Category Archives: Eurasian Axis

Two Knockout Blows to US Imperialism: De-Dollarization and Hypersonic Weapons, by Federico Pieraccini

Much of the rest of the world doesn’t take a shine to US notions of unipolar dominance…and they’re doing something about it. From Federico Pieraccini at strategic-culture.org:

Two Knockout Blows to US Imperialism: De-Dollarization and Hypersonic Weapons

In the current multipolar world in which we live, economic and military factors are decisive in guaranteeing countries their sovereignty. Russia and China seem to be taking this very seriously, committed to the de-dollarization of their economies and the accelerated development of hypersonic weapons.

The transition phase we are going through, passing from a unipolar global order to a multipolar one, calls for careful observation. It is important to analyze the actions taken by two world powers, China and Russia, in defending and consolidating their sovereignty over the long term. Observing decisions taken by these two countries in recent years, we can discern a twofold strategy. One is economic, the other purely military. In both cases we observe strong cooperation between Moscow and Beijing. The merit of this alliance is paradoxically attributed to the attitude of various US administrations, from George Bush Senior through to Obama. The special relationship between Moscow and Beijing has been forged by a shared experience of Washington’s pressure over the last 25 years. Their shared mission now seems to be to contain the US’s declining imperial power and to shepherd the world from a unipolar world order, with Washington at the center of international relations, to a multipolar world order, with at least three global powers playing a major role in international relations.

The Sino-Russian strategy has shown itself over the last two decades to consist of two parts: economic clout on the one hand, and military strength on the other, the latter to ward off reckless American behavior. Both Eurasian powers have their respective strengths and weaknesses in this regard. If Russia’s economy can hardly be compared to China’s, China plays second fiddle to Russia’s conventional and nuclear deterrents, and is quite some way behind Moscow in terms of hypersonic weapons. The cooperation between Moscow and Beijing aims to synergize their respective strengths.

To continue reading: Two Knockout Blows to US Imperialism: De-Dollarization and Hypersonic Weapons

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The Black Belt Strategist, by Robert Gore

Putin has made many of his critics look like fools, thus the rage and hysteria.

Vladimir Putin is a black belt in judo, the only Russian and one of the few people in the world to be awarded the rank of eighth dan. He also practices karate.

A fundamental principle of martial arts is using an opponent’s size and momentum against him. This is Putin’s strategic approach. Westerners demonize Putin, but few try to understand him. Trying to understand someone else is regarded as a pointless in narcissistic America, selfie-land. Perhaps 90 percent of the populace is incapable of grasping anything more subtle than a political cartoon.

That’s a pity, because Putin has accomplished a geopolitical triumph worthy of study. He’s catalyzing the downfall of the American empire, and it has nothing to do with subverting elections or suborning Trump.

Putin became acting prime minister in 1999, then president in 2000. The Soviet Union’s 1991 collapse devastated Russia. The economy shrunk and life expectancies fell. A group of rapacious oligarchs, many with Western backing, acquired Soviet industrial and commercial assets at fire sale prices.

Putin coopted the most important oligarchs, letting them hold on to their loot and power in exchange for their allegiance. This bargain has been a bulwark of both his continuing political support and his reportedly immense personal fortune. He quelled a long-running insurrection in Chechnya and stabilized the situation there, exchanging a measure of autonomy for a declaration in the Chechen constitution that it was part of Russia. During his first two terms, from 2000-2008, the economy began recovering from the 1990s. Projecting a law and order image while stifling critics, he solidified what has become his unwavering support, winning 72 percent of the vote in the 2004 presidential election.

A coterie of highly placed idiots in the US and Europe insist that Putin’s ultimate goal is to reconstitute the former Soviet Union on his way to global domination. Russia’s GDP, after 18 years of recovery, is $1.4 trillion, compared to almost $20 trillion for the US and over $17 trillion for the European Union. Russia’s military budget is $61 billion, versus $250 billion for NATO nations (excluding the US) and over $700 billion for the US. The scaremongering screeds never say where Russia will get the money to invade and conquer former Soviet provinces, much less conquer the world. Putin, unlike America’s high and mighty, realizes from Soviet experience that empires drain rather than augment an empire’s resources.

Conquering the world is one thing, throwing the American empire to the mat another. Putin must have smiled when George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan in pursuit of Osama bin Laden, purported mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. The US’s hubristic rage led it into what has been a quagmire at best, a graveyard at worst, for a string of invaders, including the Soviet Union.

Defenders fighting on their own turf have huge advantages over occupying forces, rendering conventional invasions virtually obsolete. Relatively inexpensive grenades, mines, IEDs, and shoulder-launched missiles, often supplied from outside the country, take out expensive tanks, artillery, aircraft, and military personnel. The insurgents know the language and territory, they’re supported by the local populace, they can set off remote bombs and blend in with the civilians. They aren’t going anywhere and can wait out the invaders, sapping their morale and political support back home.

Eighteen years after the Afghanistan invasion, Putin is still smiling. With each military failure since, the US became more stupidly belligerent, bearing massive costs in blood and treasure. Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia: talk about letting the enemy defeat itself! And as the US plunged into one inextricable morass after another, it plunged ever deeper into debt.

Russia, meanwhile, has one of the developed world’s lowest debt ratios, stockpiles gold, and is divesting its US debt. It has teamed up with China on the Belt and Road Initiative. That series of projects, financed primarily by the Chinese, advances Russia’s and China’s interests and influence across Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. This approach seems to garner more support than US bullets and bombs.

Russia’s one military foray in the Middle East has been Syria. Obama’s hapless strategy (regime change? terrorist eradication?) left the US at cross-purposes with itself. Putin suffered no such confusion, helping Bashar al-Assad turn the tide against the insurgents. The US pretends to have done the same. Putin strengthened the Shiite axis—Iran, Iraq, Alawite Syria, and Hezbollah—about which Israel, Saudi Arabia, and US neoconservatives have fretted for years. The insurgents are on the run and all the US can do is shout: “And we helped!”

Putin scored a geopolitical coup. He effectively stood by his allies, in contrast to America’s ineptitude and ever-shifting alliances and objectives. The conflict sent hundreds of thousands of refugees to Europe. Russian intervention reversed the flow. Saner souls in Europe have to be questioning European subservience to the US and NATO.

Putin has expressed his consternation at NATO’s expansion to Russia’s borders, especially the prospect that NATO could incorporate Ukraine. While that’s an understandable concern, the expansion hurts the US more than Russia. The US didn’t intervene when Russia got involved with Georgia, the Crimea, or Ukraine. Why? Somebody in Washington looked at a map and determined that with Russia’s decided geographical advantage, the game wasn’t worth the candle.

NATO leaves its members hostage to the likes of Lithuania, Montenegro, and Croatia. It’s always at the borders that empires first falter. The US is treaty-bound to go to war to defend tiny, far-flung states that are a stone’s throw from Russia. The US lays out the lion’s share of the money, stations soldiers, and maintains bases pretending that it would actually defend these geopolitical midgets. Putin must smile at the effort wasted on the nonexistent possibility that he’ll invade.

Often, he doesn’t even need to lift a finger to body slam the US. The Democratic party and neoconservatives, and their toadies in the media and intelligence community have rabidly peddled an evidence-free concoction that he and Trump colluded to deny Hillary Clinton her ordained presidency. It’s emblematic of America’s deranged politics.

“Masculine” is now a pejorative. Identity is everything, merit nothing. A military that hasn’t won anything in 73 years is widely honored. Men in dresses enter women’s restrooms. Confronted by intellectual challenge, college students retreat to safe spaces. People who illegally enter the country are given most of the privileges of citizenship, including state-provided benefits. Americans watch an average of five hours of TV a day. Over 60 percent are obese and an opioid epidemic kills tens of thousands. Even mainstream media pundits fret about an impending “civil war,” and for once they might be right. None of this is Putin’s doing, but he’s undoubtedly amused at all this decadence and division.

Trump is determined to pick America up off the mat. SLL has said repeatedly that his foes are most worried about their own criminality being exposed and prosecuted. That’s essential if the country is ever to regroup and recover. Trump’s summit with Putin and subsequent press conference performance left his foes foaming at the mouth, bandying terms like “disgraceful” and “treason.” That he braved the idiotic torrent before and after the summit, seemingly unperturbed except for a few acerbic tweets, suggests that he’s got something up his sleeve. Judging by their insane hysterics, the opposition knows it. As always, their tactics betray desperation and weakness, not strength.

That something up Trump’s sleeve may well be the initiation of criminal proceedings against a long list of suspects for everything from obstruction of justice to conspiracy and treason, just in time for the midterm elections. That’s more a hunch than a hypothesis. However, it won’t be a bolt out of the blue if it happens. If it doesn’t happen by the midterms, it most likely never will.

You Should Be Laughing At Them!

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India Defies Washington, Will Acquire Russian S-400 Missile Shield, by Tyler Durden

India is moving toward the Chinese-Russian sponsored Eurasian axis. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Washington’s so-called allies continue to gravitate towards the Russian sphere of influence, and specifically the Russian S-400 Triumph advanced anti-aircraft weapon system.

First it was Turkey, which openly defied Trump’s threats that the US would sanction Ankara if it completes the purchase of the anti-aircraft missiles, saying the acquisition of the missile defense system is “a done deal and Turkey will not turn back from its decision.”

Now India is also moving towards acquiring five or more S-400 from Russia despite the threat of US retaliation. The Defense Acquisitions Council (DAC), chaired by minister Nirmala Sitharaman, last week approved the “minor deviations” in the $5.7 billion deal to purchase S-400s for final government approval, to the finance ministry and the Prime Minister’s office sources told the Times of India.

The DAC discussed the S-400 deal just one day after Washington on Wednesday canceled a “two-plus-two” discussion involving foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and defense minister Sitharaman and Washington officials Mike Pompeo and Jim Mattis, which was scheduled for July 6.

The Times of India noted that in October 2015, India had planned to procure the S-400s – which can detect, track and destroy supersonic bombers, drones, fifth-generation fighters, spy planes, and supersonic missiles at a range of up to 400km and altitude of 30km – in what many Indian officials have praised as a game-changing military acquisition.

The world’s leading Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) systems are Patriot Advanced Capability-3, THAAD, S-400 Triumph and S-500. India has big ambitions for regional dominance and has been attempting to develop a domestic BMD system over the last several decades.

And while Washington officials briefed India on the use of Patriot system, it seems that the country is more interesting in purchasing Russian made BMDs instead.  The New York Times reported in April that the Indian/Russian deal serves as a blow to the United States’ ”struggling Patriot missile defense system.”

“India wasn’t very impressed with the Patriot compared with the S-400, which wins hands-down in capability, in its availability, service availability. It’s a more efficient system,” it cited Rahul Bedi of Jane’s Information Group as saying.

To continue reading: India Defies Washington, Will Acquire Russian S-400 Missile Shield

 

 

Turkey’s European dream may be over, is the Sultan ready for Eurasia? by Pepe Escobar

Turkey may quit trying to be the square Muslim peg in Europe’s round hole. From Pepe Escobar at atimes.com:

Erdogan has lost his parliamentary majority and must now establish a coalition with the far-right Nationalist Action Party; given the latter is anti-Western, the road ahead points in only one direction: Eurasian integration

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan waves to supporters from a balcony at the AK Party headquarters in Ankara, on June 24 as they celebrate him winning five more years in office with sweeping new powers after a decisive election victory.
Photo: AFP / Turkish Presidential Press Office / Kayhan Ozer

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan waves to supporters from a balcony at the AK Party headquarters in Ankara, on June 24 as they celebrate him winning five more years in office with sweeping new powers after a decisive election victory. Photo: AFP / Turkish Presidential Press Office / Kayhan Ozer

These EU leaders and the institutions that support them – political parties, academia, mainstream media – simply can’t understand how and why their bubble does not reflect what voters really think and feel.

Instead, we have irrelevant intellectuals mourning the erosion of the lofty Western mission civilisatrice (civilizing mission), investing in a philosophical maelstrom of historical and even biblical references to catalog their angst.

They are terrified by so many Darth Vaders – from Putin and Erdogan to Xi and Khamenei. Instead of understanding the new remix to Arnold Toynbee’s original intuition – History is again on the move – they wallow in the mire of The West against The Rest.

They cannot possibly understand the mighty process of Eurasia reconfiguration. And that includes not being able to understand why Recep Tayipp Erdogan is so popular in Turkey.

Sultan and CEO

Profiting from a large turnout of up to 85% and fresh from obtaining 52.5% of the popular vote – thus preventing a run-off – Erdogan is now ready to rule Turkey as a fascinating mix of Sultan and CEO.

Under Turkey’s new presidential arrangement – an Erdogan brainchild – a prime minister is no more, a job Erdogan himself held for three terms before he was elected as president for the first time in 2014.

Erdogan may be able to rule the executive and the judiciary, but that’s far from a given in the legislature.

With 42.5% of the votes and holding 295 seats, Erdogan’s AKP, for the first time in 16 years, lost its parliamentary majority and must now establish a coalition with the far-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP).

The doomsday interpretation spells out a toxic alliance between intolerant political Islam and fascistic extreme-right – both, of course, hardcore nationalist. Reality though is slightly more nuanced.

To continue reading: Turkey’s European dream may be over, is the Sultan ready for Eurasia?

The Eagle, the Dragon, and the Bear, by Robert Gore

Does Trump recognize the limits of US power?

Trump’s new world order comes straight from The Godfather. There are three global powers: the US, Russia, and China. None of these powers can militarily defeat either of the other two, and even an alliance among two of them would have trouble defeating the third.

Like Don Corleone, Trump is dividing up the larger territory into smaller, great-power controlled sub-territories. He is tacitly recognizing Russia and China’s dominance in their own spheres of influence, and holding them to account in their territories. The implicit agreement among the three is apparently that each power will, in their, “sphere of influence…enforce peace.”

Trump’s New World Order,” SLL 3/20/18

In one week President Trump confirmed that his first concern is the United States, that he has what may be a workable vision for its place in the world, and he loathes globalism and the globalists. A good measure of his efficacy is the outrage he generates. By that measure, that week was his finest hour…so far.

Europe won’t have a seat at Trump’s great-power table. Its welfare states are addicted to their handouts, deeply in debt, rely on uneven trade arrangements with the US, and have below-replacement birth rates. They are cowed by Soros-sponsored propaganda—Immigration is the answer!—and haven’t shut off the immigrant invasion. Refusing to spend on their own militaries, they’ve used what they save on defense to subsidize welfare spending and state bureaucracies.

They’re ignoring a lesson from history: nations that rely on other nations for their defense generally come to regret it. Instead, they’re wedded to the globalist acronyms: NATO, EU and UN. They have frittered away their power and their glory—Europe’s heritage and civilization—opting for overrun masquerading as assimilation by dogmatic and implacable foes.

Trump is all about power and despises weakness. There isn’t always strength in numbers. A confederation of weaklings doesn’t equal strength, especially when the weaklings’ premises and principles are fundamentally wrong. Strongest of the weaklings is Germany, a trade powerhouse but a US military vassal. It’s hard to say if Trump’s dislike of Angela Merkel is business—she’s one of the world’s most visible and vociferous proponent of globalism, or personal—it’s always her way or the highway. Probably both, and it looks like Germany may finally be rejecting her way on immigration.

Trump clearly relished snubbing her and her G-6 buddies, particularly boy toys Trudeau and Macron, who may actually believe his bone-crushing handshakes intimidated Trump. When you’re paying for a continent’s defense and you’re giving them a better deal on trade than they’re giving you, that’s leverage, and Trump knows it. He’s not intimidated.

US Atlanticists have used that leverage to cement Europe into the US’s confederated empire. That Trump is willing to blow off Europe suggests that he may be blowing off empire. America’s imperialists equate backing away from empire with “decline,” but such a sea change would be the exact opposite. Empires require more energy and resources to maintain than can be extracted from them. They are inevitably a road to ruin.

Nothing is as geopolitically telling as Trump leaving Europe’s most “important” heads of state early to meet with the leader of one of Asia’s most impoverished backwaters. Europe’s time has passed, the future belongs to Asia. Barack Obama’s “pivot” to Asia may look like the same recognition, but it was not. That pivot was designed to encircle China diplomatically, economically, and militarily. That thinking persists among much of the US military, but Trump may have something different in mind.

China has its problems. Much of its economy, especially its financial sector, is state-directed, despite the capitalistic gloss. There will be a reckoning from its debt binge. The repressive social credit system typifies the government’s immoral objective: keeping China’s people compliant but productive drones. However, enforced docility and innovation—the foundation of progress—mix as readily as oil and water, and theft of others’ innovations can’t fill the void.

Notwithstanding its issues, China is a major power and is not going to be encircled or regime changed by the US. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) it cosponsors and finances with Russia is the centerpiece of a basket of initiatives designed to further those countries’ influence and leadership within Eurasia and among emerging market countries. BRI is an apt symbol of the movement towards multipolarity, with competition shifting from the military to the economic and commercial sphere.

Trump tacitly accepts Russian and Chinese dominance in Eurasia. However, Trump doesn’t give without receiving; he’s going to extract concessions. Number one on the list is North Korea and its nuclear weapons. We’ll probably never know what has gone on behind the scenes between Kim Jong Un, Xi Jinping, and perhaps Vladimir Putin, but Kim may have received an offer he couldn’t refuse. Both China and Russia would be well-served by a Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons and US troops. Whatever transpired, Kim came around. Trump ameliorated any potential humiliation, journeying to Kim’s neck of the woods, laying on an inspirational movie video, and flattering the North Korean leader and his country. Kim the farsighted leader may be able to reach a deal; Kim the browbeaten puppet couldn’t. If he tried, he’d probably be deposed, always a danger for dictators.

As global competition moves from military to economic, Trump is also going to make sure he tilts, as much as possible, the rules of that competition back towards the US. There are the existing trade arrangements with Europe, Canada, and Mexico that he’s willing to blow up, presumably to obtain better arrangements.

China is in a league of its own when it comes to gaming trade, and it’s getting the Trump treatment as well. Much of the Chinese “advantage” stems from Chinese overcapacity, fueled by below market interest rates in China and around the globe. Trump can’t do much about that “advantage.” The low-interest regime will eventually crash and burn, but it’s going to take a depression to clear overcapacity in China and elsewhere.

Innovation and intellectual property are America’s one indisputable comparative economic advantage. It will be a tough nut, but Trump is bent on curbing China’s acquisitions, by fair means and foul, of US know how. If he succeeds it will slow, but not stop, the Chinese economic juggernaut. It has millions of smart, well-educated, industrious people who will continue to fuel indigenous innovation (notwithstanding state-enforced docility).

Three realities confronted Trump when he assumed office. The US empire is unsustainable, so too is the trajectory of its spending and debt, and the government is fundamentally corrupt. It would be foolish to bet Trump doesn’t understand these issues and the linkages between them.

“Trump’s New World Order”

If Trump has recognized that first reality and is implementing Don Corleone’s spheres of influence concept, he may get some breathing room to address the intractable second and third realities: the trajectory of US spending and debt, and the fundamentally corrupt government. On the debt, all the breathing room in the world isn’t going to save him. The US keeps adding to principal, which is compounding at rising rates. Cutting imperial expenditures would help some, although transfer payments are the biggest enchilada. To make even the first step on the thousand mile journey to solvency, however, the US government will have to run a bona fide surplus for many years. That prospect is not on the horizon.

As for corruption, thousands of articles by bloggers and commentators, including SLL, may have less instructional value for the populace at large than one simple demonstration: most of America’s rulers and its captive media are speaking out against a peace initiative, not on the merits of the initiative itself, but because Donald Trump was one of its initiators. That tells those Americans who are paying attention all they need to know about their rulers and their captive media. Whether they do anything about it is another question.

You Should Be Laughing At Them!

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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

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