Category Archives: Geopolitics

The Afghanistization of America, by Victor Davis Hanson

There are a many places in America that are indistinguishable from Third-World countries. From Victor Davis Hanson at amgreatness.com:

We are doing our best to become a Third-World country of incompetency, constitutional erosion, a fractious and politicized military elite, and racially and ethnically obsessed warring tribes

he United States should be at its pinnacle of strength. It still produces more goods and services than any other nation—China included, which has a population over four times as large. Its fuel and food industries are globally preeminent, as are its graduate science, computer, engineering, medical, and technology university programs. Its constitution is the oldest of current free nations. And the U.S. military is by far the best funded in the world. And yet something has gone terribly wrong within America, from the southern border to Afghanistan.

The inexplicable in Afghanistan—surrendering Bagram Air Base in the middle of the night, abandoning tens of billions of dollars of military equipment to the Taliban, and forsaking both trapped Americans and loyalist Afghans—has now become the new Biden model of inattention and incompetence.

Or to put it another way, when we seek to implant our culture abroad, do we instead come to emulate what we are trying to change?

COVID Chaos

Take COVID-19. Joe Biden in 2020 (along with Kamala Harris) trashed Trump’s impending Operation Warp Speed vaccinations. Then, after inauguration, Biden falsely claimed no one had been vaccinated until his ascension (in fact, 1million a day were being vaccinated before he assumed office). Then again, Biden claimed ad nauseam that he didn’t believe in mandates to force the new and largely experimental vaccinations on the public. Then, once more, he promised that they were so effective and so many Americans had received vaccines that by July 4 the country would return to a virtual pre-COVID normality.

Then came the delta variant and his self-created disaster in Afghanistan.

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Are the US and China Stumbling Toward at ‘Islands War’? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Fighting over a bunch of islands in the South China Seas does not look like a good odds bet for the US. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

In a diplomatic coup, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a deal last week with the U.K. and U.S. to have those Anglo-American allies help build a nuclear-powered submarine fleet for Australia.

A $66 billion French deal to provide Canberra with diesel electric-powered submarines, among the largest defense contracts Paris had ever negotiated, was blown off.

“A stab in the back!” said Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who had been kept in the dark on the secret talks. “There has been duplicity, contempt and lies.” Le Drian compared President Joe Biden to former President Donald Trump.

President Emmanuel Macron recalled his ambassadors to both the U.S. and Australia. In two centuries of U.S.-French diplomatic relations, no such recall had ever occurred.

What does this Australia First submarine deal mean?

Canberra, which has sought to steer a middle course between its great customer China and its great ally America, is coming down on the side of the Americans in the rising great-power quarrel.

This “AUXUS” partnership, says Beijing, will “severely damage” peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific, and Beijing is demanding to know whether Australia regards China as a “partner or a threat.”

This new clash comes as China is using its military to speak for its claims to islands and islets hundreds of miles off its coast.

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China Vast New Nuclear Build-Up, by Judith Bergman

China at the least wants to make itself militarily invulnerable. They may also have visions of conquest and empire. From Judith Bergman at thegatestoneinstitute.org:

When “China is ‘Untouchable’ in Terms of Military Power”

  • “China’s explosive growth and modernization of its nuclear and conventional forces can only be what I describe as breathtaking. Frankly, that word, breathtaking, may not be enough.” — Admiral Charles Richard, Commander of US Strategic Command, Space and Missile Defense Symposium, August 12, 2021.
  • “There’s been a lot of speculation out there as to why they are doing all of this. I just want to say right now, it really doesn’t matter why… What matters is they are building the capability to execute any plausible nuclear employment strategy — the last brick in the wall of a military capable of coercion.” — Admiral Charles Richard, August 12, 2021.
  • While China’s official nuclear policy is that of “minimum deterrence” and a “no-first-use policy”, there is no reason why the international community should trust such officially communicated doctrines. China continues to strengthen its military space capabilities, despite its public stance against the weaponization of space. China is widely known for breaking its pledges, as evidenced by, among other things, its militarization of artificial islands in the South China Sea, or its crackdown on Hong Kong in contravention of the UN registered treaty on the territory.
  • “Americans should know as clearly as the Chinese do about what level of nuclear power China really needs to build. It would be a nuclear force strong enough to make the US — from the military to the government – fear….” — Asia Times, quoting Global Times, May 11, 2020.
  • “Their [CCP’s] actions have long belied a posture more aggressive than their official policy — you’ve got to look at what they do, not what they say.” — Admiral Charles Richard, August 12, 2021.
China is significantly increasing its nuclear weapons capabilities. The nuclear buildup must be seen in the context of the Chinese Communist Party’s ambition to have, in President Xi Jinping’s own words, “a world class military”, as well as its ambition to achieve global domination. Pictured: DF-41 nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles at a military parade in Beijing on October 1, 2019. (Photo by Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images)

China is significantly increasing its nuclear weapons capabilities. Several recent reports show that China is constructing 120 missile silos for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) near Yumen in Gansu, up to 110 silos near Hami in the eastern part of the Xinjian region and up to 40 silos in Ordos in Inner Mongolia. ICBMs are defined as missiles with a minimum range of 5,500 kilometers, and primarily designed for nuclear weapons delivery.

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Patrick Lawrence: The Empire’s Last Stand

Cold War II has been declared by the Biden administration, and it’s not going to go well. From Patrick Lawrence at consortiumnews.com:

In the early months of 1947, President Harry Truman and Dean Acheson, his secretary of state, made up their minds to prop up Greece’s openly fascist monarchy against a popular revolt they had cast as a Soviet threat. After much hand-wringing, Truman went to Congress on March 12 to ask for $400 million in aid, not quite $5 billion today when adjusted for inflation.

Truman and Acheson knew the Greek intervention would be a hard sell: Congress was in no mood to spend that kind of money, and the war-weary public harbored hope for FDR’s vision of a postwar order built on the principle of peaceful coexistence. As the speech went through its multiple drafts, Arthur Vandenberg, Republican senator from Michigan and a presence in the planning of America’s postwar posture, offered advice that must be counted elegantly forthright, if diabolic in its cynicism.

It comes down to us today, and for good reason. “Mr. President,” Vandenberg said during White House deliberations, “the only way you are ever going to get this is to make a speech and scare hell out of the American people.”

Truman made his since-famous “scare hell” speech. The Greeks got their $400 million (a remarkable proportion of which was embezzled by government ministers), and the American public was kept scared for the next 40–odd years — the Cold War years.

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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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It’s A Fourth Turning, What Did You Expect? by Jim Quinn

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. From Jim Quinn at theburningplatform.com:

“Reflect on what happens when a terrible winter blizzard strikes. You hear the weather warning but probably fail to act on it. The sky darkens. Then the storm hits with full fury, and the air is a howling whiteness. One by one, your links to the machine age break down. Electricity flickers out, cutting off the TV. Batteries fade, cutting off the radio. Phones go dead. Roads become impossible, and cars get stuck. Food supplies dwindle. Day to day vestiges of modern civilization – bank machines, mutual funds, mass retailers, computers, satellites, airplanes, governments – all recede into irrelevance. Picture yourself and your loved ones in the midst of a howling blizzard that lasts several years. Think about what you would need, who could help you, and why your fate might matter to anybody other than yourself. That is how to plan for a saecular winter. Don’t think you can escape the Fourth Turning. History warns that a Crisis will reshape the basic social and economic environment that you now take for granted.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe

What You Should Know About Getting Snowed In - CLC Lodging

“In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. If foreign societies are also entering a Fourth Turning, this could accelerate the chain reaction. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe

I’ve been pondering this Fourth Turning in articles since its spectacular onset in September 2008, with the Wall Street/Federal Reserve initiated global financial implosion. The description above is apt, as this ongoing two-decade long storm gains intensity and our freedoms, liberties and rights are slowly extinguished as the electricity flickers and our modern civilization reverts to a more brutish state of antipathy among competing tribes, based on race, gender, class, party, geographic location, and now medical status.

We are in the midst of a saecular winter that is guaranteed to become more violent and bitter, as the malevolent forces propelling this Crisis have decided to ramp up fear propaganda to implement their global reset, using authoritarian methods to compel the masses to comply. I’ve intellectually understood we would be faced with trials and tribulations that would threaten the continuation of our way of life and survival as a unified nation. The reality is proving to be far worse. The core elements of debt, civic decay, and global disorder are most certainly propelling this Crisis towards its bloody climax. I knew there was no way to sidestep or escape this Fourth Turning.

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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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From the Notebook: Evergrande and How About that Dollar Bear Market . . . by Tom Luongo

It appears that Xi Jingping is well aware of American and British color revolution and regime change efforts and is determined to avoid that in China. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

From the Notebook posts are reworks of articles originally published for my Patrons. This one was first published on September 7th.

While it’s becoming easier to see how the various projects supporting the Great Reset are progressing just by reading the headlines and seeing how things are spun to manufacture consent, sometimes a story is deeper than the headlines.

I’ve watched the situation surrounding Evergrande’s collapse in China unfold like everyone else in this space.  Like many of you, and hat tip to Zerohedge for being on this from the beginning, I could tease out some of the story just by following the progression of the headlines, especially in light of China’s big changes in attitude towards foreign capital.

Over the past 2 years China has cracked down on a number of sectors within its economy. It started with the moves on Hong Kong and the extradition law which sparked huge protests in the summer of 2019. It evolved into the curious disappearance from public life for months of Alibaba CEO Jack Ma. This summer we saw China uproot the cryptocurrency market by kicking out all of the bitcoin miners over a weekend, they’ve doubled down on this policy again recently.

In September 2019 I wrote that I thought China’s moves on Hong Kong were pre-emptive moves to undermine British influence there through the banking system. Because, the protests in Hong Kong last year looked an awful lot like Portland’s and Minsk’s and Kiev’s (2014) etc. etc.

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Australia Continues Its plunge Into Authoritarianism And Military Brinkmanship, by Caitlin Johnstone

Australian native Caitlin Johnstone knows where her country is going. From Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

Australia has joined the US and UK in an “enhanced trilateral security partnership” called AUKUS with the unspoken-yet-obvious goal of coordinating escalations against China. Antiwar reports:

President Biden and the leaders of Australia and the UK announced a new military agreement on Wednesday aimed at countering China. The pact, known as AUKUS, will focus on the sharing of sensitive military technologies, and the first initiative will focus on getting Australia nuclear-powered submarines.

US officials speaking to CNN described the effort to share nuclear propulsion with another country as an “exceedingly rare step” due to the sensitivity of the technology. “This technology is extremely sensitive. This is, frankly, an exception to our policy in many respects,” one unnamed official said.

This deal will replace a planned $90 billion program to obtain twelve submarines designed by France, an obnoxious expenditure either way when a quarter of Australians are struggling to make ends meet during a pandemic that is four times more likely to kill Australians who are struggling financially. This is just the latest in Canberra’s continually expanding policy of feeding vast fortunes into Washington’s standoff with Beijing at the expense of its own people.

If readers are curious why Australia would simultaneously subvert its own economic interests by turning against its primary trading partner and its own security interests by feeding into dangerous and unnecessary provocations, I will refer them once again to the jarringly honest explanation by American political analyst John Mearsheimer at a debate hosted by the Australian think tank Center for Independent Studies in 2019. Mearsheimer told his audience that the US is going to do everything it can to halt China’s rise and prevent it from becoming the regional hegemon in the East, and that Australia should align with the US in that battle or else it would face the wrath of Washington.

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What US Defeat in Afghanistan Means for China, by Alfred W. McCoy

The US government will not bounce back on the world stage as it did after Vietnam. From Alfred W. McCoy at consortiumnews.com:

For the implications of U.S. global power, the collapse of Kabul was incomparably worse than the fall of Saigon, writes Alfred W. McCoy. 

Chinese cargo trucks awaiting Pakistan customs clearance in 2007 at Sost, the last town inside Pakistan before the Chinese border. (Anthony Maw, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

The collapse of the American project in Afghanistan may fade fast from the news in the U.S., but don’t be fooled. It couldn’t be more significant in ways few in the country can even begin to grasp.

“Remember, this is not Saigon,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a television audience on Aug. 15, the day the Taliban swept into the Afghan capital, pausing to pose for photos in the grandly gilded presidential palace. He was dutifully echoing his boss, President Joe Biden, who had earlier rejected any comparison with the fall of the South Vietnamese capital, Saigon, in 1975, insisting that “there’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the United States from Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable.”

Both were right, but not in the ways they intended. Indeed, the collapse of Kabul was not comparable. It was worse, incomparably so. And its implications for the future of U.S. global power are far more serious than the loss of Saigon.

On the surface, similarities abound. In both South Vietnam and Afghanistan, Washington spent 20 years and countless billions of dollars building up massive, conventional armies, convinced that they could hold off the enemy for a decent interval after the U.S. departure. But presidents Nguyen Van Thieu of South Vietnam and Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan both proved to be incompetent leaders who never had a chance of retaining power without continued fulsome American backing.

Amid a massive North Vietnamese offensive in the spring of 1975, President Thieu panicked and ordered his army to abandon the northern half of the country, a decision that precipitated Saigon’s fall just six weeks later. As the Taliban swept across the countryside this summer, President Ghani retreated into a fog of denial, insisting his troops defend every remote, rural district, allowing the Taliban to springboard from seizing provincial capitals to capturing Kabul in just 10 days.

With the enemy at the gates, President Thieu filled his suitcases with clinking gold bars for his flight into exile, while President Ghani (according to Russian reports) snuck off to the airport in a cavalcade of cars loaded with cash. As enemy forces entered Saigon and Kabul, helicopters ferried American officials from the U.S. embassy to safety, even as surrounding city streets swarmed with panicked local citizens desperate to board departing flights.

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