What the foreign policy “blob” really wants in China is what it wants everywhere: a government complaint to the US government. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:
ncumbents of the White House come and go, but U.S. security objectives do not alter course so readily, Alastair Crooke writes.
Under Trump’s escalating anti-China stance, Taiwan enjoyed enhanced recognition and support – with regular high-level visits from U.S. officials, as well as increased arms sales. This led some Beltway pundits, at the time, to express concern that ‘strategic ambiguity’ regarding the possibility of a U.S. military response – were Taiwan to be militarily reunited with China – was being deliberately eroded. They warned in Foreign Affairs to not rock the boat with China.
Nonetheless, Taipei feared that this salami-slice push by Washington’s China hawks nurturing Taiwan autonomy, could be watered down by an incoming Biden administration. They feared that U.S. foreign policy under Biden would chart a softer approach, based more on managing its pivot to ‘intense competition’ with China.
Much the same expectations of a Bidenesque ‘softer’ approach – albeit in the context of multilateral co-operation – was shared by Brussels in the wake of Biden’s arrival in the White House. Biden’s ‘America is Back’ mantra received a gushing welcome from the Brussels ruling class. It was expected to overturn Trump’s scepticism and hesitancy on NATO and the EU, and to usher in a new golden era of multilateralism. It hasn’t.
Biden’s ‘laser-like pivot’ to China as its primordial security interest – rather – has resulted in the North Atlantic, the EU and NATO becoming much less important to Washington, as the U.S. security crux compacts down to ‘blocking’ China in the Pacific.
AUKUS and the US’s confrontational approach to China are not playing too well in European capitals. From Strategic Culture’s Editorial Board at strategic-culture.org:
How bitterly amusing that when Joe Biden was elected U.S. president he promised to bring allies together.
Due to Washington’s Cold-War-style confrontational policy towards China there is now an ever-growing rift with U.S. allies in the European Union and Asia-Pacific.
This was evident from G20 and ASEAN discussions this week where numerous countries expressed deep misgivings about Washington’s relentless push for divisive relations with China.
France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, while attending a G20 summit in Washington DC, told the New York Times of the stark difference emerging between the U.S. and the EU. “The United States wants to confront China. The European Union wants to engage China,” said Le Maire who added that the bloc needs to become more independent from American policy.
This call for European independence from Washington has been growing for some time. It reached more vocal levels during the presidency of Donald Trump owing to his hectoring style towards allies over NATO military spending and various alleged trade complaints. What has amplified these dissenting calls is the formation last month of the tripartite military pact between the U.S., Britain and Australia – known as AUKUS – which completely blindsided European allies. France was particularly aggrieved because it lost a submarine contract with Australia worth about €50 billion.
Europe is in danger of becoming the Rodney Dangerfield of continents. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:
Does Europe possess the energy and the humility to look itself in the mirror, and re-position itself diplomatically?
Two events have combined to make a major inflection point for Europe: The first was America’s abandonment of the Great Game ploy of attempting to keep the two Central Asian great land powers – Russia and China – divided and at odds with each other. This was the inexorable consequence to the US’ defeat in Afghanistan – and the loss of its last strategic foothold in Asia.
Washington’s response was a reversion to that old nineteenth century geo-political tactic of maritime containment of Asian land-power – through controlling the sea lanes. However America’s pivot to China as its primordial security interest has resulted in the North Atlantic becoming much less important to Washington – as the US security crux compacts down to ‘blocking’ China in the Pacific.
The Establishment-linked figure, George Friedman (of Stratfor fame), has outlined America’s new post-Afghan strategy on Polish TV. He said tartly: “When we looked for allies [for a maritime force in the Pacific] on which we could count – they were the British and the Australians. The French weren’t there”. Friedman suggested that the threat from Russia is more than a bit exaggerated, and implied that the North Atlantic NATO and Europe are not particularly relevant to the US in the new context of ‘China competition’. “We ask”, Friedman says, “what does NATO do for the problems the US has at this point?”. “This [the AUKUS] is the [alliance] that has existed since World War II. So naturally they [Australia] bought American submarines instead of French submarines: Life goes on”.
As Moon of Alabama reports, US warmongers inflamed this non-controversy even further by feeding a story to the press about the already public information that there are American troops in Taiwan training the military there, citing “concern” about the danger posed by China.
This past weekend, warships from six countries entered the South China Sea. Nearly all came from the other side of the world.
Chinese aircraft also briefly entered the "Taiwan ADIZ" — an air defense zone unrecognized by international law.
Now headlines are blaring about President Tsai Ing-wen responding to this non-event with the announcement that Taiwan will “do whatever it takes to defend its freedom and democratic way of life.” Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott just visited Taipei to advocate that “democracies stand shoulder to shoulder” with Taiwan against China. The CIA has announced the creation of a new spy center that will focus solely on China, which CIA Director William Burns says will “further strengthen our collective work on the most important geopolitical threat we face in the 21st century: an increasingly adversarial Chinese government”.
Nobody can play you for a sucker without your consent. Germany is defended by the US military because the US government wants Germany to be dependent on it as an essential component of the global empire. From Mike Mish Shedlock at mishtalk.com:
Let’s discuss Germany, NATO, defense spending, the EU, and a return to historical allies highlighted by Aukus.
America’s New Strategy
Excellent video podcast by George Friedman on Aukus, NATO, the EU, and America’s New Strategy.
Perth in Australia will be a forward base for nuclear-powered and nuclear weapon-carrying American subs, Pepe Escobar writes.
Pax Americana was always a minor character in a zombie apocalypse flick.
Pax Americana is actually The Eternal Return of the Living Dead. “Pax” was never in order; War Inc. rules. The end of WWII led directly to the Cold War. The unipolar moment was an arc from the First Gulf War to the bombing of Yugoslavia. 9/11 launched the Global War on Terror (GWOT), renamed Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) by Team Obama. We are now entering Cold War 2.0 against China.
What former CIA analyst Ray McGovern memorably describes as the MICIMATT (military-industrial-congressional-intelligence-media-academia-think tank complex) never did “Pax”. They do War, in unison, like The Knights Who Say “Ni!” – minus the comic flair.
Take this Knight for the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the heart of the establishment matrix. CFR specializes in Kissingerian Divide and Rule. Now that applies, in spades, to the Russia-China strategic partnership.
Knights overwhelmingly state the obvious: “Chinese power must be contained”. They sell the current, serial imperial debacle as “grand strategic moves”, in a quirky, lost in translation mixed salad of Gramsci and Lampedusa: a “new order” (engineered by the Empire) is being born via “everything must change so everything may remain the same” – privileging the Empire.
Other Knights even propose the ludicrous notion that the current POTUS, an actual zombie remote-controlled by a teleprompter, is capable of conceiving a “foreign policy for the middle class” , as if the MICIMATT would ever approve a scheme to “advance prosperity in the free world as a whole”. The “free world” has just been stunned by the “prosperity” offered to Afghanistan during 20 “bombing to democracy” years.
Wasn’t Orange Man bad because he said Europeans should pay more for their own defense? And wasn’t Senile Man good because he’d be the opposite of Orange Man? Things aren’t working out that way for Europe. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:
The Europeans are in a whiny mood. So what else is new, you ask? True, but the Biden presidency was supposed to be a halcyon time for Euro-enthusiasts.
Senator and Vice President Joe Biden was the ultimate Atlanticist. Candidate Biden ran promising to restore America’s alliances, widely interpreted as doing ever more for and giving ever more to Washington’s well-pampered defense dependents across the pond. His expected secretary of state even spoke French. “Happy days are here again!”, declared the continent’s Eurocratic elite as they celebrated Biden’s victory last November.
Alas, that was then, this is now. Tragically, to the Europeans, anyway, President Biden decided that his main responsibility was to the American people. Early in his tenure he held a summit with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in an attempt to improve relations, horrifying Eastern European governments. Biden also dropped sanctions against Germany over its Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project with Moscow, abandoning a distasteful example of economic bullying but triggering extended caterwauling in Kiev.
The president decided to withdraw from Afghanistan without asking the Europeans for permission. Then came the Australian submarine deal, in which the U.S. trumped France’s diesel submarines with nuclear vessels. The latter both makes money for Americans and reinforces the ongoing Pentagon shift away from Europe to Asia.
The result has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth, especially from the French. Perfidy, screamed America’s oldest ally. Feeling scorned and humiliated, President Emmanuel Macron, up for reelection next year, ordered home the French ambassador “for consultations,” the diplomatic equivalent of a raised middle finger. Macron and Biden subsequently held a conciliatory phone call, but hard feelings are likely to linger.
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.
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.
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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