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The US Strengthens Its Presence in Mongolia

By Vladimir Odintsov – New Eastern Outlook – 14.04.2021

In recent years, Mongolia has received increasing attention in a comprehensive and multifaceted US strategy aimed at dominating the Eurasian continent. To a certain extent, this is due to the colossal amounts of natural resources and economic opportunities the country has, which are of undoubted interest for American industrial and business circles. However, this is even more connected with Washington’s intentions to use the “ancestral home of Genghis Khan” to oppose Russia and the PRC, with an emphasis on the “separation” of the Mongolian people, taking into account the presence in China of Inner Mongolia a very extensive autonomous region bordering with it and with Russia.

Experts have reported that the Americans are clearly striving to establish bilateral ties with Ulaanbaatar and include Mongolia in its closest allies (along with Singapore, Taiwan and New Zealand) in the Indo-Pacific region. Analysts think that the idea of cooperating with Ulaanbaatar has become especially relevant for the United States in light of its tense relations with both Russia and China in recent years.

In terms of the total volume of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Mongolia, the United States ranks 6th (3.3%), behind China and Japan, but ahead of Russia. To a large extent, US investors are showing interest in the Mongolian mining industry, in particular in the development of the largest coal deposit, Tavan Tolgoi. Although American investors consider Mongolia one of the most promising markets in East Asia, their investment activities in this country are hampered by a cumbersome and ineffective bureaucracy, high levels of corruption and recurring financial conflicts caused by the Mongolian “resource nationalism”.

Recently, in the speeches of American politicians, one can hear more and more “about the pride of the United States that it is Mongolia’s third neighbor”. On the subject, the United States refers to a concept that appeared in the vocabulary of Mongolian politicians after the revolution of the early 1990s. Geographically, Mongolia shares borders with only two countries, Russia and China, but Ulaanbaatar has already repeatedly declared that today it does not intend to close all its military-political and economic contacts on these two states alone. That is why Mongolia is considered a third neighbor to those countries with which the republic maintains its closest relations, naming, in particular, the United States, Japan, South Korea, Australia and the EU countries, with which Mongolia expects to balance the Russian and Chinese influence in region.

The vector of Washington’s expansion of it’s spheres of influence in Asia has been visible for a long time. Back in 2011, Democratic Party representative Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, announced that the presence of the United States in Asia is a prerequisite for maintaining American global leadership, since it is in Asia that “the bulk of 21st century history will be written.” The key adversary of Washington in the region today remains China, which appears in the doctrinal documents of the United States as one of the key threats.

In the US national security document “Strategic Framework for Engineering and Technology” recently declassified by the White House and adopted in 2018, Mongolia is considered, along with Japan, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan, among the main partners in containing China’s “economic aggression” by engaging in various American projects. One of the expressions of this policy was the allocation of $ 350 million to Ulaanbaatar to modernize the capital’s water supply system, which became the largest one-time US investment in the region. Meanwhile, Washington systematically seeks to emphasize that the gratuitous nature of American aid supposedly compares favorably with China’s infrastructure programs, which, as a rule, imply the development of connected loans.

In order to increase America’s presence in Mongolia in 2019, the USAID resumed its work, which in early 2021 announced the financing of two programs to promote agricultural development in the amount of $ 4.3 million.

With the active participation of the USAID, there has recently been an active expansion of activities in Mongolia by numerous NGOs, many of which were created in various directions to “expand democracy.” So, according to the Ministry of Justice and Internal Affairs of Mongolia, in 2019 more than 20 thousand NGOs were officially registered in this country (and this is for 3 million of the population!), Most of which are financed from abroad. For example, activists of the Mongolian Youth Union NGO are implementing a project according to which Mongolian politicians are included in the black or white list according to the degree of their corruption. But at the same time, it turns out that the MSM coordinates these lists with the leadership of such American structures as the Peace Corps and USAID! Now it is clear why those Mongolian politicians who are considered to be “pro-Russian” are mainly included in the so-called “black” list. Being put on such a “black” list, it is already unlikely that you will be included in the number of deputies of the Mongolian parliament…

Another example is the active work in Mongolia with local politicians (mainly with parliamentarians) and their electorate of another NGO, the International Republican Institute (IRI), which in 2016 was banned in Russia due to gross interference in internal affairs countries. This NGO regularly organizes trips for Mongolian legislators and other prominent Mongolian political leaders to the United States, which can reasonably be regarded as bribery.

In addition, with the active support of the US Embassy in Mongolia, the Soros Foundation, such a religious sect as the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, banned in Russia, and a number of others, are operating today.  Judging by the financial statements, money is not spared for Mongolia, especially American structures disguised as NGOs and acting to promote “American-style democracy.” Taking into account their significant number for a modest 3 million population, Mongolia should have long ago become a “world stronghold of democracy and prosperity,” which, however, is clearly not visible… the goals and objectives set for them, primarily in the confrontation between Russia and China.

In order to avoid becoming completely controlled by foreign influence, for Mongolia it is long overdue to adopt a law “on foreign agents”, as, incidentally, did the United States itself, having adopted the FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) law back in 1938. By the way, not only in the United States, but also in many other countries, such activities with foreign participation are strictly controlled, in particular, in Great Britain, Israel, India, Germany and other countries that responsibly approach their security and political sovereignty.

In 2018, the military was added to the political and economic aspect of American policy towards Mongolia. Ulaanbaatar has come to be regarded as one of the leading regional partners of the Global Peace Operation Initiative to support peacekeeping operations, and US-Mongolian cooperation is being built up through UN peacekeeping in Africa and NATO in Afghanistan.

Within the framework of the American State Partnership Program, the engineering and technical staff intensified cooperation between the Alaska Guard and the armed forces of Mongolia, in particular, at the international exercises “In Search of Khan” and “Gobi Wolf” held annually in Mongolia.

Washington’s increased attention to Mongolia and its relations with its two natural neighbors, Russia and China, demonstrates what happened in January this year, expansion of the staff of the US Embassy in Ulaanbaatar by 12 diplomats at once, 4 of whom are specialists in Russia and China. Two more USAID employees arrived in Mongolia last summer.

Therefore, the residents of Mongolia should not relax in the coming months, especially on the eve of the upcoming presidential elections in the country in the summer, in which the United States has already begun to actively prepare for intervention, and not only through the already tested option of using controlled NGOs and the media.

April 14, 2021 Posted by | Corruption, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Chinese Foreign Ministry Calls for Promptly Starting Talks on Space Arms Control

Sputnik – 13.04.2021

BEIJING – China is calling on the global community to urgently start the negotiations on the space arms control, which should be based on a document proposed by Beijing and Moscow, the foreign ministry’s spokesman, Zhao Lijian, said on Tuesday.

“We are calling on the international community to start negotiations and reach agreement on arms control  in order to ensure space safety as soon as possible,” Zhao said at a briefing, noting that the talks should be based on the draft agreement proposed by the two countries.

“China has always been in favor of preventing an arms race in space, it has been actively promoting negotiations on a legally binding agreement on space arms control jointly with Russia,” the diplomat added.

Just on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for launching negotiations aimed at creating an internationalist instrument that would ban the deployment of any kinds of weapons in space. Lavrov proposed taking the Russian-Chinese draft document, introduced at the 2014 disarmament conference in Geneva, as a basis.

To stabilize the situation during a period when a multilateral document on non-militarization of space is being developed, Lavrov invited countries to join a Russian-promoted multilateral initiative on making a political commitment not to be the first to place weapons in outer space.

April 13, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Beijing blames Washington’s aggression for Taiwan tensions

RT | April 8, 2021

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has dismissed accusations that Beijing is engaging in “intimidation” and “coercion” in Taiwan, and called on the US to recognize the one-China principle and refrain from coercive practices.

Speaking on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian blasted Washington’s history of intimidation and international aggression as he questioned why the USS John S. McCain had transited through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday.

“Do Chinese warships go to the Gulf of Mexico?” he asked, adding that China had never intended to intimidate anyone, but was not afraid of intimidation. He stated that the hat of “intimidation” and “coercion” does not sit on Beijing’s head.

Zhao claimed that the US has seen only 16 years of peace in its 250-year history and had frequently fought wars under false pretenses. “Back then, the United States fought over a bottle of washing powder and a fake video as evidence. In wars against the sovereign states of Iraq and Syria, they caused countless civilian casualties and the breakup of countless families.”

Turning his attention to Taiwan, the spokesman reiterated Beijing’s position that the island was a part of Chinese territory and that the People’s Republic of China was the sole legal government representing the whole of China.

Zhao called on Washington to recognize Chinese authority over Taiwan and stop sending the wrong signals about Taiwanese independence by “showing their muscles” in the South China Sea and provoking unrest. The spokesman said the one-China principle was an “an insurmountable red line.”

On Wednesday, the US Navy confirmed that the guided-missile destroyer the USS John S. McCain conducted a “routine” transit of the Taiwan Strait. At the same time, Taipei reported that 15 Chinese aircraft had flown over its airspace.

China has previously stated its opposition to the US military transiting through the Taiwan Strait.

April 8, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

For What Should We Fight Russia or China?

By Patrick Buchanon | Unz Review | April 6, 2021

Last Monday, in a single six-hour period, NATO launched 10 air intercepts to shadow six separate groups of Russian bombers and fighters over the Arctic, North Atlantic, North Sea, Black Sea and Baltic Sea.

Last week also brought reports that Moscow is increasing its troop presence in Crimea and along its borders with Ukraine.

Joe Biden responded. In his first conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Biden assured him of our “unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression in the Donbass and Crimea.”

Though Ukraine is not a member of NATO, and we have no treaty obligation to fight in its defense, this comes close to a war guarantee. Biden seems to be saying that if it comes to a shooting war between Moscow and Kiev, we will be there on the side of Kiev.

Last week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov answered that if the U.S. sends troops to Ukraine, Russia will respond.

Again, is Biden saying that in the event of a military clash between Ukrainians and Russians in Crimea, Donetsk or Luhansk, the U.S. will intervene militarily on the side of Ukraine?

Such a pledge could put us at war with a nuclear-armed Russia in a region where we have never had vital interests, and without the approval of the only institution authorized to declare war — Congress.

Meanwhile, off Whitsun Reef in the South China Sea, which Beijing occupies but Manila claims, China has amassed 220 maritime militia ships.

This huge Chinese flotilla arrived after Secretary of State Anthony Blinken put Beijing on notice that any attack on Philippine planes or ships challenging Beijing’s claim to rocks and reefs of the South China Sea that are in Manila’s exclusive economic zone will be backed by the U.S.

Our 70-year-old mutual security treaty with Manila covers these islets and reefs, said Blinken, though some are already occupied and fortified by China.

Apparently, if Manila uses force to assert its claims and expel the Chinese, then we will fight beside our Philippine allies. This amounts to a war guarantee of the kind that forced the British to declare war on Germany in 1939 over the invasion of Poland.

Two weeks ago, 20 Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone in the largest incursion yet by Beijing over the waters between Taiwan and Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands. As national security correspondent Bill Gertz writes in today’s Washington Times:

“China is stepping up provocative activities targeting regional American allies in Asia … with an escalating number of military flights around Taiwan and the massing of more than 200 fishing ships near a disputed Philippines reef.

“China also raised tensions with Japan, announcing last week that Tokyo must drop all claims to the disputed Senkaku Islands, an uninhabited island chain that Japan has administered for decades but that Beijing recently claimed as its territory.

“The most serious provocation took place March 29. An exercise by the People’s Liberation Army air force that included 10 warplanes flew into Taiwan’s air defense zone is what analysts say appeared to be a simulated attack on the island. It came just three days after an earlier mass warplane incursion.”

While China appears clear about its aims and claims to virtually all of the islands in the South China Sea and East China Sea as well as Taiwan — it is less clear about its intentions as to when to validate those claims.

As for the U.S., does the present foggy ambiguity as to what we may or may not do as China goes about asserting its claims serve our vital interests in avoiding war with the greatest power on the largest continent on earth?

If red lines are to be laid down, they ought to be laid down by the one constitutional body with the authority to authorize or declare war — Congress. And questions need to be answered to avoid the kinds of miscalculations that led to horrific world wars in the 20th century.

Are the reefs and rocks the Philippines claim in the South China Sea, claims contradicted by China, covered by the U.S. mutual security treaty of 1951? Are we honor-bound to fight China on behalf of the Philippines, if Manila attempts to reclaim islets China occupies?

What is our obligation if China moves to take the Senkakus? Would the United States join Japan in military action to hold or retrieve them?

What, exactly, is our commitment to Taiwan if China attempts to blockade, invade or seize Taiwan’s offshore islands?

John F. Kennedy in the second debate with Richard Nixon in 1960 wrote off Quemoy and Matsu in the Taiwan Strait as indefensible and not worth war with Mao’s China.

With its warnings and threats, China is forcing America to address questions we have been avoiding for about as long as we can.

China is saying that it is not bluffing: These islands are ours!

Time to show our cards.

Copyright 2021 Creators.com

April 6, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 3 Comments

How China is Going to Reshape Asia

By Salman Rafi Sheikh – New Eastern Outlook – 01.04.2021

With China and Iran signing a multi-billion dollar deal for the next 25 years, there remains little gainsaying that the former is going to increase its footprint in West Asia/Middle East in a way that once was thought to be unimaginable for reasons that included China’s own economic policies and West Asia’s too close ties with the West to allow for any players. Forces of economic change that China is unleashing will not only become a massive boost for Iran, but Iran will become a gateway for China’s further expansion into the Middle East, including countries, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, that Iran rivals. For China, its presence and expansion in the Middle East is not merely about economic benefits; this presence is equally driven by the emerging US-China global rivalry and China’s desire to push back against erstwhile US hegemony and domination of the Middle East since the Second World War.

As such, when China’s foreign minister went on a tour to the Middle East last week, he was not merely looking to sign a deal with Iran; he was more interested in and largely focused on introducing new rules of the game that focus, first and foremost, on economic engagement and connectivity. Rather than traditional Gulf tensions. Therefore, while Wang Yi met Saudia’s Crown Prince, MBS, and supported Saudi stance to oppose any “interference” in the internal affairs by any external player, Wang also offered MBS, who is currently not on good terms with the Joe Biden administration, an opportunity to engage with China “to explore and find a path of development that fits its own conditions.” This path, as Wang emphasised in an interview with Saudia’s official news channel, Al Arabiya, can be found only when Gulf countries can “break free from the shadows of big-power geopolitical rivalry and [be able to] independently explore development paths suited to its regional realities.”

As it stands, China has offered Saudi Arabia the same path it has signed up with Iran. Therefore, China, while it does not want to get entangled in the cross-web of geo-political rivalries in the Persian Gulf, aims to chart a new course whereby countries in the region can stick to an agenda that maintains a strict separation between geo-economics and geo-political and/or ideological rivalries including those around Sunni & Shia faiths and organisations like Muslim Brotherhood.

Therefore, while China signed a multi-billion dollar deal with Iran that includes development projects and enhanced oil production and supplies, China’s growing ties with Saudi Arabia, too, include an increasing Saudi desire to enhance Saudi supply of oil to China and secure Chinese investment in fields ranging from petrochemical, nuclear energy and other energy fields, further expanding it into new fields such as 5G, telecommunication and digital technologies. Saudi Arabia, MBS affirmed, is also willing to make joint efforts with China to push forward the free trade negotiations between China and Gulf countries.

Therefore, by offering both rivals a somewhat similar paradigm of economic development that bypasses geo-political tensions and rivalries, China is building an economic landscape that would leave minimum room for external payers, like the US, to continue to manipulate the Gulf to its advantage as it has been doing for the past many decades.

As such, whereas Chinese investment in Iran offers the latter an opportunity to break economic shackles imposed by the US through economic sanctions, for Saudi Arabia, China offers an opportunity to reshape its ties with the US at a time when the Joe Biden administration appears unwilling to accept MBS as the future king.

By offering states in the Gulf an opportunity to diversify their external geo-economic ties and reduce dependence on the US, China is posing a serious challenge to the US position in West Asia, which has mostly relied on using the precarious geo-political scenario to keep itself militarily entrenched and maintain a relationship that served, first and foremost, the US military industrial complex. At the same time, for the Middle Eastern states, China’s economic path is a way out of their decades old reliance on oil as a primary source of national income.

For China itself, it is pivoting to the Middle East at a time when the Joe Biden administration is trying to assemble an anti-China coalition through the QUAD, a group of countries that includes the US, Japan, India and Australia. China, by simultaneously approaching rival countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and the UAE, is posing a counter-challenge to the US ambitions, making it more and more difficult for the US to realise its “containment” of China ambitions at the global level.

The fact that China’s multi-billion dollar deals have received a very warm reception speaks volumes about how the Gulf itself is keen to transform its geo-economic landscape. In this sense, China-Gulf ties become, unlike US-Gulf ties, a fruit of a path that converges to serve mutual interests.

China’s pact with Iran and its deepening ties with other Gulf countries, therefore, has the potential to completely upend the prevailing geo-economic scenario. With the Gulf countries’ ability to diversify their ties and radically reduce their over-dependence on the US, the region’s geo-political scenario could also undergo a dramatic change.

Therefore, it would be wrong to grasp China-Iran deal as an isolated event. The fact that Wang has toured Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Oman, and the UAE shows how China is embracing the region as a whole through a single framework of policy that is very largely underpinned by economic development. The fact that Saudi Arabia, to China’s utter joy, even refused to back the US campaign against China’s alleged “genocide” of Uyghur shows how China, to the disappointment of the US, continues to earn more and more acceptability.

Salman Rafi Sheikh is a research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs.

April 1, 2021 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | 2 Comments

Western Bullying of China No Longer Tolerated

By Stephen Lendman | March 29, 2021

The era of US-dominated Western hegemony over China is over, said Xinjiang government spokesman Xu Guixiang, stressing the following:

“China is no longer the China of 1840, and the era when Chinese people suffered from great power hegemony, and bullying will never return again,” adding:

A “century of humiliation” is over. Exploitation of China and its people by the West will no longer be tolerated.

Nor will the “big stick of sanctions” — the favored US, UK, EU weapon against nations unwilling to sacrifice their sovereign rights to higher powers in their capitals.

Xu’s remarks came in response to false US-led Western accusations of human rights abuses against Xinjiang Uyghur Muslims — phony claims about forced labor, re-education centers and other fabrications.

Last December — as part of its war on China by other means — the US banned imports of cotton and cotton products from the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps — based on phony claims about human rights abuses by the world’s leading abuser of people worldwide USA.

It notoriously blames others for its own high crimes of war, against humanity, and other wrongdoing.

Its megalomaniacal drive for hegemony risks global war 3.0.

In response to Swedish clothing company Hennes & Mauritz’s (H & M) boycott of Xinjiang cotton, company stores were closed by Chinese mall operators.

The company was removed from major Chinese e-commerce apps.

On Monday, China’s Foreign Ministry slammed “manufactured lies and unreasonable accusations (by) the West.”

Over the weekend, the Ministry accused the US and its Western imperial partners of inventing a Xinjiang Uyghur issue to try “disrupt(ing) (and) contain(ing) China.”

The US doesn’t give a damn about Uyghurs or ordinary people anywhere.

US war on Islam is longstanding.

Jack Shaheen’s book “Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People” documented how US filmmakers vilify them.

So do both right wings of the US war party.

For decades, Muslims have been disparaged and otherwise abused by the US.

They’ve been falsely portrayed as dangerous gun-toting terrorists.

Hate-mongering persists against independent, predominantly Muslim countries and their leadership.

Notably post-9/11, US-led imperial wars of aggression smashed Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Somalia.

US wars by other means target numerous other countries, including predominantly Muslim Iran and Lebanon.

For years post-9/11, targeted Muslims in the US were hunted down, rounded up, held in detention, kept in isolation, denied bail, restricted in their right to counsel, tried on secret evidence, convicted on bogus charges, and given long sentences — for political reasons, not for any crimes committed.

Torture and other human rights abuses continue in Washington’s global gulag at home and abroad — Guantanamo the tip of the iceberg.

On all things related to US targeted individuals for politicized reasons, their habeas rights, due process, and equal protection under law is denied — guilt by accusation automatic.

Muslims imprisoned domestically for their faith, ethnicity, and nationality are segregated in Communication Management Units (CMUs).

The practice flagrantly violates US Prison Bureau regulations.

They prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or political beliefs.

So-called American exceptionalism, the indispensable state, and illusory moral superiority are belied by its viciousness on the world stage — against invented enemies, operating extrajudicially by its own rules, the rule of law long ago abandoned.

Notably from the Clintons to Bush/Cheney to Obama/Biden to Trump to Biden/Harris, the US is an unparalleled global menace.

It’s war on humanity at home and abroad risks destruction of planet earth by futilely trying to own it.

Beijing no longer tolerates its bullying and other lawless practices, its Foreign Ministry saying:

“We solemnly inform the US side that today’s China is neither Iraq nor Syria, still less the late Qing Dynasty downtrodden by the Eight-Power Allied Forces.”

“China is open and aboveboard.”

“All malicious lies and rumors against China will fall apart before facts and truths.”

“We have full resolution, determination and capability to firmly defend national sovereignty, security, dignity and honor.”

If Biden regime hardliners intend confrontation with China, they’ll get a bellyful more than they can handle in return.

It’s long past time for tepid Russia to match China’s unwillingness to tolerate US bullying and criminality.

Diplomatic outreach to its ruling regimes is a waste of time — toughness the only language they understand.

The same goes for the decadent West overall.

Following China’s playbook in dealings with their regimes is the only effective strategy. Softness assures failure.

March 30, 2021 Posted by | Islamophobia, Progressive Hypocrite | , | 2 Comments

Stoltenberg Comes Clean on China ‘Opportunity’ for NATO

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | March 28, 2021

In an unguarded moment, NATO’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg let the cat out of the bag when he described the rise of China as both a challenge and “an opportunity”. What he was admitting unintentionally is that a confrontational policy toward China gives the military alliance some badly needed new purpose.

Stoltenberg was giving an exclusive interview to Deutsche Welle to mark the first ministerial NATO summit attended by the Biden administration. The two-day summit held on March 23-24 at NATO headquarters in Brussels involved in-person participation of U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken as well as other foreign ministers of the 30-nation military alliance.

The NATO meeting comes as the United States and its European allies are ramping up a coordinated policy of sanctions against China and Russia over alleged human rights issues. This week saw an unprecedented coordination by the U.S., Canada, Britain and the European Union in implementing new sanctions against Beijing and Moscow. It is no coincidence that this provocative development comes after high-profile international meetings, both in-person and via videoconferencing, by the Biden administration calling for allies to adopt a more adversarial and unified position toward China and Russia.

The Biden administration has changed tack from the predecessor Trump “America First” policy to vigorously advocate for a “revitalized” transatlantic relationship. Washington views a more unified U.S.-Europe axis as a more effective strategic way to challenge China and Russia. And NATO is providing a renewed coordinating vehicle.

But in seeking unity, the Biden administration is by necessity having to push a much more aggressive policy toward China and Russia, portraying them as greater threats. This means the American military alliance takes on greater responsibility for spearheading Washington’s policy. A NATO joint statement this week affirmed the alliance’s unity in the face of Russian “aggression”. Moscow slammed the statement, saying that Russia threatened no nation, and that NATO was trying to justify its existence.

Senior Russian lawmaker Leonid Slutsky said that NATO’s claims about being a defensive alliance are a “blatant lie”, pointing to wars and interventions it has launched in former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

America’s top diplomat Antony Blinken this week claimed that China’s rise and Russia’s attempts to destabilize the West were “threats” that required NATO to come together. Blinken added disingenuously that the U.S. won’t force its allies into making an “us or them choice” with China. That’s exactly what the U.S. is doing.

Jens Stoltenberg and other European leaders have been swooning over the “new chapter” in transatlantic relations under the Biden administration. After four years of dealing with vulgar-mouth Donald Trump and his relentless hectoring over military budgets, some European leaders are sighing with relief at Biden’s seemingly dulcet assurances that “America is back”.

Of course people like Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian prime minister who has been the civilian head of NATO since 2014, are reliant on pushing a stronger alliance for their comfy livelihoods and no doubt for future sinecures at corporate-funded think-tanks. Stoltenberg is constantly striving to find a new vision and mission for NATO, an organization founded over 70 years ago at the start of the Cold War, and which has been expanding ever since despite the official end of the Cold War three decades ago. The buzz phrase he uses is to make the alliance “future-proof” – that is to find a permanent pretext for the U.S.-led military organization to continue its existence regardless of real-world security needs.

In his interview with Deutsche Welle this week, Stoltenberg commented on the rise of China. He said, inferring something menacing: “China is coming closer to us, investing in our critical infrastructure.”

Well maybe that’s because China is the world’s biggest trading partner with the European Union and a major foreign direct investor in European nations which have become bankrupt from decades of neoliberal capitalism and austerity.

Stoltenberg went on: “There’s no way we can avoid addressing the security consequences for our regional alliance of the rise of China and the shift in the global balance of power.”

And then the usually cautious, wooden Stoltenberg let it slip: China, he said, provided “a unique opportunity to open a new chapter in the relationship between North America — the United States — and Europe.”

Voila! So the real strategic value of China being presented as a “threat” or an “adversary” is to give a new purpose to the U.S.-led NATO bloc which subordinates Europe to Washington’s geopolitical objective of hegemony. The emphasis here is on China “being presented as a threat” and not what the real relationship actually is, that is, one of a vital economic partner. (Same for Russia and its vast energy partnership with Europe.)

The United States in pursuit of global dominance by its corporations and its capitalist order must, by definition, thwart a multipolar global political economy which the rise of China and Russia embody.

The fiendish political problem, however, is that Washington and its European surrogates cannot justify such a stance based on the normal and natural relations that exist. For in doing that, they would be seen as obnoxious, unwarranted aggressors. It is imperative therefore to conflate China and Russia as “security threats” to the presumed Western “rules-based order”.

Never mind that the Western “rules-based order” has seen NATO powers trashing rules and order by invading countries all around the world, waging criminal wars and subversions, killing millions of people and unleashing terrorism and other security threats stemming from collapsing nations and mass migration.

Forget about China, or Russia, being an alleged threat. They are in actual fact an “opportunity” for NATO and U.S. imperialism, which the alliance ultimately serves, to find an excuse for their criminal existence and conduct. Just ask the secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg (who, as the jokes goes, is more secretary than he is general).

March 28, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , , | 4 Comments

Iran, China to sign cooperation document

IRNA – March 27, 2021

Tehran – Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Friday night that Iran and China would sign the 25-year Cooperation document on Saturday.

Speaking to IRIB TV Channel 1, Khatibzadeh said that China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi is visiting Iran on the verge of the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries and the document would be signed in this trip.

The Chinese Foreign Minister, who arrived in Tehran Friday night, is also going to have meetings with a number of Iranian authorities, according to the Spokesman.

He also said that the cooperation document was discussed in 2015, when the Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Iran, to lead bilateral ties to a comprehensive and strategic level.

“Relations between Iran and China are multi-layered, deep and having different dimension and this necessitates them to be included in a document. Therefore, the document has been exchanged between the two states for several times and it will eventually be signed on Saturday by Foreign Ministers,” Khatibzadeh went on to say.

The document has a comprehensive road-map, said the diplomat, adding that the economic dimension, as the main axis of the document, includes cooperation in different areas, as well as Iran’s participation in One Road, One Belt initiative and special focus on the private sector in both countries.

“No comprehensive strategic participation is established unless the exact cultural, popular and media basis is formed. This has been addressed in the cultural part of the document,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman said, adding “We expect the document to serve as a road-map for Iran-China relations in the next 25 years.”

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , | 1 Comment

THE BENEFITS OF DÉTENTE

BY PAUL ROBINSON | IRRUSSIANALITY | MARCH 26, 2021

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I intended to read Robert English’s book Russia and the Idea of the West, which examines how Westernizing ideas gradually took hold of an element of the Soviet intelligentsia from the 1950s onwards. I’m now about halfway through, and on page 125 I came across a passage that I thought was very appropriate for today. Here English writes the following:

The steady growth of reformist, anti-isolationist thought [in the USSR] was also aided by two other developments. The first was a sharp deterioration in relations with China, to the point of armed conflict; this forced a deeper rethinking of the two-camp outlook … Second, and more important, was the rise of détente with the West; though accompanied by a tightening of ideological orthodoxy at home, détente provided specialists their broadest access to the West in 50 years… [As a result] the early-mid 1970s saw many calling not just for expanded intercourse with the West, but also for more radical changes that would move their country toward broader integration with the liberal international community.

Détente was a brief effort in the 1960s and 70s to lessen East-West tensions by negotiating arms control settlements, increasing trade, and carrying out cultural exchanges. Eventually it was abandoned by the United States once Ronald Reagan became president, on the grounds that it had emboldened Soviet aggression. But English argues that rather than promote aggression, détente had a positive effect (from a Western perspective) by encouraging pro-Western sentiment in the Soviet foreign policy community.

Today, it seems to me, we’re moving, or perhaps have already irrevocably moved, in the opposite direction. Russia-China relations have never been stronger, and we have entered an era of anti-détente. In this, the West is cutting relations with Russia via sanctions, and is also shredding what remains of the old arms control system. Somehow, this is meant to induce Russia to change in what the West considers a positive direction, i.e. to make it more ‘liberal’ and more friendly. Yet, if English is right, then one might expect it to have the opposite result.

Of course, historical parallels are never 100% valid. Circumstances are very different now compared to 1970s. Back then, opening up the West to the Soviets enabled the West to flex its soft power, by exposing Soviet intellectuals to Western ideas as well as to the obvious superiority of the capitalist economic system in terms of wealth production. This is a strategy that can’t be repeated today because Russians are already very well acquainted with the West. As I’ve pointed out before, cultural exchanges don’t have the ‘wow’ factor they once did.

That said, English points out other ways in which détente encouraged liberal, pro-Western thinking in sections of the Soviet elite. Arms control created strong personal ties between Soviet and US diplomats. After months of working together and then reaching agreement, the former came to respect and admire the later, and with it also came to reject ideas of the necessity of East-West conflict. In the process, détente created its own bureaucratic momentum. This is the way of things; to do something, you have to create institutions and cadres dedicated to it, who in due course become committed to doing more of it, in part out of genuine belief but in part because out of bureaucratic interest and inertia.

And so it was within the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs, elements of which became decidedly more ‘liberal’,  if that is an appropriate word, than the regime as a whole. English thus describes how liberal-minded diplomats, notably Lev Mendelevich and Anatoly Kovalev, slipped the Helsinki Final Act, with its commitments to human rights, past Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, who ‘signed the Final Act “without really reading it through”.’ The diplomats hoped, thereby, ‘to encourage domestic reforms, a gradual liberalization of the Communist system, and a humanization of Soviet society.’

One might wonder why diplomats thought that such domestic issues were their concern, but that’s by the by. The point is that détente helped to develop a liberally-inclined, pro-Western element within the Soviet diplomatic service, which used its position to, let’s put it somewhat crudely, undermine the Soviet Union from within. (I’m sure that wasn’t that element’s intent, but it was the effect.)

English describes the intellectual process that took place in the Soviet Union as a gradual abandonment of the isolationist outlook. Compare this to today: the Western policy of endlessly piling up the pressure on Russia, with what seems like a new round of sanctions every month, is having the opposite effect. I can’t say that I follow the readings of the Russian foreign policy community in huge detail, but insofar as I do, I get the strong impression that it’s becoming more and more inclined to the view that it’s pointless to make any concessions to the West because the latter is incapable of responding in kind.

One can see this even among what I call ‘establishment Westernizers’, such as, say, Dmitry Trenin. Particularly striking are some recent articles by one of Russia’s leading foreign policy experts Fyodor Lukyanov, who is now arguing that Russia and the West need to go their own ways and have as little to do with each other as possible. ‘External interactions’ with the USA should be reduced to the ‘absolutely essential’, writes Lukyanov. The two countries should ‘keep out of each others’ way’, he adds. It’s quite a contrast to the kind of thinking that English describes as having developed in the Soviet Union in the era of détente.

I suspect that the more the West tries to isolate Russia, the stronger this tendency in Russian thinking is likely to become. If nothing else, there will be subtle shifts within the Russian foreign policy bureaucracy. Fewer and fewer people will be involved in arms control, trade and other negotiations with Western partners. Meanwhile, more and more will be dealing with China and other parts of the world. With that, the power that the West exerts on Russian foreign policy thinking will inevitably diminish.

As far as the West is concerned, this is very much a self-inflicted wound. The way you influence people is by having contact with them, and reaching agreements with them. It is something that we once at least partially understood. I fear that we do so no longer.

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Book Review, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Blinken’s Pièce de Théâtre Failed; Its Script Was Passé

By Alastair Crooke | Strategic Culture Foundation | March 26, 2021

Global Times editorial assessed that the China-U.S. Anchorage talks would come to be seen as “a landmark in history”. For the first time, U.S. hegemony was treated disdainfully; for the first time, the U.S. ‘right’ to claim its values – its ‘style’ of democracy – as universally applicable, was publicly and flatly contradicted. Even the posture of ‘speaking from strength’ was dismissed, and the U.S.’ pressure of an alliance ‘bloc’ system ‘despised’. All spoken with an air of impunity (you need us, more than we need you). Strong stuff; no wonder Blinken looked shell-shocked.

Yet, this was not ‘it’. Anchorage was, in practice, a play of several acts. Well before ‘Opening Night’, a supportive cast was being mobilised as chorus to the play’s anticipated moment of climax: The Quad (U.S., Japan, Australia, and India) were warmed up; NATO activated, and the Europeans co-opted.

Even before the audience could take their seats, a small early drama was enacted in Moscow. It set in place the scenery to the climactic Act that was expected at Anchorage. The EU High Representative who had travelled purposively to read the ‘Riot Act’ to Moscow for its treatment of demonstrators, and of Alexei Navalny himself, was completely nonplussed to find the tables entirely turned – it was the EU that was led to the Moscow dock, chastised for criminalising Catalonian leaders as seditionists, and presented with videos of European police heavy-handedness in dealing with demonstrators. The first crack to the mould appeared.

FM Lavrov later made it unmistakably clear that Moscow was more than a little browned-off with Europe. The EU, he said, had “destroyed” Russia’s ability to have relations with Brussels: “There are no relations with the EU as an organization. The entire infrastructure of these relations has been destroyed by unilateral decisions made from Brussels”.

As the day approached for the main theatrical ‘piece’, even before the curtain rose, one actor (playing Uncle Sam), strolled the forestage to ‘warm up’ the audience with a recitation of the villainy perpetuated by the anti-hero (China). That was the mood-setter – the crux to the pièce de théâtre. A rolled document was in his hand, but not shown to the audience. It was just possible to glimpse its title: The Longer Telegram.

Aahh! The audience took the hint; it made the connection – The Longer Telegram was a ‘play’ on an earlier 1946 work by George Kanaan, excoriating the USSR, and warning that Russia must never be allowed to side with China. The Longer Telegram however, identified China as chief villain, and assailed President Xi and the CCP precisely as fault-lines who should be reviled, and if possible, wedged and broken apart. Though the conclusion to both Telegrams at least remained unchanged: Russia and China must never be allowed to join forces with each other.

What made this work so tantalising was that no one knew who wrote it – his/her identity was concealed by the Atlantic Council. “The author of this work has requested to remain anonymous, and the Atlantic Council has honoured this for reasons we consider legitimate but that will remain confidential. The Council has not taken such a measure before, but it made the decision to do so given the extraordinary significance of the author’s insights and recommendations as the United States confronts the signature geopolitical challenge of the era” [i.e. China – does the phrasing sound familiar?].

Almost certainly, it was thought, a member of the Biden Administration was the author. But might it have been Blinken himself? No one knows, but The Longer Telegram was read in Beijing too.

So, as the night arrived, and the curtain started to rise, the actor-narrator prepared the seated audience for the key dénouement saying that the anticipated clash with the anti-hero Yang, would be a “once-off” climactic duel, rather than the ‘start of something’, adding that the prospective duel also would be opportunity for an “airing of grievances” about China’s terrible behaviour.

But, when it came to the main scene, it all went wrong. Blinken, having duly read out the prepared ‘grievances’ indictment, found that the anti-hero, Yang Jiechi, instead of being chastened and reproved, hit back. (He had read the Theatre promo, and was prepared). It was a disaster. The End of Act. The mould was broken. An editor at the U.S. Spectator surmises: “The United States, said Yang, in one of the most dismissive diplomatic rejoinders I have ever heard, does not have the ‘qualifications’ to address China ‘from a position of strength’. F, my dear Blinken, you”.

Then we come to a further scene, where the play’s two anti-heroes turn out not to be ‘anti-heroes’, but brothers-in-arms. It turns out that the Russian anti-hero’s patron had been earlier impugned as a soulless ‘killer’. Lavrov and Li seal a pact in Beijing after the talks. And China warns any regional actor who sides with Uncle Sam – against either of the brothers-in-arms – ‘would not succeed in standing alone’ against either brother, but to face them jointly would be unimaginable. “Anyone putting their faith in the U.S. would be disappointed. The U.S. is weakening”.

The mould is in pieces – and Russia and China have come together.

Last Act opens (a thunderstorm is heard in the background): The ‘Bloc’ strikes: The U.S., Canada, the UK and EU act in a co-ordinated strike on the ‘brothers’, for infringing Muslin human rights in Xinjiang Province (a fiercely contested claim). Within minutes of the EU sanctions being imposed on party officials in Xinjiang, Beijing retaliates with sanctions on European parliamentarians, the EU Council political and security committee, scholars and the human rights sub-committee. (It is the EU’s turn to be shell-shocked now).

Dismissing the EU’s move “as based on nothing but lies and disinformation”, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, “the Chinese side urges the EU side to reflect on itself, face squarely the severity of its mistake and redress it. It must stop lecturing others on human rights and interfering in their internal affairs. It must end the hypocritical practice of double standards and stop going further down the wrong path. Otherwise, China will resolutely make further reactions”. Ouch … another convention lies shattered.

The U.S. and EU are unused to being treated with disdain; and their sanctions ignored and brushed aside, with a curt ‘China doesn’t care for your pressures’. Even more perplexing to the EU’s unremittingly mercantilist mindset, China is evidently reconciled to losing the January Investment Pact (CAI) signed with the EU, but not ratified by parliament, and now almost certainly lost to both parties. And Moscow too, seems not to care that Nordstream 2 might also be at greater risk now. EU leaders will be disturbed that its’ ‘400 million market’ may not be the ‘ace’ which it imagined it to be.

The EU faces a dilemma: It had been crying out for a return to so-called ‘multilateralism.’ It got it – the Bloc sanctioning of Xinjiang officials, Putin impugned, and Russia sanctioned, and paradoxically, the EU is now sanctioned itself – its foreign relations with the great powers of Eurasia lie mired in the mud. It faces economic losses in respect to the China Investment Pact, and in trade with Russia.

The scene then changes one final time: It has Brussels’ NATO HQ as its backdrop now. The actor-narrator steps again onto the theatre forestage to say that whilst a collective response to China’s coercive behaviour “which threatens our collective security and prosperity” was indeed the thrust of our script, the latter “doesn’t mean countries can’t work with China, where possible. The United States will. We can’t afford not to … The United States won’t force our allies into an ‘us-or-them’ choice with China”.

The Bloc cannot hold – the crystal snapped, emitting a sharp crack. The theatre play was all about re-legitimising (a ritual, one-off re-enactment) of the American myth of its innate moral quality for holding leadership of the world, and its right to mobilise allies against those (here the tone is of a man – Blinken – shocked at what he is about to say) that don’t share our values: “They actually try and undermine the international rules-based order”.

The curtain is down. The script didn’t gel. The play is critiqued and it revealed paradoxically, that the ‘the myth’ that it precisely intended to re-validate, in a post-Trump, ritual exorcism, is indeed date-expired – it is passé. It is a very different world, four years on.

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

The ‘Rules-based international order’ is dead

Unless West finds new way to accommodate Russia & China, it will reap a whirlwind

By Glenn Diesen | RT | March 23, 2021

The gloves are off? The hostile exchanges at the China-US meeting in Alaska last week had striking similarities with the combative recent meeting between the EU’s foreign policy chief and the Russian foreign minister in Moscow.

Both disastrous encounters have demonstrated that after years of animosity it is not possible to return to the previous format for cooperation. Rudyard Kipling famously once wrote “east is east, and west is west, and never the twain shall meet.” That doesn’t have to be true, but it’s a fair summation of where we are now.

Returning to a bygone era?

If you believe the preliminary messaging, the new US government sought a more pragmatic relationship with China as its diplomats went to Alaska, while the EU endeavoured to improve relations with Russia on the trip to Moscow. What was on the agenda to restore more friendly relations?

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced before the talks that the US would “discuss our deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjian, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks on the United States, economic coercion of our allies.” In Moscow, the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell similarly sought to lecture Russia about its domestic affairs and various perceived bad behaviours in international affairs.

As both the meetings predictably ended in spectacular failure, China was accused of having “arrived intent on grandstanding” and Russia was charged with having prepared the “humiliation” of the EU.

But why did Washington and Brussels believe it was appropriate to set an agenda that interfered in the domestic affairs of the other and focusing solely on transgressions by one side? The West also has mounting domestic challenges and is hardly innocent in military adventurism, cyber attacks or economic coercion. However, the meetings were not intended to be between equals and cooperation was not meant to establish common rules for mutual constraints.

A liberal international system becomes synonymous with liberal hegemony, and relations are organised between a political subject and a political object, between a teacher and a student, between police and a suspect. Cooperation is defined in pedagogic terms as the one side correcting the “bad behaviour” of the other side.

Liberal hegemony or a rules-based order?

From the Western perspective, a rules-based order requires the West to uphold liberal values and thus become a “force for good”. Blinken cautioned that “the alternative to a rules-based order is a world in which might makes right and winners take all”. For China and Russia, the unipolar era has been one where might makes right and liberal values has merely legitimised unilateralism. For example, witness how Moscow’s concerns about Western military adventures in Iraq, Syria and Libya, all of questionable legality under international law, to various degrees, were ignored.

Liberal hegemony as a value-based international order contradicts the concept of a rules-based order. A rules-based system infers the consistent application of international law, while a values-based system endows the liberal hegemon with the prerogative of selective and inconsistent application of international laws and rules.

The system of liberal hegemony demonstrates that values and power cannot be decoupled. Western states, like all other nations, formulate and pursue foreign policies based on national interests, and values are adjusted accordingly. In Kosovo it was decided that self-determination was more important than territorial integrity, and in Crimea it was decided that territorial integrity was more important than self-determination.

The same rules don’t apply to everybody, equally. It’s “asymmetrical,” not symmetrical. So, when Russia intervened in Syria at Damascus’ request and the US entered Syria, without Syrian or UN permission, Moscow was judged to have broken the rules.

While democracy and human rights should ideally have a place in international relations, the application of these values are always aligned with power interests. Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny is nominated for the Nobel peace price, while Julian Assange rots away in a British cell without such accolades. Washington’s abandonment of a four-decade long One-China Policy in terms of Taiwan, claims of “genocide” in Xinjian and support for the Hong Kong riots are also evidently motivated by geoeconomic rivalry. A rules-based system does not entail mutual constraints, but a system where the West as the political subject will police China and Russia as political objects.

Accommodated or contained?

Were Russia and China accommodated in the post-Cold War international order? This question is rarely asked, yet it should be considered the most important question in contemporary international relations.

Since Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger “opened China” in the 1970s, every American administration believed that China has been accommodated in the international political and economic order. Likewise, both the EU and the US believe that they have sought to include Russia in Europe since it emerged as an independent state in 1991.

Yet, both Russia and China consider themselves to have consistently been contained. Answering the aforementioned question should be of the greatest importance. When the Cold War ended, the West enjoyed abundant political legitimacy and the leading foreign policy objective of both Moscow and Beijing was to cultivate friendly relations with Washington – two and a half decades later the two Eurasian giants formed a strategic partnership to construct a Greater Eurasia to reduce reliance on the US.

After the Cold War, both Russia and China were confronted with the dilemma of accepting the role as political objects and perpetual students in the Western-led order, or be contained as enemies of the liberal international order.

In the absence of a common European security architecture, an expansionist NATO and EU filled the vacuum. But Russia’s reaction to Western expansionism and unilateralism subsequently returned Moscow from the role as a compliant, civilising object to an enemy of the liberal international system that had to be contained.

China was in a much more favourable position as it did not face the same revisionism along its borders. China thus implicitly accepted temporarily foregoing a significant role in the international system. Deng Xiaoping famously defined China’s “peaceful rise” as entailing “[to] bide our time and hide our capabilities” by focusing on internal development whilst avoiding provoking the great powers. This approach was always temporary, as China would one day outgrow the US-dominated system. In 2010, China had become too powerful and Barack Obama announced its “pivot to Asia” to contain China, which escalated to an economic war under Donald Trump.

Between unipolarity and multipolarity

The current international disorder is caused by an interregnum – the world is currently stuck between a unipolar and a multipolar format. The West is pushing for a return to the unipolar era that existed before sanctions on Russia and the economic war against China. However, the two Eurasian giants, Russia and China, have spent the past years adjusting to a multipolar system.

The West will insist that on maintaining liberal hegemony due to a commitment and belief in liberal values, among elites (although that is no longer uniform), while Russia and China will reject a value-based system that is instrumental to impose an untenable unipolar order. There is no going back as the world has moved on, although the West is not yet ready to move forward.

Glenn Diesen is a Professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway, and an editor at the Russia in Global Affairs journal. 

March 23, 2021 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Independent’ report claiming Uyghur genocide brought to you by sham university, neocon ideologues lobbying to ‘punish’ China

By AJIT SINGH · THE GRAYZONE · MARCH 17, 2021

Throughout March 2021, headlines in corporate media outlets from CNN to The Guardian blared about the release of the “first independent report” to authoritatively determine that the Chinese government has violated “each and every act” of the United Nations convention against genocide, and therefore “bears State responsibility for committing genocide against the Uyghurs.”

The report, published on March 8 by the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, in collaboration with the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, follows a last-minute accusation made in January by the outgoing Trump administration, along with similar declarations by the Dutch and Canadian Parliaments. It was published shortly after the release of a remarkably similar report on February 8 that was commissioned by the US government-backed World Uyghur Congress, and which alleged that there is a “credible case” against the Chinese government for genocide.

CNNThe GuardianAFP, and the CBC hailed the March 8 Newlines report as an “independent analysis” and a “landmark legal report” that involved “dozens of international experts.” Samantha Power, the Biden administration’s nominee to direct the US Agency for International Development (USAID), also promoted it: “This report shows how this [genocide] is precisely what China is doing with the Uighurs,” the notorious humanitarian interventionist stated.

The report’s authors have insisted that they are “impartial” and are “not advocating any course of action whatsoever.” But a closer look at the report and the institutions behind it reveals its authors’ claims of “independence” and “expertise” to be a blatant deception.

Indeed, the report’s principal author, Yonah Diamond, recently called on the Biden administration to unilaterally “confront,” and “punish” China for supposedly committing genocide, and expand sanctions against the country. Meanwhile, the think tanks behind the report have advocated fervently for the West to “combat” and sanction China, and have promoted US regime change policies targeting Syria, Venezuela, Iran, and Russia.

A majority of the report’s “expert” signatories are members of the Newlines Institute and the Wallenberg Centre. Others are members of the hawkish Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, former US State Department officials, and ardent supporters of US military interventionism. The report relies most substantially on the “expertise” of Adrian Zenz, the far-right evangelical ideologue, whose “scholarship” on China has been demonstrated to be deeply flawed, riddled with falsehoods and dishonest statistical manipulation.

The reliance on the voluminous but demonstrably fraudulent work of Zenz is not surprising, given that the report was financed by the Newlines Institute’s parent organization, the Fairfax University of America (FXUA). FXUA is a disgraced institution that state regulators moved to shut down in 2019 after finding that its “teachers weren’t qualified to teach their assigned courses”, academic quality was “patently deficient,” and plagiarism was “rampant” and ignored.

Just days before the Newlines Institute published its “expert” report accusing China of genocide, an advisory board to the US Department of Education recommended terminating recognition of FXUA’s accreditor, placing its license in jeopardy.

“New” report regurgitates old, discredited “evidence”

The Newlines report presents no new material on the condition of Uyghur Muslims in China. Instead, it claims to have reviewed all of “the available evidence” and applied “international law to the evidence of the facts on the ground.”

Rather than conducting a thorough and comprehensive review of “the available evidence,” the report restricted its survey to a narrow range of deeply flawed pseudo-scholarship along with reports by US government-backed lobbying fronts for the exiled Uyghur separatist movement. It was upon this faulty foundation that the report applies legal analysis related to the UN Genocide Convention.

Newlines’ report relies primarily on the dubious studies of Adrian Zenz, the US government propaganda outlet, Radio Free Asia, and claims made by the US-funded separatist network, the World Uyghur Congress. These three sources comprise more than one-third of the references used to construct the factual basis of the document, with Zenz as the most heavily relied upon source – cited on more than 50 occasions.

Many of the remaining references cite the work of members of Newlines Institute’s “Uyghur Scholars Working Group”, of which Zenz is a founding member and which is made up of a small group of academics who collaborate with him and support his conclusions.

As The Grayzone has reported, Zenz is a far-right Christian fundamentalist who has said he is “led by God” against China’s government, deplores homosexuality and gender equality, and has taught exclusively in evangelical theological institutions. A careful review of Zenz’s research shows that his assertion of genocide is concocted through fraudulent statistical manipulation, cherry-picking of source material, and propagandistic misrepresentations. His widely-cited reports were not published in peer-reviewed journals overseen by academic institutions, but rather, by a DC-based CIA cut-out called the Jamestown Foundation and “The Journal of Political Risk,” a publication headed by former NATO and US national security state operatives.

As his academic malpractice comes to light, Zenz has faced increasing scrutiny and embarrassment, as evidenced by his threat to take legal action against his scholarly critics.

In order to shore up the report’s credibility, and to deflect from its essential reliance on Zenz’s reports, its authors have emphasized their supposed “independence” and “impartiality.”

“This [is] not an advocacy document, we’re not advocating any course of action whatsoever”, stated Azeem Ibrahim, Director of Special Initiatives at Newlines Institute. “There were no campaigners involved in this report, it was purely done by legal experts, area experts and China ethnic experts.”

However, just weeks before the publication of the report, its principal author, Yonah Diamond, penned a bellicose call for the Biden administration to eschew the UN (which Diamond deems to be “beholden to the Chinese government”) and unilaterally confront China. Following the Trump administration’s declaration that China was committing genocide in Xinjiang, Diamond argued that the US is legally obliged to “punish” China and that “the Biden administration must now take concrete action to that end together with U.S. allies”.

The report attempts to construct an appearance of broad expert consensus supporting its conclusions, including a list of 33 “independent expert” signatories. Unsurprisingly, this list consists of individuals pushing for a New Cold War and confrontation with China, and who support separatist efforts to transform the mineral-rich, geopolitically important region of Xinjiang into a NATO-oriented ethno-state:

Irwin Cotler and Helena Kennedy — co-chairs, along with Marco Rubio, of the hawkish Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC). Composed almost exclusively of white Western lawmakers, IPAC formed in 2020 in order to mount a “common defence” against the “rise of the People’s Republic of China.” Members of the World Uyghur Congress executive, Erkin Ekrem and Rahima Mahmut, sit on IPAC’s advisory board and secretariat; Adrian Zenz also sits on the advisory board.

David Scheffer, Beth von Schaack, and Gregory H. Stanton — Scheffer and Schaack are both former US State Department Ambassadors-at-Large, while Stanton is a former US State Department official.

Lloyd Axworthy and Allan Rock — the former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs and former Canadian UN Ambassador, respectively.

Adrian Zenz –– founding member of Newlines Institute’s “Uyghur Scholars Working Group”

Rather than consult a wide range of authorities and academic experts, or subject its study to peer review, Newlines relied entirely on a narrowly focused community of like-minded ideologues. A majority of the signatories are members of the two think tanks behind the report, the Newlines Institute and the Wallenberg Centre. Far from “independent”, these organizations are deeply partisan, self-described “campaigners” that align closely with US and Western foreign policy goals, advocating for sanctions and intervention against China and other non-aligned nations across the Global South.

Newlines Institute: A collection of regime-change ideologues and “Shadow CIA” operatives

The supposedly independent report accusing China of genocide was published by the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy based in Washington, DC and known formerly as the Center for Global Policy. Founded in 2019, the think tank’s stated aim is “to enhance US foreign policy” with a “specialization in Muslim states and societies.”

With extensive ties to the US regime-change establishment, the Newlines Institute is a reliable repository of anti-China material. For example, it has featured the ramblings of Robert Spalding, the former Senior Director for Strategy to President Trump and one of the architects of the Trump administration’s 2018 national security doctrine, which formally reoriented US foreign policy from a focus on the so-called “global war on terror” towards great power competition with China and Russia.

The leadership of Newlines Institute includes former US State Department officials, US military advisors, intelligence professionals who previously worked for the “shadow CIA” private spying firm, Stratfor, and a collection of interventionist ideologues. Its contributors represent a who’s who of Syria regime changers who cheerlead for US military interventionism while intimidating and bullying any prominent figure that dared present a critical perspective on the proxy war.

Hassan HassanDirector; Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Newlines Magazine — Ardent supporter of US imperialism, including wars on IraqLibyaYemen and especially Syria. Along with Newlines contributor Michael Weiss, Hassan called for the US military to balkanize Syria, permanently occupy its oil-rich Jazira region and turn the country into “an American security protectorate.”

Azeem IbrahimDirector — Adjunct Research Professor at the Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College. Ibrahim is a co-author of the Newlines report.

Kamran BokhariDirector — Previously served as the Central Asia Studies Course Coordinator at US Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute

Faysal ItaniDeputy Director — Former resident Senior Fellow at the US State Department-funded Atlantic Council, which functions as the semi-official think tank of NATO in Washington, DC.

Michael WeissSenior Editor – A veteran Israel lobbyist, neoconservative activist and anti-Muslim agitator-turned advocate of Islamist insurgents in Syria, Weiss has branded himself as an expert on Russia despite having never visited the country and speaking no Russian.

michael weiss jihadist rebels syria aleppo

Michael Weiss with jihadist rebels in Aleppo, Syria in August 2012

Muhammad Idrees AhmadSenior Editor – In 2016, Ahmad phoned Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal unsolicited before Blumenthal published a two-part investigative exposé on the Syrian White Helmets, threatening him with severe consequences if he went ahead. (Listen to a recording of Ahmad’s threatening call here). A lecturer on digital journalism at Stirling University in the UK, Ahmad recently attacked Democracy Now! for hosting scholar Vijay Prashad for a discussion on the danger of a new Cold War with China.

Rasha Al AqeediSenior Analyst — Iraq-born pundit who formerly worked as a research fellow at the neoconservative Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), a neoconservative think tank originally founded by white supremacists and Cold War hardliners that has honored Iraq war advocates John Bolton and James Mattis. Like her colleague Ahmad, Aqeedi dedicates a significant portion of her time to smearing anti-war figures on social media.

Elizabeth TsurkovNon-Resident Fellow — Previously worked for a number of neoconservative and establishment think tanks, including the Atlantic Council, Foreign Policy Research Institute and Freedom House. Tsurkov served in the Israeli military, during Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon. Throughout the Syrian proxy war, Tsurkov maintained friendly contacts with members of the Saudi-backed jihadist militia, Jaish al-Islam, and boasted about links both she and Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus maintained with Syria’s armed opposition.

Nicholas A. HerasSenior Analyst — Previously a research associate at the US Department of Defense’s National Defense University, Heras is also a fellow at the arms industry-funded Center for New American Security. There, he proposed using “wheat [as] a weapon of great power… to apply pressure on the Assad regime.” In other words, Heras advocated for the mass starvation of Syrian civilians by occupying their wheat fields, a US policy that is currently underway in the country’s northeastern region.

Caroline RoseSenior Analyst — Previously served as an analyst at Geopolitical Futures, headed by Stratfor founder, George Friedman. Stratfor is a private spying and intelligence firm commonly referred to as a “Shadow CIA.” It has contracted extensively with the US government, and has trained the radical wing of Venezuela’s opposition and advised them on destabilization tactics.

Robin BlackburnManaging Editor — For 12 years, Blackburn served as a writer and editor with Stratfor.

Robert InksEditor — Previously served as Director of the Writers Group and Special Projects Editor at  Stratfor.

Daryl JohnsonNon-Resident Fellow — Served in the US Army and previously worked as a senior analyst at the Department of Homeland Security. He is the founder of DT Analytics, a private consulting firm for police and law enforcement.

Eugene ChausovskyNon-Resident Fellow — Lectures on the “geopolitics of Central Asia” at the US State Department’s Foreign Service Institute. Previously worked as Senior Eurasia Analyst at Stratfor for over a decade.

Imtiaz AliNon-Resident Fellow — Previously worked as a curriculum specialist at the US State Department’s Foreign Service Institute.

Ahmed Alwani is the founder and president of the Newlines Institute. Alwani previously served on the advisory board for the U.S. military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) and is the Vice President of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT); his father, Taha Jabir Al-Alwani was one of IIIT’s founders.

Newlines Institute recently took steps to counter rumors of IIIT’s connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. In an internal email obtained by The Grayzone, dated November 17, 2020, Newlines Director Hassan Hassan addressed the “accusation” against the then-Center for Global Policy. Hassan wrote that while a different “older entity” was funded by IIIT, “[t]he current one has no relation to IIIT.” Hassan attempted to assuage concerns by downplaying Alwani’s connection to IIIT, claiming that Alwani “inherited the International Institute for Islamic Thought as Vice President as a sort of legacy”, following his father’s death in 2018.

Newlines Institute overseen by disgraced sham “university”

Newlines Institute is a branch of a disgraced educational institution that has repeatedly violated state educational standards, raising further questions about the quality of the think tank’s work.

Newlines Institute’s parent institution is Fairfax University of America (FXUA), a school also founded and led by Alwani, and formerly known as Virginia International University. FXUA is a private university in Fairfax, Virginia. Founded in 1998, FXUA’s short track record has been riddled with numerous academic scandals and efforts by state regulators to shut the institution down.

In 2019, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia initiated proceedings to revoke FXUA’s (then known as Virginia International University) certificate to operate. The move came after state regulators found widespread noncompliance with state educational standards.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, auditors determined that “teachers weren’t qualified to teach their assigned courses”, the academic quality and content of classes were “patently deficient”, and student work was characterized by “rampant plagiarism” that went unpunished.

“Unqualified students regularly submit plagiarized or inferior work; faculty turn a blind eye and lower grading standards (perhaps to avoid failing an entire class); and administrators do not effectively monitor the quality of online education being provided”, the audit said.

“That such substandard coursework could continue with no complaints from students, faculty or administrators raises concerns about the purpose of education at VIU [Virginia International University].”

review of Fairfax University/VIU by an anonymous employee

Indeed, signs point to FXUA/VIU serving as a “visa mill” rather than a legitimate educational institution. As Inside Higher Ed explains, the term “visa mill” refers to a sham operation where an institution “offers little by way of educational value,” but instead lures international students through its ability to offer access to student and work visas, while exploiting them by charging exorbitant tuition costs. FXUA/VIU’s accreditor, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), has long faced accusations of certifying such institutions.

In 2019, Inside Higher Ed reported that FXUA/VIU’s “appears to exist primarily to enroll international students,” finding that over the previous five years, “the percentage of students from North America varied between 1 and 3 percent”. Auditors found that the the student body was largely comprised of international students with an “abysmally poor command” of the English language. The students were charged $2,178 per graduate class and $1,266 per undergraduate class to receive their “patently deficient” education.

Although Virginia International University reached an agreement with state regulators that allowed it to continue operating and has rebranded itself as Fairfax University of America, significant concerns remain about the university, along with its subsidiary Newlines Institute.

Just days before Newlines Institute’s report on China was released, its FXUA’s accreditation was once again in potential jeopardy. On March 5, an advisory board to the US Department of Education recommended terminating recognition for ACICS. The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity voted 11-to-1 to recommend that ACICS lose the federal recognition it needs to operate.

The advisory committee made the same recommendation in 2016, leading to the ACICS’s recognition being revoked under the Obama administration, before recognition was restored to the troubled accreditor in 2018 by then-President Trump’s Secretary of Education, the infamous privatization activist and oligarch Betsy Devos.

Raoul Wallenberg Centre founder Irwin Cotler (L) with pro-Israel lawyer and Wallenberg fellow Alan Dershowitz

The Wallenberg Centre: A haven for anti-China hawks and regime-change lobbyists

Newlines Institute published its report in collaboration with The Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. The report’s principal author, Yonah Diamond, is legal counsel for The Wallenberg Center, and many of the report’s signatories hold affiliations with the organization.

Based in Montreal, The Wallenberg Centre was founded by Irwin Cotler, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. While often touted as a “human rights champion”, Cotler is, in fact, a champion of the “responsibility to protect” and “humanitarian intervention” doctrines, regularly invoked by Western states in order to justify imperial interventions in the global south.

Cotler routinely levels propagandistic accusations of human rights abuses, atrocities, and genocide in service Western imperialism, including interventions in Libya and SyriaIran, and Venezuela, where Cotler served as legal counsel for far-right, US-backed Venezuelan coup leader Leopoldo López. Lopez’s wife, Lilian Tintori, holds an advisory position at The Wallenberg Centre.

Cotler is also active in Haiti, serving as the Minister of Justice in the Canadian administration that worked with the US and France to help overthrow former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004. In 2014, Cotler invited Maryam Rajavi, leader of the exiled Iranian MEK cult, to speak on Canada’s parliament hill. Four years later, he nominated US and UK-funded Syrian White Helmets for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Cotler is an ardent supporter of Israeli apartheid and longtime advisor to Moshe Ya’alon, former Israeli Defense Minister and Chief of Staff of the Israeli military. Cotler has played significant role in the Canadian government’s efforts to equate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism and smear the nonviolent boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.

Cotler has long harbored hostile sentiments towards China. For a number of years, Cotler served on the international legal team for Chinese anti-government dissident Liu Xiaobo, a right-wing ideologue who called for the privatization and “Westernisation” of China, ardently supported former President George W. Bush, and cheered on US wars on Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

More recently, during the coronavirus pandemic, Cotler echoed calls of right-wing US lawmakers for international legal action and sanctions to punish China for supposedly causing the coronavirus pandemic.

In its mission statement, the Wallenberg Centre outlines its right-wing, Western imperial outlook in detail, explicitly identifying China, Venezuela, Iran, and Russia as countries that it is pushing to “combat” with sanctions.

The Wallenberg Centre has become a haven for anti-China hawks, including Senior Fellows David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State, and David Matas, senior legal counsel for B’nai Brith Canada, a right-wing organization that describes itself as dedicated to “Israel advocacy”.

Kilgour and Matas have extensive ties to the far-right, anti-China religious cult Falun Gong. Both men are regularly contributors to the group’s propaganda arm, The Epoch Times, a media network that The New York Times has described as an “anti-China, pro-Trump media empire” and “leading purveyor of right-wing misinformation”. In 2019, an NBC News exposé found that The Epoch Times spent over $1.5 million on approximately 11,000 pro-Trump advertisements in just six months, “more than any organization outside of the Trump campaign itself, and more than most Democratic presidential candidates have spent on their own campaigns.”

In 2006, Kilgour and Matas were commissioned by Falun Gong to author a report which made sensational accusations that the Chinese government was secretly conducting a mass campaign of live organ harvesting Falun Gong disciples. In 2017, an investigation by The Washington Post determined that the claims made by Kilgour and Matas were unfounded, with experts commenting that their allegations were “not plausible” and “unthinkable.”

* * *

As Washington advances its new Cold War strategy, it has amplified accusations of genocide and other atrocities against the Chinese government, all focused on Beijing’s policy in Xinjiang. To broaden support for the dubious narrative, the US government has turned to a series of pseudo-academic institutions and faux experts to generate seemingly serious and independent studies.

Any critical probe of the reams of reports on Xinjiang and the hawkish institutions that publish them will quickly reveal a shabby propaganda campaign dressed up as academic inquiry. Western media’s refusal to look beneath the surface of Washington’s information war against China only highlights its central role in the operation.

Ajit Singh is a lawyer and journalist. He is a contributing author to Keywords in Radical Philosophy and Education: Common Concepts for Contemporary Movements (Brill: 2019).

March 20, 2021 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment