Category Archives: Eurasian Axis

Putin and Xi top the G6+1, by Pepe Escobar

The outcomes were markedly different between the G-7 summit and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit. From Pepe Escobar at atimes.com:

All hell broke loose at the G6+1, aka G7, while the China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) aimed at global integration and a peaceful multipolar order

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) at a reception in Tianjin. Photo: AFP via Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin  Sputnik

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) at a reception in Tianjin. Photo: AFP via Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin Sputnik
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How Singapore, Astana and St Petersburg preview a new world order, by Pepe Escobar

A strong challenge to Western dominance is arising from Eurasia. From Pepe Escobar at atimes.com:

Key economic forums in cities across Eurasia point the way to new power structures rising to challenge Western dominance

The Kazakhstan Presidential Palace, Acorda, in the capital Astana. Photo: iStock

The Kazakhstan Presidential Palace, Acorda, in the capital Astana. Photo: iStock

Why India is ignoring US sanctions and sticking with Iran, by Pepe Escobar

China and Russia aren’t the only Eurasian countries who would like to move away from the US unipolar vision. From Pepe Escobar at atimes.com:

It’s not just about oil – there’s a complex interconnection of geopolitics and geoeconomics between the two countries

India buys Iranian oil with rupees, circumventing the US dollar. Illustration: iStock

India buys Iranian oil with rupees, circumventing the US dollar. Illustration: iStock

Sanctioning the World, the US Inadvertently ‘Locks & Launches’ Multipolarism, by Alastair Crooke

As the US tries to browbeat the world, many countries are deciding they know longer want to play in the American playpen. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

The commemorative medal had already been cast and published. It depicts profiles of Trump and Jong Un, facing each other, at the 12th June historic meeting – at which Jong Un was supposed to disavow and discard his nuclear armament, irreversibly, and then to accept Trump’s gracious benediction. The meeting now is moot (and, since drafting, has been cancelled, blindsiding both Moon and Abe), leaving in its wake, a frustrated and angry Trump. And, as we prefigured earlier, instead of realising that Team Trump had not been listening adequately to what Jong Un was signalling, Trump now blames Xi for upsetting ‘the deal’ from being struck.

China’s Global Times makes the point:

“The US unilaterally demands prompt peninsular denuclearization before it provides compensation to Pyongyang. China will not oppose such a deal between the US and North Korea. However, can Washington achieve it? Pyongyang has just given an answer … It would be OK if Washington pressures Pyongyang to gain an edge in negotiations, but Washington should think twice about the possibility of pushing the Korean Peninsula back to fierce antagonism.

It is clear from China’s perspective that the US has overestimated its weight in forcing North Korea to accept its demands. The US has forgotten the awkward situation it was in last year when it could not stop North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, and the difficulty of taking military action against North Korea.

The US has always believed it was duped by North Korea, which is, in fact, far from correct. The US was responsible for the aborted peninsula resolutions, multiple times.”

Irritated too, by harsh comments made by ‘trade hawks’ on the lack of tangible result in trade negotiations with China (Steve Bannon, for example, told Bloomberg that Trump “changed the dynamic regarding China – but in one weekend, Secretary Mnuchin has given it away”), Trump now seems to be set to pivot towards a tougher China trade stance, saying that the talks had not achieved much, and that a new framework might be needed.

To continue reading: Sanctioning the World, the US Inadvertently ‘Locks & Launches’ Multipolarism

The “Axis of Gold” Just Got Stronger, by James Rickards

Transacting in gold can be a nifty way around the US’s financial sanctions. From James Rickards at dailyreckoning.com:

As you probably know by now, President Trump backed out of the nuclear deal with Iran and is re-imposing harsh sanctions.

And just this morning, Trump announced that he’s canceling the much-anticipated nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un because of Kim’s recent belligerent comments.

What does that mean, aside from the added geopolitical risk to markets?

As you’re about to see, you can now expect what I call the “Axis of Gold” to get even stronger. And it has potential to accelerate the demise of the dollar-based international system.

The Axis of Gold includes Russia, China, Iran and Turkey. I would also include North Korea in that list, although as a junior member.

These countries are forming a trading and financial network revolving around gold and are acquiring massive amounts of physical gold to support it. They are steadily moving toward a gold-based balance of payment system.

Why is this happening?

Well, if you’re on the receiving end of American sanctions like Russia, Iran or North Korea, you want a way to work around these sanctions. And gold is a powerful alternative.

Let’s first consider North Korea.

With the summit called off, there’s every reason to expect that North Korea will only intensify its nuclear program.

But how can North Korea obtain the foreign nuclear and missile technology it requires to advance its program?

By using gold.

If a rogue state wants to acquire ballistic missile components or equipment to enrich uranium, it can’t buy them through SWIFT, the international payment system. But it can use gold.

Gold can’t be hacked or traced. Unlike digital money in bank accounts, it can’t be frozen. You just put it on a plane or ship and send it to its destination.

And new U.S. sanctions will once again lock Iran outside of the international payment system. But Iran does a lot of business with Russia and China. That’s where gold comes in.

To continue reading: The “Axis of Gold” Just Got Stronger

Blowing Up the Iran Deal Brings Eurasia Closer to Integration, by Federico Pieraccini

Trump withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal will not win him any new friends in Eurasia. From Federico Pieraccini at strategic-culture.org:

The annulment of the Iran nuclear deal framework could not be fended off by the visits or entreaties of Merkel, Macron or May. Donald Trump has refused to renew the agreement formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), removing the United States from the deal. In reality, it changes little for Washington, as the US never really removed any sanctions against Iran in 2015, and mutual trust has never risen above minimal levels. The American move, which was never surprising, arises from four fundamental factors, namely: the link (especially vis-à-vis electoral financing) between the Trump administration and the Israeli government of Netanyahu; the agreement between Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) and Donald Trump to acquire hundreds of billions of dollars worth of arms as well as investments in the United States; directly targeting European allies like Germany, France and England; and, finally, the wish to please the anti-Iranian hawks Trump surrounded himself with in his administration.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman are united against Iran and are now publicly cementing their alliance that has hitherto been shrouded in secrecy. The political rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel has been constant over the last 12 months, converging over anti-Iranian interests. Trump’s anti-Iran tilt enjoys support from the Netanyahu and bin Salman clans, representing a 180-degree change in US policy direction away from the one forged through the nuclear agreements reached by the previous administration.

Saudi money and Israel’s political support (and neoconservative pressure within the United States) are factors important to the Trump administration, particularly as it is besieged by domestic politics and has to deal with the Mueller investigation that buzzes annoyingly around the president of the United States.

Trump’s need to surround himself with the likes of Pompeo, Haspel and Bolton betrays an acquiescing desire to appease the deep state rather than fight it. Whatever fight might have been present in Donald Trump upon assuming his office has given way to a fruitful collaboration with the deep state. Donald Trump seems to have concluded that it is better to negotiate and find agreements with the deep state than to try, as he promised during his election campaign, to drain the swamp.

To continue reading: Blowing Up the Iran Deal Brings Eurasia Closer to Integration

The Emerging China-Iran-Pakistan Alliance Is Directed DECIDEDLY Against The United States, by Lawrence Selling

China spearheads the Belt and Road Initiative, which will build out infrastructure throughout Eurasia. The project, and the alliances China is building, have a military component. From Lawrence Sellin at dailycaller.com:

In a January 10, 2018 Daily Caller article titled “China May Have Just Brokered An Iran-Pakistan Accommodation,” I outlined the extensive diplomatic and military initiatives underway in the past year to foster reconciliation between Iran and Pakistan, orchestrated behind the scenes by China.

That strategy supports the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s blueprint for global hegemony. It is a development plan, a program of infrastructure projects and a network of commercial agreements designed to link the world directly to the Chinese economy through inter-connected land-based and maritime routes.

As French Asia expert, Nadége Rolland noted, BRI is soft power projection with an underlying hard power component, a comprehensive China-centered economic, financial and geopolitical web with far-reaching, cascading consequences affecting American national interests. It is not just resource acquisition or utilization of China’s industrial over-capacity, but projects specifically designed to ensure economic and, in parallel, military dominance.

As China expands commercially, the Chinese military, in particular its navy, will advance concomitantly to protect China’s growing economic empire, as did the British in an earlier era. Chinese intent is to gain access to a number of harbors and airports to create a chain of mutually-supporting military facilities.

China’s plans to expand its naval footprint in Pakistan have accompanied signsof increasing military cooperation between Tehran and Beijing over the last several years.

In June 2017, Iranian warships joined a Chinese naval flotilla conducting exercises in the Persian Gulf. The Chinese ships also made an official visit to the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas after having earlier docked in Karachi, Pakistan. One Chinese military affairs expert, speaking at the time, said China was poised to increase its military presence in the Middle East to support BRI and would involve itself more in the affairs of the region.

Chinese efforts towards Iran-Pakistan cooperation have also borne fruit. In recent months, there has been a flurry of agreements in tradedefenseweapons development, counter-terrorism, banking, train serviceparliamentary cooperation and — most recently — art and literature.

To continue reading: The Emerging China-Iran-Pakistan Alliance Is Directed DECIDEDLY Against The United States