We need to seize the opportunity to build consensus, deepen cooperation and jointly create a bright future for the Eurasian continent.

Here I wish to express China’s congratulations to India on assuming the next SCO presidency. We will, together with other member states, support India during its presidency.

Colleagues,

This year, facing a complex and challenging development environment both at home and abroad, China has stayed committed to the general principle of making advances while maintaining stable performance, and it has striven to ensure both effective COVID-19 containment, economic stability and development security. We have continued to respond to COVID-19 and promote economic and social development in a well-coordinated way. Thus, to the greatest extent possible, we have both safeguarded the life and health of the people and ensured overall economic and social development. The fundamentals of China’s economy, characterized by strong resilience, enormous potential, ample room for policy adjustment and long-term sustainability, will remain sound. This will greatly boost the stability and recovery of the world economy and provide more market opportunities for other countries.

Next month, the Communist Party of China will convene its 20th National Congress. It will be an important meeting to be held at a critical time as China embarks on a new journey toward its second centenary goal of building a modern socialist country in all respects. At this national congress, the Communist Party of China will fully review the major achievements made and valuable experience gained in China’s reform and development endeavors. It will also formulate programs of action and overarching policies to meet China’s new development goals on the journey ahead in the new era and the new expectations of the people. We will continue to follow the Chinese path to modernization to achieve the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and we will continue to promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. By doing so, we will create new opportunities for the world with new advances in China’s development and contribute our vision and strength to world peace and development and human progress.

Colleagues,

Long as the journey is, we will surely reach our destination when we stay the course. Let us act in the Shanghai Spirit, work for the steady development of the SCO, and jointly build our region into a peaceful, stable, prosperous and beautiful home!

Thank you

Source

‘Samarkand Spirit’ to be driven by ‘responsible powers’ Russia and China

The SCO summit of Asian power players delineated a road map for strengthening the multipolar world

September 16 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

Amidst serious tremors in the world of geopolitics, it is so fitting that this year’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) heads of state summit should have taken place in Samarkand – the ultimate Silk Road crossroads for 2,500 years.

When in 329 BC Alexander the Great reached the then Sogdian city of Marakanda, part of the Achaemenid empire, he was stunned: “Everything I have heard about Samarkand it’s true, except it is even more beautiful than I had imagined.”

Fast forward to an Op-Ed by Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev published ahead of the SCO summit, where he stresses how Samarkand now “can become a platform that is able to unite and reconcile states with various foreign policy priorities.”

After all, historically, the world from the point of view of the Silk Road landmark has always been “perceived as one and indivisible, not divided. This is the essence of a unique phenomenon – the ‘Samarkand spirit’.”

And here Mirziyoyev ties the “Samarkand Spirit” to the original SCO “Shanghai Spirit” established in early 2001, a few months before the events of September 11, when the world was forced into strife and endless war, almost overnight.

All these years, the culture of the SCO has been evolving in a distinctive Chinese way. Initially, the Shanghai Five were focused on fighting terrorism – months before the US war of terror (italics mine) metastasized from Afghanistan to Iraq and beyond.

Over the years, the initial “three no’s” – no alliance, no confrontation, no targeting any third party – ended up equipping a fast, hybrid vehicle whose ‘four wheels’ are ‘politics, security, economy, and humanities,’ complete with a Global Development Initiative, all of which contrast sharply with the priorities of a hegemonic, confrontational west.

Arguably the biggest takeaway of this week’s Samarkand summit is that Chinese President Xi Jinping presented China and Russia, together, as “responsible global powers” bent on securing the emergence of multipolarity, and refusing the arbitrary “order” imposed by the United States and its unipolar worldview.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pronounced Xi’s bilateral conversation with President Vladimir Putin as “excellent.” Xi Jinping, previous to their meeting, and addressing Putin directly, had already stressed the common Russia-China objectives:

“In the face of the colossal changes of our time on a global scale, unprecedented in history, we are ready with our Russian colleagues to set an example of a responsible world power and play a leading role in order to put such a rapidly changing world on the trajectory of sustainable and positive development.”

Later, in the preamble to the heads of state meeting, Xi went straight to the point: it is important to “prevent attempts by external forces to organize ‘color revolutions’ in the SCO countries.” Well, Europe wouldn’t be able to tell, because it has been color-revolutionized non-stop since 1945.

Putin, for his part, sent a message that will be ringing all across the Global South: “Fundamental transformations have been outlined in world politics and economics, and they are irreversible.” (italics mine)

Iran: it’s showtime

Iran was the guest star of the Samarkand show, officially embraced as the 9th member of the SCO. President Ebrahim Raisi, significantly, stressed before meeting Putin that “Iran does not recognize sanctions against Russia.” Their strategic partnership will be enhanced. On the business front, a hefty delegation comprising leaders of 80 large Russian companies will be visiting Tehran next week.

The increasing Russia-China-Iran interpolation – the three top drivers of Eurasia integration – scares the hell out of the usual suspects, who may be starting to grasp how the SCO represents, in the long run, a serious challenge to their geoeconomic game. So, as every grain of sand in every Heartland desert is already aware, the geopolitical pressure against the trio will increase exponentially.

And then there was the mega-crucial Samarkand trilateral: Russia-China-Mongolia. There were no official leaks, but this trio arguably discussed the Power of Siberia-2 gas pipeline – the interconnector to be built across Mongolia; and Mongolia’s enhanced role in a crucial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) connectivity corridor, now that China is not using the Trans-Siberian route for exports to Europe because of sanctions.

Putin briefed Xi on all aspects of Russia’s Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine, and arguably answered some really tough questions, many of them circulating wildly on the Chinese web for months now.

Which brings us to Putin’s presser at the end of the summit – with virtually all questions predictably revolving around the military theater in Ukraine.

The key takeaway from the Russian president: “There are no changes on the SMO plan. The main tasks are being implemented.” On peace prospects, it is Ukraine that “is not ready to talk to Russia.” And overall, “it is regrettable that the west had the idea to use Ukraine to try to collapse Russia.”

On the fertilizer soap opera, Putin remarked, “food supply, energy supply, they (the west) created these problems, and now are trying to resolve them at the expense of someone else” – meaning the poorest nations. “European countries are former colonial powers and they still have this paradigm of colonial philosophy. The time has come to change their behavior, to become more civilized.”

On his meeting with Xi Jinping: “It was just a regular meeting, it’s been quite some time we haven’t had a meeting face to face.” They talked about how to “expand trade turnover” and circumvent the “trade wars caused by our so-called partners,” with “expansion of settlements in national currencies not progressing as fast as we want.”

Strenghtening multipolarity

Putin’s bilateral with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi could not have been more cordial – on a “very special friendship” register – with Modi calling for serious solutions to the food and fuel crises, actually addressing the west. Meanwhile, the State Bank of India will be opening special rupee accounts to handle Russia-related trade.

This is Xi’s first foreign trip since the Covid pandemic. He could do it because he’s totally confident of being awarded a third term during the Communist Party Congress next month in Beijing. Xi now controls and/or has allies placed in at least 90 percent of the Politburo.

The other serious reason was to recharge the appeal of BRI in close connection to the SCO. China’s ambitious BRI project was officially launched by Xi in Astana (now Nur-Sultan) nine years ago. It will remain the overarching Chinese foreign policy concept for decades ahead.

BRI’s emphasis on trade and connectivity ties in with the SCO’s evolving multilateral cooperation mechanisms, congregating nations focusing on economic development independent from the hazy, hegemonic “rules-based order.” Even India under Modi is having second thoughts about relying on western blocs, where New Delhi is at best a neo-colonized “partner.”

So Xi and Putin, in Samarkand, for all practical purposes delineated a road map for strengthening multipolarity – as stressed by the final  Samarkand declaration  signed by all SCO members.

The Kazakh puzzle 

There will be bumps on the road aplenty. It’s no accident that Xi started his trip in Kazakhstan – China’s mega-strategic western rear, sharing a very long border with Xinjiang. The tri-border at the dry port of Khorgos – for lorries, buses and trains, separately – is quite something, an absolutely key BRI node.

The administration of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Nur-Sultan (soon to be re-named Astana again) is quite tricky, swinging between eastern and western political orientations, and infiltrated by Americans as much as during the era of predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s first post-USSR president.

Earlier this month, for instance, Nur-Sultan, in partnership with Ankara and British Petroleum (BP) – which virtually rules Azerbaijan – agreed to increase the volume of oil on the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline to up to 4 million tons a month by the end of this year. Chevron and ExxonMobil, very active in Kazakhstan, are part of the deal.

The avowed agenda of the usual suspects is to “ultimately disconnect the economies of Central Asian countries from the Russian economy.” As Kazakhstan is a member not only of the Russian-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), but also the BRI, it is fair to assume that Xi – as well as Putin – discussed some pretty serious issues with Tokayev, told him to grasp which way the wind is blowing, and advised him to keep the internal political situation under control (see the aborted coup in January, when Tokayev was de facto saved by the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization [CSTO]).

There’s no question Central Asia, historically known as a “box of gems” at the center of the Heartland, striding the Ancient Silk Roads and blessed with immense natural wealth – fossil fuels, rare earth metals, fertile agrarian lands – will be used by the usual suspects as a Pandora’s box, releasing all manner of toxic tricks against legitimate Eurasian integration.

That’s in sharp contrast with West Asia, where Iran in the SCO will turbo-charge its key role of crossroads connectivity between Eurasia and Africa, in connection with the BRI and the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC).

So it’s no wonder that the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait, all in West Asia, do recognize which way the wind is blowing. The three Persian Gulf states received official SCO ‘partner status’ in Samarkand, alongside the Maldives and Myanmar.

A cohesion of goals

Samarkand also gave an extra impulse to integration along the Russian-conceptualized Greater Eurasia Partnership  – which includes the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) – and that, just two weeks after the game-changing Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) held in Vladivostok, on Russia’s strategic Pacific coast.

Moscow’s priority at the EAEU is to implement a union-state with Belarus (which looks bound to become a new SCO member before 2024), side-by-side with closer integration with the BRI. Serbia, Singapore and Iran have trade agreements with the EAEU too.

The Greater Eurasian Partnership was proposed by Putin in 2015 – and it’s getting sharper as the EAEU commission, led by Sergey Glazyev, actively designs a new financial system, based on gold and natural resources and counter-acting the Bretton Woods system. Once the new framework is ready to be tested, the key disseminator is likely to be the SCO.

So here we see in play the full cohesion of goals – and the interaction mechanisms – deployed by the Greater Eurasia Partnership, BRI, EAEU, SCO, BRICS+ and the INSTC. It’s a titanic struggle to unite all these organizations and take into account the geoeconomic priorities of each member and associate partner, but that’s exactly what’s happening, at breakneck speed.

In this connectivity feast, practical imperatives range from fighting local bottlenecks to setting up complex multi-party corridors – from the Caucasus to Central Asia, from Iran to India, everything discussed in multiple roundtables.

Successes are already notable: from Russia and Iran introducing direct settlements in rubles and rials, to Russia and China increasing their trade in rubles and yuan to 20 percent – and counting. An Eastern Commodity Exchange may be soon established in Vladivostok to facilitate trade in futures and derivatives with the Asia-Pacific.

China is the undisputed primary creditor/investor in infrastructure across Central Asia. Beijing’s priorities may be importing gas from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and oil from Kazakhstan, but connectivity is not far behind.

The $5 billion construction of the 600 km-long Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan (Pakafuz) railway will deliver cargo from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean in only three days instead of 30. And that railway will be linked to Kazakhstan and the already in progress 4,380 km-long Chinese-built railway from Lanzhou to Tashkent, a BRI project.

Nur-Sultan is also interested in a Turkmenistan-Iran-Türkiye railway, which would connect its port of Aktau on the Caspian Sea with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea.

Türkiye, meanwhile, still a SCO observer and constantly hedging its bets, slowly but surely is trying to strategically advance its own Pax Turcica, from technological development to defense cooperation, all that under a sort of politico-economic-security package. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did discuss it in Samarkand with Putin, as the latter later announced that 25 percent of Russian gas bought by Ankara will be paid in rubles.    

Welcome to Great Game 2.0

Russia, even more than China, knows that the usual suspects are going for broke. In 2022 alone, there was a failed coup in Kazakhstan in January; troubles in Badakhshan, in Tajikistan, in May; troubles in Karakalpakstan in Uzbekistan in June; the non-stop border clashes between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (both presidents, in Samarkand, at least agreed on a ceasefire and to remove troops from their borders).

And then there is recently-liberated Afghanistan – with no less than 11 provinces crisscrossed by ISIS-Khorasan and its Tajik and Uzbek associates. Thousands of would-be Heartland jihadis have made the trip to Idlib in Syria and then back to Afghanistan – ‘encouraged’ by the usual suspects, who will use every trick under the sun to harass and ‘isolate’ Russia from Central Asia.

So Russia and China should be ready to be involved in a sort of immensely complex, rolling Great Game 2.0 on steroids, with the US/NATO fighting united Eurasia and Turkiye in the middle.

On a brighter note, Samarkand proved that at least consensus exists among all the players at different institutional organizations that: technological sovereignty will determine sovereignty; and that regionalization – in this case Eurasian – is bound to replace US-ruled globalization.

These players also understand that the Mackinder and Spykman era is coming to a close – when Eurasia was ‘contained’ in a semi-disassembled shape so western maritime powers could exercise total domination, contrary to the national interests of Global South actors.

It’s now a completely different ball game. As much as the Greater Eurasia Partnership is fully supported by China, both favor the interconnection of BRI and EAEU projects, while the SCO shapes a common environment.

Yes, this is an Eurasian civilizational project for the 21st century and beyond. Under the aegis of the ‘Spirit of Samarkand.’

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

A footnote

13 Sep 2022 16:32

Source: Al Mayadeen English

Bouthaina Shaaban 

Because they cannot stop igniting wars in one part of the globe or another, that is the most pending danger NATO countries constitute to the welfare of human beings everywhere. 

Professor John Mearsheimer said the war in Ukraine will be a footnote in the history books written about the world changes this war has triggered. This remark may provide the best explanation of the huge noise the NATO countries have made about providing Ukraine with more sophisticated armaments and with billions of dollars in order to prevent a Russian victory. It also explains the big media campaign led by the West about the so-called advance made by the Ukrainian army against the Russians in Kharkov area. The press conference by NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, and the US Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, has to be seen and understood in light of the dire economic crisis which is biting into Europe. 

Despite the iron fist laid on Western media, it is an open secret today that the sanctions imposed by the West against Russia have backfired on the West itself, and it has become clear that Western people are the ones suffering because of these sanctions, and not the Russian people as the western governments planned. In addition, the Eastern rapprochement between China and Russia is treading fast steps toward an alliance, and the Shanghai organization is attracting more member states, which in a short while, will become one of the most important world alliances that NATO countries do not want to see at all. Both China and Russia have announced that their future dealings and trade are going to be in Yuans and Rubles, which will start to weaken the dollar and shake its world status. 

During the week and contrary to the expectations of Western media, the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, announced that he is going to Kazakhstan for a Shanghai meeting with the aim of meeting with President Putin. Every time these two leaders meet, they add another brick to the fortified base of their alliance whose grand announced aim is to change the world system into a multipolar system after getting rid of Western hegemony once and for all.

Of course, western experts and planners know all this and dread it, but instead of mentioning it or trying to address it in the real world, these jumped to the domain that they know best; i.e. the military claiming to their audiences that “Ukrainian forces have been able to stall Moscow offensive in the Donbass strike back behind Russian lines and retake territory.” On this narrative, they built the argument that NATO countries should send more support to Ukraine, with more billions of dollars and with the most sophisticated arms. Their imagination was set free to imagine that this is a very important moment for the Ukrainian people and army, and we should support them in order to prevent a Russian victory in Ukraine, as per their illusions.

First, there is no doubt that the press conference and all the media fever that came in its aftermath hailing progress made by Ukrainian forces against Russian forces was meant to change the focus of the Western people’s attention from the horrible consequences of the war on Ukraine on their daily lives and to stop the masses from taking to the streets to forcefully object to these policies, which proved to be disastrous to most of them.

Second, NATO countries have a history of supporting wars that have nothing to do with their geography or history. They now claim that they have to send hundreds of thousands of soldiers to protect the Eastern borders of NATO. What about Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria; are those also bordering NATO, or threatening its power? And what about Taiwan now; is it on the borders of NATO too?

The history of these countries proves without a shadow of a doubt that the military industry is at the core of its survival and continuity, and that is why they cannot survive and keep their hegemony over the world without this industry being well and prosperous, knowing that for this industry to be well and prosperous, it can only feed on wars. That is why they cannot stop igniting wars in one part of the globe or another, and that is the most pending danger NATO countries constitute to the welfare of human beings everywhere. 

What we have to remember is that we are dealing with two different worlds, two different systems of thinking, two different histories, and two very different objectives. The West, which has subjugated and colonized many countries across the world over centuries, has perfected the usage of media and psychological wars to keep people as its subject. Throughout history, Western colonial powers gave no thought to civilian casualties. A reminder of the answer of Madeleine Albright about millions of Iraqi children being killed; she said, “But it was worth it,” whereas Eastern powers represented by Russia in this war pay so much attention to avoiding unnecessary loss of civilian lives. They change their plans and their tactics if they can save lives in their military or on the adversary’s civilian lives. In fact, the Eastern attitude always believes in taking time. They are not in a hurry, and they do not rush to launch a media or psychological campaign because their objectives are far-reaching and by far nobler than those of the party whose main concern is to sell arms and accumulate more capital. 

For those reasons and many others unlisted here, we have to take the Hollywood postures made by the NATO Secretary-General and the US Secretary of State with a huge pinch of salt. Their major aim was to divert attention from the huge disaster they have created to their people through this uncalculated and misconceived adventure. It would have been much wiser and historically correct to review their decisions and decide whether they should continue in this futile endeavor or acknowledge the new realities on the ground born from the rise of the East and its determination, supported by the majority of people on Earth, to put an end to Western hegemony and remap the world on the basis of equal integrity and mutual respect. This may take a bit more time than what most people desire, but the train has left the station and it will undoubtedly reach its abode. The rest are insignificant details that no one will mention in the future.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

BRICS members agree on including new states – Chinese Foreign Ministry

June 28, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

A Chinese Foreign Ministry official stated that BRICS countries agree to accept new countries into the bloc.

BRICS members agree on including new states.

The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) countries agree that the bloc needs new members while retaining its original character, according to Li Kexin, Director-General of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Department of International Economic Affairs.
 
China wishes to keep the BRICS format open to new members’ participation. Despite the fact that there are no set dates for the expansion, all BRICS countries agree on this, according to Li Kexin.
 
“I believe there is a shared understanding that we need to enlarge, get ‘new faces,'” he said at a press conference dedicated to the results of the 14th BRICS summit in Beijing. The diplomat emphasized that the goal of the BRICS expansion is not to create a new bloc.
 
According to the director-general, BRICS leaders are working to reach an agreement on potential future members. “There are several countries currently ‘at the door,’ for example, Indonesia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Argentina,” he said. 
 
As stated in the Beijing Declaration of the XIV BRICS Summit, BRICS leaders support the continuation of discussions on the expansion process, particularly through the Sherpas’ channel.

Two days ago, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi expressed Iran’s readiness to use its potential to help BRICS to reach its goals.

BRICS, a group of countries consisting of emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – has been functioning on a working mechanism that runs against the tide of the economic and political isolation of Russia which is created by NATO.

At a virtual summit of the BRICS Business Forum, Raisi delivered a speech in which he spoke of Iran’s willingness to use its unique energy reserves, wealth, manpower, and transportation networks to help BRICS achieve its goals. 

He started off by congratulating Xi Jinping, China’s president, on holding the summit and inviting Iran to the dialogue, then went on to address a few points in the conference, which went under the title “Participating in Global Development in the New Era”.

Earlier in May, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated that China would initiate the process of BRICS expansion. He stated that it will demonstrate BRICS openness and inclusiveness, meet the expectations of developing countries, increase their representation and voice in global governance, and contribute more to global peace and development.

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Xi warns against ‘expanding’ military ties at BRICS summit

BRICS Summit

June 24, 2022

Vladimir Putin took part in the 14th BRICS Summit, held via videoconference and chaired by China.

The meeting’s topic is Foster High-Quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development.

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro, President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, and President of the Republic of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa are also taking part in the meeting.

The Beijing Declaration of the 14th BRICS Summit formalises the key agreements of the meeting.

* * *

Speech by the President of the Russian Federation at the BRICS Summit

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

To begin with, I would like to join the previous speakers in thanking President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping and all our Chinese friends for their proactive efforts this year to promote our strategic partnership within BRICS.

The countries that form this group have been seeking to step up their cooperation on all global and regional matters. The BRICS format has been consistently increasing its prestige and international influence. This is an objective process, since the five BRICS countries, as we all know, have immense political, economic, scientific, technical and human potential. We have everything we need to work together and achieve results for ensuring global stability and security, sustained growth and prosperity, and better well-being for our people.

I believe that the topic of today’s meeting, Foster High-Quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development, is very relevant. Considering the complexity of the challenges and threats the international community is facing, and the fact that they transcend borders, we need to come up with collective solutions. BRICS can make a meaningful contribution to these efforts.

We have repeatedly said that challenges like conflict settlement, the fight against terrorism and organised crime, including the criminal use of new technologies, climate change, and the spread of dangerous infections, can only be addressed through joint efforts.

And, of course, it is only on the basis of honest and mutually beneficial cooperation that we can look for ways out of the critical situation that has emerged in the world economy because of the ill-conceived and selfish actions of certain states, which, by using financial mechanisms, are actually shifting their own macroeconomic policy mistakes onto the rest of the world.

We are confident that today, as never before, the world needs the BRICS countries’ leadership in defining a unifying and positive course for forming a truly multipolar system of interstate relations based on the universal norms of international law and the key principles of the UN Charter. In this context, we can count on support from many states in Asia, Africa and Latin America, which are seeking to pursue an independent policy.

I am sure that by tradition the present BRICS Summit will be substantive and effective, and that we will manage to hold a frank and detailed exchange of views on all the most important global and regional issues and various aspects of strategic partnership, including in the extended dialogue format of BRICS+.

Let me stress: Russia is ready to continue promoting close and versatile interaction with all BRICS partners and contributing to the group’s greater role in international affairs.

Thank you for your attention.

<…>

Summary of the main points agreed to during this summit

Events in Ukraine

“We have discussed the situation in Ukraine and recall our national positions as expressed at the appropriate fora, namely the UNSC and UNGA. We support talks between Russia and Ukraine,” the declaration reads.

The association voiced its support to the efforts of the UN and its Secretary General Antonio Guterres, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross on provision of humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

Global politics

BRICS states reaffirmed its “respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States, stress our commitment to the peaceful resolution of differences and disputes” and its “strong commitment to nuclear disarmament.”

The leaders voiced their support to “a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan,” and emphasized the respect for its sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, national unity and non-interference in its internal affairs,” stressing that its territory must not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan to finance terrorist acts.”

BRICS hopes for success of talks on restoration of the Iran Nuclear Deal and support bilateral and multilateral talks for resolution “of all issues pertaining to the Korean Peninsula, including its complete denuclearization.”

The association continues to advocate a “comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council,” in order to increase the representation of the developing countries so that it can adequately respond to global challenges. It also calls to preserve and reinforce the arms control system.

Global economy

“Unbalanced recovery” after the pandemic is ” aggravating inequality across the world,” the global growth momentum has weakened, and the economic prospects have declined, the declaration says.

“We urge major developed countries to adopt responsible economic policies, while managing policy spillovers, to avoid severe impacts on developing countries,” BRICS leaders said, urging “multilateral financial institutions and international organizations to play a constructive role in building global consensus on economic policies and preventing systemic risks of economic disruption and financial fragmentation.”

The five leaders underscored that the G20 “shall remain intact and respond to current global challenges.”

Food security

The leaders pointed out that BRICS states produce about one third of all food in the world and noted the “strategic importance” of agriculture inputs, including, inter alia, fertilizers, on ensuring global food security. The document does not mention the food crisis issue directly.

Cooperation on currencies

The five leaders acknowledged “the importance of strengthening the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) mechanism, which contributes to strengthening the global financial safety net and complements existing international monetary and financial arrangements.” They also welcomed the “central banks’ further cooperation on the payments track.”

Climate and sustainable development

Developed countries have “historical responsibilities for global climate change, and should take the lead in scaling up mitigation actions,” the declaration says.

BRICS opposed “green” trade barriers: “all measures taken to tackle climate change and bio-diversity loss must be designed, adopted and implemented in full conformity with the WTO agreements and must not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade and must not create unnecessary obstacles to international trade.”

Combating the pandemic

The leaders emphasized the need for creation of the complex early warning system for epidemic risks within the association, and underscored that the member states must be better prepared for future healthcare emergencies.

The association also advocated “equitable distribution of vaccines” and called on international agencies and charities to purchase vaccines and boosters “from manufacturers in developing countries, including in Africa, to ensure that the manufacturing capabilities being developed are retained.”.

<…>

Besides the five BRICS countries, these countries also took part in various capacities:  Algeria, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Malaysia, Senegal, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Fiji, Ethiopia.

We now wait for an expansion of BRICS

Exile on Main Street: The Sound of the Unipolar World Fading Away

June 22, 2022

The future world order, already in progress, will be formed by strong sovereign states. The ship has sailed. There’s no turning back.

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

Let’s cut to the chase and roll in the Putin Top Ten of the New Era, announced by the Russian President live at the St. Petersburg forum  for both the Global North and South.

The era of the unipolar world is over.

The rupture with the West is irreversible and definitive. No pressure from the West will change it.

Russia has renewed with its sovereignty. Reinforcement of political and economic sovereignty is an absolute priority.

The EU has completely lost its political sovereignty. The current crisis shows the EU is not ready to play the role of an independent, sovereign actor. It’s just en ensemble of American vassals deprived of any politico-military sovereignty.

Sovereignty cannot be partial. Either you’re a sovereign or a colony.

Hunger in the poorest nations will be on the conscience of the West and euro-democracy.

Russia will supply grains to the poorer nations in Africa and the Middle East.

Russia will invest in internal economic development and reorientation of trade towards nations independent of the U.S.

The future world order, already in progress, will be formed by strong sovereign states.

The ship has sailed. There’s no turning back.

How does it feel, for the collective West, to be caught in such a crossfire hurricane? Well, it gets more devastating when we add to the new roadmap the latest on the energy front.

Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, in St. Petersburg, stressed that the global economic crisis is gaining momentum not because of sanctions, but exacerbated by them; Europe “commits energy suicide” by sanctioning Russia; sanctions against Russia have done away with the much lauded “green transition”, as that is no longer needed to manipulate markets; and Russia, with its vast energy potential, “is the Noah’s Ark of the world economy.”

For his part Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller could not be more scathing on the sharp decline in the gas flow to the EU due to Siemens’ refusal and/or incapacity to repair the Nord Stream 1 pumping engine: “Well, of course, Gazprom was forced to reduce the volume of gas supplies to Europe by 20%+. But you know, prices have increased not by 20%+, but by several times! Therefore, I’m sorry if I say that we don’t feel offended by anyone, we are not particularly concerned by this situation.”

If this pain dial overdrive was not enough to hurl the collective West – or NATOstan – into Terminal Hysteria, then Putin’s sharp comment on possibly allowing Mr. Sarmat to present his business card to “decision-making centers in Kiev”, those that are ordering the current shelling and killing of civilians in Donetsk, definitely did the trick:

“As for the red lines, let me keep them to myself, because this will mean quite tough actions on the decision-making centers. But this is an area that shouldn’t be disclosed to people outside the military-political leadership of the country. Those who deserve appropriate actions on our part should draw a conclusion for themselves – what they may face if they cross the line.”

Baby please, stop breaking down

Alastair Crooke has masterfully outlined  how the collective West’s zugzwang leaves it lumbering around, dazed and confused. Now let’s examine the state of play on the opposite side of the chessboard, focusing on the BRICS summit this Thursday in Beijing.

As much as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and ASEAN, now it’s time for a reinvigorated BRICS to step up its game. In conjunction, these are the key organizations/instruments that will be carving the pathways towards the post-unipolar era.

Both China and India (which between them were the largest economies in the world for centuries before the brief Western colonial interregnum) are already close and getting closer to “the Noah’s Ark of the world economy”.

The G20 – hostages of the Michael Hudson-defined FIRE scam that is the core of the financialized neoliberal casino – is slowly fading away, while a potential new G8 ramps up: and that is directly connected to BRICS expansion, one of the key themes of this week’s summit. An expanded BRICS with a parallel G8 configuration is bound to easily overtake the Western-centric one in importance as well as GDP by purchasing power parity (PPP).

BRICS in 2021 already added Bangladesh, Egypt, the UAE and Uruguay to its New Development Bank (NDB). In May, at Foreign Ministry-level debates, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Thailand were added to the 5 BRICS members. Leaders of some of these nations will be connected to the Beijing summit.

BRICS plays a completely different game from the G20. They aim for the grassroots, and it’s all about slowly “building trust” – a very Chinese concept. They are creating an independent Credit Rating Agency – away from the Anglo-American racket – and deepening a Currency Reserves Arrangement. The NDB – including its regional offices in India and South Africa – has been involved in hundreds of projects. Time will tell: one day the NDB will make the World Bank superfluous.

Comparisons between BRICS and the Quad, a U.S. concoction, are silly. Quad is just another crude mechanism to contain China. Yet there’s no question India treads on tightrope walker territory, as it’s a member of both BRICS and Quad, and made a vastly misguided decision to walk out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – the largest free trade deal on the planet – opting instead to adhere to the American pie-in-the-sky Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

Yet India, long term, skillfully guided by Russia, is being steered to find essential common ground with China in several key issues.

BRICS, especially in its expanded BRICS+ version, is bound to increase cooperation on building truly stable supply chains, and a settlement mechanism for resources and raw material trade, which inevitably has to be based in local currencies. Then the path will be open for the Holy Grail: a BRICS payment system as a credible alternative to the weaponized U.S. dollar and SWIFT.

Meanwhile, a torrent of bilateral investments from both China and India in the manufacturing and services sector around their neighbors is bound to lift up smaller players in both Southeast Asia and South Asia: think Cambodia and Bangladesh as important cogs in a vast supply wheel.

Yaroslav Lissovolik had already proposed a BEAMS concept as the core of this BRICS integration drive, uniting “the key regional integration initiatives of BRICS economies such as BIMSTEC, EAEU, the ASEAN-China free trade agreement, Mercosur and SADC/SACU.”

It’s only (BRICS) rock’n roll

Now Beijing seems eager to promote “an inclusive format for dialogue spanning all the main regions of the Global South via aggregating the regional integration platforms in Eurasia, Africa and Latin America. Going forward this format may be further expanded to include other regional integration blocks from Eurasia, such as the GCC, EAEU and others.”

Lissovolik notes how the ideal path from now on should be “the greater inclusivity of BRICS via the BRICS+ framework that allows smaller economies that are the regional partners of BRICS to have a say in the new global governance framework.”

Before he addressed the St. Petersburg forum on video, President Xi called Putin personally to say, among other things, that he’s got China’s back on all “sovereignty and security” themes. They also, inevitably, discussed the relevance of BRICS as a key platform towards the multipolar world.

Meanwhile, the collective West plunges deeper into the maelstrom. A massive national demonstration of trade unions this past Monday paralyzed Brussels – the capital of the EU and NATO – as 80,000 people expressed their anger at the rising and rising cost of living; called for elites to “spend money on salaries, not on weapons”; and yelled in unison “Stop NATO.”

It’s zugzwang all over again. The EU’s “direct losses”, as Putin stressed, provoked by the sanctions hysteria, “could exceed $400 billion a year”. Russia’s energy earnings have hit record levels. The ruble is at a 7-year high against the euro.

It’s a blast that arguably the most powerful cultural artifact of the entire Cold War – and Western supremacy – era, the perennial Rolling Stones, is currently on tour across a “caught in a crossfire hurricane” EU. On every show they play, for the first time live, one of their early classics: ‘Out of Time’.

Sounds much like a requiem. So let’s all sing, “Baby baby baby / you’re out of time”, as one Vladimir “it’s a gas, gas, gas” Putin and his sidekick Dmitry “Under My Thumb” Medvedev seem to be the guys really getting their rocks off. It’s only (BRICS) rock’n roll, but we like it.

Sitrep Operation Z: Messy Grind again and more Great Walkback

June 15, 2022

Source

By Amarynth

We start with the broader environment:

It is Zelensky’s decision, says the Chorus of the Great Walkback.

“The people and the government of Ukraine, led by President Zelensky, must decide on their own the issue of the possibility of territorial concessions.” – US Secretary of State Blinken. According to the head of the State Department, the United States does not intend to impose its position.

(You have lost, and you don’t want to say it Blinken!)

We see more and more western statements that Ukraine can end the war, via loss of territories. This is sheer desperation to avoid even an iota of responsibility for the loss of lives that they caused. They don’t know how to get out, they have to get out, they have to save face for their domestic audiences in the face of a spectacular loss of prestige, so again, Zelensky is being thrown under the bus and the Ukraine is an orphan.

Russia in any event says nyet! It will be on our terms, not yours.

A moment of skewed brilliance struck the former commander of NATO forces in Europe, Wesley Clark. He says that without the direct intervention of the Alliance, it will not be possible to end the war in the Ukraine. He is of course wrong, but his calculus is interesting:

Moreover, if NATO does not intervene in Ukraine, it may dissolve itself. “The idea that Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is now advocating, and which finds support among other members of the alliance – that NATO can not actively intervene unless it is directly attacked – this idea has remained in the 90s.”

So, he wants to order the Russians to cease fire.

“It’s time to learn the lessons “NATO must intervene. Let’s officially recognize this and order the Russians to cease fire.”

According to this retired US Army general, the alliance must either “go beyond the outlined framework, or stop its activities.”  (But .. but, all this time, you said NATO was only a defensive alliance.)

Maybe, at last, he got it! The idea here is to push NATO back to its own borders and if it won’t go, the Russians will make it go!

Maria Zakharova, perfectly on time and topic during the St Petersburg Economic Forum:

“If you’re looking for media objectivity, best not focus on the West’s portrayal of Ukraine.”

Meanwhile in China, Xi Jinping signed a legal framework as to how China’s military forces will operate in a war, that is not a war. Like, as an example, a special military operation. And then, Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation today. “China is ready to continue to support each other with Russia on issues of sovereignty and security” – Xi Jinping in a conversation with Putin. Your guess here is as good as mine, but it looks like the two leaders are expecting more Special Military Operations, or military/technical work.

From there, we again follow Dmitry Medvedev: “I saw a message that Ukraine wants to receive LNG from its overseas owners under Lend-Lease with payment for delivery in 2 years. Otherwise, next winter it will simply freeze.
Just a question.

And who said that in two years Ukraine will even exist on the world map? Although the Americans don’t care anymore – they have invested so much in the “anti-Russia” project that everything else is a trifle for them.”

The Great Walkback is visible to all who care to look!

And he did not stop there and spoke on sanctions: It turned out that the specially gifted characters I wrote about began to realize that Russia is our beloved Motherland. And it also dawned on them that without our country they could not survive.
After all, otherwise they will not receive:
– food for their citizens;
– fertilizers to produce food for their citizens;
– sources of energy for the production of food and heating of their citizens;
– metals and other products for the production of machines and mechanisms for their citizens;
– fuel for European and American nuclear power plants, which provide 20-40% of electricity to their citizens.
The list goes on.
Now we are looking forward to the next package of European sanctions and Grandfather Joe’s great sanctions decisions, about which the authors of these same sanctions immediately begin to come up with circumvention schemes.
I will not remind you about inflation, prices for all types of fuel and forecasts for the fall of economies. All data is publicly available.
And this is only the first month of summer.
We are waiting for autumn… when we will have to collect the main sanctions harvest.
In the meantime, the locomotive of their economy of services and digital currencies is flying into the wall at full steam. Smile, gentlemen, smile!”
https://t.me/medvedev_telegram/110

On the battlefield, it is mostly a replay now.

The work of the humanitarian corridor from the Azot plant in Severodonetsk was disrupted by the Ukrainian side on its first day, 1 person came out, the DPR military reported.

Latest Russian Mod Statement:  https://t.me/mod_russia_en/2197

And Military Summary from Rumble is as detailed as possible during another Grind phase. https://rumble.com/v18fye1-ukraine.-military-summary-and-analysis-14.06.2022.html

Some comments say that they still do not understand the small Ukrainian environment vis a vis the SMO and even less of the broader environment viz a viz a move to a multipolar world. Here is a Ukrainian map of the oblasts, and then, we follow with a Readovka map. Simply eyeball the two maps, and you will see the progress.

زلّة لسان

الإثنين 23 أيار 2022

بثينة شعبان 

صحيح أن العيون تتّجه إلى أوكرانيا لمعرفة نتيجة الحسم العسكري بين روسيا وحلف الناتو العدواني هناك، ولكن ما يجري بالتوازي من إعادة تشكُّلات وصياغات في عالم اليوم قد يكون هو الأهم.

لم تكن زلّة لسان الرئيس جورج بوش الابن لتحدث في ظروف أكثر مواءمة وخدمة لما تحاول الصين وروسيا أن تؤكداه، وسط أحداث متسارعة ومعقدة؛ فقد قال الرئيس بوش الابن: ” قرار رجل واحد لشن غزو وحشيّ غير مبرّر للعراق… آه… أقصد لأوكرانيا”، وضحك الجمهور، وأعاد هو: “العراق، العراق”، وسط أنباء جادة يتحدّث بها الرئيس الصيني شي جين بينغ عن شكل العالم المقبل، في كلمته المهمة في الـ 21 من نيسان/ أبريل لمنتدى بواو الآسيوي، ووسط إعلان وزارة الخارجية الروسية بعد مناقشة نسخة جديدة من مفهوم السياسة الخارجية الروسية في ضوء الحرب الغربية على روسيا باستخدام أوكرانيا.

زلّة لسان

وبدلاً من أن يستنكر القرّاء والمشاهدون كل القرارات الأحادية والحروب غير الشرعية التي شنّتها الولايات المتحدة على الشعوب الآمنة في أفغانستان والعراق وليبيا وسوريا واليمن، فقد أتت زلّة لسان جورج بوش الابن، المسؤول هو وأبوه عن مقتل الملايين من المدنيين العراقيين حصاراً وقتلاً وإرهاباً ووباءً، لتكشف ما حاول هو وإدارته والإدارات السابقة واللاحقة أن يخفوه، وبرهن (ولتبرهن) أنه يسكن في “لا وعيهم” من غزو ظالم وغير مبرر للعراق، ما زال الشعب العراقي يدفع ثمنه في كل يوم من حياة أبنائه.

كما أنّ عمليات النهب الأميركية للموارد العراقية والليبية والسورية جريمة تطال لقمة عيش جميع أبناء الشعب العربي في هذه البلدان، لأن هذا النهب الاستعماري لموارد الشعب السوري واحتلال أرضه وسرقة نفطه وقمحه قد تمثّل زلّات لسان لرؤساء ومسؤولين أميركيين في المستقبل، ولكنه (ولكنها) جريمة إبادة جماعية لما سببه (سبّبته) من آلام وموت للمدنيين المحاصرين.

ولكن العالم اليوم لم يعد بحاجة إلى الكشف عن المستور، لأنه لم يتبقَّ هناك مستور أصلاً سوى حملات التضليل الإعلامية التي يصدّرها الغرب للعالم، وينسج من خلالها أكاذيبه وأوهامه. والخطوة الأولى المجدية في عالم اليوم هي أن يتبنّى جميع الحريصين على حياة البشر إما مقاطعة هذا الإعلام الغربي المزيّف، وإما التساؤل بشأن كل سردية يتبنّاها حيال أي قضية في العالم. إنني أجد نفسي أعيد صياغة ما أقرأه من إعلام غربي حول سوريا أو فلسطين أو لبنان أو إيران أو أوكرانيا أو الصين، وأتساءل اليوم ما هي جدوى قراءة إعلام أصبحنا نعلم علم اليقين أنه مكرّس لخدمة أهداف استعمارية لمن يشنّون الحروب على دولنا ويقومون باحتلال أرضنا ودعم الإرهاب ضد شعبنا وتمويله وإرسال الإرهابيين وتسليحهم واحتلال أرض أشقائنا وأصدقائنا، ويعطّلون أيّ قرارات أمميّة تحاول أن تحقق ولو جزءاً من العدالة للشعوب المستضعفة؟؟ 

فإذا كان اجتماع وزارة الخارجية الروسية قد ناقش مهامّ السياسة الخارجية الروسية في ضوء الحقائق الجيوسياسية المتغيّرة جذرياً، فإن هذه الحقائق قد تغيّرت بالنسبة إلى العرب منذ وعد بلفور وسايكس بيكو واحتلال فلسطين من قبل عصابات الإرهاب الصهيونية، ومنذ غزو العراق وقصف ليبيا، وشنّ حرب إرهابية على مدى عقد ونيّف على سوريا، وتدمير حياة المدنيين العرب في اليمن، ومع ذلك لم يعقد العرب اجتماعاً واحداً لدراسة الوضع المستجد حيالهم، ودراسة الخطوات التي يمكن اتخاذها لحماية أنفسهم من سياسة التشظّي وتفتيت البلدان والشعوب إلى طوائف وأعراق وإثنيات على حساب اللُحمة الوطنية المنشودة، وهي سياسة فرّقْ تسُدْ الاستعمارية التي تستهدف العرب جميعاً.

إنّ النقاش الدائر في روسيا والصين يُري أن البلدين يدركان أن العالم قد تغيّر، وأن لا عودة تُرتجى إلى عالم ما قبل الـ 24 من شباط، وهو تاريخ انطلاق العملية العسكرية الروسية في أوكرانيا، ولذلك فإنهما منشغلان بوضع المرتسمات الجديدة لعالم ما بعد اليوم وعالم المستقبل. ومن يقرأ كلمة الرئيس شي جين بينغ يجد أنها تضع رؤية للتحديات التي طرأت على عالم اليوم، ومساراً للتعامل معها بجدية لضمان السير إلى الأمام رغم كل التحديات. ويؤكد خطاب بينغ أن زمن الحرب الباردة ونزعة الهيمنة وسياسة القوة ستكون جزءاً من الماضي، وقد طرح مبادرة الأمن العالمي من خلال التمسّك بمفهوم الأمن المشترك والشامل والتعاوني والمستدام، والعمل معاً على صيانة السلام والأمن في العالم، ومعارضة السعي إلى الأمن القومي على حساب الأمن القومي للغير.

في هذه المرحلة المفصلية بتشكُّل عالم جديد وسعي الأطراف في الشرق لأن تكون فاعلة في تشكيل هذا العالم، لاقتناعهم بأنّ أسس الهيمنة الغربية آيلة إلى الزوال، وأنها أصبحت مرفوضة وغير قادرة على الاستمرار، وأنها تخوض معركة منازعة أخيرة مهما بدت أنها طويلة اليوم، ولكنها ستكون الأخيرة.

في هذه المرحلة يتهدّد العرب جميعاً خطران أساسيان، إضافة إلى خطر الصهيونية الجاثمة على ضمير الأمة وأرض فلسطين والجولان، ألا وهما: الخطر العثماني الإخواني، وخطر أن لا يجد العرب لأنفسهم موطئ قدم إذا ما استمروا في حالة الفرقة والتشظّي التي يعيشونها اليوم، والتي لا يبدو أن هناك جهداً حقيقياً وواعداً للتخلص منها. فالخطر العثماني الإخواني اليوم حقيقي على سوريا والعراق وليبيا، حيث يحتل الأرض ويقيم القواعد وينشر لغته وثقافته وأكاذيبه وعملاءه من إخوان الشياطين، ويُلبس هيمنته لبوس الحرص على اللاجئين أو المسلمين أو محاربة التنظيمات الكردية، وهو لبوس لا يقل خطراً علينا جميعاً من وعد بلفور واتفاقية سايكس بيكو.

واللافت أنه بدأ بأسلوب مختلف بمحاولة تدنيس أرض الجزائر الطاهرة، من خلال اتخاذ الجزائر بوابة للدخول إلى شمال أفريقيا وأفريقيا، بعد أن فشل في أن تكون تونس منصة انطلاقه لنشر فكر الإخوان المسلمين وعقيدتهم في شمال أفريقيا. وفي هذه البلدان تتعدّد أساليبه وأدوات مكره؛ فحيث لا يستطيع (يتمكّن من) الاحتلال المباشر، قد يلجأ إلى التسلل الاقتصادي أو العقائدي كي يثبّت أقدامه في المكان، وينطلق منه لتحقيق غاياته وأهدافه التي لا تختلف بين شمال قبرص والشمال السوري والشمال العراقي والليبي والعمق الجزائري.

صحيح أن العيون تتّجه إلى أوكرانيا لمعرفة نتيجة الحسم العسكري بين روسيا وحلف الناتو العدواني هناك، ولكن ما يجري بالتوازي من إعادة تشكُّلات وصياغات في عالم اليوم قد يكون هو الأهم، لأنه هو الذي يُرسي أسس العالم الجديد وشكله، وسوف تكون الغلبة، ولا شكّ، لمن يخطط ويفكّر من اليوم أو من البارحة، أين سيكون تموضعه في هذا العالم، وكيف وما هي الميزات والأدوات التي يمتلكها كي يكون رقماً صعباً في عالم يسهم في بنيانه ويشكّل جزءاً من هويته وتوجّهاته.

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

A New Order in West Asia: The Case of China’s Strategic Presence in Syria

9 May 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Mohamad Zreik 

As the world order shifts into a multipolar world, a new balance of power based on economic ties centered in Asia emerges.

A New Order in West Asia: The Case of China’s Strategic Presence in Syria

Unanimity on a new American century had gone unchecked for a decade. The warhawk John Bolton lambasted Xi’s authoritarianism, claiming the new crackdown has made it practically hard for the CIA to keep agents in China.

Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) has evolved enormously since its inception. Today, multipolarity has developed, promising long-term progress for everyone who follows its norms. And Syria is one among them, had lately returned to world prominence after defeating a decade-long military offensive by the traditional unipolar actors.

In spite of this, unlawful US sanctions continue to harm the hungry, impede the rehabilitation of essential infrastructure and access to clean water, and restrict the livelihood of millions in Syria.

“We welcome Syria’s involvement in the Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Development Initiative,” stated Xi Jinping to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on November 5.

In July 2021, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with the Arab League’s head to discuss Syria’s return to the fold. A four-point plan to end Syria’s multi-faceted crisis was signed by China at the end of the tour, which coincided with Assad’s re-election.

Surrounded by western-backed separatist movements, Syria reiterated its support for China’s territorial integrity. In 2018, China gave Syria $28 million, and in September 2019, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi proposed China-Iraq oil for rebuilding and greater BRI integration.

Events orchestrated by foreign forces halted this progress. Protests swiftly overthrew Abdul Mahdi’s administration and the oil-for-reconstruction scheme. In recent months, Iraq has rekindled this endeavor, but progress has been modest.

These projects are currently mostly channeled through the 25-year Comprehensive Strategic Partnership deal between China and Iran in March 2021. This might open the way for future rail and energy lines connecting Iran with Iraq and Syria.

At the first formal BRI meeting in April 2019, President Assad stated: “The Silk Route (Belt and Road Initiative) crossing through Syria is a foregone conclusion when this infrastructure is constructed, since it is not a road you can merely put on a map.”

China and Syria are now staying quiet on specifics. Assad’s wish list may be deduced from his previous strategic vision for Syria. Assad’s Five Seas Strategy, which he pushed from 2004 to 2011, has gone after the US began attacking Syria.

The “Five Seas Strategy” includes building rail, roads, and energy systems to connect Syria to the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, Black, Red, and Caspian Seas. The project is a logical link that connects Mackinder’s world island’s states. This initiative was “the most significant thing” Assad has ever done, he claimed in 2009.

Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon were among the countries Assad led delegations to sign agreements with in 2011. President Qaddafi of Libya and a coalition of nations including Sudan, Ethiopia, and Egypt were building the Great Man-Made River at the time.

We can’t comprehend why Qaddafi was killed, why Sudan was partitioned in 2009, or why the US is presently financing a regime change in Ethiopia until we grasp this tremendous, game-changing strategic paradigm. Diplomatic confidentiality between China and West Asia is so essential in the post-regime transition situation.

Over the last decade, BRI-compliant initiatives throughout West Asia and Africa have been sabotaged in various ways. This has been a pattern. Neither Assad nor the Chinese want to go back to that.

The Arab League re-admitted Syria on November 23, revealing the substance of this hidden diplomacy. They have proved that they are prepared to accept their humiliation, acknowledge Assad’s legitimacy, and adjust to the new Middle Eastern powers of China and Russia: the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Unlike decades of US promises that consider Arab participation as disposable short-term interests, the China-Russia cooperation provides genuine, demonstrable advantages for everybody.

The BRI now includes 17 Arab and 46 African countries, while the US has spent the last decade sanctioning and fining those who do not accept its global hegemony. Faced with a possible solution to its current economic problems and currency fluctuations, Turkey has turned to China for help.

Buying ISIS-controlled oil, sending extremist fighters to the region, and receiving arms from Saudi Arabia and Qatar were all known methods of supporting ISIS and Al Qaeda operations in Iraq and Syria. The CIA’s funding has dwindled in recent months, leaving ISIS with little else to work with.

Though US President Joe Biden reiterated US military backing for the Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces (SDF), the Kurds’ hand has been overplayed. Many people now realize that the Kurds have been tricked into acting as ISIS’ counter-gang, and that promises of a Kurdish state are as unreal as Assad’s demise. For a long time, it was evident that Syria’s only hope for survival was Russia’s military assistance and China’s BRI, both of which need Turkey to preserve Syria’s sovereignty.

This new reality and the impending collapse of the old unipolar order in West Asia give reason to believe that the region, or at least a significant portion of it, is already locked in and counting on the upcoming development and connectivity boom.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

US ‘coercive diplomacy’ with Saudi Arabia

While a carrot may advance US interests infinitely better than a stick at this sensitive juncture in US-Saudi relations, all indications are that Biden will resort to the stick.

May 07 2022

The US cannot budge oil production and prices with this geopolitical line-up blocking its path. So Washington may strike at the weakest link – in Riyadh. Photo Credit: The Cradle

By MK Bhadrakumar

Some three weeks after the reported meeting of CIA chief William Burns with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS), the OPEC+ ministerial held a videoconference on Thursday.

The OPEC+ meeting drew satisfaction that “continuing oil market fundamentals and the consensus on the outlook pointed to a balanced market.” The press release issued in Vienna says the ministerial “further noted the continuing effects of geopolitical factors and issues related to the ongoing pandemic” and decided that OPEC+ should stick to the monthly production adjustment mechanism agreed in July last year “to adjust upward the monthly overall production by 0.432 million barrels/day for the month of June 2022.”

Former Wall Street Journal publisher Karen Elliott House says Burns came to Saudi Arabia for a “mating dance” with MbS — namely, the latter must cooperate on a new oil-for-security strategy to “increase production to save European nations from energy shortages.”

Burns’ visit to the kingdom took place just ahead of the fifth round of Saudi-Iranian normalization talks in Baghdad between the Saudi intelligence chief and the deputy head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi who acted as mediator and attended the talks, told state media last week, “Our brothers in Saudi Arabia and Iran approach the dialogue with a big responsibility as demanded by the current regional situation. We are convinced that reconciliation is near.”

In addition, Iranian outlet Nournews, affiliated with the country’s Supreme National Security Council, reported on 24 April that the fifth round of talks on a possible détente was “constructive,” that the negotiators managed “to draw a clearer picture” of how to resume bilateral relations, and that “given the constructive bilateral dialogue so far, there is a possibility of a meeting between the Iranian and Saudi top diplomats in the near future.”

Burns’ mission couldn’t have been indifferent toward the Saudi reconciliation track with Tehran. With the outcome of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) talks in Vienna still uncertain, Iran’s close ties with Russia and China remains a major worry for Washington. And with Tehran’s stubborn refusal to trim its regional policies to suit US regional strategies, Washington has fallen back on its usual default option to resuscitate an anti-Iran front of its regional allies. The US hopes that Saudi Arabia will come on board the Abraham Accords.

Soaring energy prices

Meanwhile, the issue of energy pricing has returned to centre stage. Indeed, high oil prices mean increased income for Russia. Russia’s sales of oil and natural gas far exceeded initial forecasts for 2021 as a result of skyrocketing prices, accounting for 36 percent of the country’s total budget. The revenues exceeded initial plans by 51.3 percent, totaling a whopping $119 billion. The Biden administration’s best-laid plans to cripple the Russian economy are unravelling. Equally, high energy prices is also a domestic issue for Biden who faces daunting elections this Autumn. Above all, unless Europe finds other oil sources, it will continue buying Russian oil.

The Saudi crown price, however, has a different agenda. After ascending to power, he is likely to rule the kingdom for many decades — half a century if he lives to 86, his father’s age. And MbS has been remarkably successful in creating his own Saudi ‘power base’ without US help. His lifestyle changes have been a smashing hit with Saudis 35 and under — 70 percent of the kingdom’s citizens — and his ambition to transform Saudi Arabia into a modern technological leader ignites the imagination of the youth.

Clearly, his refusal to punish Russia and his $2 billion ‘gesture’ toward a new, untested investment fund started by former US president Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, speak for themselves. MbS has his own reasons for these actions, starting with Biden’s contemptuous reference to Saudi Arabia as a “pariah” state and his refusal to deal with the crown prince in person.

MbS hit back recently by declining to take a call from Joe Biden. Besides the petty stuff, the US restrictions on arms sales to the kingdom; insufficient response assistance to attacks on Saudi Arabia by Yemeni forces; publication of a report into the 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi — all these are in play here.

Even if the administration is able to obtain congressional approval for new security guarantees for Saudi Arabia (which is rather problematic), MbS might very well refuse to be swayed, since at the end of the day, high oil prices boost the ailing Saudi budget too.

The paradox is, both Saudi Arabia and Russia are stakeholders in OPEC+ as is evident from the explicit warning to the EU by OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo last month that it would be impossible to replace more than 7 million barrels per day of Russian oil and other liquids exports potentially lost due to current or future sanctions or voluntary actions.

Given the torrential geopolitical and economic crosscurrents at play here, what possibly unnerves the Biden Administration most is talk of an upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia by Chinese President Xi Jinping. There are persisting recent reports that Riyadh and Beijing are in discussions to price some of the kingdom’s oil sales in yuan rather than dollars, which would indeed mark a profound shift for global oil markets, and help advance China’s efforts to convince more countries and international investors to transact in its currency.

The Saudi explanation for the shift to the yuan is that the kingdom could use part of new currency revenues to pay Chinese contractors involved in domestic mega projects within Saudi Arabia, which would reduce the risks associated with the capital controls Beijing imposes on its currency. But, for Washington, that means certain sensitive Saudi-China transactions in yuan do not appear in the rearview mirror of the western-controlled SWIFT messaging infrastructure, making transaction monitoring unviable.

There are persistent US reports that with Chinese support, Saudi Arabia may be constructing a new uranium processing facility near Al Ula to enhance its pursuit of nuclear technology. Riyadh’s generous $8 billion in financial support for Pakistan, unveiled this week, will almost certainly raise hiccups in Washington.

Saudi Arabia is a central pillar of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and ranks in the top three countries globally for Chinese construction projects, according to the China Global Investment Tracker, run by the American Enterprise Institute. Suffice to say, the CIA chief’s call could not have been for a friendly chat with the Saudi crown prince.

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

Lebanese Media: An Arab Pioneer on Media Silk Road

3 Apr 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

Mohamad Zreik 

“The land of liberties” is a fitting label for Lebanon, a remarkable country that deserves it.

Lebanese Media: An Arab Pioneer on Media Silk Road

The right to free press is revered and guarded in Lebanon. Constitutional freedom of expression in Lebanon is guaranteed under Article 13, which states that all forms of expression are protected “within the bounds imposed by law.” For many people, the most arduous way to freedom is not the path of armed struggle, but rather the path of free and brave speech. “The land of liberties” is a fitting label for Lebanon, a remarkable country that deserves it.

Without the sacrifices of the martyrs, this attribute would not have been part of the Lebanese identity. It’s everything on the altar of the press and the sacredness of the free word. The message of peace and freedom of expression may be carried by Lebanon. Because there is no peace without freedom, the two concepts are intertwined in their connection. Several Lebanese journalists were exonerated from the gallows by the Ottoman Empire during the month of May of the year 1958. Since the killed journalists’ mandate was: “We die free and do not live as slaves or captives of others,” May 6 has been declared a feast day for the martyrs in Lebanon.

The Lebanese press has a rich history of events and phases that have been etched into the minds of the Lebanese. The comments of An-Nahar newspaper, held by Chairman of the Board, Gibran Tueni, who took up his pen and walked out into the streets to remind the world that in Lebanon, freedom of speech and expression are taken by pen and not by gun, are well-remembered by all of us. “We promise by Almighty God, Muslims and Christians, that we will remain together in defense of glorious Lebanon forever and ever,” Gibran Tueni swore to the Lebanese people.

As a result of the vast range of freedoms it enjoys, Lebanon stands out regionally and globally. For example, there are television stations in Lebanon for each and every political party. In addition to the many free internet sites, private newspapers are all examples. Freedom of expression is not constrained by any red lines; as long as it does not infringe on the sacred and national sovereignty, you are free to voice your thoughts. Since Arab countries have rigorous monitoring agencies and stringent laws, Lebanon will remain a milestone in the free Arab media.

An unauthorized political journal, “The News Garden,” was published by Khalil El-Khoury in Beirut on January 1, 1858, and is regarded as “the mother of Arab newspapers.” Count Rashid Al-Dahdah, who published the “Barjis” newspaper in Paris in 1858 and Ahmed Faris al-Shidyaq, who published the “Al-Jawa’ib” newspaper in Istanbul in 1861 are just two examples of Lebanese involvement in the publication of Arab newspapers published abroad. According to writer Laila Hamdoun, we find that most of the Arab newspapers were issued by Lebanese intellectuals, for example, the great “Butros al-Bustani” has launched “Nafeer Syria“, Lebanon’s second newspaper, in 1860 in Beirut, appealing for national unity in the wake of the sectarian murders of 1860. The cinema and theatre have also grown popular in Lebanon.

These remarks have been written during my stay in China, the land of civilization, culture, science, and commerce. As a specialist in the “Belt and Road Initiative” that was first introduced in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, and in order to highlight the Lebanese role in this effort, I decided to link the free Lebanese press in the Arab world to the Belt and Road Initiative, which aims in part at people-to-people exchange and cultural understanding.

Newspapers in Lebanon, media professionals, and authors claim that “our time today is different from prior periods.” People in Lebanon have long had an eye on the West, and they’ve done it through airing Hollywood films, importing anything dubbed, and keeping tabs on political developments in the West. To that end, I urge Lebanese political and media officials, as the stewards of Lebanon’s culture and language, not to cut ties with the West. At the same time, keep in mind that this is China’s golden period and that this great Asian is no less than the Western nations.

Speaking at the 2016 Media Cooperation Forum’s opening ceremony, Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed his country’s Belt and Road Initiative. Chinese President Xi Jinping mentioned that the media is a platform for constructive discourse, the sharing of ideas, and collaboration. Without an active and unbiased role for the media, there is no contact between peoples. Without media, the Belt and Road Initiative’s goal of bridging cultures won’t be able to fulfill its full potential.

As a technologically advanced country, China employs the most up-to-date broadcasting techniques in its media partnership with Lebanon. Co-operation between China and the Arab countries in media has become essential. According to Wang Chen of China’s State Council Information Office, media interactions between Beijing and Beirut are a priority for the country.

China has established a tight relationship with Lebanon through television shows that introduce the Lebanese people to the Chinese culture. As part of its Belt and Road Initiative, China has recently displayed a keen interest in the Arab world. CGTN Arabic and China Arab TV, two Chinese TV stations, have been introduced to the Arab satellites Nilesat and Arabsat, which transmit documentaries and news about China and the Arab world. To keep up with all of CGTN Arabic and China International Radio‘s social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Wechat), separate department staffed by Chinese and Arabs has been established.

A deal was reached in 2016 between Lebanon TV and China’s state television, whereby Lebanon was provided with certain equipment. National News Agency was given a large number of computers and training workshops by the Chinese government in order to facilitate mutual collaboration.

More seminars and training sessions for journalists and more equipment donations are expected from the Chinese government in Lebanon. Media in Lebanon will focus on Chinese matters, invite Chinese specialists and introduce the Lebanese people and Arabs to Chinese news. As China’s influence in Lebanon grows, it’s feasible that Lebanese media outlets may start publishing content in Chinese. Videos, interviews, and information on Lebanon can be used by the Chinese media to educate the Chinese population about the country. China may invite Chinese journalists and press students to visit Lebanon to learn more about the nation and collaborate with Lebanese journalists in order to speed up the reporting of the news.

Ex-Chinese Ambassador to Lebanon Jiang said the media collaboration between China and Lebanon is growing quickly, and he underlined that China is a long-term supporter of both the government and Lebanese media outlets. During the Chinese Spring Festival and Chinese National Day each year, the Chinese Embassy in Lebanon and Lebanon TV work together to broadcast programs in China.

The works of the Chinese Cultural Centre in Beirut (Confucius Institute) should be extended so that it can do other functions, such as translating Chinese films into Arabic. Due to Lebanon’s high cultural value, many Chinese dubbing businesses have shown a desire to cooperate with Chinese media outlets. In order to make Lebanese culture more accessible to the Chinese audience, films from the country will be dubbed. ‘Capernaum’, a film directed by Nadine Labaki, was the first Lebanese film to be dubbed into Chinese. In addition to books and poetry which could enhance cultural exchange.

A plan for successful Chinese-Arab media cooperation is being devised by China, which includes enhancing communication between Chinese and Arab media, establishing a media administrative system that serves the common Chinese-Arab interest, and raising electronic media cooperation.

“Media Silk Road” has emerged in recent years as a term for the media cooperation between Belt and Road Initiative countries. There are four committees that focus on news cooperation, integrated communication, cooperation in program production, and industrial cooperation. The main mission is to promote international peace by fostering cultural exchange between nations. More positive steps are expected to be taken by the international television cooperation community of the Silk Road in order to benefit both Chinese and Arab interests.

As part of the Belt and Road Initiative, the people of participating countries play a significant role in its implementation. As a result, in accordance with the principles of cultural communication and freedom of speech, the media should be a tool to enrich the Arab people’s knowledge about China and the Belt and Road initiative.

Considering Lebanon’s status as a participant of the Belt and Road Initiative, it is expected that Lebanon will play an important role in promoting the initiative in Lebanon and the Arab world. As part of an Arab media strategy for the Belt and Road Initiative, Lebanon might be designated as an authorized media hub in conjunction with the Chinese authorities. There are numerous examples of Sino-Lebanese media and cultural collaboration that have been successful, and this proposed cooperation could be another success.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Here comes China (and they don’t stop!)

March 19, 2022

Source

By Amarynth collaborating with Godfree Roberts’ Newsletter, Here Comes China

Biden / Xi Summit.

In perfect Chinese diplomatic terms, it looks like business as usual. Taken outside of the perfect diplomatic terms, it is a true spanking.

Let’s take one paragraph only and remember a few things first:

Washington, as usual, threatened and danced something like the haka and warned Xi not to support Russia in any way or the consequences would be dire for China. Washington threatened with equally applied sanctions and other dire unmentionables.  Apparently, Washington can support who it wants, but China is in some form prohibited from exactly that.  Hypocritically they want it both ways.  That era is over.

A few hours before the ‘summit’, China had a perfectly normal sail-by through the Taiwan Straits of their aircraft carrier Shandong.  Yes, this is ‘likely routine’ says their spox.  Sure, it was highly likely just routine.  It must have been a wonderful day for the Shandong to take a little sail through the Taiwan Straits.

A few hours before the ‘summit’ Global times had an interview with an unnamed official.  (Is China playing the US game here by not naming the official?).  This is the take-away:  “The international community can fairly judge who is frank and open and who is up to something, who is easing the situation and who is aggravating tension, who is promoting peace talks and who is pouring fuel on the fire, and who is maintaining peace and stability and who is provoking confrontations between blocs.”

Xi Jinping made a pre-summit statement: Countries should not come to the point of meeting on the battlefield. Conflict and confrontation are not in anyone’s interest. Peace and security are what the international community should treasure the most.

So, this is the milieu that Biden walked into at the online summit.  We must know by now what this is all about.  None of the boring line-up of US representatives could bend China to their will to support sanctions against Russia, so, time for a Presidential Summit to yet again attempt to split China and Russia.  This is how perfectly ridiculous this attempt is:  Can you help me fight your friend so that I can concentrate on fighting you later?

Here is how it went:

President Biden expounded on the US position and expressed readiness for communication with China to prevent the situation from exacerbating.

Simply said:  How can we make a deal so that the US/Nato alliance remains a unipolar world and all others must be subservient.

President Xi pointed out that China does not want to see the situation in Ukraine to come to this. China stands for peace and opposes war. This is embedded in China’s history and culture.

Simply said:  Hey Biden, mistake number one!  You do not know who you are talking to, but now I’m going to tell you

  • China makes a conclusion independently based on the merits of each matter.
  • China advocates upholding international law and universally recognized norms governing international relations.
  • China adheres to the UN Charter and promotes the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. These are the major principles that underpin China’s approach to the Ukraine crisis.
  • China has put forward a six-point initiative on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, and is ready to provide further humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and other affected countries.
  • All sides need to jointly support Russia and Ukraine in having dialogue and negotiation that will produce results and lead to peace.

Simply stated:  This is the crux of the matter and seemingly you are unable to grasp it!

  • The US and NATO should also have dialogue with Russia to address the crux of the Ukraine crisis and ease the security concerns of both Russia and Ukraine.

Message:  Go away and take your position and money with you!  You had your opportunity and you became a warmaker, coercing others to your will.  Enough is enough!  We have principles, law and morals and ethical standards.  You hold on to ‘positions’ favorable to you only.

China is active in the EU as well and the discussion does not remain dry and diplomatically correct. 

China is playing into its strengths, saying what is correct in terms of its own national interest and it happens to co-incide with that of the non-insane world.   The spokespeople are highly educated, clear, exceptionally well-spoken, and smart.   They also mercilessly dig in the knife when opportunity shows.  In a recent press conference:

CCTV: US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said that the US is concerned about Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure which caused civilian casualties. However, China has yet to state its position explicitly. How does the foreign ministry view such criticism from other countries on China?

Zhao Lijian: Human lives are precious. Civilian casualties under all circumstances are heart-rending and lamentable. China has all along called for every effort to avoid civilian casualties. We still remember that in March 1999, the US-led NATO, without the Security Council’s mandate, flagrantly unleashed a ruthless bombing campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for 78 days, killing at least 2,500 innocent civilians and injuring around 10,000 people, most of them civilians. Over the past two decades or so, the US conducted tens of thousands of air strikes in places like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. The number of innocent civilians killed can be anywhere between 22,000 and 48,000. When professing its concern for the welfare of the Ukrainian people, shouldn’t the US first express concern over the civilian casualties caused by all these military operations?

I particularly enjoyed this vignette:

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that any support to Russia, military or any other type of support, would actually help Russia conduct a brutal war against an independent sovereign nation, Ukraine, and help them to continue to wage war which is causing death, suffering and an enormous amount of destruction.

This was the comment of the Chinese spokesperson:

Chinese people can fully relate to the pains and sufferings of other countries because we will never forget who bombed our embassy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  China does not need a lecture on justice from the abuser of international law. As a Cold War remnant and the world’s largest military alliance, NATO continues to expand its geographical scope and range of operations. What kind of role has it played in world peace and stability? NATO needs to have a good reflection.

Currency

Against this backdrop, the news filtered out about The Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and China designing a new monetary and financial system bypassing the U.S. dollar, supervised by Sergei Glazyev and intended to compete with the Bretton Woods system which is now less than 50% of the currency flow in the world.  While news is still very scarce on this front, it fulfilled the purpose of telling Biden once again to go away if US/NATO cannot be a serious contender to building a peaceful and prosperous world.

Godfree Roberts, in his last newsletter, did an overview of the major historical milestones.  I am not sure if the concept of a special drawing rights fiat currency revaluated regularly against a basket of currencies will be the way this rolls out.  Stand by!  Much more incoming!  We will see.

DOLLAR’S END – Farewell, Inordinate Privilege

  • Credit Suisse analyst Zoltan Pozsar says Ukraine triggered a perfect storm in commodities that could weaken the Eurodollar system, contribute to inflation in Western economies, and threaten their financial stability. Pozsar said China’s central bank is uniquely placed to backstop such crisis, paving the way for a much stronger yuan. Reuters, Mar. 13, 2022.
  • Saudi Arabia Considers Accepting Yuan Instead of Dollars for Chinese Oil Sales: Talks between Riyadh and Beijing have accelerated as the Saudi unhappiness grows with Washington. WSJ, Mar. 14, 2022

–o0o–

In 2009, after helping to rescue the US from the GFC, Zhou Xiaochuan, Governor of the Peoples Bank of China, said, “The world needs an international reserve currency that is disconnected from individual nations and able to remain stable in the long run, removing the inherent deficiencies caused by using credit-based national currencies.”

After helping rescue America from the GFC, PBOC Governor Zhou Xiaochuan observed, “The world needs an international reserve currency that is disconnected from individual nations and able to remain stable in the long run, removing the inherent deficiencies caused by using credit-based national currencies.”

Zhou proposed SDRs, Special Drawing Rights, a synthetic reserve currency dynamically revalued against a basket of trading currencies and commodities. Broad, deep, stable, and impossible to manipulate. Nobelists Fred Bergsten, Robert Mundell, and Joseph Stieglitz approved: “The creation of a global currency would restore a needed coherence to the international monetary system, give the IMF a function that would help it to promote stability and be a catalyst for international harmony”.  Here’s what’s happened since:

2012: Beijing began valuing the yuan against a currency/commodity basket

2014: The IMF issued the first SDR loan

2016: The World Bank issued the first SDR bond

2017: Standard Chartered Bank issued the first commercial SDR notes.

2019: All central banks began stating currency reserves in SDRs

Mar. 14, 2022: “In two weeks, China and the Eurasian Economic Union – Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan – will reveal an independent international monetary and financial system. It will be based on a new international currency, calculated from an index of national currencies of the participating countries and international commodity prices”.

The currency resembles Keynes’ invention Special Drawing Rights.SDRs are a  synthetic currency which derives its value from a global, publicly traded basket of currencies and commodities. Immense beyond imaging, and stable as the Pyramids. Everyone gets a seat at the table and a vote. It may eventually be administered by an arm of the UN.

SDRs pose a serious alternative to the US dollar, both for the EAEU, the BRI’s 145 member states, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), ASEAN, and the RCEP. Middle East countries, including Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, are keenly interested.

Less well known is that the EAEU, the BRI, the SCO, ASEAN, and the RCEP were discussing a merger before the currency news hit.

It is reasonable to expect them to join this new, cooperatively managed, stable reserve currency regime in which they can settle their trades in stable, neutral, predictable SDRs.

Biological labs

China is not losing any opportunity to bring this front and center.  This is their last list of questions:

  • If the concerns are “disinformation”, why doesn’t the U.S. release detailed materials to prove its innocence? – Question by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian on U.S.-funded biolabs in Ukraine.
  • What did the U.S. spend the $200 million on? – Question by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian on U.S.-funded biolabs in Ukraine.
  • What kind of research has the U.S. conducted on which pathogens? – Question by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian on U.S.-funded biolabs in Ukraine.
  • What is it trying to hide when the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine deleted all relevant documents on its website? – Question by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian on U.S.-funded biolabs in Ukraine.
  • Why does the U.S. insist on being the only country in the world to oppose the establishment of a multilateral verification mechanism though it claims to abide by the Biological Weapons Convention? – Question by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian on U.S.-funded biolabs in Ukraine.
  • This is quite an amazing poster detailing the biolab web, which is too large to load here.  But take a look at the depiction of these US biolabs.  https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202203/1255055.shtml

Economic goals in a nutshell

What is happening with Belt and Road?  About the data: On January 21, 2022, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) released its data for “China’s investments and cooperation in countries along the Belt and Road” covering the period of January to December 2021. According to these data, Chinese enterprises invested about US$20.3 billion in non-financial direct investments in countries “along the Belt and Road”. Furthermore, there were 560 newly signed projects with a contract value of over US$100 million. The MOFCOM data focus on 55 countries that are “along the Belt and Road” – meaning on a corridor from China to Europe including South Asia. For this report, the definition of BRI countries includes 142 countries that had signed a cooperation agreement with China to work under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative by the end of 2021. To analyze investments in these countries, we base our data on the China Global Investment Tracker and our own data research at the Green Finance & Development Center affiliated with Fudan University, Shanghai. As with most data, they tend to be imperfect.

Chinese joke

On a somewhat of a lighter note:  The Chinese Netizens are in the majority siding with Russia so completely and so enthusiastically, that China’s WeChat and Douyin had to crack down on vulgar jokes and netizens were told in no uncertain terms that they cannot make fun of international news events.  The very high support for Russia is becoming a clear talking point despite the somewhat muted and correct Chinese diplomatic statements.

So, here is a joke for you.

Bear and Dragon take a walk in the gardens.  Bear is a little overcome with his serious responsibilities in the world and presents emotionally somewhat tired and despondent.  As the walk proceeds, Dragon says to Bear .. Out with it!  What has you so despondent?  Bear thinks a moment and says:  We’ve been friends for a long time.  So, if I need a very large amount of money very quickly, will you give it to me?

Dragon, known for taking time to ponder the imponderables, walks on for a while and then comes to a firm stop.  NO, says Dragon, I will not give it to you!

Bear’s shoulders fall .. but Dragon continues:  I will lend it to you.  1.5 trillion the moment you ask for it, no interest, no repayment terms, pay me back when you can.

Did Russia Have to Attack Ukraine?

March 5, 2022

By Darko Lazar

While announcing the start of military operations inside Ukraine on February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that he “had no other way of proceeding”.

“What was happening left us with no choice,” Putin said, noting that a “high-risk” situation in Ukraine posed an existential threat to Russia. However, he never specified what that risk was.

Naturally, everyone concluded that Putin was talking about NATO’s eastward expansion over the last three decades. But what if there is more to it than that?

Pathogens and biological weapons

In October 2017, Putin was hosting a meeting at the Kremlin of the Russian Presidential Commission on Human Rights.

At one point, the discussion took an unexpected turn when Putin suddenly suggested that the West was working on a new bioweapon.

“Do you know that biological material is collected all over the country, from different ethnic groups and people living in different geographical locations of Russia?” Putin said. “But what for? They do it purposefully and professionally.”

The Russian president was referring to research being conducted by the US Air Force’s largest medical department (the 59th Medical Wing). Those allegations prompted a quick response from the Pentagon.

The spokesman for the Air Education and Training Command, Capt. Beau Downey, told Sputnik that the samples are being collected “to conduct musculoskeletal research aimed at identifying the different biomarkers associated with injury.”

Fast forward to October 2021, when the war of words between Beijing and Washington over the origins of the coronavirus was intensifying. Both sides were alleging that the pandemic was linked to each other’s research.

That same month, Beijing joined Moscow in calling on the United Nations to review the biological warfare strength of the US and its allies. China and Russia jointly demanded that Washington abides by a UN convention on biological weapons, accusing the Americans of operating more than 200 military biolabs outside the US. The Chinese and the Russians allege that these US military facilities pose a direct threat to their national security.

Nothing about this declaration suggests that it was meant for propaganda purposes. It wasn’t widely covered by the media or circulated by the Chinese and Russian governments.

Instead, it was quickly followed by Moscow’s demands for security guarantees from the West, including that Ukraine should never become a member of NATO. China offered its support to Russia, warning that Moscow had “reasonable security concerns,” which the Americans and their allies should take “seriously”.

Just a few days later, Russia’s neighbor to the south and one of its most important allies, Kazakhstan, suddenly descended into chaos. Hundreds were killed as shadowy armed cells began seizing critical state infrastructure.

While a large Russian force deployed to help restore order in that country, Russia’s official news agency TASS highlighted reports that a secret bio-laboratory there had been compromised. The lab, which sits just outside Kazakhstan’s Almaty, is funded by the Pentagon and used to store dangerous pathogens. According to unconfirmed reports, the lab was briefly seized by “unidentified people”.

Then came the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, which was overshadowed by the most recent meeting between Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. A few weeks later, Russian troops were given the order to move on Ukraine.

A chain of laboratories 

On February 25, an article published in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists cites the director of the Pentagon’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, Robert Pope, who claims that Russia’s military operation in Ukraine endangers a network of US-linked labs, which handle dangerous pathogens.

The Cooperative Threat Reduction Program is part of the so-called Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), which traces its roots back to the Manhattan Project – the American-led development of the world’s first functional atomic weapon.

And while Pope claims that the US military labs in Ukraine are not bioweapons facilities but public and animal health laboratories, he makes a number of startling revelations.

For starters, he confirms the existence of pathogens that can easily become infectious.

“If you lose the electrical power, the pathogens in the freezers warm up,” Pope explains.

“If the ventilation system is damaged, or the building itself is damaged, and these now ambient-temperature pathogens are able to escape the facility, then they can be potentially infectious.”

From there, Pope appears to try and build an alibi by suggesting the Russians “could potentially go to one of these facilities and fabricate something that they call evidence of nefarious activity.”

But the real kicker is Pope’s admission that these supposedly harmless facilities may hold pathogen strains left over from the Soviet bioweapons program.

“Scientists being scientists, it wouldn’t surprise me if some of these strain collections in some of these laboratories still have pathogen strains that go all the way back to the origins of that program,” the good doctor warns.

Perhaps equally alarming is the disclosure that 62% of this program’s USD 360 million budget is allocated for biological research.

The website of the US embassy in Kiev confirms the existence of this program. However, the fact sheets and PDF files detailing the operations of these facilities have been removed from the server. Whoever the Pentagon tasked with that mission wasn’t very thorough, as the original documents can still be found on the web archive.

If these were mere animal health laboratories, one would expect their financing to have come from the US Department of Health. But the documents show that the sole “donor” for each of these labs is the US Department of Defense. Moreover, all the facilities either had or were in the process of obtaining licenses to work with dangerous pathogens.

Two of the labs, in Kiev and Odessa, were undergoing some sort of additional construction. The sam.gov website, a central database that includes information about all US government contractors, reveals that the construction commenced in late July and was supposed to be completed within seven months – in late February.

Are these facilities really developing genetic tools that threaten the Russian population and pose the sort of “high risk” that Putin was referring to? No one can say for sure. But the involvement of shadowy characters like Pope and warnings from both Beijing and Moscow about opaque American military biolabs must be treated as more than just conspiracy theories.

What will it be like after the war?

The establishment of US military labs in former Soviet republics surrounding Russia is just another consequence of NATO’s 30-year-long eastward expansion. The same can be said for the wars in the Balkans, Georgia and of course, Ukraine.

NATO’s insistence on integrating these countries into the Western military alliance gave rise to very legitimate concerns in Moscow. While watching this powerful and hostile force inch closer toward its borders, the Russians spent the better part of the last three decades warning of the potential consequences.

At the start of 2022, NATO simply rebuffed Moscow’s core demands for formal security guarantees, sending a clear message that negotiations over such matters are impossible. It’s also the clearest indication yet that only Russia can guarantee its own security and that Moscow will likely have to remove threats along the country’s vast border by force.

As such, Moscow is no longer relaying its concerns via diplomatic channels. The Russian military is doing the talking now, and if the West is even remotely interested in averting a nuclear holocaust, they will need to listen carefully.

One of the more explicit attestations of the severity of this situation came from an unlikely source. At the end of February, Russian state television host Dmitry Kiselyov opened his primetime show by saying: “Why do we need a world if Russia is not in it?” 

Some people are still walking around thinking the world they knew just a few months ago still exists. But the old political structures and alliances are dead. So is the unipolar world. The old-world order is no longer.

These are tectonic shifts in the global balance of power that are historically accompanied by the outbreak of disease, uncompromising social divisions, economic hardship, and wars. Those who survive will live to tell the tale.

Playing the mighty Wurlitzer vs Reality

FEBRUARY 26, 2022

Source

By Chris Faure

Do people seriously imagine Russia simply blundered into the Ukraine not knowing what the west would do?

You may be surprised to hear that the world is actually still spinning.  All we have to deal with is the mighty Wurlitzer which is an old-style pipe organ for theaters, and also a propaganda instrument.

Allow me a moment to explain:

In 1967 the magazine Ramparts ran an exposé revealing that the Central Intelligence Agency had been secretly funding and managing a wide range of citizen front groups intended to counter communist influence around the world. In addition to embarrassing prominent individuals caught up, wittingly or unwittingly, in the secret superpower struggle for hearts and minds, the revelations of 1967 were one of the worst operational disasters in the history of American intelligence and presaged a series of public scandals from which the CIA’s reputation has arguably never recovered.

CIA official Frank Wisner called the operation his “mighty Wurlitzer,” on which he could play any propaganda tune.   Hugh Wilford provides the first comprehensive account of the clandestine relationship between the CIA and its front organizations. Using an unprecedented wealth of sources, he traces the rise and fall of America’s Cold War front network from its origins in the 1940s to its Third World expansion during the 1950s and ultimate collapse in the 1960s.

Covering the intelligence officers who masterminded the CIA’s fronts as well as the involved citizen groups—émigrés, labor, intellectuals, artists, students, women, Catholics, African Americans, and journalists—Wilford provides a surprising analysis of Cold War society that contains valuable lessons for our own age of global conflict.

Now, the Mighty Wurlitzer, exposed during the cold war, has never ended.  We see it in full swing now.  Here are a few snippets, a few items from memory (it has to be from memory as most of the Russian sites are still down, or up or down, in a relentless cyber propaganda war and this cannot be meticulously linked to source).  And you know what, the Ukraine inherited its own theater and mighty Wurlitzer, where they are designing and producing for the common man, theater productions for this current time.  Excepting now, it is all done in studio with breathless journalists playing war and running around in front of green screens.

So, while the tinny and discordant theater music sometimes drowns out even our own ability to think (it is torture, you know!) let’s look at a few realities.

Sanctions.  Big Big Headlines – Russia is sanctioned for this or that and for basically everything, even Vodka.  The latest is SWIFT (but only for a few banks).  Take a good look at the sanctions.  It is paper production for the purpose of paper production.  The German sanctions on Russian banks for example have fine print.  (They all have).  They’re sanctioning Russia from hell, but of course, this does not apply to gas or oil payments.  Those will continue, says the fine print.

Sanctions on Russia are now the latest fashion accessory.  The one that can play that Wurlitzer the loudest is the one who wins.  So what happens if they don’t win?  What happens if they are busy shooting themselves in the heart, and not even in the foot?.  What happens if the fervor to punish Russia simply accelerates their own demise?

Russia is decoupling as fast as what the West is sanctioning.  A headline that comes to mind is: “European Commission: The disconnection of a number of banks from SWIFT “will actually block Russian exports and imports”.

No Einstein, it will hasten de-dollarization.

This morning from Medvedev:

‘Final review’ of Russia’s relations with West now possible – former president

Dmitry Medvedev has dubbed European organizations “meaningless almshouses”

Western sanctions could be an “excellent reason for a final review” of Russia’s relations with the nations that have imposed the restrictions, the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council and former president, Dmitry Medvedev, said on Saturday.

Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, which was launched on February 24, has prompted outrage in the West and a new wave of harsh sanctions against Russia. In a lengthy post on the Russian social network VK, Medvedev called the restrictions “a myth, a figment, a figure of speech.”

Sanctions could be an excellent reason for the final review of all relations with those states that have introduced them. Including interruption of the dialogue on strategic stability,” Medvedev wrote.

[sidebar] Take another look at that sentence – why now? It is because most of the western world do not have answers to Russia on strategic stability, so they decided to play that Wurlitzer pretty loud to attempt to hide their inability). 

He added that in principle, it is possible “to renounce everything,” including the New START Treaty.

Yes, and diplomatic relations, in principle, are not particularly needed. It’s time to close the embassies with barn locks. And to continue contacts by examining each other only through binoculars and weapons’ optical systems,” Medvedev said.

Commenting on the decision by the Council of Europe and Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to suspend Russia’s membership, the former president said that while this is a “flagrant injustice,” it could still be considered as a good reason “to finally slam the door and forget about these meaningless almshouses forever.” This development could also be used to “restore a number of important institutions for prevention of especially serious crimes in the country,” he said, such as the “death penalty for the most dangerous criminals, which, by the way, is being actively used in the United States and China.

He has no assets abroad and to the UK sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote:

Neither Putin, nor Lavrov have accounts neither in Britain nor anywhere abroad. Maybe the kingdom’s government got something frozen off rather than it froze something?”

We are in a new world.

A few more:

Russia has just suspended cooperation with NASA on the international space station .. including the launch team which will not be available to the US.  Russia will work with China.  Zap!  Are there any US astronauts there at the moment?  I don’t know, but Elon Musk will have to get them home.

Let’s take a look at few more of Mr Putin’s actions these last days.

Russia’s President Meeting (http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/67851) with Security Council permanent members

 Vladimir Putin: According to available information, and this is confirmed by objective monitoring – we are seeing this; Banderites and neo-Nazis are putting up heavy weapons, including MLRS, right in the central districts of large cities, including Kiev and Kharkov. They plan to force return fire by Russian strike systems vs residential quarters. They are acting in the same way terrorists act all over the world – using people as shields.

It is known for a fact that all this is being done on the recommendations of foreign consultants, primarily American advisors.

 Once again, I am appealing to the military of the armed forces of Ukraine. Do not allow neo-Nazis and Banderites to use your children, wives and elders as a live shield. Take power into your own hands. It seems it will be easier for us to come to terms with you than with this gang of drug addicts & neo-Nazis that have settled in Kiev and that have taken the Ukrainian people.


President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation (https://is.gd/m8pf2L) with President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

The Presidents discussed developments related to the special military operation designed to protect peaceful civilians in Donbass as well as Ukraine’s demilitarisation and denazification.

 Shavkat Mirziyoyev expressed understanding of Russia’s actions.

The Presidents also touched upon certain current issues on the bilateral agenda. They reaffirmed their shared intention to continue the development of the Russian-Uzbek strategic partnership with a focus on implementing specific trade, economic, and humanitarian projects.

#RussiaUzbekistan


President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation (https://is.gd/322XIF) with President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping.

The President of Russia gave the President of China a detailed account of the reasons behind the recognition of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic and the start of a special military operation to protect civilians from genocide and ensure the demilitarisation and denazification of the Ukrainian state. Vladimir Putin also noted that considering the signals received from Kiev he was ready to send a delegation to Minsk to hold talks with representatives of Ukraine.

 Xi Jinping stressed that he respected the actions of the Russian leadership in the current crisis.

The two Leaders assessed the current international situation from a common perspective. They reaffirmed a mutual readiness to closely cooperate and support each other further at the UN and in other multilateral platforms.


Held at Kyrgyzstan’s initiative, the telephone conversation (https://is.gd/Ppnjou) between President Vladimir Putin and President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Japarov focused on the situation with the special military operation carried out by Russia in Ukraine.

 Sadyr Japarov said that Kiev was responsible for derailing the Minsk agreements and expressed his support for Russia’s decisive actions to protect civilians in Donbass. Vladimir Putin thanked the President of Kyrgyzstan for his principled solidarity.

The two Presidents reaffirmed their mutual commitment to strengthening the strategic partnership and allied relations between Russia and Kyrgyzstan in all areas.


President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation (https://is.gd/oACYDq) with Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan.

The Parties continued their exchange of views on the practical aspects of the implementation of the agreements documented by the November 9, 2020, January 11 and November 26, 2021, tripartite statements by the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia on Nagorno-Karabakh, including efforts to ensure stability and security on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. Some items on the current bilateral agenda were also touched upon.


The Ukraine is dancing to the music of the Mighty Wurlitzer.  Don’t you do that too!  Turn the music off. Zone B is way behind Zone A in playing the organ, but way ahead in creating a life friendly to human people, for this planet.

Margarita Simonyan focused on the 5th and 6th columns with a devasting phrase:

“If you are now ashamed that you are Russian, do not worry, you are not Russian,” she wrote in her Telegram channel.

And in the event that you are worried about China, they just posted this from their Russian embassy.  They truly understand that this time it is Russia, but for the throw of a set of dice, or a different tune on the Wurlitzer, it could have been China.

القمة الصينية الروسية.. ولادة عالَمٍ جديدٍ

الثلاثاء 14شباط 2021

عمرو علان

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

البيان الختامي للقمة تناول في 5000 كلمةٍ العديد من القضايا

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

صفقات استراتيجية في عدة حقول رئيسية، كالطاقة وتكنولوجيا الفضاء.

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

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

صفقات استراتيجية

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

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

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

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

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

تنسيق المواقف

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

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

رؤية الصين وروسيا إلى النظام العالمي

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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التحالف الصيني الروسي.. أين سوريا منه؟

السبت 12 فبراير 2022

المصدر: الميادين نت

أحمد الدرزي 

يرتبط مستقبل سوريا بنتيجة الصراع في أوكرانيا، فقد تتحول الضغوط المتبادَلة بين الأميركيين والروس، الذين يؤازرهم الصينيون، إلى الساحة السورية.

شكّلت الحرب على سوريا هاجساً للأمن القومي الروسي والصيني والإيراني، الأمر الذي دفع الدول الثلاث بعيداً في مواجهة مشروع الولايات المتحدة فيها.

روسيا: “نُعَوِّل على الصين من أجل فرض توازن القوى العالمي مع واشنطن وأوروبا”.

لم يكن الرابع من شباط/فبراير لهذا العام يوماً عادياً، ففيه وقّع الرئيسان شي جين بينغ وفلاديمير بوتين على اتفاق التحدّي، وأظهرا للعالم أجمع أن شراكتهما أبعد كثيراً من مصطلح الحلف، وأقل من الاندماج، فتردّد صداه في كل العواصم، بما في ذلك دمشق، التي أُصيبت بالإرهاق، وهي تصارع ذاتها والعالم، من أجل الخروج من مأزقها الداخلي، الذي لا ينفصل عن الخارج، وتنتظر انعكاس هذا الصدى عليها.

تخوض الصين وروسيا، مشتركتَين، صراعاً متدرجاً مع النظام العالمي القطبي الوحيد، والذي تَشكَّلَ بعد انهيار الاتحاد السوڤياتي، فكانت الشراكة الاستراتيجية الجديدة عام 1996، والتي لم تعطِ تصوراً حقيقياً عن مدى التهديدات، التي يمكن لهذه الشراكة أن تسببها لواشنطن.

كان للحرب على سوريا، موقعاً وتاريخاً، دورٌ أساسيٌّ في إظهار حجم العلاقة بين الطرفين، بعد يقين الدولتين بأنهما المُستهدفَتان الأساسيتان لـ”ثورات الربيع العربي”، بالإضافة إلى إيران التي تشكل القوة العسكرية الصادمة في غربي آسيا، والتي عملت عليها الإدارات الأميركية المتلاحقة، الأمر الذي دفعهما إلى التصدي السياسي للحرب، عبر منع إعطاء مظلة شرعية دولية في مجلس الأمن، للتدخل العسكري المباشر في سوريا، كما حدث في ليبيا.

وفَّر التآزر السياسي الروسي الصيني، في الحرب السورية، فرصة كبيرة لروسيا والصين من أجل إخراج البعد الحقيقي لطبيعة الشراكة بينهما إلى العلن، لكن البُعد العسكري كان منوطاً بإيران وروسيا بصورة متتالية، فدخلت إيران وحزب الله وقوى عراقية أولاً، ثم شاركت روسيا في نهاية أيلول/سبتمبر 2015.

شكّلت الحرب في سوريا هاجساً للأمن القومي الروسي الصيني الإيراني، الأمر الذي دفع الدول الثلاث بعيداً في مواجهة مشروع الولايات المتحدة فيها، كما أنها شكلت فرصة للأطراف الثلاثة، وخصوصاً بالنسبة إلى موسكو، التي عملت على مدى أكثر من قرنين من أجل الوصول إلى المياه الدافئة، وهذا ما حققته بعد توسيع مطار حميميم، وتحويل أغلبيته إلى قاعدة عسكرية جوية، في مواجهة قاعدة أنجرليك للناتو في تركيا، بالإضافة إلى القاعدة العسكرية البحرية في طرطوس.

فرض الدور العسكري الروسي المباشِر نفسه على طبيعة الاتفاق مع الصين، التي أحجمت عن التدخل العسكري، نتيجةً لاستراتيجيتها المبنية على استراتيجية دفاعية فقط، الأمر الذي فرض معادلة بين الطرفين، تكون فيها موسكو صاحبة الدور الأساس، وتحتاج بكين إلى التوافق مع موسكو في تحقيق مشروعها “مبادرة الحزام والطريق”.

تغيّرت أحوال الدولتين مع عودة الديمقراطيين إلى البيت الأبيض، وظهرت عدوانية أميركا الكبيرة في طريقة التعاطي العدواني مع روسيا، في الدرجة الأولى، ومع الصين المؤجَّلة إلى المرحلة التالية، في الدرجة الثانية. ولمس الطرفان هذا التحول من خلال محاولات واشنطن تحريك الثورات الملوَّنة في هونغ كونغ وفي موسكو. وبعد الفشل، تحوّلت إلى سياسات عدوانية جديدة، عبر إنشاء تحالف عسكري جديد، “أوكوس”، ضد الصين، ومحاولة ضم أوكرانيا إلى حلف الناتو.

تشكّل كل من تايوان وأوكرانيا أولوية قصوى لكل دولة، فتايوان لا تزال تشكل تهديداً مستمراً للصين، بحكم الوجود الأميركي الذرائعي فيها، من أجل منع عودتها إلى الوطن الأم من جهة، وتهديد الممر البحري الفاصل بينهما، والذي يشكّل عصباً للتجارة البحرية. كما أن بكين لا يمكنها التنازل عن تايوان، لأن هذا أمر يمس سيادتها وعنوان وحدتها الكاملة، بالإضافة إلى ما تشكله تايوان من إضافة مهمة جداً إلى التكنولوجيا الصينية، باستحواذها على أهم المعامل المنتجة للمعالِجات، وخصوصاً بعد العقوبات الأميركية على الصين.

وتشكل أوكرانيا الملف الأهم في الاستراتيجية الروسية، وهي أولوية قصوى لها، وخصوصاً إذا استطاعت واشنطن ضمّها إلى حلف الناتو، بالإضافة إلى أهميتها التاريخية، والتي لا تنفصل عن التاريخ الروسي الإمبراطوري. وهي واقعاً أساس روسيا التاريخية، ولا تزال في الوجدان الروسي جزءاً من روسيا.

أولوية الملفين لكِلا البلدين تدفعهما إلى التعاطي مع سائر الملفات من موقع ساحات الصراع المتعددة. فالنظام الدولي الجديد، والذي تم إعلانه من بكين، لا يمكن له أن يثبّت قدميه واقعاً إلاّ بعودة تايوان إلى الصين، وخروج الولايات المتحدة من بحر الصين والمحيط الهادي، وبالتوازي بعودة أوكرانيا إلى روسيا، أو عزلها عن البحر الأسود، وإفقادها دور الخاصرة الرخوة، وإقرار الولايات المتحدة وأوروبا بهواجس الأمن القومي الروسي، ليس في أوكرانيا فقط، بل في كل أوروبا الشرقية.

يرتبط مستقبل سوريا، في الدرجة الأولى، بنتيجة الصراع في أوكرانيا، فقد تتحول الضغوط المتبادَلة بين الأميركيين والروس، الذين يؤازرهم الصينيون، إلى الساحة السورية. ومن الصعب على واشنطن أن تخسر معركة أوكرانيا، ففي ذلك فقدانها استمرارها قطباً وحيداً، بالإضافة إلى تراجع موثوقيتها لدى من يدور في فلكها، وخصوصاً بعد خروجها المُذِلّ من أفغانستان، وما قد يترك من آثار في النظام المالي العالمي المرتبط بالدولار. 

كما أن موسكو لا يمكن أن تتراجع عن مطالباتها، ففي ذلك هزيمة قد تنعكس على مجمل إنجازاتها، بعد عودتها إلى المسرح الدولي، ولها مصلحة الآن مع الصين في إخراج الأميركيين من سوريا، الأمر الذي يتيح التواصل البري من شانغهاي إلى شرقي المتوسط.

يبقى الوضع السوري هو الأصعب في منطقة غربي آسيا، وربما في العالم أجمع، وهو غير قابل للحل في المدى القريب، إلاّ إذا تغيَّرت معطيات الصراع، دولياً وإقليمياً، خلال الأشهر والسنوات المقبلة، وخصوصاً إذا تمت العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي، الذي سيترك آثاره الإيجابية في كل المنطقة، لكن من دون الوصول إلى مرحلة الاستقرار والنهوض. والأمر يتطلب التعاطي مع المبادرة الصينية تجاه سوريا بجدية أكبر وبرؤية مغايرة، وخصوصاً أن التفاهم الروسي الصيني بشأن طريقة التعاطي مع سوريا سقط، مع توقيع اتفاق شراكة المواجهة مع الولايات المتحدة وأوروبا، والاندفاعة الصينية المباشِرة نحو دمشق، والعمل على تنفيذ مذكِّرات التفاهم بين البلدين. فالصين هي الوحيدة التي تمتلك الهامشين الاقتصادي والتكنولوجي، القادرين على إنقاذ سوريا من تداعيات تدهور الوضع الاقتصادي غير المُحتمَل للسوريين، بمساعدة إيرانية، وقبول روسي. فهل تندفع دمشق نحو تسهيل الحضور الصيني، من خلال إجراءات تشريعية واقتصادية مغايرة لكل المرحلة السابقة؟    

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Unpacking the Russian-Chinese joint statement

February 05, 2022

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Introduction:

First things first, this is a very long statement (5300 words).  It is also an extremely important one since it deals primarily with grand strategy issues (it discusses the “whats” not the “hows”).  To put it succinctly, this is a common vision of the future shared between Russia and China.  It is therefore also a common goal setting document.  Considering its scope and objective, this is most definitely a crucial historical document.

Next, it is really important to understand who the target audience of this statement is.  By definition, the target audience of such a document is the entire planet, but by its language I would argue that it is pretty clear that this is not a document addressed to anybody in the West (for one thing, it is too long for the average western reader and it is too long to be reprinted or read in full in the general press).  There is a saying which all Russians know: “the East is a delicate/refined matter” (it comes from a famous Soviet movie).  The style and contents of this joint statement shows that it is primarily aimed at the Russian and Chinese public, especially those in position of power: to a typical western reader the text itself looks long-winded and full of well-meaning platitudes.  The Russians and the Chinese understand each other much better, and not only can they read between the lines and they can evaluate what is said and what is only suggested.  The fact that some things are only alluded to does in no way make them less crucial.  Again, the audience here is most definitely not a western one.

Having said all that, I want to pick, roughly in order, some key parts of that speech and try to unpack what this joint statement really says.  This is a somewhat arbitrary selection, in reality, word letter and comma matter here, but for the sake of brevity, I won’t comment on the full text.  I do, however, recommend that you take the time and read it here: http://thesaker.is/joint-statement-of-the-russian-federation-and-the-peoples-republic-of-china-on-the-international-relations-entering-a-new-era-and-the-global-sustainable-development/

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Key excerpts from the RU-CH Joint Statement: (emphasis added)

Some actors representing but the minority on the international scale continue to advocate unilateral approaches to addressing international issues and resort to force; they interfere in the internal affairs of other states, infringing their legitimate rights and interests, and incite contradictions, differences, and confrontation, thus hampering the development and progress of mankind, against the opposition from the international community.

Translation into plain English: the USA and a few of its vassal states want to maintain a world hegemony and ignore international law.  This is a threat to the peace and security of our entire planet.  We oppose this.

There is no one-size-fits-all template to guide countries in establishing democracy. A nation can choose such forms and methods of implementing democracy that would best suit its particular state, based on its social and political system, its historical background, traditions, and unique cultural characteristics. It is only up to the people of the country to decide whether their State is a democratic one.

Translation into plain English: there is no one way to establish real people power, and outsiders are, by definition, disqualified from judging the degree of “democracy” of any nation.  Each nation has the right to decide how it wants to live, how it wants to formally structure its people power and only the people of that nation can decide whether their country’s organization faithfully expresses and upholds their national values.  Outsiders cannot think of themselves as “teachers of democracy”.

The sides reaffirm their focus on building the Greater Eurasian Partnership in parallel and in coordination with the Belt and Road construction to foster the development of regional associations as well as bilateral and multilateral integration processes for the benefit of the peoples on the Eurasian continent. The sides agreed to continue consistently intensifying practical cooperation for the sustainable development of the Arctic.

Translation into plain English: we, the locals, are (and have been) building a Eurasian community which will encompass the entire Eurasian landmass and its adjacent Arctic waters.  This Eurasian landmass will be sovereignly ruled by those nations who compose it.

The sides are gravely concerned about serious international security challenges and believe that the fates of all nations are interconnected. No State can or should ensure its own security separately from the security of the rest of the world and at the expense of the security of other States.

Translation into plain English: security is always and by definition collective.  There cannot be security for some at the expense of the security of others.  The AngloZionist Empire’s notion of unilateral security is basically putting a gun to the head of each nation on the planet with the very explicit threat to pull the trigger if that nation dares to resist this typical act of imperialist aggression.

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

Translation into plain English: we are, and will, be standing side by side and we will jointly defeat those forces who are trying to prevent us from achieving and maintaining true, full, sovereignty.

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

Translation into plain English:Russia will support the Chinese efforts to reintegrate Taiwan.  Russia has got China’s back.

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

Translation into plain English: China will support Russia in her efforts to prevent the USA/NATO/EU to turn the Ukraine into an anti-Russia or to overthrow governments friendly to Russia.  China has got Russia’s back.

The sides believe that certain States, military and political alliances, and coalitions seek to obtain, directly or indirectly, unilateral military advantages to the detriment of the security of others, including by employing unfair competition practices, intensify geopolitical rivalry, fuel antagonism and confrontation, and seriously undermine the international security order and global strategic stability. The sides oppose further enlargement of NATO and call on the North Atlantic Alliance to abandon its ideologized cold war approaches, to respect the sovereignty, security and interests of other countries, the diversity of their civilizational, cultural and historical backgrounds, and to exercise a fair and objective attitude towards the peaceful development of other States.

Translation into plain English: the West is trying to destabilize, subvert, control and destroy any country which is not willing to become a US vassal state.  NATO is an aggressive, violent and totalitarian superstructure whose aim is to prevent any country from achieving sovereignty.  It is just the latest iteration of Anglo imperialism.  It’s ideology is based on hate and projection of its own hateful worldview and ethos unto others.  It’s nature is imperialist and its motto divide et impera.  We will oppose that geostrategic malignant tumor together.

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

Translation into plain English: AUKUS is yet a further iteration of Anglo imperialism.  It is dangerous and we will oppose it together.

The sides call on the United States to respond positively to the Russian initiative and abandon its plans to deploy intermediate-range and shorter-range ground-based missiles in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe. The Chinese side is sympathetic to and supports the proposals put forward by the Russian Federation to create long-term legally binding security guarantees in Europe.

Translation into plain English: China fully backs the Russian ultimatum to the West.  The West’s rejection of the Russian demands also affects to Asia-Pacific region and, therefore, it affects and even threatens China’s national interests.  Russia and China have a common goal to resist the West’s imperialistic policies.

The sides note that the denunciation by the United States of a number of important international arms control agreements has an extremely negative impact on international and regional security and stability. The sides express concern over the advancement of U.S. plans to develop global missile defense and deploy its elements in various regions of the world, combined with capacity building of high-precision non-nuclear weapons for disarming strikes and other strategic objectives.

Translation into plain English: Russia will not allow the US to militarily encircle China and China will not allow the US to militarily encircle Russia.  Russia and China stand back to back and will protect each other, thereby foiling any Anglo plans to encircle either one, or both, of these nations.

The sides oppose attempts by some States to turn outer space into an arena of armed confrontation and reiterate their intention to make all necessary efforts to prevent the weaponization of space and an arms race in outer space. They will counteract activities aimed at achieving military superiority in space and using it for combat operations.

Translation into plain English: Russian and Chinese space programs will make a joint effort to defeat the Anglo attempts at militarizing space, both countries will help each other to develop future space capabilities and to create and deploy the means to prevent the US from threatening them from space.

The sides emphasize that domestic and foreign bioweapons activities by the United States and its allies raise serious concerns and questions for the international community regarding their compliance with the BWC. The sides share the view that such activities pose a serious threat to the national security of the Russian Federation and China and are detrimental to the security of the respective regions.

Translation into plain English:the USA clearly has an active biowarfare program.  Russia and China feel threatened by this and they will act together to stop the USA from developing illegal and dangerous bioweapons.

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

Translation into plain English: Russia and China agree that the new, post Western, world order they want to achieve will be based on the brotherhood and solidarity of all those countries who, rather than exploiting the entire planet for the benefit of a few, want to see an international systems based on shared values rather than on greed and the oppression of the weak by the strong.  In that system, relations between countries will be based on international law and the United Nations as its cornerstone and not by some ad hoc “alliances of the willing” or any other such illegal nonsense.

They reaffirm that the new inter-State relations between Russia and China are superior to political and military alliances of the Cold War era. Friendship between the two States has no limits, there are no ”forbidden“ areas of cooperation, strengthening of bilateral strategic cooperation is neither aimed against third countries nor affected by the changing international environment and circumstantial changes in third countries.

Translation into plain English: “relations between Russia and China are superior to political and military alliances of the Cold War era” is pretty darn clear:  Russia and China are more than allies or “just” symbionts, the alliance they have formed is not a western-style peace of paper which can be revoked or ignored.  Russia and China have decided to establish a true “friendship which knows no limits“, that is a brotherhood that is much bigger in scope and much deeper in nature than any formal alliance.  The two countries see a common future and will stand by each other as two loving brothers.  Note: the choice of words “friendship with no limits” has been carefully crafted to not make sense to a western audience which will see it only as “pious and vague platitudes with no binding obligations” but which will be very clear to those who come from the Russian and Chinese civilizational realms.  Simply put: nobody in the West truly believes in “friendship” between states, only situational allies and personal interests.  The concept of friendship has a very different meaning in China and Russia.  Furthermore, “no limits” is also nonsensical in western geopolitics.  Again, to a Russian or Chinese audience the paragraph above means and expresses much MORE than any “alliance”, “treaty” or “agreement”.  Western political leaders simply cannot fathom or imagine what Russia and China are saying here – their minds simply cannot comprehend what is being said here.

Russia and China aim to comprehensively strengthen the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and further enhance its role in shaping a polycentric world order based on the universally recognized principles of international law, multilateralism, equal, joint, indivisible, comprehensive and sustainable security. They consider it important to consistently implement the agreements on improved mechanisms to counter challenges and threats to the security of SCO member states and, in the context of addressing this task, advocate expanded functionality of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure.

Translation into plain English: China and Russia will develop their full-spectrum security cooperation.  Just as the CSTO recently, the SCO will soon grow more powerful “teeth” and bare them if/when needed.  And don’t be fooled by the reference to “anti-terrorism” choice of worlds.  The recent CSTO operation in Kazakhstan was also an “anti-terrorist” one 🙂

Conclusion:

The release of this joint statement is the geostrategic equivalent of Putin’s famous speech in which he described the new Russian weapons systems: it will initially be dismissed by western politicians who will then slowly undergo the five Kübler-Ross stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance).  This “limitless friendship” working towards a “community of common destiny for mankind” is the absolute worst nightmare of western imperialism and it is only made worse by the fact that there is absolutely nothing which the West can do to foil, oppose or even slow the progress of Russia and China towards their common goal and future.

Far from “attacking” the West or from invading anybody,  Russia and China have been doing something for years already and now what that “something” is is quite clear (at least to those with the sobriety and intelligence to see it):  Russia and China are simply leaving the united West behind, letting it do its own thing (political, cultural, economic, military and even spiritual suicide) while they built an alternative.

You could say that Zone B does not want to destroy or bring down Zone A.  Zone B want to offer an alternative to Zone A and then let each nation decide for itself what zone it wants to live in.

There is one word which is missing from this statement.  That word is “Iran“.

It is not missing because China or Russia don’t care about Iran or don’t realize how important Iran will be for the future of the Middle-East and even our entire planet.  They know that very, very well.  The reason the word “Iran” is missing is simple: while Iran is most definitely a friend and ally of both Russia and China, Iran does not share a “limitless friendship” or brotherly symbiotic relationship with either country.  Neither is Iran a full member of the SCO, yet (but will be soon). Talk about true diversity!  These countries have completely different cultures, histories and political systems, yet they fully support each other.  That is the “there is no one-size-fits-all template” model already being built before our eyes!  I also believe that Iran’s bid to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation was approved but in needs to be formalized (may be mistaken here)..  Yet both China and Russia understand that Iran is crucial, not only as a gateway for Russia and China into the Middle-East, but also as a crucial member of the supra-ideological system of alliances Russia and China want to create.  In fact, these countries have been helping each other for years already.  But there is more, look at this:

  • Russia is a democratic and “social” state, with a weird, and changing, mix of capitalism and traditional Russian collectivism.
  • China is a unique mix of capitalism and Communist state control
  • Iran is an Islamic Republic.

Talk about true diversity!  These countries have completely different cultures, histories and political systems, yet they fully support each other.  That is the “there is no one-size-fits-all template” model already being built before our eyes!  I also believe that Iran’s bid to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was approved but in needs to be formalized and fully implemented.

This model will attract and easily include those Latin American countries which will chose “21 century socialism” (primarily developed by Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia) ideology.  It will also be far more attractive to many African countries than the “western imperialist boot” (examples include Mali, Burkina Faso, Congo and, potentially many others).

The map below shows the current situation.

The Russian-Chinese joint statement tells us all we need to know about how this map will change in the near future.

Andrei

The New Era Of International Relations Is Defined By The Russian-Chinese Entente

5 FEBRUARY 2022

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

They’re truly changing the world in pursuit of their shared vision of making it more equitable, just, and multipolar, but neither is going to go to war for the other….Precisely because they’re ‘more than allies’, they can responsibly agree to disagree on certain key issues like Kashmir and the South China Sea while still continuing their globally game-changing cooperation.

The Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership serves as the engine of the emerging Multipolar World Order. It was unprecedentedly strengthened after these Great Powers’ grand strategies were compelled to converge in response to the US’ attempted simultaneous “containment” of both after 2014. The declining unipolar hegemon coordinated provocations in Eastern Europe via Ukraine and Southeast Asia through the South China Sea but “counterproductively” brought those two closer than ever before as a result. All of its attempts to divide and rule them through information warfare have also failed.

Nowhere is their grand strategic convergence more apparent than in the joint statement that they released during President Putin’s visit to the People’s Republic to attend the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games and meet with his Chinese counterpart. Titled “Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on the International Relations Entering a New Era and the Global Sustainable Development”, this document confirms that those two are coordinating almost every facet of their respective policies across the world.

They’re united in their shared vision of the emerging Multipolar World Order and are convinced that the sanctity of international law as enshrined in the UN Charter must be respected no matter what. Russia and China are strongly against attempts to weaponize the concept of “democracy” as a pretext for meddling in the internal affairs of other countries. They regard the people as granting legitimacy to their government, yet they also acknowledge that each country has the right to practice their own unique form of democracy based on their circumstances, history, socio-political situation, and traditions.

On the economic front, Russia and China agree that the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals must be achieved, though this has become challenging as a result of the international community’s uncoordinated efforts to contain COVID-19 (“World War C”). Nevertheless, the synchronization between Beijing’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) and Moscow’s Greater Eurasian Partnership (GEP) will provide a much-needed impetus for bringing this about, all with the intent of jointly forging a community of common destiny for mankind.

The greatest obstacle to their ambitious vision is some states (understood to be a reference to the US) unilaterally ensuring what they describe as their own “security” at others’ expense, including through Color Revolutions, which Russia and China jointly oppose. The creation of military alliances aimed against others, the abrogation of international arms control pacts, and the nuclear proliferation threat posed by AUKUS are all of serious concern to these Great Powers. Only full compliance with the principle of indivisible security as enshrined in international law will suffice for stabilizing the world.

No so-called “forbidden” areas exist in terms of the spheres where Russia and China will now cooperate, nor are there any limits thereof. They’ll pursue true multilateralism in all international fora and will work to strengthen those in which they presently participate such as APEC, EAS, BRICS, RIC, the SCO, and the G20, et al. People-to-people ties will also continue to be prioritized, as will their efforts to maintain ASEAN’s central role in the Asia-Pacific. Russia and China are truly uniting to ensure that the ongoing global systemic transition towards multipolar remains stable and sustainable.

Having reached that conclusion throughout the course of reviewing their very detailed joint statement, it also deserves mentioning that Russia and China still aren’t “allies” in the traditional sense that this term is widely understood to signify. Although Chinese President Xi Jinping described their relations as “more than allied”, this doesn’t in any sense imply that either country is willing to have their troops fight, sacrifice, and potentially even die in defense of the other’s legitimate security interests that are threatened by unprovoked American aggression.

Rather, what’s meant is that neither is dependent on the other or “owes” them anything since their relations are truly between equals and not in any sort of “hierarchy” whereby one can order the other to sacrifice on their behalf like in the alliances of times past. Their joint statement makes it clear that these two are coordinating on issues of global strategic significance that surpass the cooperation of any pair or group of states in history. They’re truly changing the world in pursuit of their shared vision of making it more equitable, just, and multipolar, but once again, neither is going to fight for the other.

Nor, in that case, should they even be expected to as explained by the author in his answer to the third question that he was asked in a recent interview that can be read in full here. He also elaborated on the interplay of China and India’s importance for Russian grand strategy here, which is crucial for observers to keep in mind since Moscow and Beijing still don’t see eye-to-eye on exactly all issues like Kashmir or the South China Sea as was explained in the last part of this article about why China isn’t fully taking Russia’s side in its dispute with Ukraine despite supporting it against NATO’s warmongering.

Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership is truly the driving force in accelerating International Relations’ ongoing global systemic transition towards multipolarity following the brief and highly destabilizing period of US-led unipolar hegemony. Their ties are rock-solid and won’t be weakened even by their objectively existing differences over hot international issues like those that were touched upon in the abovementioned paragraph. Precisely because they’re “more than allies”, they can responsibly agree to disagree while still continuing their globally game-changing cooperation.

Erdogan in Kiev, Putin in Beijing: can neo-Ottomanism fit into Greater Eurasia?  

Reporting from Istanbul: As the world turns further over monumental announcements from the Putin-Xi summit in Beijing, Turkey’s Erdogan keeps walking a thinning tightrope between NATO and Eurasia

February 04 2022

The sweeping new Sino-Russian strategic partnership struck in Beijing this week has established clear expectations of geopolitically-ambiguous Eurasian states like TurkeyPhoto Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

The Chinese year of the Black Water Tiger started with a big bang – a live Beijing summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping – and a minor bang – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Kiev, Ukraine. And yes, it’s all interlinked.

Kremlin foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov had revealed in advance that Putin-Xi would release a very important “joint statement on international relations entering a new era,” with Russia and China in synch “on the most important world problems, including security issues.”

Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov and Wang Yi, who worked non-stop prior to the summit, met the day before in Beijing to finalize the joint statement. Wang stressed the increasing interconnection of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), and much to the interest of the Global South, referred to extensive discussions on BRICS cooperation, Ukraine, Afghanistan and the Korean Peninsula.

The Russia-China joint statement (here, in Russian) did not cut any corners. The two global powers, among the summit’s key takeaways, are against NATO expansion; favor the UN and “justice in international relations;” will fight “interference in the internal affairs of sovereign countries;” oppose “external forces” undermining national security; and are resolutely against color revolutions.

Putin Op-Ed published by Xinhua detailed the full spectrum of the Sino-Russian discussions at the highest level – from the drive to “strengthen the central coordinating role of the United Nations in global affairs and to prevent the international legal system, with the UN Charter at its center, from being eroded,” to “consistently expanding the practice of settlements in national currencies and creating mechanisms to offset the negative impact of unilateral [US] sanctions.”

Putin resolutely defined China as “our strategic partner in the international arena,” and stressed how he and Xi “hold largely the same views on addressing the world’s problems.”

He said this strategic partnership is “sustainable, intrinsically valuable, not affected by the political climate and not aimed against anyone. It is underpinned by respect, regard for each other’s core interests, adherence to international law and the UN Charter.” 

The Global South – and possibly swathes of Europe, now facing a frigid winter with hiked fuel prices because of the stand off over Ukraine – will not fail to compare it with NATO’s worldview.

Meanwhile, in Kiev, Erdogan and Zelensky were reviewing the Turkish-Ukrainian strategic partnership.

Erdogan did perform quite a feat in Kiev. He called for “a “peaceful and diplomatic solution” in Ukraine, not exactly following the relentless War Inc. narrative. He even said the solution should be found “within the framework of the Minsk agreements, on the basis of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and international law.”

That happens to exactly tie in with Moscow’s view. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had previously commented, “if Turkey could encourage Kiev to implement the Minsk deal, Moscow would welcome this development.”

The Sultan swing again

So enter Erdogan as benign messenger/peacemaker – the latest twist in the fascinating, never-ending saga of what could be interpreted as his search for a more refined post-neo-Ottomanism stance in foreign policy.

Well, it’s not that simple. Erdogan, even before landing in Kiev, affirmed that Ankara is ready to host a live Putin-Zelensky meeting or even “talks at the technical level.”

That was his cue to promote a possible Putin jaunt to Ankara after his meeting with Xi in Beijing: “Mr. Putin told us that he will visit Turkey after his visit to China.”

Erdogan did invite Putin in late January. The Kremlin confirms no date has been set yet.

The ostensible purpose of Erdogan’s visit to Kiev, part of a High-Level Strategic Council, was to sign a so-called New Generation Free Trade Agreement, including the very tricky – for Moscow – joint production of Bayraktar drones, manufactured by Baykar Makina, a company owned by none other than Erdogan’s son-in-law Selcuk Bayraktar.

Yes, in Erdoganistan it’s all in the family. And the problem is that the Bayraktar TBT 2 combat drone – like those sold to Ukraine since 2018 – will continue to be used against the civilian population of Donetsk. Lavrov and even Putin himself have been very vocal about it vis-a-vis Ankara.

Erdogan’s geopolitical tightrope walking includes Russian S-400s in and US F-35s out, receiving Russian gas and nuclear technology while selling those Bayraktars to Russia’s enemies, and even the support, expressed by Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in late January, to the 1936 Montreux Convention, which is very specific on restricting NATO in the Black Sea: “It is out of the question to give up on [Montreux] under today’s conditions.”

NATO’s headquarters in Brussels won’t be amused.

Up to now, Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) had been actively ditching Montreux to the benefit of the still far-fetched Canal Istanbul linking the Mediterranean to the Black Sea, “entirely under Turkey’s sovereignty,” according to Erdogan – obviously a very juicy deal from NATO’s point of view. Yet the fact is Ankara, mired in an economic/financial swamp, has no means to build the Canal.     

The geopolitical tightrope walking still leaves in the balance the real objectives of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS), formerly Turkic Council, which crystallizes the pull of pan-Turkism – or pan-Turanism. It has already gone beyond last year’s Susha Declaration, which solidified a Turk-Azeri “one nation, two states;” it now encompasses these two plus Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and has been actively courting Hungary, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and – last but not least – Ukraine.     

The OTS met in a tightly secured island in Istanbul last November. They discussed in detail the fact that the extremely complex political environment in Taliban Afghanistan might spill over new instances of terrorism and uncontrolled migration. There were no leaks about future, practical OTS steps.    

Way more than a bridge connecting Asia Minor and the Caucasus to Central Asia, or a sort of benign form of “dialogue” between the south Caucasus and Central Asia, the OTS, in theory, carries all the trappings of a bloc from the Black Sea to Xinjiang, under a not-too-disguised Turkish hegemony, which implies a serious Trojan Horse element: a NATO presence.

It remains to be seen how the OTS would interface with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which congregates the “stans” as full members, as well as Iran – but not Turkey, which is just an observer. The SCO top powers are of course Russia and China, which in no way would allow, for instance, the Caspian to be open to western predatory policies, infringement of Russian and Iranian spheres of influence, and most of all a ‘security’ bloc with NATO ‘leading from behind.’     

The talk in those palace corridors

It’s quite enlightening to assess how Erdogan media – over 90% fully controlled across Turkey – mirrors what may be the real calculations swirling in the corridors of that 1000-room Sultanesque palace in Ankara.

They see that Russia “invaded Crimea, and annexed eastern Ukraine,” and is trying to “solidify its position in the Black Sea and Eastern Europe.” At the same time, they see the Empire instrumentalizing Turkey as a mere ‘frontline’ in a larger war, with NATO’s strategy to ‘besiege’ Russia and China also being applied against Turkey.

So “the fear of Turkey is now as strong as the fear of Russia and China.”

They seem to understand that if War Inc. gets what it desperately wants, “the Black Sea will be transformed into the Eastern Mediterranean. The US and Europe fully settling into the Black Sea means they will never leave.” That “could lead to Turkey’s destruction in the medium and long term.”

And then there’s the crucial twist: “Ukraine cannot stop Russia. But Turkey can.” That is exactly what Erdogan is playing at. “The US and Europe must be thwarted from settling into the Black Sea. Turkey-Russia relations must be preserved.” The problem is how “Ukraine’s integrity and defense must be supported.”

All of the above perfectly ties in with Erdogan, back from Kiev with all rhetorical guns blazing, blasting that the West wants to “worsen” the Ukrainian crisis. Erdogan media frames it as “a game is being set to drive Turkey against Russia.” 

Erdogan so far never really challenged the ‘rules-based international order.’ He always made a point of addressing two different messages to East and West. To Asia, the emphasis was on anti-imperialism, the dire consequences of colonialism, the Israeli apartheid state and western Islamophobia. To the West, he impressed his own version of dialogue of civilizations (and was branded as “an autocrat”).

Ultimately Erdogan is not west-toxified, much to the contrary. He sees the US-led order as a neocolonial power only interested in pillaging the resources of the lands of Islam. Of course he’s handicapped culturally – adhering, at best, to memorizing Quranic verses, listening to Ottoman military music and having his photo taken with the odd Turkish pop star. He doesn’t read; it’s all about instinct.

A conversation about Erdoganian neo-Ottomanism in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar beats any think tank analysis. Bazaaris tell us it’s something in constant flux. In foreign policy terms, it migrated from pro-EU to frustration for being excluded, coupled with the certainty that Turkey is fed up with being a US client state. It’s as if Erdogan, instinctively, has grasped the collective west’s current, abysmal strategic debacle – thus his effort, now, to build some strategic cooperation with Russia-China.

Has he undergone a conversion though? Considering his legendary volatility, all bets are off. Erdogan has a long memory, and has not forgotten that Putin was the first world leader to condemn the – botched – 2016 coup attempt by the usual intel suspects, and support him personally.

It’s still a long way for Erdogan’s Turkey to become a strategic partner to Russia. Yet he has a knack of knowing which way the geopolitical winds are blowing – and that points to Eurasia integration, the Russian-conceptualized Greater Eurasia Partnership, and the primacy of the Russia-China strategic partnership manifested through BRI, EAEU and the SCO.    

There’s even an Eurasianist mini-boom in Turkey. They are secular; anti-NATO – just like Russia-China; consider the Empire as the undisputed troublemaker in West Asia; and want closer ties with Moscow and Tehran.

In Nostalgia for the Empire: The Politics of Neo-Ottomanism, M. Hakan Yavuz argues that “neo-Ottomanism constitutes a web of interrelationships between the dominant discourse of Islamism, the residual memories of Ottoman grandeur, and the prominent desire to reconstitute the Turkish nation as a regional power with historic roots.”   

The money quote is “regional power”. Why not a strong “regional power” deeply integrated into a strong Greater Eurasia – instead of a mere (decaying) western vassal? No wonder Erdogan is dying to hang out with Putin in Ankara.

Lavrov’s Remarks Following Putin-Xi Talks In Beijing

February 04, 2022

The primary focus was the tensions that the West has been deliberately escalating around Russia and China, Sergey Lavrov said following talks between Vlsdimir Putin and Xi Jinping, which took place on Friday in Beijing. “The President of Russia described once again our position at the talks with the United States and NATO on the need to work out clear security guarantees in Europe. The PRC President reaffirmed support for Russia’s stand on this problem. He emphasised that it reflected the fair aspirations of

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