President Trump and his foreign policy team have driven Iran into the loving arms of Russia and China. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
For more than three years I’ve tried to explain that President Trump’s foreign policy was having the exact opposite effect of its intended purpose.
Trump, under the advice of people like John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has pursued a maximum pressure campaign against Iran in the hopes of the regime either crumbling or suing for peace.
Trump was warned by both Chinese Premier Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin that Iran would ‘rather eat dirt’ than submit to him on nuclear weapons, support for Hezbollah, Iraq and President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
In effect, Trump and Pompeo have argued for Iran to give up its sovereignty to appease the fears of Netanyahu in Israel, and they have steadfastly told Bibi and The Donald to go pound sand.
Every six months or so, depending on the state of domestic affairs, tensions with Iran ratchet up another notch. Over the past couple of weeks a series of explosions at key Iranian military facilities occurred with fingerprints of Israel striking deep into Iran to cripple strategic targets.
Trump, distracted by the domestic insurrection against him, has left foreign policy strictly to Pompeo who is avidly pursuing a ‘have his cake and eat it too moment,’ trying to extend the weapons embargo against Iran at the United Nations while still claiming the unilateral right to leave the JCPOA without further consequences.
In a word, Russia, China and Europe are telling him, “No.”
This is a good survey and analysis of one of the world’s hottest hot spots. From F. William Engdahl at lewrockwell.com:
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a recent video conference suggested that the US might move some of its troops from Germany to the region around India, citing growing US security concerns in the Asian region. Given the dramatic rise in tensions between India and China over disputed borders in the region of Nepal and Bhutan where several soldiers from both sides reportedly died in hand-to-hand combat, the question is whether Washington is deliberately trying to fan fires of war between the two Asian giant powers. As unlikely as that might be at present, it indicates how unstable our world is becoming amid the ‘coronavirus economic depression’, and the perceived power vacuum of a US in retreat.
Speaking to a virtual Brussels German Marshall Fund Forum on June 25,Secretary of State Pompeo was asked about recent statements that the US military planned withdrawing a contingent of its forces from Germany. He replied that the Chinese threat to India and Southeast Asian nations was one of the reasons America was reducing its troop presence in Europe and deploying them to other places. He cited unspecified recent Chinese actions as “threats to India, threats to Vietnam, threats to Malaysia, Indonesia and the South China Sea challenge,” adding, “We are going to make sure the US military is postured appropriately to meet the challenges.”
The two alternatives presented in the title are not mutually exclusive. War has ushered in many a collapse. From Doug Casey at internationalman.com:
International Man: While many have been distracted by the unrest in the US, tensions with China are soaring.
Recently, Beijing passed a national security law that would undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy. What comes next for US-China relations?
Doug Casey: I lived in Hong Kong, on and off, from 1985 to 2005. When I first moved there, it was a Chinese city, but there were a lot of Western expats.
When I returned most recently, it had transformed into a Chinese city with very few expats. They’d all gone to Singapore.
What’s happening in Hong Kong is unfortunate, but frankly, it’s none of our business. Unfortunate things are happening in a hundred places around the world. You just can’t solve other people’s problems for them, nor should you try. Nobody likes a busybody.
As I’ve said so many times in the past, the US government has got to stop sticking its nose in other people’s business. The US has been acting as the world’s self-appointed cop since at least WWII, as often as not stepping in on the side of the bad guys—whether it knew it or not— and bankrupting itself while making enemies in the process.
In the case of Hong Kong, my view is that the Beijing regime is totally wrong, but it would be a disastrous error for us to get involved.
The same goes for the South and East China Seas, which were in the news a few years back. The US is sending a bunch of aircraft carriers there to show the flag, which is dangerous and provocative and none of our business. Just as it would be none of China’s business if the US decided to make the Gulf of Mexico its own private backyard sea. Should China try to contest that? Should China step in if Mexico decided the Gulf is really its territorial water?
The fact is that Chinese and US businessmen get along just fine. If the Chinese prove to be unethical or dishonest, a US business should just stop working with the firm that cheats them. Why should the US government be involved?
Posted in banking, Business, Collapse, Debt, Economy, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Military, War
Tagged China, US empire
China’s new security law for Hong Kong is a lot like the Obamacare legislation, implemented before anyone knows what was in it. From Chris Oliver at wolfstreet.com:
Sense of Foreboding in Hong Kong. Beijing’s black-box approach doesn’t bode well for local freedoms.
Hongkongers woke earlier this week to a timeline for a new national security law written in Beijing that sets out a handful of days before the legislation is passed. The troubling thing is that few know what’s actually inside the new law.
The controversial bill – widely regarded as already fixed in stone – is expected to be completed during the three-day session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee which gets underway on Sunday, according to local newspaper reports citing mainland sources. One theory is that the bill will be passed on Tuesday, June 30, the eve of the 23rd anniversary of the handover that ended 156 years of British colonial rule. When the law will be enacted is not known, but sometime during either July or August looks likely (photo by Chris Oliver).
If the new law is passed next week as expected, it would mark about a month since its unveiling in late May – a blistering pace for a national law, especially one affecting Hong Kong, a city known for its low crime rate and social stability.
A bona fide collision between the US and China would be disastrous for both. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:
As of this month, the United States is deploying three of its aircraft carriers simultaneously to patrol the Pacific in what is designed to be a clear threat to China. Each carrier strike group comprises destroyers, aircraft and submarines. The U.S. has 11 aircraft carriers in total.
Rear Admiral Stephen Koehler, director of operations at Indo-Pacific Command, is quoted as saying of the unusual deployment. “Carriers and carrier strike groups writ large are phenomenal symbols of American naval power. I really am pretty fired up that we’ve got three of them at the moment.”
Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, admitted that the operations were provocative, albeit suggesting that the reality was somehow a propaganda coup for Beijing. She said: “The Chinese will definitely portray this as an example of U.S. provocations, and as evidence that the U.S. is a source of instability in the region.”
Forget about Chinese “portrayal”. It seems plainly factual that Washington is ramping up belligerence and instability in the Pacific.
The unprecedented muscle-flexing by the U.S. comes at a time when political relations between Washington and Beijing have descended into a new Cold War. President Donald Trump is whipping up his support base with renewed racist slurs against China over the coronavirus pandemic. At recent rallies in Oklahoma and Arizona, the president has referred to the “Kung Flu” and a “plague” sent from China.
It’s not currently in China’s interest to destroy the dollar (US authorities are doing a fine job of that on their own) but when the final destruction occurs, a Chinese gold-backed yuan could supplant the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:
This article describes how China can escape the fate of a dollar collapse by tying the yuan to gold. There is little doubt she has access to sufficient gold. Currently, her interest is to preserve the dollar, not destroy it, because it is the principal means of Chinese foreign interests being secured .
Furthermore, a return to sound money requires China to reverse its interventionism under Xi, returning to Deng Xiaoping’s original vision. Sound money can only last if the relationship between the state and the wider economy is properly addressed.
Of all the major economies, China’s is best placed to implement a sound money solution. At the moment it seems unlikely the necessary reforms will be forthcoming; but a general collapse of the global fiat currency regime presents the opportunity for reassessment and change.
In last week’s Insight I examined the position of the US dollar, given the Fed’s current monetary policies, and concluded that the Fed’s dollar is likely to become valueless by the end of this year. The consequences for other major currencies — the euro, yen and pound — are that they are likely to fall with the dollar. This is because they adopt the same monetary policies, the same macroeconomic fallacies, and through the Bank for International Settlements, G7 and G20 meetings agree to continue to be bound by common policies. While the intention is for all to survive by working together, instead it ensures that they all sink together.
Posted in banking, Business, Capitalism, Collapse, Currencies, Debt, Economics, Economy, Geopolitics, Governments
Tagged central bank policies, China, Dollar, Gold-backed yuan, Reserve Currency
Pepe Escobar knows a very important of the world that most Americans know little about—Eurasia. From Escobar at consortiumnews.com:
The Indo-China border is a strategic chessboard and it’s gotten way more complex.
Valley near Kangan, Kashmir. (Kashmir Pictures, Flickr)
It was straight from an Orientalist romantic thriller set in the Himalayas: soldiers fighting each other with stones and iron bars in the dead of night on a mountain ridge over 4,000 meters high, some plunging to their deaths into a nearly frozen river and dying of hypothermia.
In November 1996, China and India had agreed not to use guns along their 3,800 km-long border, known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which sports an occasional tendency to derail into a Line Out of Control.
Yet this was not just another Himalayan scuffle. Of course there were echoes of the 1962 Sino-Indian war – which started pretty much the same way, leading Beijing to defeat New Delhi on the battlefield. But now the strategic chessboard is way more complex, part of the evolving 21st Century New Great Game.
The situation had to be defused. Top military commanders from China and India finally met face to face this past weekend. And on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister spokesman Zhao Lijian confirmed they “agreed to take necessary measures to promote a cooling of the situation.”
The Indian Army concurred: “There was mutual consensus to disengage (…) from all frictions areas in Eastern Ladakh.”
In case you don’t have enough to worry about. From Peter Pry, thehill.com via theburningplatform.com:
Authored by Peter Pry, op-ed via The Hill,
The coronavirus pandemic has exposed dangerous weaknesses in U.S. planning and preparation for civil defense protection and recovery, and those weaknesses surely have been noticed by our potential enemies: China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and international terrorists.
The U.S. spent decades, and billions of dollars, supposedly preparing for biological warfare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the departments of Defense and Homeland Security are supposed to have contingency plans to protect the American people from lethal biological weapons such as anthrax and genetically engineered smallpox, which could have mortality rates of over 90 percent.
But our defenders have not even been able to competently cope with COVID-19, which has a mortality rate under 1 percent. The White House took over management of the pandemic, apparently to compensate for the failure of the U.S. government to have adequately stockpiled such basics as ventilators, masks and pharmaceuticals.
Trump could pick up substantial votes if he’d just quit hawking and let Joe Biden have that vote, which is essentially a vote for the Deep State. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
Joe Biden keeps trying to out-warmonger Donald Trump, and by Joe Biden I of course mean the team of handlers who are animating the dementia-ravaged corpse of the Biden campaign like a ventriloquist operating a wooden dummy.
In response to Trump suggesting an openness to scaling back his administration’s murderous Venezuela policy and meeting with President Nicolás Maduro, whoever runs Biden’s Twitter account for him seized upon the moment to assert that the former vice president will be doing no such thing if elected commander-in-chief.
“Trump talks tough on Venezuela, but admires thugs and dictators like Nicolas Maduro,” tweeted Biden Incorporated. “As President, I will stand with the Venezuelan people and for democracy.”
“Translation: if Trump retreats from his current policy of trying to sanction and suffocate Venezuelan into submission, Biden will make sure to revive it,” journalist Aaron Maté said in response.
“To be clear, Joe Biden is now attacking Donald Trump from the right on Venezuela,” said journalist Walker Bragman.
Meet NATO’s new existential enemy: China. Only a spoilsport would point out that China is nowhere near the North Atlantic. NATO needs enemies and China will just have to do. From Brian Cloughley at strategic-culture.org:
On June 8 Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of the U.S.-NATO military alliance, gave a speech at NATO’s new billion dollar headquarters in Brussels. It was followed by a selection of patsy questions, but in spite of the trite predictability of Stoltenberg’s statements and the eager friendliness of the questioners, enough was said to indicate that NATO is still on the lookout for enemies to attempt to justify its continuing shaky existence.
New on the Stoltenberg list is China, which is a long way from the North Atlantic. He was reported as declaring that “the rise of China is fundamentally shifting the global balance of power, heating up the race for economic and technological supremacy, multiplying the threats to open societies and individual freedoms and increasing the competition over our values and our way of life.” He wants NATO to become involved with the U.S. in confronting China which has a population of 1.4 billion, the longest land border in the world (22,117 km) and a coastline of 14,500 km (the U.S. coastline is 19,924 km), which enormous numbers are ample justification for maintenance of a large defence force.
But he complained that China “already has the second largest defence budget. They are investing heavily in modern military capabilities, including missiles that can reach all NATO Allied countries. They’re coming closer to us in cyberspace. We see them in the Arctic, in Africa. We see them investing in our critical infrastructure. And they are working more and more together with Russia. All of this has a security consequence for NATO Allies. And therefore, we need to be able to respond to that, to address that.”