Saturday 27th of November 2021

USA on stupidity steroid again...


One of the overhyped events of recent times has been the 3+ hours of telephone conversation between the presidents of China and the United States of America Xi Jinping and Joe Biden respectively. There are two major reasons to doubt the sincerity of the Americans over their accounts of the meeting.

The first is that the United States has a long and disgraceful history of professing one set of ideas or values and on the other hand by their actions giving a complete lie to their words. There is no reason to believe that Biden’s words carry any more truth than the multiple previous comments Americans have made about the Chinese.

Taiwan is a classic current example. On the one hand Biden professes the view that official United States policy remains that there is only one China, and that the island of Taiwan is part of that China. On the other hand, the United States has continued its aggressive sailing of warships in the South China Sea. The presence of these warships is clearly intended to send a signal to Beijing that any attempt to re-integrate Taiwan into the mainland will be forcibly resisted.

The fact of eventual reunification is a Chinese red line.  Unless there is an unlikely change of heart by the Taiwanese authorities, the island will eventually be reinstated to the embrace of the mainland.  The United States, not only by its shipping actions in the South China Sea, but also by its recent suggestion that Taiwan should join the United Nations is clearly determined to prevent the reunification of the two China’s.

Biden would do well to look at several recent evaluations by both the Department of Defence and by independent agencies which unanimously conclude that in any confrontation between China and the United States in the South China Sea the Americans invariably lose. This sobering evaluation is not sufficient, it seems, to encourage a rethink of the China policy by America’s political leaders.

The second clue to the real United States intensions about China is the tariffs that have been applied to Chinese exports to the UnitedStates. The tariffs appear to have had little effect on the volume of Chinese goods sold to America. They have however, significantly increased the price of those goods. One result has been the recent upsurge in United States inflation, now running at more than 7% per annum.

The tariffs have had no effect on United States investment in China. The hollowing out of the United States industrial base continues with an ever-smaller share of goods sold in the United States carrying a “Made in the USA label.” It is difficult to see any policy changes that are going to influence this trend.

The net result of these changes is reflected in the relative size of the Chinese and United States economies. Measured in terms of parity purchasing power, the Chinese economy is already larger than that of the United States, and that difference will continue to grow in China’s favour.

The reality of these figures is another reason for United States hostility towards China. For the last 70 years since the end of World War II the United States was undoubtedly the world’ largest economy. This dominance heavily influenced its political aims, not hesitating to use its dominance of the world’s major trading organisations as a vehicle to try and arrange the affairs of potential competitors to ensure that it maintained number one spot.

That pre-eminence is now a thing of the past. Although the United States continues its strong-arm tactics through such organisations such as the World Bank, the Chinese economy, through its huge multi trillion-dollar reserves, now poses a substantial challenge to that previous US dominance.  The Belt and Road Initiative, which now has more than 140 members, is the clearest example of the fundamental shift in the structure of the world economy and a significant measure of the amount of the relative importance of the two economies.

A similar two-faced attitude can be seen in the United States attitude towards Russia.  Here again, the position of Joe Biden is exposed for all its hypocrisy. Prior to his Geneva meeting with Vladimir Putin, Biden had labelled Putin a “killer”. This is on a par with his similar description of Xi as a “thug”. In both cases, Biden’s meeting with the two men expressed Bon Ami and goodwill.

As always, it is important to look at not what the United States says, but what it actually does. In Russia’s case the West used its mouthpiece, the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg to sound multiple alarms about alleged Russian misbehaviour vis-à-vis its European neighbours.

According to Stoltenberg, the Russians are amassing its troops on Ukrainian border as a prelude to an imminent invasion. That there is no actual evidence to support this allegation seems not to trouble Stoltenberg. The situation in Ukraine remains tense, althoughStoltenberg will never acknowledge that not the least of the reasons for this is the utter refusal of the Ukrainian government to adhere to the terms of the Minsk agreement that it agreed to in 2015.

The United States also makes encouraging noises toward Ukraine leading the latter to believe that it cannot only continue to ignore its obligations under the Minsk agreement, but that it will be rewarded with membership of NATO. In encouraging this belief, it not only encourages the wilful ignoring of its earlier agreement under the Minsk accords, it actually encourages the continued unlawful attacks upon the civilian population of the Donbass.

The United States and the British also encourage the Ukrainians to believe that they can recover Crimea. This is manifestly absurd. It completely ignores the actual history of Crimea which was only a part of Ukraine for a relatively brief period in the Communist era, but also ignores the democratically expressed wishes of the Crimean people who overwhelmingly voted in 2015 to re-join Russia. The two operative words here are “voted” and “re-join” which reflects both the democratic choice of the Crimean people, and the actual history of the region. The British and their allies overlook for example that feature of history known as the Crimean war when in the 1850s they and their allies fought Russia in that territory.

Putin has made it clear that Ukraine joining NATO is absolutely out of the question, a statement that both the Ukrainian and the United States government seem intent on ignoring. I suspect that Ukraine and Taiwan will be the two great flashpoints of the current decade.

In both cases, China and Russia are determined to maintain their viewpoints. In both cases, the United States continues to undermine the position of both countries with its hypocritical support of Taiwan in one case, and equally giving critical support to Ukrainian ambitions on the other.

In the case of the Donbass, they are overwhelmingly a Russian speaking population and will not be abandoned by Putin. It seems equally likely that Ukrainian intransigence is also not negotiable. The scene is therefore set for some very troubled times.



James O’Neill, an Australian-based former Barrister at Law, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.







US military biolab...

The Open Regulations website and the website of the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan recently published information on the Kazakh government’s intention to build a “BSL-4 laboratory and underground storage facility for a collection of dangerous and highly dangerous strains” in the south of the country in the Korday district of Zhambyl Region in the village of Gvardeisky. It is where the Research Institute for Biological Security Problems, now part of the Science Committee of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan, which now works mainly on Pentagon research programmes, has been located since Soviet times. The “Laboratory” is scheduled to start construction at the beginning of 2022 and be completed in the Q4 2025. Its code BSL-4 stands for Biosafety Level 4.

An explanatory note from Kazakh Minister Beibut Atamkulov states that Deputy Prime Minister Yeraly Tugzhanov gave the relevant instruction on October 25. Section 3 of the project document hints that no funds from the budget would be required to build such a hazardous facility, suggesting the involvement of the US Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), which has already been allocated funds for this “project”.

Thus, this “laboratory” may become the seventh Pentagon facility in Kazakhstan to be involved in the DTRA network of military biolaboratories disguised as alleged local disease outbreaks, becoming an integral part of the US military biological infrastructure in Eurasia and the post-Soviet space. It could be an obvious complement to the existing Central Reference Laboratory (CRL) built in Almaty in 2016. However, the said “Laboratory” will have nothing to do with local disease outbreaks, as it is already known that it will hold various strains of Africa’s most dangerous diseases, such as the Ebola virus, as well as Marburg virus, smallpox and many others. And there are simply no real countermeasures against many of these pathogens. It turns out that DTRA will bring all these pathogens not only for storage, but also to study, upgrade and test on humans and local fauna.

In connection with the forthcoming construction of the “Laboratory”, the government of the Republic of Kazakhstan was forced to make the project public, in particular through the little-known website Open Regulations, where, until November 19, citizens of Kazakhstan were given the opportunity to submit their views on the issue. Of the thousands of citizen submissions already published on the Open Regulations website, not a single one supports the project, with people of all nationalities strongly opposing it.

In fact, the “Laboratory” in question, given its funding by and reporting to the Pentagon alone, must be regarded as a veritable US military base. There is no doubt that the push by the United States through the government of Kazakhstan to build this military facility is the Pentagon’s response to its refusal to allow troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan to the former Soviet Central Asian republics. Under these circumstances, Washington has thus found a way to maintain its military and political presence in Central Asia in the form of already new laboratories and a similar depot on the territory of Kazakhstan.

However, the disclosure by the Kazakh authorities of their intention to build the “Laboratory” in question with the participation of the US military department is at odds with the official assurances of the Kazakh authorities that no bacteriological weapons are being produced in the country and that there are no US military biologists. The US actually continues to heavily fund and oversee all existing US biolaboratories in Kazakhstan and intends to build new ones. Specialists from Russia and China have still not been allowed into these sites, despite repeated requests from the diplomatic departments of these states.

However, it should be recalled that today’s globalized world increasingly depends on the quality of implementation of international agreements governing relations between countries. This is particularly important in areas such as respect for human rights, environmental protection and the prohibition of weapons of mass destruction. However, along the way, influential US politicians oppose the idea of an international system based on international treaties because, in their view, they could “jeopardize US sovereignty”. Such a US stance is very dangerous, as it could make a massive violation of international obligations a practice. This, in turn, could hit the US itself, since international cooperation on disarmament and combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction has become crucial in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

With regard to the intentions of Kazakhstan and the US to build a new laboratory, it should also be taken into account that the US has been rather reluctant to participate in reaching agreement on the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC). This Convention was signed in 1972 and entered into force in 1975. It banned the development, production, storage and acquisition of biological agents that could be used as weapons and biological weapons themselves. The Convention included a specific protocol that banned the use of even small amounts of deadly microorganisms and poisons for research purposes. However, many senior officials opposed the protocol because they believed it could damage US microbiological research companies. In July 2001, the Bush Administration said it would not adhere to the requirements of the protocol “until it is amended”.

As a result, the US has since 2001 and to date continued to block attempts to reopen work on a legally binding protocol to the BTWC, which is to date the only comprehensive international law instrument designed to comprehensively address the risks of biological weapons.

In these circumstances, the public, not only in Kazakhstan, but in all other countries should prevent the construction of another US military biolaboratory before Washington signs the BTWC protocol and allows the international public to inspect existing US biolaboratories outside of their country.



Vladimir Platov, expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.


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blaming russia for nato's salami...

By Glenn Diesen, Professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway and an editor at the Russia in Global Affairs journal. Follow him on Twitter @glenn_diesen.


Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that the West isn’t taking his country’s “red lines” seriously and the US and its allies could be about to sleepwalk into a dangerous conflict with the world’s largest nuclear power.

Red lines are about deterrence. The purpose of drawing them in the first place is to communicate crucial security interests and the severe consequences that would ensue if they were undermined. In essence, Moscow’s ultimatums are intended to stop the West from making a dangerous miscalculation.

Deterrence rests on the three Cs: capability, credibility, and communication. Russia has the military capability to act if its red lines are crossed, it’s demonstrated credibility in terms of its preparedness to act on threats, and it knows the specifics must be communicated clearly to avoid the West making any mis-steps that would necessitate a forceful response. However, the weakness in its red lines is the current lack of detail as to what would happen if another nation took a step too far.

Fighting NATO’s ‘salami tactics’

Red lines must be specific, as they are a countermove against the slow creep of Western foreign policy, which deploys ‘salami tactics.’ These, as the name suggests, entail conquest via the cutting off of thin slices. No one action is so outrageous it forms the pretext for war, but, one day, you turn around and realize how much ground you’ve lost.

Salami tactics are an appealing option for expansionist actors like NATO, which pursues limited and repetitive expansions to gradually create new realities on the ground. Such tactics avoid rapid escalation and mute opposition from adversaries and allies alike, as complaints can be ridiculed and the response from opponents denounced as disproportionate.

NATO is a master of salami tactics. Initially, the bloc promised it would not expand one inch to the east. Thereafter, its Partnership for Peace was established and sold to the Russians as an alternative to expansion, although it ultimately became a stepping stone to expansion by aligning the armed forces in Central and Eastern European states with NATO standards.

The bloc expanded in 1999 as Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic joined, although it was suggested that this alone would not drastically change the balance of power. Furthermore, the West attempted to mitigate Russia’s apprehensions by establishing the NATO-Russia Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation, and Security, which guaranteed there would be no “permanent stationing of substantial combat forces” in the new member states. Fast-forward a few years and 11 more countries had joined the bloc, there were no pretenses about honoring the Founding Act because military bases and missiles were being developed in Poland and Romania, and NATO had its eyes set on Ukraine.

NATO’s illegal invasion of Yugoslavia also followed the usual salami tactics. After the invasion, it gained some legal cover and implicit Russian consent by obtaining a UN mandate in June 1999 for the occupation of Kosovo under the specific condition of upholding Yugoslavia’s territorial integrity. The occupation was instead used to change realities on the ground, and, in 2008, the majority of member states recognized the independence of Kosovo in violation of international law.

READ MORE: Ukraine tells EU leaders: Prepare for war with Russia

NATO’s missile defense system was, similarly, a prime example of salami tactics. In 2007, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice mocked Russian concerns about the basing of 10 interceptive missiles in Eastern Europe as “purely ludicrous, and everybody knows it.” However, within a few years, the number of planned interceptive missiles had risen to several hundred. NATO proposals for cooperating with Russia to alleviate Moscow’s concerns were aimed at scaling back opposition while cutting another slice. Former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates confirmed in his memoirs that the US was “just kicking the can down the road on missile defense, playing for time. The Russians recognized that they were being presented with a fait accompli.”

Red lines counter salami tactics by clearly communicating that even a minor step past a point will trigger a major response. Yet red lines often struggle to garner credibility precisely because they appear disproportionate – for example, would either NATO or Russia really risk nuclear war over Eastern Ukraine? However, as Putin stated in his Crimean re-unification speech in March 2014: “Russia found itself in a position it could not retreat from. If you compress the spring all the way to its limit, it will snap back hard. You must always remember this.”


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