In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Posts Tagged ‘End of empire’

Where competing interests converge for US, China

Posted by seumasach on February 8, 2016

American policy toward Central Asia should be based on the premise that it is a region of convergent rather than competitive interests… Thus, wherever possible and appropriate, Washington should better harness…(the) Chinese presence in the region to its favor… Similarly, Washington should not try to impede China’s Silk Road Economic Belt initiative. It is not necessary and will prove ineffective for Washington to take an overly competitive approach to challenging Chinese… political, economic, and security engagement in the region”.

M.K.Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

8th February, 2016

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace brought out a paper recently on the United States’ policy options toward the Central Asian region in the period ahead following the drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan. Three pundits rooted in the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie co-authored the paper and what distinguishes them is also their long stints in the US state department and National Security Council, and/or the intelligence community.

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“What do you want Me to do, go to war with the Russians?!”

Posted by seumasach on February 8, 2016

This is a fair summary of the situation with the best hope for Western diplomacy the claim to have stopped the “barrel bombs”. The complete fiasco and humiliation for Western imperialism so long predicted in these pages!

An Exasperated John Kerry Throws In Towel On Syria: ”

Zero Hedge

7th February, 2016

 

“Russian and Syrian forces intensified their campaign on rebel-held areas around Aleppo that are still home to around 350,000 people and aid workers have said the city – Syria’s largest before the war – could soon fall.”

Can you spot what’s wrong with that quote, from a Reuters pieceout today? Here’s the problem: “could soon fall” implies that Aleppo is on the verge of succumbing to enemy forces. It’s not. It’s already in enemy hands and has been for quite some time. What Reuters should have said is this: “…could soon be liberated.”

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Iran wants oil payments in euros only

Posted by seumasach on February 7, 2016

PressTV

5th February, 2016

Iran indicated on Friday that it wants to settle payments for its new and outstanding oil sales in euros and not in dollars or any other currencies.

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Iran, India dump Petrodollar

Posted by seumasach on January 10, 2016

Just the Beginning: Iran, India Dump Petrodollar, Settle Oil Payments in Rupees

Russia Insider

6th January, 2015

Iran and India have announced that they intend to settle all oustanding crude oil payments in rupees, as part of a joint strategy to dump the dollar and trade instead in national currencies.

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Saudi Arabia rallies Sunni boots to fight terror

Posted by seumasach on December 17, 2015

M.K.Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

16th December, 2015

The announcement by Saudi Arabia on Tuesday regarding the formation of an Islamic military alliance to fight terrorism has caught everyone by surprise. The announcement came in the nature of a ‘joint statement’ purportedly by 34 Muslim states (here and here). The Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has personally identified himself with the initiative and held a rare press conference to claim that Riyadh would “coordinate efforts to fight terrorism” in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan. MbS announced that the alliance will be headquartered in Riyadh.

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Time Is running out for Pax Americana’s apologists

Posted by seumasach on November 15, 2015

Oriental Review

11th November, 2015

The paradox of the current global crisis is that for the last five years, all relatively responsible and independent nations have made tremendous efforts to save the United States from the financial, economic, military, and political disaster that looms ahead. And this is all despite Washington’s equally systematic moves to destabilize the world order, rightly known as the Pax Americana.

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UN chief, China, Germany, prioritize Syrian stability to resolve refugee crisis

Posted by seumasach on November 9, 2015

 

“He also noted that Berlin’s interests are “more in line with those of Russia and China than those of the US,” echoing what German political scientist Matthias Küntzel in 2009 referred as the emergence of a “new constellation” of powers with USA/UK/France on one side and Russia/China/Germany on the other.[8]

With the recent upgrade of Sino-British relationship to “comprehensive strategic partnership” and EU members clamoring to join China’s AIIB and ‘One Belt One Road’ initiatives earlier this year, the Beijing-Moscow-Berlin based constellation may actually be expanding.[9]

Asia Times

9th November, 2015

In 2003, Germany opposed US invasion of Iraq, and again in 2011 when US bombed the Gaddafi regime that tragically transformed Libya from a relatively stable country to a failed state.[1]

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The anti-Corbyn coup is stillborn

Posted by seumasach on October 12, 2015

Cailean Bochanan

12th October, 2015

The long awaited coup against Jeremy Corbyn has finally materialized. Up to fifty Labour MPs are reported to be prepared to vote for military action in Syria were it to be put to a vote. What possessed them to put forward this woefully mistimed move is anyone’s guess. Perhaps they had been reading Socialist Worker and been inflamed by its reports of “some 10,000” barrel boms “dropped in the first six months of this year” and how Russia “wants to shore up Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which is crumbling, so it is attacking all forms of opposition.” In any case, they have decided that the time has come for another UK intervention to protect civilians by creating safe havens for them. That would involve, as Labour MP John Woodcock put it, “greater involvement from air forces to sustain a no-fly zone and will certainly require an end to the hand-wringing over President Putin’s disgraceful deceit in bombing anti-Assad rebels rather than Daesh [Isis].”

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UK still seeking to conduct Syria airstrikes

Posted by seumasach on October 7, 2015

The operative word here is “still”: we still, despite the fact that Syrian airspace is under the control of the Russians with de facto US collaboration, are considering airstrikes against ISIL,

“But Cameron has also said he would only take the vote to parliament if he had a convincing plan for Syria after the bloody four-year civil war.’

So he won’t be taking it to a vote then! The people with a convincing plan are the Russians.

Yet, still, we hear the faint and forlorn cry of regime change:

 “We need to demonstrate that we have a vision and a plan for what Syria should look like and I’m clear that means a government not led by Bashar Assad but led by someone who can bring the country together. You need a Syrian government that can appeal not just to the Alawites but to the Sunnis, the Kurds and Christians.”

Still, I agree with the last sentence, but that Syrian government is none other than that of Bashar-al-Assad!

The British government is in total disarray.

Guardian

7th October, 2015

 

Britain is still seeking to conduct airstrikes in Syria even though Russia’s military action there is making the country extremely dangerous, Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, has said.

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Russia, US work on agreement to coordinate air operations in Syria

Posted by seumasach on October 7, 2015

See also: New Cold War or War on Terror

“I have, for some time, been talking up a strategic alliance between Washington and Moscow as the great paradigm shift in global geo-politics. It was, admittedly, difficult to see how such a shift could come about. Indeed, the failure of Obama’s reset was just another amongst a litany of seeming failures. But if that remains a strategic goal of Obama, and I believe that it must, then War on TerrorII would be the key to its realization.”

APA

7th October, 2015

Baku – APA. The Russian Defense Ministry and the Pentagon are working on an agreement to coordinate military flights in Syria, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry, RT reported.

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The left on the horns of a Chinese dilemma

Posted by seumasach on October 4, 2015

Cailean Bochanan

4th October, 2015

I had the impression that Osborne’s recent and startling announcement of various deals with China, including the integration of our financial markets, no less, had been met by a stunned silence. But John McDonnell, the new Shadow Chancellor made this reference to them in his speech to the Labour Party Conference:

“I found the Conservatives’ rant against Jeremy’s proposal to bring rail back into public ownership ironic when George Osborne was touring China selling off to the Chinese state bank any British asset he could lay his hands on.”

“Ironic” is putting it mildly: The Chancellor has essentially admitted the failure of the Thatcher revolution and called in the state to rescue Britain. Only it’s not the British state, which no longer knows how to run anything unless it’s into the ground. You might have thought the left would be enjoying this “irony” a bit more than they appear to be. More, for example, than William Keegan writing in the Guardian who is dismayed that Osborne is “kowtowing to a communist Chinese government” and denounces his “cloying approach to a regime notorious for its abuse of human rights”. Keegan is something of a soft left neo-keynesian and , therefore, those criticisms could be largely expected. What about the hard left?
In an article in Socialist Worker Alex Callinicos gives us the line. He is, of course, scrupulously politically correct:

“The problem here isn’t that the companies are foreign-owned.”

Why shouldn’t foreign companies take the place over? Don’t they have rights too? The problem lies elsewhere. Callinicos points out that Chinese companies are “still subject to considerable state control” and that capital “is still not allowed to flow freely in and out of the country” However, Callinicos insinuates this is changing and China is embracing the free movement of capital.
So we have two major threads in this leftist discourse: on the one hand, dealing with China is wrong because China is communist and , on the other , it is wrong because China is no longer communist.
Callinicos goes on to denounce the fact that Chinese investment will be centered on the the City of London at the expense of the “national base of companies operating in Britain.” Callinicos’ thinking in all this is particularly fuzzy. Capital exported from China can still be and is controlled by the Chinese leadership for all their rhetoric about free markets. This is particularly true of the banks. As Dend Xaoping himself used to say:”Whatever you do keep control of the financial system!” In addition, I don’t believe the behavior of Chinese banks will merely replicate that of our own: riding high on bubbles and carry trades, manipulating rates and prices and laundering funds of dubious origin. If they did China certainly wouldn’t be in the position it is today. Anyway, as Osborne announced, there is already large scale Chinese investment in the real economy, largely in infrastructure and housing. There is every reason to believe that this would increase with funding available from Chinese banks operating in the City. The principles of Chinese finance contradict completely those the City of London. We are, therefore, looking at systemic change in the British financial system.
The British left desperately need to get to grips with this issue and quickly. This is because they have essentially abandoned their neo-Keynesian perspectives and accepted the need to balance budgets. But how can they reconcile this with their claim to be anti-austerity. Balanced budgets imply genocidal austerity unless there is some countervailing tendency. That tendency is incoming investment something which, seemingly unbeknown to the left, we have been beneficiaries of for decades. All that is happening,as Osborne’s policy shows, is that the form this investment takes is changing.
For a long time China was obliged to accept fiat pounds to cover its massive trade surplus with Britain and reinvest these pounds in UK government bonds. This was win/win for Britain and largely explains the surprising prosperity of post-Thatcherite Britain. The bankruptcy of the City and its subsequent bailout changed all that. China ceased to buy new UK government bonds (note that, in addition to its massive trade deficit, Britain no longer has a current account surplus not including trade) although they agreed not to divest from existing bonds, sinking sterling. Instead, they wanted to reinvest the surplus funds in the UK. So, on the one hand, we can no longer fund our deficit with Chinese bond purchases and on the other we have the prospect of hundreds of billions worth of inward investment. So balanced budgets and Osborne’s policy are two sides of the same coin. It would be truly reckless to embrace balanced budgets without wholeheartedly welcoming the incoming investment which will render the outcome far less austere. The left are caught in a dilemma which they must resolve if they don’t want to be outflanked by the Tories.

Posted in British economy | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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