Russia-China Tandem Changes the World

The West’s persistent demonization of Russia over the past decade has pushed Moscow into a de facto alliance with China, changing the geopolitical landscape in ways that U.S. pundits still won’t admit, writes Gilbert Doctorow.

By Gilbert Doctorow

Much of what Western “experts” assert about Russia – especially its supposed economic and political fragility and its allegedly unsustainable partnership with China – is wrong, resulting not only from the limited knowledge of the real situation on the ground but from a prejudicial mindset that does not want to get at the facts, i.e. from wishful thinking.

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

Russia may not be experiencing dynamic growth, but over the past two years it has survived a crisis of circumstance in depressed oil prices and economic warfare against it by the West that would have felled less competently managed governments enjoying less robust popularity than is the case in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Moreover, as stagnant of Russia’s GNP has been, the numbers have been on a par with Western Europe’s very slow growth.

Meanwhile, Russian agriculture is booming, with the 2017 grain harvest the best in 100 years despite very adverse climatic conditions from early spring. In parallel, domestically produced farm machinery has been going from strength to strength. Other major Industrial sectors like civil aircraft production have revived with the launch of new and credible models for both domestic and export markets.

Major infrastructure projects representing phenomenal engineering feats like the bridge across the Kerch straits to Crimea are proceeding on schedule to successful termination in the full glare of regular television broadcasts. So where is this decrepit Russia that our Western commentators describe daily?

The chief reason for the many wrongheaded observations is not so hard to discover. The ongoing rampant conformism in American and Western thinking about Russia has taken control not only of our journalists and commentators but also of our academic specialists who serve up to their students and to the general public what is expected and demanded: proof of the viciousness of the “Putin regime” and celebration of the brave souls in Russia who go up against this regime, such as the blogger-turned-politician Alexander Navalny or Russia’s own Paris Hilton, the socialite-turned-political-activist Ksenia Sochak.

Although vast amounts of information are available about Russia in open sources, meaning the Russian press and commercial as well as state television, these are largely ignored. The sour grapes Russian opposition personalities who have settled in the United States are instead given the microphone to sound off about their former homeland. Meanwhile, anyone taking care to read, hear and analyze the words of Vladimir Putin becomes in these circles a “stooge.” All of this limits greatly the accuracy and usefulness of what passes for expertise about Russia.

In short, the field of Russia studies suffers, as it also did during the heyday of the Cold War, from a narrow ideological perspective and from the failure to put information about Russia in some factually anchored framework of how Russia fits in a comparative international setting.

Just what this means was brought into perspective last week by a rare moment of erudition regarding Russia when professor emeritus of the London School of Economics Dominic Lieven delivered a lecture in Sochi at the latest Valdai Club annual meeting summarizing his take on the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Lieven, arguably the greatest living historian of imperial Russia, is one of the very rare birds who brought to his Russian studies a profound knowledge of the rest of the world and in particular of the other imperial powers of the Nineteenth Century with which Russia was competing. This knowledge takes in both hard and soft power, meaning on the one hand, military and diplomatic prowess and, on the other, the intellectual processes which are used to justify imperial domination and constitute a world view if not a full-fledged ideology.

Self-blinded ‘Experts’

By contrast, today’s international relations “experts” lack the in-depth knowledge of Russia to say something serious and valuable for policy formulation. The whole field of area studies has atrophied in the United States over the past 20 years, with actual knowledge of history, languages, cultures being largely scuttled in favor of numerical skills that will provide sure employment in banks and NGOs upon graduation. The diplomas have been systematically depreciated.

Henry Kissinger, former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State.

The result of the foregoing is that there are very few academics who can put the emerging Russian-Chinese alliance into a comparative context. And those who do exist are systematically excluded from establishment publications and roundtable public discussions in the United States for not being sufficiently hostile to Russia.

If that were not the case, one could look at the Russian-Chinese partnership as it compares firstly with the American-Chinese partnership created by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, which is now being replaced by the emerging Russian-Chinese relationship. Kissinger was fully capable of doing this when he wrote his book On China in 2011, but Kissinger chose to ignore the Russian-Chinese partnership though its existence was perfectly clear when he was writing his text. Perhaps he did not want to face the reality of how his legacy from the 1970s had been squandered.

What we find in Kissinger’s description of his accomplishments in the 1970s is that the American-Chinese partnership was all done at arm’s length. There was no alliance properly speaking, no treaty, in keeping with China’s firm commitment not to accept entanglement in mutual obligations with other powers. The relationship was two sovereign states conferring regularly on international developments of mutual interest and pursuing policies that in practice proceeded in parallel to influence global affairs in a coherent manner.

This bare minimum of a relationship was overtaken and surpassed by Russia and China some time ago. The relationship has moved on to ever larger joint investments in major infrastructure projects having great importance to both parties, none more so than the gas pipelines that will bring very large volumes of Siberian gas to Chinese markets in a deal valued at $400 billion.

Meanwhile, in parallel, Russia has displaced Saudi Arabia as China’s biggest supplier of crude oil, and trading is now being done in yuan rather than petrodollars. There is also a good deal of joint investment in high technology civilian and military projects. And there are joint military exercises in areas ever farther from the home bases of both countries.

I think it is helpful to look at this partnership as resembling the French-German partnership that steered the creation and development of what is now the European Union. From the very beginning, Germany was the stronger partner economically with France’s economy experiencing relative stagnation. Indeed, one might well have wondered why the two countries remained in this partnership as nominal equals.

The answer was never hard to find: with its historical burden from the Nazi epoch, Germany was, and to this day remains, incapable of taking responsibility in its own name for the European Union. The French served as the smokescreen for German power. Since the 1990s, that role has largely been transferred to the E.U. central bodies in Brussels, where key decision-making positions are in fact appointed by Berlin. Yet, France remains an important junior partner in the German-driven process.

The Russian-Chinese Tandem

One may say much the same about the Russian-Chinese tandem. Russia is essential to China because of Moscow’s long experience managing global relations going back to the period of the Cold War and because of its willingness and ability today to stand up directly to the American hegemon, whereas China, with its heavy dependence on its vast exports to the U.S., cannot do so without endangering vital interests. Moreover, since the Western establishment sees China as the long-term challenge to its supremacy, it is best for Beijing to exercise its influence through another power, which today is Russia.

China’s President Xi Jinping.

Of course, in light of the E.U.’s Brexit troubles and Trump’s abandonment of world leadership, it is undeniably possible that China will step out of the shadows and seek to assume direction of global governance. But that would be problematic. China faces major domestic challenges including the transition of its economy from being led by exports to relying more on domestic consumption. That will absorb the attention of its political leadership for some time.

Kissinger, who has been an adviser to Trump, whispers in Trump’s ear about the importance of separating Russia from China, but Kissinger’s limited and outdated knowledge of Russia has caused him to underestimate the powerful motives behind the Russian-Chinese relationship. America’s less gifted and informed pundits are even more clueless.

For one thing, given the sustained hostility directed at Russia from the West in general and from Washington in particular, it is inconceivable that Putin would be wooed away from Beijing by some flirtatious “come hither” gestures from the Trump administration even if that were politically possible for Trump to do. One of Putin’s outstanding features is his loyalty to his friends and his principles as well as to his nation’s interests.

As Putin revealed during his address and Q&A at the Valdai Club gathering this past week, he now bears a deep distrust of the West in light of its having taken crude advantage of Russia’s weakness in the 1990s and by its expansion of NATO to Russian borders and other threatening actions. Whatever hopes Putin once may have held for warmer relations with the West, those hopes have been dashed over the past several years.

Putting personalities aside, Russian foreign policy has a commonality that is rare to see on the world stage: actions first, diplomatic charters later. Russia’s political relations with China come on top of massive mutual investments that have taken many years to agree on and execute.

In the same way, Russia is proceeding with Japan to work towards a formal peace treaty by first putting in place massive trade and investment projects. It is entirely foreseeable that the first step to the treaty will be the start of construction in 2018 of a railway bridge in the Far East linking the Russian island of Sakhalin with the mainland. The general contractor and engineering team is also in place: Arkady Rotenberg and his SGM Group. That bridge is the prerequisite for Japan and Russia signing a $50 billion deal to build a railway bridge linking Sakhalin and Hokkaido. This bridge will draw the attention of the whole region to Russian-Japanese cooperation. It could be the foundation for a durable and not merely paper peace treaty resolving the territorial dispute over the Kurile Islands.

Lost Opportunities

In light of these realities, it is puerile to speak of detaching Russia from China with the promise of normalized relations with the West. The opportunity to do that existed in the 1990s, when President Boris Yeltsin and his “Mr. Yes” Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev did everything possible to win U.S. agreement to Russian accession to NATO immediately following accession by Poland.  To no avail.

Then again early in Putin’s presidency, the Russians made a determined effort to win admission to the Western alliance. Again to no avail. Russia was excluded, and measures were taken to contain it, to place it in a small box as just another European regional power.

Finally, following the confrontation with the United States and Europe over their backing of the 2014 coup in Ukraine, followed by the Russian annexation/merger with Crimea, and Russian support for the insurgency in Ukraine’s Donbas region, Russia openly was cast as the enemy. It was compelled to mobilize all of its friendships internationally to stay afloat. No state was more helpful in this regard than China.  Such moments are not forgotten or betrayed.

The Kremlin understands full well that the West has nothing substantial to offer Russia as long as the U.S. elites insist on maintaining global hegemony at all costs. The only thing that could get the Kremlin’s attention would be consultations to revise the security architecture of Europe with a view to bringing Russia in from the cold. This was the proposal of then President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010, but his initiative was met by stony silence from the West. Bringing in Russia would mean according it influence proportionate to its military weight, and that is something NATO has opposed tooth and nail to this day.

It is for this reason, the failure to seek solutions to the big issue of Russia’s place in overall security, that the re-set initiative under Barack Obama failed. It is for this reason that Henry Kissinger’s advice to Donald Trump at the start of his presidency to offer relief from sanctions in return for progress on disarmament rather than implementation of the Minsk accords regarding the Ukraine crisis also failed, with Vladimir Putin giving a firm “nyet.”

Implicit in the few American “carrots” being extended to Russia these days is its acceptance of the anti-Russian regime in Ukraine and its authority over the heavily ethnic Russian areas of the Donbas and Crimea, concessions that would be politically devastating to Putin inside Russia. Yet, that “normalization” would still leave the much milder but still nasty “human rights” sanctions that the U.S. imposed in 2012 through the Magnitsky Act, driven by what the Kremlin regards as false propaganda surrounding the criminal case and death of accountant Sergei Magnitsky.

The sting of the Magnitsky Act was to discredit Russia and prepare the way for it being designated a pariah state. It came amidst an already longstanding campaign of demonization of the Russian president in the U.S. media. In fact, to begin to find a halfway normal period of bilateral relations, you would have to go back to before George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, which Russia denounced along with Germany and France. The latter two powers got a tap on the wrist from Washington. For Russia, it was the start of a period of reckoning for its uncooperativeness with American global domination.

Demonizing Russia

As for Europe and Russia, the question is very similar. To find mention of a strategic relationship, firstly from the German Foreign Ministry, you have to go back to before 2012. And what constituted normality then? At the time, renewal of the E.U.-Russia cooperation agreement was already being held up for years, nominally over a difference of views on the provisions of E.U. law governing gas deliveries through Russian-owned pipelines. Behind this difference was the total opposition of the Baltic States and Poland to anything resembling normal relations with Russia, for which they received full encouragement from the U.S.

Russian President Vladimir Putin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on May 10, 2015, at the Kremlin. (Photo from Russian government)

The rallying cry was to put a stop to Russia’s status as “monopoly supplier” to Europe as regards gas, but also oil. Of course, no monopoly ever existed, nor does it exist today, but determined geopolitical actors never let such details stand in the way of policy formulation.

This hostility also played out in the contest of wills between the E.U. and Russia over introduction of a visa-free regime for travel by their respective citizens. Here the opposition of Germany’s Angela Merkel, justified by her vicious characterization of Russia as a mafia state, doomed the visa-free regime and by the same token doomed normal relations.

All of this unfinished business has to be addressed and put right for there to be any possibility of the U.S. and the E.U. ending their hostility toward Russia and for the Kremlin to regain any trust toward the West. Even then, however, Russia would not surrender its valued relationship with China.

In my view, the de facto Russian-Chinese alliance matches the de jure US-West European alliance. The net result of both is the partition of the world into two camps. We now have, in effect, a bipolar world that broadly resembles that of the Cold War, though still in a formative stage since many countries have not signed on definitively to one side or another.

Of course, more-or-less neutral states were also a feature of the Cold War, creating what was called the group of Nonaligned Nations, led back then by India and Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia no longer exists, but India has continued its tradition of let both poles court it, trying to eke out the greatest benefit to itself.

To be sure, a great many political scientists in the U.S., in Europe and in Russia as well, insist that we already have a multipolar world, saying that power is too diffuse in the world today, especially considering the rise of non-state actors after 1991. But the reality is that very few states or non-states can project power outside their own region. Only the two big blocs can do that.

The theoreticians defending multipolarity speak of a return to the balance of power of the Nineteenth Century, invoking the Congress of Vienna as a possible model for today’s world governance.  This is an approach that Henry Kissinger laid out in 1994 in his book Diplomacy.

Within Russia, this concept has found support in some influential think tanks and is most notably associated with Sergei Karaganov, head of the Council of Foreign and Defense Policy. Nonetheless, I maintain that everyday realities of power will decide this question. And is there anything inherently wrong with this de facto bipolar world, assuming the tensions can be managed and a major war averted?

In my view, two large blocs are more likely to keep global order because the scope of activities by proxies can be reined in – as often happened during the Cold War – by big powers not wanting their various clients to disrupt a functioning world order. The tails are less likely to wag the dog.

Moreover, as regards the Russia-China strategic partnership or alliance, Western observers should take comfort and not take alarm. The rise of China is a given whatever the constellation of great powers may wish. The close embrace of Russia and China also can serve as a moderating influence on China, given Russia’s greater experience in world leadership.

For all of the above positive and negative reasons, the Russia-China relationship should be viewed with equanimity in Western capitals

Gilbert Doctorow is an independent political analyst based in Brussels. His latest book, Does the United States Have a Future? was just published.

99 comments for “Russia-China Tandem Changes the World

  1. Da Ha
    October 31, 2017 at 17:44

    In 3 party relationship, A’s best interest is A-B and A-C relation better than B-C. Our leaders have made China on the sweet spot – China-Russia and China-US relation better than US-Russia relation.

    China and Russia economies are complimentary – China supplies manufactured goods while Russia supplies raw materials and agriculture products. To China, support Russia in front line to confront US hegemony avoids immediately damage its relation with US. Since Russia has strong military force and industry, China doesn’t need to directly supply weapons to catch media attention but just need to support Russia with $$$$. Now, we see significant changes in Russia – China trade:

    1. Russia has firmly replaced Saudi as China’s No. 1 foreign oil supplier
    2. Russia runs surplus in trade with China (been deficit for long)

    China could easily reduce orders from US allies such Saudi (they are American problems, right) but order remain high. Think about one of your big customer cut 20% of its orders – you cannot show anger in front of it or more cut come but you need to layoff some staff to adjust for loss of revenue.

  2. robert
    October 29, 2017 at 14:57

    correction: I meant: The Neocons attempt to paint a big Bipolar or Multipolar ‘containment’ picture where its ‘the US Containing and Policing the World’ is more of the same old stale and more myopic cold war thinking,

    my apologies to GD.

  3. robert
    October 29, 2017 at 14:46

    Gilbert Doctorow’s attempt to paint a big Bipolar or Multipolar ‘containment’ picture where its ‘the US Containing and Policing the World’ is more of the same old stale and more myopic cold war thinking, to a large extent; in reality, the Chinese and Russians are not doing much that should worry or concern the West. The Chinese are focused on managing trade, economic growth and other internal challenges. The Russians [Putin] are focused on much the same. Putin rightly is concerned by the presence of US and NATO bases near Russia- how would the US react if Russia placed bases eg in Cuba? Trump should push back on neocon belligerents and promote on trade and other deals with China and Russia: economic partnerships lay the grounds for disarmament and peace.

  4. Rhetoric
    October 26, 2017 at 13:26

    The article starts out by accusing the reader, and the academic communities concerned, with ignorance regarding Russia. There are many florid passages embellishing this accusation, though no actual citations. The author then asserts that those “in the know” recognize that China and Russia really are in deep partnership, that the partnership is everlasting, and that any attempts to break it up will meet with miserable failure. Such a polemical exegesis should alert the reader that there’s less to see here than meets the eye..

    To prove his point, the author compares the relationship between the U.S. and China with the relationship between Russia and China, and concludes that the relationship between Russia and China is deeper.

    That still doesn’t tell us much about the relationship between Russia and China, actually, and if we read further we don’t get much more. Everything between China and Russia is simply rosy, Gilbert Doctorow avers, and the aspiring cognescenti need know nothing more. There is no discussion of the border disputes between Russia and China. No mention of the jousting for influence going on in the former C.I.S. countries. No reporting of the scramble for land, timber rights, farming, and other resources between Russians and Chinese pilgrims in Siberia. More to the point, in an article which pretends to shower the reader with deep historical insight, no surmise of the historical tensions between Russia and China.

    Instead we get soporific nostrum after soporific nostrum, all affirming China’s P.R. line with regard to Russia. You wouldn’t know from reading this article the palpable antipathy the average Russian (and Eastern European) hold for Chinese visitors or would-be immigrants. In order to reconcile this with Doctorow’s thesis, I guess you could argue a converse variation on the old adage, to wit, that the government of China is held in high esteem while its people are distrusted. But that then raises the problem of why Chinese people hold their government in such contempt.

    There’s nothing really to disagree with in this piece though, as it is so unsubstantial. China and Russia’s “indelible friendship” is asserted as a matter of faith. Doctorow’s prose is designed for consumption by those with no first hand knowledge of either culture, and only a passing familiarity with the secondary literature. The relationship between China and Russia is complex and nuanced, and there have been temporary tactical confluences of interest. The future of that relationship is certainly unknown, but is fair terrain for speculation. One who would assert with certitude only one possible outcome is engaging either in wishful thinking, or regurgitating party line propaganda.

    • Gilbert Doctorow
      October 27, 2017 at 00:56

      it is you, dear reader, who have converted my nuanced piece into propaganda. An opinion piece such as this is not a scholarly opus with footnotes. Nor are 4,000 words a book, which the subject richly deserves.
      The question is not what the Russian man in the street makes of China but of what his government makes of China. Popular misgivings are there,just as the history of the Russian-Chinese relations was fraught, especially in the 1970s when the USSR placed a million or more soldiers at points of their common frontier and the leadership in Beijing feared a Soviet attack. That is what pushed them into the arms of Nixon and Kissinger. Just as today US encirclement has pushed Russia and China into one another’s arms.
      All the nation states are in constant competition, and that includes Russia and China. But they have at the same time found mutually supportive trade relations. Russian energy supplies are an important protection of China from US or other hostile actions at the choking points in sea lanes. Russia’s land routes are part of the coming One Belt One Road, with the addition of its Northern Sea Route that is an alternative to the southern seas and US naval domination.
      These are all strategic considerations that proceed independently of whatever misgivings the Russian public may have over Chinese settlers in the Far East or the hordes of Chinese tourists now visiting the Hermitage and other cultural venues in their cities.
      No surprise that you have not taken on the key insight of this piece: how the Russia-China partnership resembles the French-German tandem.
      Which party line do you think that is “regurgitating”?

  5. WV
    October 26, 2017 at 10:44

    Russia and China are playing a waiting game. They know US financialized capitalism will one day collapse of its own internal contradictions. In the meantime they will continue to work jointly toward a world based on peace and mutual prosperity.

  6. james m. baggett
    October 26, 2017 at 08:41


  7. Loretta
    October 25, 2017 at 05:15

    The sooner the USA understands that the world does not need its interventions and wars of opportunity, the better for mankind. Please, dear Americans, study your own history and understand that the “humanitarian” interventions up until now have been wars of conquest and opportunism, meant only to strengthen and enrich the very few. They were created and executed accompanied by lies and deception, yes, even of your own brave citizen soldiers and mothers and fathers who have lost their children, sacrificed on that altar of profits and hegemonial ambitions. Agreed, nobody’s perfect, but the Americans always tell us they are (American “Exceptionalism”) and the world doesn’t believe a word of it anymore. I wonder why?

  8. Elena Elizarovskaya
    October 25, 2017 at 03:58

    Great analysis by Gilbert Doctorow. Great to know that at the time of continuing collective madness there are people who can think objectively and clearly. Thank you.

  9. Zhu Bajie
    October 25, 2017 at 02:01

    I find it hard to believe that Helga Larouche and the larouchies are well-known in China or not judged just another cult if they are.

  10. Herman
    October 24, 2017 at 18:48

    The pictures Professor Doctorow paint is both rosy and hopeful. Last year’s -or the year before- visit by Obama to Viet Nam is instructive. We were instrumental in or directly killing millions of Vietnamese five decades ago yet President Obama was graciously received and Vietnam even signed a hundred million plus arms deal. Could China be pulled away from Russia. Could Iran? Will Russia and China be coaxed separately into our orbit? For the sake of us all, we hope not unless we do an about face ourselves and choose cooperation over conflict.

  11. Fabrizio
    October 24, 2017 at 14:40

    The China Russia relationship should have been seen coming since long. Putin and Xi are very pragmatic leaders. They’re neighbours, they are both object of hostility by Washington, China needs resources, Russia has them. Russia needs a big market, China has it.
    Together they form an enormous chunk of Asia. They’re both powerful and don’t want to have a powerful enemy at the gate.
    China has friendly relations with Pakistan, Russia with India.
    Together they can do incredible things

    October 24, 2017 at 10:44

    This was an interesting comment I read today in your old Investigative Journalist site, especially this:

    “Meanwhile, in parallel, Russia has displaced Saudi Arabia as China’s biggest supplier of crude oil, and trading is now being done in yuan rather than petrodollars. There is also a good deal of joint investment in high technology civilian and military projects. And there are joint military exercises in areas ever farther from the home bases of both countries.”

    It was gratifying to see, even if it much slower in happening than I ever could have imagined, that world events are moving toward a LadaRay/JimWillie point of view I first came across back in 2014 at the US/UK inspired Ukraine coup.
    Those economic and political predictions, believed by myself and friends then, is now read here in mainstream of real intellectual news.

    In their thinking today, how far ahead are those two today? Or, is there many events unfolding neither see today but others do. Perhaps only Lyndon LaRouche can still see so far ahead. In any case, thank you very much for this fine article. Even your passing glance at Kissinger was profound, I thought.

  13. mike k
    October 24, 2017 at 10:35

    It’s not as if has has not plainly warned us of his war making intentions. Are we not taking him seriously at this late date? Wishful thinking makes a pretty flimsy shield.

  14. mike k
    October 24, 2017 at 10:32

    The above outcome could be quite a surprise for those hoping Trump is some kind of secret genius destined to make the world a better place. I wonder if they will find yet another way to justify his insanity if he causes this to happen? The capacity for human self-delusion is after all nearly infinite……

  15. mike k
    October 24, 2017 at 10:24

    For those who doubt that our world can change quite suddenly – check out what may happen less than a month from now:

    • David F
      October 24, 2017 at 13:00

      I read the link. Lots of speculation, mostly hot air, and not plausible. Millions of people in the region will be dead in a matter of hours after the outbreak of hostilities. China has stated that if we preemptively attack the DPRK they will come to their defense, which means Russia will join in as well. That is a battle we cannot win conventionally or with nukes.

      Trump is a lunatic, but the people around him arent that stupid.

  16. mike k
    October 24, 2017 at 09:53

    While we are dreaming of cultural arrangements into the distant future, the physical and biologic forces we have already sowed are ripening with breathtaking and exponential speed. Extinction level events will soon happen much more suddenly than the sleeping populace expects, and erase our fantasies of long term futures. Really sorry about that, and especially sorry that there is little we can or will do about this, at this late stage of our species’ self destruction. This is not about apocalyptic religious myths, or new age delusions – just the simple unforgiving laws of nature in action.

    Why talk about a doom we can’t avoid? Why not? My long love affair with finding out the truth brought me to this point, and I prefer to go down with my eyes wide open to the end……..

  17. October 24, 2017 at 09:16

    Barrie, i found most interesting Vladimir Putin’s comment at the Russian youth congress, that the breakdown of ethics and morality is more dangerous to the world than nuclear weapons. A veiled reference to the US, seems to me. But the US wants its sheeple to believe that Putin has horns and breathes fire from his nostrils!

    I’ll look for the Glubb writing, Seer, thanks.

  18. j. D. D.
    October 24, 2017 at 08:20

    The author makes a serious error in his looking primarily at bilateral trade agreements between Russia and China. In doing so he ignores the true “elephant in the room,” the Belt and Road Initiative being led by China with Russia’s support. It is this massive international economic development program, which now involves scores of nations in Asia, Africa and even Europe that is the true alternative to the stagnating economies and hopelessly debt-laden financial institutions of the TransAtlantic. And while the author thinks in terns of competing”blocs,” President Xi of China speaks of “win-win” and of the “common aims of mankind” and has repeatedly extended offers to the US to join in the BRI. President Trump, for his part, who has a personal relationship to Xi, in fact sent a high-level delegation to the BRI summit in Beijing last May. Now, as President Trump prepares to embark on his trip to Asia on November 3, the possibility of collaboration on joint development projects involving American Industry has everyone from Steve Bannon to the Economist to the Washington Post in a tizzy.

  19. Barrie
    October 24, 2017 at 06:55

    This is the first time I have commented on Consortium news but read faithfully most mornings ,I watched Jack Marr give a speech on RT to a conference in Russia in front of President Putin I thought a brilliant and thought provoking I am 65 but his comments about the under 30,s most profound ,any one agree ?

  20. Worku lakew
    October 24, 2017 at 05:02

    Very thoughtful and informed contribution. Thank you. The rise of China has the potential to lift millions of people and large number of LCD’s out of poverty, a prospect that neither us hegemony or the the USSR was unable to deliver. Look at the growth rates in Africa over the last ten years and that of ASEAN. The sme trend is emerging in Latin America. This is the first time in world history that such a possibility has emerged after the end of colonialism. The US empire is facing the same loss of direction that the USSR was facing in its last days , as well as loss of dynamism and vision. One way forward is the deepening of Chinese integration into the world market to the same level as the US creating a possibility of normal relations between US and Chinese corporations and their mutual integration specially in high tech sectors and the replacement , globally , of neo liberalism with the social democratic traditions that came out of the enlightenment but has been mauled by the former over the last thirty years. This is desperately needed specially in Europe which has become rudderless. It is also a way forward for Chinese society which is already travelling in that direction but with less bold moves. Chinese Russia economic integration has got more mileage to come probably mirroring US Canada economic integration . The U.K. Will need to rediscover its mojo specially in relation to the European project with which it is umbilically connected by geography and history and by economic rationality. Th elephant in the room is the future of NATO which is an alliance for the world of yesterday and is unwilling and unable to change and could endanger world peace until it accepts the fact that peace in Europe was kept by stopping conflict with Russia as well as between France and Germany. The tragedy of the current situation is the failure of European society to come up with a rational and hopeful vision for the European people’s that needs to reignite the March of progress for millions that have been left behind and for the modernisation of society in old Europe.

  21. Realist
    October 24, 2017 at 04:34

    If Washington wanted a peaceful and prosperous future for ALL the world, it would be cooperating with Russia, China, India, Iran and a gaggle of other countries whom it is blatantly trying to repress. It even damages its own supposed allies in Europe with its uncalled for sanctions against Russia and Iran. Make no mistake, with shrinking populations in all the white-majority (“Western”) countries, and with those mostly non-white countries (except for Russia) whom we incessantly obstruct nevertheless making inexorable technological and economic gains while their populations burgeon, the hubristic U.S. and its feckless NATO minions will soon find themselves not only massively outnumbered but outmatched, outgunned, out-smarted, out-competed and outclassed–just for starters–in the world of tomorrow. In that sort of predicament we will wish we had cultivated some friends in the world instead of trying to bully everyone else. It’s almost like the West is being subverted by insiders who ultimately want them to fail and be destroyed.

  22. Broompilot
    October 24, 2017 at 02:25

    Brad, With the exception of the pie in the sky I can buy most of this. However, the island nations Anglo block of which you speak is in danger of being cut out of major trade over contiguous real estate. Eurasian mostly. And therein lies the real problem. Anglo banksters will not stop funding military action until they get a major percentage or lose it all together. I think this is the source of most current conflicts.

    • Brad Owen
      October 24, 2017 at 04:10

      Yes yes yes. Pie comes down from the sky on a regular basis. The CCF has “queered” our outlook towards perpetual gloom & doom. That,will suddenly be shucked off in a matter of days. The Anglo banksters are finished, bankrupt, and they know it. All that remains for them is WWIII to deny the Throne to any other ascendant, and recoup their losses in a New Dark Age. This too will fail. Their time on the world stage is over, as they morph into something better. They are NOT monolithic in their outlook, and they are breaking ranks, with some coming over to the side of Life.

  23. David G
    October 24, 2017 at 00:08

    Thanks and congrats to Gilbert Doctorow on the article.

    The day Russia and Japan conclude a peace treaty will be a very happy one for me. I hope it’s soon.

    One thing I question is Doctorow’s idea of the U.S. and Western Europe continuing as a stable bloc as Eurasian economic integration progresses. Will that continue unchanged once goods can be put on a rail car in Nagasaki and unloaded in Cardiff?

    I think the U.K.’s decision to be a charter member in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was a significant, albeit symbolic (for now), statement that everything is up for review in the long run.

  24. October 23, 2017 at 22:35

    Excellent article by Gilbert Doctorow, thoughtful posts here, and time will tell, as someone said. Also, nature being a large part of the equation must be considered with a significantly larger earth population. The US power structure has gambled on militarism, while China and Russia focus on economic growth. Xi has greater awareness of environmental issues than predecessors, from what I read. I also read that Xi is focusing on rooting out corruption of oligarchs, which Putin has also worked on in Russia. The US, for all its boasting, does not control oligarchy. Excessive plunder of a finite planet will be human undoing if lessons aren’t learned. Days of Kissinger are past.

    • Seer
      October 24, 2017 at 00:02

      Jessica, spot-on.

      Dig around for Sir John Glubb’s Fate of Empire and Search for Civilization (PDF). It’s a real eye-opener in that it shows how amazingly similar ALL empires’ life cycles had been. There is a very distinct set of phases. Read it and you can be a “Seer!”

      Glubb failed to understand WHY the certainty of collapse. I KNOW WHY. Again, it’s due to the false premise of perpetual growth. (anyone needing a tutorial on what growth actually means needs to watch Dr. Albert Bartlett’s lecture Arithmetic, Population and Energy – seek it out) Read Glubb’s writing and then you’ll be able to see where I’m right.

      • Joe Tedesky
        October 24, 2017 at 00:58

        What goes up must come down, you can only put so much air in a balloon and then it will burst, everything has it’s breaking point, we have all these cute little sayings to remind us, and yet we speedily go pretending it’s like yesterday when we made money. A society is dead when it is more threaten by it’s own success, than from it’s enemies bullets.

        If the U.S. doesn’t commit to a full blown world war sooner than late ending all life on this planet, then the U.S. will have loss due to it’s own imposed exceptional isolationism of itself from the rest of the world, as with it’s hubris on high the mighty New American Century will have fallen.

        It’s called, ‘letting it go to your head’ Seer, and sorry to say the U.S. has done way too much of it, and that’s why we are here. Joe

        • Seer
          October 24, 2017 at 01:11

          Joe, it’s all described/shown quite well in Glubb’s work. It’s almost like it’s all built-in. As growth wanes more and more tricks are played to deceive ourselves, until, that is, we can no longer look at each other with straight faces. A tipping point occurs. Can’t recall who said it, but… “It happened slowly, then all at once.”

          • Joe Tedesky
            October 24, 2017 at 10:45

            I put Glubb’s essay up provided by your suggestion. The little I did read I liked, especially the part of not writing a particular country’s history, but to write and study human history is the only way to go. Thanks for the referral. Joe

        • Realist
          October 24, 2017 at 04:39

          It’s almost like the American leadership has adopted some suicidal death cult, like their models from the Third Reich.

    • Dave P.
      October 24, 2017 at 15:03

      Yes Jessica, Xi seems to have more awareness of environmental issues than his predecessors as you wrote. With the pollution in Chinese Cities, there are many negative articles in major newspapers here about China’s future. But I think that the Chinese are switching to a different phase in their manufacturing. And Chinese are very organized and shrewd people. They are going to solve these problems. And Russian leadership is also paying attention to these environmental and other issues related to the use of national resources now. After Russia’s 1990’s disastrous collapse, putting food on the table for the population and quickly organize their economic and national defense capabilities were their first priorities.

  25. October 23, 2017 at 21:49

    Another perceptive article from Gilbert Doctorow. However, I’m not sure China’s dependence on the U.S. for exports still impacts their economy as much as it did 10 years ago. We already gave away the store i.e. manufacturing jobs and technology innovations. China holds a good part of our foreign debt and with consumer credit debt in the U.S. at a record high it is likely that China could find new markets for its products elsewhere and be in a more advantageous position in a global economic crisis. Not only Russia, but Australia, India, Africa and South America could offer new markets for Chinese manufactured goods.

    • Seer
      October 23, 2017 at 23:53

      Bob, there’s that saying about one being in trouble if one owes his banker $1k and the banker being in trouble if that person owes them $100k. China surely must know that it’s not getting fully paid back. Best is to just go along quietly trying to get as much back as possible because any big grab-backs would likely cease payments altogether. Shifting toward Russia and others (at least away from the US) is almost mandated.

      NOTE: As for jobs being shifted overseas, given the progression of robotics the numbers of actual human jobs is far lower than we are led to believe. Every time a factory gets moved there are already plans to increase automation.

      • Joe Tedesky
        October 24, 2017 at 00:29

        We should all own a few robots, and rent them out.

        • Seer
          October 24, 2017 at 01:07

          Yeah, we could all become rich! (snark!) Oh, and then we could “flip” them, you know, fix up some of the ones that need a little work…. OK, I’ll stop now before I really get going!

          • Joe Tedesky
            October 24, 2017 at 10:41

            I didn’t write my comment based on any business model, as much as I wrote it as a possible way of survival. Seer, seriously owning a few robots in the future may come to be a viable option to maintaining that there is food on the table. That is if we are allowed to own robots. Joe

      • October 24, 2017 at 12:35

        “Every time a factory gets moved there are already plans to increase automation.”…Aye, but the industries were already lost to China(regardless of whether robotics take over). The profits, however were lost to far greedier entities that were carefully laundered in the Cayman islands, Bermuda, the City of London and elsewhere. A timely visit to Davos could be very revealing!

        • Dave P.
          October 24, 2017 at 14:38

          BobH – Yes, very true. This has been happening for over three decades now.

  26. Joe Tedesky
    October 23, 2017 at 21:10

    All the while I read this I could not get it out of my head to how the answer to this new and exciting multipolar world while it is coming into play, is that all the U.S. Government sees is a way to greet this new world occurrence is with a confrontational raising of it’s already massive defense spending by adding over 10% to create more havoc through out this already devastated war torn world. It’s either America’s way or no way, and that is where all weeping begins.

    • Seer
      October 23, 2017 at 21:28

      One will fight to the death to preserve that which they depend on. USD, petro-dollar… I’m not sure if western string-pullers actually believe that they are the only ones that can preserve/maintain “proper civilization,” but that’s kind of what it seems like. Of course, that “proper civilization” is a sure dead-end. There’s no end to a bad system but a bad ending. Nature assures that bad systems fail.

      • Joe Tedesky
        October 24, 2017 at 00:27

        What annoys me most Seer, is that the U.S. by being always at war with everyone, is missing out on all the positive uniting fun jobs there are like OBOR, and acting pretty damn well proud of it. Joe

        • Seer
          October 24, 2017 at 00:48


          Every empire was pretty much always at war. War is really about oppression of others in order to squeeze resources: war is a harder squeeze.

          The trajectory is… increased growth means the need for MORE resources. It’s the exponential function. What starts out seemingly possible to continue for a very long time gets out of control as growth picks up. Growth cuts down that seemingly endless future until it is impossible to ignore that the future is not going to be there. Interest rates is nearly parallel with growth. Look at what interest rates have been (post 2008). Everyone is trying to whip the “growth” beast, but there it is, interest rates are at the bottom of the barrel, it’s a dead horse. Investment in increased production really isn’t happening: most is about acquisitions; buying out your competition; the markets for fresh expansion aren’t really there. With Russia and China, and all this trade stuff, it’s really no more than shifting of quantities around, no real change/increase in quantity (on the whole). The world’s PIE isn’t growing, therefore all that is happening is the pieces are being shuffled around (or one piece is cut down while another is added to). I’m really not seeing Russia, Iran and others being able to hold China’s growth up, not without assuming big debt loads (not thinking that that’ll happen in those countries); it then is a matter of whether turning it in the other direction would work, China taking on more and more debt, and I’m not thinking this would be able to hold for very long. The US mastered the game, it effectively ran the tables and ran out the game; but, walking out into the daylight/reality with a stack of poker chips expecting nature to accept those chips is, well, OOPS! The “game” can’t really be played again (and anyone attempting it just hasn’t been paying attention- again, I don’t believe that these other countries could do it; I suppose when faced with the prospects of revolting peasants the notion of acting sanely kind of goes out the window).

          Have you read Glubb’s work yet? It’s not all that long of a read.

          • Sam F
            October 24, 2017 at 05:54

            While “the markets for fresh expansion aren’t really there” that is largely because the US is not innovating in medicine and the arts, not exporting to cover imports from countries catching up in efficiency. We are not servicing existing needs like health and infrastructure elsewhere, and we are not innovating to create new demand.

            We could do more of that if we were not limited by cultural selfishness and lack of education, which are damaged by our corrupt mass media, always trying to sell advertising rather than improve the people and the aspirations of youth. If mass media corporations were defined and restricted by constitutional amendment to funding from limited individual contributions, there would be little advertising beyond independent product news, and the intellectual class would lead the nation culturally, rather than the salesmen.

    • Realist
      October 24, 2017 at 05:06

      Washington’s present strategy (of repression and non-cooperation) to control the future is doomed to failure because it is already stretched far too thin. The country is already eating its seed corn by not repairing its infrastructure, not educating the next generation, and not attending to the physical needs of the old, the poor, and the infirm all so it can keep the military screws on the rest of the world. A new weapons system, another base in another far off country will ALWAYS get priority over the needs of it own people, who are already beaten like rented mules to extract tax revenues. The jackals charged with planning and executing these futile policies must surely realise this. Therefore, unless they plan for the future demise of the United States (which is certainly possible), they probably have some deviation from the present course of action scheduled in their playbook, something like, perhaps, a world war which decimates most of the earth’s population, leaving the spoils to a few protected privileged characters who hide deep in their well-appointed bunkers until the despoiled earth slowly heals itself within a generation or so. Considering that the pentagon has “misplaced” multiple trillions of dollars in accounting irregularities, they might well have constructed entire underground cities beneath the Rocky Mountains… or maybe Antarctica for a cold century in Hell. I mean, how else do you make all the irrational self-destructive behavior add up? They foresee inexorable doom along the present time line, and this is their fix, they might say a great sacrifice derived of noble motives. They probably cannot envisage the world ever cooperating to achieve a soft landing.

      • Sam F
        October 24, 2017 at 06:18

        Very well said, although I’ll suggest that the jackals or wolves are comfortable without planning national demise, and most expect economic slavery here and elsewhere to keep them comfortable indefinitely. They simply adopt the wolf philosophy that money=power=virtue to rationalize all suffering they cause, and plan to adapt their scams and government corruption to any future needs.

        There are plenty of wolves to govern the sheep; they will fall back to preying upon the domestic sheep when the foreign flocks get uppity. We may hope that the domestic sheep will rebel, but instead they preach peace and cooperation to the wolves. If they have any spirit they join the wolves.

        If the US had working institutions of moral education it would train citizens rather than sheep and wolves. But its religions blather of niceness and teach no one: moral education is caused by circumstances and chance observations of the few, not by religion. Its literature is foolish entertainment, the principal means of moral education turned into an opiate of the masses. Its mass media are absolutely morally corrupt, teaching amorality and violence to sell advertising. Public debate is confined to the private forum and universities.

        So persuasion will not throw off the US oligarchy: its language is of force and coercion; it hears nothing of truth and justice. It will be deposed only by violence in the gravest of depressions, or by infiltration of police and national guard to deny enforcement to oligarchy. Its people will have to pay the price of learning about democracy from the beginning, because they have lost their ideals and principles.

  27. Seer
    October 23, 2017 at 19:56

    Neighbors openly getting along and trading between each other? Who would have thunk it?

    The US and Canada have a pretty huge trading block (Mexico is also involved). Being neighbors it only makes sense.

    Again, nothing really novel about Russia and China trade except, that is, the noted “tripwire” that it threatens the weight of the petro-dollar (which is the trick mechanism the US has been pulling for far longer than it should have ever gotten away with), which, of course, threatens US global dominance due to the USD being leveled back down to earth.

    I’ve marginally argued that I expect to see more trade between Russia and the European countries. My reasoning is the same: they’re neighbors- eventually physics becomes a greater force in the world, and very long-distance trade can only wane.

    It’ll be a VERY tough “new world” for Israel. Last place I’d want to be (if I were an Israeli).

  28. Ian
    October 23, 2017 at 19:45

    An absolutely intriguing article but only time will tell if the Russian-Chinese initiative has staying power. As implied in this article, the key issue will be greater and lasting economic cooperation and integration. I sincerely hope it succeeds and I welcome anything that is a viable alternative to the predatory and criminal behavior of the United States of Israel.

  29. Zachary Smith
    October 23, 2017 at 19:22

    In parallel, domestically produced farm machinery has been going from strength to strength. Other major Industrial sectors like civil aircraft production have revived with the launch of new and credible models for both domestic and export markets.

    The Russians – or for that matter, anyone else – would be fools to lock their agriculture into US farm machines. Consider how one company treats customers:

    “If a farmer bought the tractor, he should be able to do whatever he wants with it,” Kevin Kenney, a farmer and right-to-repair advocate in Nebraska, told me. “You want to replace a transmission and you take it to an independent mechanic—he can put in the new transmission but the tractor can’t drive out of the shop. Deere charges $230, plus $130 an hour for a technician to drive out and plug a connector into their USB port to authorize the part.”

    You’re not allowed to repair your own tractor! What if the local Tractor Dealer decides he doesn’t much like you? Or if you live somewhere the US of A decides to “sanction”. No more spare parts. Or at least not without a long delay involving black markets.


    At least a few people around the world want to buy a solid-as-a-brick tractor themselves.


    Boeing’s 737 seems to be the “sweet” size for many markets, and perhaps that’s why the company has a backlog of many thousands – a wait of years. Making your own aircraft keeps the money at home, and you get the airplane you want NOW. Same thing with those pesky sanctions if the US of A decides it wants to impose them.


    Last I heard, Russia was blocking GMO crops. That could turn out to be a big factor in the future if Big GMO companies continue to screw up with their products.

    • Seer
      October 23, 2017 at 19:49

      Zach, while I don’t like some of the ramifications of the control manufacturers have on equipment I see it as going hand in hand with warranties and other liabilities. I’ve got tractors, though nowhere in the same league as multi-million dollar ones. It’s pretty much the nature of things. I won’t discount some nefarious reasons operating here, but I can also see some simple straight-up reasons. A LOT of these comes by way of emissions regulations. The regulations pretty much force the application of “locks” on things that could be tweaked which would result in a change to emissions. Computers and computer codes are more and more at the heart of controlling everything, controlling emissions, so making access to the computers and code is “necessitated” in order to keep compliance. And one thing to consider is people screwing up software related to navigation and or safety. When things are more and more automated you can gain accuracy and repeatability, but at the risk of losing critical human thinking in cases where programming just hadn’t “thought of that” or when the computer goes into “revolt.” I wish that I could fully relate an event that I once witnessed, but I cannot; that event, however, proved just how critical human thinking can avoid some pretty spectacularly bad outcomes (it had to do with automobiles; I highly doubt that any computer programming could have contained the programming for the actions that I witnessed, actions which were truly heroic). But, human critical thinking seems to be waning, so, I suppose, there’s little escape from computers/robots displacing/performing such activity.

      • Zachary Smith
        October 24, 2017 at 00:01

        A LOT of these comes by way of emissions regulations. The regulations pretty much force the application of “locks” on things that could be tweaked which would result in a change to emissions.

        I scanned several articles about this, and didn’t find even a hint that emissions are the reason for the scam. An actual Deere letter here:


        Once upon a time in Indiana we had to maintain our cars and trucks to the extent of them being able to pass a State inspection. No more! These days when I’m out driving I’ll see specially modified trucks with a large chimney in the bed behind the cab. The driver can trigger that to put out a smoke cloud which temporarily blanks out the road. Another version is the exhaust pipe which looks like an enormous fire extinguisher nozzle which will put out almost as much smoke from the rear. All to gratify the pinhead who is driving it. No regulation in Indiana anymore that I know of, not even if the vehicle is rattling windows of nearby houses with a super-powered sound system.

        So it’s my thought that emissions are generally a joke – unless a large company like Volkswagen can be nailed for a violation which will rake in hundreds of millions or billions in fines. A nation which is blasé about the world dying of global warming wouldn’t be expected to worry much about “emissions” – except as a money-making scheme.

        Trump begins rollback of Obama’s car pollution standards to curb emissions


        It is my understanding that Apple products are constructed so that they are nearly impossible to repair, even by trained professionals. Given that and the other fine qualities of the Apple Corporation, I wouldn’t accept an Apple device if it was a freebie.

        I don’t do Kindle books, and won’t, for when I buy a book I figure it’s mine. The rent-a-book scheme which can be deleted at a whim by the big corporation is not for me.

    • Sam F
      October 23, 2017 at 20:13

      I’ll agree with both of you, and having designed many control systems (not for vehicles) can sympathize with the makers and regulators. But standardization and serviceability are especially critical in the field, especially the farm field, and the US lacks sufficient production/marketing regulations to ensure durability, maintainability, and parts availability. This requires a government design review process with guidance and ratings posted at the time of sale, whether or not the maker is based in the US. We don’t have that because most politicians really believe in cheating the customer and selling out for campaign bribes, one of our most fundamental problems.

      • Seer
        October 23, 2017 at 21:24

        Yes, there’s something to be said for standardization. Tractor standards in Europe tend to be better than in the US (that’s how I’m hearing it).

        I’d at least like to be able to scan for codes (like I can in my cars- I actually have a live gauge that will pop up any codes in real time; my diagnostic software/hardware is also invaluable). When you live far out in the country the “convenience” of having repair shops nearby isn’t there so one has to get more hands-on.

        Seems that after a warranty expires that at least the ability to read codes should get unlocked. Some is, of course, a matter of licensing the rights for access to the codes: something needed for a manufacturer of any reader devices would have to have- the companies manufacturing the tools for the tractor manufacturers want to protect their investment (and likely has a specific contract for that), so that also kind of keeps a lock on things.

        The world ain’t black and white. Determining the shades is tricky.

        • Joe Tedesky
          October 23, 2017 at 23:04

          Actually I recall a case many years ago where a national aftermarket filter company, who by the way blindly manufactured a lot of filters for everyone in their industry, sued a large truck manufacturer. The large truck manufacturer told customers who bought their vehicles how the manufacturer would not honor warranty parts or labor unless the buyer of the vehicle purchased only their oem brand. The aftermarket filter company, who also supplied the oem’s under their oem logo brand, went to court and introduced the term, ‘meets or exceeds oem specifications and standards’ to be considered the true bench mark for when questioning warranty status. The courts agreed, and the aftermarket rejoiced.

          (Read my other comment below where I talk about the transition of mom & pop jobber outlets to mom & pop supplier platforms.)

          Over the years though, the large truck & vehicle manufacturers bought out all of those aftermarket manufacturing companies, so now the oem verses the aftermarket dispute is mute. As far as I know, if you can prove your product to meet or exceed oem requirements then the law should be, as far as I remember and myself not being updated, should be in your corner.

          It’s not all bad though, it’s just a bit different. Still I can’t say that the overall employment in America has benefitted. I seem to doubt it, since niche usually means that your business is just becoming highly specialized, and it is coupled with it becoming aided by computerization, so that it takes less employees to run the kind of operation your mom & pop would have done with more employees. But it’s hard to pinpoint this employment evaluation, because of all the new technology, and with all of what computers can replace. Joe

          • Sam F
            October 24, 2017 at 05:39

            Yes, the initial employment reduction of automation should be countered with expanded employment in other areas, so that computerization would lead to better goods and services rather than unemployment. This is one of the drivers of militarism, that it employs the idle, but of course the same could be done with a military re-purposed to building infrastructure elsewhere. And we cannot increase professional jobs without improving education, as Cuba has done in medicine, which is impeded in the US by the mass media constantly encouraging stupidity to sell advertising.
            We are limited by marketing corruption of the youth ideals of progress.

          • Joe Tedesky
            October 24, 2017 at 09:16

            Sam you hit the nail on the head with your assessment. Unemployment happens I believe as you stated, which means keeping people employed, is a dog and pony show without any honest hard thought being put into it to keeping the worker employed. Just like the way in this country we build houses which are poorly built to withstand the winds, and fires, these homes may succumb to, to where they were erected. We just build. Always it seems short sightedness writes the future of our plans. Joe

    • Joe Tedesky
      October 23, 2017 at 22:38

      Zachary over the years with less and less private jobber type (sometimes referred to as Mom & Pop business), and these entities dying out the aftermarket advocate groups who represented this class of small business has itself loss a lot of sway. For years Ford among some other big OEM manufacturers tried to make it that only the dealer, and original oem parts would be allowed to replace and maintain their factory made vehicles, but the huge independent aftermarket for all of these small privately owned jobber warehouse businesses were a heavy affiliation to overcome. These advocate groups you might say kept the big manufacturers like say Ford Motor Company in their place. Now, that’s all changed, and the oem is stronger than ever. Just like the small restaurant being replaced by the large fast food chains, and small independent drug stores are instead big box pharmaceutical distribution centers, or just like anything small has been replaced by big, as this model is now the business model for the new American 21st century way of doing business.

      The answer would be for a small restaurant entrepreneur to can a sauce, or another niche commodity, and then sell enough of it to get the huge mega concern to buy them out, and then the small restaurant entrepreneur retires at an early age. In fact Harley-Davidson has as its brag, and it’s true, that they purchase from better than 300 small business vendors the variety of parts they use to make one bike. So, there is business for the small mom & pop but instead of buying and distributing for the big manufacturer instead you sell to them your unique product.

      I think the old style of manufacturer to warehouse then distributed out thru the jobber outlets, was a most perfect system, but for those willing to endeavor the new niche can be exciting….I know I’ve done it. Joe

  30. Mathew Verghese
    October 23, 2017 at 18:43

    A briiliant article Dr Doctorow. Unfortunately the congress has lost it by enforcing sanctions against Russia and the media is hyped up for ratings by anything anti-russian

    I dont blame Russia and China but the west has driven a superpower with enough technological skills to Chinas arms

    Both are hell bent on negating the petrodollar and I already see Yuan becoming a world reserve currency

    Russia China defense and hightech collaboration – aircrafts, aero engines and space tech

    OBOR initiative and new northern sea route will see huge investments and trade bypassing traditional trading routes

    Both countries piling up gold reserves to stabilise thier currencies

    We will see effect of all these in the long term. west remains myopic in their superiority complex

  31. Drew Hunkins
    October 23, 2017 at 18:16

    The biggest story in the world right now — and it’s been somewhat under reported outside the international business press — is the new Silk Road (One Belt One Road initiative) that is full steam ahead. It’s really quite incredible in that it’s going to integrate China, Russia, Syria, Iran and other nation states in what will eventually be the biggest economic bloc in global history.

    The New Silk Road frightens the old paper capitalists of the West as they’re truly averse to genuine competition. The ruling class that runs Wall Street and the EU look on with trepidation at the complete and total inevitability of a very, very serious economic challenge that will be here sooner than most realize.

    The New Silk Road is the future of the world.

  32. Annie
    October 23, 2017 at 18:10

    The article was extremely informative, not to mention I see eye to eye, so to speak, with what Gilbert Doctorow had to say. However his belief that two large blocs of power are more likely to keep global order, ” …the tails are likely to wag the dog as happened during the Cold War.” Well, I really don’t agree with that, since there are few if any in power who are of sound mind, so to speak, when it comes to Russia. We came very close to a nuclear catastrophe during the Cuban missile crisis, and engaged in a horrific war in Vietnam during that period, and true we didn’t blow the world up, but now I don’t even think we will allow Russia and China and whom ever else to become an opposing bloc. We are held bent on world wide hegemony, and the cost of that means little to the power elites that control this country.

  33. October 23, 2017 at 18:06

    Brilliant beyond belief. The most important article on geopolitical realities to emerge on Internet display during the past 15 years, in my opinion. It’s impact is diminished by the reality that the great majority of Americans are too busy devouring TV trivia. Failure to grasp the realities, which the author of the analysis forcefully presents with facts, invites unwelcome surprises. Those who accept the glib, fallacious narratives about “the Russia threat” that is pushed by the military/industrial complex lobby, preached by the politicians, and published by the press will benefit from reading “Russia-China Tandem Changes the World”. It’s medicine for the American mind, which has been numbed and dumbed by a generation of Neocon bullhorns calling for “endless wars” (for endless blood-stained profits).

    • Joe Tedesky
      October 23, 2017 at 21:21

      Michael if two thousand years from now your comment here, and Anna’s before you, were to survive, that generation of humans would then read one of the briefest essays ever written to what was going on in the early 21st century. I’m not trying to embarrass you, but what you and Anna before you wrote were great summations of our current world situation….well at least I thought so. Joe

    • Dave P.
      October 24, 2017 at 02:20

      Michael Eremia – Yes, reading this article by Gilbert Doctorow second time, I agree with your description. It is indeed an outstanding article on geopolitical realities, a brilliant analysis – with your excellent comments.

  34. Abe
    October 23, 2017 at 17:49

    Meanwhile, the Israeli-Saudi-American Axis constructs its terrorist highway across southern Eurasia:

    “While the US and European media provided little explanation as to how militants from the self-titled Islamic State (IS) managed to appear, expand and then fight for years against the combined military power of Iraq, Syria, Iran and Russia, it was abundantly clear to many analysts that the IS organization was not only receiving state sponsorship, but it was receiving reinforcements, weapons and supplies from far beyond Syria’s and Iraq’s borders.

    “Maps of the conflict stretching over the last several years show clear corridors used to reinforce IS positions, leading primarily from Turkey’s southern border and to a lesser extent, from Jordan’s borders. […]

    “Fighters, weapons and cash infiltrated into Iraq from a network that fed fighters from across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region first into Turkey, through Syria via the help of many of the senior leadership of anti-government militant groups now fighting Damascus, and then into Iraq primarily where IS has been based and where the remnants of its militancy remains.

    “During the more recent conflict, these same networks were utilized successfully until Russia’s intervention in 2015 when these terrorist ‘ratlines’ came under fire by Russian warplanes. The cause and effect of attacking these terrorist ratlines was visible on conflict maps, causing an almost immediate shrinking of IS-occupied territory and a corresponding atrophy of IS fighting capacity.

    “The Jordanian-Iraqi and Saudi-Iraqi border crossings and the highways running through them represent an alternative means to reorient Washington’s proxy conflict either now or in the near future […]

    “other highways, including one leading directly from Saudi Arabia, are being considered.

    “In essence, these would be terrorist ratlines directly controlled by the United States, leading directly out of the very epicenter of state sponsored terrorism in the region, Saudi Arabia, other Persian Gulf states and to a lesser but still significant extent, Jordan.

    “They would be terrorist ratlines difficult for Iraq’s central government or its allies to attack without providing a much welcomed pretext for Washington to directly retaliate against the faction of its choosing.

    “While the New York Times and US politicians and businessmen involved in the highway deal attempt to portray it as a means of providing peace, stability and economic prosperity for Iraq, a quick audit of US policy in the Middle East should ground those lofty promises in a much more frightening reality.

    “The scope of this project is nothing short of both a US occupation and a US-administered ‘safe zone’ in which militant groups backed by the US and its regional partners can safely be harbored, and from which they can strike out against Iraq and its neighbors with the full protection of US military force.”

    US Mercenaries, Iraqi Highways and the Mystery of the Never-Ending ISIS Hordes
    By Ulson Gunnar

    • Seer
      October 23, 2017 at 19:31

      Yup, even a blind man could see all of this!

      The targets of all these “rats” is Syria and Iran. As long as Russia desires to it’ll thwart ALL “rat” attacks. Eventually the people being exposed to the “rats” will tires of it all and will seal up all avenues and push the US/Israel out for good.

      • Brad Owen
        October 24, 2017 at 04:12

        But the blind man doesn’t see past the obvious to the NEXT Move. That is the problem with near-sighted seers.

    • Abe
      October 23, 2017 at 19:44

      While China and Russia are build the Silk Road Economic Belt…

      Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States are busy paving their terrorist Highway to Hell

      “Going down, party time”

      Apologies to AC/DC

      • Anna
        October 23, 2017 at 20:45

        There were old lessons of Holocaust but a new lesson is formed by the sad spectacle of the most victimized victim becoming a rogue and bully when opportunities arise. The WWII Jewish moral capital has been spent entirely; today, the Jews are looked upon as vicious profiteering warmongers and supremacists. As it has happened with Germans, the righteous and perfidious Jews are grouped together into a single tribe. The influence of ziocons on the initiation of the ongoing mass slaughter in the Middle East is irrefutable:
        Today, when people hear “Holocaust” they think of Israelis’ support for ISIS, the leading role of Nuland-Kagan (and other prominent ziocons) in the ongoing Ukrainian tragedy, and the stupendously corrupting influence of AIPAC et al on the US Congress that is properly called today “Israel-occupied territory.”
        Israel wants a chunk of Syria, that is, Israel wants a part of the territory of the sovereign sate of Syria by any means and the US obediently provides material, logistical, and political support.

        • Seer
          October 23, 2017 at 21:32

          Who has a better chance of stopping their government from continuing on this “Highway to Hell,” Israelis or “Americans?”

      • Abe
        October 25, 2017 at 00:34

        The comment “today, the Jews are looked upon as…” is untenable.

        There is no solid research-based factual evidence that people look upon “the Jews” as a group in such a manner.

        You are welcome to cite any research-based evidence to the contrary, but please be sure provide a verifiable reference.

        To be sure, there is growing animosity towards the Israeli government and the pro-Israel Lobby.

        Rightfully deplored are “Israel Firster” neocon and liberal interventionist “vicious profiteering warmongers”.

        Rightfully refiled are Israeli apartheid “supremacists”.

        Nonetheless, people in America and around the world distinguish between the despicable actions of specific individuals and organizations and Jews as a group.

        Hasbara trolls desperately attempt to invoke the image of “Jew hatred”, but it simply isn’t there.

        Despite the desperate Hasbara propaganda claims of a “new anti-Semitism” around the globe, it remains nothing more than a Hasbara propaganda meme.

        Indeed, there is very understandable anger at Israeli government actions, the depredations of pro-Israel Lobby, “Israel First” propagandists and warmongers, the illegal Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territory, and Israeli war threats against Iran and other nations.

        But disaffection with Israel and the pro-Israel Lobby is not “anti-Semitism”.

        Fake news reports about “hate” are constantly invoked to deflect attention from the pro-Israel Lobby, and Israeli influence on American politics and foreign policy.

        The comment “Today, when people hear ‘Holocaust’ they think…” also is highly dubious.

        The term “Holocaust” certainly has been applied in contexts besides the Nazi genocide of European Jews during World War II and other genocides.

        However, the notion that people commonly apply the term “Holocaust” to describe the political realities catalogued above strains credulity.

        Anna, you did make one unassailable factual point: Israel wants a chunk of Syria.

    • Dave P.
      October 24, 2017 at 12:12

      As all these unfolding events should make it clear even to a blind man that creation and support of ISIS and other Terrorist Affiliates by KSA, Gulf States, U.S., and “The West” in Syria for regime change and division of Syria is not going to end in the near future. U.S., and “The West” intend to stay there in Syria and Iraq for indefinite time in the future. Same was the case in Afghanistan when U.S. and The West created Mujahideen to topple the Progressive Left government there which was supported by then Soviet Union.

      Looking at the pictures of destruction and ruin of the cities in Syria, Libya, and Iraq makes one to think of this very large scale criminality of “The West”. And it also makes the citizens in The West complicit in all this what is happening in the ME – all this death and destruction which is carried out in their name. All these three states in ME were secular states with very good public health, educational, and other structures of the state. All they, the people in those countries, built in three or four decades has been completely destroyed.

      As long as The West plays those Imperial Games of divide and conquer in the ME, this carnage is going to continue. It depends whether the Russian efforts to bring about reconciliation among those countries succeed. It seems like the Russians are trying very hard for the countries in ME, including Iran, to resolve their differences and find a common ground for a peaceful progress and development. But The West has too many tools to disrupt it.

  35. Anna
    October 23, 2017 at 16:51

    Russia needs to survive the ongoing reorganization/modernization. The EU & US need to survive the looming crash of the US dollar and the financialized economy. At least, the populations of Russian Federation make the sturdy folks united by the national idea, despite the melting-pot constituents. In comparison, the divided US (divided by the profiteering deep state players) is a colossus with feet of clay. Sad. A sigh.

    • jo6pac
      October 23, 2017 at 17:24

      Nailed it

    • Beverly Voelkelt
      October 23, 2017 at 19:11

      Well said, Anna. That just about sums it up on the core issues.

  36. mike k
    October 23, 2017 at 16:48

    It’s like when you are dealing with a dangerous lunatic, you are pushed to keep your cool.

    • Annie
      October 23, 2017 at 17:37

      Who is that dangerous lunatic you refer to?

      • October 23, 2017 at 18:44

        Only 1 lunatic is involved here: Humpty Dumpty Trumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty Trumpty will have a great fall … hopefully all of his acolytes will go down with Trumpty Dumpty.

        • Annie
          October 23, 2017 at 19:21

          Craig, why would you single out a single person for the lunatic position of the US? Obama really escalated the call war. The nonsense of Russia-gate should certainly inform you that before Trump this anti-Russia theme was long in the works. Need I remind you that many both elected and non-elected people determine our foreign policy positions. There’s a lot of blame to go around, and not to bring the past into the present to evaluate what’s going on is a very big mistake.

          • Seer
            October 23, 2017 at 21:42

            But people’s memories are horribly short. I think it of the utmost importance to deal with what is here NOW. And if that can be done then people will know what the lesson is and then look to rectify the past. The problem that I see for nothing happening is because everyone can run around and say that “it’s been done before, others, and others on the ‘other’ side, have done it!”

            Sigh, but this ain’t going to happen. We’ll spend all our time debating. We’ll be, as Wolfowitz(? Cheney?) said, be busy figuring out what’s going on while they’ll be making new realities (or something to that affect).

            I supposed a little deck placard I once saw kind of says what I think: It is the supervisor’s job to find out what his/her employees are doing, and stop them!

          • Annie
            October 23, 2017 at 22:25

            I’m replying to Seer. The past affects the present, as well as the future. If we had paid more attention to the past and recognized the democratic party began to cultivate the 10 percent in this country since the late seventies, and left behind the blue collar workers it once supported, Trump would not have won. That was his base, and the base the democrats gave up on long ago. I think it was the reason they nixed Bernie. The past informs the future. I knew Hilary wouldn’t win. Yes people’s memories are very short and that’s the problem. They assess things in the present and never reference the past, and see every issue as black or white. During Obama’s Presidency wealth Inequality Increased and poverty levels were higher. Too bad so many I know that are attacking Trump now, were deathly silent during the Obama administration.

          • Seer
            October 24, 2017 at 01:18

            Annie, if you want to know real history read Glubb’s work (I’ve plastered references all over the place). If you can, find it and read it. After reading it you’ll then have a VERY good understanding of what’s going on. We here are mostly talking about recent events, talking about things as though this is all first-time occurrence. “Salvation” cannot come from a change in “leadership,” or in a change of “ideology” or “religion.” This is proven. I’ve commented as to why I believe this keeps repeating.

        • Tannenhouser
          October 24, 2017 at 10:27

          Omg. Trump is just running point for the distraction psyop, to cover up the real crimes committed in the previous 16 years. Hopefully the whole system crashes, as Trump is like Toto in the Wizard of OZ. Attributing the evils of the US to Trump in the fashion you have here is just FUCKING lame Dr.

      • mike k
        October 24, 2017 at 06:01

        The lunatic is the USA.

  37. mike k
    October 23, 2017 at 16:45

    Perhaps the insanity of the United States is driving Russia and China to a greater display of sanity.

    • October 23, 2017 at 17:25

      Both China and Russia have been far more sane than American governance for decades now. Only America is crashing and burning, lending more contrast and clarity to the relative sanity of the 3 nations.

      • Seer
        October 23, 2017 at 21:36

        Not so sure that China’s governance has been all that sane. They pushed for massive growth, something that would only send them head-long into a wall. Internally they’re a timebomb. Granted, their dealings with others in the world is a lot more diplomatic than that of the US, but that’s external, and in the end it’s always a country’s citizens that matter (and suppression almost always seems to be the end path).

        Russia’s governance is likely the best out there. But, nothing stays static. And, it’s still a government: lying and violence being the means.

        • Jo Kang
          October 24, 2017 at 15:39

          Your decided western viewpoint of China’s “suppression” denies the fact that 87% of the populations believe the CPC is steering the country in the right direction. That is the highest approval rating of any government in the world. So much for an internal timebomb.

  38. ranney
    October 23, 2017 at 16:45

    Wow! That’s a very important editorial that deserves wide spread readership. Thank you Gilbert; I always look forward to your knowledgeable comments, but this one is extraordinarily important and well thought out. Too bad the people who should be reading it, probably won’t. It doesn’t fit with their beliefs or their orders from their oligarch bosses.

  39. mike k
    October 23, 2017 at 16:41

    Thanks for your thoughtful analysis MR. Doctorow.

  40. mike k
    October 23, 2017 at 16:39

    We are better than this
    Could be better than this
    Should be better than this

    If we do not become better than this
    We could be destroyed
    Should be destroyed by this failure
    To become what we are meant to be

    • Sam F
      October 23, 2017 at 18:51

      Yes, the US has missed its great opportunity to be a world leader since WWII, when it might have lifted the poorest half of humanity from poverty; but the new alignments may ultimately be therapeutic for the US.

      It is fortunate that Russia has gas and oil to smooth relations with the EU and China; International trade and the Russia-Japan bridges via Sakhalin will be invaluable cultural bridges.

      Isolation of the US by the EU and Russia-China is necessary to restore democracy in the US by deposing the MIC/zionist/WallSt oligarchy that has completely corrupted its institutions and mass media. It may be best for the US to undergo a century of decline and international irrelevance like UK, discrediting its propagandists and warmongers, and forcing it to revive domestic production.

      Offering to add Russia to NATO seems a fine way to reduce tensions and perhaps deconstruct NATO, which has been nothing but a temptation to warmongers since the 1990s. Russia’s “distrust of the West” is fully justified by US betrayals, but the EU could show the US that its bullying is not the way forward.

      Odd that the article refers to current US foreign policy as “Trump’s abandonment of world leadership” when the US has merely given up some secret wars in the Mideast and Ukraine for others. World leadership implies a positive role, which the US has not had since WWII, and will not have again until democracy is restored, and public morality and education are improved, likely a century in the future.

      • Jessejean
        October 23, 2017 at 19:30

        It always comes down to gas and oil, with the only losers being the atmosphere, the climate, the islands, the coastal peoples, the poles and their cold dependent species, the drought stricken food growing regions, the forests, the poor, the bees and insects we depend on and o yeah, the planet. But shucks–lets be glad that Russia’s and China’s oligarchs will do it and not the US’s oligarchs.

        • Sam F
          October 23, 2017 at 19:54

          Those points would need argument:
          1. Better that fossil fuel trade that would occur anyway has this further constructive purpose;
          2. Nations are certainly not equal in oligarchy;
          3. Neither Russia nor China has shown external military aggression in centuries.

        • Sam F
          October 24, 2017 at 05:14

          Sorry to sound contentious; just suggesting discussion. Your points are good.

        • Zhu Bajie
          October 25, 2017 at 01:56

          I don’t know about Russia’s oligarchs. China’s are rational people, who can all read, write, count to 10, do a cost-benefit analysis. None of them count on the Rapture or the Second Coming to solve their problems. US politics is infested by more than a few Dispensationalists.

      • Dave P.
        October 23, 2017 at 23:12

        Sam F – Excellent comments on this very objective and thoughtful analysis by Gilbert Doctorow.

      • fuster
        October 25, 2017 at 02:41

        Sam, you are silly to think that the US has not exercised world leadership and far sillier to claim that the US could have, in the post-WWII world, eradicated poverty from the world.

        I’m sure that you’re a very well-meaning person, but you are rather ignorant and operating from emotion rather than truth or knowledge.

        • Jams O'Donnell
          October 25, 2017 at 12:33

          And you are both silly and deluded to claim otherwise. The US has ‘shown leadership’ only if you call invading, bombing, subverting or similarly interfering and attempting to dominate practically every country in the world. Similarly, if the resources spent in doing the foregoing, and additionally maintaining a multitude of foreign bases and armed forces which are generally ten times bigger than the next three powers put together, then world poverty could indeed have been eradicated – at the very least the world could have been a much better place.

          Finally, I am sure that you are not a very well-meaning person, as your post proves.

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