By Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely crossposted
The Year of the Black Water Tiger will start, for all practical purposes, with a Beijing bang this Friday, as Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, after a live meeting before the initial ceremony of the Winter Olympics, will issue a joint statement on international relations.
That will represent a crucial move in the Eurasia vs. NATOstan chessboard, as the Anglo-American axis is increasingly bogged down in Desperation Row: after all, “Russian aggression” stubbornly refuses to materialize.
After an interminable wait arguably due to the lack of functionaries properly equipped to write an intelligible letter, the US/NATO combo finally concocted a predictable, jargon-drenched bureaucratese non-response “response” to the Russian demands of security guarantees.
The contents were leaked to a Spanish newspaper, a full member of NATOstan media. The leaker, according to Brussels sources, may be in Kiev by now. The Pentagon, in damage control mode, rushed to assert, “We didn’t do it”. The State Dept. said, “it’s authentic.”
Even before the leak of the non-response “response”, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was forced to send messages to all NATO foreign ministers, including US Secretary Blinken, asking how they understand the principle of indivisibility of security – if they actually do.
Lavrov was extremely specific: “I am referring to our demands that everyone faithfully implement the agreements on the indivisibility of security that were reached within the OSCE in 1999 in Istanbul and in 2010 in Astana. These agreements provide not only for the freedom to choose alliances, but also make this freedom conditional on the need to avoid any steps that will strengthen the security of any state at the expense of infringing on the security of others.”
Lavrov hit the heart of the matter when he stressed, “our Western colleagues are not simply trying to ignore this key principle of international law agreed in the Euro-Atlantic space, but to completely forget it.”
Lavrov also made it very clear “we will not allow this topic to be ‘wrapped up’. We will insist on an honest conversation and an explanation of why the West does not want to fulfill its obligations at all or exclusively, selectively, and in its favor.”
Crucially, China fully supports Russian demands for security guarantees in Europe, and fully agrees that the security of one state cannot be ensured by inflicting damage on another state.
This is as serious as it gets: the US/NATO combo are bent on smashing two crucial treaties that directly concern European security, and they think they can get away with it because there is less than zero discussion about the content and its implications across NATOstan media.
Western public opinion remains absolutely clueless. The only narrative, hammered 24/7, is “Russian aggression” – by the way duly emphasized in NATO’s non-response “response”.
Wanna check our military-technical gear?
For the umpteenth time Moscow made it very clear it’s not going to make any concessions on the security demands just because the Empire of Chaos keeps threatening – what else – extra harsh sanctions, the sole imperial “policy” short of outright bombing.
The new sanctions package, anyway, is ready to go for quite a while now, arguably capable of cutting Moscow off from the Western financial system and/or casino, and targeting, among others, Sberbank, VTB, Gazprombank and Alfa-Bank.
And that brings us to what’s Moscow going to do next – considering the predictable “extremely negative attitude” (Lavrov) from NATOstan. Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko had already hinted NATO knows perfectly well what’s coming, even before the non-response “response”:
“NATO knows perfectly well what kind of military-technical measures may follow from Russia. We make no secret of our possibilities and are acting very transparently.”
Still the American “partners” are not listening. The Russians remain unfazed. Grushko framed it in realpolitik terms: concrete measures will depend on the “military potentials” that could be used against Russia. That’s code for what sort of nuclear weapons will be deployed in Eastern Europe, and what sort of lethal equipment will keep being unloaded in Ukraine.
In fact Ukraine – or country 404, per Andrei Martyanov’s indelible definition – is just a lowly pawn in their (imperial) game. Adding to Kiev’s misery on all fronts, the head of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Alexei Danilov, all but gave away the (regional) game.
In an interview to AP, Danilov said that “the Minsk Agreements can create chaos”; he admitted that Kiev totally lost the war in 2014/15 and then signed the Minsk Agreements “under threat of Russian arms” (false: Kiev was soundly defeated by the Donbass militias); but most of all he admitted Kiev never had any intention of fulfilling the Minsk Agreements.
So Kiev, essentially, is breaking international law: the Minsk Agreements are guaranteed by the UN Security Council resolution 2022 (2015), adopted unanimously. Even the US, UK and France voted “Yes”. So breaking the law is not hard to do, as long as you’re enabled by “big powers”.
And on that invisible “Russian aggression”, well, even Danilov can’t see “the readiness of Russian forces near the border for an invasion, which will take three to seven days.”
Bring on the Dancing Horses
None of the above alters the fundamental fact that the USUK combo – plus the proverbial NATO chihuahuas Poland and the Baltics – are spinning around like mad trying to provoke a war. And the only way to do it is to Release the False Flags. It may be sometime in February, it may be during the Beijing Olympics, it may be before the onset of Spring. But they will come. And the Russians are ready.
The preamble has been staged straight from Monty Python Flying Circus – complete with Crash Test Dummy, a.k.a. POTUS yelling to comedian Zelensky that, in a trashy Mongol revival, “Kiev will be sacked” (to the sound of Bring On the Dancing Horses?); an outraged Zelensky telling POTUS to, c’mon man, back off; and the White House swearing that the US has gamed 18 scenarios for the “Russian invasion” (Lavrov: 17 were written by the intel alphabet soup, the 18th by the State Dept.)
Cue to non-stop, frantic weaponizing of country 404 – everything from Javelins to MANPADs to overpriced Blackwater/Academi-tinged waves of “advisers”.
Switching away from farce, not to mention misguided scenarios starting from the faulty premise of an “invasion”, the only rational move Moscow may be contemplating is to de facto recognize the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, and send in a contingent of peacekeepers.
That, of course, would enrage the neo-con infested War Inc. matrix to intergalactic paroxysm, as it would nullify all those elaborate psyops geared to instill the Fear of God on the unsuspecting victims of the Remixed Khanate of the Golden Horde, burning and looting all the way to…the Hungarian plains?
Then there’s the tricky question of how to de-Nazify Western Ukraine: that will be a strictly Ukrainian matter, with zero Russian involvement.
The ghost of Mackinder is in total freak out mode contemplating in impotence the imperial brilliance of deciding to fight a two-front war against the Russia-China strategic partnership. At least there’s Monty Python to the rescue: the Ministry of Silly Walks has been gloriously revived as the Ministry of Silly Strategies.
Pride of place goes to the phone call placed by Little Blinkie to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi – which contains all the elements of a brilliant comic sketch. It stars with the combo behind that cipher, “Biden”, thinking that the Beijing leadership could influence Putin to not exercise “Russian aggression” against 404. On the sidelines, perhaps there could be some discussion about the “Indo-Pacific” racket.
The plot went downhill when once again Wang Yi – remember Alaska? – made shark fin’s soup out of Blinkie. The key take aways: China totally supports Russia; it’s the US that is destabilizing Europe; and were more sanctions to come, Europe will pay a terrible price, not Russia, which of course can count on a serious helping hand from China.
Now compare it with the phone call between Putin and Macron. It was, to start with, cordial. They discussed “brain-dead” (copyright Macron) NATO. They discussed the proverbial Anglo-Saxon shenanigans. They even discussed the possibility of forming a pan-European group – a sort of anti-AUKUS – with Russia included, curbing the influence of the Five Eyes and bent on avoiding by all means a war in European soil. For the moment, it’s all talk. But the game-changing seeds are all there.
Misguided scenarios insist that Putin skillfully exploited the imperial obsession with the rise and rise of China to re-establish Russia’s sphere of influence. Nonsense. The sphere was always there – and won’t move. The difference is Moscow finally got fed up with the heavy symbolism permeating the unresolved 404 mess: the intermingling of raw Russophobia in Washington and containment/encirclement NATO knocking at the door.
Metaphorically, this may turn out to be the Year of two – sanctioned – Black Water Tigers, one Chinese, one Siberian. They will be harassed non-stop by the headless eagle, blind to its own irreversible decay and always resorting to the serial Hail Mary passes of the only “policy” it knows.
The ultimate danger – especially for the European minions – is that the headless eagle will never let go of its former “indispensable” status without provoking another devastating war. In European soil. Still the tigers persist: in Beijing, before the Games commence, they will be taking yet another step to irreversibly bury the “rules-based international order”.
Clear-eyed overview by the incomparable Pepe, thank you!
The year of the tiger does seem to be starting off with a bang. U.S. special forces just murdered some ISIS leader in his home last night. I thought civilized countries are not supposed to do that (as in not giving people due process, and knocking off leaders especially when they are sleeping.) Anyway, I see they are all gloating over it in the mainstream press.
So, it is Syria that is getting hot all of a sudden. Looks like the Ukraine show fizzled. Did comedy win over war?
‘That’ ISIS leader probably did not cooperate enough with the US strategies for the region…
‘Other’ ISIS leaders will continue to be supported, if they subsume their own fanatical urges.
They are all just misguided cannon-fodder for the Empire.
they can’t take them in, they know too much. ISIS have worked with US just as al qaeda (jabat al nusra) do and have done. They will never let these guys sing the song. Idlib is, de facto, protected by the West as it is full to the brim with western trained and armed head choppers, ready to be shipped wherever needed – the borders of the Stans, Afghanistan, Libya. Maybe this guy wasn’t playing ball and got himself whacked to make Biden look good on foreign policy after humiliating cut and run in Afghanistan and failure on ‘Russian aggression ‘
The demons killed also a few innocent children and adults
But who cares
Collateral murder is a American way of life
Is Assange still alive by the way?
So far as we know…
Not only the ISIS leader, but his wife and two children, basically a family massacre….
Funny the Pentagon release and Brandon’s triumphant twit failed to mention the six children and four women killed in the raid.
His only crime (not the dead bodies accrued ) was to ask for a pay rise in line with inflation.
I meant to also mention, Biden being “the good Catholic that he is” (sic) watched the whole spectacle on video in real time along with his entourage; sort of like the Ceasars in ancient Rome. I’m sure the Priest will be hearing a juicy confession on Sunday. Maybe the Pentagon will release the videotape so the rest of us can watch too. They can censor out the wife and kiddie part if it is too rough for general consumption. Well, at least now we know where Biden stands on Capital punishment.
Biden, Pelosi, are Catholics because baptized in the Catholic faith, but they can hardly be called “good, or considered in good standard”. Biden was even refused the Holy Communion once, and Bishops have rebuked him on the issue of abortion.
Isn’t abortion a mortal sin for Rome? Why haven’t they been excommunicated yet? Why wasn’t Hitler ever excommunicated? So much so that masses were performed for him at his death. And cardinal Stepinac’s blessings of Croatian atrocities against Serbs and Jews? That wasn’t cause for expulsion from religious Rome. Ditto with Ante Pavelic; He was given a Vatican free pass to Spain after the war. That’s history and present-day reality: If your position is relevant enough and favours Rome, no amount of sins will bring you down. God’s opinion is altogether another matter.
Do we know if all that happened really?
Ukraine as the “Страна 404” (Country 404) is something I’ve been reading for years in the Runet. Maybe Pepe first read it in English from Martyanov, but I don’t think it was he who coined it.
Você deve ser novo por aqui. Pepe já usou várias vezes esta expressão aqui e em outros sites, sempre citando Martyanov. Seja bem vindo.
You must be new around here. Pepe has used this expression several times here and on other sites, always quoting Martyanov. Welcome.
@Alexandre Acompanho esse site há mais de dez anos. A expressão “País 404” que Pepe começou usar há relativamente pouco tempo é usada na Rússia, em russo, pelo menos do 2014. Tenho certeza que não foi o Martyanov quem criou.
@Alexandre I’ve been following this site for over ten years. The expression “Country 404” that Pepe started using relatively recently is used in Russia, in Russian, at least since 2014. I’m sure Martyanov didn’t create it.
I think Russia is smart to hang their objections on these treaties (Istanbul and Astana) even though they sound like utter nonsense to me. How do you guarantee that increasing the ‘security’ of one State does not decrease the ‘security’ of another? It seems that in most cases that would be inevitable. How do you even measure a degree of ‘security’? The only law in force in the World now is the law of the ‘fort main’. Russia does not want a hostile military alliance to build bases on its borders. It might be useful politically to drape these nonsensical treaties over that desire, but what matters is power … political, economic, and military. As I said, maybe this has a little political utility, but probably not much. China supports Russia, but not because of any treaties regarding ‘security’.
“How do you guarantee that increasing the ‘security’ of one State does not decrease the ‘security’ of another?”
Its called Peace.
“True peace is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
You can increase the security of one state and not decrease the security of another state with true conditions of peace. In a zero-sum game of competition, it seems like an impossible goal, a contradiction. But in a state of Peace, you can increase the security off all concerned.
… »but what matters is power «
I believe what would help peace is to have accountability coupled to power.
Transparency of finances.
Starting a war by a treaty with the Poles giving them carte blanche to commit any act of violence and the UK would step in worked perfectly in 1939. Why not again? Particularly in a tinderbox situation with British anti-tank matches supplied.
And if they did manage to get the blaze going and either Poland or the UK got sizzled – would NATO (US) throw a few logs on?
Patience. And Russia and China are showing their mastery of it.
While the West twists and turns in hysteria, Putin and Xi are throwing a party.
Patience. We would all do well to emulate them.
The real trick is how to de-Nazify America.
Ukraine was an American creation, created in America’s image, with corrupt, nazi leaders picked in advance with the attitude of ‘f##k the EU!’ If you are going to de-Nazify the creation, first you have to de-Nazify the creator.
And note, I come from the counter-culture perspective that has long called America, including Democrats, as fascists. Fascism is end-stage capitalism. It is the final destination of capitalism’s constant competition and victory at all costs mantras. That leads to both a concentration of power and the worship of power, which is only a different description of fascism. America has long been pushing the limits of capitalism. The only part that is really ‘new’ about Donald is the personality cult. Recycled McCarthyism is strong in both parties.
In the Spanish ‘Civil’ War it was C + M = Fascism or Capitalism + Murder = Fascism. We’ve been there since the beginning.
The USA’s purpose in life is not to form a unity with the other peoples and states.
For them, being, cosmos, mind, spirit and the other human beings are a limited reality with which they are connected through their will. What, then, are the USA themselves? Since they do not make unity with Being, they only look towards it with their volition. So what forms their consciousness if there is not something through which they can be – at rest – with themselves? They only know directed consciousness, that is, they are always with the other – with a certain intention.
As what does Russia exist for the USA?
As an independent being or as an object of power? How have they linked their own being with that of Russia? If Russia is the object of power for them, that is, exists as a limited being, what is their self-understanding, their spiritual connection?
The case is interesting if Russia is the object of power for the USA and at the same time their purpose in life – whether as an object of admiration or as an enemy – because that means that they derive their purpose in life from something they degrade. If they were to admit the whole being of Russia and recognise it as an independent being, they would lose their purpose in life.
We should be clear about this: One’s own becoming conscious happens through the becoming conscious of the other.
« The case is interesting if Russia is the object of power for the USA and at the same time their purpose in life – whether as an object of admiration or as an enemy – because that means that they derive their purpose in life from something they degrade. If they were to admit the whole being of Russia and recognise it as an independent being, they would lose their purpose in life ».
Very interesting but not very promising. It resonates with a psychiatric definition of the narcissistic type. Sam Vatnin (spelling?) went on at length in his descriptions of that type. Narcissism would be a failed attempt at forming an ego in the early days… so, the narcissist «owns» the other, making it part of the picture of him/her self. And has the obsession to destroy it if it tries to go free, as that would mean his/her own mortification.
One advice to the « partner » was break apart cold turkey.
Insofar as someone feels and thinks, he has his own ego (= I) or is himself and in order to remain viable, he must have something that keeps him mentally alive (a drive, self-esteem, meaning). My image of myself (my self-image, self-esteem, worldview) expresses my image of other people or of the cosmos. Now what if my image of myself expresses that I “own” other people or the cosmos?! The problem is to be at the same time that over which one has power: I am that to which I have the relationship of possession.
The solution is to separate spirit and matter, or rather, to bring the future into play, that is, the wanting, that is, the striving for an act of realisation (= wanting) that is not the present. In other words, the solution consists in taking a willing I for the essence of being or for the essence of one’s own I. At this point I would like to make the point that this is the main content of the Jewish religion, modified in the sense that one’s own I is inferred to be the I of the purely spiritual, willing, omnipotent person.
Now we can consider how what has been said relates to the US making life either a money business, a case for jurisprudence or a war.
Paul: You are speaking in a deep and well directed manner. The psychologist Carl Jung clarified the essential factor with regard to the relational purpose of the USA. Jung wrote that for the West (America in particular) Russia represents the collective unconscious. So in Jung’s view America has a problem of ego boundedness along with an alienated and hostile relationship with its own unconscious. “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” American egoism’s heavily reinfored hostility to its own unconscious calls forth a seemingly hostile other. Russia is feeding the USA’s unconscious back at itself. So when the Democratic Establishment is raving on “Russia, Russia, Russia” what it is really doing is exposing its own alienation from its own unconscious. But if the American establishment is so alienated from its own unconscious all it can do is blindly project it upon an appropriate alien other and see that other as a deadly threat. This formulation fits like a charm for me. The really nice thing about this formulation is that the unconscious is a source of integrity and healing for an ego lost in its own denial. Accordingly Russia is now approaching the West with a spectacular quality of integrity and potential for healing and integration that the West does not even know how to measure. Putin’s masterful method is so consistent with the healing function from the unconscious. He embodies the integrity of Being does he not?
I suppose by ‘unconscious’ you mean mental processes that influence our feelings, ideas and actions, but of which we are unaware. The ‘unconscious’ could also have to do with repression: Who likes to take note of contradictions in one’s own personality, in one’s own thinking and acting, one prefers to repress them – and to occupy oneself with an external ‘enemy’ who allows one to feel better because through him there is something above which one stands.
The deficit of one’s own being – the denial of being – the contradictions in one’s own worldview and personality have consequences and they push for resolution.
I find Putin an extremely capable statesman: he does not lose his nerve, on the one hand he has the patience of a saint and does not allow himself to be provoked, and on the other hand, when it is factually useful, he acts quickly and with short decision-making. He is a real challenge for existences, or rather states built on sand.
Paul; Yes by “unconscious’ I really mean what Carl Jung called the “collective unconscious.” This refers to the unrecognized levels of Being deep beneath ego states and thus not consciously recognized as present at all. I see the unconscious as layered. There is the immediate subconscious, to which you appear to refer, and beneath that we find deeper unrecognized states of cosmic Being. And finally the planet itself. It is from these deeper realms that spiritual forces unrecognized by ego, and yet feared by it, emerge. Such forces are felt to be an alien threat and usually display a mythic content. The established ego has no experience of them and does not really know how to integrate them into its conscious life.
Carl Jung is suggesting that the slavic openness and mysticism so well exemplified by Russia serves as a conveyance of these deeper evolutionary forces to the distressed egoism of the West. So if planetary evolution wishes to move to rectify the imbalance that is so dangerously pressing in the Western ego states it can only come from the deeper realms of the “collective unconscious” In this process both Russia and China are cultural representatives of unrecognized evolutionary potentialities. Hence I see both China and Russia working together so well to evolve a higher evolutionary stage of planetary integrity. It is as if the planet itself is speaking to the distorted egoism of the West. The thing I like about your comment is that you open the essential question of self definition via relationship. I read you as drawing our attention to the necessary relationship between America and the planet itself.
The calls from the USA to China only show that the USA is blind and delusional as to the rest of the world.
Since the Democrats now love Dick Cheney, its no real surprise that the doctrine of ‘we don’t care about reality, we make reality’ has come along with Vikki Nuland and the Imperial Presidency.
But still, when you start to imagine the thought processes that could lead to such calls, you really have to understand that you are dropping down the rabbit hole and disappearing from reality into a world of delusion. To not understand the basic relations between USA-Russia and China at this date is just, well, mind-boggling. The fact that they thought it was even worth the calls is just staggering.
Yes, this should not really be a surprise. This is the country that thought that if Vietnam fell, then Los Angeles would be next. And of course more recently, that the streets of Baghdad would be lined with smiling children waving little (Chinese-made) American flags.
The scary part is the large number of nuclear weapons in the hands of these delusional idiots.
Very impressive, insightful and inspiring analysis of the Ukrainian reality. And as a bonus Pepe has incomparable humor. Thanks
I wonder if anyone can match Pepe’s style of calling spade a spade. Brilliantly written, as always, and thoroughly enjoyable.
“… and were more sanctions to come, Europe will pay a terrible price, not Russia”.
Yes, said that on a number of occasions. When sanctions were introduced in 2014, it was a perfidious Washington tactic to sanction Europe as well, forcing it to turn towards the US. EU countries lost, by the second half of 2016, 100 billion euros in trade, and risk losing even more if new sanctions are applied, including potentially Russian oil and gas, which cannot be diverted to Europe from other regions of the world, as those regions would end up without energy.
Any new sanctions would cause Russia some damage, but one has to take into consideration that Russian/Chinese trade amounts to more than 140 billion dollars a year, and this does not include trade with other countries.
EU countries know what additional sanctions would mean for them, which is the reason why we have a rift within the EU and NATO. Nobody in Europe really wants to be sacrificed for Anglo-American imperial ambitions, Poland and the Baltic countries probably excluded.
great vision of pepe. The Year of the Tiger is off to a strong start. Syria is getting hot. Xi and Putin’s meeting will be interesting. The world is changing, it’s turning. Moscow was chosen the best megalopolis city in the world in terms of quality of life and infrastructure development. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t have the crimes of new york and london and now berlin either.
this is yet another sign that liberals corrupt cities and civilizations, with their customs and degenerations. Journalists in Russia are dangerous, I mean liberals.
Country 404 is confused, lost, and schizophrenic.
In the West, cocaine has become the cup of coffee for wealthy liberals. Some liberals in Russia also drink this coffee, cocaine is entering Russia, along with other drugs such as the American evangelical Christian cult (Multi-level marketing (MLM) or pyramid selling/Christian cells), which is also liberal. Liberals are in Russia. Journalists seeking freedom of expression. These embedded 5th column agents, fearing attacks by patriots, are asking the Putin government to protect them from these threats. They need Putin’s protection so they can continue to attack Putin without fear. This is the idea of freedom of expression. In the West, we have a flexible press, happy to receive government money to repeat the government’s opinion, or a “free” press that carries the interests of its sponsors, whatever their goals! Russian journalists are winning the Nobel Prize, and they are working for the empire. They are big hypocrites. Did the editors of Novaya Gazeta also complain about the lack of freedom of expression in relation to Julian Assange? I bet not. And regarding the military technical equipment, the empire seeks a method to act in the country 404. Time passes, and the backstage is increasingly steaming, heating up.
Ya gotta love Pepe’s metaphors – especially the one of the two tigers.
I love Pepe’s “non-response response.”
Rhymes with Russia’s non-ultimatum ultimatum !!!
It’s no wonder the US asked for secrecy: their “response” stinks.
Under this same article on Unz Review I posted a comment, so as not to repeat here is the link:
some accompanying music:
content removed … saker has asked that we have no spoofing of anoymous name eg ‘anon y’mouse’ pick another name .. mod
but that’s been my consistent commenting name on many platforms for over ten years! what’s a mouse to do?
1) “our Western colleagues are not simply trying to ignore this key principle of international law agreed in the Euro-Atlantic space, but to completely forget it.”
The crooked Mike Pompeo already said it all “We Lied, Cheated and Stole”. The US never honored Treaties, Accords or Agreements. Wake up.
2) “The ultimate danger – especially for the European minions – is that the headless eagle will never let go of its former “indispensable” status without provoking another devastating war. In European soil.”
This time the nuclear war will also be fought on American soil.
Clear-eyed overview by the incomparable Pepe, thank you!