Tuesday 29th of November 2022

to be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal.....

New research published by France’s Ecole de Guerre Economique has revealed some extraordinary findings about who and what the French intelligence services fear most when it comes to threats to the country’s economy.

The findings are based on extensive research and interviews with French intelligence experts, including representatives of spy agencies, and so reflect the positions and thinking of specialists in the under-researched field of economic warfare. Their collective view is very clear - 97 percent consider the US to be the foreign power that “most threatens” the “economic interests” of Paris.


By Felix Livshitz


Who is your true enemy?

The research was conducted to answer the question, “what will become of France in an increasingly exacerbated context of economic war?”. This query has become increasingly urgent for the EU as Western sanctions on Moscow’s exports, in particular energy, have had a catastrophic effect on European countries, but have not had the predicted effect Russia. Nor have they hurt the US, the country pushing most aggressively for these measures.

Yet, the question is not being asked in other EU capitals. It is precisely the continent-wide failure, or unwillingness at least, to consider the “negative repercussions on the daily lives” of European citizens that inspired the Ecole de Guerre Economique report. 

As the report’s lead author Christian Harbulot explains, ever since the end of World War II, France has “lived in a state of the unspoken,” as have other European countries.

At the conclusion of that conflict, “manifest fear” among French elites of the Communist Party taking power in France “strongly incited a part of the political class to place our security in the hands of the US, in particular by calling for the establishment of permanent military bases in France.” 

“It goes without saying that everything has its price. The compensation for this aid from across the Atlantic was to make us enter into a state of global dependence - monetary, financial, technological - with regard to the US,” Harbulot says. And aside from 1958 - 1965 when General Charles de Gaulle attempted to increase the autonomy of Paris from Washington and NATO, French leaders have “fallen into line.”

This acceptance means aside from rare public scandals such as the sale of French assets to US companies, or Australia canceling its purchase of French-made submarines in favor of a controversial deal with the US and UK (AUKUS), there is little recognition - let alone discussion - in the mainstream as to how Washington exerts a significant degree of control over France’s economy, and therefore politics. 

As a result, politicians and the public alike struggle to identify “who their enemy” truly is. “In spheres of power” across Europe, Harbulot says, “it is customary to keep this kind of problem silent,” and economic warfare remains an “underground confrontation which precedes, accompanies and then takes over from classic military conflicts.”

This in turn means any debate about “hostility or harmfulness” in Europe’s relations with Washington misses the underlying point that “the US seeks to ensure its supremacy over the world, without displaying itself as a traditional empire.” 

The EU might have a trade surplus of 150 billion euros with the US, but the latter would never willingly allow this economic advantage to translate to “strategic autonomy” from it. And this gain is achieved against the constant backdrop of - and more than offset by - “strong geopolitical and military pressure” from the US at all times.

I spy with my Five Eyes

Harbulot believes the “state of the unspoken” to be even more pronounced in Germany, as Berlin “seeks to establish a new form of supremacy within Europe” based on its dependency on the US. 

As France “is not in a phase of power building but rather in a search to preserve its power” - a “very different” state of affairs - this should mean the French can more easily recognize and admit to toxic dependency on Washington, and see it as a problem that must be resolved.

It is certainly hard to imagine such an illuminating and honest report being produced by a Berlin-based academic institute, despite the country being the most badly affected by anti-Russian sanctions. Some analysts have spoken of a possible deindustrialization of Germany, as its inability to power energy-intensive economic sectors has destroyed its 30-year-long trade surplus - maybe forever.

But aside from France’s “dependency” on Washington being different to that of Germany, Paris has other reasons for cultivating a “culture of economic combat,” and keeping very close track of the “foreign interests” that are harming the country’s economy and companies.

A US National Security Agency spying order sent to other members of the Five Eyes global spying network - Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK - released by WikiLeaks, shows that since at least 2002 Washington has issued its English-speaking allies annual “information need” requests, seeking any and all information they can dig up on the economic activities of French companies, the economic and trade policies of France’s government, and the views of Paris on the yearly G8 and G20 summits.

Whatever is unearthed is shared with key US economic decision-makers and departments, including the Federal Reserve and Treasury, as well as intelligence agencies, such as the CIA. Another classified WikiLeaks release shows that the latter – between November 2011 and July 2012 – employed spies from across the Five Eyes (OREA) to infiltrate and monitor the campaigns of parties and candidates in France’s presidential election.

Washington was particularly worried about a Socialist Party victory, and so sought information on a variety of topics, “to prepare key US policymakers for the post-election French political landscape and the potential impact on US-France relations.” Of particular interest was “the presidential candidates' views on the French economy, what current economic policies…they see as not working, and what policies…they promote to help boost France's economic growth prospects[.]”

The CIA was also very interested in the “views and characterization” of the US on the part of presidential candidates, and any efforts by them and the parties they represented to “reach out to leaders of other countries,” including some of the states that form the Five Eyes network itself. 

Naturally, those members would be unaware that their friends in Washington, and other Five Eyes capitals, would be spying on them while they spied on France. 

It was clearly not for nothing that veteran US grand strategist and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once remarked“to be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal.”







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same for aussieland.......


BY Mike Gilligan


China has no interest in attacking Australia. But once America ensconces its B52 strike aircraft at Tindal, Australia perforce becomes a hot target for missile attack. Protection for Tindal will be an imperative, requiring Iron Dome technology, at vast cost without certainty. No financial provision exists for ballistic missile defence at Tindal.

As Defence spending projection now stands, an already bloated budget of $48 billion will be grown at a few percent annually, and taxpayers will be asked for another $170 billion for nuclear submarines. Neither PM Morrison nor Albanese offers a strategic rationale for the nuclear submarines; simply saying that Australians will be advised of the brand of boat next year. In this obdurate obmutescence, the two Prime Ministers are joined at the hip. Disdain for public accountability is bipartisan on Defence.

Even worse contempt is shown by Minister Marles’ “Strategic Defence Review”. The deadline for public submissions was end-October. Yet at this very same time the government was handed a draft report by the Review. So public submissions were of no account, by design. Perhaps the Prime Minister could recover some credibility for the Review by instructing that the draft be released for public comment.

Wisdom suggests we look first for the stuff-up. Maybe beneath this culture of concealment lies incompetence. Could it be that Defence is just not capable of understanding why it is asking for so much money? Well yes, the chance of uncovering ineptitude in Defence administration is strong.

There was a time when Defence governance led the way in methods for creating and explaining large financial programs. In 1973 Arthur Tange fashioned a Department known for creative policy and effective financial management. At its centre were intellectual Divisions of strategic policy and systems analysis. After a few decades, the Department had reshaped much of the military around Australia’s peculiar needs. Then political influences descended, seeking more control. Politicians had become aware of the large and growing discretionary funds for capital investment which Defence had patiently engineered. Entitled industry lobbied hard for patronage and access to the riches.

Experienced officials in Defence leadership were moved out. ”Safe” hands were brought in from outside, at the top. The hard-edged analytical Division was disbanded. Former Secretary Tony Ayers is said to have described that loss as the “price of peace with the military”. Thereafter, no Secretary of Defence has had the means to discharge his responsibility. And none seem to have realised it.

To illustrate what’s been lost, let’s look at an example output we could hope for from the current Strategic Review, indicative of what competent cost-effectiveness analysis would enable.

The Review’s task is to advise government on our defence needs over the next ten years. Below are three options, each with a ten-year cost (current dollars) and effectiveness in defending Australia, expressed probabilistically (anything is risky).

Each option comes in two parts, first without the implications of B52 basing at Tindal. Because China will see existential threat from that northern airbase it will become a hot target. And because Tindal houses much of Australia’s air combat assets it will need dedicated defences against strike by China, including by ballistic missiles. Only inordinate expenditure, probably rivalling the cost of our constructing nuclear submarines, will provide Tindal a measure of security.

The first option is to retire our submarines. That is, to get right out of the submarine business. Government should assess this as a baseline. Scrapping submarines would matter little to our current capability, which would be solidly effective at 90%. This estimate derives from extensive modelling by Defence. The next two options show that adding submarines, of any kind, offers little in overall effectiveness- because what submarines offer is already done well by aircraft and surface ships.  And submarines are slow, face long distances and unfavourable waters, in ridiculously small numbers. Yet costs balloon because of them. Thereby precluding the most cost-effective enhancement to our effectiveness:  which is more of the same in land- based aircraft, aerial devices and various maritime platforms, all scaleable with comparatively short lead times.

A significant part of the cost of a nuclear submarine project will be protection against missile attack by China at whichever east coast city is chosen as its base. Just as with Tindal that city will be targeted because of hosting an American nuclear threat. This extraordinary cost is not included in the $170 billion commonly bandied.

Planning for basing American nuclear submarines in Australia is already underway within AUKUS circles. The Under Secretary of the U.S. Navy Erik Raven recently noted that the US National Defence Strategy focuses on China and that AUKUS is a prime example of how to approach that.. “it launches a discussion about basing and forward presence that could help U.S. naval forces spend more time forward in the Pacific”, he explained. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday has called the arrangement “a strategic stroke of brilliance … for all three countries. That puts all three countries working in lockstep with advanced capabilities to put us in a position where we’re not just interoperable, but we’re interchangeable” .

The table above also holds a serious message on effectiveness – B52 basing brings greater downside in our security. Risk of attack by China rises in all cases. Remember that the ANZUS treaty places no obligation on the US to respond in kind with armed force if Australia is attacked.

The option at top-left would be embraced by an Australian government which is confident of our nation making its way in the world, spending astutely to retain a sound level of confidence in our security. It would be a foolhardy government which adopts the bottom right option, the course set in train by Australia’s defence lobby.

Treasury’s financial projections will not include the extraordinary cost of defending against missile attack, at Tindal and say Newcastle, which are the direct result of basing American forces there. And still the costs in the table do not include the shopping list that the Defence Review will commend. Taxpayers are being lined up for a bill of more than a trillion dollars by Defence over the next decade. Ruinous financially.

But the coming government consideration of security will not be framed in this way. Defence administration is no longer able to offer pointed high-level advice to government. Ministers who should be involved, such as Treasurer Dave Chalmers and Penny Wong, will flounder without decision material vital to their role. If reform of the nation’s Public Service were really a priority of this government its funding could be found from Defence spillage, without a ripple.









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hegemonic order....


By Ben Norton / Multipolarista


France’s ex US Ambassador Gérard Araud criticized Washington for frequently violating international law and said its so-called “rules-based order” is an unfair “Western order” based on “hegemony.” He condemned the new cold war on China, instead calling for mutual compromises.

France’s former ambassador to the United States, Gérard Araud, has publicly criticized Washington, saying it frequently violates international law and that its so-called “rules-based order” is actually an unfair “Western order.”

The top French diplomat warned that the United States is engaged in “economic warfare” against China, and that Europe is concerned about Washington’s “containment policy,” because many European countries do not want to be forced to “choose a camp” in a new cold war.


Araud condemned US diplomats for insisting that Washington must always be the “leader” of the world, and stressed that the West should work with other countries in the Global South, “on an equal basis,” in order “to find a compromise with our own interests.”

He cautioned against making “maximalist” demands, “of simply trying to keep the Western hegemony.”

Araud made these remarks in a November 14 panel discussion titled “Is America Ready for a Multipolar World?“, hosted by the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a think tank in Washington, DC that advocates for a more restrained, less bellicose foreign policy.

Gérard Araud’s credentials could hardly be any more elite. A retired senior French diplomat, he served as the country’s ambassador to the United States from 2014 to 2019. From 2009 to 2014, he was Paris’ representative to the United Nations.

Before that, Araud served as France’s ambassador to Israel, and he previously worked with NATO.

He was also appointed as a “senior distinguished fellow” at the Atlantic Council, NATO’s notoriously belligerent think tank in Washington.

This blue-blooded background makes Araud’s frank comments even more important, as they reflect the feelings of a segment of the French ruling class and European political class, which is uncomfortable with Washington’s unipolar domination and wants power to be more decentralized in the world.


The ‘rules-based order’ is actually just a ‘Western order’

In a shockingly blunt moment in the panel discussion, Gérard Araud explained that the so-called “rules-based order” is actually just a “Western order,” and that the United States and Europe unfairly dominate international organizations like the United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund (IMF):

To be frank, I’ve always been extremely skeptical about this idea of a ‘rules-based order.’

Personally, for instance, look, I was the permanent representative to the United Nations. We love the United Nations, but the Americans not too much, you know.

And actually when you look at the hierarchy of the United Nations, everybody there is ours. The Secretary General [António Guterres] is Portuguese. He was South Korean [Ban Ki-moon]. But when you look at all the under secretaries general, all of them really are either American, French, British, and so on. When you look at the World Bank, when you look at the IMF, and so on.

So that’s the first element: this order is our order.

And the second element is also that, actually, this order is reflecting the balance of power in 1945. You know, you look at the permanent members of the Security Council.

Really people forget that, if China and Russia are obliged to oppose [with] their veto, it is because frankly the Security Council is most of the time, 95% of the time, has a Western-oriented majority.

So this order frankly – and you can also be sarcastic, because, when the Americans basically want to do whatever they want, including when it’s against international law, as they define it, they do it.

And that’s the vision that the rest of the world has of this order.

You know really, when I was in – the United Nations is a fascinating spot, because you have ambassadors of all the countries, and you can have conversations with them, and the vision they project of the world, their vision of the world, is certainly not a ‘rules-based order’; it’s a Western order.

And they accuse us of double standards, hypocrisy, and so on and so on.

So I’m not sure that this question about the ‘rules’ is really the critical question.

I think the first assessment that we should do will be maybe, as we say in French, to put ourselves in the shoes of the other side, to try to understand how they see the world.

Araud argued that if the international community is serious about creating a “rules-based order,” it must entail “integrating all the major stakeholders into the managing of the world, you know really bringing the Chinese, the Indians, and really other countries, and trying to build with them, on an equal basis, the world of tomorrow.”

“That’s the only way,” he added. “We should really ask the Indians, ask the Chinese, the Brazilians, and other countries, really to work with us on an equal basis. And that’s something – it’s not only the Americans, also the Westerners, you know, really trying to get out of our moral high ground, and to understand that they have their own interests, that on some issues we should work together, on other issues we shouldn’t work together.”

“Let’s not try to rebuild the Fortress West,” he implored. “It shouldn’t be the future of our foreign policy.”


French diplomat criticizes US new cold war on China

Gérard Araud revealed that, in Europe, there is “concern” that the United States has a “containment policy” against China.

“I think the international relationship will be largely dominated by the rivalry between China and the United States. And foreign policy I think in the coming years will be to find the modus vivendi … between the two powers,” he said.

He warned that Washington is engaged in “economic warfare” against Beijing, that the US is trying “basically to cut any relationship with China in the field of advanced chips, which is sending a message of, ‘We are going to try to prevent you from becoming an advanced economy.’ It’s really, it’s economic warfare.”

“Really on the American side is the development of economic warfare against China. It’s really cutting, making impossible cooperation in a very important, critical field, for the future of the Chinese economy,” he added.

Araud pointed out that China is not just “emerging”; it is in fact “re-emerging” to a prominent geopolitical position, like it had for hundreds of years, before the rise of European colonialism.

He stressed that many countries in Asia don’t want to be forced to pick a side in this new cold war, and are afraid of becoming a zone of proxy conflicts like Europe was in the first cold war:

Asia doesn’t want to be the Europe of the Cold War. They don’t want to have a bamboo curtain. They don’t want to choose their camp.

Australia has chosen its camp, but it’s a particular case. But Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, they don’t want to choose their camp, and we shouldn’t demand they choose their camp.

So we need to have a flexible policy of talking to the Chinese, because talking is also a way of reassuring them, trying to understand their interests, also to define our interests not in a maximalist way, of simply trying to keep the Western hegemony.

Araud challenged the idea that the United States must be the unipolar “leader” of the world, stating:

The Americans entered the world, in a sense, being already the big boy on the block. In 1945, it was 40% of the world’s GDP.

Which also may explain what is American diplomacy. The word of American diplomats, the word of American diplomacy is ‘leadership.’

Really, it’s always striking for foreigners, as soon as there is a debate about American foreign policy, immediately people say, ‘We have to restore our leadership.’ Leadership. And other countries may say, ‘Why leadership?’


West must ‘try to see the world from Beijing’

Gérard Araud similarly criticized Western media outlets for their cartoonishly negative coverage of China. The top French diplomat called on officials to “try to see the world from Beijing”:

When you look at the European or Western newspapers, you have the impression that China is a sort of a dark monster which is moving forward, never committing a mistake, never really facing any problem, and going to the domination of the world – you know, the Chinese work 20 hours a day, they don’t want a vacation, they don’t care, they want to dominate the world.

Maybe that if we will try to see the world from Beijing, really we will consider certainly that all the borders of China are more or less unstable, or threatened, or facing unfriendly countries, and that’s from the Chinese point of view.

Maybe they want to improve their situation. It doesn’t mean that we have to accept it, but maybe to see, to remember, that any defensive measure of one side is always seen as offensive by the other side.

So let’s understand that China has its own interests. You know, even dictatorships have legitimate interests. And so let’s look at these interests, and let’s try to find a compromise with our own interests.

Araud went on to point out that the US government is constantly militarily threatening China, sending warships across the planet to its coasts, but would never for a second tolerate Beijing doing the same to it:

When I was in Washington, just after the [hawkish anti-China] speech of Vice President Pence to the Hudson [Institute] in October 2018, I met a lot of specialists on China in Washington, DC, but when I was trying to tell them, you know, your [US] ships are patrolling at 200 miles from the Chinese coast, at 5000 miles from the American coast, what would be your reaction if Chinese ships were patrolling at 200 miles from your coast?

And obviously my interlocutors didn’t understand what I meant. And that’s the question, you know, really trying to figure out what are the reasonable interests of the other side.

Araud stressed that China “is not a military threat” to the West.


French diplomat: Western sanctions on Russia are causing us to ‘inflict pain on ourselves’

With this new cold war between the United States and China, Gérard Araud explained, “in this context, Russia is a bit like Austria-Hungary with Germany before the First World War, is a bit doomed to be the ‘brilliant second’ of China.”

While Araud harshly denounced Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, he also criticized the Western sanctions on Moscow, which he cautioned, “on the European side, it is inflicting to ourselves some pain.”

He warned that Europe is in a “dead end” with Russia, “because as long as the war in Ukraine will go on, and my bet unfortunately is that it may go on for a long time, it will be impossible for the Europeans, and the Americans in a sense, but also for the Europeans to end the sanctions on Russia, which means that our relationship with Russia may be frozen for an indefinite future.”

“And I think it’s very difficult to have diplomatic activity [with Russia] in this situation,” he added.









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