While China and Russia solidify their economic and political alliance, the U.S. is missing an historic chance to join a multilateral world, clinging instead to military empire, argues Pepe Escobar.
By Pepe Escobar
Special to Consortium News
We should know by now that the heart of the 21stCentury Great Game is the myriad layers of the battle between the United States and the partnership of Russia and China.
Even the U.S. National Defense Strategy says so: “The central challenge to U.S. prosperity and security is the reemergence of long-term, strategic competition by … revisionist powers.” The recently published assessment on U.S. defense implications of China’s global expansion says so too.
The clash will frame the emergence of a possibly new, post-ideological, strategic world order amidst an extremely volatile unpredictability in which peace is war and an accident may spark a nuclear confrontation.
The U.S. vs. Russia and China will keep challenging the West’s obsession in deriding “illiberalism,” a fearful, rhetorical exercise that equates Russian democracy with China’s one party rule, Iran’s demo-theocracy and Turkey’s neo-Ottoman revival.
It’s immaterial that Russia’s economy is one-tenth of China’s. From boosting trade that bypasses the U.S. dollar, to increasing joint military exercises, the Russia-China symbiosis is poised to advance beyond political and ideological affinities.
China badly needs Russian know-how in its military industry. Beijing will turn this knowledge into plenty of dual use, civilian-military innovations.
The long game indicates Russia and China will break down language and cultural barriers to lead Eurasian integration against American economic hegemony backed by military might.
One could say the Eurasian century is already upon us. The era of the West shaping the world at will (a mere blip of history) is already over. This is despite Western elite denials and fulminations against the so-called “morally reprehensible,” “forces of instability” and “existential threats.”
Standard Chartered, the British financial services company, using a mix of purchasing power exchange rates and GDP growth, has projected that the top five economies in 2030 will be China, the U.S., India, Japan and Russia. These will be followed by Germany, Indonesia, Brazil, Turkey and the UK. Asia will extend its middle class as they are slowly killed off across the West.
Hop on the Trans-Eurasia Express
A case can be made that Beijing’s elites are fascinated at how Russia, in less than two decades, has returned to semi-superpower status after the devastation of the Yeltsin years.
That happened to a large extent due to science and technology. The most graphic example is the unmatched, state-of-the-art weaponry unveiled by President Vladimir Putin in his March 1, 2018 speech.
In practice, Russia and China will be advancing the alignment of China’s New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with Russia’s Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU).
There’s ample potential for a Trans-Eurasia Express network of land and maritime transport corridors to be up and running by the middle of next decade, including, for instance, road and railway bridges connecting China with Russia across the Heilongjiang River.
Following serious trilateral talks involving Russia, India and Iran last November, closer attention is being paid to the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), a 7,200-km long lane mixing sea and rail routes essentially linking the Indian Ocean with the Persian Gulf through Iran and Russia and further on down the road, to Europe.
Imagine cargo transiting from all over India to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, then overland to Bandar Anzali, an Iranian port on the Caspian Sea, and then on to the Russian southern port of Astrakhan, and after that to Europe by rail. From New Delhi’s point of view, that means shipping costs reduced by up to 40 percent, and Mumbai-to-Moscow in only 20 days.
Down the line, INSTC will merge with BRI – as in Chinese-led corridors linked with the India-Iran-Russia route into a global transport network.
This is happening just as Japan is looking at the Trans-Siberian Railway – which will be upgraded throughout the next decade – to improve its connections with Russia, China and the Koreas. Japan is now a top investor in Russia and at the same time very much interested in a Korea peace deal. That would free Tokyo from massive defense spending conditioned by Washington’s rules. The EAEU free trade agreements with ASEAN can be added to that.
Especially over these past four years, Russia has also learned how to attract Chinese investment and wealth, aware that Beijing’s system mass-produces virtually everything and knows how to market it globally, while Moscow needs to fight every block in the book dreamed up by Washington.
The Huawei-Venezuela “Axis of Evil”
While Washington remains a bipartisan prisoner to the Russophobic Platonic cave – where Cold War shadows on the wall are taken as reality – MAGA is missing the train to Eurasia.
A many-headed hydra, MAGA, stripped to the bone, could be read as a non-ideological antidote to the Empire’s global adventurism. Trump, in his non-strategic, shambolic way, proposed at least in theory the return to a social contract in the U.S. MAGA in theory would translate into jobs, opportunities for small businesses, low taxes and no more foreign wars.
It’s nostalgia for the 1950s and 60s before the Vietnam quagmire and before “Made in the USA” was slowly and deliberately dismantled. What’s left are tens of trillions of national debt; a quadrillion in derivatives; the Deep State running amok; and a lot of pumped up fear of evil Russians, devious Chinese, Persian mullahs, the troika of tyranny, the Belt and Road, Huawei, and illegal aliens.
More than a Hobbesian “war of all against all” or carping about the “Western rules-based system” being under attack, the fear is actually of the strategic challenge posed by Russia and China, which seeks a return to rule by international law.
MAGA would thrive if hitched to a ride on the Eurasia integration train: more jobs and more business opportunities instead of more foreign wars. Yet MAGA won’t happen – to a large extent because what really makes Trump tick is his policy of energy dominance to decisively interfere with Russia and China’s development.
The Pentagon and the “intel community” pushed the Trump administration to go after Huawei, branded as a nest of spies, while pressuring key allies Germany, Japan and Italy to follow. Germany and Japan permit the U.S. to control the key nodes in the extremities of Eurasia. Italy is essentially a large NATO base.
The U.S. Department of Justice requested the extradition of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou from Canada last Tuesday, adding a notch to the Trump administration’s geopolitical tactic of “blunt force trauma.”
Add to it that Huawei – based in Shenzhen and owned by its workers as shareholders – is killing Apple across Asia and in most latitudes across the Global South. The real the battle is over 5G, in which China aims to upstage the U.S., while upgrading capacity and production quality.
The digital economy in China is already larger than the GDP of France or the UK. It’s based on the BATX companies (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, Xiaomi), Didi (the Chinese Uber), e-commerce giant JD.com and Huawei. These Big Seven are a state within a civilization – an ecosystem they’ve constructed themselves, investing fortunes in big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet. American giants – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google – are absent from this enormous market.
Moreover, Huawei’s sophisticated encryption system in telecom equipment prevents interception by the NSA. That helps account for its extreme popularity all across the Global South, in contrast to the Five Eyes (U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) electronic espionage network.
The economic war on Huawei is also directly connected to the expansion of BRI across 70 Asian, European and African nations, constituting a Eurasia-wide network of commerce, investment and infrastructure able to turn geopolitical and geo-economic relations, as we know them, upside down.
Greater Eurasia Beckons
Whatever China does won’t alter the Deep State’s obsession about “an aggression against our vital interests,” as stated by the National Defense Strategy. The dominant Pentagon narrative in years to come will be about China “intending to impose, in the short term, its hegemony in the Indo-Pacific region, and catch the United States off-guard in order to achieve future global pre-eminence.” This is mixed with a belief that Russia wants to “crush NATO” and “sabotage the democratic process in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.”
During my recent travels along the northern part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), I saw once again how China is upgrading highways, building dams, railways and bridges that are useful not only for its own economic expansion but also for its neighbors’ development. Compare it to U.S. wars – as in Iraq and Libya – where dams, railways and bridges are destroyed.
Russian diplomacy is all but winning the New Cold War — as diagnosed by Prof. Stephen Cohen in his latest book, War with Russia: From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate.
Moscow mixes serious warnings with diverse strategies, such as resurrecting the South Stream gas pipeline to supply Europe as an extension of Turk Stream after the Trump administration also furiously opposed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline with sanctions on Russia. Meanwhile, Moscow ramps up energy exports to China.
The advance of the Belt and Road Initiative is linked to Russian security and energy exports, including the Northern Sea Route, as an alternative future transportation corridor to Central Asia. Russia emerges then as the top security guarantee for Eurasian trade and economic integration.
Last month in Moscow, I discussed Greater Eurasia– by now established as the overarching concept of Russian foreign policy – with top Russian analysts. They told me Putin is on board. He referred to Eurasia recently as “not a chessboard or a geopolitical playground, but our peaceful and prosperous home.”
Needless to say, U.S. think tanks dismiss the idea as “abortive”. They ignore Prof. Sergey Karaganov, who as early as mid-2017 was arguing that Greater Eurasia could serve as a platform for “a trilateral dialogue on global problems and international strategic stability between Russia, the United States and China.”
As much as the Beltway may refuse it, “The center of gravity of global trade is now shifting from the high seas toward the vast continental interior of Eurasia.”
Beijing Skirts the Dollar
Beijing is realizing it can’t meet its geo-economic goals on energy, security, and trade without bypassing the U.S. dollar.
According to the IMF, 62 percent of global central bank reserves were still held in U.S. dollars by the second quarter of 2018. Around 43 per cent of international transactions on SWIFT are still in U.S. dollars. Even as China, in 2018, was the single largest contributor to global GDP growth, at 27.2 percent, the yuan still only accounts for 1 percent of international payments, and 1.8 per cent of all reserve assets held by central banks.
It takes time, but change is on the way. China’s cross-border payment network for yuan transactions was launched less than four years ago. Integration between the Russian Mir payment system and Chinese Union Pay appears inevitable.
Bye Bye Drs. K and Zbig
Russia and China are developing the ultimate nightmare for those former shamans of U.S. foreign policy, Henry Kissinger and the late Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski.
Back in 1972 Kissinger was the mastermind – with logistical help from Pakistan – of the Nixon moment in China. That was classic Divide and Rule, separating China from the USSR. Two years ago, before Trump’s inauguration, Dr. K’s advice dispensed at Trump Tower meetings consisted of a modified Divide and Rule: the seduction of Russia to contain China.
The Kissinger doctrine rules that, geopolitically, the U.S. is just “an island off the shores of the large landmass of Eurasia.” Domination “by a single power of either of Eurasia’s two principal spheres – Europe or Asia – remains a good definition of strategic danger for America, Cold War or no Cold War,” as Kissinger said. “For such a grouping would have the capacity to outstrip America economically and, in the end, militarily.”
The Zbig doctrine ran along similar lines. The objectives were to prevent collusion and maintain security among the EU-NATO vassals; keep tributaries pliant; keep the barbarians (a.k.a. Russians and allies) from coming together; most of all prevent the emergence of a hostile coalition (as in today’s Russia-China alliance) capable of challenging U.S. hegemony; and submit Germany, Russia, Japan, Iran, and China to permanent Divide and Rule.
Thus the despair of the current National Security Strategy, forecasting China displacing the United States “to achieve global preeminence in the future,” through BRI’s supra-continental reach.
The “policy” to counteract such “threats” is sanctions, sanctions, and more unilateral sanctions, coupled with an inflation of absurd notions peddled across the Beltway – such as that Russia is aiding and abetting the re-conquest of the Arab world by Persia. Also that Beijing will ditch the “paper tiger” “Made in China 2025” plan for its major upgrade in global, high-tech manufacturing just because Trump hates it.
Once in a blue moon a U.S. report actually gets it right, such as in Beijing speeding up an array of BRI projects; as a modified Sun Tzu tactic deployed by President Xi Jinping.
At the June 2016 Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Professor Xiang Lanxin, director of the Centre of One Belt and One Road Studies at the China National Institute for SCO International Exchange and Judicial Cooperation, defined BRI as an avenue to a “post-Westphalian world.” The journey is just beginning; a new geopolitical and economic era is at hand. And the U.S. is being left behind at the station.
Pepe Escobar, a veteran Brazilian journalist, is the correspondent-at-large for Hong Kong-based Asia Times. His latest book is 2030. Follow him on Facebook.
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President Trump is going to be crossed road between Israel “Business” and USA
(that means ALL Americans) Solid ground….
US -Kissinger idea to be “banker and policemen” is not popular any more…
21 days Mumbai to Moscow is not fast. A sort of Y shaped rail line, one tip of the ‘y’ starting in South Korea and the other starting in China and converging in North Korea, then connecting to the Trans-Siberian railroad will reach Moscow faster.
There is a NK rail link to the Trans-Siberian now but is old and serpentine not really meant to be a direct high speed freight line. Give us the skinny on it Pepe. Was it China’s idea, S. Korea’s or Russia’s?
Your comments are ‘right on’ Regula and Realist.
G5 by Huawei blocking the NSA nails it. I live in Australia and under -duress- willing as usual- this country does whatever to stay within the 5 eyes thinking it is some sort of advantage when it is pure delusion. Unfortunately DownUnder suffers from its own incompetence in the sense it cannot conceive of itself unless some big powerful mentor guides it – into more wars usually.
Interesting that Putins mention of Russia’s weaponry development is WAA-AA-Y down in his speech; almost as an afterthought.
“Interesting that Putins mention of Russia’s weaponry development is WAA-AA-Y down in his speech; almost as an afterthought.”
That is a very valid observation not often perceived.
The major frame precluding perception is one that Mr. Jay makes during
roughly paraphrased as “Russia is a capitalist country, it wants to extend its spheres of influence as far as possible, as all capitalist countries seek to do”.
ergo that the default position of the Russian Federation is to be aggressive, despite the intelligence report stating that both Russia and China’s postures are in reaction to the aggression of others.
In https://therealnews.com/stories/nuclear-treaty-framework-is-in-dangerous-disarray-and-needs-to-be-rebooted, Mr. Wilkerson like almost all with experience/knowledge confirms that nuclear weapons are tools of threat not tools to be used in other ways in war.
Much of the rhetoric of “The United States of America” is a projection of coercive behaviour prevalent within “The United States of America”, the perception that coercive behaviour is the “norm” in all interactions, that this is emulated by all others, and hence “The United States of America” should seek to attain “Full Spectrum Dominance” and assign this the highest priority.
This also underpins notions of fear prevalent in “The United States of America”.
The Russian Federation and China’s perceptions differ from those of “The United States of America” and consequently they perceive different options and strategies including building various means of communication including railways, and assign these greater significance.
Some within the Soviet Union and elsewhere also held similar strategic perceptions which led to exploratory meetings with the zaibatsu represented by Mitsui/Mitsubishi and the Soviet Union to jointly develop the port of Nahodka and the Trans-Siberian Railway into Europe in the early 1970’s, a proposal rejected by the Politburo in preference to developing BAM as a consequence of fear of China, and faith in detente on the bases of spheres of influence as agreed with “The United States of America”, and by “The United States of America” as being inimical to their strategic interests/plans/tactics post the Vietnam War to continue their access to and reliance upon securing economic rent from others.
In the 1990’s there was a proposal to develop the Danube and connecting canal/river systems as a major economic tool/node of development from Rotterdam to Constanta, a strategy also considered by the Austro-Hungarian and German Empires from the 1880’s onwards, but this was similarly undermined by “The United States of America” through the bombing of Serbia, including bridges blocking the Danube, under the cloak of NATO in 1998/99.
February 7, 2019 at 4:11 am
“Interesting that Putins mention of Russia’s
weaponry development is WAA-AA-Y down in his
speech; almost as an afterthought.”
T hat is a very valid observation not often perceived.
T he major frame precluding perception is one that
Mr. Jay makes during……….”
“T he Russian Federation and China’s perceptions
differ from those of “T he United States of America”
and consequently they perceive different options
and strategies including building various means of
communication including railways, and assign these
Some within the Soviet Union and elsewhere also
held similar strategic perceptions which led to
exploratory meetings with the zaibatsu represented
by Mitsui/Mitsubishi and the Soviet Union to jointly
develop the port of Nahodka and the T rans-Siberian
Railway into Europe in the early 1970’s, a proposal
rejected by the Politburo in preference to developing
BAM as a consequence of fear of China, and faith in
detente on the bases of spheres of influence as
agreed with “T he United States of America”, and by
“T he United States of America” as being inimical to
their strategic interests/plans/tactics post the
Vietnam War to continue their access to and reliance
upon securing economic rent from others.
In the 1990’s there was a proposal to develop the
Danube and connecting canal/river systems as a
major economic tool/node of development from
Rotterdam to Constanta, a strategy also considered
by the Austro-Hungarian and German Empires from
the 1880’s on-wards, but this was similarly
undermined by “T he United States of America”
through the bombing of Serbia, including bridges
blocking the Danube, under the cloak of NAT O in
Not only China; among the prime targets continue to be Europe primarily Germany as in 1998/99.
Spectators tend to intuit threat; some practitioners perceive opportunities.
The opponents continue to afford opportunities to those with facility to act upon them.
Excellent article Pepe-always enjoy your prespective.
Time is against the US, but they may make it very ugly for the world very soon
A very interesting article, a good overview of the current geopolitical situation. However I don’t understand his sycophancy towards the two major authoritarian regimes in the world today. This is not to defend the US, which is a flawed democracy, and has also played a major role, also negative in global affairs.
The Belt and Road Initiative threatens to be an ecological disaster, and there remain a lot of economic questions. The idea that trains can replace modern container ships which can carry up to 21,000 TEU is questionable, the upper limit for locomotives being around 400-600 TEU.
Respect for international law is lacking in both countries, one egregious example is the incarceration of over a million Uyghers in “reeducation” concentration camps. There are many more.
This article did not take into account the catastrophic impacts of climate change, ecological destruction (China is responsible for a lot of rain forest destruction in Brazil and Africa), which will continue during the course of the century and will have major and not fully predictable impacts on geopolitics. But we can be sure the effects will be devastating. 2030 will be a far different place than the author supposes.
Why is it any of your business what type of government administers Russia, China, Iran or Turkey. How has a “democratic” United States benefited the planet? The democratic US leads the world in consumption, prisoner population, military spending, racism, gun proliferation and murder, drug consumption. The United States, and its perpetual war machine has no moral standing to criticize anybody.
Great article, Pepe. Though I don’t agree with all you foresee.
But first: the US has a sec problem of one sided satisfaction. It puts way too much onus on males being leaders and in control of others rather than themselves and a jealous belief that bilateral satisfaction will lead not to equality and peaceful enjoyment, but to the mortal danger that the other then can do it too and possibly better – that is unbearable competition. All social forms from slavery to suppression of one element or another in US society and foreign policy are shaped by this principle of security through one-sidedness. Because the sides eventually turn around, fear and depression are rampant in the US and use of anti-depressants is excessive).
In contrast, modern China from the outset emphasized win-win contracts, in life and in business as a base of continuity of relations that makes possible long term development and progress.
As a consequence, US planning is short to nedium term, without a vision in the long term other than control, control, control.
I’m contrast, Chinese planning goes through all terms, guided in the short term by a long term vision, under Xi, Eurasian integration of transportation and markets – that is the BRI. The goal is not political world domination as in US hegemony, but to restore China to its traditional stature of being the largest and most important trading nation. The SCO and related groupings are a vehicle to integrate Asian nations in this grand scheme, expanding it to Africa and South America to span the world with trade: a three-dimensional internet of nations that will level the playing field for all and give all nations the capacity to develop peacefully.
Russia in turn dreamed of joining the EU and NATO as a means to build a peaceful Eurasia. That was prevented by the US and as a consequence, Russia created the EAEU as an equivalent and intended copy of the EU, since changed a bit to avoid the EU’s pitfalls.
Russia was pushed to China by US sanctions – initially for loans to avoid IMF austerity and securing these loans with large oil and gas contracts. This move created the space for the real takeoff of BRI by making possible land routes from China to Europe via Russia.
Since then, both Russia and China corralled as many countries as they can to their respective groups – EEAU and SCO. Russia joined the BRI and it became clear that the future would be a free trade agreement between the two groups, carefully hidden initially to prevent premature US interference while the blocs were still vulnerable.
Contrary to what Pepe believes, dissolution of nation states is not a goal: the EU shows the negative effects of that. China will never open its borders to free movement of people except for trade – that follows from the generations of one-child policy to prevent over population of China. This policy, now rescinded may well have to be re- introduced in the future as automation replaces people and employment for increasing numbers of people can no longer be produced. Russia, suffering from depopulation re-introduced religion in hope of people reproducing more.
China stipulated in all clarity its principle of global markets but between nation states, not a borderless area. China is more aware of the insurmountable administrative problems of borderless societies and is a firm believer in nation. It’s system is modeled on society: the group is more important than individual, but individual is paramount to innovation and progress and peace. In the larger system of BRI, nations are the larger entity of individual and the group is the BRI itself. This will limit administration to each nation, leave the right to self-determination intact and further national/ cultural diversity that is good for trade. China experienced uniformity in its recent past and found it not conducive to lively interchange. That is the insight underlying its principle of non- interference in the internal affairs of other states.
In contrast to that, the US vies global uniformity of its non- existent democracy by imposing its debt based banking and neocon system of government and with devastating effects for the people so subjugated and therefore constant attempts by nations to break out from under the neocon yoke. Which is of course the reason for US m militarism.
With the EU running into more and more resistance to its normalizing pressures and increasing subjugation by the US, there will in time come a move east – away from US dominance and towards new markets free of neocon limitations. That is why the EU nations joined The Chinese development bank and silently expand trade with Russia: the future is a free trade agreement between the EU, the EAEU and SCO, while NATO will disappear and get reformulated as a pan Eurasian defense force. The United States of Europe will not happen – it is not in the interest of trade.
Thanks for your comment, Regula. I learned more from you than if I’d read ten bullshit (deceptive) articles from major publications. Man, I love this site!
I’m glad I was born in the United States of America ( In the Western Tradition) and not in China and so are a lot of people of Chinese descent that who were born in this nation in the last 20 years . This whole history thing is problematic. Subservience to the state is a hard sell here. But the problem is too many people who want more, enough can never be enough. . Everybody is Johnny Rocko in Key Largo and there aren’t any Humphrey Bogarts (who was was born in 1899) anymore. Who will fight the good fight if not me? or you? “Noblesse Oblige” is long gone. How to make International Political Economics conform with reality and limits to growth vs. Greed and Short term profits and medium term supply lines is well beyond my Ken and Barbie doesn’t know about it either and neither do the Chinese Knock offs. Progress is not what it is cracked up to be. You want intellectual elites?> Heidegger and “Control”. Where does it lead? Freedom is the casualty. Artificial Intelligence?. Who profits ultimately? I like beer.
I got over being a tourist when I was 21. I don’t want to hijack the Eurasian Train. That is not on my fence line, not even my hemisphere. I don’t want to be on it. America is great !, it’s the politicians and the stupid, greedy bastards that f it up. “We should tend to our own garden” , wasn’t that Voltaire?. The USA needs a sustainable economy and national health care, a better transportation grid, better music and better TV most of all . We have plenty of money/wealth and some of the brightest people in the world here. Pepe Escobar is beating Victory drums for the Sino-Rusky alliance with Turkey and Iran and Central Asia already in the fold. A bit prematurely but its all well and good. Maybe, if I was a younger man I would have already acknowledged and have acted on the obvious fact that the greatest potential for growth is in Central Asia along the New Silk Road, I would probably have a Chinese girlfriend and speak Russian as well. It happens, I know. But I’m not a younger man> so let’s make the nostalgia of America being great, despite our nation’s sordid history and besides Trump and that pseudo Christian lapdog Pense and of course those stupid MAGA hats and ‘just do it’. Ha Ha, that was an advertising campaign too . And F Pepe too by the way because this kind of thinking is reciprocal to the kind of thinking done in Intelligence Think Tanks that says limited Nuclear War is winnable , I did notice that Trump just dropped out of the Intermediate Missile treaty and appears the it big one is ready to go as well. Oh Bartelby , Oh Humanity. If there is such a thing as the Human Race we are all losing.
Pepe Escobar gives us a good high perspective overview of the global state of play. It’s important to keep it in view to not be sucked into the extreme opposites in the US that is lurching from absurdity to absurdity, its opposites that are being played by US elites against the people to control and advance false narratives.
The US is completely retrograde trying to go backwards to a world that cannot come again. It has no answer to the world that is emerging around it except to use the force of its military, to use deception of its NSA, CIA, Atlantic Council, NATO, false flags, disinformation. No election will change the direction of the US – its elites will not allow it to change.
I can’t tell you about MAGA Pepe. I can say the US won’t be great until it becomes a democratic republic.
To give Trump his due the steel and aluminum tariffs have created 1,000 jobs and none of the negative consequences the free trade nutters predicted, according to an economist at the liberal EPI.
Couldn’t agree more that the 21st century will be about competition between the US and China/Russia. You talk about BRI cargo going from Mumbai to Moscow in only 20 days. Really.
The road from Mumbai to Moscow is 4,214 miles. Driving time is 86.5 hrs according to the Travel Planner. https://www.distance.to/Mumbai/Moscow
So, cargo leaving Mumbai could be in Moscow in 3.5 days traveling non-stop. The US didn’t miss your 20 day Eurasia choo-choo train. It decided to go by car.
Beijing’s elites aren’t the only ones surprised by Russia’s rapid comeback. Some of the Washington imperialists still can’t believe it. Thanks for the info about Hauwei.
I’m not going to defend washington’s foreign (or domestic) policy since i disagree with so much of it, especially the overthrow of elected governments. But the Defense Department Assessment of China’s expansion you criticize says, “ The National Defense Strategy seeks to set the United States military relationship with China on a path of transparency and non-aggression.”
Taking note of China’s one party rule is not fearful or merely rhetorical, it is factual.
Nice tag you put on Iran but it is not quite “demo” yet. It is much more democratic than the nasty monarchies bellied up to the gulf. Nixing the Iran nuclear deal was another bad foreign policy move.
Maybe something positive will come from the INF negotiations.
21 days from Mumbai to Europe is fast. These are trains and large freighters which get transferred to ships and back to trains with relatively little manpower and way less energy use. Container ships to the EU take 3 months. And trucks cannot replace trains over such long dustances. The trains will in time be replaced with fast trains but you have to start somewhere. Air cargo is fastest, but also way more expensive and not practical for bulk transport.
I can’t imagine that it takes 3 months for a freighter to travel from Mumbai to Europe. I’m a retired merchant seaman, and I think about 1 month would be more accurate if they had to go around the Cape of Good Hope, much faster if they were small enough to go through the Suez canal. I got 27 days using 15 kts for Mumbai to Gibraltar going around the cape.
For once I didn’t read all of the comments – my apologies – but scanned enough to get the tone. This isn’t the first by Pepe to explore this theme, and the writing on the wall has only become more distinct since his last offering. There is nothing, short of world annihilation, that the US can do to prevent the rise and dominance of China in Eurasia.
Of great interest and concern to me is the various Russian pipelines to supply Europe (and China) with natural gas. Like it or not, we’re stuck with this climate warming fuel for some time to come, and if it must be so, then Russia supplying this demand makes much more environmental sense than turning US fracked gas into LNG and shipping it worldwide. That process creates GHG’s where it is absolutely unnecessary to do so. US objections to Russian supply have nothing to do with European security or economic blackmail but EVERYTHING to do with loss of profit by US gas developer interests. And while US hegemons bemoan the potential European insecurity, by over-producing and shipping out this US resource they are in fact hastening the US’ own future energy insecurity.
“… defend against all enemies, both foreign and domestic…” Our most insidious and determined enemies are, in fact, domestic.
The only thing that can really harm the US … is the US. Pepe constantly goes on an on about how the US will be left behind, will decay, etc. The US is a continental country. Its population is enormous, its resources virtually unlimited. It doesn’t need anyone else, if it comes down to it. What it needs to do is take care of its own people, stop treating a majority of its population like garbage, and stop killing people in other countries. Simple, really. It’s actually what Trump wants, more or less, but he is too ignorant and stupid to make it happen. It would actually take a great man indeed to combat the forces of the ‘deep state’.
I guess you get it but refused to accept it : “The US is a continental country. Its population is enormous, its resources virtually unlimited. … What it needs to do is take care of its own people, stop treating a majority of its population like garbage, and stop killing people in other countries. Simple, really. It’s actually what Trump wants, more or less, but he is too ignorant and stupid to make it happen. ”
Pepe’s point precisely, U.S. will not take the rational steps to do the right things for its economy or its citizens. Decaying infrastructure, abject poverty, intractable homelessness, lack of access to healthcare for millions of its citizens, deteriorating public schools starved of resources, endless wars, etc. And this is precisely because of imperial and hegemonic ambitions. The U.S. is currently involved in several wars across the globe; it has more than 800 military bases spread across every continent except Antarctica. The military budget is over bloated, leaving less and less for spending on useful things. You get the picture. It’s not quite true that Trump eschews imperial adventures as you might think. If you remember, he threatened to blow North Korea away. And he is presently threatening to invade Venezuela. Also, he has assiduously pursued drone warfare started by his predecessors. He has continued to pursue the criminal war in Yemen instead of stopping U.S. complicity/active involvement. Besides as a civilian Trump supported the Iraq war even though he now denies it. With Trump, you never know, he could be expousing a policy only because it’s expedient.
I think Trump does the same as his predecessors because he really diesn’t Know how to implement what he campaigned on and then does everything worse – more bombing in Afghanistan than Ibama, bombing in Syria, absurd sanctions on Itsn and Russia, starvation on Nort Korea and Venezuela – not because that solves the problem but to make himself looking as being the greatest. But there is no plan besides the 50’s plan of oil dominance and natural gas now. But when viable alternative energy from hydrogen fuel cells and in time nuclear fusion energy are close to becoming viable, this “energy dominance” looks like a dynosaur. China has the largest alternative energy capacities; Japan is at the forefront for hydrogen use. China is electrifying wherever it can to clean the air. The US will in time find itself sitting on a lot of oil no longer in demand.
Hydrogen is not a primary energy source on Earth. At best, it is a storage battery.
The US is a generation behind in education. Since the Bush admin the US relied on importing educated people from China. Now that they are no longer staying, the US has a very reduced talent pool and no longer the former strength of innovation. See the demise of Apple and the large advance in 5G by Huawei.
Mr. Escobar is far more knowledgeable about these issues than I am. So are most (all) of the commenters here. But I can’t help thinking it’s all too 18/19/20th century. I don’t fear Russia or China.
When 26 individuals have more wealth than 3.8 billion of us, those people have more power than nations. They’re not emperors, they’re gods. They have no responsibility nor constraint. I fear them. I fear their global corporations which subvert democracy and reshape our planet in their image.
Good observation. But it applies only if governments are corrupt. And in time the impoverished masses will revolt. It’s not unlike the toppling of the aristocracy. In time these money magnates will lack tech expertise and be left behind, in the stock market they will reign, but in trade they will lose to smaller, more dynamic companies.
China makes stuff The US bombs stuff. You see thses kids in Nursey school every day. The kid who spends hours creating somethin only to have the bully run over and destroy it. The more contemptible are the wee cowards (US vassals and media) who egg on the bully.
Mr. Escobar, in my opinion, your essay is 100% right on. What worries me is that the US and its vassals now shamelessly and overtly disregard international law. The recognition of an unelected president in Venezuela and all of the unilateral sanctions are examples. The rhetoric is becoming a whirlwind, and the lies ever more obscene. My worry is the Bolton-Pompeo-Deep State-NATO will go over the edge and put us into a world war. I don’t think I’m being paranoid here. This is my opinion having watched its unfolding over years. The vassals are becoming weaker, bending to US demands like a bully to a child. We are in trouble.
I recently purchased a Huawei Mate 20 Pro cell phone. Initially, my interest was in protest over the arrest of the Huawei CEO in Canada, here again to the command of its US handlers. But the more I found out about that phone, it has many attributes clearly ahead of its competition. So how could Huawei be copying western technology when this Chinese product is at the forefront?
Apr 12, 2017 China Russia Move For Gold Against Dollar Makes Them A Target By Trump
In this video we talk about all the latest breaking news regarding the financial quite feud between Russia, China and U.S. Its important to note that this move against Donald Trump and the U.S petro dollar being the world reserve currency was made before Trumps aggressive actions against a mutual ally to Russia and China.
“Professor Xiang Lanxin … defined BRI as an avenue to a “post-Westphalian world.” The journey is just beginning; a new geopolitical and economic era is at hand. And the U.S. is being left behind at the station.”
“Post-Westphalian” means a system in which international organizations become independent sites of authority.
In other words Pepe Escobar celebrates the demise of odious US imperialism and the concomitant rise of glorious Chinese imperialism.
What the person Pepe quoted probably had in mind was the world of sovereign states that came into imperfect realisation after (post) the treaty of Westphalia, and that looks to be realised now with the defeat of the Anglo-Zionist (globalist) empire.
I take courage, even hope, at the various statements relative to this article. I hope that what Escobar asserts will come to pass, but predicting what is likely to happen is precarious. I only hope that a nuclear conflagration will not occur along the way, and that climate change will be addressed, or adapted to, in the next several decades.
The current leaders of U.S. government policy are mad, and consequently dangerous.
Regardless whether we are right or wrong, it cannot be denied that the climate change frenzy necessarily results in more massive transferal of wealth from the poorest to the wealthy. I personally see it as a huge scam and smokescreen overshadowing far more potentially destructive developments.
Ten years ago, I would have argued the point with you. But now, more and more, I agree. They’ve been going on and on about global warming leading to rising sea levels for nearly 30 years now, but as far as I know, we still have yet to lose one single Pacific atoll. Some crisis!
Escobar confuses military expertise on the one hand with scientific and technological expertise on the other. Russia’s current expenditure on science and technology is about one twentieth of that of the US.
Russia is a technological pygmy.
Love Pepe’s analysis, but I wonder if he is missing the impact global warming will have on the best-laid plans of any of the powers that be. Economies will be disrupted along with lives of billions of people. Parts of Australia has had excruciating heat waves followed by massive flooding recently. The U.S. has also suffered huge damages because of extreme weather. Is this not an elephant in our global room?
NASA scientists are just now warning about a coming cold spell which could be similar to the recent mini-ice age. This is due to the disappearance of sunspot activity in the last year.
Also, do you live in the center of North America? The temperature in Canada’s Fort McMurray, where the oil sands are, was -47°C yesterday. There have been many records for cold temperatures set across the US and Canada this winter.
It is all due to global Warnung aka climate change, We know by now (sarcasm off)
> Also, do you live in the center of North America? The temperature in Canada’s Fort McMurray, where the oil sands are, was -47°C yesterday.
So the polar vortex made an unusual swoop down into the Midwest. But at exactly the same time, the temperatures on Spitsbergen, far north of the Arctic Circle, were hovering around the freezing point. And Australia has been suffering a record-smashing heat wave (in a couple of places temperatures approached 50°C).
For decades now, climatologists have been saying that one feature of the climate catastrophe will be increasing variation in the weather and more extremes of weather.
Does that ring any bells?
The US had two hurricanes last year and that basically is it. Hurricanes always come and go, with the US SE region being a favorite target. Nothing unusual about that. I am in the Detroit area. We just got out of a record breaking cold spell here, as did most of the nation. We also haven’t had a normal summer here for almost two decades. The Detroit Metro area norm is for at least a month of reaching 90 degrees plus during the summer. It is now the new norm to only get a week or two of that kind of heat. This issue is just chicken little stuff anymore being pushed by elites with an agenda and busybodies that have nothing better else to worry about. According to Al Gore in one of the 2000 Presidential debates the average temp of the earth should have risen by 11 degrees by 2010. If that occurred we would have been living in water world by 2004 as it only takes the mean temp of both polar ice caps to rise a mere 1 degree centigrade to flood the planet.
At some point, China and Russia will grow weary of America coming into countries in which C&R have invested billions and steal the wealth (ie Libya). China and Russia will “one day” stand up to the US with more than harsh words and say enough is enough. Venezuela comes to mind of course. The US will finally threaten all those who stand in their way with “all options are on the table” or nuclear annihilation (C&R) and one day the bluff will be called. As America has yelled “you are either with us or against us,” the world will have to choose between extinction or shutting down the world bully. John Michael Greer’s excellent book Twilight’s Last Gleaming” plays this out in a great fictional book that talks about the future of the US, to even include the invasion of Venezuela and the eventual defeat (can you say Afghanistan?) Great page turner. As we slide into decay ala Not so great Britain, hopefully, the adult in the white house will not tip over the table because the game is lost and push the big red button as they rush for the bunkers. One can be only so hopeful.
Sun Tzu is being read by the US military, but greed and arrogance makes the principles unworkable:
18. All warfare is based on deception.
19. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.
20. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.
21. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.
22. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.
23. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them.
24. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
25. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.
26. Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.
Great comments Tony. That time is coming & it’s soon, I think, when Russia’s strategic patience will finally come to a end & just as in Syria where Russia intervened & stopped the US in its tracks, they now possess the superior weaponry to defend itself against America’s inferior missiles? Russia now knows beyond any doubt that America has no determination too abide by any International Laws & that any Arms Treaties they sign with the US will never be honored & is not worth the paper it’s written on because the US is a untrustworthy devious partner! The American Empire has pushed Russia & China to breaking point with their immoral regime change wars & economic sanctions warfare & their arrogant posturing & pathetic Sabre rattling which is going to come back & bite them in the butt? If the US Empire wants another World War, which judging by what their own Strategists have stated is a War they cannot win if they took on China & Russia so they should be careful what they wish for? Russia & China will defend themselves to the death & will have no qualms about destroying this Global scourge & Terrorist Bully called America!
Re: “John Michael Greer’s excellent book Twilight’s Last Gleaming” plays this out in a great fictional book that talks about the future of the US, to even include the invasion of Venezuela and the eventual defeat (can you say Afghanistan?) Great page turner. ”
Excellent book. Looks pretty realistic each day since it was written in late 2014.
Re: “to even include the invasion of Venezuela”
Did you mean Tanzania? I don’t remember the role of V in the book.
“MAGA Misses the Eurasia Train”
Perhaps they can catch this train in the future since with different participants it has visited Kobe and Moscow in 1973, Moscow once more in 1993, and various other stations since them.
As before though, they will likely have to conform with the rules of carriage, including not trying to dictate to others enjoying the service.
You’ve got it all wrong. China is making a solid deal with the U.S. Russia and the U.S. are at a temporary standoff due to the Mueller investigation and the missile mishap but that will be worked out. Trump has said he wants talks about missiles. Neither he nor Putin would want to eradicate the accord they established at Helsinki which was to have developed further at the White House in January but was made impossible by the #RussiaHoax. Soon Trump and Putin will be working together to form an alliance that will be mutually beneficial. Warmongers must be called out and forced out. #BoltonMustGo.
You can’t be serious, Lynn. Trump has already given adequate evidence that he has caved to the MIC on foreign policy. When the Bankrupter-in-chief reversed himself (misspoke) on his Russian election meddling stance immediately after returning from Helsinki, I knew the idea of a Russian rapprochement was DOA. He folded quicker than a cheap card-table.
Lynn, are you for real? Trumps done more backflips that a Olympic Gymnast? The “Caver in chief” has completely sold out to the Deepstate & delegated Foreign Policy to Pychopaths such as Bolton, Pompeo & the War Criminal Abrams which is leading the charge to a new World War? Everone knows Trump is full of crap & a complete Bullsh***er! He’s broken every one of his Election promises regarding wanting better relations with Russia & getting the US out of Regime change wars etc? His withdrawal from the JCPOA Iran Nuclear deal & withdrawing from the INF Treaty & every Treaty going confirms that fact that America is the most dishonest, Lawless Nation on Earth & that Trump is the most dangerous fool, out of the many other fools, ever to have occupied the Whitehouse! Trump’s “build that Wall rant” which shut down the Federal Govt resulted in a humiliating backdown which handed the Democrats the Template to strangle this orange headed clown & confine him to lameduck irrelevance with his only outlet being blowing up Twitter with his insane diatribes? America you get the Leaders you deserve & now you have to live with it? Good luck with that?
Not that the U.S. Congress could ever be mistaken for an imposing font of wisdom, but under the American Constitution most foreign treaties like the INF and SDI must be ratified by the Senate, besides being signed by the president, and are thereby considered to carry the force of U.S. law. It’s a travesty that an incoming president can unilaterally tear up the work of his predecessors without the approval of Congress. Has this high-handed usurpation of power by the executive ever been adjudicated by the Supreme Court?
As matters stand, Dubya and Trump have single-handedly undone the work of numerous presidents, diplomats, executive aids and congress critters to put 7.5 billion humans at increased risk of nuclear annihilation by scotching the ABM and INF treaties respectively. Congress may, in substance, be nothing more than a bombastic clown car, but does it never act to preserve its prerogatives under the constitution–unless they have to do with threatening the impeachment of a chief executive from the other major party? What are the SALT, START, and indeed any other treaty worth when presidents are allowed to act so impulsively? Like the JCPOA, none of them were ever more than wishful thinking, mainly because Washington’s word, though signed and sworn to, is utterly worthless.
What you are describing is the decline and fall of the British Empire, which many foolishly thought had retired after WWII.
I think it fair to say China builds while America bombs.
And America’s establishment is too full of itself to recognize and participate in the great things a country like China is doing.
When your major aim is dominance over others – many others – it doesn’t leave a lot of time or resources for other things.
Look at America’s infrastructure – rotting away in a thousand places.
Look at America’s people – rotting away in thousand places.
The only major nation still without even a form of national healthcare.
Elementary education so poor in many cases that international studies show poor little Cuba puts it shame.
Yet, you recently committed to a trillion dollar program to upgrade and alter the characteristics of thermonuclear weapons.
And the combined American military and security budgets exceed anything else on earth. Indeed, exceed the total for all the major nations combined.
Washington serves the elites that pay its political bills and really no one else.
They’ve come to resemble great Dukes in 18th century France who did not take notice of peasants in the roadway. They often became roadkill under the wheels of a carriage. That’s not far from how America’s power establishment regards itself.
My God it doesn’t even have to pay any taxes worth talking about, again like the Dukes and Archbishops of 18th century France.
China’s great projects are going to make lives better for many hundreds of millions of people, and China doesn’t even pretend to be a democracy.
Amen! …. and ‘may your tribe increase’.
Most excellent essay. Thanks.
Pepe – always insightful, always educational.
>MAGA Misses the Eurasia Train<
"MAGA" was about re-industriaisling the US, ending murderous incessant US foreign interventions, and ending the artificial demonization of Russia/Putin.
The title to this article should the FBI, Clinton, CIA, US arms manufacturers, etc. anti- Trump MAGA deep state campaign to destroy a President and what he was elected for, is succeeding.
Superb article by Escobar.
I have long been appalled by the viciousness of Brzezinski and Kissinger and the havoc their machinations have wreaked up on the world. But they did have one legitimate argument. If the United States is left on the outside, while Eurasia rises, the USA might end up as prey.
The US should use its strength to negotiate with the great powers, rather than try to dominate the planet. The US has five per cent of the world’s landmass and five percent of its population. Thus, domination is a strategy which is doomed to failure. Unfortunately, the people who are actually running the United States will probably not come to terms with that reality until it is too late.
I agree that negotiation with China and Russia would be the logical method for self preservation and prosperity. The US will not be able to stand on its own against China and Russia long term, so it should aim to balance arms control, economic pacts, and mutual security to ensure a more peaceful and prosperous future. Instead, it is trying to provoke both countries at the same time, which is a great way to experience what Germany experienced in WWII.
>It’s immaterial that Russia’s economy is one-tenth of China’s. From boosting trade..<
No it's not.
Geopolitically, nations' strength is very roughly approximated by their population and by their GDP.
Normal geopolitics would have the US and Russia partnering against a rising China.
Under the current situation, Russia as a nation looks like it's going to be swamped and subsumed by China in the decades ahead. I'm sure that's not lost on knowledgable Russians.
Nord Stream could help boost Russia’s economy, that’s why Trump is opposed to it.
>Nord Stream could help boost Russia’s economy, that’s why Trump is opposed to it.<
A bigger reason is Europe being dependent on Russian energy makes the EU / NATO acting against real or imaginary Russian transgressions in years/decades ahead difficult and doubtful.
I think all the economic sanctions, expelling diplomats over pseudo Russian collusion and micro-aggressions, election meddling, are examples of what this anachronistic corrupt Clinton FBI CIA etc nexus is capable of pressuring Trump into doing.
“Under the current situation, Russia as a nation looks like it’s going to be swamped and subsumed by China in the decades ahead. I’m sure that’s not lost on knowledgable Russians.”
Linear extrapolations are always prejudicial.
I taught English inChinese Manchuria for 6 years. I never heard a student say “I want to move to Sibera!”
As shown in this article, China is preparing its population for war:
China’s leadership has come to the conclusion that war with the United States is unavoidable.
Sarge pretty much sums it up. The growth of our perceived enemies, in particular economic growth, is seen as a threat rather than an opportunity to advance the standard of living throughout the world. The intelligence community perceives China and Russia as military threats not because of their actions but because of what they might do. Congress and the White House, to the glee of the MIC, rush to increase military spending to respond to a threat its paranoia and opportunism creates. Why not cooperation and collaboration instead of destructive competition?
An outstanding question: “Why not cooperation and collaboration instead of destructive competition?” I believe the answer lies in US and UK history as desiring unilateral dominance due to Anglo superiority, which is what one learns when deeply reading into their histories AND the associated Myths promoted as a result–myths that became internalized as truths, quite unfortunately for the world. Look at the fundamental philosophy that drove/is driving the UK and Outlaw US Empires: Zerosumism–the game of Monopoly in international relations. There is to be NO sharing, although the UK was and continues to be the more Enlightened nation. Then there’s the great fear that Marx was correct–Capitalism is destined to evolve into Socialism: No Sharing becomes Everyone Shares–and that’s a prospect that must be delayed for as long as possible–forever being ideal.
Brilliant overview such as we have come to expect from Pepe. The commitment to brute force and dreams of total world dominance blind the US leadership from seeing the obvious advantages of a peaceful world order.
Hard to say how much is willful ignorance and how much is simply running on schadenfreude. Either way, the result of MAGA is a bright shining dumpster fire on the hill.
“A many-headed hydra, MAGA, stripped to the bone, could be read as a non-ideological antidote to the Empire’s global adventurism. Trump, in his non-strategic, shambolic way, proposed at least in theory the return to a social contract in the U.S. MAGA in theory would translate into jobs, opportunities for small businesses, low taxes and no more foreign wars.”
The problem is not MAGA, fake nostalgia but wistful, the problems are that Nixon switched from gold to the petrodollar, the basis for unilateral hegemony; GHW Bush bypassed senile Reagan to unleash the uncontainable CIA, and gave credence to the crazed military and neocon/ neolib think tanks; and Clinton was obsessed with Russia even after the Soviet Union fell, throwing away the Peace Dividend, raping Russia under Yeltsin and abrogating NATO agreements and giving advantages (and jobs and technology) to Communist China, as a counterbalance to a far less threatening Russia, and allowing China to become what they are today. The Bush/ Cheney and Obama/ Hillary followups down those same nakedly aggressive pathways, removing restraints and regulation to make killing, maiming and creating millions of homeless peoples more efficient, was inevitable. As is Trump’s administration hurtling down the same incline, under the direction of the same untouchable “adults in the room” fostered upon America by the mainstream media and their masters.
Any sane leaders would cut their losses, move away from deadly sanctions and military adventurism, build cooperative, multilateral coalitions and focus on trade and the People. Of course sane leaders would accept a loss in their Election, lick their wounds, fix their problems, get stuff done– so they have real accomplishments to point to– and prepare for the next Election.
The US Empire can’t compete with China & Russia’s advancements & so the only thing they can do is act as a spoiler, a disrupter & a spanner in the works to try & contain the rise of these great Powers & Countries! In particular Russia has developed new weaponry & hypersonic missiles & laser & EMP Technology that has the potential to send America back to the Stone Age? Russia & China just laugh at America’s Sabre rattling & empty threats & need to zip the mouth shut & stop the pathetic bluster & BS? China’s is playing 4D chess with a one shot, dying US Empire that’s heading into bankruptcy & irrelevance? Trump’s pulling the trigger with the only weapon that the US has at its left at it’s disposal, short of a Military strike which is the weaponisation of the US Dollar to punish Nations with sanctions, sanctions & more sanctions, but this has already backfired spectacularly, accelerating the move away from the US dollar & other Countries are coordinating their efforts to dump US Treasury’s & American debt & to move away from the US dollar & Petrodollar system that will cause a massive US economic collapse & with that the demise of the US Hegemonic Empire, once & for all time? And what a great day that will be for the World? No more American Imperial wars of aggression, no more regime change meddling & no more corrupt American disaster capitalism & economic sanctions destroying Nations due to American greed! Good riddance!
For me as an American, aside from the continued warfare and destruction waged with the US dollar, there’s also the oddities with the American monetary system that’s likely to baffle certain foreigners.
One of the annoyances I have with American dollar bills is the lack of color differentiation (think of Monopoly money). Unlike banknotes for other major currencies, especially the New Zealand dollar, US dollar bills have, until 2004 (?), been printed in one single color for all denominations. This makes it inconvenient for hard-of-sight users to differentiate between each denomination without resorting to hacks. While the bills from 2004 onward do have a differing color for each denomination, however, it’s still kinda flimsy and hard to notice. Oh, and why the heck did it take until 2004 for the US to print their notes in color when other countries have been doing it for decades if not centuries? Some of them (the eurozone, notably) have printed notes in different sizes as well!
I am convinced that the US dollar’s hegemony worldwide is preventing the Federal Bureau from making a change as ambitious as printing notes in color. Hopefully, if currencies like the yuan or ruble dethrone the dollar, this problem, among others, will be alleviated.
Side note: Speaking of the euro, I could be wrong, but I don’t see it likely that it might replace the dollar, especially if the EU’s kowtowing to NATO and the crises in the Southern European states are anything to go by. On the other hand, Saddam Hussein did get executed after threatening to sell oil in euros instead of dollars.
This permanent US obsession with “danger” to itself really is tedious in the extreme. Constantly bleating like a terrified child about “security” despite never having been targeted for – let alone threatened by – invasion. Even stranger, given this fixation, is America’s total inability to empathize with any defensive action by Russia or China, countries that have suffered genocidal invasions within living memory. Somewhere along the way something went seriously awry in the home of the brave. It is now so deeply imbued with scared child syndrome that even peaceful economic development outside its sphere of domination us perceived to be an existential threat rather than an opportunity to cooperate in. You get a sense from some of the psychos in DC they would rather destroy all life on the planet than see any diminution in the hegemony of US TNCs. The blackened skulls of Bolton and McCain retrieved from the nuclear ash ten centuries later bearing tight grins.
I doubt I could have said it better. I think the key you seek is that the US is projecting onto other countries (specifically China and Russia) the same kind of malign behavior that the US actually exhibits.
Republican Senate leader Vandenberg advised Truman to scare the hell out of the American, in order to facilitate the passage of inflated defense budgets.
Ever since Presidents have been doing the same. In the meantime the Defense industry and the MIC have grown so vast as to constitute the backbone of the economy- on which our culture is the flesh. A culture in which fear is the central fact, fear which has long outlasted its alleged cause (International Communist aggression) and has thus become immune to challenge. Since nobody agrees on what it is that we are afraid of it is pointless to demonstrate that fear is unjustified.
So it is that the people are nomads in search of menaces on which to graze, racial fears, cultural fears, ecological fears, fears of epidemics to come, fears of the unknown.
So sensitive have we become to escalating threats from idle conjecture into existential challenges that the skimpiest connections with reality are sufficient to make millions quake in concert, like gospel choirs, at the spectre of Russian interference in elections or Chinese industrial espionage.
War, with its promise of death, is what such a society longs for, to end its anticipatory trembling and put an end to an intolerable existence of permanent trepidation
Well said bevin!
Cooperation would necessitate sharing. The Western based Global Corporatist empire is the epitome of greed. They want the whole pie, and they’ll blow up the world rather than share. Also, as Bevin mentions, the MIC is entrenched. Cooperation would mean that they’d have to re-tool and create a new business model. It’s much easier to create bogeymen and maintain the business model whose profits are overflowing your coffers.
One would think that if American capital covets the cornucopia of natural resources still untapped in the vast interior of Russia that the American government it owns through “campaign contributions” would try to play nice with Russia. Rather, immediately following the dissolution of the Soviet Union American predators first joined with a tiny clique of emerging Russian oligarchs (mostly former insiders of the Nomenklatura) to plunder the country, leaving millions of regular folks without work, income and the necessities of life.
Rather than offering aid and remedy, the process was facilitated by the Clinton administration during the Yeltsin years. It was only stopped by Putin and a relatively small share of the plunder clawed back from oligarchs like Khodorkovsky, Gaidar, Chubias and Browder. Further compounding the moral outrage, Washington decided to side with the criminals rather than the common people by passing the infamous Magnitsky Act.
Yet American corporations were still cooperating with Russian “partners” (as Putin has always characterised the two parties) to exploit Russia’s resources, market them worldwide and make a tidy profit for their American shareholders. The significant deals that American oil companies, like Exxon run by Rex Tilerson, had made with Russia to help development of her oil fields seemed to still offer hope that both America and Russia could win if they cooperated in the business arena rather than warred on one another either militarily or economically.
It was the scenario that Donald Trump promised during his presidential campaign after Barack Obama had deliberately and systematically poisoned the well with his numerous economic sanctions, Russian property seizures, consular closures and diplomatic recalls. It’s the ostensible reason Mr. Tilerson was appointed Secretary of State by Mr. Trump.
Up until Trump’s inauguration and the subsequent full court political press by losing candidate Hillary Clinton, the Democrats and RINO’s like John McCain to see Trump removed from office, a process still ongoing after two years of futility by a “special prosecutor” who desperately seeks evidence that any crime occurred rather than prosecuting a clearly established offense, there still seemed to be hope that normalized relations with Russia could be restored and the mutually beneficial “deals” that Trump promised in the campaign could be sought. This “make deals not war” policy seemed as good an approximation of “make peace not war” that sane people could hope for in the present political climate.
But this was not to be because the American political establishment has not been at peace with most of its own population. The Congress is nearly entirely at odds with the executive, mostly because he is an outsider who was never intended to win by the insiders who assumed they entirely controlled the election process, while the witch hunt to remove and obstruct him at every turn is termed “the resistance,” which pointedly means to imply that he is an illegitimate usurper of the office. Moreover, his main offenses are asserted to be “collusion” with Russia in stealing the election and acting as a zombified Manchurian candidate taking orders from Vladimir Putin.
Most objective observers must admit they have not seen any actual evidence to suggest either assertion to be even partially true. However, Mr Trump’s galloping refutation of his campaign rhetoric on peaceful coexistence with Russia, to be replaced with the hysterical Russophrenia embraced by the vast bipartisan War Party in Congress and denizens of the Deep State where the true power of Washington resides, does hint that the man has been co-opted, not by Putin or Russia, but by elements within the government that he is supposed to lead under the constitution.
If you ask me (and I know nobody has), Mr. Trump can make no deals with Russia that are not allowed by his Deep State handlers. Are those handlers Bolton and Pompeo, you might ask, or somebody deeper? That probably does not matter, because whoever the “Allfather” may be, he does NOT want peace or any deals even slightly beneficial to Russia–even if that policy greatly damages the United States or its “allies.” For instance, he does not want cheap Russian natural gas sold to Europe–at all, no matter how badly Europe needs the product nor how much ecological damage might be created by fraking our countryside to replace it with expensive American LNG. Oklahoma is supposed to endure earthquakes and polluted aquifers and Europeans are expected to build new ship terminals and pay double for the gas just to thwart Russia.
You’re right, Skip. They’d rather blow it all up than share any of it.
Thanks Realist. Your comments are always enlightening. I realize there are those businessmen who would like to have amicable relations with Russia with an eye towards making fair, mutually advantageous deals. Some are in the USA, and there are many in Europe. But the people like Browder and the MIC own the Congress and the apparatus of the “Deep State”. Their business model doesn’t allow for mutually beneficial relationships. It is all about dominance, not partnership. It is all about rape, pillage and plunder. I think the root of it may be that they fear the US dollar will fail to remain the reserve currency if they don’t prop it up with threats of violence and bribes to the right people.
Realist, your comments are always welcome, informative, often humorous, and always appreciated.