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Edmund Burke
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24 October 2014 Thought for the Week:
Totalitarianism: “Nations have been moving towards totalitarianism in various forms since the French Revolution and the reign of Frederick the "Great." Contemporaneously, wars have been becoming more obviously planned, more destructive, and more certainly the steps to still greater wars and more totalitarianism. The answer is simplicity itself — the restriction of the leader principle to ad hoc purposes. So far from Russia, Germany and Italy, the New Deal and P.E.P. indicating advance towards a better world, they are exhibits of the operation of a policy, which has brought the world to the edge of destruction – if not over it.”
Clifford Hugh Douglas, in “The Big Idea” 1941

Read further: https://alor.org/Library/The%20Big%20Idea.htm


To The Queen

The Queen “…Unfortunately, it seems today that the checks and balances on the monarch's power have swung too far towards the executive government of the day. The voice by which the concerns of the common man, the parliament, could be exercised has become seemingly ineffective and the executive is in danger of heading off the path of our constitutional monarchy and moving towards tyranny. In effect, it is becoming a committee which now seeks to hold the unfettered power of the king prior to Magna Carta…”
From Major Bernard Gaynor’s toast to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, New Times Dinner 2014

Prime Minister Tony Abbott talks economic growth… to UN General Assembly

“Prime Minster Tony Abbott has used his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly to talk up his Government’s leadership, citing the repeal of the carbon and mining taxes as examples of the Government strengthening the economy. Mr Abbott told the assembly that, as chair of this year’s G20 meeting, Australia wanted to lead the way on private-sector growth. “Freer trade, more investment in infrastructure, a modern and fair international tax system, stronger global economic institutions and a more resilient financial sector are all parts of our G20 agenda to strengthen the world economy,’’ he said. “Rather than preaching, we are trying to lead by example…”
News.com.au 26 September 2014.

CONFLICT OF PURPOSE, OF POLICY

by Geoffrey Dobbs
Conflict of Purpose, of Policy: What we are engaged in is a spiritual warfare, that is, a conflict of purpose, or as we have learnt to call it, of policy. In a sense, all wars are about policy, but they are conflicts of the same policy – each trying to damage the other, to attack and enlarge the weak points in the other and to impose its will by fear upon the other… Such war is an expression of Monopolism - perhaps its ultimate expression – whether in the form of Monopolo-theism (belief in a unitary Dictator-God, as in Judaism and Islam) or in the form of Monopolo-humanism (Man is the Ultimate power, which is wielded by the Top Men).

Hence the focus of militant monopolism in the near East between the Chosen People of Allah and of Jehovah, each with its ‘sacred right’ to impose its will on others (as in former times between monopolist forms of Christianity). But since these conflicts are about human power, the divine pretext for them can be easily dropped in favour of pure humanism, of which the most organised form is Marxist-Leninist communism – a religion of human power, based upon a philosophy of conflict as the means of human advance – essentially Dualistic or Manichaean. …

The essence of the Christian Doctrine of Creation is that God is good and his works are good – that is, what we call reality and goodness are the same thing… Socialists are in the vanguard of the human mob, rushing towards slavery and disaster. Conservatives are in the rear guard, but all heading the same way. The way to head off a mob, whether of people or cattle, is to divert the leaders, not the tail end. When we get involved in confrontation, still more in actual conflict, we are fighting the good in our opponents, the truth which has been twisted round against us. When such conflicts have been forced upon us we may have to fight for survival, but the Enemy has already won a victory, and such conflicts should never be sought. “Truth”, as has been well said, “is the first casualty in War.”

Our Major Strategy: Resolution not Revolution or Confrontation!
So now, what is our major strategy as Christians in the spiritual war? It is resolution, not revolution, or confrontation. We have our orders: “Love your enemies! Do good to them that harm you!” This is often dismissed as impracticable idealism, but it is the very reverse. It is hard-headed, practical common sense. It is the only thing that actually works and defeats evil provided, of course, that it is bound back to reality in practical detail every time.

For instance, how can we love our enemies if we do not identify them, meet them, mix with them, and discover what sort of people they are, why they are our enemies, and what truth as well as falsehood there may be behind their enmity? We do not have to like them, though it helps if we can; but to join in the game of mutual denunciation by groups of people beating the air with spoken or written words of fury at the evil of others mostly directed at those who agree with them, divides the truth, and gets us nowhere except into a morass of futility.

“Doing good” does not mean “do-gooding”, a perverted word for a horrible perversion of the instinct of compassion, meaning the denial of sin and therefore of forgiveness and the indulgence of corruption, taking away free will and responsibility. On the contrary, it means appealing to and stimulating the qualities of integrity, responsibility, intelligence and courage. It means sympathising with and sharing other people’s real aims and helping them to achieve what they want, in the world of reality, rather than what we want.

This being our strategy, let us now try to apply its principles to the tactics of our actions in the current world. If we think it over we find that, as social crediters, we have something vital and constructive to offer to the resolution of practically every ‘problem’, which besets our fellow men, and once this is realised we soon find we have very little time for anything else…”

Taken from “The Strategy and Tactics of Spiritual Warfare” by Geoffrey Dobbs.


WHICH BRINGS US TO OUR COMMISSION

The Australian League of Rights has just celebrated its 68th year with the New Times Dinner and National Seminar etc., as well as the near completion of 50 years of the publication of On Target. As is always the case, the weekend was a time of friendship, fellowship and spiritual regeneration. In light of Pepe Escobar’s article (further on) it seemed so timely to refer to Eric Butler’s discovery of the works of C.H. Douglas and Social Credit and so we wrote: “In Australia, most League folk would name Eric D. Butler as being the main person who so dramatically changed the direction of their lives. In one of his speeches, Eric D. Butler tells that he accepted his Commission as a youth of 19 years of age after reading a “Letter to the Editor” in a country (Benalla, Victoria) newspaper in 1935.

Eric explained: “My introduction to Douglas led me into a life of attempted service to Truths which, if applied, would certainly lead to the growth of a Civilisation surpassing all those of the past. At school, history was a subject of intense fascination for me. I wondered why great Civilisations had collapsed. At an early age I had read all of the generally recognised historians like Gibbon, Leckey, Macauley and others. But not until I read Douglas, who indicated a more realistic approach to history, did I completely grasp that the excessive centralisation of power over individual initiative was the major cause of Civilisation collapsing and that the creation and control of money was a major instrument of power. In one of his many profound observations, Douglas said that history was not merely a series of disconnected episodes concerning the birth of Kings, wars and other events, but was “crystallised politics.” And policies are manifestations of underlying philosophies. While the development of policies may from time to time, be influenced by what Douglas described as “unrehearsed events”, they are in the main the result of conscious effort by individuals organised to pursue policies reflecting philosophies….”

The League teaches that the problems of mankind cannot be solved by reason or logic. Logic, like Algebra or any other form of mathematics, is only a mechanism, an instrument. Like the slide rule, it can only produce the result of all the factors fed into it. Truth must be discovered …”


LINKING THE PRESENT WITH THE PAST – FOR THE FUTURE

As a keen student of history and world politics Eric Butler wrote in 1965:
“On the Lenin Road To Asia”
“Vladimir I. Lenin, architect of the Communists’ basic revolutionary strategy for world conquest, stressed, "He who controls China, controls the world."

Lenin originally thought that his programme for world revolution would, following the establishment of the Communist base in Russia, be initiated through revolution in Germany. He was at this time still wedded to Marx's teaching that historically revolutionary conditions must first develop in the more highly advanced industrial nations. But when Lenin realised in 1920 that he had misjudged the situation in Germany, he demonstrated that remarkable flexibility which characterised all his teaching and activities by urging that the Communists concentrate upon Asia and the Western European nations’ colonies.

Lenin's strategy was crystallised in his famous observation that the shortest route to London and Paris was through Peking. Unless the Communist advance along the Lenin road in Asia can be halted, then the position of Western Europe, and ultimately of the United States, becomes increasingly perilous. Australians and New Zealanders should take note that on the Communists’ strategical maps they are shown as part of Asia. One of the early Communists, Bukharin, an ardent disciple of Marx who acted as a sort of "ambassador at large" in Asia, wrote as far back as 1874 that Indonesia is "a bridge from Asia to Australia."

Lenin's concept of defeating Western Europe through Asia was not a sudden development. As far back as 1908 Lenin had noticed the "sharpening of the revolutionary struggle in Asia." He grasped the significance of how Western economic and social influence had shattered the traditional Eastern order of society, leading to a convulsive search for new forms of society based upon Western concepts. A number of eminent sociologists have stressed how in attempting to adapt himself to the material changes flowing from the Industrial Revolution, Western man lost contact with the spiritual traditions which served him in a less complex and more slowly-changing society. The result is the rootless, mass-man, emotionally starved and ideal raw material for all totalitarians.

As the traditional social structures of the East were completely different from those of the West, the East possessing no comparable political institutions with those of the West, which were shaped by the Christian concept of the unique value of every individual and the Roman ideal of law it is not surprising that the impact of the West's material achievements has resulted in far more revolutionary ferment in Asia than has been the case in European countries. One result of this ferment was the Chinese revolution early this century, directed towards creating a Western-type nation-State. The driving forces behind this revolution were young intellectuals educated abroad, who rejected the traditional Chinese social structure based upon Christian ethics and the clan-family.

The leader of these intellectuals striving to westernise the Chinese was Sun Yat-sen, who headed the Kuomintang, or National People's Party, until his death in 1925. Sun Yat-sen was responsible for the famous ‘Three Principles" programme, an attempted mixture of nationalism, democracy and socialism. While rejecting Communism as an ideal, Sun Yat-sen proved to be extremely gullible concerning Communist tactics.

Impressed with the revolution taking place in China, Lenin commented in 1911 about a "progressive Asia" and suggested that perhaps a Communist victory was closer in Asia than in Europe. Looking ahead, Lenin ordered his assistant, Veltman Pavlovich, to make close contacts with Oriental liberation movements. From 1912 until the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917, Lenin was feverishly concentrating upon European affairs. But in various writings on the "national question", he continued to refer to the importance of developments in China and the colonies of the European nations. It was during this period that Lenin produced his major work on "Imperialism", in which his central thesis was that the colonial powers were only able to avoid economic collapse and to keep the proletariat down, by exploiting the "colonial slaves." It was logical, therefore, that the most effective way to weaken the European nations, thus producing revolutionary conditions, was to concentrate upon fomenting subversion in the colonies.

Speaking to the second congress of the Communist International in July 1920, he developed his strategy further when he formally removed one of the oldest tenets of Marxism, that a capitalist mode of production was first essential for the production of a proletariat without which socialist revolution was impossible. Lenin said: "The communist international must lay down, and give the theoretical grounds for, the proposition that, with the aid of the proletariat of the most advanced countries, the backward countries may pass to the soviet system and, after passing through a definite stage of development, to communism, without passing through the capitalist stage of development."

The second congress adopted the "conditions of admission to the Communist International" as drafted by Lenin. Colonial liberation movements were to be supported, the imperialists expelled. This congress is of great historic importance. It formally adopted Lenin's strategy for the advance to London and Paris through Peking.

The First Step on the Lenin Road
A few months later, in September 1920, the first major step was taken towards the implementation of Lenin's strategy with the holding of a Congress of Eastern Peoples in Baku, the oil centre on the Caspian Sea. This Congress is one of the great landmarks in the Communist advance towards world conquest, and yet it has received comparatively little attention. Presiding over the Congress, the pioneer Bolshevik leader Zinoviev said: "We believe this Congress to be one of the greatest events in history, for it proves not only that the progressive workers and working peasants of Europe and America are awakened, but that we have at last seen the day of the awakening, not of a few, but of tens of thousands, of millions of the labouring classes of the East. These peoples form a majority of the world's whole population, and they alone, therefore, are able to bring the war between capital and labour to a conclusive decision . . .

The Communist International said from the very first day of its existence:
There are four times as many peoples living in Asia as live in Europe. We will free all peoples, all who labour . . . Comrades, our Moscow International discussed the question whether a socialist revolution could take place in the countries of the East before they had passed through the capitalist stage . . . We now believe that this is no longer valid. Russia has done this, and from now on the Eastern countries can, and must, prepare themselves to be Soviet republics."

The Communist leaders were delighted with the results of the Baku conference, which was attended by 1900 delegates. Lenin predicted: "The East will one day put an end to the West." Zinoviev was frank when he told the Congress: "Russia holds out her hand to Asia, not to make Asia a partner in her own ideal, nor because Asia pays homage to Russia's ideas, but because she needs 800 million Asiatics to smash the imperialism and capitalism of Europe." The Communists made the most thorough preparations for their assault on Asia. The University of the Peoples of the East was established in 1921. Also created was a Scientific Group for the Study of the Orient. Every aspect of Asian life and history was closely studied. Increasing numbers of experts on Asian countries were produced. It is interesting to note that the University of the Peoples of the East came into existence several years before the creation of the famous Lenin Institute for the training of Western Communists.

The most important part of Asia was China, and it was not long before large numbers of skilled Soviet agents started to move into China. Top Soviet specialist was Mikhail M. Borodin. Progress was rapid and in 1921 the Chinese Communist Party was formally established. This was a period of intense civil strife inside China, with the Kuomintang, based upon Canton in the South, seeking to expand its influence and to bring the rival warlords under control. The Communists gravitated to Canton and by January 1923, the situation had developed to the stage where the Kuomintang leader Sun Yat-sen had worked out with Soviet emissary Adolf A. Joffe, a programme for co-operation between the Bolsheviks and the Kuomintang. It is significant that Joffe had in 1918 been Soviet Ambassador to Germany, where he had attempted to further Lenin's strategy of world revolution. Joffe's switch to China was further evidence of Lenin's shift of strategy. China now becoming the main Communist target. Joffe was applying for the first time what later came to be known as Trojan Horse tactics; the infiltration of other organisations as a prelude to taking them over.

Lenin's article, Better Fewer, But Better, dictated on March 2, 1923, leaves no doubt that in his last coherent statement the Bolshevik leader expressed his view that only through Asia could the victory for world socialism be secured. He said: "In the last analysis, the outcome of the struggle will be determined by the fact that Russia, India, China, etc., constitute the overwhelming majority of the population of the globe. And it is precisely this majority of the population that, during the past few years, has been drawn into the struggle with extraordinary rapidity, so that in this respect there cannot be the slightest shadow of doubt what the final outcome of the world struggle will be. In this sense, the final victory of socialism is fully and absolutely assured."

Stalin's Contribution
Lenin's successor, Stalin, had agreed with the strategy of concentrating upon Asia. As early as 1918 Stalin had explained that Asia provided "the inexhaustible reserve and reliable base of world imperialism." This reserve, said Stalin, was not only of material wealth, but also of "obedient manpower." Stalin was the Communists' expert on the national question. Speaking at the tenth congress of the Russian Communist Party on March 10, 1921, (Immediate Tasks of the Party in Connection with the National Problem) Stalin said that "The abolition of national oppression in Europe is inconceivable without the emancipation of the colonial people of Asia and Africa from the oppression of imperialism . . . The former is organically bound up with the latter."

Relationships between Moscow and the Kuomintang developed so favourably - - from the point of view of the Communists - - that a formal alliance was entered into following the visit of Chiang-Kai-shek to Moscow in August 1923. A few months later a new Communist revolutionary attempt failed in Germany. This was the final Communist attempt to capture Germany, and the next year, in 1924, the fifth congress of the Communist International decided that the major revolutionary offensive must be concentrated upon Asia. Shortly after the death of Lenin in 1924, Stalin delivered his famous lectures, Foundations of Leninism at the University of Sverdlov. These lectures were Stalin's claim to the ideological leadership of the Communist Movement. Stalin made several major points, the first being that Germany was no longer the centre of the revolutionary movement. Stalin summarised his strategical concept as follows:
"A coalition between the proletarian revolution in Europe and the colonial revolution in the East in a united world front of revolution against the world front of imperialism is inevitable." The whole Communist strategy now rested upon what could be achieved in Asia, particularly in China. And the road to power in China was through Sun Yat-sen's Kuomintang. Sun Yat-sen was so naive that after stating that "there is no room in China for the simultaneous existence of the Kuomintang and Communism", he then went on to say, "We must receive the Communists in our midst and convert them. The three principles can in this respect play the same part as mortar in the building of houses." The Communists were delighted.

It did not take the Communists long to capture the key positions within the Kuomintang, a fact which resulted in growing internal strife as the non-Communists realised what was happening. Sun Yat-sen's death in 1925 removed his moderating influence and immediately the Communists implemented their classical revolutionary tactics such as strikes and demonstrations. But the new Kuomintang leader, General Chiang Kai-shek, following a successful Kuomintang military offensive against the Northern warlords, soon moved against the Communists, purging the Kuomintang of all Communist influence.

Chiang-Kai-shek subsequently published official documents showing how the Communists had captured most of the Kuomintang's organisational machinery and were plotting to dissolve the Kuomintang and to replace it with the Communist Party. If Chiang Kai-shek had not taken the drastic action he did in 1927, including the expulsion of Borodin and other Soviet agents from China, there is little doubt that the Communist victory in China would have come about 20 years earlier than it did. The Communists never forgave Chiang Kai-shek for denying them victory with his coup of 1927.” (emphasis added...ed)

Source: The New Times October 1965


AND NOW FOR THE ‘GOBBLING UP’ OF THE WEST?

“In the meantime, think of China as a magnet for a new world order in a future Eurasian century. The same integration process Russia is facing, for instance, seems increasingly to apply to India and other Eurasian nations, and possibly sooner or later to a neutral Germany as well. In the endgame of such a process, the U.S. might find itself progressively squeezed out of Eurasia, with the BMB emerging as a game-changer. Place your bets soon. They’ll be called in by 2025.”

“New Silk Roads and an Alternate Eurasian Century”
During Iraq War II (2003-2011), I used to imagine that the Chinese leadership would gather weekly in the streets of the Forbidden City, singing and dancing to celebrate American idiocy. Year after year, when the U.S. might have faced off against a rising China, as its leaders had long had the urge to do, it was thoroughly distracted by its disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq. I can't help but think that, with a bombing campaign revving up in Iraq and now Syria, the boots of 1,600 military personnel ever closer to the ground, and talk of more to come, with Iraq War III (2014-date unknown) predicted to go on for years, they are once again rejoicing. For all the talk in recent years about the Obama administration's military “pivot” to Asia, there can be no question that its latest Middle Eastern campaign will put a crimp on its Pacific “containment” planning.

In the meantime, the mood in China has clearly been changing as well. As Orville Schell wrote recently, after a contentious visit to Beijing by 90-year-old Jimmy Carter, the president who more than 30 years ago sponsored a full-scale American rapprochement with the new capitalist version of Communist China:
“In short, what used to be referred to as ‘the West’ now finds itself confronted by an increasingly intractable situation in which the power balance is changing, a fact that few have yet quite cared to acknowledge, much less to factor into new formulations for approaching China. We remain nostalgic for those quaint days when Chinese leaders still followed Deng [Xiaoping's] admonition to his people to ‘hide our capacities and bide our time’ (taoguang yanghui). What he meant in using this ‘idiom’ (chengyu) was not that China should be eternally restrained but that the time to manifest its global ambition had not yet come. Now that it is stronger, however, its leaders appear to believe that their time has at last come and they are no longer willing even to press the comforting notion of ‘peaceful rise’ (heping jueqi).”

At the moment, of course, the Chinese have their own internal problems, ranging from an economy that might be bubblicious to an Islamic separatist movement in the backlands of Xinjiang Province and the latest Occupy movement making waves in that modernistic Asian financial hub Hong Kong. Nonetheless, go to Beijing and the world looks like a different place. Pepe Escobar, TomDispatch’s peripatetic wanderer on the Eurasian mainland, which he’s dubbed Pipelineistan, has done just that. He's also visited other spots along the future “new Silk Roads” that China wants to establish all the way to Western Europe. He offers a vision of a different Eurasian world than the one reflected in news reports in this country. If you want to understand the planet we may actually be living on in the near future, it couldn’t be more important to take it in.
TomDispatch.com


Can China and Russia Squeeze Washington Out of Eurasia?

The Future of a Beijing-Moscow-Berlin Alliance by Pepe Escobar.

A spectre haunts the fast-aging “New American Century”: the possibility of a future Beijing-Moscow-Berlin strategic trade and commercial alliance. Let’s call it the BMB. Its likelihood is being seriously discussed at the highest levels in Beijing and Moscow, and viewed with interest in Berlin, New Delhi, and Tehran. But don’t mention it inside Washington’s Beltway or at NATO headquarters in Brussels. There, the star of the show today and tomorrow is the new Osama bin Laden: Caliph Ibrahim, aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the elusive, self-appointed beheading prophet of a new mini-state and movement that has provided an acronym feast -- ISIS/ISIL/IS -- for hysterics in Washington and elsewhere.

No matter how often Washington remixes its Global War on Terror, however, the tectonic plates of Eurasian geopolitics continue to shift, and they’re not going to stop just because American elites refuse to accept that their historically brief “unipolar moment” is on the wane. For them, the closing of the era of “full spectrum dominance,” as the Pentagon likes to call it, is inconceivable. After all, the necessity for the indispensable nation to control all space -- military, economic, cultural, cyber, and outer -- is little short of a religious doctrine. Exceptionalist missionaries don’t do equality. At best, they do “coalitions of the willing” like the one crammed with “over 40 countries” assembled to fight ISIS/ISIL/IS and either applauding (and plotting) from the sidelines or sending the odd plane or two toward Iraq or Syria.

NATO, which unlike some of its members won’t officially fight Jihadistan, remains a top-down outfit controlled by Washington. It’s never fully bothered to take in the European Union (EU) or considered allowing Russia to “feel” European. As for the Caliph, he’s just a minor diversion. A postmodern cynic might even contend that he was an emissary sent onto the global playing field by China and Russia to take the eye of the planet’s hyperpower off the ball.

Divide and Isolate
So how does full spectrum dominance apply when two actual competitor powers, Russia and China, begin to make their presences felt? Washington’s approach to each -- in Ukraine and in Asian waters -- might be thought of as divide and isolate.

In order to keep the Pacific Ocean as a classic “American lake,” the Obama administration has been “pivoting” back to Asia for several years now. This has involved only modest military moves, but an immodest attempt to pit Chinese nationalism against the Japanese variety, while strengthening alliances and relations across Southeast Asia with a focus on South China Sea energy disputes. At the same time, it has moved to lock a future trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), in place.

In Russia’s western borderlands, the Obama administration has stoked the embers of regime change in Kiev into flames (fanned by local cheerleaders Poland and the Baltic nations) and into what clearly looked, to Vladimir Putin and Russia’s leadership, like an existential threat to Moscow. Unlike the U.S., whose sphere of influence (and military bases) are global, Russia was not to retain any significant influence in its former near abroad, which, when it comes to Kiev, is not for most Russians, “abroad” at all.

For Moscow, it seemed as if Washington and its NATO allies were increasingly interested in imposing a new Iron Curtain on their country from the Baltic to the Black Sea, with Ukraine simply as the tip of the spear. In BMB terms, think of it as an attempt to isolate Russia and impose a new barrier to relations with Germany. The ultimate aim would be to split Eurasia, preventing future moves toward trade and commercial integration via a process not controlled through Washington.

From Beijing’s point of view, the Ukraine crisis was a case of Washington crossing every imaginable red line to harass and isolate Russia. To its leaders, this looks like a concerted attempt to destabilize the region in ways favourable to American interests, supported by a full range of Washington’s elite from neocons and Cold War “liberals” to humanitarian interventionists in the Susan Rice and Samantha Power mould. Of course, if you’ve been following the Ukraine crisis from Washington, such perspectives seem as alien as any those of any Martian. But the world looks different from the heart of Eurasia than it does from Washington -- especially from a rising China with its newly minted “Chinese dream” (Zhongguo meng).

As laid out by President Xi Jinping, that dream would include a future network of Chinese-organized new Silk Roads that would create the equivalent of a Trans-Asian Express for Eurasian commerce. So if Beijing, for instance, feels pressure from Washington and Tokyo on the naval front, part of its response is a two-pronged, trade-based advance across the Eurasian landmass, one prong via Siberia and the other through the Central Asian “stans.” In this sense, though you wouldn’t know it if you only followed the American media or “debates” in Washington, we’re potentially entering a new world. Once upon a time not so long ago, Beijing’s leadership was flirting with the idea of rewriting the geopolitical/ economic game side by side with the U.S., while Putin’s Moscow hinted at the possibility of someday joining NATO. No longer. Today, the part of the West that both countries are interested in is a possible future Germany no longer dominated by American power and Washington’s wishes.

Moscow has, in fact, been involved in no less than half a century of strategic dialogue with Berlin that has included industrial cooperation and increasing energy interdependence. In many quarters of the Global South this has been noted and Germany is starting to be viewed as “the sixth BRICS” power (after Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). In the midst of global crises ranging from Syria to Ukraine, Berlin’s geostrategic interests seem to be slowly diverging from Washington’s. German industrialists, in particular, appear eager to pursue unlimited commercial deals with Russia and China. These might set their country on a path to global power unlimited by the EU’s borders and, in the long term, signal the end of the era in which Germany, however politely dealt with, was essentially an American satellite. It will be a long and winding road. The Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, is still addicted to a strong Atlanticist agenda and a pre-emptive obedience to Washington. There are still tens of thousands of American soldiers on German soil. Yet, for the first time, German chancellor Angela Merkel has been hesitating when it comes to imposing ever-heavier sanctions on Russia over the situation in Ukraine, because no fewer than 300,000 German jobs depend on relations with that country. Industrial leaders and the financial establishment have already sounded the alarm, fearing such sanctions would be totally counterproductive.

China’s Silk Road Banquet
China’s new geopolitical power play in Eurasia has few parallels in modern history. The days when the “Little Helmsman” Deng Xiaoping insisted that the country “keep a low profile” on the global stage are long gone. Of course, there are disagreements and conflicting strategies when it comes to managing the country’s hot spots: Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang, the South China Sea, competitors India and Japan, and problematic allies like North Korea and Pakistan. And popular unrest in some Beijing-dominated “peripheries” is growing to incendiary levels.

The country’s number one priority remains domestic and focused on carrying out President Xi’s economic reforms, while increasing “transparency” and fighting corruption within the ruling Communist Party. A distant second is the question of how to progressively hedge against the Pentagon’s “pivot” plans in the region -- via the build-up of a blue-water navy, nuclear submarines, and a technologically advanced air force -- without getting so assertive as to freak out Washington’s “China threat”-minded establishment.

Meanwhile, with the U.S. Navy controlling global sea lanes for the foreseeable future, planning for those new Silk Roads across Eurasia is proceeding apace. The end result should prove a triumph of integrated infrastructure -- roads, high-speed rail, pipelines, ports -- that will connect China to Western Europe and the Mediterranean Sea, the old Roman imperial Mare Nostrum, in every imaginable way.

In a reverse Marco Polo-style journey, remixed for the Google world, one key Silk Road branch will go from the former imperial capital Xian to Urumqi in Xinjiang Province, then through Central Asia, Iran, Iraq, and Turkey’s Anatolia, ending in Venice. Another will be a maritime Silk Road starting from Fujian province and going through the Malacca strait, the Indian Ocean, Nairobi in Kenya, and finally all the way to the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal. Taken together, it’s what Beijing refers to as the Silk Road Economic Belt. China’s strategy is to create a network of interconnections among no less than five key regions: Russia (the key bridge between Asia and Europe), the Central Asian “stans,” Southwest Asia (with major roles for Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey), the Caucasus, and Eastern Europe (including Belarus, Moldova, and depending upon its stability, Ukraine). And don’t forget Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, which could be thought of as Silk Road plus.

Silk Road plus would involve connecting the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridor to the China-Pakistan economic corridor, and could offer Beijing privileged access to the Indian Ocean. Once again, a total package -- roads, high-speed rail, pipelines, and fibre optic networks -- would link the region to China.

Xi himself put the India-China connection in a neat package of images in an op-ed he published in the Hindu prior to his recent visit to New Delhi. “The combination of the ‘world’s factory’ and the ‘world’s back office,’” he wrote, “will produce the most competitive production base and the most attractive consumer market.”

The central node of China’s elaborate planning for the Eurasian future is Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Province and the site of the largest commercial fair in Central Asia, the China-Eurasia Fair. Since 2000, one of Beijing’s top priorities has been to urbanize that largely desert but oil-rich province and industrialize it, whatever it takes. And what it takes, as Beijing sees it, is the hardcore Sinicization of the region -- with its corollary, the suppression of any possibility of ethnic Uighur dissent. People’s Liberation Army General Li Yazhou has, in these terms, described Central Asia as “the most subtle slice of cake donated by the sky to modern China.”

China-Eurasia Fair
Image for the China-Eurasia Fair
Most of China’s vision of a new Eurasia tied to Beijing by every form of transport and communication was vividly detailed in “Marching Westwards: The Rebalancing of China’s Geostrategy,” a landmark 2012 essay published by scholar Wang Jisi of the Center of International and Strategic Studies at Beijing University. As a response to such a future set of Eurasian connections, the best the Obama administration has come up with is a version of naval containment from the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea, while sharpening conflicts with and strategic alliances around China from Japan to India. (NATO is, of course, left with the task of containing Russia in Eastern Europe.)

An Iron Curtain vs. Silk Roads

The $400 billion “gas deal of the century,” signed by Putin and the Chinese president last May, laid the groundwork for the building of the Power of Siberia pipeline, already under construction in Yakutsk. It will bring a flood of Russian natural gas onto the Chinese market. It clearly represents just the beginning of a turbocharged, energy-based strategic alliance between the two countries. Meanwhile, German businessmen and industrialists have been noting another emerging reality: as much as the final market for made-in-China products travelling on future new Silk Roads will be Europe, the reverse also applies. In one possible commercial future, China is slated to become Germany’s top trading partner by 2018, surging ahead of both the U.S. and France.

A potential barrier to such developments, welcomed in Washington, is Cold War 2.0, which is already tearing not NATO, but the EU apart. In the EU of this moment, the anti-Russian camp includes Great Britain, Sweden, Poland, Romania, and the Baltic nations. Italy and Hungary, on the other hand, can be counted in the pro-Russian camp, while a still unpredictable Germany is the key to whether the future will hold a new Iron Curtain or “Go East” mindset. For this, Ukraine remains the key. If it is successfully Finlandized (with significant autonomy for its regions), as Moscow has been proposing -- a suggestion that is anathema to Washington -- the Go-East path will remain open. If not, a BMB future will be a dicier proposition.

It should be noted that another vision of the Eurasian economic future is also on the horizon. Washington is attempting to impose a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on Europe and a similar Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Asia. Both favour globalizing American corporations and their aim is visibly to impede the ascent of the BRICS economies and the rise of other emerging markets, while solidifying American global economic hegemony.

Two Stark Facts Noted in Moscow, Beijing and Berlin
Two stark facts, carefully noted in Moscow, Beijing, and Berlin, suggest the hardcore geopolitics behind these two “commercial” pacts. The TPP excludes China and the TTIP excludes Russia. They represent, that is, the barely disguised sinews of a future trade/ monetary war. On my own recent travels, I have had quality agricultural producers in Spain, Italy, and France repeatedly tell me that TTIP is nothing but an economic version of NATO, the military alliance that China’s Xi Jinping calls, perhaps wishfully, an “obsolete structure.” There is significant resistance to the TTIP among many EU nations (especially in the Club Med countries of southern Europe), as there is against the TPP among Asian nations (especially Japan and Malaysia). It is this that gives the Chinese and the Russians hope for their new Silk Roads and a new style of trade across the Eurasian heartland backed by a Russian-supported Eurasian Union. To this, key figures in German business and industrial circles, for whom relations with Russia remain essential, are paying close attention. After all, Berlin has not shown overwhelming concern for the rest of the crisis-ridden EU (three recessions in five years). Via a much-despised troika -- the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Commission -- Berlin is, for all practical purposes, already at the helm of Europe, thriving, and looking east for more.

Three months ago, German chancellor Angela Merkel visited Beijing. Hardly featured in the news was the political acceleration of a potentially groundbreaking project: an uninterrupted high-speed rail connection between Beijing and Berlin. When finally built, it will prove a transportation and trade magnet for dozens of nations along its route from Asia to Europe. Passing through Moscow, it could become the ultimate Silk Road integrator for Europe and perhaps the ultimate nightmare for Washington.

“Losing” Russia
In a blaze of media attention, the recent NATO summit in Wales yielded only a modest “rapid reaction force” for deployment in any future Ukraine-like situations. Meanwhile, the expanding Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a possible Asian counterpart to NATO, met in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. In Washington and Western Europe essentially no one noticed. They should have. There, China, Russia, and four Central Asian “stans” agreed to add an impressive set of new members: India, Pakistan, and Iran. The implications could be far-reaching. After all, India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now on the brink of its own version of Silk Road mania. Behind it lies the possibility of a “Chindia” economic rapprochement, which could change the Eurasian geopolitical map. At the same time, Iran is also being woven into the “Chindia” fold.

So the SCO is slowly but surely shaping up as the most important international organization in Asia. It’s already clear that one of its key long-term objectives will be to stop trading in U.S. dollars, while advancing the use of the petroyuan and petroruble in the energy trade. The U.S., of course, will never be welcomed into the organization.

All of this lies in the future, however. In the present, the Kremlin keeps signalling that it once again wants to start talking with Washington, while Beijing has never wanted to stop. Yet the Obama administration remains myopically embedded in its own version of a zero-sum game, relying on its technological and military might to maintain an advantageous position in Eurasia. Beijing, however, has access to markets and loads of cash, while Moscow has loads of energy. Triangular cooperation between Washington, Beijing, and Moscow would undoubtedly be -- as the Chinese would say -- a win-win-win game, but don’t hold your breath.

Instead, expect China and Russia to deepen their strategic partnership, while pulling in other Eurasian regional powers. Beijing has bet the farm that the U.S./NATO confrontation with Russia over Ukraine will leave Vladimir Putin turning east. At the same time, Moscow is carefully calibrating what its ongoing reorientation toward such an economic powerhouse will mean. Someday, it’s possible that voices of sanity in Washington will be wondering aloud how the U.S. “lost” Russia to China.

In the meantime, think of China as a magnet for a new world order in a future Eurasian century. The same integration process Russia is facing, for instance, seems increasingly to apply to India and other Eurasian nations, and possibly sooner or later to a neutral Germany as well. In the endgame of such a process, the U.S. might find itself progressively squeezed out of Eurasia, with the BMB emerging as a game-changer. Place your bets soon. They’ll be called in by 2025.

Source: https://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175903/

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