Category Archives: Eurasian Axis

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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AUKUS Security Alliance Exposes EU’s Fecklessness, by Soeren Kern

The AUKUS countries—Australia, the UK, and the US—bypassed a lot of European countries who have demonstrated very little commitment to their own or anyone else’s defense. From Soeren Kern at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • If an authoritarian nation, such as China, displaces America as the dominant global power, then democracies all over the world will feel the consequences.” — Gideon Rachman, columnist, Financial Times.
  • “Too many European elites still do not want to admit that democracies are in a systemic rivalry with autocracies. Refusing to acknowledge reality is convenient for them since it justifies their inaction. But we need to do the opposite and double down in our defense of democracies.” — Andreas Fulda, China expert, University of Nottingham.
  • “The US thinks about how to contain China. And Australia too is in the position of thinking about how one contains, as opposed to how one accommodates; that’s the fundamental difference with France. As a consequence, the US looks like the better partner.” — Richard Whitman, professor of politics and international relations, University of Kent.
  • “I think it was the only option for Australia because the French were not going to annoy or unnecessarily irritate Beijing. They wanted trade, economic, and investment relations. Now, Australia will have the capability to sink the Chinese navy in 72 hours; that’s what this is all about. The Chinese know they have been outmaneuvered, and they’re very angry. In a very short period of time, Australia has gone from a doormat to something very considerable — it’s an extraordinary development.” — Joseph Siracusa, geopolitical analyst, Sky News Australia.
  • “The lesson of the past few weeks is that the world does not run on Brussels time, with its long periods for consultation, courteous attention to the electoral cycles of 27 countries, and sacrosanct weekends, evenings, and lunch breaks.” — Edward Lucas, Europe analyst, Center for European Policy Analysis.
  • “France underestimated how China’s naked military ambition, chronic disregard for international order, and barely concealed aspirations to control the deep Pacific and Antarctica pushed Australia to make tough decisions about the future.” — Craig Hooper, geopolitical analyst, Forbes.
  • “It is hard to overstate the importance of the so-called Aukus alliance between the US, the UK and Australia — and the implicit geopolitical disaster for the EU.” — Wolfgang Münchau, commentator, The Spectator.

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The China Cold War Will Unstick America’s Glue, by Alastair Crooke

America doesn’t have what it would take to wage a new cold war against China. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

Can an America that off-shored much of its manufacturing capacity to China, for short-term profit, afford the de-coupling?

Washington isn’t quite sure what to do after the chaotic end to America’s ‘forever’ war. Some in Washington bitterly regret exiting from Afghanistan at all, and advocate for an immediate return; some just want to move on – to the China ‘Cold War’, that is. The cries from the initial Establishment ‘melt down’ and its articulation of pain over the Kabul withdrawal débacle, however, indicates the extent to which the almost obsessive focus on ‘Hobbling China’ nevertheless seems like an humiliating retreat to U.S. hawks, habituated to more global, and unlimited interventions.

It is a retreat. ‘Rome’ is relegating its ‘distant provinces’ to their own devices, and even its abutting loyalist inner circle is being downgraded to ‘benign’ indifference. It is a drawing-in towards the ‘hub’, a ‘circling of wagons’ – the better to muster energies for a lunge out at China.

There are the acquiescent regions that Americans occupied after WW II (the psychologically-seared Japan and Germany), and then there is the American world empire, which exists chimerically wherever U.S. commercial and cultural power reaches, and more practically in its patchwork of client states and military installations. This third empire is regarded by many Americans as its most remarkable achievement – a triumph of the ‘City of Light’.

The post 9/11 era’s final ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ dénouement scene at Kabul Airport did however, clearly convey a strong end-of-the-Roman Empire feel. Yes, failure in Afghanistan may have taken place far from Rome itself, yet something more profound today hangs in the air: a Change of Era.

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“The Endgame Of Communist Rule Has Begun”: Evergrande’s Fall Shows How Xi Has Created A China Crisis, by Niall Ferguson

Is Evergrande illustrating the shaky foundations of a society and economy built on debt and repression? From Niall Ferguson at Bloomberg via zerohedge.com:

The developer’s collapse isn’t leading to global contagion, but China’s looming economic disaster might…

A major mistake of the Cold War was the tendency of Western observers to overestimate the Soviet Union. I have often wondered if the same mistake is being repeated with the People’s Republic of China. Then again, for every article over the last 10 years that predicted China’s economy would overtake that of the U.S., there were at least two prophesying a “China crisis.”

“The endgame of Chinese communist rule has now begun,” wrote David Shambaugh in 2015.

Wisely, he added: “Its demise is likely to be protracted.”

That same year, Jim Chanos of Kynikos Associates warned, “We’re getting inexorably to a tipping point in China.”

Last week began with yet another China tipping point. The impending collapse of the giant property developer China Evergrande Group, we were warned, could be China’s “Lehman Moment.” For 24 hours, global stock markets retreated by a couple of percentage points. By Tuesday morning, however, the story appeared to be over. The jitters subsided and investors got back to parsing the utterances of U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell to make sure that nothing he said was surprising.

So if the China crisis never happens — no matter how many times China permabears like Chanos predict it — does China eventually overtake the U.S.? Thus far, it has done so only in terms of gross domestic product adjusted on the basis of “purchasing power parity,” which allows for the fact that a meal in Chongqing is quite a bit cheaper than one in Chicago. On a current dollar basis, China’s GDP last year was still just 72% of U.S. GDP, even with Hong Kong included.

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Escobar: A New World Order Takes Shape, Part 2 – Eurasian Consolidation Ends The US Unipolar Moment

The world, particularly the Eurasian land mass, is being reordered and there’s not much the US government can do about it. From Pepe Escobar at The Asia Times via zerohedge.com:

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

Read Part 1: How The SCO Just Flipped The World Order here

Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s 20th-anniversary summit heralded the beginning of a new geopolitical and geo-economic order…

The 20th anniversary summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, enshrined no less than a new geopolitical paradigm.

Iran, now a full SCO member, was restored to its traditionally prominent Eurasian role, following the recent $400 billion-worth trade and development deal struck with China. Afghanistan was the main topic – with all players agreeing on the path ahead, as detailed in the Dushanbe Declaration. And all Eurasian integration paths are now converging, in unison, towards the new geopolitical – and geoeconomic – paradigm.

Call it a multipolar development dynamic in synergy with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The Dushanbe Declaration was quite explicit on what Eurasian players are aiming at: “a more representative, democratic, just and multipolar world order based on universally recognized principles of international law, cultural and civilizational diversity, mutually beneficial and equal cooperation of states under the central coordinating role of the UN.”

For all the immense challenges inherent to the Afghan jigsaw puzzle, hopeful signs emerged this Tuesday, when Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah met in Kabul with the Russian presidential envoy Zamir Kabulov, China’s special envoy Yue Xiaoyong, and Pakistan’s special envoy Mohammad Sadiq Khan.

This troika – Russia, China, Pakistan – is at the diplomatic forefront. The SCO reached a consensus that Islamabad will be coordinating with the Taliban the formation of a government also including Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras.

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Afghanistan: Where’s The Cash? by Eric Margolis

What happened to all the money the US government shipped into Afghanistan? What happened to all the money that was made from the opium trade, which flourished during the US occupation? From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

Afghanistan’s US-run government was the world’s largest producer and exporter of opium, morphine, and the end-product, heroin.

As it did after first seizing power in the mid-1990’s, Taliban, the Islamic anti-drug and anti-communist movement, is shutting down the Afghan drug trade. Billions worth of heroin, opium and morphine that had been flowing into Central Asia, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and Southeast Asia will be sharply reduced. Afghanistan’s drug-based economy is now in dire jeopardy.

But you would not know this if you follow the biased western press, notably the big US TV networks, social media and the BBC which thinks it’s Britain’s old colonial office. Western media has focused almost exclusively on the supposed plight of well-off westernized Afghan women in Kabul. That’s all you see on TV.

That these pampered ladies can’t easily get their nails done is not Afghanistan’s biggest problem. Nor is the closing of dance studios or fashion boutiques.

What really matters is that Afghan wedding parties and villages are no longer being savaged by US warplanes or B-1 and B-52 heavy bombers, or that wide scale torture by the Communist-run secret police, whose head, Amrullah Saleh, was a key US ally and the nation’s real strongmen, has been ended by Taliban.

Meanwhile, western media simply ignores the plight of women in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia. I well recall being twice arrested in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia by religious police for walking with an attractive lady (an Estee Lauder beauty consultant).

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The Great Game moves on, by Alasdair Macleod

The West can no longer stop China and Russia from dominating the Eurasian land mass. At best, they can shift policy and try to keep them confined there via naval power. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

Following America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, her focus has switched to the Pacific with the establishment of a joint Australian and UK naval partnership.

The founder of modern geopolitical theory, Halford Mackinder, had something to say about this in his last paper, written for the Council on Foreign Relations in 1943. Mackinder anticipated this development, though the actors and their roles at that time were different. In particular, he foresaw the economic emergence of China and India and the importance of the Pacific region.

This article discusses the current situation in Mackinder’s context, taking in the consequences of green energy, the importance of trade in the Pacific region, and China’s current deflationary strategy relative to that of declining western powers aggressively pursuing asset inflation.

There is little doubt that the world is rebalancing as Mackinder described nearly eighty years ago. To appreciate it we must look beyond the West’s current economic and monetary difficulties and the loss of its hegemony over Asia, and particularly note the improving conditions of the Asia’s most populous nations.

Introduction

Following NATO’s defeat in the heart of Asia, and with Afghanistan now under the Taliban’s rule, the Chinese/Russian axis now controls the Asian continental mass. Asian nations not directly related to its joint hegemony (not being members, associates, or dialog partners of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) are increasingly dependent upon it for trade and technology. Sub-Saharan Africa is in its sphere of influence. The reality for America is that the total population in or associated with the SCO is 57% of the world population. And America’s grip on its European allies is slipping.

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Eurasia Takes Shape: How the SCO Just Flipped the World Order, by Pepe Escobar

Lately Russia and China have been much more successful with their various initiatives across Eurasia and the Middle East than whatever the Western powers have been trying to do in those areas. From Pepe Escobar at unz.com:

As a rudderless West watched on, the 20th anniversary meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was laser-focused on two key deliverables: shaping up Afghanistan and kicking off a full-spectrum Eurasian integration.

With Iran’s arrival, the SCO member-states now number nine, and they’re focused on fixing Afghanistan and consolidating Eurasia. Photo Credit: The Cradle

The two defining moments of the historic 20th anniversary Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan had to come from the keynote speeches of – who else – the leaders of the Russia-China strategic partnership.

Xi Jinping: “Today we will launch procedures to admit Iran as a full member of the SCO.”

Vladimir Putin: “I would like to highlight the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed today between the SCO Secretariat and the Eurasian Economic Commission. It is clearly designed to further Russia’s idea of establishing a Greater Eurasia Partnership covering the SCO, the EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union), ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI).”

In short, over the weekend, Iran was enshrined in its rightful, prime Eurasian role, and all Eurasian integration paths converged toward a new global geopolitical – and geoeconomic – paradigm, with a sonic boom bound to echo for the rest of the century.

That was the killer one-two punch immediately following the Atlantic alliance’s ignominious imperial retreat from Afghanistan. Right as the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15, the redoubtable Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s Security Council, told his Iranian colleague Admiral Ali Shamkhani that “the Islamic Republic will become a full member of the SCO.”

Dushanbe revealed itself as the ultimate diplomatic crossover. President Xi firmly rejected any “condescending lecturing” and emphasized development paths and governance models compatible with national conditions. Just like Putin, he stressed the complementary focus of BRI and the EAEU, and in fact summarized a true multilateralist Manifesto for the Global South.

Right on point, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan noted that the SCO should advance “the development of a regional macro-economy.” This is reflected in the SCO’s drive to start using local currencies for trade, bypassing the US dollar.

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That ‘Other’ Reset Unfolding Across West & Central Asia, by Alastair Crooke

Most of Asia and the Middle East, and much of Africa, are resetting towards Russia and China. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

All of Central Asia is re-setting towards the SCO, EAEU, Russia and China. The former is now ‘lost’ to the U.S., Alastair Crooke writes.

The shock of Afghanistan imploding – as if blown away in a puff of wind – plus the frantic U.S. scramble to get away, even as loyal local retainers, and billions of dollars’ worth of baggage were left abandoned on the tarmac, has triggered a political earthquake that is unfolding across Asia. The ‘ground zero’ (i.e. the U.S.) to a complex network structure has been pulled out on old and settled structures and relationships.

In a very real sense, Washington was the hub: and states – particularly Gulf States defined themselves more in relation to the hub – than to each other. Now those relationships, and associated policies, many of which were geared to pleasing and being favoured by the hub, are up for radical review.

Recently, the lately-returned Israeli Ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren (a Netanyahu appointment), warned a key Israeli commentator, Ben Caspit, in respect to Israel’s future options, to pause. Israel, of course, unlike others, is actually an integral part of the ‘hub’, and not a ‘spoke’, like other states that do have some modicum of space by which to re-order their network connections. Israel however, only has outwardly projecting vectors of external relations based on a strict calculus of Israeli interest. It has had no notion of any wider regional interest – only its own.

Ambassador Oren gave this advice to Caspit: Before settling on our Israeli options, we need to see where the Afghan withdrawal leaves the U.S., too. Where will it be? He noted that in the wake of the fall of Saigon, the U.S. had embarked on a series of diplomatic initiatives. Can it be this (such as reinvigorating regional normalisation with Israel), or will the U.S. sink into the mire of its divisions?

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The US Desperately Needs To Rethink Its Middle East Strategy, by Paul Sullivan

Playing nice in the Middle East is winning China and Russia more friends than the US’s bullying. From Paul Sullivan at oilprice.com:

Is the Middle East still important? This is a seemingly absurd question, yet some are asking this in Washington. The Middle East is the source of massive reserves in oil and gas. Much of the fuel to produce goods and trade from Asia and the EU comes from the Middle East. Much of the world economy relies on Middle East energy. The region has strategic chokepoints like the Strait of Hormuz, The Suez Canal, and The Bab al Mandab. It is a source of some of the more significant threats in the world, such as from ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other groups. It contains some of the most important security connections in the world. Consider the neighbors of the Middle East and not just the Middle East. The Middle East is a crossroads for energy and security. It also could be one of the generators of change and improvement, if it is allowed and supported to do so.  However, as the U.S. becomes more focused on “The Great Powers Conflict” in Asia, especially with China, it is becoming clearer that the U.S. is losing the plot in the Middle East. Consider the slow to no reaction to the shipping of Iranian fuel with the help of Hezbollah and Syria to Lebanon.

The U.S. could have done many different things to help the Lebanese with this without handing a massive public relations and political victory to its adversaries. But, in some ways, Washington’s sanctions have painted it into a corner on such issues. Consider how the U.S. took the anti-missile batteries from Saudi Arabia as the Houthis are still attacking Saudi Arabia with missiles. The Saudis made a deal with the Russians in response to this and other moves by the U.S. The U.S. handed leverage to the Russians. These are just two of many examples of how the plot is being lost.

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