Category Archives: Eurasian Axis

The Not-Ultimatum, by Observer R

The U.S. no longer has the economic or military power to maintain itself as the dominant global power, but the U.S. power structure is not ready to accept that truth. From Observer R at thesaker.is:

The documents issued by Russia in December 2021 (the so-called “Not-Ultimatum), concerning modifications to the security architecture in Europe, have created a considerable sensation in the diplomatic and military worlds. Russia politely requested that NATO confine its activities to its location as of 1997, and keep out of the former Warsaw Pact territory. This was to abide by the promises that the United States made to the Soviet Union at the time that the Soviets agreed to disband the Warsaw Pact. Both the United States and NATO responded negatively to the initiative, but agreed to hold negotiations with Russia during the week of January 11-14, 2022.

During the negotiation period many commentators have opined that the intellectual quality of the US official statements and the US think-tank products could be improved. Perhaps all is not lost, however, as at least some US officials have grasped the changes in Russian weapons and the Russian economy that make it necessary to sit down and do serious talking. For example, the top US general has announced that the world has moved from a unipolar setup to a multipolar one, and that the US is now only one of the poles, the others being China and Russia. The US general has engaged in “deconfliction” talks with the top generals of China and Russia—presumably to try and ward off any mistakes that could wind up frying the world to a crisp. In addition, the head of the CIA has allowed the CIA Fact Book to be published publicly showing that China and Russia are much higher-ranked in GDP than most politicians and pundits in the US give them credit for. China is significantly out in front, and Russia is sixth and closing in on fifth place. Finally, a former First Lady and Secretary of State has written that the massive US aircraft carriers are to a large extent obsolete and that the F-35 fighter jet does not live up to expectations. There is a widespread feeling that the US is behind the Russians in hypersonic weapons, air defense, and probably electronic warfare also.

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China has been a failure at hegemony, so let’s just chill, by John Mueller

China may be even worse at the hegemony game than the U.S. From John Mueller at responsiblestatecraft.org:

From the foundering Belt & Road Initiative to its so-called ‘wolf warrior’ strategy, Beijing is just not the threat we make it out to be.

Many in the U.S. foreign policy establishment and elsewhere are sounding an alarm over concerns that, as China develops, it will become the dominant power in its region, a “hegemon” that will have too much “influence” there and do damage to U.S. security interests. For example, in 2017 the National Intelligence Council opined that “geopolitical competition” was on the rise and the Chinese sought “to exert more sway over their neighboring regions and promote an order in which U.S. influence does not dominate.”

Accordingly, as it is often suggested, military hardware must be deployed to somehow keep that from happening.

However, to a degree, we already know what Chinese “hegemony” looks like. Over the last decade, China has established a major military and especially economic presence, and it has tried to convert this condition into influence. These experiments in hegemony — China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which has stressed construction loans to countries across Eurasia, and its rather belligerent “wolf diplomacy” antics — have substantially foundered and have, if anything, proved to be counterproductive. The experience does not bode well for future efforts, and it does not justify alarm.

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After Kazakhstan, the Color Revolution Era Is Over, by Pepe Escobar

Russia and the Central Asian states are on to the U.S. and Europe’s regime change game and have apparently devised effective strategies against it. From Pepe Escobar at unz.com:

The year 2022 started with Kazakhstan on fire, a serious attack against one of the key hubs of Eurasian integration. We are only beginning to understand what and how it happened.

On Monday morning, leaders of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) held an extraordinary session to discuss Kazakhstan.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev framed it succinctly. Riots were “hidden behind unplanned protests.” The goal was “to seize power” – a coup attempt. Actions were “coordinated from a single center.” And “foreign militants were involved in the riots.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin went further: during the riots, “Maidan technologies were used,” a reference to the Ukranian square where 2013 protests unseated a NATO-unfriendly government.

Defending the prompt intervention of CSTO peacekeeping forces in Kazakhstan, Putin said, “it was necessary to react without delay.” The CSTO will be on the ground “as long as necessary,” but after the mission is accomplished, “of course, the entire contingent will be withdrawn from the country.” Forces are expected to exit later this week.

But here’s the clincher: “CSTO countries have shown that they will not allow chaos and ‘color revolutions’ to be implemented inside their borders.”

Putin was in synch with Kazakh State Secretary Erlan Karin, who was the first, on the record, to apply the correct terminology to events in his country: What happened was a “hybrid terrorist attack,” by both internal and external forces, aimed at overthrowing the government.

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Why Russia Is Ready to Check-Mate the U.S. and Its Western Empire, by Finian Cunningham

Russia is not going to allow the U.S. and Great Britain to realize their long-held ambition and dominate Eurasia. Russia is strong enough to prevent it, and teamed with China is strong enough to prevent them from exercising much influence at all. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:

The Western empire-builders are weakened and exposed in the eyes of their own populations and thus are disarmed politically to pursue confrontation.

Author and commentator Alex Krainer explains in the following interview why Russia is now strong enough to take a definitive stand against the United States and its Western empire-builders. This is the wider historical context for high-level negotiations being conducted this week between Russia and the U.S. and NATO in which Moscow has asserted red lines for its national security.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the U.S.-led Western powers became deluded with arrogant entitlement. As Krainer points out, the Western empire-builders presumed to have the right to wage wars and flout international law. For much of the past three-decade period, Russia was too weak economically and politically to challenge this reckless aggression. But now it has grown strong enough to “check-mate the empire’s global ambitions”. This is why war or regime change in Russia has become an obsessive goal for the U.S. and Western partners. It accounts for the relentless sanctions, Russophobia and surge in tensions over Ukraine and more recently Kazakhstan.

Russia is perceived as an obstacle to Western control over the strategically vital Eurasian continent. The prize of Eurasia has long been coveted by Western imperialists, from the British Empire’s Sir Halford Mackinder to the U.S. strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski. As Krainer notes, it was this imperial calculation by the Anglo-American capitalists that led to the building up of Nazi Germany as a bludgeon to destroy the Soviet Union and purportedly to give the empire-builders global hegemony. This imperial machination led to World War II and the greatest conflagration in human history with as many as 85 million dead. The Soviet Union and China accounted for more than half of the death toll.

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Exit Nord Stream 2, Enter Power of Siberia 2, by Pepe Escobar

Russia, turning towards Asia, can survive without Europe. From Pepe Escobar at strategic-culture.org:

Military superpower Russia, having had enough of U.S./NATO bullying, is now dictating the terms of a new arrangement.

Coming straight from President Putin, it did sound like a bolt from the sky:

“We need long-term legally binding guarantees even if we know they cannot be trusted, as the U.S. frequently withdraws from treaties that become uninteresting to them. But it’s something, not just verbal assurances.”

And that’s how Russia-U.S. relations come to the definitive crunch – after an interminable series of polite red alerts coming from Moscow.

Putin once again had to specify that Russia is looking for “indivisible, equitable security” – a principle established since Helsinki in 1975 – even though he no longer sees the U.S. as a dependable “partner”, that diplomatically nicety so debased by the Empire since the end of the USSR.

The “frequently withdrawing from treaties” passage can easily be referred to as Washington in 2002 under Bush Jr. pulling out of the ABM treaty signed between the U.S. and the USSR in 1972. Or it could be referred to as the U.S. under Trump destroying the JCPOA signed with Iran and guaranteed by the UN. Precedents abound.

Putin was once again exercising the Taoist patience so characteristic of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: explaining the obvious not only to a Russian but also a global audience. The Global South may easily understand this reference; “When international law and the UN Charter interfere, they [the U.S.] declare it all obsolete and unnecessary.”

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A Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Hype or Horror? By Ted Galen Carpenter

It’s hard to see what Russia would get from invading Ukraine, other than a little security from NATO. From Ted Galen Carpenter at 19fortyfive.com:

Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Image: Creative Commons

Rumors are flying once again that Russia is planning to invade Ukraine. The latest flurry of concern intensified when Brig. General Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s director of defense intelligence, asserted in a November 20, 2021, interview with Military Times that Moscow already had plans in place to launch an invasion by the end of January 2022. He was not talking about a modest border incursion either. Such an attack would likely involve airstrikes, artillery, and armor attacks followed by airborne assaults in the east, amphibious assaults in Odesa and Mariupol, and a smaller incursion through neighboring Belarus, Budanov insisted.

This is hardly the first time that reports have circulated that Russia plans to invade and subjugate its neighbor—and it’s hardly the first time that Ukraine’s government has fanned such fears to gain more support from the United States and NATO. In April 2021, Kyiv cited a sizable buildup of Russian forces (with a wildly inflated European Union estimate of 150,000 troops) near Crimea, the peninsula that Moscow annexed in 2014 after the Western powers assisted demonstrators to overthrow Ukraine’s elected, pro-Russia president, Viktor Yanukovych.  The troop movements led to serious tensions between Russia and NATO, which eased in late April only when the Russian units pulled back from their forward positions.

Periodic reports that Vladimir Putin supposedly harbors massive expansionist plans at Ukraine’s expense have surfaced for years. In the months that followed the Crimea annexation and Russian assistance to the separatist rebellion that erupted in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, there were multiple charges from Ukrainian officials and their sympathizers in the West that the Kremlin planned to follow up with a full-fledged invasion. Those reports proved unfounded, and the latest allegations should be viewed with healthy skepticism.

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Mackindergarten Lesson, by Patrick Armstrong

Control the so-called center of the world—the Eurasian land mass—and control the world? Russia and China are certainly consolidating control of Eurasia and U.S. influence there is dwindling. From Patrick Armstrong at strategic-culture.org:

The Heartland plus population plus production plus sea power: that’s the end of the “Columbian Age”.

In 1904, the British geographer, Halford Mackinder, read a paper named “The Geographical Pivot of History” at the Royal Geographical Society. In the paper he advanced a hypothesis on the influence of geographic reality on world power relationships. This is sometimes regarded as the founding moment of the study of geopolitics. Looking at the whole planet, he spoke of the “heartland” – the great landmass of Eurasia – and the Islands – the large islands of the Americas and Australia and the small islands of the United Kingdom and Japan. (Parenthetically, he does not seem to have much concerned himself with Africa or South America.) For most of history, Europe was an isolated and not very important appendage of this great world mass, subject to continual raids from the nomads of the Heartland, and the outer islands played no part in world events.

All this changed about five centuries ago when what he called the “Columbian Age” began. That is to say, the time when Europe discovered sea power. This gave the Islands a great dominance over the Heartland. In 1905, however, he saw the situation changing with the construction of railways which could connect the Heartland. In 1919 he produced his famous “triad”:

<<Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland.

Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island.

Who rules the World Island commands the world.>>

His fear then was Germany+East Europe=world dominance. But the triad was not intended to be true for all time – he would not agree thirty years later that the USSR’s rule over East Europe plus the World Island meant rule over the world; Mackinder adapted his theory to the realities as he saw them. And, after the Second World War, he believed that the Islands (USA+UK+allies) could control the Rimlands and therefore lock out the Heartland (USSR). The “Rimlands” were an later addendum to his 1904 theory: these were the territories subject to influence by sea power; that is the edges of the Heartland.

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Afghanistan: Between Pipelines and ISIS-K, the Americans Are Still in Play, by Pepe Escobar

You didn’t really think the U.S. government was actually getting out of Afghanistan, did you? From Pepe Escobar at unz.com:

Something quite extraordinary happened in early November in Kabul.

Taliban interim-Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov got together to discuss a range of political and economic issues. Most importantly, they resurrected the legendary soap opera which in the early 2000s I dubbed Pipelineistan: the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline.

Call it yet another remarkable, historical twist in the post-jihad Afghan saga, going back as far as the mid-1990s when the Taliban first took power in Kabul.

In 1997, the Taliban even visited Houston to discuss the pipeline, then known as TAP, as reported in Part 1 of my e-book Forever Wars.

During the second Clinton administration, a consortium led by Unocal – now part of Chevron – was about to embark on what would have been an extremely costly proposition (nearly $8 billion) to undercut Russia in the intersection of Central and South Asia; as well as to smash the competition: the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline.

The Taliban were duly courted – in Houston and in Kabul. A key go-between was the ubiquitous Zalmay Khalilzad, aka ‘Bush’s Afghan,’ in one of his earlier incarnations as Unocal lobbyist-cum-Taliban interlocutor. But then, low oil prices and non-stop haggling over transit fees stalled the project. That was the situation in the run-up to 9/11.

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A tale of two civilisations, by Alasdair Macleod

China is trying to rediscover its old-time religion while Americans have abandoned theirs. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

In recent years, America’s unsuccessful attempts at containing China as a rival hegemon has only served to promote Chinese antipathy against American capitalism. China is now retreating into the comfort of her long-established moral values, best described as a mixture of Confucianism and Marxism, while despising American individualism, its careless regard for family values, and encouragement of get-rich-quick financial speculation.

After America’s defeat in Afghanistan, the geopolitical issue is now Taiwan, where things are hotting up in the wake of the AUKUS agreement. Taiwan is important because it produces two-thirds of the world’s computer chips. Meanwhile, the large US banks are complacent concerning Taiwan, preferring to salivate at the money-making prospects of China’s $45 trillion financial services market.

The outcome of the Taiwan issue is likely to be decided by the evolution of economic factors. China is protecting herself against a global credit crisis by restraining its creation, while America is going full MMT. The outcome is likely to be a combined financial market and dollar crisis for America, taking down its Western epigones as well. China has protected herself by cornering the market for physical gold and secretly accumulating as much as 20,000-30,000 tonnes in national reserves.

If the dollar fails, which without a radical change in monetary policy it is set to do, with its gold-backing China expects to not only survive but be able to consolidate Taiwan into its territory with little or no opposition.

Introduction

On the one hand we have America and on the other we have China. As civilisations, America is discarding its moral values and social structures while China is determined to stick with its Confucian and Marxist roots. America is inclined to recognise no other civilisations as being civilised, while China’s leadership has seen America’s version and is rejecting it. Both forms of civilisation are being insular with respect to the other, and their need to peacefully cooperate in a multipolar world is increasingly hampered.

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If We Fight a New Cold War, Who Are We Fighting It With? By Ted Snider

The US would have a tough time winning a Cold War against China. How does it fight against China and all its Eurasian friends, like Russia and Iran? From Ted Snider at antiwar.com:

President Biden’s words were hollow. The content had been cored because the words were empty of any real world content. On September 21, 2021, he told the UN General Assembly that the US is “not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocks.” UN Secretary-General Antonio Gueterres disagreed, warning against the new Cold War and referring to the US and China as “superpowers.”

With whom would a new Cold War be fought? Biden hinted at who the Cold War would be fought with right after saying that the Cold War wouldn’t be fought: “the United States turns our focus to the priorities and the regions of the world, like the Indo-Pacific, that are most consequential today and tomorrow.”

Biden denied that the war with China is a war of aggression. White House press secretary Jen Psaki clarified that “Our relationship with China is one not of conflict but of competition.” Biden referred to “a new era of relentless diplomacy.” Again, words cored of content. The diplomacy is a diplomacy of provocation in Taiwan punctuated by military provocation. And diplomacy is not characterized by the US enticing Australia to cancel its order of conventional submarines that, according to Frank von Hippel, senior research physicist at Princeton University and a specialist in nuclear power, nuclear energy and nuclear arms control and proliferation, are completely adequate if your purpose is defending your maritime property against invading navies, for nuclear-powered submarines that are only preferable if your purpose is offensive attack. That’s sending a message to China, but it’s not diplomacy.

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