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Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Sanctions On Russia Lead To More Ship Emissions, Says Cargill

Posted by M. C. on September 23, 2022

The very fact that Europe has to source LNG from Asia on longer routes while vessels burn dirtier fuel is entirely hypocritical to the bloc’s stance about saving the planet. For some context, shipping is responsible for almost 3% of man-made carbon-dioxide emissions. 

Like Slow Joe says, we all have to suffer to save the EU from itself …err…stop Nord Stream 2 …err…save Ukraine.

Tyler Durden's Photo

BY TYLER DURDEN

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/sanctions-russia-lead-more-ship-emissions-says-cargill

The unilateral sanctions that Western countries slapped Moscow with are igniting even more man-made carbon-dioxide emissions from the shipping industry as Europe rejiggers energy supply chains away from Russia by sourcing energy products from far away.

Jan Dieleman, Cargill Inc.’s head of ocean transportation business, told Bloomberg that European importers are hiring tankers for long-distance hauls of energy products from countries halfway around the world. If it weren’t for the sanctions, natural gas and other refined energy products would flow via pipelines from Russia to Europe. 

But since Europe is hellbent on rapidly shifting its entire energy supply chain away from Russia. EU importers are hiring tankers to source liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Asia. 

In a recent note, we outlined the insanity behind the EU’s panic buying of LNG from China. It’s so idiotic because China is just reselling Russian LNG… 

Dieleman said higher fuel costs for vessels mean ship operators are switching to dirtier-burning fuels like diesel or crude oil on these long-haul trips. 

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War With Russia, China, Iran: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Posted by M. C. on September 23, 2022

by Walt Zlotow

antiwar.com

The US is locked in endless proxy war with Russia over Ukraine.

The US is locked in rapid escalation with China leading to possible war over Taiwan.

The US is locked in a collision course with Iran over their imaginary nuclear program that could blow up the Middle East.

I’ve not been as concerned about the world stumbling into nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis, 60 years ago next month. A high school senior then, I worried about being denied a long life. Now, at 77, I fret more about my children and grandkids being denied that privilege.

US world dominance since collapse of the Soviet Union is over, but it doesn’t realize it. Like a wounded animal, the US is lashing out on 3 fronts, none of which may have an ending short of nuclear war, and none of which can resurrect American world dominance.

Once the US falls into to abyss of uncontrolled war, we will be no better off than Humpty Dumpty.

Walt Zlotow became involved in antiwar activities upon entering University of Chicago in 1963. He is current president of the West Suburban Peace Coalition based in the Chicago western suburbs. He blogs daily on antiwar and other issues at www.heartlandprogressive.blogspot.com.

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Will The United States and NATO Wake Up To What Happened at the Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization?

Posted by M. C. on September 22, 2022

By Larry Johnson
Gateway Pundit

I am certain that most Americans do not have a clue what transpired this week at the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (aka SCO). It is a clarion call, a defiant declaration, that the countries, which account for over half of the world’s population, are no longer going to defer to the United States. The attendees included Russia, China, India, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The speeches by Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping are especially noteworthy. Both countries put the United States on notice that the United States and NATO will be treated as a sponsor of terrorism because they supply weapons to Ukraine that are being used to attack civilian targets.

I am certain that most Americans do not have a clue what transpired this week at the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (aka SCO). It is a clarion call, a defiant declaration, that the countries, which account for over half of the world’s population, are no longer going to defer to the United States. The attendees included Russia, China, India, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The speeches by Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping are especially noteworthy. Both countries put the United States on notice that the United States and NATO will be treated as a sponsor of terrorism because they supply weapons to Ukraine that are being used to attack civilian targets. You may accuse me of exaggerating because neither Putin nor Xi mention the United States or NATO by name. But the actions of the NATO allies in Ukraine are seen by both Russia and China as acts of terrorism. I am reprinting the salient portions of each speech below.

Russia and China also put the west on notice that Iran is no longer going to be treated as a pariah state. Iran is welcomed emphatically by both Putin and Xi as a member of the SCO. Going forward, this means that Iran will do business with all members of the SCO under the rubric of a new financial order being organized by Russia, China, India and Brazil.

I am sure this is jarring news to the western allies. They have enjoyed the luxury of the dominance of the U.S. Dollar as the international reserve currency. It was the Golden Rule at work–those with the gold make the rules. The United States faces a dilemma because it insists on levying international sanctions on any nation or leader who refuses to toe Washington’s line, but the blow back effects of those sanctions are savaging the European economies and will hurt America as well.

China and Russia now realize and affirm that the United States is no longer a reliable, trustworthy partner. They see the United States as a petulant child that, in the past, coerced others by throwing temper tantrums and launching ill-conceived, foolish foreign military operations.

Most important, but not said, the leaders of the SCO realize that Washington is leaderless. Biden is a demented buffoon. Putin demonstrated this in his press conference. He did not have a podium to lean on. He did not have a cheat sheet of journalists that instructed him who to call on. And he spoke intelligently off the cuff. Pay attention to what he says:

President Xi’s speech lays out in detail the future of the SCO:

Under these new conditions, the SCO, as an important constructive force in international and regional affairs, should keep itself well-positioned in the face of changing international dynamics, ride on the trend of the times, strengthen solidarity and cooperation and build a closer SCO community with a shared future.

First, we need to enhance mutual support. We should strengthen high-level exchanges and strategic communication, deepen mutual understanding and political trust, and support each other in our efforts to uphold security and development interests. We should guard against attempts by external forces to instigate “color revolution,” jointly oppose interference in other countries’ internal affairs under any pretext, and hold our future firmly in our own hands.

Second, we need to expand security cooperation. A proverb in Uzbekistan goes to the effect that “With peace, a country enjoys prosperity, just as with rain, the land can flourish.” The Global Security Initiative put forward by China is to address the peace deficit and global security challenges. It calls on all countries to stay true to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture. We welcome all stakeholders to get involved in implementing this initiative.

We should continue to carry out joint anti-terrorism exercises, crack down hard on terrorism, separatism and extremism, drug trafficking as well as cyber and transnational organized crimes; and we should effectively meet the challenges in data security, biosecurity, outer space security and other non-traditional security domains. China is ready to train 2,000 law enforcement personnel for SCO member states in the next five years, and establish a China-SCO base for training counter-terrorism personnel, so as to enhance capacity-building for law enforcement of SCO member states.

Third, we need to deepen practical cooperation. To deliver a better life for people of all countries in the region is our shared goal. The Global Development Initiative launched by China aims to focus global attention on development, foster global development partnership, and achieve more robust, greener and more balanced global development. China is ready to work with all other stakeholders to pursue this initiative in our region to support the sustainable development of regional countries.

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‘Samarkand Spirit’ to Be Driven by ‘Responsible Powers’ Russia and China

Posted by M. C. on September 19, 2022

The SCO summit of Asian power players delineated a road map for strengthening the multipolar world

By Pepe Escobar
The Cradle

Arguably the biggest takeaway of this week’s Samarkand summit is that Chinese President Xi Jinping presented China and Russia, together, as “responsible global powers” bent on securing the emergence of multipolarity, and refusing the arbitrary “order” imposed by the United States and its unipolar worldview.

https://thecradle.co/Article/Columns/15771

Amidst serious tremors in the world of geopolitics, it is so fitting that this year’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) heads of state summit should have taken place in Samarkand – the ultimate Silk Road crossroads for 2,500 years.

When in 329 BC Alexander the Great reached the then Sogdian city of Marakanda, part of the Achaemenid empire, he was stunned: “Everything I have heard about Samarkand it’s true, except it is even more beautiful than I had imagined.”

Fast forward to an Op-Ed by Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev published ahead of the SCO summit, where he stresses how Samarkand now “can become a platform that is able to unite and reconcile states with various foreign policy priorities.”

After all, historically, the world from the point of view of the Silk Road landmark has always been “perceived as one and indivisible, not divided. This is the essence of a unique phenomenon – the ‘Samarkand spirit’.”

And here Mirziyoyev ties the “Samarkand Spirit” to the original SCO “Shanghai Spirit” established in early 2001, a few months before the events of September 11, when the world was forced into strife and endless war, almost overnight.

All these years, the culture of the SCO has been evolving in a distinctive Chinese way. Initially, the Shanghai Five were focused on fighting terrorism – months before the US war of terror (italics mine) metastasized from Afghanistan to Iraq and beyond.

Over the years, the initial “three no’s” – no alliance, no confrontation, no targeting any third party – ended up equipping a fast, hybrid vehicle whose ‘four wheels’ are ‘politics, security, economy, and humanities,’ complete with a Global Development Initiative, all of which contrast sharply with the priorities of a hegemonic, confrontational west.

Arguably the biggest takeaway of this week’s Samarkand summit is that Chinese President Xi Jinping presented China and Russia, together, as “responsible global powers” bent on securing the emergence of multipolarity, and refusing the arbitrary “order” imposed by the United States and its unipolar worldview.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pronounced Xi’s bilateral conversation with President Vladimir Putin as “excellent.” Xi Jinping, previous to their meeting, and addressing Putin directly, had already stressed the common Russia-China objectives:

“In the face of the colossal changes of our time on a global scale, unprecedented in history, we are ready with our Russian colleagues to set an example of a responsible world power and play a leading role in order to put such a rapidly changing world on the trajectory of sustainable and positive development.”

Later, in the preamble to the heads of state meeting, Xi went straight to the point: it is important to “prevent attempts by external forces to organize ‘color revolutions’ in the SCO countries.” Well, Europe wouldn’t be able to tell, because it has been color-revolutionized non-stop since 1945.

Putin, for his part, sent a message that will be ringing all across the Global South: “Fundamental transformations have been outlined in world politics and economics, and they are irreversible.” (italics mine)

Iran: it’s showtime

Iran was the guest star of the Samarkand show, officially embraced as the 9th member of the SCO. President Ebrahim Raisi, significantly, stressed before meeting Putin that “Iran does not recognize sanctions against Russia.” Their strategic partnership will be enhanced. On the business front, a hefty delegation comprising leaders of 80 large Russian companies will be visiting Tehran next week.

The increasing Russia-China-Iran interpolation – the three top drivers of Eurasia integration – scares the hell out of the usual suspects, who may be starting to grasp how the SCO represents, in the long run, a serious challenge to their geoeconomic game. So, as every grain of sand in every Heartland desert is already aware, the geopolitical pressure against the trio will increase exponentially.

And then there was the mega-crucial Samarkand trilateral: Russia-China-Mongolia. There were no official leaks, but this trio arguably discussed the Power of Siberia-2 gas pipeline – the interconnector to be built across Mongolia; and Mongolia’s enhanced role in a crucial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) connectivity corridor, now that China is not using the Trans-Siberian route for exports to Europe because of sanctions.

Putin briefed Xi on all aspects of Russia’s Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine, and arguably answered some really tough questions, many of them circulating wildly on the Chinese web for months now.

Which brings us to Putin’s presser at the end of the summit – with virtually all questions predictably revolving around the military theater in Ukraine.

The key takeaway from the Russian president: “There are no changes on the SMO plan. The main tasks are being implemented.” On peace prospects, it is Ukraine that “is not ready to talk to Russia.” And overall, “it is regrettable that the west had the idea to use Ukraine to try to collapse Russia.”

On the fertilizer soap opera, Putin remarked, “food supply, energy supply, they (the west) created these problems, and now are trying to resolve them at the expense of someone else” – meaning the poorest nations. “European countries are former colonial powers and they still have this paradigm of colonial philosophy. The time has come to change their behavior, to become more civilized.”

On his meeting with Xi Jinping: “It was just a regular meeting, it’s been quite some time we haven’t had a meeting face to face.” They talked about how to “expand trade turnover” and circumvent the “trade wars caused by our so-called partners,” with “expansion of settlements in national currencies not progressing as fast as we want.”

Strenghtening multipolarity

Putin’s bilateral with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi could not have been more cordial – on a “very special friendship” register – with Modi calling for serious solutions to the food and fuel crises, actually addressing the west. Meanwhile, the State Bank of India will be opening special rupee accounts to handle Russia-related trade.

This is Xi’s first foreign trip since the Covid pandemic. He could do it because he’s totally confident of being awarded a third term during the Communist Party Congress next month in Beijing. Xi now controls and/or has allies placed in at least 90 percent of the Politburo.

The other serious reason was to recharge the appeal of BRI in close connection to the SCO. China’s ambitious BRI project was officially launched by Xi in Astana (now Nur-Sultan) nine years ago. It will remain the overarching Chinese foreign policy concept for decades ahead.

BRI’s emphasis on trade and connectivity ties in with the SCO’s evolving multilateral cooperation mechanisms, congregating nations focusing on economic development independent from the hazy, hegemonic “rules-based order.” Even India under Modi is having second thoughts about relying on western blocs, where New Delhi is at best a neo-colonized “partner.”

So Xi and Putin, in Samarkand, for all practical purposes delineated a road map for strengthening multipolarity – as stressed by the final  Samarkand declaration  signed by all SCO members.

The Kazakh puzzle 

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The Crisis in Ukraine Is Not About Ukraine. It’s About Germany

Posted by M. C. on August 22, 2022

There it is in black and white. The Biden team wants to “goad Russia into a military response” in order to sabotage NordStream. 

MIKE WHITNEY

https://www.unz.com/mwhitney/the-crisis-in-ukraine-is-not-about-ukraine-its-about-germany/

“The primordial interest of the United States, over which for centuries we have fought wars– the First, the Second and Cold Wars– has been the relationship between Germany and Russia, because united there, they’re the only force that could threaten us. And to make sure that that doesn’t happen.” George Friedman, STRATFOR CEO at The Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs

The Ukrainian crisis has nothing to do with Ukraine. It’s about Germany and, in particular, a pipeline that connects Germany to Russia called Nord Stream 2. Washington sees the pipeline as a threat to its primacy in Europe and has tried to sabotage the project at every turn. Even so, Nord Stream has pushed ahead and is now fully-operational and ready-to-go. Once German regulators provide the final certification, the gas deliveries will begin. German homeowners and businesses will have a reliable source of clean and inexpensive energy while Russia will see a significant boost to their gas revenues. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.

The US Foreign Policy establishment is not happy about these developments. They don’t want Germany to become more dependent on Russian gas because commerce builds trust and trust leads to the expansion of trade. As relations grow warmer, more trade barriers are lifted, regulations are eased, travel and tourism increase, and a new security architecture evolves. In a world where Germany and Russia are friends and trading partners, there is no need for US military bases, no need for expensive US-made weapons and missile systems, and no need for NATO. There’s also no need to transact energy deals in US Dollars or to stockpile US Treasuries to balance accounts. Transactions between business partners can be conducted in their own currencies which is bound to precipitate a sharp decline in the value of the dollar and a dramatic shift in economic power. This is why the Biden administration opposes Nord Stream. It’s not just a pipeline, it’s a window into the future; a future in which Europe and Asia are drawn closer together into a massive free trade zone that increases their mutual power and prosperity while leaving the US on the outside looking in. Warmer relations between Germany and Russia signal an end to the “unipolar” world order the US has overseen for the last 75 years. A German-Russo alliance threatens to hasten the decline of the Superpower that is presently inching closer to the abyss. This is why Washington is determined to do everything it can to sabotage Nord Stream and keep Germany within its orbit. It’s a matter of survival.

That’s where Ukraine comes into the picture. Ukraine is Washington’s ‘weapon of choice’ for torpedoing Nord Stream and putting a wedge between Germany and Russia. The strategy is taken from page one of the US Foreign Policy Handbook under the rubric: Divide and Rule. Washington needs to create the perception that Russia poses a security threat to Europe. That’s the goal. They need to show that Putin is a bloodthirsty aggressor with a hair-trigger temper who cannot be trusted. To that end, the media has been given the assignment of reiterating over and over again, “Russia is planning to invade Ukraine.” What’s left unsaid is that Russia has not invaded any country since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and that the US has invaded or toppled regimes in more than 50 countries in the same period of time, and that the US maintains over 800 military bases in countries around the world. None of this is reported by the media, instead the focus is on “evil Putin” who has amassed an estimated 100,000 troops along the Ukrainian border threatening to plunge all of Europe into another bloody war.

All of the hysterical war propaganda is created with the intention of manufacturing a crisis that can be used to isolate, demonize and, ultimately, splinter Russia into smaller units. The real target, however, is not Russia, but Germany. Check out this excerpt from an article by Michael Hudson at The Unz Review:

“The only way left for U.S. diplomats to block European purchases is to goad Russia into a military response and then claim that avenging this response outweighs any purely national economic interest. As hawkish Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, explained in a State Department press briefing on January 27: “If Russia invades Ukraine one way or another Nord Stream 2 will not move forward.” (“America’s Real Adversaries Are Its European and Other Allies”, The Unz Review)

There it is in black and white. The Biden team wants to “goad Russia into a military response” in order to sabotage NordStream. 

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Zelensky Rejects Any Ceasefire With Russia

Posted by M. C. on July 25, 2022

Going down and the US will gladly follow.

The Ukrainian leader said Russia would use a pause in fighting to rest and prepare for a new offensive

by Kyle Anzalone

antiwar.com

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned Russia would capitalize on any ceasefire to give its troops rest and to re-equip its military. He claimed that a break in fighting would prolong the war.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Zelensky said, “Freezing the conflict with the Russian Federation means a pause that gives the Russian Federation a break for rest. They will not use this pause to change their geopolitics or to renounce their claims on the former Soviet republics.”

Zelensky predicted a ceasefire would only last a few short years, then Moscow would resume its offensive. Russia “will rest and in two or three years, it will seize two more regions and say again: Freeze the conflict. And it will keep going further and further. One hundred percent,” he said.

The statements by Zelensky come as Russia has slowly captured a fifth of Ukraine’s territory. The US and its allies have sent billions in increasingly advanced weapons to Kiev. However, even long-range rocket systems have proven inadequate in aiding Ukrainian forces to retake territory.

Zelensky believes his forces will turn the tide and drive Russian troops out of Ukraine. He said, “The society believes that all the territories must be liberated first, and then we can negotiate about what to do and how we could live in the centuries ahead. Our people are convinced we can do it. And the faster we do it, the fewer will die.”

Russia President Vladimir Putin said last week that Ukraine proposed a workable offer in March, but Kiev broke off talks in April. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with Zelensky in Ukraine shortly before negotiations ended. Ukrainska Pravda reported Johnson discouraged Zelensky from making an agreement with Moscow.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced last week the Kremlin plans to seize more of Ukraine’s territory because of the Western arms transfers. “Now the geography is different, it’s far from being just the DPR [Donetsk] and LPR [Luhansk], it’s also Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions and a number of other territories,” the Russian foreign minister said.

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of Antiwar.com, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.

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Jordan Peterson’s Russia-Ukraine Do-Over

Posted by M. C. on July 19, 2022

https://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/2022/07/jordan-petersons-russia-ukraine-do-over.html

bionic mosquito

Early on in Russia’s Special Military Operation in Ukraine, Jordan Peterson decided to get educated, and chose as his teacher the perpetual warmonger Frederick Kagan.  The video of their discussion is here, and I wrote a short post covering the video here.

To summarize my thoughts on the video…

I made it through about 15 minutes of this garbage.  I could have heard the same thing in about two minutes on CNN.

A sampling of the many of the comments Peterson received as a result of his choice in teachers…

·         This interview was garbage from beginning to end.

·         NATO is not only a defensive alliance, it bombed Yugoslavia with no attacks from it on NATO members

·         I miss Prof Cohen.  And listening to this guy, who seems to be a typical Putin-hater, reminded me

·         Kagan is way off base. No mention of the Nazi brigades, no mention of bloated militarization of Ukraine, the illegal Maidan coup, etc. Everything is Putin, Putin, Putin. Donbas is mostly Russian speaking and they are a cancelled abused people. Kagan should take his academic ego and crawl back under his know-it-all rock. Bad choice JP! You can do better!

·         Kagan’s failure to mention Ukraine’s state sponsored neonazi forces shows his hand. I don’t trust or believe him.

·         Frederick Kagan is schilling for the Neocons.

There were several suggestions that Peterson speak to John Mearsheimer.  One of which was mine.

Well, Peterson has taken a do-over.  But, first, an update on Peterson news.  He has recently joined the Daily Wire.  To me, something like this was inevitable – assuming Peterson’s health held out such that he could continue in his task of bucking (for the most part) the leftist turn of his liberalism.

So, with that, on to the subject video, entitled Russia Vs. Ukraine Or Civil War In The West?  The title suggests that Peterson is aware of something deeper going on than merely “Putin is the next Hitler.”

I won’t go through a blow by blow.  But here are the main themes (and I am not directly quoting Peterson, but offering a flavor):

·         I was pilloried for choosing Kagan as a teacher

·         I watched Mearsheimer

·         It turns out the situation is much more complicated than I was led to believe

·         Putin is concerned that the West wants to turn Russia into the same morally depraved hell-hole that they have forced onto Western society

·         The fight in Ukraine is a mirror of the civil war consuming the West

·         Whatever one might have as a complaint about Putin, he is a far better person than anyone who has led that country in over a hundred years.

Now, Peterson made a few mistakes – he kept messing up on the geography (“…the Russian speakers in the northeast of Ukraine,” etc.).  He didn’t touch very much on the history of Western antagonisms in Ukraine.  He also decided to get into the economic prediction game (“$300 oil”), which is an easy way for others to attack him if he is wrong on any of it.

But he did point out the extreme risks of this war and of the West’s continued actions.  He made a strong statement that there must be work toward a settlement now – and he recognizes this will have to be on terms acceptable to Putin.

He also threw a strong punch at the covid lockdowns, and he took several shots at his disaster of a prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

Conclusion

As I have noted about Peterson before, the arrow doesn’t fly straight, but at least it occasionally comes with a self-correcting function.  Considering the very strong left-liberal upbringing and his university experience as well as his filed of expertise, one has to say he really has come a long way.

But he still has a long way to go.

Addendum

Maybe not quite as long as I thought.  A short (23-minute) interview of Peterson by Snorri Másson in Iceland.  Peterson makes some very strong points and doesn’t back down when pushed.  He gets most forceful and emotional on the topic of physically mutilating minors who are confused about gender.  His is an example many Christians could learn from.

He likes the idea of abortion in America being decided at the state level – on such a difficult topic, many experiments are needed.  He notes that there are signs of a rational left emerging from the destruction of the crazies (I anticipated this years ago).  Bill Maher and Russell Brand are noted.

He makes a very interesting observation on Trump, that Trump – whose entire persona is “I am a winner” – shouldn’t have got caught up in “the election was stolen.”  That’s the talk of losers, not winners.

Peterson’s stumble: he says it has been demonstrated in many court cases that the election wasn’t stolen.  So he still has a ways to go.

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Biden Doubles Down On Forcing Americans To Fund Europe’s Security

Posted by M. C. on July 19, 2022

While the United States declines, President Joe Biden is sending troops and materiel to defend a continent that can defend itself.

The idea that German foreign policy is derived from pacifism and war guilt, not one of the cleverest instances of strategic “buck passing,” is perhaps the most debilitating assumption of Anglo-American grand strategies. It’s a misjudgment that German strategists are more than happy to see continue, because they are smart.

BY: SUMANTRA MAITRA

https://thefederalist.com/2022/07/06/biden-doubles-down-on-forcing-americans-to-fund-europes-security/

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s secretary general confirmed NATO is boosting its forces in Europe to “well over 300,000” from the current 40,000, a 650 percent increase. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg claims it’s to respond to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Setting aside the obvious ridiculousness of NATO boosting a deterrence force, however, at the very same time Russia is failing to conquer even Ukraine and is increasingly bogged down, such euphemisms from NATO are jarring. Everyone understands this means U.S. taxpayers will carry an additional burden for European security.

Consider the details: President Biden will deploy additional troops to Romania and the Baltic states, establish and maintain the permanent Fifth Army Corps in Poland, send two F-35 squadrons to the United Kingdom and air defenses to Germany and Italy, and increase the number of destroyers stationed in Spain from four to six.

The new additions are so bizarrely out of proportion to the threat that it provoked one of the most hawkish Republicans, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, to question why Biden is reinforcing Europe at the cost of the Pacific: “Russia’s military is in no condition to invade anyone else right now and its China & North Korea who are threatening military aggression,” Rubio tweeted.

In a time of inflation and with a rapid Chinese military build-up in the Indo-Pacific, Biden is doubling down on providing security for Europe when the United States should be “burden-shifting,” especially with relatively finite naval assets and as rich European economic powerhouses like Germany already free-ride on American taxpayers.

The question of Germany is crucial in this regard. As former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Elbridge Colby recently tweeted, “It’s a commonplace in American discussion that German foreign policy has been ‘naive.’ Well, Germany spends almost nothing on defense and has peacefully become the economic hegemon of Europe. Meantime we’ve had failed Middle East wars and enabled China’s rise. Who’s naive?”

Colby is, of course, correct. The idea that German foreign policy is derived from pacifism and war guilt, not one of the cleverest instances of strategic “buck passing,” is perhaps the most debilitating assumption of Anglo-American grand strategies. It’s a misjudgment that German strategists are more than happy to see continue, because they are smart.

Only nine countries reach the required defense spending within NATO, even after four years of President Trump pushing and an invasion of Ukraine.

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In Eurasia, the War of Economic Corridors Is in Full Swing

Posted by M. C. on July 18, 2022

Mega Eurasian organizations and their respective projects are now converging at record speed, with one global pole way ahead of the other.

This also explains why Russia has been busy building a vast array of state-of-the-art icebreakers.

By Pepe Escobar
The Cradle

The War of Economic Corridors is now proceeding full speed ahead, with the game-changing first cargo flow of goods from Russia to India via the International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) already in effect.

Very few, both in the east and west, are aware of how this actually has long been in the making: the Russia-Iran-India agreement for implementing a shorter and cheaper Eurasian trade route via the Caspian Sea (compared to the Suez Canal), was first signed in 2000, in the pre-9/11 era.

The INSTC in full operational mode signals a powerful hallmark of Eurasian integration – alongside the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), and last but not least, what I described as “Pipelineistan” two decades ago.

Caspian is key

Let’s have a first look on how these vectors are interacting.

The genesis of the current acceleration lies in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan’s capital, for the 6th Caspian Summit. This event not only brought the evolving Russia-Iran strategic partnership to a deeper level, but crucially, all five Caspian Sea littoral states agreed that no NATO warships or bases will be allowed on site.

That essentially configures the Caspian as a virtual Russian lake, and in a minor sense, Iranian – without compromising the interests of the three “stans,” Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. For all practical purposes, Moscow has tightened its grip on Central Asia a notch.

As the Caspian Sea is connected to the Black Sea by canals off the Volga built by the former USSR, Moscow can always count on a reserve navy of small vessels – invariably equipped with powerful missiles – that may be transferred to the Black Sea in no time if necessary.

Stronger trade and financial links with Iran now proceed in tandem with binding the three “stans” to the Russian matrix. Gas-rich republic Turkmenistan for its part has been historically idiosyncratic – apart from committing most of its exports to China.

Under an arguably more pragmatic young new leader, President Serdar Berdimuhamedow, Ashgabat may eventually opt to become a member of the SCO and/or the EAEU.

Caspian littoral state Azerbaijan on the other hand presents a complex case: an oil and gas producer eyed by the European Union (EU) to become an alternative energy supplier to Russia – although this is not happening anytime soon.

The West Asia connection

Iran’s foreign policy under President Ebrahim Raisi is clearly on a Eurasian and Global South trajectory. Tehran will be formally incorporated into the SCO as a full member in the upcoming summit in Samarkand in September, while its formal application to join the BRICS has been filed.

Purnima Anand, head of the BRICS International Forum, has stated that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are also very much keen on joining BRICS. Should that happen, by 2024 we could be on our way to a powerful West Asia, North Africa hub firmly installed inside one of the key institutions of the multipolar world.

As Putin heads to Tehran next week for trilateral Russia, Iran, Turkey talks, ostensibly about Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is bound to bring up the subject of BRICS.

Tehran is operating on two parallel vectors. In the event the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is revived – a quite dim possibility as it stands, considering the latest shenanigans in Vienna and Doha – that would represent a tactical victory. Yet moving towards Eurasia is on a whole new strategic level.

In the INSTC framework, Iran will make maximum good use of the geostrategically crucial port of Bandar Abbas – straddling the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

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Yellen Says Russian Officials Have No Place at G20 Meeting

Posted by M. C. on July 15, 2022

Just the good little boys and girls that do what they are told are allowed to play.

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-07-14/yellen-says-russian-officials-have-no-place-at-g20-meeting

By Andrea Shalal

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine was causing a negative spillover around the world and Russian officials had no place at this week’s meeting of the Group of 20 major economies.

Speaking at a news conference on the sidelines of a G20 meeting of finance officials, Yellen called on the global community to hold Russia accountable for the war and its dramatic impact on energy prices and rising food insecurity.

Yellen dodged a question about whether she would walk out when Russian officials spoke, as she and other Western leaders did during the last such meeting in Washington in April, but said she would condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “in the strongest possible terms”.

“I think I’ve made clear that it cannot be business as usual with respect to Russia’s participation at these meetings,” she said, adding that she looked forward to welcoming Ukraine’s finance minister to the meetings.

Yellen said she would continue to push hard for a cap on the price of Russian oil that she said would help lower energy prices and maintain global oil flows after European and potentially British and U.S. sanctions on the transport of Russian oil take effect at the end of the year…

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