Aletho News


New bill aims to make digital ID pervasive in the United States

By Ken Macon | Reclaim The Net | July 25, 2022

Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) has reintroduced the “Improving Digital Identity Act,” a bipartisan bill that would increase the federal government’s involvement in the digital identity ecosystem. The bill is set to be approved by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

We obtained a copy of the bill for you here.

The bill seeks to require the federal government to use its authority to help citizens “prove who they are online” through the provision of optional ID validation services, which “augment private sector digital identity and authentication solutions.”

The bill would also require the creation of a task force on digital identity and a grant program at the DHS to support the development of interoperable identity verification systems at the local and state levels.

Expressing her support for the bill, Committee Chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) said, “a secure digital identity infrastructure is an essential foundation to American economic and national security.”

However, the committee’s ranking Republican Rep. James Comer (R-KY) opposed the grant program provision in the bill and the timeline of the bill (the task force has three years to release a final report.)

“Improved and expanded digital identity technologies may well play an important role in reducing fraud, but this bill would only give the appearance of action,” he said.

A similar bill was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ).

In a press release, Lummis said that “it doesn’t make sense that Americans have to constantly overshare sensitive identity information with government agencies and businesses, which are honeypots all too often targeted by hackers and identity thieves.”

The bill in the Senate has a few differences from the original one introduced in the House. The one in the Senate insists that access to digital ID verification should be equitable.

“The effectiveness of existing government digital identity approaches presents causes for concern, particularly with the use of facial recognition technology in federal, state and local government contacts with private sector companies,” said Maloney.

July 25, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties | | 1 Comment

The WEF wants to end private car ownership

By Keeane Bexte | The Counter Signal | July 25, 2022

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is calling for the end of private car ownership in the name of saving the world from climate change by reducing the need for green tech resources.

“We need a clean energy revolution, and we need it now,” the WEF begins its article.

According to the WEF, critical metals, such as cobalt, lithium, and nickel — all of which are used in “clean energy technologies” — are in short supply. And while the WEF says recycling old tech that uses these metals could lessen the impact of shortages, it’s simply not enough.

“The complication is that we do not currently have enough metals in circulation, and even with recycling taken into consideration, mineral production is still forecasted to increase by nearly 500%. So how should we proceed?” the WEF asks.

Top of the list of solutions for how the WEF thinks we should proceed is to “Go from owning to using.”

Sound familiar?

“Be honest,” the WEF continues, “you likely have at least one old mobile phone tucked in the bottom of a drawer. Possibly an unused hard drive taking up space too. You aren’t alone. The average car or van in England is driven just 4% of the time… This is not at all resource efficient. More sharing can reduce ownership of idle equipment and thus material usage. Car sharing platforms such as Getaround and BlueSG have already seized that opportunity to offer vehicles where you pay per hour used.”

The WEF adds that people should not only give up their ownership of everything from cars to smartphones but that technologies and civilization need to be redesigned to facilitate this transition.

“To enable a broader transition from ownership to usership, the way we design things and systems need to change too… A design process that focuses on fulfilling the underlying need instead of designing for product purchasing is fundamental to this transition. This is the mindset needed to redesign cities to reduce private vehicles and other usages.”

Of course, transitioning from people owning things to essentially just renting them won’t be easy. The WEF acknowledges this but says it’s totally worth it. Just trust them.

July 25, 2022 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | | 5 Comments

Children Don’t Need COVID Vaccines, Canadian and Australian Groups Tell Public Health Officials

By Julie Comber, Ph.D. | The Defender | July 25, 2022

Groups in Canada and Australia are urging public health officials to reconsider rolling out COVID-19 vaccines for young children, following the authorization earlier this month in both countries of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 5 years.

The Australian Vaccine-risks Network (AVN) on July 19 sent an open letter to Dr. Brendan Murphy, secretary of Australia’s Department of Health and Aged Care, voting members of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation and members of parliament threatening to “move forward with preparations for seeking the intervention of the Federal Court of Australia” if officials don’t respond.

The Canadian COVID Care Alliance (CCCA) on July 14 published an open letter to Canadian health officials stating their members would “be happy to meet you to discuss findings documented in this letter in greater detail.”

Both letters emphasized three arguments against authorizing the mRNA shots in young children and babies:

  1. Children don’t need COVID-19 vaccination because they are at extremely low risk of COVID-19.
  2. In any case, the mRNA shots don’t work well.
  3. The potential harm from the mRNA shots outweighs the benefits for young children.

Both letters also referenced the June 30 open letter to U.K. health officials from more than 70 physicians and scientists warning against vaccinating younger children against COVID-19.

The U.K. letter, written in response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in mid-June of the Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 shots for children as young as 6 months, urged U.K. health officials to not “make the same mistake” the FDA made.

All three letters referenced Søren Brostrøm, director of the Danish Health and Medicines Authority, who in June said, “We did not get much out of having children vaccinated against coronavirus last year.”

Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration on July 18 provisionally approved a pediatric dose of Moderna’s Spikevax COVID-19 shot for children ages 6 months to 5 years old. Rollout of the vaccines is contingent on input from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.

A few days earlier, on July 14, Health Canada authorized the use of Spikevax for children 6 months to 5 years of age. According to the statement, “As a result of this authorization, approximately 1.7 million children are now eligible for vaccination against COVID-19.”

Risks ‘far outweigh’ benefits for children

The 11-page CCCA letter contains 117 references and six pages of figures and graphs to support the group’s argument that “the data shows that, in the Omicron era, when population-based immunity is widespread, the risks associated with COVID-19 mRNA vaccines far outweigh the benefits in children.”

The authors of the CCCA letter criticized the FDA, stating, “no gold standard, placebo-controlled disease endpoint trials, large enough [with at least 800,000 participants] to categorically establish the clinical safety and long-term efficacy of the Pfizer COVID-19 mRNA vaccinations in children 12- to 15-years-old, 5- to 11-years-old, 2- to 4-years-old, and 6-months-old to 23-months-old have been undertaken.”

Instead, the EUA for Pfizer was “based on the preliminary results of four very small immuno-bridging trials, enrolling fewer than 3,000 participants each.”

The CCCA letter presented data from the Canadian province of Ontario, which “reported a negative dose-response effect for the COVID-19 vaccinations [original emphasis].”

The letter continued:

“In other words, the proportion of cases of COVID-19 were highest among those who had been ‘boosted,’ lower among the ‘fully inoculated’ and least among the ‘not fully inoculated’ (which includes the ‘uninoculated’).”

The authors presented graphs from the Public Health Ontario website, noting a similar pattern was observed in the 12- to 17-year-olds and the 5- to 11-year-old age groups.

“Additionally, a greater proportion of ‘boosted’ Ontarians have died, revealing that the vaccinations may be associated with serious secondary effects.”

The CCCA letter concludes:

“We trust that our research has provided you with evidence needed to adjust Canadian health policy to protect our children from undue harm. We would be happy to meet you to discuss findings documented in this letter in greater detail.”

‘Huge gap’ in Pfizer’s vaccine trial documentation

According to the authors of the AVN letter, the Pfizer documentation presented to the FDA had huge gaps in the evidence provided.

For example, the letter stated:

“The protocol was changed mid-trial. The original two-dose schedule exhibited poor immunogenicity with efficacy far below the required standard. A third dose was added by which time many of the original placebo recipients had been vaccinated.”

The AVN letter argued the Moderna shot for young children fails to meet Australia’s regulatory requirements to be granted “provisional determination” (similar to EUA in the U.S.) under regulation 10L(1)(a) of the Therapeutic Goods Regulations.

To receive provisional determination, there must be “an indication of the medicine is the treatment, prevention or diagnosis of a life-threatening or seriously debilitating condition,” the letter stated.

The authors said Australia’s health department and TGA did not “show any data or science to support a conclusion that COVID-19, and particularly the Omicron variant now widespread across Australia, is ‘life-threatening’ to infants aged 6 months up through 4 years, nor indeed that infants 6 months up through 4 years suffer ‘seriously debilitating’ symptoms when infected with COVID-19.”

The authors also addressed the issue of manipulative strategies used to promote COVID-19 vaccination of children, and said pushing unnecessary and novel mRNA-based vaccines onto young children risks undermining parental confidence in routine immunization programs.

Julie Comber is a freelance science reporter for The Defender.

© 2022 Children’s Health Defense, Inc. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Children’s Health Defense, Inc. Want to learn more from Children’s Health Defense? Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. Your donation will help to support us in our efforts.

July 25, 2022 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | 6 Comments

Lockdowns causing Hepatitis in Children

The Naked Emperor’s Newsletter | July 25, 2022

So they think they have found the likely cause of the mystery hepatitis outbreak in children. And surprise surprise, the cause was… Lockdowns.

A report by the BBC (which heavily promoted lockdowns) said “two teams of researchers, from London and Glasgow, say infants exposed later than normal – because of Covid restrictions – missed out on some early immunity to: adenovirus, which normally causes colds and stomach upsets and adeno-associated virus two, which normally causes no illness and requires a coinfecting “helper” virus – such as adenovirus – to replicate.”

Covid or vaccines were ruled out as a cause but I guess there is still the theory of shedding. Whilst children of this age were not vaccinated, some have speculated that spike protein shedding from vaccinated parents may have been the cause. There has been no evidence either way to support this however.

I would prefer to stick with what we do know and that is that lockdowns are extremely damaging. The report says that experts are hopeful cases are becoming fewer but are still on the alert for new ones. Great, if new cases disappear but “experts” got us into this mess in the first place.

The BBC article says more than 1,000 children (many under five) have been affected and focusses on one child who needed an urgent liver transplant. Fortunately, he is recovering but he has needed a liver transplant and will need to take immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of his life. Moreover, his Mum ended up in intensive care after she was going to donate part of her liver but ended up reacting to the drugs.

The Mum is quoted as saying “There is something really heartbreaking about that because you go along following the rules, do what you are supposed to do to protect people that are vulnerable and then, in some horrible roundabout way, your own child has become more vulnerable because you did what you were supposed to do.”

In a highly complex society, every tiny change can have massive consequences. Especially with things that we don’t fully understand, such as viruses, even if we like to pretend we do. Not only did “experts” not consider the unintended consequences that could and would occur due to lockdowns (publicly at least) but they actively supressed any discussion on the topic. The mainstream media was complicit by again not allowing these discussions to take place. They should hang their heads in shame and ensure it never happens again.

July 25, 2022 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Time for Palestine to claim its stolen gas

Hezbollah threatened Israel with war if Lebanon is not allowed to exploit its share in the Karish gas field. Palestinian resistance may do the same over the “stolen gas” off Gaza.

By Yousef Fares | The Cradle | July 22 2022

The maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel over ​​the Karish gas field is reminiscent of the stolen gas fields in Palestine’s Gaza Strip. With the naked eye, Gazans can only stand by and watch the Occupation’s gas drilling platforms a few kilometers off their own coast.

This situation could change though, and may depend on the way in which the resistance in Lebanon handles the conflict over Karish.

That scenario may encourage the Palestinian resistance to follow their northern neighbor’s example in threatening to target Israeli platforms if Palestinians are denied their rights to the “Gaza Marine” field.

So long as Palestinians are deprived of basic living condition rights (electricity, fuel, food and medicine shortages) by their Israeli occupiers, they would be foolhardy to ignore the game-changing potential of gas extraction off their own coastline.

However, Lebanon’s current dispute is not the only issue that has led to the Palestinian claim resurfacing. Indeed, there are other factors related to the energy crisis, and it involves the Europeans.

Not Israel’s gas to export

On 15 June, it was announced in Cairo that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed to export Israeli (stolen Palestinian) gas to the European Union (EU) through Egypt.

The MoU, which Israel and the EU described as a “historic agreement,” extends over three years and is automatically renewable for two further years. It includes transporting gas from Israel to liquefaction stations in Egypt (Idku and Damietta in the north), then shipping it to Europe, which imported 155 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas from Russia last year.

In light of the EU’s faltering standoff with Moscow over Ukraine, Europe is seeking – among other sources – “Israeli gas” to compensate for about 10 percent of this amount, while Israel for its part is eager to increase its production of natural gas to 40 bcm (billion cubic meters) annually.

Experts estimate that most of this quantity will come from Palestinian gas extracted from “Gaza Marine 1” which is adjacent to the Strip, and “Marine 2” which is located within the maritime border area between Gaza and Israel.

Not the PA’s right 

Understandably, news of the MoU angered the Palestinian resistance, especially since the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah did not take any practical steps to demand Palestinian rights in this matter.

Informed, anonymous sources have told The Cradle that the EU has bought the silence of the PA by giving it a 4 percent share of the value of the extracted gas, while most of the agreements signed between Ramallah and the extraction companies, in the past two decades, stipulated a ratio ranging from 10 percent to 27.5 percent.

There are also accusations that the PA will only collect some taxes on monthly production, in addition to accelerating EU aid to the Palestinians.

On 12 June, the European Commission approved a new aid package for the Palestinians worth 224.8 million euros, as a ‘bribe’ for the PA, with a verbal pledge to support Palestinian rights and confront Israeli policies that undermine the two-state solution, particularly in Jerusalem.

The EU also pledged to press for the allocation of part of the extracted gas for Palestinians at preferential prices in order to operate the power plants in Gaza and Jenin.

In return for these gestures, the PA committed to the charter of the “Eastern Mediterranean Gas Countries,” and will not object to any steps in the region’s energy file, specifically with regard to the start of exploration and extraction of natural gas from the Gaza Marine field and the Rantis field west of Ramallah. The PA further agreed not to raise the issue of Palestinian rights to energy in the areas under its “control.”

In this context, Israel tried to indirectly buy the restraint of the resistance in the Gaza Strip by increasing work permits for Palestinians in the occupied territories to 20,000.

Gaza’s gas

Located in Palestinian territorial waters 36 km west of the Strip in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, the Gaza Marine gas field was first discovered around 1999 by British Gas who were contracted to develop it.

Despite its discovery, gas has not been extracted from the area despite the PA’s conclusion of several agreements with foreign companies, which were aborted because Israel refused to allow the operations to proceed.

Significantly, the Gaza Marine includes approximately 8 adjacent fields and is estimated to contain 12 trillion cubic meters of gas, at an attractive depth that makes the cost of extraction low.

Pirates of the Mediterranean

Israel controls the gas fields in Palestinian waters in the north of the Gaza Strip and in the eastern Mediterranean, including the so-called Yam Tethys fields, which were proven to be Palestinian property according to maps submitted by the state of Palestine to the United Nations.

In 2019, an investigation conducted by Al-Jazeera showed that Israel drained the “Mari B” gas field in the Gaza Sea (it contained enough gas for the Strip for 15 years). An investigation by Middle East Eye concluded that the Palestinians could claim 6,600 square kilometers of marine area, five times the area they now own.

Lebanon and the Gaza Strip face similar economic difficulties brought about through different foreign tools of economic besiegement. In the case of Gaza, the blockade is direct, as Israel controls the factors impacting their standard of living and welfare. As for Lebanon, it faces US sanctions and diktats that have contributed to the country’s economic meltdown.

The way in which Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah manages the Karish field file will be interesting as it is likely to influence how the Palestinian resistance choose to go about protecting and reclaiming their rights.

With gas revenues estimated at $4.5 billion annually, Ramallah’s budget – which in 2021 was set at $5.6 billion, of which $3.9 billion was provided by internal revenues – could achieve self-sufficiency. Additionally, these resources could provide a radical solution to the fuel and electricity crises in the Strip.

A meeting of minds in Beirut

Informed sources have told The Cradle they have credible reason to believe the Palestinian resistance factions will take advantage of the battle that Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah has threatened to ignite if Israel continues to ignore Lebanon’s right to its gas fields. Nasrallah has set a deadline – the start of September – for this access to be provided.

The sources also say that Hamas’ Political Bureau Chief Ismail Haniyeh discussed the gas file with Nasrallah during their meeting in Beirut on 23 June, and suggested that the resistance in Gaza would likely participate in any future war, especially in the face of Israel’s continued theft and deprivation of natural resources.

Haniyeh spoke of “Lebanon’s right to extract gas from its maritime borders, and to stop Israeli piracy.”

However, there are calculations which must be taken into account before the Palestinian resistance gets involved in any war. This is related to the scale of the hypothetical war and the Israeli reaction to it, as well as to the logistical capabilities of the resistance at the naval level.

Yet it is the Palestinian silence on both the official and resistance level which has angered Lebanese authorities. The Director General of Lebanon’s General Security, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, demanded that Palestinians take a coherent political stance towards what “Lebanon is negotiating regarding the gas that is in the Palestinian waters occupied by Israel.”

A military response

However, well-informed sources in the Palestinian resistance tell The Cradle that their factions have now placed the military option relating to Gaza Marine on the table, triggered by the signing of the tripartite gas agreement (between Egypt, Israel and the EU) in June.

Political analyst Ismail Muhammad believes that the Haniyeh-Nasrallah meeting resulted in a preliminary agreement, which could be implemented at the military level if necessary.

Speaking to The Cradle, Muhammad explained that “the resistance cannot miss such regional circumstances to remind of its right to Palestinian gas which has been stolen before its eyes. Just as Lebanon’s economic future depends on the extraction and sale of gas, Palestine in general, and Gaza in particular, needs such income to end the economic dependence on occupation and to liberate its political decision-making.”

Muhammad refers to the expected strategic results of any victory in the battle over the Karish and Gaza Marine fields, not just the potential economic outcomes. Extracting the right to one’s energy resources, whether by military force or by an agreement, effectively ends the Israeli-US economic blockade in both Gaza and Lebanon.

This presents “a victory for the resistance, which increases its political influence and reduces the influence of external dictates,” he added.

“This is a major battle. Winning it against the Israeli-American-Arab alliance will change the future of the region.”

Expected scenarios

There is near unanimity that there is as much a chance of a gradual military escalation as there is of reaching a fair solution to the Karish field dilemma. There are three scenarios for the role of the Palestinian resistance in the event that Hezbollah is forced to resort to force:

First, that Hezbollah initiate a gradual escalation using a qualitative weapon to strike the British/Greek drilling ship in Karish. This will deprive all parties of benefiting from the field, and return the gas file to square one.

On the other hand, Israel absorbs the blow and responds in a limited manner that does not lead to an all-out war. In this case, it is expected that the resistance in Gaza will maintain its readiness without providing guarantees of non-interference, which means that Israel will have to occupy thousands of its soldiers, along with a few squadrons of its aircraft and at least a tank battalion, to contain any reaction in Gaza.

Second, that Israel ignore Nasrallah’s threats to strike the gas platforms in “Karish and beyond Karish,” which effectively means to paralyze the entire Israeli energy sector by expanding the range of targets to include the fields of Athens, Tanin, Dolphin, Leviathan, Dalit and Aphrodite.

These fields represent the cornerstone of the energy sector, on which Israel relies to secure its gas and oil needs and provide it with financial revenues. The fields located off the shores of occupied Ashkelon and Gaza, such as Kirin, Nawa and Marin Bay – about 190 km from Gaza – also fall within the scope of Nasrallah’s “beyond Karish” equation.

Sources in the Palestinian resistance who spoke to The Cradle suggest that this scenario means a comprehensive regional war. In this case, their decision would be to “directly participate” in such a war. Although their logistical capabilities do not allow for “accurate point” hits to the gas rigs, the fire intensity provided by the suicide drones and missiles will put these fields out of action.

One source points to the Palestinian resistance’s success in targeting the Tamar natural gas field off the shores of Ashkelon and the Eilat-Ashkelon gas pipeline, which was hit by about twenty missiles, during Operation Sayf Al-Quds (Sword of Jerusalem) in May 2021.

“Israel will not be able to launch a large-scale operation against the Strip. It will not venture into an irregular war on two fronts at the same time, especially since the priority is for the Lebanese front, where there is a huge stockpile of weapons and advanced capabilities. Most probably, it will be satisfied with conventional air strikes against civilian and military targets in Gaza,” he says.

Third, the resistance also takes into account the scenario of a comprehensive war in which all the components of the Resistance Axis can participate; in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

In such a conflict, the Palestinian resistance will spare no effort in igniting all the fronts, in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem, and even in the 1948 occupied territories, as it will be an opportunity to change the “map of the region” and hit a “historic blow to the entire Zionist project,” even though the current international circumstances make such scenario unlikely to happen.

Palestinian pragmatism

It is evident that the resistance in Gaza views the gas crisis between Lebanon and Israel as an opportunity that must be exploited to demand legitimate Palestinian rights. The continuation of difficult living conditions in the Gaza Strip in particular, hostage to conditional Israeli facilities, is something worth sacrificing to change.

Therefore, Gaza’s participation in a war between Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Israel stems from the existence of a common interest, and not just a mutual foe.

July 25, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Fake China Threat and Its Very Real Danger

By Joseph Solis-Mullen | The Libertarian Institute | July 25, 2022

From the front pages of The Washington Post and Wall Street JournalForeign Affairs, the Economist, to The New York Times’ Best Sellers List; from CNN and MSNBC to FOX and NEWSMAX; from think tanks to Pentagon planners, congressional testimonies and White House statements: CHINA! So singularly focused and omnipresent has the narrative of the China Threat become, one can be forgiven for forgetting that China is in fact a middle income country of modest capabilities and with no stated intention of doing any harm to Americans or the United States. Further, that China is not bent on world domination; and further still, as shall be clearly demonstrated, even if it secretly were there is a negligible chance of that coming to pass whatever Beijing’s efforts.

The reasons for this are many. From China’s own internal problems, including a lack of critical resources, dependence on external markets, lopsided demography, combative ethnic minorities, resentful elites, ongoing economic slowdown, and possible economic collapse—to China’s daunting external problems, including its lengthy borders and limited access to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, to the number of neighboring states that are either uneasy about an increasingly powerful China or seeking to outright counter or otherwise impede its rise. These include India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. This is to say nothing of Taiwan, officially recognized by both the United Nations and Washington as a breakaway region of China, and which stands as the most serious point of transitional friction at present.

While China is growing more relatively powerful, much of the very real danger that exists in the region stems from attempts by its aforementioned neighbors to balance against a more assertive Beijing—which, as it has grown more relatively powerful, has begun to press its own interests more forcefully in dealing with its neighbors, as well as with more distant powers such as the United States. The latter is particularly important. For while planners in Beijing believe the gravitational pull of its enormous and still growing economy will eventually allow it to get what it wants from its neighbors, the United States stands alone as the one country that cannot be bought off or bullied in this way. Further, as will be detailed, much of China’s newfound assertiveness stems directly from the increased sense of threat it feels vis a vis the United States.

It is in its attempts to push back against the United States that Beijing has ultimately wound up thoroughly alarming many of its neighbors, prompting the formation of a still growing balancing coalition. Therefore, before detailing the myriad reasons China won’t be taking over the world, or even enjoying regional hegemony, and why Washington should be pursuing a policy of restraint in dealing with China, it is first necessary to appreciate the extent to which the United States has been involved for over a century in meddling in domestic Chinese affairs, and to understand how Washington’s broader policies toward China have negatively shaped Chinese perceptions of the United States and its intentions toward China; and further, how it is these actions that have created what few real dangers exist.

Western interventions in domestic Chinese affairs began in earnest in 1842, when the British Empire forced open the country following the end of the First Opium War. Access to trade, immunity for its nationals from Chinese law, and entry of Christian missionaries were forced on a faltering Qing dynasty. While it officially protested, successive U.S. administrations insisted on the same privileges for itself and its merchants as the other European empires. This was the so-called “open door” policy. Bostonian merchants in particular made good trade running Ottoman opium to China. The Second Opium War, which broke out in 1856, actually featured American forces fighting alongside the British at the battles of the Barrier and Taku Forts. Such U.S. military assistance to the European empires in their depredations of China would continue, helping to put down the Boxer Rebellion at the turn of the century, occupying Peking and extracting a large indemnity for itself.

With the fall of the Qing dynasty and the birth of the Republic of China (1912), there was hope on both the Chinese right and left that U.S. policy toward China might change. But despite having initially signaled support for the restoration of at least the German-occupied parts of China to the young Republican government in exchange for their dispatch of hundreds of thousands of Chinese laborers to assist the Allied war effort on the Western front, at Versailles President Woodrow Wilson abandoned the idealism of his vaunted Fourteen Points, instead granting the former German Imperial holdings to the Japanese. A nominal wartime ally, the rapidly expanding Japanese Empire had opportunistically occupied German possessions in Asia once hostilities in Europe commenced, and Wilson used the recognition of Tokyo’s claims as leverage to buy Japanese involvement in his League of Nations project.

As for fledgling Republican China’s other petitions, that the unequal treaties imposed following the Opium Wars be abolished and control of its revenue collection returned to Chinese authorities, these too were denied. This led a young Mao Zedong, formerly a rabid Wilsonian, to call the Americans “a bunch of robbers who only cynically champion self-determination.”1

The disillusion with America and its purported idealism continued into the 1920s, with Warren Harding’s administration declining to recognize the uneasy, cobbled together coalition of republican and communist forces under the loose leadership of Sun Yat-sen, opting instead to recognize a series of feuding warlords who happened to seize control of the capital, Peking.2

It was only with the defeat of the warlords and the subsequent split between the Chinese right and left, precipitated by the former under the new leadership of Chiang Kai-shek, that the familiar Cold War and present day alignments began to take shape—with Moscow and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on one side and Washington and the ROC on the other. The latter was particularly slow in developing, however, with the depression distracting and the American public disillusioned by the apparently pointless deaths of over 100,000 Americans in World War I. Content to let the warring Chinese and Japanese bleed one another through the 1930s and early 1940s, it wasn’t until near the conclusion of the U.S. Pacific theater campaign against the Japanese that real aid started to flow to the corrupt, ineffectual, and dictatorial Chiang Kai-shek and his nominally republican forces. Though the aid would continue in the years immediately following the Japanese surrender, it was clear, particularly to George Marshall, who visited China to encourage a reconciliation between the Kuomintang and the CCP, that good money was being thrown after bad.

With the triumph of the CCP in 1949, the so-called “loss of China,” and the retreat Chiang Kai-shek and his followers to the fortress island of Formosa (Taiwan), successive U.S. administrations beginning with Harry Truman effectively prevented the conclusion of the decades long Chinese Civil War by using American naval power to defend the Taiwan Straits, and further refused to recognize the communist government now in place in Beijing. These policies continued with little change over the following two decades, and included hot conflict between the two in Korea (1950-53), as well as proxy conflict in Vietnam (1955-75).

That is until President Richard Nixon and his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger recognized that the apparently monolithic communist front in Eurasia was in fact split along sharply nationalist lines, with the Chinese refusing to follow Moscow’s directives by the late 1950s and openly competing for influence in the Third World by the mid-1960s. Nixon’s secret trip to Beijing, and the Three Communiques that followed, formed the basis for the eventual normalization of relations and the recognition of the Chinese Communist Party’s legitimacy by Jimmy Carter in 1978. The communiques were focused exclusively on U.S. respect for China’s sovereignty, and required the U.S. to break off diplomatic relations with Taiwan, eliminate its military treaty with Taipei, and agree not to station U.S. forces on the island—now officially recognized by Washington, as well as the U.N., as part of China. While Beijing never renounced the potential use of force in the event that Taiwan ever declared independence, they were now committed with Washington to try to work with Taipei to bring about peaceful reunification.

Nixon’s opening to China had been premised on the idea of using Beijing to balance against the Soviet Union, a strategy followed by each of his successors all the way to the end of the first Cold War approximately a decade and a half later. With the death of Mao and the ensuing struggle for power having been won by the reformer Deng Xiaoping, China gradually opened up to foreign trade and investment and began to experiment with markets, prices, and private ownership of the means of production. So began the most incredible period of economic development the world has ever witnessed, with a billion Chinese eventually raised from the lowest levels of poverty to the position of an industrialized and rising middle income society by the late 2000s.

In the meantime, however, with the end of the first Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union a few years later, the logic of Nixon and Kissinger’s strategy of using China to balance the Soviet Union no longer held. U.S. policy makers had a new idea, however: integrating China into the U.S. created and dominated global institutional order would make it a “responsible stakeholder,” and with time, as the country grew wealthier and more integrated, would lead to the liberalization and democratization of China.

But this did not happen.

Instead, granting China most favored nation trading status and allowing it into the WTO, despite it never really following the rules, resulted in the loss of millions of American manufacturing jobs at the same time it granted the communists in Beijing legitimacy at home as a provider of material well-being. As China’s economic power increased, so too did its military capabilities. And rather than focusing on aircraft carriers and other power projection capabilities PLA planners instead focused on building up an area denial capability sufficient to deter any potential U.S. intervention in the event of a war between Taipei and Beijing: which the CCP leadership view as the final remnant of China’s “century of humiliations,” the last impediment to the full restoration of Chinese sovereignty.

Though open hostility between the two officially ceased with the normalization of relations between Washington and Beijing (they even partnered to punish the Vietnamese for intervening to remove the murderous Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia [1979]), relations between the two were quickly complicated by continued U.S. interference in Chinese domestic affairs. This included congressional sanctions over Tiananmen (1989), to U.S. actions during the Taiwan Straits Crisis (1996), the gradual erosion by Washington of the Three Communiques3, to sanctions on Beijing for its treatment of ethnic minorities, such as the Tibetans and Uighurs.

The sense in Beijing of a China under threat was reflected in its reorientation of military planning in the 1990s, when its attention shifted away from preparing to fight its Eurasian neighbors to focusing first and foremost on a future conflict with the United States in southeast Asia. Again, this was particularly so with respect to Taiwan, which the U.S. never officially ruled out militarily intervening to defend under the tactic of “strategic ambiguity.”4 U.S. interventions in the post-Cold War era, from Iraq to Serbia, increased this sense of urgency for CCP planners. In the case of the first Iraq War, Operation Desert Storm, Washington’s demonstration of the so-called “revolution in military affairs” highlighted the gap between the two in military capabilities; while in Serbia, U.S. willingness to ignore the U.N. and act unilaterally was compounded by its attack on the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, which Beijing to this day declines to acknowledge as an innocent error, and which killed multiple Chinese nationals.

But just as Beijing was ramping up its own capabilities, on the back of an ascendent economy resultant from its integration into the global capitalist system, Washington’s apparent “hyperpower” was dealt a series of serious, self-inflicted blows. Beginning with the second Iraq War and the invasion of Afghanistan, the façade of apparent U.S. military invincibility and political will was slowly eroded. At the same time, the illusion of U.S. economic unimpeachability was also shattered, with the Global Financial Crisis incubated in the United States paralyzing Western economies while China’s own less integrated capital markets and rapid fiscal interventions effectively insulated the Chinese economy and acted as a force for global stability during the period of ensuing related crises in Europe and elsewhere. As Washington dithered in the desert and Western economies floundered, the CCP leadership decided it was time to abandon the policy first articulated by Deng and followed by each Chinese leader since, to “hide our capabilities, keep a low profile, and bide our time.” Beijing’s opening moves in this regard began with its assertion of a sphere of influence in its immediate vicinity, not dissimilar, indeed derived directly from, the example of Washington’s own assertion of the Monroe Doctrine. While what Beijing sought was effective control over the waters directly adjoining the country, it prompted an immediate and alarmed response from Washington.

Obama’s 2011 “pivot” or “rebalancing” to Asia could hardly have been more transparent. While really the CCP was simply seeking to reconcile the difference between its newfound economic and military power with its existing, relatively lowly geopolitical station, in effect becoming what FDR and Truman had envisioned it becoming during the post-World War II period, one of the globe’s “four policeman” responsible for maintaining security and economic stability in its region, Washington, high on unipolarity, immediately set about trying to block China’s attempts at asserting its prerogatives in southeast Asia. Largely dormant since the 1950s, and only half-heartedly pursued since the end of the first Cold War, U.S. policymakers ramped up efforts at alliance building in southeast Asia. At the same time, it overtly sought to undermine attempts by Beijing to build alternative regional institutions to those constructed by the United States during the post-World War II period, such as the Asian Infrastructure Development Bank, while developing new institutional frameworks, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Quad, that would exclude Beijing. Along with Washington’s support for organizations advocating separation from China, such as the World Uighur Congress, and the construction of a new Cold War narrative pitting “democracy versus authoritarianism,” the Trump administration, filled with China hawks, made the new U.S. policy of weakening and containing China explicit in a series of documents formulated within a year of his taking the White House.5 This stance, inherited by Biden, has been fully embraced by his new administration.

Without irony, it is the United States, which since the end of the Cold War has invaded multiple countries without UN resolutions, run a secret network of black site torture facilities, helped topple or supported the toppling of multiple governments, and killed millions of civilians via economic warfare and covert drone campaigns, which accuses Beijing of threatening global peace and security. CCP planners now rightly believe that if China is to have its proper place at the table, one commensurate with its hard and soft power capabilities, it will have to fight the United States. While it has achieved a great deal, and may achieve still more, so far as its own dreamiest aspirations and the worst nightmares of Pengtagon planners, the reality is that China’s outlook is severely limited. For all the talk of China’s apparently inevitable rise and route to global domination, a closer look at its internal and external situation leaves significant room for doubt—including about the long-term durability of the Chinese state as presently constituted.

When it comes to China’s power projection capabilities, these doubts can be broken down into five basic categories: geographic impediments, resource constraints, demographic collapse, national cohesion, and economic slowdown.

China’s geography is frankly terrible in terms of potential power projection capability. Internally, it features endless flatlands to the north, abutting deserts and mountains running to the west, with more mountains and dense jungle to the south, while its eastern coast is ringed by states terrified of an expansionist China. And because of its vast population it is seriously strapped for foodstuffs. A shocking statistic: on a per capita basis it has less arable agricultural land than Saudi Arabia, making the fact that it has long been the world’s largest food importer unsurprising. Further, what farmland China does have requires enormous amounts of petrochemical fertilizers and laborers to keep even moderately productive. Further, lacking a confluence of natural and traversable interconnected east-west-flowing waterways, moving mass amounts of produce around internally is expensive and inefficient over the vast distances that locally produced foodstuffs must travel to arrive at the highly populated eastern seaboard provinces. Given these facts, as presently situated China is arguably the most globalization-dependent state on earth.

On pace to become the world’s largest consumer of oil in coming years, surpassing the United States, China itself holds less than 2% of all proven oil reserves. Little wonder the so-called “Malacca and Hormuz Dilemmas,” which could effectively shut down China’s entire economy overnight, have long been a central focus of CCP military planners. While it has plenty of coal (the fourth-most globally according to estimates), the already serious amount of environmental degradation wrought upon China by the CCP’s policy of breakneck industrialization, resulting in regular protests and serious widespread health problems, make use of it difficult to sustain socially and politically. In terms of natural gas, what little China has lies in the culturally distinct Sichuan and Xinjiang provinces, a potential source of myriad problems that may, along with the advanced technologies required to effectively exploit it, explain Beijing’s relative reluctance to embrace its development. Apart from the paucity of high-yield agricultural land, China is also plagued by water scarcity; its solutions, which cost an estimated $100 billion/annually, are causing increased desertification and displacement in the parts of the country from whence water is being diverted. An environmental disaster zone, lacking many of the basic necessities to sustain its enormous population, any serious disruption to the existing globalized order, created and sustained by the United States, would cause hundreds of millions of Chinese to famish if not starve to death.

The CCP’s former social engineering projects add their own complications to China’s already considerable domestic problems. From a combination of more or less forced mass urbanization, state-induced famine, and two-child, then one-child policies, the CCP faces demographic collapse. Specifically, it is going to run out of taxpayers, laborers, and consumers. Even worse, not only did changing to a one-child policy in the 1980s amplify the severity of the coming crisis, but it led to an epidemic of selective sex abortion. Basically, right about the time China’s economy collapses in on itself, it is going to have tens of millions of young men unable to find a job or a girlfriend—this while China by 2030 will have four retirees for every two workers and child.

Two additional things are worth pointing out here: first, that while it is true Xi reversed the CCP’s policies, it isn’t going to matter because the cost of raising children in China makes having more of them prohibitively expensive, while at the same time urbanization and industrialization naturally decrease birthrates anyway—see every other industrialized and post-industrial country in history; and second, this surfeit of single young males unable to find a job or wife is probably the U.S. hawks strongest argument for why China might pose a serious threat to one or more of its neighbors: unable to do anything else with such a potentially dangerous lot, Beijing may decide to throw them into a meatgrinder over Taiwan or in another border war with India, though both of these actions would likely have devasting additional consequences for the regime stemming from the economic consequences sure to follow.

Apart from the separatists holed up on Taiwan, large populations of Uighurs and Tibetans inconveniently located in strategic areas far from Beijing, as well as dozens of much smaller ethnic groups in the mountainous jungles to the south, mean the CCP leadership faces multiple permanent secessionist dangers far from its northeastern core. Such threats follow directly from the geography of the country, with wealthier eastern coastal provinces such as Jiangsu and Zhejiang wanting and having far more to do with wealthier Japan, South Korea, and the rest of the outside world than with the hinterlands of China’s western barrens. Such provinces have historically resisted Beijing’s control, and the CCP’s most recent moves against the Shanghai-centered tech sector and its billionaire class ought to be understood in this light. So, too, its decision not to try and duplicate the U.S. shale revolution because of the location of Chinese shale deposits in large, wealthy, and culturally distinct Sichuan province while its intense campaigns against the Uighurs and Tibetans already receive considerable international opprobrium. While force or the fear can keep them all in line, including Hong Kong’s recently suppressed population and internal party members who do not favor Xi’s policies, that ability to use force rests on the CCP’s claim to legitimacy and its ability to mobilize sufficient resources to effectively police these regions and put down any potential trouble—which is to say its state power.

Since state power ultimately rests on economic power, it is worth appreciating the myriad problems China’s hitherto racing economy faces, both on the domestic and foreign fronts. Because of its unique position over the past thirty years as a mass global exporter, the CCP has managed to stave off any potential economic slowdowns with boundless state credit, industry subsidies, and dumping, thereby maintaining near-full employment. However, decreasing returns on additional debt and continued overproduction, combined with domestic underconsumption and low-cost labor competition in its region and around the world, mean the bill is about to come due. It’s going to be enormous. Total debt is now three times the output of the Chinese economy annually, and the expansion of debt and credit has accelerated in recent years. Until the past year, the Chinese financial system was creating five times the money supply of the never shy Federal Reserve System per month. According to Citigroup, for example, in 2018 alone, the Chinese financial system accounted for 80 percent of all private credit creation globally. Because of centrally directed malinvestment, these nonperforming loans total an estimated $7 trillion. For some perspective, the subprime crisis that crippled Western financial markets was saddled with less than a trillion dollars of such bad loans. Further, much of the debt is short term, meaning it is frequently rolled over with new debt. This ongoing practice is yielding ever-decreasing returns. According to The Economist, fully three-quarters of new loans in China simply go toward paying the interest on existing debt. Meanwhile, total factory productivity, which had soared during the first decade of the new century, has flatlined since then—with its billion citizens still producing nowhere near what the industrialized Western economies do per capita—and Xi’s own insistence on reasserting state control over the private sector, which is responsible for most of the productivity gains over the past two decades, is likely to continue this already worrying trend.

Abroad, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is only making things worse; spawning even more Renminbi (or Yuan), which are lent and spent on projects of questionable economic value and equally dubious means of repayment. Again, however, CCP policies that privilege employment and state stability over efficiency and productivity mean China’s industrial overproduction has to have somewhere to go, even if it means lending to countries like Venezuela, that quickly default, or like Sri Lanka, which when forced to sign over its principal port resulted in a wave of anti-Chinese sentiment within the country and bad press for so-called “debt-trap development” around the globe. This is to say nothing of problems in places like Pakistan, one of the BRI’s key nodes, which has featured repeated setbacks and disturbances, particularly in violently separatist Baluchistan.

The project, a geopolitical brainchild of Xi, is now subject to regular, if polite, criticism within Chinese academic and policy circles, with increasing numbers of critics coming to recognize the project for what it is: a boondoggle aimed at increasing Chinese power and influence abroad rather than doing anything to increase the welfare of the still relatively poor Chinese people domestically, whose income per capita is 79th globally. In fact, alienating the United States and broader West by challenging its development models has resulted in damage to its trade relationships and is only likely to reverse the gains made in the country since it was allowed into the WTO in 2001.

Though it brought China quickly up the ranks of the developing economies, the CCP’s relationship of mutual economic interdependence on the collective West, and the United States in particular, now hangs ominously over its head. The U.S. and China’s economic interdependence was part of the Clintonite strategy of integrating China into the world economy as a means of ensuring its passivity as regarded U.S. prerogatives. As the relationship deepened, both sides came to recognize that they were now locked into a situation of mutually assured economic destruction—as evidenced by Beijing’s unwillingness to pounce on the United States during its prolonged economic crisis just over a decade ago. However, there exists a key asymmetry within the relationship, and every U.S. security strategist knows it: in the event of a massive economic crash, in a democracy there is another election, while in an authoritarian state there is a revolution. This danger has been highlighted by the U.S.-coordinated Western response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in March. China, whose domestic economy is far more tied into world trade, has just seen what a coordinated response from the richer Western nations can do. While Russia will be able to outlast U.S. sanctions by shifting commodity exports to a willing developing world, were a similar situation to occur over Taiwan China would not have any such outlet for its abundance of manufactured goods, and its internal market, while growing, is still too underdeveloped to absorb the surpluses.

As though these multi-front problems and looming disasters weren’t enough, China, unlike the United States, has the further misfortune of being surrounded on all sides. While a detailed analysis of each of China’s fourteen neighbors is beyond the scope of this essay, a summary of the major players, their domestic incentive structures, and their perception of a rising China as a threat to its own security and wider interests is vital to understanding why China is unlikely to attain even regional hegemony regardless of Washington’s own policies aimed at preventing that outcome.

Despite its history of non-alignment, Washington set out to cultivate India as a future balancer against China beginning with George W. Bush. Creating a legal loophole that allowed Delhi to proceed with its nuclear program without fear of U.S. sanctions—the so-called 123 Agreement—Washington simultaneously played on Indian fears of Pakistan and its relationship with China. Not eager to be seen overtly choosing sides, Delhi mostly kept its head down through the 2000s, focusing on growing their economy, military, and increasingly its overall state power.

Never doing anything contrary to its own perceived interests, whatever Washington might have preferred, it was Beijing’s growing assertiveness in the 2010s that finally pushed Delhi into embracing Washington’s increasingly overt attempts at containing China, including joining the re-formed Quad in 2017. Following a series of standoffs over disputed regions on the border between China and India, these finally erupted in a series of skirmishes between Chinese and Indian troops in 2020. These were a “turning point,” according to Delhi, which realized the possibility of 1960s style full-out conflict between it and its larger neighbor was indeed a distinct possibility. With a population almost as large as China’s, an economy already the fifth largest in the world as measured by GDP, ideal geography for power projection in the Indian Ocean, and growing naval power to match, China’s loss of India to the side of the growing balancing coalition was huge and totally self-inflicted.

Along with India, Japan was the most significant of China’s neighbor’s never likely to partake in band-wagoning with a rising Beijing. The historical animosities, both ancient and recent, are deep, and Japan’s capacities to resist, like India’s, were too considerable to make that a desirable or palatable option. Still the third largest economy in the world despite decades of government mismanagement, Japan has long had the ability to quickly remilitarize and even nuclearize, the latter likely within the span of months rather than years. Like Delhi, Tokyo has outstanding border disputes with China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Dao Islands, and was one of the first to sound the alarm over growing Chinese assertiveness in the South and East China Seas. Unlike India, whose vital natural resource imports would not even be threatened by Chinese regional hegemony given its open access to the Indian Ocean and Middle East, under such conditions Tokyo could find itself on the receiving end of a Malacca Straits-style dilemma. Home to multiple U.S. Army and Navy installations, and playing host to nearly 60,000 U.S. troops, Japan is happy to foot the bill for anyone that wants to contain China. Before his recent assassination, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was not so quietly shaping policy behind the scenes in a more hawkish direction.

Yet another neighbor with outstanding border disputes with Beijing, the Philippines aren’t eager for confrontation with China but recognize their own strategic interests are threatened by their increasingly assertive larger neighbor. If there was any doubt following the confrontation over the Scarborough Shoals in 2012, this was made clear when Beijing waved aside the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling in Manila’s favor over the issue of China’s so-called “nine-dash line.” Even Rodrigo Duterte, who came to office openly pursuing partnership with Beijing, eventually backtracked and reverted to the side of the growing balancing coalition, moving to restore prior defense agreements, supporting AUKUS, and expanding joint military exercises. Again, this was largely the product of Chinese belligerence over disputed islands and reefs, as well as under-delivery on Chinese promises of the economic benefits that would flow to the Philippines were it to align with Beijing. Along with Japan, Taiwan, Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia, the Philippines forms part of a dense thicket impeding Chinese access to the Pacific and Indian oceans. While still dwarfed by China economically, and alone standing no chance against China in an economic or kinetic conflict, together they have a large population to draw on, considerable resources, and not irrelevant economic heft, while their disparate thousands of islands and jungle geographies make the idea of an all-out military campaign against them a hopeless endeavor.

South Korea’s interest in balancing against a rising China is perhaps the most obvious of any state detailed thus far. While its own territorial dispute with Beijing is relatively negligible, that of Socotra Rock, without outside help its highly militarized northern neighbor with its million man army, nuclear weapons, and backing by China looks formidable—and, of course, the war between north and south still hasn’t officially ended. Like the territory of modern Vietnam the Korean Peninsula was also for centuries part of the Chinese sphere of influence. South Korea’s interests, therefore, while complicated like everyone else’s in the region by economic ties with China, are solidly with any balancing coalition. Were one not to form (unlikely given the incentives of the other major states already detailed) it is conceivable Seoul would turn to Beijing for protection from Pyongyang, but this is a stretch. In terms of its values, economy, politics, and world outlook, it is solidly opposed to Chinese regional hegemony. With the tenth largest economy in the world, South Korea brings a rich consumer market, loads of cutting edge industry, and strategic location to a balancing coalition, as well as providing willing basing to any allies on offer to go with its own considerable naval power, eighth largest in the world in total tonnage.

While their interests often conflict in many areas, from trade to natural resource rights to human rights, on the issue of balancing against Beijing the interests of each of the above countries, as well as Vietnam, Australia, Malaysia, and Indonesia (to say nothing of Taiwan) almost perfectly coincide. Those of China’s neighbors variously willing to brook increasing Chinese dominance, such as Cambodia, Myanmar, and Thailand, are unreliable, impoverished, and in each case suffering multiple armed insurgencies and secessionist groups that receive various levels of outside aid. Coupled with China’s own internal problems already outlined, Beijing’s daunting perimeter of rival states means the threat of Chinese regional hegemony is a distant, if totally unrealizable, prospect. For all the CCP’s propaganda, fragmentation rather than unity has defined Chinese history. Spanning approximately two millennia, for only three hundred of those years were the borders of more or less today’s China united under a Han-dominated central political authority. Left to itself, locked in the South and East China seas, it would likely face the threat of serious collapse and fragmentation by the late 2030s.

While China is far from a paper-tiger, the real danger when it comes to U.S.-China relations isn’t any direct threat Beijing poses to the United States or to the interests of the American people. But, rather, the real danger is that increasing belligerence emanating from Washington provokes a disastrous conflict over what Beijing considers core Chinese interests. Particularly with its shift in posture over the past decade, from Obama’s more geoeconomic approach to Trump and now Biden’s increasing militarization of relations between the two, Washington risks provoking a conflict over Taiwan, or in the South or East China Seas.

Knowing there are certain red-lines Beijing would have to respond to if crossed, like over Taiwan, it may be, as Robert Kagen argued this past year in Foreign Affairs, that U.S. policymakers think they should push China into a confrontation now, when it is more likely to lose than later when they believe Beijing’s relative position will be even stronger. Such a loss would destroy the CCP’s credibility, they argue, opening up the possibility of a change in political regimes at the same time it diminished China in the eyes of its neighbors and the world.

This is a questionable assumption, however. While it would probably mean the end of Xi’s time as leader, the institution of the CCP has weathered significant tumult before and could likely do so again. In fact, in the event of a conflict with the United States over one of its core interests, it is just as easy to imagine the opposite occurring. Afterall, the sense of a state under siege strengthens, rather than weakens, the hand of an authoritarian regime. In this sense, both the Trump and Biden administrations’ actions and rhetoric are playing right into the CCP’s grateful lap. Facing imminent multifront disasters, the now openly confrontational U.S. attitude is likely to give the CCP its best chance of staying in power as these crises all come to a collective head: by arguing that only it, the CCP, has been able to make China great again and prevent its exploitation by looming foreign imperialists, and that only it can protect China from a United States newly determined to subvert and dominate it.

Troublingly, though a conflict between the two could easily escalate to the point of a humanity-ending nuclear exchange, as well as the fact that China is unlikely to ever pose a serious threat to core American interests, there are many domestic forces here in the United States that are pressing just such an escalatory dynamic. From entrenched institutional interests within the military and security bureaucracies determined to hold on to their positions and power, to weapons manufacturers who want to see their contracts continually renewed or expanded, to think-tankers determined to avoid getting real jobs and a corporate media that has never seen a potential war it doesn’t like, to a high-tech industry that would rather insource critical components from places like Taiwan in the name of saving a few bucks, as well as domestic manufacturing industries seeking insulation from Chinese competition, and Republicans and Democrats seeking to score cheap points by trading insults over who is “softer” on China.

The situation is exceedingly dangerous, though completely unnecessary. The “China Threat” is a clear canard, and an extension of what the late Justin Raimondo described as “all foreign policy being domestic policy.” Unfortunately, none of the existing dynamics in play are likely to change—no matter how valid the criticism. And the American people, as well as the rest of the world, will have to just hold their breath and hope for the best.

July 25, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

A Gratuitous Insult in Jeddah

By John Whitbeck | CounterPunch | July 21, 2022

The most quoted words from the speech which President Biden read on July 16 while seated at a table in Jeddah with the leaders of eight autocracies (the six GCC monarchies, Egypt and Jordan) and the interim prime minister of one dysfunctional remnant of American regime change (Iraq) was: “We will not walk away and leave a vacuum to be filled by China, Russia or Iran. And we’ll seek to build on this moment with active, principled American leadership. The United States is not going anywhere.”

In light of all the chaos, death and destruction which the United States has wreaked on the region over the past two decades, many in the region — and even at the table — might have wondered whether this pronouncement should be viewed as a promise or a threat.

More importantly, it is remarkable that whoever wrote these words (presumably Tony Blinken and/or Jake Sullivan) did not grasp how insulting they were to the nine leaders to whom they were, at least formally, addressed and to their countries.

The first clear implication of these words is that the countries of the region do not possess either the capacity or the right to stand on their own feet and determine their own destinies but are destined always to be dominated by some outside greater power — in the recent past, the Ottomans, British and French and more recently the Americans — and that the Americans fully intend to maintain their current position of dominance.

The second clear implication of these words is that the countries of the region are not of interest to the United States for any reason inherent in their peoples, their societies or their histories but purely as pawns on the great geopolitical game board on which the United States competes for power and influence against its own demonized adversaries.

Such is the state of American “diplomacy” today.

In their defense, the speechwriters may not actually have been addressing those words to the people in the room but, rather, through the media, to Americans who were questioning why Biden was making this trip at all, and they may also have assumed that no one in the room would take anything that Biden said seriously.

The words with which Biden ended his speech were no doubt not written in the paper text in his hands: “And God protect our troops.”

These are the ritual words with which Biden concludes virtually all of his political speeches on home territory. When he uttered them at the end of his famous “Putin must go!” speech in Warsaw, they were not inappropriate, since he was promising more war. However, at the end of his speech in Jeddah, in which he was professing to be interested in peace and stability in the region, they were simply bizarre.

July 25, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

Washington is the problem, not the solution, so why is Abbas seeking new ‘powerful’ sponsors?

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | July 25, 2022

To describe US President Joe Biden’s recent visit to Israel and Palestine as a “failure” in terms of activating the dormant “peace process” is to use a misnomer. For this statement to be accurate, Washington would have had to indicate that it had even a nominal desire to push for negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian leadership.

Political and diplomatic platitudes aside, the current US administration has done the exact opposite, as indicated by Biden’s words and actions. Alleging that the US commitment to a two-state solution “has not changed”, Biden dismissed his administration’s interest in trying to achieve such a goal by declaring that the “ground is not ripe” for negotiations.

Given that the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly announced its readiness to return to negotiations, one can only assume that the process is being stalled due to Israel’s intransigence. Indeed, none of Israel’s top leaders or major parties champion negotiations — the so-called peace process — as a strategic objective.

However, Israel is not the only one to blame. The Americans have also made it clear that they have moved on from that political sham altogether, one which they invented and then sustained for decades. In fact, the final nail in the “negotiated solution” coffin was hammered in by the Donald Trump administration, which has simply backed every Israeli claim and shunned all legitimate Palestinian demands.

The Biden administration has been blamed habitually by Palestinians, Arabs and progressive voices within the Democratic Party for failing to reverse Trump’s prejudiced moves in favour of Israel: moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, for example; shutting down the US Consulate in East Jerusalem; and accepting the unfounded Israeli claims regarding its jurisdiction over illegal Jewish settlements built on occupied Palestinian land. The list goes on.

Even if one assumes that the Biden administration is capable of reversing some or all of Trump’s unlawful actions, what good would that be in the greater scheme of things? Washington was, and remains, Israel’s greatest benefactor, funding its military occupation of Palestine with an annual gift of $4 billion, in addition to many other schemes, including a massive and growing budget allocated just for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system.

As horrific as Trump’s years were in terms of undermining a just resolution to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, Biden’s policies are but a continuation of an existing pro-Israel American legacy that surpasses that of Trump by decades.

For Israel, the “peace process” has served its purpose, which explains the infamous declaration by the CEO of the Jewish settlement council, Yesha, in the occupied West Bank in 2018: “I don’t want to brag that we’ve won… Others would say it appears that we’re winning.”

However, Israel’s supposed “victory” following three decades of a fraudulent “peace process” cannot be credited to Trump alone. Biden and other top US officials have also been quite useful. While it is understood widely that US politicians support Israel out of self-interest — they need, for example, to appease the influential pro-Israel lobby in Washington — Biden’s support for Israel has an ideological foundation. The US president was less than bashful when he repeated his famous statement at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport on 13 July: “You need not be a Jew to be Zionist.”

Consequently, it may appear puzzling to hear Palestinian officials call on the US — and Biden specifically — to put pressure on Tel Aviv to end its 55-year occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Mohannad Al-Aklouk, the Palestinian representative at the Arab League, is just one who has repeated the same clichéd and unrealistic language of expecting the US to “exert practical pressure on Israel”, “set the stage for a fair political process based on international law”, and “meet its role as a fair sponsor of the peace process”. Strangely, Al-Aklouk truly believes that Washington, with its dismal track record of pro-Israel bias, can be the saviour of the Palestinians.

Another Palestinian official told the New Arab that PA President Abbas was “disappointed with the results of Biden’s visit” as, apparently, the Palestinian leader “expected that the US president would make progress in the peace process.” The same source added that Abbas’s authority is holding meetings with representatives from “powerful countries” to replace the US as sponsors of the negotiations.

Abbas’s political stance is confusing. The “peace process” is, after all, an American invention. It was a unique, self-serving style of diplomacy that was formulated to ensure Israel’s priorities remain centre stage of US foreign policy in the Middle East. In the Palestinian case, the “peace process” served only to entrench Israel’s colonisation of Palestine, while degrading, or completely sidelining, legitimate Palestinian demands. This “process” was also constructed with the aim of marginalising international law as a political and legal frame of reference for the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Instead of questioning the entire “peace process” apparatus and apologising for the strategic blunder of pursuing American mirages at the expense of Palestinian rights, the Palestinian Authority is still clutching desperately to the same old fantasy, even when the US and Israel have long abandoned the political farce that they created.

Even if China, Russia or India, for example, would agree to be the new sponsors of the “peace process”, there is no reason for Tel Aviv to engage in future negotiations when it is able to achieve its colonial objectives with full support from the US. Moreover, none of these countries have, for now, much leverage over Israel, and so are unable to sustain any kind of meaningful pressure on Tel Aviv to respect international law.

Yet, the PA is still holding on, simply because the “peace process” has proved to be greatly beneficial in terms of funds, power and prestige enjoyed by a small but powerful class of Palestinians that was formulated largely after the Oslo Accords in 1993.

It is time for Palestinians to stop investing their political capital in the Biden or any other administration. What they need is not a new “powerful” sponsor of the “peace process”, but a grassroots-based struggle for freedom and liberation starting at home, one that galvanises the energies of the Palestinian people themselves. Alas, this new paradigm cannot be achieved when the priorities of the Palestinian leadership remain fixated on the financial handouts and political validation of Washington and its Western allies.

July 25, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment

Iran nuclear chief: IAEA cameras will remain turned off until JCPOA fully restored

Press TV – July 25, 2022

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says monitoring cameras installed by the UN nuclear agency at the Iranian nuclear sites will remain turned off until the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is fully restored.

Mohammad Eslami made the remarks on Monday in reaction to recent remarks by Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi.

Eslami said the conclusion of the JCPOA was the final outcome of numerous rounds of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

“However, the West continues to level accusations against Iran on the basis of stolen and alleged documents. The Islamic Republic of Iran agreed to the JCPOA to dispel doubts and build confidence. Iran accepted to restrict its [nuclear] activities to pave the way for confidence building. However, they (the other parties to the deal) did not abide by their commitments,” he said.

“The [IAEA] cameras [which were installed] under the JCPOA were meant to put an end to those [Western] accusations. If those accusations are going to remain in place, there is no more need for the existence of JCPOA cameras,” Iran’s nuclear chief said.

Esalmi added that the IAEA “has removed and sealed the cameras, which are being kept at the [nuclear] facilities [of Iran] until they return to this accord.”

Grossi said in June that Iran has informed the United Nations nuclear watchdog that it is removing 27 surveillance cameras at its nuclear facilities following the Western-drafted anti-Tehran resolution by the agency’s Board of Governors.

“What we have been informed is that 27 cameras… are being removed in Iran,” the IAEA chief said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Eslami also criticized certain allegations against Iran’s nuclear program, emphasizing that “Tehran has never engaged in any covert and enrichment activities outside the framework [of the JCPOA] and without coordination with the IAEA.”

Iran’s measures to produce heavy water or develop other sections of the country’s nuclear industry infrastructure have been carried out in coordination with the IAEA and are currently under the agency’s supervision, Eslami said.

“No one should have the wrong impression that the IAEA does not currently supervise Iran’s nuclear activities. The IAEA is … conducting its supervision according to the Safeguards Agreement,” the Iranian nuclear chief pointed out.

He added that Iran has turned off the cameras that were not operating based on the Safeguards Agreement, but were related to the JCPOA.

He, however, said Tehran will make new decisions if the parties to the deal return to their obligations as per the JCPOA and Iran is assured that the West would not carry out any mischievous act any more.

During an interview with Spain’s El Pais on Friday, the IAEA chief claimed that Iran’s nuclear program “is advancing at a gallop and we have very little visibility.”

Iran’s nuclear program “has grown enormously, far beyond what it was in 2015. It is a growth that is not only quantitative but qualitative, also with the levels of enrichment.”

“This does not imply that Iran is making a nuclear weapon, but no country that does not have warlike projects enriches at that level, at 60 percent,” Grossi said.

Earlier on Monday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani also reacted to Grossi’s remarks, saying, “The Islamic Republic of Iran is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and for many years, especially during recent years, has allowed the agency’s inspectors … to visit [Iran’s nuclear] facilities.”

“Unfortunately, Mr. Grossi has time and again taken an unprofessional and unfair approach vis-à-vis Iran’s nuclear program, especially in recent months. His views are not helpful and constructive. He is interested in raising an issue about Iran’s nuclear issues now and then.,” he said.

Kan’ani added, “We believe that the IAEA director general should adopt a constructive and interactive approach in response to Iran’s constructive cooperation with the agency. We do not view Grossi’s remarks as technical and professional and we advise him to observe the principle of neutrality and fairness and to avoid politically-motivated statements.”

July 25, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | | 1 Comment

New EU Tranche Allocated to Ukraine Brings Total Military Assistance to $2.5Bln

Samizdat – 25.07.2022

The European Union has agreed to disburse an additional 500 million euros ($512 million) under the European Peace Facility mechanism to fund the military needs of Ukraine, thus bringing the total amount of EU military aid to Kiev to 2.5 billion euros, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday.

“EU Member States agreed to mobilise a 5th tranche of military assistance of €500 million, making this a total of €2.5 billion of military equipment to the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” Borrell said in a statement.

The new tranche is designed to help enhance the military capabilities of Ukrainian forces and will be split in two parts: 490 million euros in lethal military equipment and 10 million euros in protective gear, fuel and equipment, as requested by Kiev, the statement noted.

On February 24, Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine after the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk appealed for help in defending themselves against Ukrainian forces. In response, the West launched comprehensive sanctions against Russia and boosted military assistance for Ukraine, including lethal weapons.

July 25, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , | 2 Comments

Russia accuses Ukrainian troops of war crimes

Samizdat | July 25, 2022

Preliminary probes have found that more than 200 members of the Ukrainian military have been involved in “crimes against the peace and security of mankind,” the head of Russia’s Investigative Committee said on Monday.

A total of 92 commanders and subordinates have already been charged with the offenses, he revealed.

More than 1,300 criminal cases, involving over 400 individuals, have been launched over violations committed by the Ukrainian side since the start of Russia’s military operation on February 24, Alexander Bastrykin told newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

According to the Investigative Committee chief, it had already been established that more than 220 suspects, “including representatives of the high command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and commanders of military units which fired at civilians, had been involved in crimes against the peace and security of mankind, which don’t have a statute of limitations.”

Charges have been filed against 92 Ukrainian commanders and subordinates to date, with 96 suspects being placed on the wanted list, he added.

“There can be no justification for the use of force by the Ukrainian nationalists,” Bastrykin insisted. “They are intensively shelling the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. They brutally and cynically target peaceful citizens, civilian infrastructure, including children’s institutions.”

He also accused the Ukrainian forces of having struck their own territory “in order to blame the Russian military for this.”

During the conflict, Moscow has insisted that its troops never target civilians, only striking Ukrainian forces and military infrastructure.

More than 7,000 civilian facilities have been destroyed in attacks by the Ukrainian side, including homes, schools and kindergartens, with over 91,000 people being designated as victims, the Investigative Committee chief said.

Сriminal cases have also been launched against citizens of the UK, the US, Canada, Georgia and the Netherlands for their involvement in the conflict as mercenaries, while Ukrainian nationalist units have been accused of torturing Russian POWs, attacking Russian embassies in foreign countries, and other acts, he said.

“It’s paramount to keep objectively informing the international community about what has been happening [in Ukraine] in recent months,” Bastrykin insisted.

July 25, 2022 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment


July 20, 2022

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July 25, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment