Monday 17th of May 2021

peace and prosperity, US style...

nukesnukes                                                       Beijing has blamed Washington and Tokyo for undermining stability in the Asia Pacific region after they released a joint statement saying “regional challenges” would be addressed by all means, “including nuclear.”  

The statement by US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, the first foreign leader to officially visit Biden at the White House, was released on Friday. It criticized China, suggesting its actions “are inconsistent with the international rules-based order” and impact “peace and prosperity” in the region.

 

The alliance between Washington and Tokyo, on the other hand, “has become a cornerstone of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world,” and the two countries “are more prepared than ever to address regional challenges,” the statement continued. Beijing’s activities in the South China Sea were mentioned among the challenges, as well as issues in Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan. 

“Japan resolved to bolster its own national defense capabilities… The United States restated its unwavering support for Japan’s defense… using its full range of capabilities, including nuclear,” the statement read.

Beijing condemned the document, saying it went beyond the scope of bilateral relations and interfered in China’s internal affairs. It also endorsed separatist activities, a statement by the Chinese Embassy in the US said on Saturday, as reported by the CGTN news channel.

China, which has for decades considered Taiwan an integral part of its territory, has repeatedly called on the US not to interfere in its domestic policies. Tensions in the South China Sea have long been increasing, with a number of military drills happening in the region, particularly around the island of Taiwan, which considers itself an independent nation and is supported by Western states.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/521347-us-japan-statement-nuclear/

 

 

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titanic tech cold war with china...

 Biden is picking up where Trump left off as US readies itself for a titanic tech cold war with China

 

by Tom Fowdy

 

America’s addition of more Chinese companies to its entity list shows it’s now being used as a vehicle of geopolitical containment. Coupled with a new $110bn tech bill, it proves the US is worried about being overtaken by Beijing.

It’s now abundantly clear that Joe Biden is carrying on the United States’ technology war against China where Donald Trump left it, signalling further continuity with his predecessor’s confrontational policy against Beijing.

Yesterday, the US Department of Commerce announced that it had added seven Chinese supercomputer companies to the dreaded ‘entity list’, effectively prohibiting them from acquiring US technology without a licence while citing that they are helping China’s military modernization.

The list was a preferred weapon of Trump; he added many Chinese technology companies to it, including, famously, Huawei. While the Biden administration has claimed it is reviewing the policy, it appears little in practice has changed.

And not only that, but in the US Senate, Democrat Chuck Schumer and Republican Todd Young are laying the ground for a bumper bill to confront China on technology too, aiming to funnel up to $110 billion into US research and technology.

 

Why such a deep bipartisan consistency on this matter? Because it has become a common belief that the US risks being overtaken by China on science and technology, which strategically is seen as undermining America’s long-standing military dominance. The solution is to buffer up US capabilities while also trying to forcefully suppress China’s rise, which is why the entity list option has been so frequently invoked.

Technology is a wonderful thing. In many ways, it is to the benefit of all humanity. The creation of television, computers, the internet, smartphones, satellites, cars and so on has revolutionized our world and brought convenience into our daily lives. But on a geopolitical level, the outlook is very different. There is more focus on who owns the tech, who controls it and how it will alter the distribution of power between countries.

On an individual level, technology improves our lives, but at state level it is looked at in terms of capabilities, threats and its potential in war. And nowhere is this more true than in the US, which sees its global primacy through the lens of having a scientific lead on every other country that it has sought to sustain since World War II.

And so, while America is very keen for the world, including China, to buy its consumer tech – such as Apple – what it does not want is for a competitor country to acquire components or knowhow which it considers ‘strategic’ and that could subsequently undermine its position.

And herein lies the crux of the US-China dispute. There is a widespread belief in Washington that China poses a technological threat to the US; that through Beijing’s growing scientific achievements, it may surpass American military capabilities altogether.

As a result, a policy consensus has formed in the US that in order to better compete with China, Beijing must ultimately be deprived of access to these ‘strategic technologies’– and that’s where the entity list is so important. What is an export control mechanism was effectively turned into a vehicle of geopolitical containment by Trump, and Biden is doing the same, vowing to keep Beijing from “controlling the technologies of the future”.

China of course has had plenty of warning, and has responded by initiating a path of self-reliance and localization in terms of components, investing heavily, for example, in semiconductors. So, this latest announcement will not be a surprise to Beijing, and it is now well aware it simply cannot depend on the US.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/520612-biden-us-cold-war-china/

 

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beyond becoming fat on US hamburgers...

Unbeknownst to most of the population, Australia is a willing player in a global game of Risk. The risks are great, the rewards less so. We do not need to play this game.

 

By Cameron Leckie

 

The current animosity between the United States-led western world and strategic partners Russia and China is all about power. It is not about human rights, democracy, trade, intellectual property, the ‘rules-based international order’ or any of the other canards used by politicians, commentators and the media to describe current events.

The United States had for a historically brief period, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a unipolar moment where it could largely do as it pleased in international affairs. That period of global hegemony is now history but the myth of US exceptionalism within the minds of its elites, and their acolytes, persists.

China and Russia on the other hand, both having learned the folly of empire, have rather more limited goals. But in a case of projection, Western powers assume Russia and China seek global domination. This is based on the fallacious logic, as argued by former US ambassador and Assistant Secretary of Defense Chas Freeman, that because the United States had the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny these countries must too.

At this point, it is highly unlikely that the United States along with any grouping of its allies can militarily defeat China and Russia in any plausible scenario. Thus, the conflict between these two poles is primarily informational and to a lesser extent economic (e.g. sanctions). In other words, this is a grey-zone conflict, otherwise known as political warfare.

General Angus Campbell, the Chief of the Defence Force, suggests that it is authoritarian states that are primarily responsible for political warfare, conducting grey-zone “operations that subvert, erode and undermine, breaking international rules and norms, but ones that, in the eyes of the targeted state, fall short of requiring a war response.” The empirical evidence indicates that the greatest proponent of grey-zone operations by a large margin is the United States. It has chalked up an impressive record of coup d’état’s, colour revolutions, unilateral economic sanctions and when that failed overt military action, often outside the bounds of the United Nations!

Australia is a willing protagonist in supporting the grey-zone operations of the United States. We are exposed to it every day through the media, politicians, commentators and think tanks such as the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). The mechanism is a managed narrative that manipulates, exaggerates and amplifies negative stories on target countries such as China and Russia whilst ignoring important stories that expose the misdeeds of Australia’s allies.

Specific tactics include accepting as fact unproven allegations, failing to ask obvious questions when the official story has logical and factual inconsistencies, omitting important and relevant context, ignoring the legitimate concerns of other nations, the use of pejorative and delegitimising language, hypocrisy and double standards, labelling as propaganda/fake news/disinformation inconvenient evidence, naming those who question the official narrative as conspiracy theorists/apologists/denialists/puppets/useful idiots, a complete lack of scepticism of official sources with a track record for deception and constant repetition.

Concrete examples abound including Russiagate, Ukraine and Crimea, MH17, Syria, chemical weapons attacks (the Skripal’s, Navalny, Douma), Hong Kong, the South China Sea and the Uighurs along with many more of a less significant nature.

The suppression of evidence by the management of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) indicating that the Douma 2018 chemical weapons attack was staged is perhaps the most important case study of how the narrative is being managed (see here for an archive of related P&I articles). It is important because the events surrounding it could have led to conflict between nuclear powers, there is a prima facie case that the suppression of evidence occurred including documents and whistle-blower evidence, that the scandal is as significant as that of Iraqi WMDs and that the story has not received any coverage by mainstream media.

This case study highlights how the media plays a critical role as narrative managers. It is however a conflicted role, the media being both, in my view, a witting and unwitting player in the grey-zone. Part of the problem is, as described by Chas Freeman, that “we have inhaled our own propaganda, and we are living in the appropriately stoned state that that produces.”

The systemic failure of the Australian media to cover important stories, such as the OPCW scandal, that expose the nefarious actions of Australia’s allies indicate active participation. Further examples being leaked documents from the hacking group Anonymous on the extensive information warfare operations of the British Government targeted towards Syria and Russia which have received no coverage in the Australian media.

ASPI is perhaps the leading exponent of grey-zone operations in Australia. A recent example being its Report titled ‘Strange bedfellows on Xinjiang: The CCP, fringe media and US social media platforms’. Much of the Report focuses on an independent media organisation, The Grayzone, which has published articles questioning the broadly accepted narrative of Uighur repression by China. The authors describe The Grayzone as a denialist fringe media organisation highlighting that its reporting has been amplified by Chinese state media and its journalists have appeared on Russian and Chinese state media.

This Report is not about determining the truth or otherwise of the serious allegations of human rights abuses against Uighurs. Rather it serves the purposes of generating negative coverage of the Chinese Government, attempting to marginalise a media organisation that challenges these allegations (and in doing so discouraging other media organisations from covering this story) and perhaps most insidiously laying the groundwork for censoring individuals and organisations who question the accepted narrative.

The evidence supporting this view includes:

  • Nowhere in the Report is the accuracy of the The Grayzone’s reporting questioned. There are no claims of The Grayzone disseminating false news or disinformation nor evidence provided. This indicates tacit acknowledgement of the accuracy of the reporting;
  • The use of the term ‘denialist’ as an attempt to delegitimise The Greyzone. The only evidence to support this is a link to an article by Coda Story which does not question the accuracy of the reporting but rather relies upon insinuations. Not surprisingly, Coda Story is partly funded by one of the agents of regime change for the US Government, the National Endowment for Democracy. ASPI itself is also partly funded by the US State Department and other organisations with an interest in belligerence towards China and Russia;
  • The use of the term ‘fringe,’ another attempt at delegitimisation. Interestingly enough it appears that ASPI (24,000 Facebook likes, 37,000 Twitter followers) and Coda Story (12,000 Facebook likes, 14,000 Twitter followers) are more ‘fringe’ than The Grayzone (136,000 Youtube subscribers, 24,000 Facebook likes, 96,000 Twitter followers – its editor has 224,000 Twitter followers). Youtube videos from The Grayzone, often featuring interviews with prominent individuals, regularly attract many tens of thousands of views with some more than 100,000.

The extension of ASPIs logic is that ‘fringe’ media organisations are doing the bidding of foreign powers (something which ASPI itself could be accused of doing) and should thus be exposed and ultimately censored, Soviet Union style.

James Bradley in The China Mirage describes the tragicomedy of US policy towards China before, during and after World War Two, based on a managed narrative of China that was far from reality. This is an eery corollary to present circumstances where narratives are being managed once again to suit powerful interests.

Bradley argues that a more realistic appraisal of China by the United States could have averted the Chinese civil war, the Korean war, the Vietnam war and many millions of deaths. There is little to gain from contemporary grey-zone operations for either the nation or the average citizen. The potential costs are great, including conflict between nuclear-armed powers, which is the likely endpoint of current tensions.

The root cause of Australia’s involvement in these extremely risky and unnecessary grey-zone operations is our alliance with the United States and the broader Five Eyes community. It is becoming increasingly clear that whatever benefits Australia once gained from these relationships has now become a grave risk to our national prosperity, security, democracy and sovereignty. We have hitched our wagon on the wrong horse, a once all-powerful but rapidly declining hegemon, with little left to offer the world other than instability, coercion and conflict. If there was ever a time for a truly independent foreign policy, now is it.

 

Read more:

https://johnmenadue.com/australia-is-playing-in-the-international-grey-zone-it-is-time-to-get-out-of-our-unthinking-alliance-with-the-us/

 

 

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the way it should work but doesn't....

 

The theory that political events are resulting from compelling laws of nature or history, that, for example, hostile external circumstances must necessarily lead to uprisings or even violent revolutions, or that wars are inevitable when previous positions of power in the world are called into question – a current example of this is the “Thucydides hypothesis” regarding the relationship between the USA and China – is to be contradicted. The human factor is not sufficiently accounted for: neither in the negative nor in the positive. Agitation and propaganda can cause unnecessary violence in socially and politically tense situations and even set peoples against each other. Respect for others, on the other hand, is promoting and supporting the search for peaceful solutions which take all sides into account, within a country as well as in dealing with other peoples and states.

 

The poison of agitation and propaganda

It is worth remembering today where agitation and propaganda can lead. The atrocities that our history books tell us about and that are still being committed today are the extreme. What is most striking today is how the lack of respect for others within a country, but also in dealing with other states and peoples and their governments, can disrupt not only personal but also political relationships and interfere with governance for the common good.

 

Lack of emotional orientation and of Gemeinschaftsgefühl (sense of community)

Lack of respect for the other person is reflected in disregard for their dignity and their rights. The rights to physical integrity and life are the most important of these. But the other fundamental and human rights are also indispensable. The right of peoples to self-determination according to Article 1 of the International Covenants on Human Rights is one of them.


  What are the causes for lack of respect for other human beings? This cannot be answered in one sentence. Respect for others corresponds to the social nature of human beings. It is an imperative of living together. In history and at present, there are many people who have exemplified and continue to exemplify this. Respect for human dignity and human rights is a logical conclusion from this. Insufficient emotional orientation or a lack of Gemeinschaftsgefühl (sense of community) is an obstacle to this. This is the gateway for agitators, agitation and propaganda – they do not want dialogue that unites people, but rather aggravation.

 

How dialogue in international relations is dying

Dialogue is also dying in international relations. The agitation against Russia and especially against the country’s incumbent president, Vladimir Putin, that has been going on for years now and the consequences of this are an example of this. On 18 March 2021, the Swiss website Info-sperber1 reads: “The West provokes, Russia will respond. Biden’s ‘Putin is a killer’ is more than provocation. There are rules of the game in international politics, too: Countries, governments and organisations may be criticised, but not heads of state or government personally.” The text speaks of a “breach of taboo” and refers to an analysis by Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, dated 21 February 2021. The Carnegie Moscow Center is financed by US endowments, but the analysis is nevertheless worth reading. It says, for example: “The arrival of Joe Biden and the Democrats in the White House means more and targeted US pressure on Russia and on Putin personally, as well as a much stronger US commitment to intervene in Russian domestic politics and in Russia’s immediate neighbourhood.” [emphasis km] But also: “The range and intensity of possible [Russian] responses are wide. The Kremlin is considering various options. It will not act hastily, but it can act quickly and asymmetrically […]. Russia’s response already has a name: active containment of the United States.” The Infosperber author adds: “Anyone who followed Russian television on Wednesday evening [17 February] […] knows how Joe Biden’s taboo-breaking was received there: as an insult to the whole of Russia. In Russia, too, people know very well that no other country has been responsible for more war dead since the end of the Cold War than the USA […].”


  Is it any wonder that recent surveys by the Moscow opinion research institute Levada Centre have found that - unlike in the first 20 years after 1990 – the majority of Russians aged 18 to 24 no longer want a “Western orientation”, but rather an independent Eurasian path for their country?2

 

Respect is a different thing

In an interview with the German Nachdenkseiten of 17 March 20213, Gabriele Krone-Schmalz4 said in response to the question of how she assessed the West’s current relationship with Russia: “With great concern. I do not only miss political analyses that untangle the ravel of interests and morals, but above all a political strategy as to where this spiral of threats and sanctions should lead. A situation has arisen in which many still use the words ‘dialogue’ and ‘willingness to talk’, but the practice looks different.”


  At the end of the interview, she says: “Far be it from me to develop disaster scenarios, but I am firmly convinced that what is needed is a resolute policy of détente that acts without preconditions with a view to the future. Without confidence-building measures – which, used as hollow phrases, are of no use but must be filled with content – there is a danger that situations resulting from misunderstandings will get out of hand and can no longer be contained. Everyone should be aware of this, especially with future generations in mind.”

 

The corridors of opinion have become oppressively narrow

In the second part of the interview5, she also addresses the internal situation in her country, Germany: “The ideologisation and moral charging of our debates and the resulting polarisation, which inevitably leads to radicalisation: All this is dangerous for a democratic, pluralistic society, which can only withstand a certain degree of polarisation if it is to function. Climate change, mobility, gender equality or gender-appropriate language and, of course, the issue of Russia – everywhere the corridors of opinion have become oppressively narrow. In other words, dissenters are no longer a natural part of our fundamentally lively open society, but disturbing factors who are better not even allowed to have their say, or even enemies who must be ostracised consistently.”


  Historical experience shows that a more aggressive foreign policy often goes hand in hand with fewer human rights within a country. Lack of respect for the other human being has never been limited to the “foreigners”  •

 

Read more:

 

https://www.zeit-fragen.ch/en/archives/2021/no-8-13-april-2021/internal-and-external-peace-rule-of-law-and-democracy-only-with-respect-for-other-people.html

 

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