Tuesday 21st of March 2023

previous invasion of the hollywoodian netflixed deranged pentagonic yankees has led to vietnam and other catastrophes.....

Regular readers of this journal will be dismayed at the breakneck speed at which Australia is party to the goading of a potentially catastrophic war in our region. With Western mainstream media in anti-China mad dog mode, both sides of the aisle in Canberra sleepwalking, and with nothing at all to win and everything to lose, it seems the only ones who can save us from ourselves are the Taiwanese.


By Guest author Graham Pickering


As an Australian long-term resident of Taiwan, and a speaker of both Chinese and Taiwanese, I am banking on Taiwanese voters to vote the President Tsai Ying-Wen’s DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) out of power in the presidential election on Jan.13, 2024. In local opinion polls, 80 percent of respondents are not happy with the DPP’s refusal to seek some kind of rapprochement with the Mainland. In other words, only a small fraction in Taiwan supports the DPP’s independence stance. Taiwanese, in the main, want peace, stability and the status quo. Current Vice-President and DPP presidential candidate frontrunner, William Lai (Lai, Ching-te), is known here and in the Mainland for his strong pro-independence stance. As such, the CCP will likely find him deeply unpalatable. Voters are aware of this. While the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) may retain a deliberately fuzzy view of future cross-strait relations, voters are acutely aware that with the KMT in power, the chances of conflict are dramatically reduced. Under a KMT watch, a conflict between irreconcilable warring clans resembles more of a family tiff.

I base my optimism on two observations. Firstly, the Nov. 2022 local elections resulted in a major swing away from the DPP and a landslide victory for KMT candidates. Although it was basically a vote for Mayors and County Councillors, the DPP played it up as an election on anti-China issues. The strategy backfired badly, resulting in resounding defeats in most cities and counties. The second factor is local pundits and media are doing a fair job in exposing American support for Taiwan for what it is, brazenly using Taiwan to aggravate China, as for example, with the Nancy Pelosi visit. Taiwanese are becoming increasingly aware that they are becoming reluctant pawns in a super-power standoff. In recent months, the DPP has introduced policies such as lengthening the period of compulsory military service for all males from 4 months to 1 year. Taiwan is being dragged into a war footing, and many Taiwanese are becoming increasingly worried. I believe these concerns will be reflected at the ballot box.

Should the KMT win the presidential and legislative elections in 2024, we ought to see a welcome toning down of the anti-China rhetoric in the West. With much-reduced tensions across the Taiwan Strait and moves to rapprochement, Western warmongers will lose their primary casus belli in the region. China will turn its focus to more-pressing domestic issues. At that point, and at least until the United States finds another red herring, Australia will be let off the hook.










Australia is preparing to announce [DONE] its intent to purchase several nuclear submarines, media reports suggest.

This development comes less than two years after the establishment of AUKUS, a trilateral military pact between the US, UK and Australia, which appears to be aimed at containing China.

Professor Joe Siracusa, US political expert and dean of global futures at Australia's Curtin University, shared his thoughts on the matter with Sputnik, providing his opinion on how this move may affect Australia and the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and whether these vessels might pose a threat to China.

Sputnik: Washington and other allied capitals have been abuzz with talk of nuclear submarines since the surprise announcement of AUKUS' creation in September. The new agreement has been met with adulation from the US foreign policy establishment - but what's behind the big words? How likely is AUKUS to deliver nuclear submarines anytime soon?


Prof. Joe Siracusa: I think it's a bit of an illusion. I mean, the Australians are really happy to get on board this. They're committed to pay about $200 billion over a 30-year period. And I doubt they're going to receive more than one or two submarines.[NOT ALL AUSTRALIANS ARE HAPPY ABOUT THIS SUB-CRAP]

They're going to be these "Virginia" class submarines, which supposedly are going to be built in Australia, which require thousands of people in the industrial base.

They're going to have to train thousands of young men and women to serve on these submarines. I mean, it'll be years and years. But Australia thinks it's acquired sort of a magical weapon, the kind the British had with the Dreadnoughts before the First World War.

There's something magical about it. Well actually, there isn't. The Americans will be patrolling the western part of Australia until these ships can come online. They’ll probably initially be used, "Virginia" class submarines, and it's not going to be newish.


And the Americans have control over the nuclear propulsion. And then Australians say they're in charge of the sovereignty of the ship. So I've been pointing out today to different people that if you got multinational groups on board a boat and the captain makes a decision to start a war or to engage in combat, there's no discussion. I mean, these ships to me are a very bad choice by Australia. They think they've bought some security.

Maybe in the short term it gives them some peace of mind. But there's just no way that this acquisition, even if it ever comes true, is going to stop anybody from doing anything else. You know, generally, selling the Australians nuclear weapons, it's a bit of a con job.


The Australian government isn't going to tell their own people what they cost [WE NOW KNOW THE OUTRAGEOUS COSTS] when they're talking about percentage of GNP in the years that go forward. It's kind of like a Ponzi scheme. I'm going to sell you a great nuclear-powered submarine. I'm not going to tell you exactly what I'm going to deliver it and you're going to be paying for it over 30 years.


And all the people who've organized this aren't even going to be alive to see it done, you know. They'll either be out of office or they're going to be dead. And so, the Australians are buying a lot of hope here. To me, this suggests a great deal of ignorance, as though these ships would be enough to frighten China. The Chinese, the PLA Navy is not going to lose any sleep tonight over these discussions. Australians have given up something else for the Americans.

The Australians think they are leaders in the world of international nuclear nonproliferation. But by acquiring these nuclear-powered submarines, they've broken the spirit and letter of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. And the United States knows this, the Chinese government has correctly objected to this at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

In exchange for breaking the record of international cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation, they're not even going to get a weapon for years and years. And by that time, maybe the leadership in Beijing will change. I mean, the world will have changed. It's extraordinary what they think they've bought into.


Sputnik: What are the implications of the AUKUS deal for nuclear non-proliferation?


Prof. Joe Siracusa: The Chinese have said quite clearly in interviews with Australians over the last couple of months that they now regard Australia as a nuclear target because Australia is no longer a nuclear weapons-free zone, that is, the Southwest Pacific.

So, one of the results is that the Chinese said they will now target Australia with nuclear weapons when the time comes... I mean, Australia has lost its reputation and the Chinese are very angry at Australia and China sees Australia as simply playing in with the Americans as part of this containment policy. So Australia is not going to move forward in the area of improving diplomacy with the Chinese.

This is going to put them on the back foot and, of course, the Australians are very dependent on the Chinese to buy their coal and their iron ore and send their international students. I think Australia is going to pay a very heavy economic price to the Chinese as a result of this.


Sputnik: Do you believe AUKUS can be a “silver bullet” when it comes to the Chinese maritime challenge?


Prof. Joe Siracusa: Australia would just be part of a group of American and British ships. Canberra, the capital of Australia, is 10,000 miles to Washington and nearly 11,000 miles to London. Beijing is about 5,000 miles. If Australia plies the high seas or goes on patrol in the South China Sea or in the Taiwan Strait, it's far, far away from protecting the lines of communication here or in the homeland.

Keep in mind that the parameters of Australia is 12,500 miles in its perimeter; and that's the distance between Sydney and London via Suez Canal. They don't have enough surface ships, they don't have enough anything to protect the country. This country is pretty vulnerable, as a matter of fact. So buying security here is a bit of an illusion.


What I don't like is this: they reckon that for years that Australians would be part of American personnel on these ships. So you're going to have these mixed nationalities on these ships and of course, Australians are not going to be telling American captains not to fire or not to start a war, or not to engage the enemy wherever the enemy is. [AS USUAL, THE ENEMY IS US]....









walking off.....


By Allan Patience


There are few who think as clearly, who are as articulate, and who are prepared to speak out in the face of incredible stupidity in Australian politics as Paul Keating. And, as he made clear in his address to the press club this week, AUKUS is nothing if not an exercise in security policy stupidity.


Paul Keating is perhaps the most abrasive public figure of any stature in Australia today. In the space of a single appearance he can be pugnacious, whip-smart, arrogant, snarling, and then all of a sudden he can switch to being witty, charming, and inspirational.

As Treasurer in the Hawke government, he was the leading champion of neoliberal economics, an ideology he happily absorbed from America.

Yet Keating has been consistently correct about the need for Australia to become “engaged” with its Southeast and East Asian geopolitical neighbours. He has been very clear that we need to find our security in Asia, not from Asia. When he was in politics he implicitly (and sometimes very explicitly) warned about Australia’s dependent security relationship with the United States. He also warned about the role of Australia’s intelligence community in entangling Australia in the Americans’ determination to remain the dominant power in the Asia Pacific, whatever the cost to Australia. Like its American counterpart, the Australian intelligence community is largely ideologically driven and inadequately educated.

At his latest appearance at the National Press Club (NPC), his tough – even ruthless ­– side was very much to the fore as he excoriated the Albanese government – focusing especially on Anthony Albanese, Penny Wong and Richard Marles – for what he argues is the massive blunder they have signed up for in the AUKUS submarine deal with the US and the UK. He was also magically dismissive of some of the hack journalists and naïve neophytes in the media. Mostly their questions showed that they had not been listening to him, or that they were incapable of understanding the importance of his argument.

That AUKUS seems to have become a fait accompli is now a regrettable and potentially fatal fact. The hype surrounding it, from the day its self-proclaimed “father” (Morrison) announced it, to the carefully contrived photo ops of Albanese with Biden and Sunak in San Diego has been unrelenting. The role of the mainstream media, especially the Murdoch press, has been to uncritically and fulsomely celebrate the AUKUS proposal. More recently, the spreads by the so-called defence experts in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, warning that war with China is likely to occur within three years, turns out to have been a softening up exercise aimed at manipulating public opinion into supporting what Paul Keating thinks (with justification) is the AUKUS madness.

Keating’s argument is a straightforward one. He believes that Australia does not need to purchase the hyper-expensive nuclear-driven submarines. He argues plausibly that the existing Collins class submarines should be upgraded and augmented (up to 15 at sea at any one time) at far less cost to the Australian taxpayer and that they would be more effective than three AUKUS boats in defending Australia’s shores.

He also presented a strong case that China is not intent on invading Australia, nor is it wanting a war with the United States. Its massive military build-up is, he noted, is characteristic of a great power. In constructing, for example, the military bases in the South China Sea, its focus has been on defending itself from American and allied powers strategic manoeuvrings off the Chinese periphery in the Pacific. He correctly noted that if China were to conduct sea-based exercises off the coast of California, all hell would break loose in Washington and abject hysteria in Canberra.

Keating also pointed out the great beneficiaries of the AUKUS deal are the moribund ship-building firms in post-Thatcherite Britain and the US submarine makers (those egregious members of the US military-industrial complex). Australia, he pointed out, was the only member of the alliance to be providing cash – massively more, as it turns out than we were originally expected to believe – to the other two participants in the deal. They must be laughing all the way to their banks.

Paul Keating can be his own worst enemy when he is trying to make a case about Australian public policy – be it superannuation, climate change, or Australia’s defence and security policies. But there are few who think as clearly, who are as articulate, and who are prepared to speak out in the face of incredible stupidity in Australian politics. And, as he made clear, AUKUS is nothing if not an exercise in security policy stupidity.

No doubt the journalists he offended, or treated with the contempt they deserved at the Press Club will seek their revenge by attacking his analysis of AUKUS in their various outlets. In doing so, they will display yet again the depths to which Australia’s third rate media have plunged in recent years. They are incapable of taking seriously the very serious case he is making.

It is to be hoped that Labor Party branches around the country will listen carefully to what Paul Keating is saying about this issue of vital importance to the country’s security future. When asked whether he was separating himself from the ALP on the issue, he first pointed to the long tradition of Labor astuteness on security policy matters. But he also noted that this was an issue that requires one to put country before party, displaying his capacity for statesmanship.

If the entire Labor organisation, at local, regional state and federal levels, falls tamely into line with Albanese, Wong and Marles on this profoundly bad AUKUS arrangement then, as when Malcolm Fraser walked away from the Liberal Party because of the Howard government’s asylum seeker policies, so Paul Keating may have to walk away from the Labor Party. And so may many others.










and east-asia.....

Why is the White House urgently changing US ambassadors to Central Asia?


    BY Vladimir Platov


In hopes of further spinning its geopolitical project of establishing a “belt of instability” around Russia, the Biden administration has recently started to place a special emphasis on working with the countries of Central Asia, seeking to turn these “five” into puppet states wholly dependent on the United States. For this purpose, since the end of last year, Washington has urgently been changing personnel in the American diplomatic corps, its controlled commercial enterprises, non-governmental organizations, and among media representatives. It is noteworthy that mostly controversial, fringe personalities with distinct military skills have been sent to work in the five Central Asian countries.

Speaking of the latest emergency reshuffle of some US ambassadors, what comes to mind is the recent replacement by the White House of US Ambassador John Mark Pommersheim, who had worked in Tajikistan for less than three years and was one of the “best experts” on Russia in 2019, an intellectual father of a large family and a Pushkinist. In his stead, on February 14, the “new energetic” Manuel P. Micaller, Jr. arrived in Dushanbe, not as a diplomat, but as a military/intelligence officer with experience in conducting offensive economic operations in the interests of the United States, particularly opposing and discouraging economic cooperation between Central Asian nations and Russia and China.

In December, the newly appointed US ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, Lesslie C. Viguerie, presented copies of his credentials to the Kyrgyz authorities. Washington’s “special interest” in the country became quite apparent after the Pentagon, at the initiative of the Kyrgyz authorities, lost control of the transit center at Manas airport in 2014 and over Afghanistan in 2021. After that, the White House adopted an unconcealed policy of actively separating Kyrgyzstan from Russia and preventing the country’s participation in regional associations such as the EAEU and the SCO, both of which Washington particularly hates. Representatives of various administrations and US ambassadors have repeatedly acknowledged this before.

The new US ambassador Lesslie C. Viguerie makes no secret of such a sentiment, who, relying on the Russophobic fifth column of US-funded media and NGOs already established in Kyrgyzstan, started organizing another “color revolution” in the country and inciting anti-Russian sentiment among the local populace. This was in particular confirmed by another information war unleashed on March 6 against Russia and Russian Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Nikolay Udovichenko, in Vecherniy Bishkek newspaper closely connected to the US Embassy through the US Agency for International Development (USAID). It is not for nothing that this newspaper has recently received American awards “for promotion of democratic values.” In fact, Lesslie C. Viguerie did not even try to hide his anti-Russian attitude, as he said in his first post-appointment interview to the local newspaper 24.kg that his main task was to stir up Russophobia in the country.

However, as residents of Kyrgyzstan note, it cannot be ruled out that such zealous anti-Russian activity by Viguerie could lead him to repeating the fate of his predecessor, American Ambassador Donald Lu, who was forced to leave Bishkek without a replacement in 2021. The activity of Mr. Lu, which was quite distant from diplomatic methods of work in the sovereign state and his “strange” ties with the American intelligence community, are well remembered in this republic. WikiLeaks made public nearly 200 dispatches which were disclosed by unknown hackers stating that while Lu was in different diplomatic posts he sent classified dispatches to such organizations as CIA, DIA, National Security Council and other similar agencies.

As for the new ambassador, Lesslie C. Viguerie, local news sources mention his connections with the American secret services specializing in drug trafficking and political affairs. Therefore, it is not surprising that Viguerie is especially active in Kyrgyzstan to protect Western-funded NGOs and media in the country, clearly in order to create conditions for a repeat of the Ukrainian Maidan, recent events in Georgia and the anti-Russian movement.

Not much different from the aforementioned new US ambassadors to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan is Jonathan Henick, who began a similar role in Uzbekistan in November. Previously at the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA), he was responsible for conducting US public diplomacy in 13 countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. While working at the Global Engagement Center (GEC), he was actively involved in “coordinating US government efforts to counter Russia, China, and Iran.”

As one of his active areas of advocacy for US interests in Muslim Uzbekistan, Henick decided to advance the protection of the rights of LGBTQI+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex), religious minorities and women. As Henick stated, “I will be an LGBT advocate in the host country. We have to teach the local population about free relationships. The people of Uzbekistan must accept our ideas.” — A truly “progressive way” to implement the White House’s Russophobic policies.

The information-psychological war was also started by Henick’s predecessor, Daniel Rosenblum, who now heads the American diplomatic mission in Kazakhstan. Daniel Rosenblum makes no secret of his objectives in his “new residence,” declaring the necessity to not only eliminate the pro-Russian media which allegedly “forms a distorted perception of the world,” but also to find alternative ways of transportation of oil products from Kazakhstan bypassing Russia.  At the same time, Rosenblum demonstrated his determination to defend the interests of the US-funded Central Reference Laboratory in Almaty, which is associated with bioweapons. In recent period alone, in Kazakhstan, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) implemented 28 American biological programs with a total budget not less than 20 million dollars, and spent more than 100 million dollars for construction and equipping of the Central Reference Laboratory (CRL). Of particular interest to NATO countries for secret research here are Central Asia-specific diseases that are dangerous to humans, as well as methods of their transmission by animals or other routes. The US, British and German defense agencies need such information in case they are preparing a war with the CSTO or SCO countries, in order to start in advance developing biological weapons corresponding to regional peculiarities. And this data can only be obtained through field research, for which the CRL provides capabilities. In addition, the CRL can perform for the Pentagon the same functions as the Guantánamo Bay prison, as it is a place where one can do things that cannot be done on US territory because of legal restrictions. During the period when the infectious disease laboratory was located in Kazakhstan, it came under the de facto control of the US Army and Navy, despite the formal subordination to the Ministry of Health of Kazakhstan. Thus, in fact, the CRL with all of its related structures turned into an unregistered military base of the United States and NATO in Kazakhstan, and this is the best explanation of Rosenblum’s zeal in protecting the interests of the American CRL in this country.

In light of all this, it is noteworthy that President Biden appointed Elizabeth Rood as the United States’ ambassador to Turkmenistan in late 2022. Rood combined her training at the Noble Maidens’ Boarding School with close ties to the American military. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Randolph-Macon College for Women. In particular, she has served as a faculty advisor to the US Army War College and as head of the US Department of State’s Office of Export Control Cooperation in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation.

This bouquet of US diplomacy in Central Asia speaks volumes about the upcoming focus in the region. The only thing left to do is to monitor closely the reaction of the local population to these “doodles” of the White House, which can hardly promise a successful policy of “American-style democracy promotion.” Even despite Secretary Blinken’s recently demonstrated attempt to support the new appointees during his February 28 meeting in Astana with his Central Asian counterparts.

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