Tag Archives: Belt and Road Initiative

Russia, China, India and Iran: The Magic Quadrant That is Changing the World, by Federico Pieraccini

The so-called magic quadrant sure isn’t buying the notion of US unipolarity, and is doing everything in its power to oppose it. From Federico Pieraccini at strategic-culture.org:

With the end of the unipolar moment, which saw Washington dominate international relations, the richest and most powerful Eurasian countries are beginning to organize themselves into alliance structures and agreements that aim to facilitate trade, development and cooperation.

At the height of the US unipolar moment, Bill Clinton was leading a country in full economic recovery and the strategists at the Pentagon were drawing up plans to shape the world in their own image and likeness. The undeclared goal was regime change in all countries with unapproved political systems, which would allow for the proliferation of us-made “democracy” to the four corners of the earth. Clearly Eurasian countries like Russia, India, China and Iran were on top of the to-do list, as were countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

The bombing and destruction of Yugoslavia was the final step in the assault on the Russian Federation following the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. Yeltsin represented the means by which Western high finance decided to suck all Russia’s wealth, privatizing companies and plundering strategic resources.

China, on the other hand, saw a rebirth as a result of American and European manufacturing companies relocating to the country to take advantage of the cheap labor it offered. India, historically close to the USSR, and Iran, historically averse to Washington, were struggling to find a new balance in a world dominated by Washington.

Tehran was clearly in an open conflict with the United States because of the 1979 Islamic revolution that liberated the country from Western submission under the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. India understood the new reality, laying the foundations for a close cooperation with Washington. Previously, the use of jihadism in Afghanistan, through the coordination between Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United States, had severely undermined relations between India and the United States, remembering that New Delhi was an important ally of Moscow during the Cold War.

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China Won’t Be Taking Over, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

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.

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How the New Silk Roads are merging into Greater Eurasia, by Pepe Escobar

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

People take pictures of the first freight train from Shenzhen to Minsk, capital of Belarus, that set out of Yantian Port in Shenzhen in May 2017. Photo: Reuters / stringer

People take pictures of the first freight train from Shenzhen to Minsk, capital of Belarus, that set out of Yantian Port in Shenzhen in May 2017. Photo: Reuters / stringer

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US Efforts To Halt Eurasian Integration Are Failing Miserably, by Federico Pieraccini

The US is trying to beat China and Russia on their home court. The US is relying on bullets and bombs as its “persuaders,” while China and Russia are relying on infrastructure development, arms sales, trade, and financing on preferential terms. Guess who’s winning? From Federico Pieraccini at strategic-culture.org:

The operation of the Syrian Arab Army in the province of Idlib represents the last step of the central government of Damascus in the liberation of the country from the scourge of Islamist terrorism. With the defeat of Daesh and the removal of the remaining pockets of resistance, Assad’s soldiers have accomplished an extraordinary task. Meanwhile, the United States continues its illegal presence in Syria, through its support of the SDF in the north of the country for the purposes of sustaining the destabilizing potential of terrorist networks in the region and beyond. In light of this unfavorable situation for the Americans, it is easy to explain the transfer of commanders and high terrorist spheres from Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan, as confirmed by several official Russian, Iranian, Syrian and Iraqi sources.

The logic behind such a move has everything to do with the ongoing process of Eurasian integration. Progress in this regard has been multifaceted in recent months and years. It ranges from the most important event, namely the entry of Pakistan and India into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), to other less known events, such as the signing of the Caspian Sea treaty by Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan. The United States is committed to stopping this integration. Staying true to Brzezinski’s grand strategy, based on the concepts of Heartland and Rimland, it has not been difficult for policy makers and advisors of the current US administration to understand the importance of Afghanistan in helping the process of Eurasian integration by fomenting terrorism. Afghanistan plays an important double role as a hinge between both Eurasia and the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. Continue reading

China’s “New Silk Road” Project Hits Debt Jam, by Tyler Durden

Is debt catching up to the grand New Silk Road vision? From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road” trade infrastructure project could be hitting significant bottlenecks as some countries begin to sound alarms regarding the massive debt loads their governments are incurring.

Xi first announced the trade initiative also known as the “New Silk Road” in 2013, which needs more than $26 trillion of infrastructure investment by 2030 to keep regional economies expanding. The project includes railways, power plants, ports, highways and other projects across the world, with Beijing providing billions of dollars in credit to drive these schemes.

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So what will The Sanctioned supergroup do? by Pepe Escobar

The confederation China and Russia are putting together in Eurasia is the most significant new geopolitical grouping in many decades. The US government may not like it, but it appears powerless to stop it. From Pepe Escobar at atimes.com:

Those were the days, during the Cold War 1960s and 1970s, when the earth was actually ruled by rock supergroups – from Cream and Led Zeppelin to Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends – and the post-truth geopolitical remix of the supergroup. Meet The Sanctioned;  a multinational band starring multi-instrumentalists Vladimir Putin (Russia), Xi Jinping (China), Hassan Rouhani (Iran) and Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Turkey).

As the whole rock universe knows, The Sanctioned run the relentless risk of being outshined – in the form of multi-layered sanctions – by undisputed glitter solo act Donald Trump (US).

The two real virtuosos in the band relish playing in perfect synch. Putin may indulge only the occasional Jimmy Page solo (as in Caspian-launched missiles against Daesh in Syria); he’s more like Keith Emerson invoking the Russian classical composer Mussorgsky. Xi is fond of orchestral Pink Floyd-esque concept albums, in the New Silk Roads mould. Rouhani could be Jack Bruce in Cream – supplying those subtle moments of faultless musicianship. It’s Erdogan who’s irresistibly attracted to summon the back door man’s antics of Robert Plant.

As for Trump, he’s no Dylan – and certainly not Roger Waters; more like Ted Nugent with some Black Sabbath overtones.

So what will The Sanctioned come up next? A doozy like Deep Purple without Gillan and Blackmore or an epic like ELP’s Fanfare for the Common Man?

The Fanfare for the Common Man geoeconomic scenario reads like this.

Putin-Xi – as in the Russia-China strategic partnership – offer Erdogan membership of both the BRICS (as in BRICS Plus) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organizations (SCO). Erdogan, on the record, has already manifested interest in both.

Turkey pulls out of NATO. The Turkish military will squeal, but Erdogan, after the failed 2016 coup – of which he was alerted by Russian intelligence – now controls the military.

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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