In a little over three months, the Biden administration’s foreign policy team has made a complete hash of foreign policy. From Philip Giraldi at strategic-culture.org:
United State engagement in complicated overseas quarrels should be limited to areas where genuine vital interests are at stake.
With the exception of the impending departure of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan, if it occurs, the White House seems to prefer to use aggression to deter adversaries rather than finesse. The recent exchanges between Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a meeting in Alaska demonstrate how Beijing has a clear view of its interests which Washington seems to lack. Blinken initiated the acrimonious exchange when he cited “deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks on the United States, economic coercion toward our allies. Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability. That’s why they’re not merely internal matters, and why we feel an obligation to raise these issues here today.” He then threatened “I said that the United States relationship with China will be competitive where it should be, collaborative where it can be, adversarial where it must be” before adding “I’m hearing deep satisfaction that the United States is back, that we’re reengaged with our allies and partners. I’m also hearing deep concern about some of the actions your government is taking.”
All the plans and schemes of those who see the world in terms of the balance of power and try to arrange it to their own advantage generally don’t succeed, and the world suffers for it. From Pepe Escobar at strategic-culture.org:
Pepe Escobar explains why Henry Kissinger must have lost the diplomatic plot.
Henry Kissinger, 97, Henry the K. for those he keeps close, is either a Delphic oracle-style strategic thinker or a certified war criminal for those kept not so close.
He now seems to have been taking time off his usual Divide and Rule stock in trade – advising the combo behind POTUS, a.k.a. Crash Test Dummy – to emit some realpolitik pearls of wisdom.
At a recent forum in Arizona, referring to the festering, larger than life Sino-American clash, Henry the K. said, “It’s the biggest problem for America; it’s the biggest problem for the world. Because if we can’t solve that, then the risk is that all over the world a kind of cold war will develop between China and the United States.”
In realpolitik terms, this “kind of Cold War” is already on; across the Beltway, China is unanimously regarded as the premier U.S. national security threat.
Kissinger added U.S. policy toward China must be a mix of stressing U.S. “principles” to demand China’s respect and dialogue to find areas of cooperation: “I’m not saying that diplomacy will always lead to beneficial results…This is the complex task we have… Nobody has succeeded in doing it completely.”
The Chinese are kicking America’s butt in a lot of different fields of economic endeavor. From Fred Reed at unz.com:
First, America increasingly relies on strong-arm tactics instead of competence. For example, in the de facto 5G competition, Washington cannot offer Europe a better product at a better price, so it forbids European countries to buy from China. The US cannot compete with China in manufacturing, so it resorts to a trade war. The US cannot make the crucial EUV lithography equipment to make advanced semiconductors, as neither can China, but it can forbid ASML, the Dutch company, from selling to China. Similarly, the US cannot compete with Russia in the price of natural gas to Europe, so by means of sanctions it seeks to keep Europe from buying from Russia. This is not reassuring.
Second, the Chinese are a commercial people, agile, fast to market, cutthroat, known for this throughout Asia. America is a bureaucratized military empire, torpid by comparison. America has legacy control over a few important technologies, most notably the crucial semiconductor field and the international financial system. Washington is using these to try to cripple China’s advance.
A consequence has been a realization by the Chinese that America is not a competitor but an enemy, and a subsequent explosion of investment and R&D aimed at reducing dependence on American technology. There is the well-known 1.4 trillion-dollar five-year plan to this end. One now encounters a flood of stories about advances in tech “to which China has intellectual-property rights” or similar wording.
They seem deadly serious about this. Given that Biden couldn’t tell a transistor from an ox cart, I wonder whether he realizes that every time the US pushes China to become independent in x, American firms lose the Chinese market for X, and later get to compete with Chinese X in the international market. Anyway, give Trump his due. He lit this fuse.
Germany is key to the American empire’s plans to contain Russia and China. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:
The shift of paradigm centred onthe U.S. pivot away from West Asia naturally impacts on Iran’sJCPOA calculus, Alastair Crooke writes.
In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the idea that small things can have non-linear impacts on a complex system. The concept is imagined with a butterfly flapping its wings, and though this, in itself, would be unlikely to cause a tornado, nonetheless small events can cause cascades of change within a complex system. And so to Europe, where Germany is changing. The Green Party is flapping its wings in the spatial void left by Merkel’s expected departure. And though the Party, some years ago, was almost wholly Corbinite (i.e. classic anti-establishment), today, beneath its liberal surface, the Green rhetoric is something different – It is fiercely North Atlanticist, pro-NATO and anti-Russian (even quasi neo-liberal).
Today, the European political zeitgeist is changing. It is soaking up the Biden ‘we must join together to curb Chinese and Russian behaviours’ meme. Of course, this shift cannot all be laid at the door of the German Greens; nonetheless, they seem destined to emerge with a pivotal role in the polity of the pivotal EU state, as the Green emergence becomes somehow iconic of the butterfly wing effect.
The wars of the future may be biological, and it certainly looks like both the US and China are developing the weaponry. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
In 2015, Chinese military scientists discussed how to weaponze SARS coronaviruses, five years before the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in Wuhan, China – where CCP scientists were collaborating with a US-funded NGO on so-called ‘gain of function’ research to make bat coronaviruses infect humans more easily.
In a 263-page document, written by People’s Liberation Army scientists and senior Chinese public health officials and obtained by the US State Department during its investigation into the origins of COVID-19, PLA scientists note how a sudden surge of patients requiring hospitalization during a bioweapon attack “could cause the enemy’s medical system to collapse,” according to The Weekend Australian (a subsidiary of News Corp).
It suggests that SARS coronaviruses could herald a “new era of genetic weapons,” and noted that they can be “artificially manipulated into an emerging human disease virus, then weaponized and unleashed in a way never seen before.”
The chairmen of the British and Australian foreign affairs and intelligence committees, Tom Tugendhat and James Paterson, say the document raises major concerns about China’s lack of transparency over the origins of COVID-19.
The Chinese-language paper, titled The Unnatural Origin of SARS and New Species of Man-Made Viruses as Genetic Bioweapons, outlines China’s progress in the research field of biowarfare.
“Following developments in other scientific fields, there have been major advances in the delivery of biological agents,” it states.
“For example, the new-found ability to freeze-dry micro-organisms has made it possible to store biological agents and aerosolise them during attacks.”
Ten of the authors are scientists and weapons experts affiliated with the Air Force Medical University in Xi’an, ranked “very high-risk” for its level of defence research, including its work on medical and psychological sciences, according to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Defence Universities Tracker.
The Air Force Medical University, also known as the Fourth Medical University, was placed under the command of the PLA under President Xi Jinping’s military reforms in 2017. The editor-in-chief of the paper, Xu Dezhong, reported to the top leadership of the Chinese Military Commission and Ministry of Health during the SARS epidemic of 2003, briefing them 24 times and preparing three reports, according to his online biography.-The Australian
“We were able to verify its authenticity as a document authored by the particular PLA researchers and scientists,” according to Robert Potter, a digital forensics specialist who has worked for the US, Australian and Canadian governments – and has previously analyzed leaked Chinese government documents, according to the report. “We were able to locate its genesis on the Chinese internet.”
Unlike every other signatory to the Paris Climate Agreement, China doesn’t have to reduce its emissions by 2030, it’s allowed to increase them. From Judith Bergman at gatestoneinstitute.com:
If China were serious about reducing emissions, that intent would have been evident from its new five-year plan for the years 2021-2025, released in March. This plan, however, has been described as containing “little more than vague commitments to tackle carbon dioxide emissions.”
As the Wall Street Journal wrote in an editorial in February, initiatives like this explain why “Beijing loves Biden and Paris”. They allow China, in the words of the editorial, to get “a free carbon ride” — meaning unfettered economic growth at a time when China is looking to become the world’s dominant economic and technological power.
How much will fulfilling President Biden’s climate accord pledges actually cost and for what actual benefit to whom, and how much of a further edge will it actually give to China?
At a time when China is so obviously saying one thing and doing another, and clearly not fulfilling its share of the world’s commitments to reducing CO2 emissions — as the world’s second-largest economy should — increasing America’s climate pledges sends all the wrong signals. What China and others see is that no matter what it does — even if it deceives the world and continues its predatory behavior — the US is willing to reduce its own competitiveness, leaving China a thick red carpet to become the world’s dominant superpower, the very role to which it aspires.
Communist China, in 2020, built over three times as much new coal power capacity as all other countries in the world combined — the equivalent of more than one large coal plant per week, according to a report by Global Energy Monitor. Pictured: A state-owned coal-fired power plant in Huainan, Anhui province, China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
Communist China, in 2020, built over three times as much new coal power capacity as all other countries in the world combined — the equivalent of more than one large coal plant per week, according to a report released in April by Global Energy Monitor.
We don’t have to love Russia or China, nor do they have to love us, but trying to coexist with them makes a lot more sense than overt hostility. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
On a recent 60 Minutes interview with Norah O’Donnell which focused on the Biden administration’s China policy, US Secretary of State Tony Blinken talked about the United States as a defender of the rules-based international order and the importance of bringing Beijing into compliance with it.
“Our purpose is not to contain China, to hold it back, to keep it down: it is to uphold this rules-based order that China is posing a challenge to,” Blinken said. “Anyone who poses a challenge to that order, we’re going to stand up and defend it.”
Now, had Blinken been speaking to an actual journalist, he would have been asked in what specific ways defending “the rules-based order” against China would differ from trying to contain China and keep it down. He would have also been asked what business a nation that has killed millions and displaced tens of millions in illegal wars just since the turn of this century while deliberately starving civilians to death with sanctions and blockades has proclaiming itself the defender of any “rules-based order”.
But Blinken was not talking to a journalist. Blinken was talking to Norah O’Donnell.
China will not grow at anywhere the rate it has been if its population is shrinking. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
China is battling not one but three vicious demons. The interconnected issues of insurmountable debts, deflation, and demographics threaten to sap the world’s future growth potential.
Fending off the 3 D’s: debts, deflation, and demographics requires the People’s Bank of China to slash borrowing costs and unleash an enormous amount of credit into the local economy to cover up the faltering demand that usually persists with demographic challenges.
The question we should be asking is China really on the “rise,” as President Xi Jinping believes: “the East is rising and the West is declining” or if the coming demographic crisis derails Xi’s global takeover plans.
Beijing desperately attempts to recover from its decades of disastrous ‘one-child policy,’ which officially ended in 2015 and was replaced by the current two-child policy.
According to FT’s sources, the latest Chinese census data, which was completed in December and has yet to be publicly released (the issue is reportedly so sensitive that it won’t be released until many government agencies reach a consensus on the data and its consequences), is expected to show the country’s first population decline since records began in 1949.
China’s total population is expected to print less than 1.4 billion, according to people familiar with the census report, and if it is reported, the peak in China’s population came five years earlier than the United Nations predicted.
But, as Bloomberg notes, the trend is hardly surprising. China’s birth rate has been in decline for years and the introduction of the two-child policy in 2016 failed to make a dent. The number of newborns in 2019 fell to 14.65 million, a decrease of 580,000 from the year before. To cope with the shrinking population, a PBOC study last monthurged a drastic overhaul of the policy to encourage “three or more” children per household. It called for a total lifting of any restrictions to “fully liberalize and encourage childbirth” to reverse the current four-year straight decline in births nationwide.
Not that it will happen in the Biden administration, but the Ukraine offers a chance for the US government to adjust foreign policy to the emergence of Russia and China and obvious fiscal realities. From Douglas MacGregor at theamericanconservative.com:
President Biden can bring stability to U.S.-Russian relations if he doesn’t make the usual mistakes.
The trouble with leading a great power is that, from time to time, the president is obliged to act like the leader of a great power. If ever there was a time for sound presidential leadership, it’s now. With no appreciation for the endlessly renewable force of national self-preservation that animates Moscow’s maneuvers in Ukraine, President Biden’s insulting remarks and hostile sanctions have plunged the United States into a deeper, more dangerous confrontation with Russia in Ukraine, a region of limited strategic interest to the United States.
Putin’s directive to return most of his troops to garrison while leaving their weapon systems and equipment in place along the Ukrainian border should be viewed in Washington as an opportunity to create a measure of stability in U.S.-Russian relations that’s been missing for years. It’s not enough to hurl insults and simply restate what the Biden administration is against. It’s time to explore what kind of alternative to the fragile and dangerous status quo in Ukraine that Washington and Moscow can both support.
Washington did a deplorable job of formulating strategic aims in the Middle East and Afghanistan that justified the sacrifice of American blood and treasure. The president cannot seize the strategic initiative now if Washington continues to react impetuously and emotionally to real or imaginary threats to U.S. and allied interests.
The island nation of Taiwan may be in the spotlight today for handling Covid-19 without a lockdown but it’s about to become one of the most contentious geopolitical flashpoints of the decade. On April 17, 2021, The South China Morning Post reported that,
“The United States and Japan called for “peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait” in a joint statement released after a meeting between US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga who reaffirmed their commitment to counter China’s “intimidation” in the East and South China seas in wide-ranging talks.
It is the first time since 1969 that the top leaders of the two countries mentioned Taiwan in a joint statement, a move that is set to infuriate Beijing.”
The move did in fact attract hostility from the Chinese as Nikkei Asia wrote,
“Hours after Japan and the U.S. named Taiwan in a leader’s summit statement for the first time in more than five decades, China hit back at the communique that also highlighted the two allies’ concerns over Hong Kong and human rights issues in Xinjiang.
“These matters bear on China’s fundamental interests and allow no interference. We express strong concern and firm opposition to relevant comments in the Joint Leaders’ Statement,” a spokesperson at the Chinese embassy said in a statement on Saturday.
Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang belong to “China’s internal affairs,” the statement said.”
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