How China and Russia are running rings around Washington

How China and Russia are running rings around Washington

Central Asia is, at the moment, geographic ground zero for the convergence of the economic urges of China, Russia, and India.

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A geopolitical “big bang” just happened in Eurasia, and it’s not good for United States

by Pepe Escobar

TomDispatch/ ICH/ Salon

Let’s start with the geopolitical Big Bang you know nothing about, the one that occurred just two weeks ago. Here are its results: from now on, any possible future attack on Iran threatened by the Pentagon (in conjunction with NATO) would essentially be an assault on the planning of an interlocking set of organizations — the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), the EEU (Eurasian Economic Union), the AIIB (the new Chinese-founded Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank), and the NDB (the BRICS’ New Development Bank) — whose acronyms you’re unlikely to recognize either. Still, they represent an emerging new order in Eurasia.

Tehran, Beijing, Moscow, Islamabad, and New Delhi have been actively establishing interlocking security guarantees. They have been simultaneously calling the Atlanticist bluff when it comes to the endless drumbeat of attention given to the flimsy meme of Iran’s “nuclear weapons program.”  And a few days before the Vienna nuclear negotiations finally culminated in an agreement, all of this came together at a twin BRICS/SCO summit in Ufa, Russia — a place you’ve undoubtedly never heard of and a meeting that got next to no attention in the U.S.

And yet sooner or later, these developments will ensure that the War Party in Washington and assorted neocons (as well as neoliberalcons) already breathing hard over the Iran deal will sweat bullets as their narratives about how the world works crumble.

The Eurasian Silk Road

Good Ideas & Innovation: The Silk Road extending from Southern Europe through Arabia, Somalia, Egypt, Persia, India and Java until it reaches China.
Good Ideas & Innovation: The Silk Road extending from Southern Europe through Arabia, Somalia, Egypt, Persia, India and Java until it reaches China.

With the Vienna deal, whose interminable build-up I had the dubious pleasure of following closely, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and his diplomatic team have pulled the near-impossible out of an extremely crumpled magician’s hat: an agreement that might actually end sanctions against their country from an asymmetric, largely manufactured conflict.

Think of that meeting in Ufa, the capital of Russia’s Bashkortostan, as a preamble to the long-delayed agreement in Vienna. It caught the new dynamics of the Eurasian continent and signaled the future geopolitical Big Bangness of it all. At Ufa, from July 8th to 10th, the 7th BRICS summit and the 15th Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit overlapped just as a possible Vienna deal was devouring one deadline after another.

UFA, RUSSIA - JULY 10:  In this handout image supplied by Host Photo Agency / RIA Novosti, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, centre, during a group photograph of BRICS leaders and the leaders of the invited states. From left: President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rakhmon, President of the Republic of South Africa Jacob Zuma, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping, President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj. From right: President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil Dilma Rousseff, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani on July 10, 2015 in Ufa, Russia. (Photo by Alexander Vilf / Host Photo Agency/Ria Novosti via Getty Images)
UFA, RUSSIA – JULY 10: In this handout image supplied by Host Photo Agency / RIA Novosti, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, centre, during a group photograph of BRICS leaders and the leaders of the invited states. From left: President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rakhmon, President of the Republic of South Africa Jacob Zuma, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj. From right: President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil Dilma Rousseff, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani on July 10, 2015 in Ufa, Russia. (Photo by Alexander Vilf / Host Photo Agency/Ria Novosti via Getty Images)

Consider it a diplomatic masterstroke of Vladmir Putin’s Russia to have merged those two summits with an informal meeting of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Call it a soft power declaration of war against Washington’s imperial logic, one that would highlight the breadth and depth of an evolving Sino-Russian strategic partnership. Putting all those heads of state attending each of the meetings under one roof, Moscow offered a vision of an emerging, coordinated geopolitical structure anchored in Eurasian integration. Thus, the importance of Iran: no matter what happens post-Vienna, Iran will be a vital hub/node/crossroads in Eurasia for this new structure.

If you read the declaration that came out of the BRICS summit, one detail should strike you: the austerity-ridden European Union (EU) is barely mentioned. And that’s not an oversight. From the point of view of the leaders of key BRICS nations, they are offering a new approach to Eurasia, the very opposite of the language of sanctions.

Here are just a few examples of the dizzying activity that took place at Ufa, all of it ignored by the American mainstream media. In their meetings, President Putin, China’s President Xi Jinping, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi worked in a practical way to advance what is essentially a Chinese vision of a future Eurasia knit together by a series of interlocking “new Silk Roads.” Modi approved more Chinese investment in his country, while Xi and Modi together pledged to work to solve the joint border issues that have dogged their countries and, in at least one case, led to war.

 NDB headquartered in China. The president of the New Development Bank (NDB), Kundapur Vaman Kamath of India.
NDB headquartered in China. The president of the New Development Bank (NDB), Kundapur Vaman Kamath of India.

The NDB, the BRICS’ response to the World Bank, was officially launched with $50 billion in start-up capital. Focused on funding major infrastructure projects in the BRICS nations, it is capable of accumulating as much as $400 billion in capital, according to its president, Kundapur Vaman Kamath. Later, it plans to focus on funding such ventures in other developing nations across the Global South — all in their own currencies, which means bypassing the U.S. dollar. Given its membership, the NDB’s money will clearly be closely linked to the new Silk Roads. As Brazilian Development Bank President Luciano Coutinho stressed, in the near future it may also assist European non-EU member states like Serbia and Macedonia. Think of this as the NDB’s attempt to break a Brussels monopoly on Greater Europe. Kamath even advanced the possibility of someday aiding in the reconstruction of Syria.

AIIB – to meet Asia's massive infrastructure-funding.
AIIB – to meet Asia’s massive infrastructure-funding.

You won’t be surprised to learn that both the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the NDB are headquartered in China and will work to complement each other’s efforts. At the same time, Russia’s foreign investment arm, the Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), signed a memorandum of understanding with funds from other BRICS countries and so launched an informal investment consortium in which China’s Silk Road Fund and India’s Infrastructure Development Finance Company will be key partners.

Full Spectrum Transportation Dominance

The trans-Eurasia choo-choo train cargo will cross China from East to West, then Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, France, and finally Spain.
The trans-Eurasia choo-choo train cargo will cross China from East to West, then Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, France, and finally Spain.

On the ground level, this should be thought of as part of the New Great Game in Eurasia. Its flip side is the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the Pacific and the Atlantic version of the same, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, both of which Washington is trying to advance to maintain U.S. global economic dominance. The question these conflicting plans raise is how to integrate trade and commerce across that vast region. From the Chinese and Russian perspectives, Eurasia is to be integrated via a complex network of superhighways, high-speed rail lines, ports, airports, pipelines, and fiber optic cables. By land, sea, and air, the resulting New Silk Roads are meant to create an economic version of the Pentagon’s doctrine of “Full Spectrum Dominance” — a vision that already has Chinese corporate executives crisscrossing Eurasia sealing infrastructure deals.

For Beijing — back to a 7% growth rate in the second quarter of 2015 despite a recent near-panic on the country’s stock markets — it makes perfect economic sense: as labor costs rise, production will be relocated from the country’s Eastern seaboard to its cheaper Western reaches, while the natural outlets for the production of just about everything will be those parallel and interlocking “belts” of the new Silk Roads.

Meanwhile, Russia is pushing to modernize and diversify its energy-exploitation-dependent economy. Among other things, its leaders hope that the mix of those developing Silk Roads and the tying together of the Eurasian Economic Union — Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan — will translate into myriad transportation and construction projects for which the country’s industrial and engineering know-how will prove crucial.

As the EEU has begun establishing free trade zones with India, Iran, Vietnam, Egypt, and Latin America’s Mercosur bloc (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela), the initial stages of this integration process already reach beyond Eurasia. Meanwhile, the SCO, which began as little more than a security forum, is expanding and moving into the field of economic cooperation.  Its countries, especially four Central Asian “stans” (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan) will rely ever more on the Chinese-driven Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the NDB. At Ufa, India and Pakistan finalized an upgrading process in which they have moved from observers to members of the SCO. This makes it an alternative G8.

China, Russia, India hold talks on Afghanistan
China, Russia, India hold talks on Afghanistan

In the meantime, when it comes to embattled Afghanistan, the BRICS nations and the SCO have now called upon “the armed opposition to disarm, accept the Constitution of Afghanistan, and cut ties with Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist organizations.” Translation: within the framework of Afghan national unity, the organization would accept the Taliban as part of a future government. Their hopes, with the integration of the region in mind, would be for a future stable Afghanistan able to absorb more Chinese, Russian, Indian, and Iranian investment, and the construction — finally! — of a long-planned, $10 billion, 1,420-kilometer-long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline that would benefit those energy-hungry new SCO members, Pakistan and India. (They would each receive 42% of the gas, the remaining 16% going to Afghanistan.)

Central Asia is, at the moment, geographic ground zero for the convergence of the economic urges of China, Russia, and India. It was no happenstance that, on his way to Ufa, Prime Minister Modi stopped off in Central Asia.  Like the Chinese leadership in Beijing, Moscow looks forward (as a recent document puts it) to the “interpenetration and integration of the EEU and the Silk Road Economic Belt” into a “Greater Eurasia” and a “steady, developing, safe common neighborhood” for both Russia and China.

Russian President Vladimir Putin walks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, left, in Ufa, Russia, Thursday, July 9, 2015.
Russian President Vladimir Putin walks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, left, in Ufa, Russia, Thursday, July 9, 2015.

And don’t forget Iran. In early 2016, once economic sanctions are fully lifted, it is expected to join the SCO, turning it into a G9. As its foreign minister, Javad Zarif, made clear recently to Russia’s Channel 1 television, Tehran considers the two countries strategic partners. “Russia,” he said, “has been the most important participant in Iran’s nuclear program and it will continue under the current agreement to be Iran’s major nuclear partner.” The same will, he added, be true when it comes to “oil and gas cooperation,” given the shared interest of those two energy-rich nations in “maintaining stability in global market prices.”

PEPE BOOK COVER.jpg 1


See: CrossTalk: Neocon Retreat?

Published on Jul 27, 2015

As the Iran deal becomes a reality, Washington’s neoconservatives and their allies are bristling. A sanctioned and isolated Iran had long been one of their policy pillars. This is no longer the case. The neocon agenda has experienced a major setback. Is this a temporary reversal or a stunning defeat?

CrossTalking with Fred Fleitz, David Swanson, and Brian Becker.

 

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Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com. (Copyright 2014 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. )

6 COMMENTS

  1. It seems that the Iran Deal endorsed by P5+1 nations and the UNSC is a part of the general, dramatically growing isolation of Israel and its Zionist backers in the eyes of the world.

    The horror of Gaza, Palestine’s illegal occupation and ongoing egregious violation of international law by Tel Aviv, The illegal invasion of Iraq on false intelligence provided by Israel, Israeli intrigues with Al Qaeda in wrecking Syria, the increasing awareness created by the global BDS movement, and now Netanyahu’s crazy outbursts over diplomacy with Iran. It’s all downhill for the Zionists and is such a PR disaster that I don’t think even all that lobby money in Washington can mitigate.

    As for future meddling by next US administration and the N deal, it will be very hard to overturn an international treaty, even if they wanted to. Hard to say for sure. The way political culture in Washington has become so degenerate especially evident with the current presidential race anything is possible.

    The gravy train (US financial & military aid ) for Israeli regime and Pentagon firms may continue, but it’s still another nail in the coffin as far as the growing public’s contempt goes. This just adds to the growing public disgust with this horrible excrescence being conducted in the name of Americans.

    It is shocking that such outrageous weaponisation and pandering is indulged, but let it continue as it just adds more condemnation to the eventual collapse.

  2. Anything that reduces the coercion that the US has had over other nations is a good thing.
    Especially since Zionists have hijacked its congress & TV news outlets.
    Whose arteries will Israel sink its fangs into once the dollar (Israel’s life support) dies?
    Do they think they can infest Chinese banking institutions?
    Please!

  3. @ Dave. Do they think they can infest Chinese banking institutions?

    I think we are lucky today to have positive leaders like Xi and Putin emerge and respond to something of the nature of a worldwide Revolution taking place and downtrodden people all over the world are all asserting their demands for freedom and human dignity…

    What we are witnessing today is history in the making.

    As Einstein said:

    “Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.”
    — Albert Einstein

    He also said:

    The definition of insanity is when someone keeps doing the same thing while expecting different results.
    –Albert Einstein

    In looking back through a historical perspective, on the works of Zionism and the Russian Jew in the destruction not only of a “corrupt and decadent” Autocracy of Russian Imperializm but the destruction of entire cultures, as was attempted in China as well, with greater or lesser successes, we can assess “communism” as just another ideological weapon invented and deployed by Zionism to destroy the world of the Goyim, and make it ready for the advent of God’s Chosen People.

    I was just discussing with a local “Chinaman” the forthcoming clash which will happen when Jewish promoted Zionism has destroyed Western Civilization, and comes head to head, one on one, with China, and sought among a loss for words of some examples of how Western Jews might have already infiltrated Asian China in the same way they seem to have infiltrated most of the steering positions in Western culture, and it eluded me entirely that Maoism and Chinese Communism imported from the USSR was the medium, and the clash has already occurred!

    Out of it rises a new Chinese Phoenix, as well as a new Russian Phoenix!

    Neither of these speak well for the survival of the rest of Western culture, or the return of Pre-Post Modernist traditions and values.

  4. Hey Debbie!

    Haven’t seen you in a long while.

    Kinda sucks to find out Duff was a neocon zionist shill operative, eh?

    He screwed us all.

    Live and learn.

    I hope you’re well….

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