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New Eastern Outlook

New Eastern Outlook
Wed, 01 Feb 2023 17:41:59 +0000

1. The 14th Dalai Lama’s (possible) visit to Taiwan as a factor in Sino-Indian relations


The first and, of course, alarming question to be expected after reading the title of this article can be formulated roughly as follows: "And what does India actually have to do with the Taiwan problem, which is almost central in the present phase of the "Great World Game"?" Any positive response to this question ("something will definitely happen") would make any observer of the Indo-Pacific situation suspicious.

The only thing missing in the current, to say the least, complex system of relations between the two Asian giants, India and China, is the actualization of this problem. After all, it is the source of China's most serious foreign policy wound. If you want to keep normal relations with China, you should not interfere with it in any way (that is, even indirectly). The executive branch of the Republic of India has no official relations with Taiwan. But can the recent trips to the island by some members of the Union Parliament and the articles by Indian experts (also published in Taiwanese publications) with strongly anti-Chinese content, directly calling on the Indian government to establish and develop comprehensive relations with Taiwan, be considered as "first signs" of Indian interest in contacts with Taiwan's leadership?

Just take the title of a text from a year ago, "India must give Taiwan a helping hand". Its author, Brahma Chellaney, is one of those researchers at the global table whose word carries a lot of weight and is not usually ignored by the major players. In particular, the above text was immediately heavily criticized in the Chinese Global Times.

Apparently in order to (at least) keep relations with India, already at a low level, Beijing has not publicly reacted to the precedents of visits by individual MPs to Taiwan. After all, such actions can be seen as private initiatives by low-profile politicians who are not part of the executive branch and do not have to obey it. However, such visits express many commonalities between the political order of the "two democracies" that can serve the process of developing India-Taiwan relations.

However, it is not just about general statements made by individual politicians and speculative constructions made by political scientists. There have recently been efforts to shape some concrete projects between India and Taiwan. A group of Taiwanese specialists visited India in August 2022 to assess the prospects for organizing the production of integrated electronic chips. It is worth noting that the implementation of such a project would be consistent with the United States' efforts to exclude its main geopolitical adversary (China) from the international system of production of this critical product.

The head of World Buddhism is a very important figure in international politics (though not primarily due to the efforts of China's main geopolitical adversary's massive propaganda machine). China cannot afford to ignore a (de facto) politician of this stature who is "challenging its territorial integrity."

Beijing did not do so even during the 14th Dalai Lama previous visit to Taiwan in August 2009. Relations between the mainland and the newly ascended ruler on the island were, as they say, in full bloom at the time. The pretext for the trip seemed good enough – to provide spiritual support to Taiwan's Buddhist population, which had suffered from a series of catastrophic earthquakes, the epicenter of which was the island itself as well as China's neighboring eastern provinces.

At the time, some demonstratively concrete (if fleeting) protests against the Buddhist spiritual leader's visit to the island by Beijing concerned only Taiwan. These actions had no impact on India, from which he came to the island. The author does not recall any mention of India in connection with this incident. The problem of the two emerging Asian giants' increasingly competitive positioning on the international stage was only sketched out in principle at the time.

However, the current situation in the region is markedly different, and for the worse, than it was fifteen years ago. First, Taiwan has been ruled by the Democratic Progressive Party and its (most recent) leader and current (with one year to go) president, Tsai Ing-wen, who have been labeled by the PRC with various derogatory epithets ("hopeless separatists," "American agents"). Second, almost the entire system of Sino-Indian relations collapsed in the summer of 2020, and it has been slowly and painstakingly recovering ever since.

So it's clear what (uncomfortable) questions might be asked today from Beijing to New Delhi if the 14th Dalai Lama's declared intention to visit Taiwan comes true. For instance, questions like this, "Have certain boundaries for behavior inside and outside the country been set for this guest of yours, a refugee from our country who has been in your territory for more than 60 years? If so, has Taiwan been declared a place where visiting (at least without our government's permission) constitutes a violation of those boundaries?"

It is also more or less obvious what the authors of such questions will hear as an answer. Namely, and roughly, the following: "The 14th Dalai Lama is on our territory along with hundreds of thousands of refugees after the famous events that took place in Tibet in 1959 with the participation of your PLA. Since then, they have been living with us in their own community without interfering in our public affairs. We cannot forbid the spiritual leader of world Buddhism to move both inside and outside our country. Such a trip has nothing to do with the politics of our country." This is the end of the (hypothetical) dialog, and both participants are dissatisfied with its results. It will only add an extra touch to the current, to reiterate, complex picture of bilateral relations, which has accumulated enough negativity even without it.

The border patrol clash in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh on December 9 last year was one such negative act. This area is referred to by the PRC as "southern Tibet" and is not recognized as belonging to India. The dispute over the right to the territory (an area of about 90,000 square kilometers) designated by this name is the basis for border incidents, which are not uncommon here. Fortunately, the latter incident did not go beyond simple physical violence and did not result in serious injuries to those involved. In India itself, however, the incident has led to fierce opposition rhetoric against the government and personally Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whom they accuse of being "not tough enough" on China. There has also been another series of "space warnings" from the leadership of the Indian armed forces. However, the military is there (among other things) to regularly flex its muscles on inconvenient neighbors.

It is the worst possible time for the current leader of World Buddhism to visit his co-religionists in Taiwan. He would be wise to wait for the current upheaval in international relations in general, and in relations between the two Asian behemoths in particular, to end. Better times may come.

After all, as we all know, hope is the last to die.

Vladimir Terekhov, expert on the issues of the Asia-Pacific region, exclusively for the online journal "New Eastern Outlook".

New Eastern Outlook
Wed, 01 Feb 2023 09:59:14 +0000

2. Georgia’s Involvement in Foreign Wars and Conflicts Comes Home to Roost


Mass shootings are mostly a Western thing, and most commonly American, where with distressing frequency a new shooter brings about carnage and raises calls to ban assault weapons. But the same is now happening in places such as Georgia, which is paying the price for trying to improve its lot by being uncritical US ally, rather than a partner in the actual meaning of the term.

A gunman has opened fire from his balcony, killing six people, including a police officer, and injuring five others in the eastern Georgian town of Sagarejo before taking his own life. Local media has identified the man as Nodar Atuashvili, who served in Georgia's armed forces between 2006 and 2021, in a "blood for bread"-type scenario.

As we might imagine, there is much more to this story than the simple facts as reported by Radio Free Europe. It may have far reaching implications, especially in terms of access to weapons and criminal links to Ukraine, as the weapons Atuashvili used were his own, and derived from his service in that conflict.

How come?

Many are asking whether former soldiers should be allowed to have weapons and explosives at home. Of course, they shouldn't but we should not be surprised that they do, and that this shooting was one of the consequences.

Considering the number of weapons held in Georgia, and the links between this and the ongoing situation in Ukraine, US Special Services, and how a coup is being prepared by some in the UNM and the Georgian Legion, this was going to happen eventually. No one ever really thought that these weapons would only be used under direct US direction, against the "bad guys" who get in the way of US plans for the area.

The same has happened in the US, with former soldiers from the Iraq, Vietnam and Afghanistan conflicts. Many of those coming back from the illegal wars of recent history suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD.

These were conditioned to kill, drugged up, and at times still don't know the difference between war and reality. The fact that these wars were illegal has played no small part in damaging these soldiers, as we will all sacrifice ourselves for a cause, but not for one we don't believe in, and know we were lied to about by the people demanding our sacrifice.

Reports of Georgian soldiers dying in the fight for Ukraine's independence are at first impression heartwarming, at least for the naïve. But those soldiers too are part of a US-sponsored plan to get Georgia into a conflict with Russia, designed to benefit the US and NATO in their proxy war over Ukraine, and no Georgian soldier wants to see such a conflict.

The responsibility for what happened in Sagarejo lies mostly with those behind the weapons and mentally wounded soldiers being sent back to Georgia – the US Embassy. When the US gives its regular defensive tirades about all it is doing for the region, rather than addressing the actual allegations being made at a given time, this is one of the many things it conveniently leaves out.

The (Anti)-Georgian Legion Strikes Again  

Jeffrey Silverman, Bureau Chief for Veterans Today, has spent the last six months warning Georgian newspapers and [indirectly] the Georgian government, and the international community, of this possibility with his interviews.

He is quoted as saying, "I hope now the Georgian government will finally wake up to the threat and take drastic control over the situation, and question and detain potential threats as to their connections with Afghanistan, Ukraine and weapons. Many weapons from Afghanistan, Ukraine and other places are in Georgia, but are stored in various locations and should not be hard to find. Investigators should start with some USAID connected warehouses in the Zugdidi region of West Georgia, connected to a former USAID-funded hazelnut project.

"Investigators should contact former OSCE and EUMM members for details about these warehouses, as they know but are afraid to speak openly about this—as it could end some careers. These murders should be a warning, but if the Georgian Prime Minister goes to visit the families of the five who were murdered, is it possible that he will be threatened with something?"

Silverman is a former US military Forward Observer, 19D. He suggests Georgian border guards be activated in this investigation, as many in the Georgian army, especially NCOs, are active in support of the Georgian Legion, because they receive money from the US government, including off the books, for being so.

The US knows, as it demonstrates in every country it stays in, that its local recruits are not motivated by ideals but by the money the US offers. Has the Georgian Legion come home to Georgia and disrupted Georgia internally in an effort to create a nexus between war in Ukraine and removing the Georgian government. So accepting this money is treason, conducted by armed forces personnel.

There are other potential illegal groups involved in this disruption. These include Turkish terrorist group the Grey Wolves, or rogue operatives thereof, who are looking to destabilise Georgia in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and Samchablo (South Ossetia). However, their main region of interest is Adjaria, which was reunited with Georgia during the 1877 Russian-Ottoman war.

There are few operating under the Georgian flag that can be trusted, or are skilled enough to react, if a coup is attempted by some now retired or deactivated soldiers from the Georgian Army. If Turkey assists in this, even if unofficially, it can regain what it lost in 1877, which would be entirely consistent with Erdogan's known political position.

People such as Mamuka Mamulavili and his sister Nona, (whatever their real names are), are driven only by selfish goals in the war in Ukraine, not by any patriotism or respect for human rights. They will work to destroy Georgia for their short-term goals, as so many have done before that your average Georgian-in-the-street expects this to happen sooner or later whichever government is in charge.

There have been other weapons-related deaths in Georgia, and a history of the Georgian Army selling weapons to Chechen terrorists. The money for these came from the proceeds of a US Department Food for Peace Program. Have we forgotten that Levan Samkharauli, an expert on the case of Zurab Zhvania, the former Georgian PM who ended up dead from (officially) poison gas, was brought to Kakheti and killed by firearms?

He was killed in a lake resort, probably as part of the cover up of those responsible for the murder, in which forensic evidence disappeared and was intentionally tainted so as to hide who actually killed Zurab Zhvania. However, most people don't want to remember that, and especially how the FBI was involved in the destruction of evidence.

Is Georgia Under a Real and Imminent Threat?

Silverman continues, "Georgia is under greater threat now than at any time since I came to live here in 1991. Education is collapsing, people are fleeing and the country is being sold off. I see this threat coming more from within than outside, as many people have stopped caring. Public health is in crisis, for most people poverty is increasing, and this creates the conditions for people to support criminals as an alternative.

"Don't forget perceived or real threats from Ukraine – many think it didn't send a single bullet or knife to help Georgia back in August 2008 when it attacked its own citizens. Ukraine had supplied air defence systems and electronic warfare jamming equipment, but then-president Mikhael Saakashvili made sure this was never used, and even fired the military experts who knew how to use it right before the war, to make sure Russia had air and communications superiority.

"There are many things I could tell you about what actually happened in August 2008, as this was not a war but a game in support of the US government. Look at Ukraine now, with Arestovich's resignation and the deaths of the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine and his staff in the downing of a helicopter.

"There are those in Ukraine who understand the military conflict is coming to an end, and NOT in favour of Ukraine and its Western backers; there must be a negotiated settlement. Now Poland wants to mobilise Ukrainian refugees to go fight as cannon fodder. That is not going to go well, as many Ukrainians know what is going on and don't want to die in vain.

"When the negotiations with Russia began, one Ukrainian high-ranking official who participated in them was killed. What does this mean? The hardliners are desperate, and more will die, I suspect this was not an accident. The same thing happened in Nazi Germany, when officers tried to get rid of Hitler when they understood he was crazy and the war would not end well for Germany.

"From my analysis, being paid by some to know what is happening in Georgia, there is great potential for an unstable situation developing, not only here but the region, and it is only going to get worse, politically, economically and even culturally. As for Georgia, if the government does not stop the destabilisation from within and crack down on the plotters, certain political parties, and think tanks, NGOs, etc. it will not survive.

"So far the situation is under control, but because of US staff, mostly associated with the US Embassy and military, and some Georgian Volunteers in Ukraine bad will get worse, as they need a backup base of operation in the region. Ukraine may soon be a failed state, so they will (again) turn their attention to Georgia.

"January 18 marked the 80th anniversary of the lifting of the Leningrad blockade. After 80 years, there is now more talk of German tanks being provided to Ukraine. No German tanks should ever be sent to Ukraine, and I doubt any more will be sent, as Germany does not want them destroyed or for the technology to fall into the hands of the Russians.

"Ukraine needs more than a few tanks. It needs crews to operate them, and that takes time. Ukraine does not have time. I doubt Germany is foolhardy enough to be providing additional tanks.

"Germans are what they are and will never change. The only thing they are sorry for is that they lost the war". It should be noted that Silverman's father fought in France and Germany and was wounded in 1945, and Silverman therefore grew up knowing about aspects of the German character, and can speak German.

Georgia and Germany were connected in World War One, when the British supported Armenia in starting a war with Georgia, providing weapons and encouragement to the Armenians to take Georgian territory and then giving it to Armenia in the peace negotiations when Georgia had won that war.

In World War Two at least 30,000 Georgians fought on the side of Germany against the West and the USSR. Fortunately, most Georgians fought against the fascists, as you would expect given Georgia's exemplary history of protection of its ancient Jewish community, but all that was forgotten by a significant minority in exchange for cash.

The Bogey Man

Jeffrey Silverman knows former Georgian president Mikhael Saakashvili well, having once edited letters to gain financial support for him. He now describes him as a poster child, scapegoat, useful idiot and lamb to be slaughter. Saakahvili is being kept alive for the short-term gain of former sponsors who are desperate to drop him as soon as he has served his purpose. We can see that by the things being discussed now in Georgia.

For instance, current president Salome Zurabishvili has stated that she does not welcome the resumption of commercial flights to Russia or visa free travel. US Ambassador Kelly Degnan toes the same line. So, what do these people want?

Zurabishvili, with her long history as a French spy, was imposed on the electorate as a quid pro quo for not destroying the current Georgian government sooner. She is not working for the needs of Georgia, and really is an enemy of the Georgian people.

Both she and Kelly Degan are frustrated old women no longer in their prime. They show their faces by making a mess of an already complicated situation. They both need to go back whence they came!

In Georgia, the economy is developing, but in a very perverse way. There is a deep split in society, a small handful of people (such as Salome and others) are quickly getting richer and a large mass is slipping into the deepest poverty.

Many people have stopped caring about the country, seeing the hopelessness of the situation. To distract people from internal problems, the ruling elite, especially the UNM and some in the Georgian Dream, are looking for an external enemy.

The ex-serviceman sacrificed for the agenda caused a huge tragedy in the Eastern Georgian town of Sagarejo. Just imagine what the rest of the paid killers will do when they return from Ukraine!

Henry Kamens, columnist, expert on Central Asia and Caucasus, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook"

New Eastern Outlook
Wed, 01 Feb 2023 04:59:34 +0000

3. NATO and Turkey: an expulsion or a warning?..


All international political alliances (particularly military-political ones) are formed on the basis of shared interests and threats to two or more international relations subjects. In other words, there is something that unites and something against which the alliance is formed. NATO's formation in 1949, led by the United States, signaled the beginning of a new era in international relations and foreshadowed the collective West's Cold War against the Soviet Union and its satellites.

In Soviet historiography, the ideological component (particularly the opposition of the capitalist system to the socialist choice, the liberal-market model vs the planned state-led economy) was overly dominant in assessing the causes and content of the Cold War. In the second half of the twentieth century, such a justification for the opposition of the two world systems corresponded to reality. However, it should be noted between the lines that the world powers' contradictions and opposition are determined not only by their ideological, political, and economic systems, but also by deeper issues related to geopolitical (from the root geo, geographical) and historically developed national interests. The goal is the struggle for leadership in world affairs and the preservation of the great power status.

This viewpoint has been reinforced throughout the post-Soviet period of global conflict at the turn of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. However, the demise of the USSR and the Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO), as well as the rejection of the socialist system, have not resulted in greater and more reliable security for the world. Despite numerous warnings to its Western partners about the inadmissibility of NATO eastward expansion and even Moscow's readiness to join the North Atlantic Alliance in the early 2000s, Russia, as the successor to the USSR, has remained the main adversary for the US and its allies.

It is precisely NATO's attitude toward Russia, combined with ongoing contradictions and local conflicts in the post-Soviet space, the majority of which are related to the consequences of the former USSR's demise, that has led to the current confrontation between the West and Russia in Ukraine. The latter takes the form of a hybrid (economic sanctions, information, technical, and political support for the Kyiv regime) and, more recently, outright (massive military and military-technical support for Kyiv) war.

Accordingly, the imperatives of NATO have not changed since its inception in 1949 until today in terms of confrontation with Russia. However, the situation within NATO has objectively changed after the collapse of the USSR and the WTO, which is associated with the expansion of membership through the accession of new members from the Baltic countries, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, and an increase in the number of partners in the post-Soviet space (Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and a group of sympathizers from Azerbaijan to Uzbekistan).

Thus, NATO's eastward expansion, which is not militarily or politically supported by real military threats, serves the geopolitical interests of the Anglo-Saxon leaders (the US and the UK). Their goal is to establish their own global dominance in Eurasia through control of the CIS countries' natural resources and geography, as well as to form a new corridor of separation between Russia and China in order to exclude the likely centers of resistance to Washington and London's ambitions.

And, in this process of seeking new partners, the US, while not dismissing Turkey's role on NATO's southeastern flank, no longer sees it as the only ally in this theater. Furthermore, the wholesale destabilization of Middle Eastern countries undertaken by the US and Britain with the 2003 invasion of Iraq provides Americans with a new operational maneuver in that region and reduces their relative dependence on Turkey's next "whims."

Such shifts in Turkish-American relations could not go unnoticed in Turkish leaders' political circles. As is well known, the main focus of their disagreements is on Turkish-Greek relations (particularly the issue of Cyprus and several Aegean islands) and the Kurdish issue. There is also the Turkish strategy of neo-Ottomanism and neo-Panturkism aimed at reviving Turkey's imperial status in the southeast, and, most importantly, the Turkish-Russian multifaceted partnership, which has the potential to transform into a strategic relationship.

The United States cannot tolerate this: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's policy on Turkey's military and technical cooperation with Russia; Ankara's refusal to fully support Western sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis; the Turkish-Russian situational partnership in the South Caucasus; the Turkish president's intention to block Sweden's and Finland's accession to NATO.

Washington sees "the hand of Moscow" in everything and everywhere. Of course, from the beginning, Russia has made no secret of its critical attitude toward Sweden's and Finland's intentions to join NATO. Moreover, Moscow has not changed its views since the Cold War, seeing no threat to the security of these Scandinavian countries from Russia. In other words, Moscow has given the Finns and Swedes no reason to worry, regardless of the aggravation of Russian-Ukrainian relations.

As for Turkey's position, expressed by President R. Erdoğan, regarding the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO, Russia has nothing to do with it (although it understands the concerns of Mr. Erdoğan, who represents a country of 85 million people). Turkey justifies its special position regarding Finland's and Sweden's inclusion in the alliance on the basis of its own national interests (in particular, it condemns Helsinki's and Stockholm's support for Kurdish separatism in Anatolia).

The recent provocative anti-Turkish action of January 21 this year, when the leader of the Danish anti-Islamic party and racist Rasmus Paludan burned the Quran in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, not only provoked a negative reaction in Turkish society, but was also another shock for the entire Islamic and civilized world. Of course, Ankara demands a just punishment from Stockholm for this manifestation of racism and xenophobia, otherwise Turkey will show its determination to rule out any Swedish attempt to join NATO.

Judging by the ambiguous reaction of the US diplomatic corps officials to the racism in Stockholm (they say that citizens' freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed by law in a democratic society and cannot be restricted by the authorities), one has the impression that the action is not accidental. Those who stand behind Paludan can understand only too well the reaction of indignation that the burning of the most important book of Islam, the Quran, has provoked among all Muslims and especially among Turks.

Comparing the recent statements of the former US President's Security Advisor John Bolton on the possible suspension (or revocation) of Turkey's membership in NATO and the anti-Turkish action of Rasmus Paludan in Stockholm, as well as the statement of NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg on the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO without regard to the opinion of others, one cannot help but see the sequence of the West's anti-Turkish moves.

In other words, Washington warns President R. Erdoğan and with him Turkey that the warnings of threats will become reality if the latter continue to pursue a course independent of the United States (including cooperation with Russia, opposition to the collective opinion of the West on the fate of the new NATO members and on any other issue). Thus, NATO could suspend Turkey's membership in NATO in one decision and admit Sweden and Finland in another.

The deputy of the Turkish Motherland Party, Ethem Sancak, believes that Turkey can leave NATO in 5–6 months because of the provocations of the alliance against Ankara (the Greek-Turkish controversy, the Middle East issues, the action against the Quran in Sweden), the Azerbaijani website minval.az reports.

Someone has seen pro-Russian tendencies in this statement of Ethem Sancak (as well as in the activities of the Motherlan Party of Doğu Perinçek, which he represents). In reality, Russia has nothing to do with the Vyathan (Motherland) Party itself, its leaders and statements. Moreover, Russia knows very well that the United States is unlikely to reject Turkey's membership in NATO for objective geographic reasons and because of Ankara's political aspirations with respect to a number of important (including post-Soviet) regions and countries. Washington is simply blackmailing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, seeking both to contain his independent policies and to deprive Turkey itself of the right to vote without US government recommendations.

Thus, the US does not intend to exclude Turkey from membership in NATO, but only sternly warns Ankara about what it should do and what it should not do. Otherwise, Washington threatens to exacerbate all of Turkey's external and internal contradictions and arrange a "Turkish Spring" to either transform its government into a controllable regime or fragment Turkey's territorial integrity, taking into account current and dormant ethnic issues.

Aleksandr Svarants, Doctor of Political Science, Professor, exclusively for the online journal "New Eastern Outlook".

New Eastern Outlook
Tue, 31 Jan 2023 19:59:29 +0000

4. The United States expects to exit the crisis by destroying its competitors


After the end of World War II, the United States not only managed to preserve its army and economy, but it also significantly enriched itself in the war. This is not surprising given that the war occurred far from the United States' borders and could not have had the same impact on the United States as Europe and Russia, who had paid for their victory over Nazism with completely destroyed cities, businesses, infrastructure, and the deaths of millions of their citizens.

Against the backdrop of widespread postwar devastation and disasters, Europe used to believe that the Americans were the principal winners, not Russia, who had paid for the victory over Nazism with the lives of 26.6 million of its citizens and raised its victorious flag over the German Reichstag. This perception of the United States was actively promoted by American propaganda. So there was a legend that the United States has the most powerful army and economy, which the ruling American circles used to consolidate their global hegemony.

However, in recent years, this bubble of American superiority has burst. Washington's continuous political and military defeats (one of which is the complete failure of US policy and its military campaign in Afghanistan), as well as the United States' annual deepening of the global financial and economic crisis, have all contributed to the decline of US power and authority. Under these conditions, one way for Washington to stay "afloat" was to stop its financial and economic crisis at the expense of other states.

In this context, the United States has recently begun to actively impose economic sanctions, arresting multibillion-dollar accounts of undesirable countries and freezing them in their banks, therefore earning significant interest from making very impressive funds seized by them "work". In its history, the United States has repeatedly applied its sanctions against other countries. In particular, this list included more than two dozen countries in the last three decades alone, including: Balkan states (during the Balkans conflict, these were Serbia and Montenegro), Belarus (in 2004, the US adopted the "Belarus Democracy Act"), Burma (in 1997), Cote d'Ivoire (in 2011, the US imposed sanctions on President Laurent Gbagbo), Cuba (only in 2000, the US decided to use frozen accounts totaling $120 million to pay "compensation to victims of Cuban terrorism), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (sanctions have been extended several times since 2006), Somalia, Sudan, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and many other countries. The US blocked $330 billion in Russian assets in 2022, and Russians with assets worth more than $30 billion face sanctions.

Thus, Washington's actions have become its main weapon for destroying foreign corporations that interfere with aggressive American businesses, and have earned the moniker "law fare." Specifically, using the so-called Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977 and applying it to a company of any nationality that has nothing to do with the United States, Washington began using the FBI to arrest the management of such a corporation and send it to prison in the American territory, even under a presumption and without direct evidence. Within the framework of this law, a simple suspicion of bribery is sufficient for the US Department of Justice to bring charges against the head of a foreign company and issue a mandate to its authorities to arrest him. As a result, the US began to meddle in the affairs of any foreign company, removing its competitors.

The recognition by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the products of a number of Chinese companies (in particular, Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, and a number of others) that were banned from import and sale due to the alleged risk to national security was a fairly striking example of Washington's elimination of competing companies from the market. A member of the Carr commission, in order to gain public support in the country, even tried to point out that China allegedly threatens the interests of the United States through espionage through such companies.

However, such outright terror on the part of the US has recently become practiced not only against a specific foreign corporation. The United States has long abandoned "free trade" laws, providing political support to its businesses while disregarding the interests of other countries, particularly the EU. Against the backdrop of the Ukraine conflict, it became clear to everyone that the most important lever for any country's development was energy, and the US decided to use this aspect to maintain its superiority over Europe. It began to do this thanks to new laws, shale gas and the imposition of an embargo on Russian energy resources. One of the most important laws for the United States on this path was the "Inflation Reduction Act" (IRA), thanks to which the US gained a decisive competitive advantage over Europe, primarily in the field of energy.

Having unleashed a Russophobic propaganda campaign on the alleged need for Europe to move away from energy dependence on Russia, thereby removing it from competition for this EU market, Washington has made the entire continent dependent on American LNG, which is many times more expensive than Russian natural gas. And this has been repeatedly confirmed by Western media and experts who speak about the onset of a new era of American neocolonialism in this way. Companies in Europe, for example, have recently signed more than a dozen contracts for the supply of expensive US LNG, with a third of them due in 2022. This made the EU dependent on the United States and brought many dangers, especially against the background of lessons from the time of Donald Trump's rule, which showed that the image of the United States as a reliable partner of Europe is especially low. Gas prices in the United States have already more than doubled since the beginning of last year, as have electricity prices. And, if the US does not have enough gas, it will decide to keep the majority of it for itself, condemning the EU to a severe crisis, which has already engulfed Europe as a result of America's aggressive actions in recent months.

It is well known that a fifth of the world's semiconductor production is accounted for by Chinese manufacturers. That is why, and in order to gain illegal advantages for itself in this industry, Washington forces its customers and suppliers in Europe to follow US policy. For example, the Dutch firm ASML has recently been under increased pressure from the United States by "American officials" to force it to stop selling some chip-making machines to China. Trying to become a global monopolist in the field of chip manufacturing, the United States has actively engaged in eliminating competitors in this way, not only in China, but also in the EU. Since October 2022, when the United States legislated a number of bans on the export of semiconductors to China, it became clear that the current White House administration is pursuing a ruthless policy in the field of chips under the motto "America first". According to the German media, if Europe does not take action to stop this aggressive policy, it will lose its dominance in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. And not only semiconductors!

Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook."

New Eastern Outlook
Tue, 31 Jan 2023 17:15:28 +0000

5. BRICS in global integration processes


Since it's establishment in 2008, the BRICS forum, in the absence of economic, political or geographical dominance by any of the participating countries, has created comfortable and parity conditions for cooperation between states, steadily deepening it between countries located in different parts of the world on different contingents, in different hemispheres. Potential rivalry among the members of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) has given way to convergent, cumulative cooperation. Each of the members expanded the work to involve new participants or new observers, energized the activities of institutions and civil society, and actively participated in the improvement of relations in the field of economy, finance, social sustainability and political security.  Despite differences in foreign policy positions in a number of areas, the BRICS have remained an important forum for discussing geopolitical trends. These steps alone highlight the multipolarity of the global integration process, in which the members of the association, as countries with actively developing economies, currently play a leading role.

The year 2022 of China's BRICS chairmanship has given an additional poweful impetus to the BRICS+ format and the interaction of the five key countries of this association with other developing states. Algeria, Argentina, and Iran applied to join the BRICS in June 2022, confirming the organization's growing appeal in the global economy. After the announcement by the president of the BRICS international forum Purnima Anand at the June virtual XIV summit of the leaders of the association that Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey also intend to become BRICS members in 2023, a number of Western states started talking about the fact that this statement is allegedly just some kind of opportunistic geopolitical game. However, there was nothing surprising in such steps of these three Muslim countries, since the West, with its arrogant and dismissive attitude, itself took Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey out of the brackets, clearly not considering them "promising" for integration into the "Western community" in the future. And this was confirmed by the non-announcement of these three countries, which are very important in current international affairs, to the last G7 summit in Madrid, where, nevertheless, other "non-Western countries" were invited: India, South Africa, Japan, Argentina, Indonesia, South Korea, Senegal, Jordan and Mauritania.

While performing its primary functions, the BRICS association does not pursue any confrontational goals, such as the formation of a new closed economic formation or a political club directed against third countries, which unfortunately abound in various formations established recently by the West. On the contrary, in an era when the world community is confronted with an increasing number of new challenges and threats, the BRICS member states are convinced that only by pooling global efforts can key international problems be solved. The BRICS partnership strategy is to organize mutually beneficial cooperation with other international political and economic organizations in order to develop a program of constructive actions to stabilize the global economy and create a harmonious global order.

The victory of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil's presidential elections confirmed recent changes in the political situation in Latin America. The unconditional reinforcement of these processes, which led to the formation of new international cooperation principles on this continent, was the election of politicians representing a new wave of independence from Western dictates in Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Honduras, and Colombia, as well as the restoration of the Venezuelan economy, which has suffered from the illegal US sanctions policy since 2014. Argentine President Alberto Fernández confirmed the shift in Latin American policy during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on January 29, saying that his country would not supply weapons to Kyiv's neo-Nazi regime, as the US insists.

According to the Argentine president, other Latin American countries will follow Buenos Aires' lead. And this position was recently confirmed by Brazilian President Lula da Silva, who stated that his country would not transfer shells for Leopard tanks to Germany, citing concerns about the appearance of these ammunition in Ukraine, which could harm Latin American countries' relations with Russia.

Thus, the leaders of Argentina, Brazil, and their Latin American counterparts have clearly demonstrated that they do not intend to sever ties with Moscow in order to advance the geopolitical interests of the West, but rather to pursue an independent foreign policy.

South Africa, which took over the BRICS chairmanship from China on January 1, has already stated in Foreign Ministry statements and speeches that it values its membership in the group and intends to support the effective work of this influential organization in the world, working on the basis of consensus and continuity. As the principal focus of its presidency, South Africa proclaimed the BRICS-Africa collaboration to accelerate growth, sustainable development, and inclusive multipolarity. In terms of new chances for collaboration, South Africa aims to pay close attention to Africa's growth and the potential involvement of the BRICS in the functioning of the African Continental Free Trade Zone. Musa Mbhele, the president of the administration of the South African city of Durban, has previously called on the BRICS nations to establish a free trade zone to boost the growth of BRICS commercial relations.

Numerous experts and international observers believe that BRICS has already formed the global governance of the twenty-first century, presenting to the world various fundamental concepts, missions, institutionalization models, and priorities that correspond to the current extremely difficult conditions of confrontation with the Western neocolonial policy of domination. The BRICS Business Council's final report in 2022 featured 39 ideas in the fields of sustainable development, responsible social management, innovation, energy, and food security, all of which are vitally pertinent topics right now. The BRICS interstate organization is playing an increasingly essential and prominent role in the rapidly developing architecture of the multipolar world order. In terms of buying power parity, the BRICS countries' GDP has already surpassed that of the G7 countries.

Experts anticipate that by 2050, the overall volume of the BRICS economies will exceed that of the G7 economies: USA, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan. As stated during the XIV BRICS summit on June 23, 2022, the BRICS organization, which previously intended only to focus the efforts of the developing world, now intends to strengthen the non-Western world's resource through expansion in the context of economic and geopolitical confrontation with Western countries.

Vladimir Danilov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook."

New Eastern Outlook
Tue, 31 Jan 2023 08:59:24 +0000

6. What If the Strategy Is to Leave Russia Holding a Gas Bag?


America is on the ropes. As a citizen of the United States, someone whose family helped shape a great nation, it is a tragedy beyond comprehension. But it is real, I assure you. For decades now, those who watched closely took in the incremental devolution of the republic. Then, with the resignation speech of President Eisenhower, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the political coup against Richard Nixon, an oligarchy of deceit formed a dark empire. Today, we are on the threshold of Armageddon because of "them."

I was just reading comments from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during his discussions with the President of the Republic of Angola Joao Lourenco. The meeting boiled down to an assessment of the international situation concerning Ukraine and the West's unhinged support and promotion of Nazism resurfacing.

No More Detroit

They also discussed the hybrid war the United States is waging against Russia. Both confirmed that the U.S. and its allies are engaged in exerting unprecedented pressure on the developing economies of Asia, Africa, and Latin America in a reenactment of the colonialism period of European history. On many occasions, Russian President Vladimir Putin has pointed out that the West is using the same colonial methods "in order to plunder other countries and to use resources of global importance for its gain." This is not a conspiracy theory, for any honest and intelligent American citizen knows where the United States' wealth comes from. It's not from Detroit or the textile mills of Georgia and the Carolinas, that's for sure.

Lavrov and Angola's leader further discussed how the US is trampling on the same globalization our leaders advertised as "the way." The move to make America's elite families more prosperous, which led to our core economic advantages being disintegrated, was supposed to promote fair competition worldwide. Instead, even our property is becoming inviolable, a target for the World Economic Forum to usurp for our good. Mr. Putin correctly assessed that my country would betray its allies at any given moment to keep the price of gas and bread Americans stable. And that stability fuels rampant super consumerism to enrich technocrats, Wall Street banksters, and the wealthiest of the wealthy in the west.

Putin used Afghanistan, Iraq, and the 2011 Arab Spring as prime examples of how American friends and allies can quickly become targets of regime change, outright war, and massive crimes against humanity covered up by corporate media. I won't get into Julian Assange and the other whistleblowers in prison or sought by CIA assassins. The most recent revelations by Elon Musk about the FBI, the CIA, and the so-called "Deep State" rigging Twitter are just the latest revelations. Facebook's Zuckerberg admitted to conspiring with the FBI to previously infringe on people's free speech. Unfortunately, these elites now have complete information control. Americans who might care, or who could act, have no idea why Joe Biden is marching us into World War III.

A War to Isolate Russia

The reason for the coming world war is pretty simple. At least, America has used it up, worn it out, and eaten it all for the past half-century. One nation of just over 300 million souls consumes one-quarter of virtually every commodity on the planet. Even the Romans were not so greedy in their exploitation of conquered territories. And while our methods differ from those of the Caesars, the result is the unprecedented enrichment of one society above all others. And by far, up until recently. Those who disagree might ask, "Okay, what is in Angola that is so important to American interests?" Some readers will already know the answer. Washington hates to see Sergey Lavrov talking with Joao Lourenco about oil, natural gas, and valuable mineral reserves. Only the reason for this is not so apparent.

Angola has vast untapped oil and gas resources estimated at 9 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves and 11 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves. Looked at another way, Angola's peak daily oil production is about 20% of what the Saudis can maintain. So all Angola needs to become the wealthiest country in Africa is a massive refinery. The government has to spend $2 billion a year on refined oil products for domestic use. Angola is as transparent a case for neo-colonial efforts by western nations as it exists. Plug in Italy's ENI oil and gas contracts for exploration and production, add Norway's Equinor, BP, Chevron, and Exxon Mobile, and the picture becomes more evident. Still, the primary stimulus for warring with Russia is obscure for most people. I'll try to explain briefly.

We are in an unprecedented transitional phase where fossil fuel demand peaks and other technologies and commodities are rising. Experts predict that peak demand for liquid fuels will top out at about 103.2 million barrels daily. This number was determined by comparing data from all the most verifiable sources. This Washington Post story outlines how past recessions, COVID-19, and the coming global recession will negatively affect demand. Factoring in the desperate move toward electric cars and other so-called renewable solutions, what we are seeing now is an energy profits war. The west is optimizing profits for some different phase of this conflict.

One way for the western elites to marginalize Russia for good will be to make oil and gas unsellable commodities. At least, this is one strategy. The Titans of energy know that remaining fossil fuels must be sold at the absolute optimum price. And the only way to do this is to interrupt supply. But Biden's war on Russia is not about stopping Russians from profiting on gas; it's about Americans and their British buddies benefiting by a lot more. This quote from the WAPO article serves as an illustration:

"…oil demand has continued to grow as the indispensable energy carrier fueling rising global incomes and development. Still, the reserves of stamina that crude has called on to maintain its upward trajectory are finally giving out."

 

In short, it's a race to reap massive profits for the short term and to ramrod future alternatives into the consumer space without Russia and probably without China. This would leave both competitors holding an empty bag where worldwide competition over energy is concerned. Still, profiting massively from places like Angola, and the other energy periphery, is a short to mid-term strategy. I believe that the energy tycoons will use the conflict with Russia to optimize profits for investment in electric vehicles and other oil-intensive sectors. Perhaps the military-industrial complex factors in? Or, some Bill Gates depopulation schemes could also be in the mix. Given today's uncertainties, who can say?

As for Russia and China, cheap oil and gas can still boost industrial growth. I also think emerging economies are the broader targets of trade and consumption. Putin and his BRICS partners know what is coming. I would not be surprised to see discussions about fueling new industrialization in all these countries with the use of cheap Russian fuels. That is, once the nuclear Winter blows over.

Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he's an author of the recent bestseller "Putin's Praetorians" and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".

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