Posts Tagged ‘Pepe Escobar’

The new New World Order

October 16, 2018

Following the collapse of Communism in eastern Europe in 1989, the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the emergence of China as a capitalist nation, American leaders declared the United States the world’s sole superpower.

After nearly 30 years, the U.S. government is still struggling with Russia and still struggling with China.

Following the 9/11 attacks, American leaders declared a worldwide “war on terror.”  After going on 20 years, that war is still going on, with no clear goal that I can see except to not admit defeat.

It’s time for our leaders and also we, the people, to consider that we may have made a mistake, painful and shameful as it may be to admit that.  It’s time to face facts, which are that (1) the United States isn’t and can’t be the world’s sole superpower and (2) continuous economic warfare and actual warfare is not sustainable.

I read two good articles this morning about the current international situation.  One is a survey by Pepe Escobar, a Brazilian who’s a roving correspondent for Asia Times.  The other consists of constructive suggestions by Col. Andrew Bacevich, a career military officer who served in combat in Vietnam, who had a second career as a professor of history and international relations at Boston University.

Both articles will tell you things about the changing balance of power that, if you’re an American, you won’t find in your daily newspaper or evening network television broadcast.

LINKS

Welcome to the G-20 from Hell: World leaders wrestle with a maelstrom of complex, burning issues as they prepare for November 30 summit by Pepe Escobar for Asia Times.

Unsolicited Advice for an Undeclared Presidential Candidate: a Letter to Elizabeth Warren by Andrew Bacevich for TomDispatch.

War and peace: Links & comments 11/24/14

November 24, 2014

Washington Plays Russian Roulette by Pepe Escobar for Asia Times.  (Hat tip to Bill Harvey)

The great threat of nuclear war is not that some crazy Islamic terrorist will someday obtain a nuclear weapon.  The threat is that decision-makers in Russia, the only nation with enough nuclear weapons to wipe out the United States, will think the USA is attacking or about to attack their nation, and their only choice is to retaliate or strike first.

I don’t think that the decision-makes in Washington, wicked and foolish as some of them seem to be, really plan to attack Russia.  But they sure are doing things that give Russians reason to fear.

First, by expanding NATO to Russia’s borders.  Second, by bringing an anti-missile defense system to Russia’s doorstep, which, if it worked (it probably won’t), would negate Russia’s ability to retaliate or defend itself.  Third, by a reckless policy in Ukraine, which Pepe Escobar described pungently in this article.

During the Cold War with the Soviet Union, there were a number of times when American and Soviet defenders received false indications that their countries were under attack, and the decision-makers held back on retaliating.   To count on this happening every time in the future is truly the same as playing Russian Roulette.

Dumbing It Away by “Spengler” for Asia Times.

The Chinese don’t believe in Heinlein’s Rule.  They think U.S. government reduced the Middle East to chaos on purpose, in order to disrupt the world’s oil supply and strengthen the U.S. position as an energy producer.  As evidence, they point out that the Islamic State (ISIS) is led by Sunni Arab officers armed and paid by General David Petreaus during the “surge” in 2007-2008.

David P. Goldman, writing as “Spengler,” would like to send the Chinese leaders copies of Why We Lost: a General’s Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars by Daniel P. Bolger.   General Bolger showed that U.S. policy was actually the result of a sincere effort to reach impossible goals by means of an unworkable strategy.

Malarkey on the Potomac by Andrew Bacevich for TomDispatch

Andrew Bacevich, a political scientist and retired military officer, said U.S. policy in the Middle East is based on five false assumptions:  (1) U.S. forces in the Islamic world help stabilize the region and enhance U.S. power, (2) the Persian Gulf is vital to U.S. security, (3) Egypt and Saudi Arabia are valuable U.S. allies, (4) U.S. and Israel’s interests coincide and (5) terrorism is an existential threat.  Bacevich explained clearly and briefly why none of these beliefs is true.

President Obama’s ‘Nixon to China’ opportunity

September 19, 2013

Pepe Escobar reports that Hassan Rouhani, the new President of Iran, has the full approval of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamanei, who holds the real power, to negotiate with President Obama to end the 34-year-old cold war between the two nations.

Hassan Rouhani

Hassan Rouhani

Ayatollah Kamanei says that Iran never has had a nuclear weapons program, because nuclear weapons are immoral.  But President Rouhani is willing to negotiate concerning Iran’s nuclear development program anyway.

Obama and Rouhani have exchanged letters, and may meet when Rouhani visits the United Nations in New York next week.

It was the Iranians, together with the Russians, who leaned on President Assad of Syria to agree to international control of chemical weapons.  It remains to be seen, in my opinion, how meaningful that international control will turn out to be, but Assad’s announcement enabled the President Obama to back away from a war threat supported neither by the American people nor by world opinion.

This is a great opportunity for President Obama to leave a positive legacy equivalent to President Nixon going to China.  This doesn’t mean approval of Iran’s government, any more than it meant approval of China’s.   It only means that nothing is being accomplished by the economic and covert war that the United States is waging against Iran.

Peace with Iran would require Obama to break free of entanglement with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the war party in the United States on this issue.   I hope he will do so.

LINKS

Mr. Obama, tear down this wall by Pete Escobar for RT News.

Obama-Rouhani: lights, camera, action by Pepe Escobar for Asia Times

Iran frees political prisoners ahead of Hassan Rouhani’s UN visit by Saeed Kamail Dehghan for The Guardian.

The changing world economic balance of power

March 27, 2013

The BRICS nations—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—are in the process of organizing a new economic bloc that could rival the European Union and the North American free trade area.   They are holding a summit meeting which began yesterday in Durban, South Africa.

Financial Times 2010.  Double click to enlarge.

Financial Times 2010. Double click to enlarge.

Pepe Escobar, the intrepid foreign correspondent of Asia Times in Hong KongSingapore, explained the significance of the BRICS summit meeting.

The BRICS push is part of an irresistible global trend. Most of it is decoded here, in a new United Nations Development Programme report. The bottom line; the North is being overtaken in the economic race by the global South at a dizzying speed.

According to the report, “for the first time in 150 years, the combined output of the developing world’s three leading economies – Brazil, China and India – is about equal to the combined GDP of the long-standing industrial powers of the North”.

The obvious conclusion is that, “the rise of the South is radically reshaping the world of the 21st century, with developing nations driving economic growth, lifting hundreds of millions of people from poverty, and propelling billions more into a new global middle class.”

via Asia Times Online.

The Economist.  Click to enlarge.

The Economist. Click to enlarge.

The BRICS economies are diverse but complementary.  China and India are important and growing manufacturing nations.  Brazil, Russia and South Africa are important producers of raw materials.

If present trends continue (which may not happen) they could dominate the world economy in a few decades.   RT News reported that the governments of Egypt, Mexico and Indonesia have expressed interest in joining the BRICS bloc.

BRICS representatives at the South African summit discussed creating a new Bank of the South that would give Third World nations an alternative to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization, and pledged $10 billion to the new BRICS bank.   They also discussed creating their own credit rating agency, so that their finances won’t be subject to the opinions of Moody’s or Standard & Poor’s.

China and Brazil signed an $80 billion trade agreement in which they’ll trade in their own currencies rather than dollars.  China recently replaced the United States as Brazil’s largest trading partner.

President Obama’s secret negotiations to create a Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which would lock governments in to current rules concerning corporations and finance, can be seen as an attempt to head off the emergence of a new bloc in which the United States would play no part.

I don’t see that I, as a middle-class American, am threatened in any way by the emergence of BRICS.   I don’t think that the International Monetary Fund or the World Trade Organization operate in my interest or the interests of American working people.  We Americans can thrive if we as a nation turn away from military dominance and devote ourselves to creating a productive economy.

The key BRICS relationship is the one between China and Russia.  It brings to mind my reading about geopolitics years ago—whether world power came from dominating the Eurasian Heartland or from dominating the world’s sea lanes.  The nuclear-powered U.S. Navy commands the seas, but doesn’t affect the present-day equivalents of China’s overland Silk Road.

China is turning to Russia for the oil and natural gas it needs to fuel its economic growth.  Since Russia’s own reserves of oil and gas are dwindling, this means Russia must develop new supplies in the warming Arctic in the long run and control the oil and gas of Central Asia—what Pepe Escobar calls Pipelineistan—in the short run.

Last week Chinese President Xi Jinpin met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.  Escobar reported that the result is an agreement by China to pay in advance for Russian oil, in return for a share in Russian oil development projects in Siberia and offshore.  Pipelines across Central Asia will give China access to Iranian oil by land, which would negate any U.S. naval blockade of Iran.  Pepe Escobar explained the significance.

The geopolitical ramifications are immense; importing more gas from Russia helps Beijing to gradually escape its Malacca and Hormuz dilemma – not to mention industrialize the immense, highly populated and heavily dependent on agriculture interior provinces left behind in the economic boom.

That’s how Russian gas fits into the Chinese Communist Party’s master plan; configuring the internal provinces as a supply base for the increasingly wealthy, urban, based in the east coast, 400 million-strong Chinese middle class.

When Putin stressed that he does not see the BRICS as a “geopolitical competitor” to the West, it was the clincher; the official denial that confirms it’s true.

via Asia Times Online.

(more…)

Pepe Escobar on Obama and Iran

April 18, 2012

Pepe Escobar, an enterprising and outspoken reporter for the Asia Times of Hong KongSingapore, thanks that President Obama’s demands on Iran are like President George W. Bush’s demands on Iraq—something meant to provide a justification for war.  Click on Surrender now or we’ll bomb you later for his analysis.  I added Escobar’s columns to my ResourcesLinks menu.  He presents facts and ideas which you won’t get from most U.S. newspapers.  He is especially good on power politics in Central Asia, which he calls Pipelineistan.