Category Archives: Eurasian Axis

Escalation: Recent Events Suggest Mounting Economic Danger, by Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith gets no argument here. From Smith at alt-market.us:

A common refrain from people who are critical of alternative economists is that we have been predicting crisis for so long that “eventually we will be right.” These are generally people who don’t understand the nature of economic decline – It’s like an avalanche that builds over time, then breaks and quickly escalates as it flows down the mountain. What they don’t grasp is that they are in the middle of an economic collapse RIGHT NOW, and they just can’t see it because they have been acclimated to the presence of the snow and cold.

Economic decline is a process that takes many years, and while you might get an event like the market crash of 1929 or the crash of 2008, these moments of panic are nothing more than the wreckage left behind by the great wave of tumbling ice that everyone should have seen coming far in advance, but they refused.

In 2022 the job of warning people is far easier than it used to be because we are well past the midpoint of the process of decline. But, believe it or not, I still get people today who claim that we analysts are “doom mongers.” The power of willful ignorance is truly amazing. It’s enough to make a person blind to stagflationary crisis, supply chain disruptions, quickly inflating prices, stock market carnage, bond market instability, record consumer debt, and international conflict.

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

Russia and China are making noteworthy progress putting together their Eurasian federation, which is spreading out far beyond Eurasia. From Pepe Escobar at thesaker.is:

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

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.

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An Asian Bretton Woods? By Alasdair Macleod

Are Russia and China converging on a true gold-backed currency? From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

The financial war between Russia with China’s tacit backing on one side, and America and her NATO allies on the other has escalated rapidly. It appears that President Putin was thinking several steps ahead when he launched Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

We have seen sanctions fail. We have seen Russia achieve record export surpluses. We have seen the rouble become the strongest currency on the foreign exchanges. 

We are seeing the west enter a new round of European monetary inflation to pay everyone’s energy bills. The euro, yen, and sterling are already collapsing — the dollar will be next. From Putin’s point of view, so far, so good.

Russia has progressed her power over Asian nations, including populous India and Iran. She has persuaded Middle Eastern oil and gas producers that their future lies with Asian markets, and not Europe. She is subsidising Asia’s industrial revolution with discounted energy. Thanks to the west’s sanctions, Russia is on its way to confirming Halford Mackinder’s predictions made over a century ago, that Russia is the true geopolitical centre of the world.

There is one piece in Putin’s jigsaw yet to be put in place: a new currency system to protect Russia and her allies from an approaching western monetary crisis. This article argues that under cover of the west’s geopolitical ineptitude, Putin is now assembling a new gold-backed multi-currency system by combining plans for a new Asian trade currency with his new Moscow World Standard for gold.

Currency developments under the radar

Unreported by western media, there are some interesting developments taking place in Asia over the future of currencies. Earlier this summer, it emerged that Sergei Glazyev, a senior Russian economist and Minister in charge of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EAEU), was leading a committee planning a new trade currency for the Eurasian Economic Union.

As put forward in Russian and EAEU media, the new currency is to be comprised of a mixture of national currencies and commodities. A weighting of some sort was suggested to reflect the relative importance of the currencies and commodities traded between them. At the same time, the new trade settlement currency was to be available to any other nation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the expanding BRICS membership. The ambition is for it to become an Asia-wide replacement for the dollar. 

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Asia’s future takes shape in Vladivostok, the Russian Pacific, by Pepe Escobar

Once upon a time the U.S. could have been invited into the ongoing development of Eurasia. That option, unfortunately, is off the table, leaving the U.S. trying to sabotage the Russian and Chinese-led effort. From Pepe Escobar at thecradle.co:

Sixty-eight countries gathered on Russia’s far eastern coast to listen to Moscow’s economic and political vision for the Asia-Pacific

https://media.thecradle.co/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Putin-on-Vladiviostok.jpg

Photo Credit: The Cradle

The Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok is one of the indispensable annual milestones for keeping up not only with the complex development process of the Russian Far East but major plays for Eurasia integration.

Mirroring an immensely turbulent 2022, the current theme in Vladivostok is ‘On the Path to a Multipolar World.’ Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, in a short message to business and government participants from 68 nations, set the stage:

“The obsolete unipolar model is being replaced by a new world order based on the fundamental principles of justice and equality, as well as the recognition of the right of each state and people to their own sovereign path of development. Powerful political and economic centers are taking shape right here in the Asia-Pacific region, acting as a driving force in this irreversible process.”

In his speech to the EEF plenary session, Ukraine was barely mentioned. Putin’s response when asked about it: “Is this country part of Asia-Pacific?”

The speech was largely structured as a serious message to the collective west, as well as to what top analyst Sergey Karaganov calls the “global majority.” Among several takeaways, these may be the most relevant:

  • Russia as a sovereign state will defend its interests.
  • Western sanctions ‘fever’ is threatening the world – and economic crises are not going away after the pandemic.
  • The entire system of international relations has changed. There is an attempt to maintain world order by changing the rules.
  • Sanctions on Russia are closing down businesses in Europe. Russia is coping with economic and tech aggression from the west.
  • Inflation is breaking records in developed countries. Russia is looking at around 12 percent.
  • Russia has played its part in grain exports leaving Ukraine, but most shipments went to EU nations and not developing countries.
  • The “welfare of the ‘Golden Billion’ is being ignored.”
  • The west is in no position to dictate energy prices to Russia.
  • Ruble and yuan will be used for gas payments.
  • The role of Asia-Pacific has significantly increased.

In a nutshell: Asia is the new epicenter of technological progress and productivity.

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Existential Disquiets: Financial War Against the West Begins to Bite, by Alastair Crooke

The U.S. government is writing checks its overdrawn bank account can’t cash. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

Europe sinks into being a distant backward province to a falling ‘Imperial Rome’, Alastair Crooke writes.

The Club of Rome, founded in 1968 as a collective of leading thinkers pondering global issues, took as its leitmotiv the doctrine that to view the problems of humankind individually, in isolation or as “problems capable of being solved in their own terms”, was doomed to failure – “all are interrelated”. Now, fifty-years on, this has become an unquestioned ‘revealed truth’ to a key segment of western populations.

The Club of Rome subsequently attracted immediate public attention with its first report, The Limits to Growth. Published in 1972, the Club’s computer simulations suggested that economic growth could not continue indefinitely because of resource depletion. The 1973 oil crisis increased public concern about this problem. The report went ‘viral’.

We know the story: A group of western thinkers were posed three questions: Can the planet sustain a European-style level of consumption spreading everywhere, across the globe? The answer from these thinkers was ‘clearly not’. Second question: Can you imagine western states voluntarily relinquishing their standard of living by de-industrialising? Answer: A definite ‘No’. Must a lower plane of consumption and use of energy and resources then be coerced upon reluctant populations? Answer: Definitely ‘Yes.

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How the War Is Choreographing Russia’s New Stance, by Ted Snider

Vladimir Putin knows when he and Russia are not wanted. He also knows where he and Russia are wanted—in Asia and the Middle East. From Ted Snider at antiwar.com:

The horrific war in Ukraine is, tragically, far from over with no end in sight. Whether the world that emerges will be unipolar or multipolar, one thing is certain: the world is now more polarized.

The war in Ukraine is a threshold that, having been crossed, forces Russia to face two certain premises. The first is that the West will not take into consideration Russia’s security concerns. For that reason, for the foreseeable future, Russia will turn away from the West in a stance of hostility and defensiveness. The second is that Russia will no longer trust the West or trust being integrated into the Western system. For that reason, Russia will turn toward the East and reinforce its relationships with China, India and other non-European nations who are unaligned with the US or who line up with a multipolar world not locked to American hegemony.

The previous Russian foreign policy approach of persuading the West to take seriously Russia’s security concerns is over. This hope has been killed by empirical reality. NATO’s decades long march toward Russia’s borders finally pulled the life support from that hope when it refused to make the commitment not to cross Russia’s red line into Ukraine. Its threatened 800 mile expansion along the Finnish border and its announced opening of a permanent military headquarters in Poland in violation of the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act demonstrate its future intentions. Putin’s spurned December 2021 request for negotiations and Russia’s accompanying proposal on mutual security guarantees likely represents the last effort by Russia in the foreseeable future to preserve friendly relations with the West by attempting to negotiate the acceptance of Russia’s security concerns.

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China’s BRI Shapes a Multipolar Future for Saudi Arabia, by Matthew Ehret

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) may be an important step towards multipolar amity, cooperation, and progress. Or it may be the biggest government-sponsored boondoggle of all time. From Matthew Ehret at strategic-culture.org:

Xi Jinping’s visit to Saudi Arabia is heralding more tectonic changes in the rules of the Great Game in ways that few have begun to realize.

While many people are quick to criticize China for having looked the other way while the atrocious Saudi-led offensive in Yemen has continued to kill hundreds of thousands of civilians since 2015, these same people miss the fact that a higher geopolitical reality is being born which will have a much greater benefit to both the people of Yemen and humanity more generally if it is not sabotaged.

Just to be clear: Saudi Arabia has a lot of blood on her hands.

However, the monarchy is also not merely the unidimensional player which many often assume whose goal is to simply bask forever in oil profits while spreading wahhabite radicalism across the Arab world while subduing any nation who stands in their way.

There is also an emergent robust young generation in Saudi Arabia (half of the 31 million Saudis are under 25) and a renewed embrace of advanced technological progress as a driver for a post-hydrocarbon age. This more healthy dynamic within the Saudi population and governing class was outlined clearly in the Saudi Vision 2030 program of April 2016 and earlier the January 2016 Joint Statement between the People’s Republic of China and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which read: “In the process of jointly pursuing the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative, China is willing to coordinate development strategies with Arab states, put into play each other’s advantages and potentials, promote international production capacity cooperation and enhance cooperation in the fields of infrastructure construction, trade and investment facilitation, nuclear power, space satellite, new energy, agriculture and finance, so as to achieve common progress and development and benefit our two peoples.”

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The Western-System is More Fragile Than Ever… Here’s What Comes Next, by Chris MacIntosh

Big change is coming, and it will be driven more by countries outside the Western axis than from within. From Chris MacIntosh at internationalman.com:

Western-System

Two things I want to point out.

One is that John Locke was right.

Government has no other end than the preservation of property. Tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right… there is only one thing which gathers people into seditious commotion, and that is oppression.” -John Locke

If ever there was a catalyst to galvanize and accelerate an alternate system or systems to provide relief from the tsunami of oppression coming at us, then surely this is it.

And secondly… the galvanizing of current existing alternative systems, which, if I’m even half right, will morph during the course of the decade resulting in something that will be unrecognizable from its current state.

While the Western “democratic” world focuses on ensuring the gender confused have tampons in the boys’ loos, dramatic changes are afoot in that world outside of the narrow Western dominated MSM scope.

At the recently convened St Petersburg International Economic Forum Vladimir Putin put it like this:

To reiterate, these changes are fundamental, groundbreaking and rigorous. It would be a mistake to assume that at a time of turbulent change, one can simply sit it out or wait it out until everything gets back on track and becomes what it was before. It will not.

Now think what you will of Vlad but to discount his views is foolish. If nothing else his grasp of history, economics and realpolitik is vastly superior to any of the podium donuts in literally any western country today.

Differing ideologies, differing economic, political and social systems

As the central planners at the WEF, NATO, EU, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and US administration press ahead with what can only be described as a tyrannical evil agenda, this creates a greater synergy and connectivity for those systems which are in disagreement, even if only marginally so.

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America’s Wars Take on a Divisive Edge, by Alastair Crooke

Sooner or later, Europe is going to start asking if it, not Russia, is the real target of the U.S. proxy war. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

Before Putin relinquishes the pressure on EU nations, he is still likely to insist that American influence from Western Europe is withdrawn.

It is August – Ukrainian Independence Day, and the anniversary, too, of Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Kabul. Washington is only too aware that these painful images (Afghans clinging to the undercarriage of Hercules planes) are about to be replayed, in the lead-up to the November elections.

Because events in Ukraine are unfolding badly for Washington – as the slow, calibrated steamroller of Russian artillery fire shreds the Ukrainian army. Ukraine has been notably unable to reinforce besieged positions, or to counterattack and to hold re-conquered territory. Ukraine has used HIMARS, artillery and drones to hit some Russian ammunition depots, but these, so far, are isolated incidents, and are more media ‘plays’, than constituting any shift in the strategic balance of the war.

So, let’s change the ‘narrative’: Over the last week, the Washington Post has been busy curating a new narrative. In gist, the shift is quite simple: U.S. intelligence, in the past, may have got things disastrously wrong, but they ‘nailed’ it this time. They warned of Putin’s plan to invade. They had it down to the Russian militaries’ detailed plans.

First Shift: Team Biden warned Zelensky multiple times, but the man stubbornly refused to listen. As a result, when the invasion blindsided Zelensky, the Ukrainians as a whole were hopelessly unprepared. Message: ‘It’s Zelensky to blame’.

Let’s not go into the egregious omission in this narrative of eight years of NATO preparation for a mega attack on Donbas that was bound to draw a Russian riposte. No need for a crystal ball to figure out ‘that’. Russian military structures had been sitting some 70 kms from the Ukrainian border for months.

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China Is Aggressively Reselling Russian Gas To Europe, by Tyler Durden

Not only have Western sanctions benefited Russia, they’ve benefited the other half of the Eurasian dynamic duo—China. Russia sells its gas to China, who then sells some of it to energy-starved Europe, at a marked up price that includes recompense for the Chinese. So, Western sanctions benefit not one but two of its prime competitors, or enemies if you want to call it that. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

One month ago, we were surprised to read how, despite a suppressed appetite for energy amid its housing crash and economic downturn (for which “zero covid” has emerged as a convenient scapegoat for emperor Xi), China has been soaking up more Russian natural gas so far this year, while imports from most other sources declined.

In July, the SCMP reported that according to Chinese customs data, in the first six months of the year, China bought a total of 2.35 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) – valued at US$2.16 billion. The import volume increased by 28.7% year on year, with the value surging by 182%. It meant Russia has surpassed Indonesia and the United States to become China’s fourth-largest supplier of LNG so far this year!

This, of course, is not to be confused with pipeline gas, where Russian producer Gazprom recently announced that its daily supplies to China via the Power of Siberia pipeline had reached a new all-time high (Russia is China’s second-largest pipeline natural gas supplier after Turkmenistan), and earlier revealed that the supply of Russian pipeline gas to China had increased by 63.4% in the first half of 2022.

What was behind this bizarre surge in Russian LNG imports, analysts speculated? After all, while China imports over half of the natural gas it consumes, with around two-thirds in the form of LNG, demand this year had fallen sharply amid economic headwinds and widespread shutdowns. In other words, why the surge in Russian LNG  when i) domestic demand is just not there and ii) at the expense of everyone else?

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