China’s got a lot of wood to chop before it can take over the world. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:
In the New Year, after a close to the old one that was sort of terrible for our zombie markets, do prepare for a whole lot of stories about China (on top of Brexit and Yellow Vests and many more windmills fighting the Donald). And don’t count on too many positive ones that don’t originate in the country itself. Beijing will especially be full of feel-good tales about a month from now, around Chinese New Year 2019, which is February 5.
And we won’t get an easy and coherent true story, it’ll be bits and pieces stitched together. What will remain is that China did the same we did, just on steroids. It took us 100 years to build our manufacturing capacity, they did it in under 20 (and made ours obsolete). It took us 100 years to borrow enough to get a debt-to-GDP ratio of 300%, they did it in 10.
In the process they also accumulated 10 times more non-productive assets than us, idle factories, bridges to nowhere and empty cities, but they thought that would be alright, that demand would catch up with supply. And if you look at how much unproductive stuff we ourselves have gathered around us, who can blame them for thinking that? Perhaps their biggest mistake has been misreading our actual wealth situation; they didn’t see how poorly off we really are.
Xiang Songzuo, “a relatively obscure economics professor at Renmin University in Beijing”, expressed some dire warnings about the Chinese economy in a December 15 speech. He didn’t get much attention, not even in the West. Not overly surprising, since both Beijing and Wall Street have a vested interest in the continuing China growth story.
Posted in Business, Currencies, Debt, Economy, Eurasian Axis, Geopolitics, Governments, History
Tagged Africa, Apple, Belt and Road Initiative, China, Smartphones
Of the empire’s sea of woes, Syria might the most woeful. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
The U.S. lost in Syria. Donald Trump finally had the courage to admit that to the world when he ordered the pull out of all U.S. troops there.
Syria was to be the sparkling jewel in the Empire of Chaos’ Crown. A masterstroke of realpolitik which would advance every major U.S., Israeli and Saudi objective while thoroughly destabilizing the Levant and setting the stage for wiping out Iran and eventually Russia.
If the Assad government fell Syria would become something worse than Libya. It would become a source of abject chaos for decades to come. And the formation of greater Kurdistan would put advanced U.S. and Israeli military assets on Iran’s doorstep.
Carving up Syria, Iraq and possibly even Turkey, once Erdogan was removed from power, would put the U.S. and Israel in control of the oil assets to fund a jihadist-led insurgency across all of central Asia.
Moreover, the chaos would ensure a steady stream of refugees into Europe to destabilize it. That chaos would lead to further political integration of Europe under EU control.
Posted in Collapse, Eurasian Axis, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Media, Politics, War
Tagged American empire, Deep State, President Trump, Russia, Syria
The contest between the US and China will be fought primarily in the technologies of the future. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:
“The true reason behind the US-China ‘trade’ war has little to do with actual trade … What is really at the basis of the ongoing civilizational conflict between the US and China … are China’s ambitions to be a leader in next-generation technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), which rest on whether or not it can design and manufacture cutting-edge chips, and is why Xi has pledged at least $150 billion to build up the sector”, Zerohedge writes.
Nothing new here: yet behind that ambition, lies another, further ambition and a little mentioned ‘elephant in the room’: that the ‘trade war’ is also the first stage to a new arms race between the US & China – albeit of a different genre of arms race. This ‘new generation’ arms-race is all about reaching national superiority in technology over the longer-term, via Quantum Computing, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Hypersonic Warplanes, Electronic Vehicles, Robotics, and Cyber-Security.
The blueprint for it, in China, is in the public domain. It is ‘Made in China 2025’ (now downplayed, but far from forgotten). And the Chinese expenditure commitment ($ 150 billion) to take the tech lead – will be met ‘head on’ (as Zerohedge puts it), “by a [counterpart] ‘America First’ strategy: Hence the ‘arms race’ in tech spending … is intimately linked with defence spending. Note: military spending by the US and China is forecast by the IMF to rise substantially in coming decades, but the stunner is: that by 2050, China is set to overtake the US, spending $4tn on its military, while the US is $1 trillion less, or $3tn … This means that sometime around 2038, roughly two decades from now, China will surpass the US in military spending.”
Posted in Currencies, Debt, Economy, Energy, Eurasian Axis, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Politics, Technology, Trade
Tagged China, Credit, De-dollarization, US
The real question is whether Trump will actually be able to withdraw the US military presence in Syria. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:
“Impulsive, irresponsible, and dangerous.” Such was the way, just this morning on CNN, that Democratic Representative, and House Minority Whip, Steny Hoyer described President Trump’s recent announcement that he’s bringing home the 2,000 U.S. troops currently in Syria. Last night, Republican Senator Lindsay Graham – a true hawk’s hawk – declared on the Senate floor that Trump’s decision is a “disaster,” and a “stain on the honor of the United States.” Two points here, one minor, one major – let’s begin with a semantic quibble: when maintaining national “honor” becomes a last ditch argument for continuing indecisive, perpetual war, perhaps it really is time to leave. And, more importantly, there’s this: anytime that Steny Hoyer and Lindsay Graham are in agreement and share a disdain for a foreign policy decision – even a Trump decision – well, then, the president might just be on to something.
My point is this: the bipartisan interventionist/militarist consensus of centrist Dems and hawkish Republicans has brought only disaster, death, humanitarian crisis, exploding debt and endless war for nearly two decades. For ample evidence see Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, etc. So, why are we still listening to these folks? Well, partly because the United States is an increasingly militarized (ostensible) republic in which a world-leading domestic arms industry all but owns Congress and the corporate media. Then there’s the matter of Trump – a man that the bipartisan Washington establishment simply loathes. Indeed, The Donald can do no right as far as these folks are concerned. Now, few authors – especially serving on active-duty in the military – have been as (constructively) critical of this president as I have, but occasionally the man demonstrates good sense, especially in foreign affairs. Fairness demands that we recognize this, whatever we think of the president’s general personality.
The odds are climbing, says George Szamuely, in an interview with Ann Garrison at consortiumnews.com:
Hungarian scholar George Szamuely tells Ann Garrison that he sees a 70 percent chance of combat between NATO and Russia following the incident in the Kerch Strait and that it is being fueled by Russia-gate.
George Szamuely is a Hungarian-born scholar and Senior Research Fellow at London’s Global Policy Institute. He lives in New York City. I spoke to him about escalating hostilities on Russia’s Ukrainian and Black Sea borders and about Exercise Trident Juncture, NATO’s massive military exercise on Russian borders which ended just as the latest hostilities began.
Ann Garrison: George, the hostilities between Ukraine, NATO, and Russia continue to escalate in the Sea of Azov, the Kerch Strait, and the Black Sea. What do you think the latest odds of a shooting war between NATO and Russia are, if one hasn’t started by the time this is published?
George Szamuely: Several weeks ago, when we first talked about this, I said 60 percent. Now I’d say, maybe 70 percent. The problem is that Trump seems determined to be the anti-Obama. Obama, in Trump’s telling, “allowed” Russia to take Crimea and to “invade” Ukraine. Therefore, it will be up to Trump to reverse this. Just as he, Trump, reversed Obama’s policy on Iran by walking away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal. So expect ever-increasing US involvement in Ukraine.
Posted in Eurasian Axis, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Media, Politics, War
Tagged Black Sea, Great Britain, Kerch Strait, President Trump, Russia, Sea of Above, Ukraine
Russia is turning towards Asia, perhaps having given up on the West. From Pepe Escobar at atimes.com:
Russia is keen to push economic integration with parts of Asia and this fits in with China’s Belt and Road Initiative
The noose cinches.
Second-rate George H.W. Bush got a first-rate Washington send-off. For one day it interrupted the downtrend in equity markets. It may mark the US apotheosis of inflated grandiosity. Across the Atlantic, Emmanuel Macron, pretentious popinjay of Gallic grandiosity, has gotten a deserved comeuppance. Brexit, Trump’s election, and nationalist uprisings in Southern and Eastern Europe apparently insufficient warning to the globalists who would rule us, the French rioters are sending yet another wake-up call. If that’s not enough, so too are many of the nations outside the Euro-American welfare state asylum.
The crazies’ kings, queens, and courtiers face a dwindling inheritance and mounting debt, but spend lavishly to keep up appearances. Falling markets and rioting taxpayers are unwelcome reminders that the money’s running out, leaving behind a stack of IOUs that won’t be paid. The aristocracy wants to offload the pain to the peasantry, but the riots demonstrate that the peasantry has other ideas. Our betters also want to blame their sea of woes on Eurasia’s leaders, but Russia, China, Russia, Turkey, and Iran are having none of that. They are, however, delighted to see the West crumbling and will do nothing to stop it.
Empire is America’s noose, hubris America’s curse. Once upon a time it didn’t matter much to the American people or their politicians what happened in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, or even Europe. During the nineteenth century, for the most part we minded our own business, and what a business it turned out to be. America became the world’s industrial, technological, and commercial powerhouse.
Posted in Collapse, Debt, Economics, Economy, Eurasian Axis, Financial markets, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Immigration, Imperialism, Military, Morality, Politics, War
Tagged American empire, Bolton, China, Pompeo, President Trump, Russia, Yellow Vest protests