by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times
When it comes to sowing – and profiting – from division, Erdogan’s Turkey is quite the superstar.
Under the delightfully named Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), the Trump administration duly slapped sanctions on Ankara for daring to buy Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defence systems. The sanctions focused on Turkey’s defence procurement agency, the SSB.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s response was swift: Ankara won’t back down – and it is in fact mulling how to respond.
The European poodles inevitably had to provide the follow-up. So after the proverbial, interminable debate in Brussels, they settled for “limited” sanctions – adding a further list for a summit in March 2021. Yet these sanctions actually focus on as-yet unidentified individuals involved in offshore drilling in Cyprus and Greece. They have nothing to do with S-400s.
What the EU has come up with is in fact a very ambitious, global human-rights sanctions regime modeled after the US’s Magnitsky Act. That implies travel bans and asset freezes of people unilaterally considered responsible for genocide, torture, extrajudicial killings and crimes against humanity.
Turkey, in this case, is just a guinea pig. The EU always hesitates mightily when it comes to sanctioning a NATO member. What the Eurocrats in Brussels really want is an extra, powerful tool to harass mostly China and Russia.
Our jihadis, sorry, “moderate rebels”
What’s fascinating is that Ankara under Erdogan always seems to be exhibiting a sort of “devil may care” attitude.
Take the seemingly insoluble situation in the Idlib cauldron in northwest Syria. Jabhat al-Nusra – a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria – honchos are now involved in “secret” negotiations with Turkish-backed armed gangs, such as Ahrar al-Sharqiya, right in front of Turkish officials. The objective: to boost the number of jihadis concentrated in certain key areas. The bottom line: a large number of these will come from Jabhat al-Nusra.
So Ankara for all practical purposes remains fully behind hardcore jihadis in northwest Syria – disguised under the “innocent” brand Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Ankara has absolutely no interest in letting these people disappear. Moscow, of course, is fully aware of these shenanigans, but wily Kremlin and Defence Ministry strategists prefer to let it roll for the time being, assuming the Astana process shared by Russia, Iran and Turkey can be somewhat fruitful.
Erdogan, at the same time, masterfully plays the impression that he’s totally involved in pivoting towards Moscow. He’s effusive that “his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin” supports the idea – initially tabled by Azerbaijan – of a regional security platform uniting Russia, Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. Erdogan even said that if Yerevan is part of this mechanism, “a new page may be opened” in so far intractable Turkey-Armenia relations.
It will help, of course, that even under Putin pre-eminence, Erdogan will have a very important seat at the table of this putative security organization.
The Big Picture is even more fascinating – because it lays out various aspects of Putin’s Eurasia balancing strategy, which involves as main players Russia, China, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan.
On the eve of the first anniversary of the assassination of Gen Soleimani, Tehran is far from cowed and “isolated”. For all practical purposes, it is slowly but surely forcing the US out of Iraq. Iran’s diplomatic and military links to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon remain solid.
And with less US troops in Afghanistan, the fact is Iran for the first time since the “axis of evil” era will be less surrounded by the Pentagon. Both Russia and China – the key nodes of Eurasia integration – fully approve it.
Of course the Iranian rial has collapsed against the US dollar, and oil income has fallen from over $100 billion a year to something like $7 billion. But non-oil exports are going well over $30 billion a year.
All is about to change for the better. Iran is building an ultra-strategic pipeline from the eastern part of the Persian Gulf to the port of Jask in the Gulf of Oman – bypassing the Strait of Hormuz, and ready to export up to 1 million barrels of oil a day. China will be the top customer.
President Rouhani said the pipeline will be ready by the summer of 2021, adding that Iran plans to be selling over 2.3 million barrels of oil a day next year – with or without US sanctions alleviated by Biden-Harris.
Watch the Golden Ring
Iran is well linked to Turkey to the west and Central Asia to the east. An extra important element in the chessboard is the entrance of freight trains directly linking Turkey to China via Central Asia -bypassing Russia.
Earlier this month, the first freight train left Istanbul for a 8,693 km, 12-day trip, crossing below the Bosphorus via the brand new Marmary tunnel, inaugurated a year ago, then along the East-West Middle Corridor via the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, across Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.
In Turkey this is known as the Silk Railway. It was the BTK that reduced freight transport from Turkey to China from one month to only 12 days. The whole route from East Asia to Western Europe can now be travelled in only 18 days. BTK is the key node of the so-called Middle Corridor from Beijing to London and the Iron Silk Road from Kazakhstan to Turkey.
All of the above totally fits the EU’s agenda – especially Germany’s: implementing a strategic trade corridor linking the EU to China, bypassing Russia.
This would eventually lead to one of the key alliances to be consolidated in the Raging Twenties: Berlin-Beijing.
To speed up this putative alliance, the talk in Brussels is that Eurocrats would profit from Turkmen nationalism, pan-Turkism and the recent entente cordiale between Erdogan and Xi when it comes to the Uighurs. But there’s a problem: many a turcophone tribe prefers an alliance with Russia.
Moreover, Russia is inescapable when it comes to other corridors. Take, for instance, a flow of Japanese goods going to Vladivostok and then via the Trans-Siberian to Moscow and onwards to the EU.
The bypass-Russia EU strategy was not exactly a hit in Armenia-Azerbaijan: what we had was a relative Turkey retreat and a de facto Russian victory, with Moscow reinforcing its military position in the Caucasus.
Enter an even more interesting gambit: the Azerbaijan-Pakistan strategic partnership, now on overdrive in trade, defence, energy, science and technology, and agriculture. Islamabad, incidentally, supported Baku on Nagorno-Karabakh.
Both Azerbaijan and Pakistan have very good relations with Turkey: a matter of very complex, interlocking Turk-Persian cultural heritage.
And they may get even closer, with the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INTSC) increasingly connecting not only Islamabad to Baku but also both to Moscow.
Thus the extra dimension of the new security mechanism proposed by Baku uniting Russia, Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia: all the Top Four here want closer ties with Pakistan.
Analyst Andrew Korybko has neatly dubbed it the “Golden Ring” – a new dimension to Central Eurasian integration featuring Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan and the central Asian “stans”. So this all goes way beyond a possible Triple Entente: Berlin-Ankara-Beijing.
What’s certain as it stands is that the all-important Berlin-Moscow relationship is bound to remain as cold as ice. Norwegian analyst Glenn Diesen summed it all up: “The German-Russian partnership for Greater Europe was replaced with the Chinese-Russian partnership for Greater Eurasia”.
What’s also certain is that Erdogan, a master of pivoting, will find ways to simultaneously profit from both Germany and Russia.
Could someone clarify this for me?
How does the freight connect from Baku to China? Does it go across the Caspian to Kazakhstan? Does is go south through Iran and then across Central Asia?
The rail cars rollon to huge freight ferries and then rolloff at the other side. The ports are constructed to link the rail lines directly in position to the ferries, the way other vehicles rollon and rolloff ferryboats.
Here’s a link: https://yandex.ru/images/search?pos=3&img_url=https%3A%2F%2Finterfax.com.ua%2Fmedia%2Fthumbs%2Fimages%2F2017%2F10%2FI9bKXwByZdBD.jpg&text=rail%20ferry%20across%20the%20Caspian&lr=103008&rpt=simage&source=wiz
Amazing how countries can come up with creative ways of interconnecting, and developing trade and relationships, when the big, bad uncle finally gets sidelined! It’s about time!
(I seem to have read somewhere that Marco Polo’s journey to China and back may have inspired the Renaissance in Europe – if true, then EU just needs to remember its history a little better – and all would be clear. Except to that comprador elite.)
Thanks that information.
On another similar topic, I have often wondered if there was a way for the Iranians to ship their oil through the Caspian and then transit though Russia or Kazakhstan to avoid freight interception (piracy really) by the United States.
I looked up the answer to my own question. Iran is building a roll on- roll off shipping port in Bandar-e Anzalī on the Caspian Sea.
I think great things are occurring outside this country, as we bicker about control of exactly what “a virus”?
I’m not seeing good things in the future for most.
Over hearing conversation from mid aged woman about how approaching retired life was perceived at 30 or 40 and now the aches and pains of morning turning into an all day affair, and managing the pain and hunger going forward is becoming a challenge to bear.
Looks like the old Kerch crossing, but on a larger scale. Presumably it is subject to disruptions from unfavorable weather similar to those that used to affect the Kerch crossing prior to the opening of the bridge.
That was my question, too – how to get to Kazachs, while bypassing Russia. One would think the ferries slow down the transport (per L445) significantly. But maybe no… As usual, very informative, PE!
You would figure that a Caspian-Black Sea canal will be on the drawing boards soon.
“What the EU has come up with is in fact a very ambitious, global human-rights sanctions regime modeled after the US’s Magnitsky Act”
Fancy coming up with sanctions named after a crooked accountant and enabled by convicted fellon Bill Browder! Tells us all we need to know about an enfeebled West and its ongoing collapse.
A bit of history of the BTK railway
Pepe’s article is almost exclusively focused on the economic dynamics of the New Great Game. Security issues and terrorism are made minuscule by the Great Reality that economics is what geopolitics is all about. Power, hegemony, wealth, growth all flow from economics, not guns, planes and ships.
Erdogan has used his Turkic connections throughout Eurasia and his military, including his proxies from the amassed ranks of terrorists he feeds and arms in Syria to propel his foreign policies. But what he needs most of all is the elixir of development from trade and investment. Unfortunately, his war-making has shattered his economy and the instability of his country makes foreign direct investment too risky. He is starving for a rebound, yet he pursues his geopolitical goals with armed drones, terrorist proxies, and relentless militarism. It has earned him peer status with the other big players of the Game.
However, the US and EU/NATO have never for a moment since the failed coup against the Sultan let up on pursuing regime change. They will strangle his economy with sanctions (presumedly for the sin of buying the S-400 missile defense system from Russia). But, as we see, nearly weekly, in the case of Russia, US sanctions come for any cause the US government (President, Congress, Pentagon, State Dept) can think of. Russia using flush toilets and cooking potatoes are next, if the brain-dead Biden wants to put his thumbprint on some sanctions.
So, Erdogan has a basic problem. His currency and economy are crashing, he has millions of refugees inside his borders, his Syrian and Iraqi borders have a perpetual, armed enemy, the Kurds, and he has Kurds who live inside his borders. He has alienated Turkey’s European friends, made his military an outsider in NATO, and constantly pokes the bear with “accidental” shootdowns of Russian planes and helos.
It is hard to see him in power much longer. The stronger he gets as a regional ME, eastern Mediterranean power, the more Israel will want to eliminate him. Greece is about to be given what Erdogan has had at Incirlik AFB, US air power and US nuclear warheads. Greece is going to get the F-35s that were meant for Turkey’s AF.
He has no allies against Greece.
And everyday, Turkey gets poorer not richer from Erdogan’s expansionist machinations. Even his once valuable theft of Syrian oil is now being handed off, by the new big thief in the country, USA, to Erdogan’s enemies the Kurds.
He has tens of thousands of ISIS, AQ, Uyghur and al Nusra mouths to feed. The Sultan needs tens of billions of dollars or these wild dogs will be used by the French, British and US and Israel to fight against the Turkish military. It’s always about economics, and payroll has to be met, food and medicine has to be paid for.
Erdogan has one foot over in Libya and another over in Azerbaijan while he straddles the battle zone along the Syrian border. It is a precarious posture that tempts everyone he prods and pokes. He has one hand on the guns of war and the other hand open for “friends” who he hopes will bring him the economic miracle he desperately needs. So far, that hand remains empty.
What is not needed by China, Russia, Iran, or Pakistan is Erdogan. He is the sort of leader who does not bring added value. He brings problems and obstacles and misery. His shelf life is close to over. The only nation that has a use for him is Qatar, the wellspring of Muslim Brotherhood finances who use Erdogan as their proxy.
I am no fan of Erdogan or his expansionist policies, but I feel your comment is bordering on the emotional, which I understand where its coming from. However, this gives an unrealistic view of Turkey’s position and outlook.
“Shattered his economy and the instability”, “His currency and economy are crashing”.
The economic problems of Turkey are not mainly caused by their adventures in the region, but was part of an economic crisis and recession of 2018, which was heavily influenced by strained relations with the US. However, the outlook is a recovery not a crash, and also it has increased Turkey’s independence from the West. This can be seen in all the major sanctioned nations like Russia, China and Iran. Turkey is basically joining the sanctioned club.
I believe as the US under Biden increases sanctions, Turkey, with the largest economy in the Middle-East, will become even more closer to Russia. Erdogan knows this and he plans for this. Erdogan is very cunning in that he takes more or less calculated risks, whether they are geo-political, economic or ideological in nature.
“The stronger he gets as a regional ME, eastern Mediterranean power, the more Israel will want to eliminate him.”
This is highly unlikely, there is no evidence for this and Erdogan is now in the process of mending ties with Israel. Turkey and Israel heavily continue to cooperate in the intelligence field, including in the Azerbaijan-Armenia war. Baku plans to become a more mediating partner between them. Actually, while on the Israel subject, I am getting the feeling as if Pepe Escobar avoids including Israel within his Middle-East & Eurasian geo-political and economic analyses. Its a pity, because Israel has an important role and often pivots between different powers. On the other hand, I haven’t followed all of his work. Anyways now that Israel is buddying up to Arab Gulf states, they could become less dependent on Eurasian oil.
“bordering on the emotional”??
We disagree. You make a statement, never evidence it, then trot out your own ideas.
It’s not necessary to characterize my. comment quite ludicrously, then drone on your POV.
Why not just post your comment and not attach anything to mine?
Maybe you, like others, fear no one will read you unless you attach to some other comment.
Sack up and stand for your own ideas.
It’s Christmas season. Be well, stay safe and Happy Holidays.
It seems to me that Erdogan has job security because there is no alternative. Without the sultan, the Gullenists would be running Turkey. Russia made its preference clear when they saved Erdogan from the coup in 2016. If the Gullen movement was no longer an issue, then Erdogan becomes expendable. I don’t follow Turkey closely, but I think Gullen’s followers are mostly just waiting for their prison sentences to come to an end.
Erdogan was only able to improve Turkey’s economy thanks to real estate investments from the Saudis and other petro-states, mostly 2000-2007, and I think that capital flow has ended, so now Turkey is back into an economic crisis.
“What’s also certain is that Erdogan, a master of pivoting, will find ways to simultaneously profit from both Germany and Russia.”
Erdogan is as crooked as a corkscrew but that doesn’t mean he can keep pivoting forever. He got way in over his head in Libya and now the Russians are bombing his “moderate” head-choppers in Syria. When Israel figures out a way to force the USA to attack Iran, a few dozen of those 30 thousand or so Hezbollah missiles might fall on Ankara overwhelming those dumbed down for export S-300s he’s so proud of. He’d better have a better exit strategy than Gaddafi did a few years ago. Look what the West did to him.
What really happened is Pakistan has been dragging its feet on the CPEC China Pakistan Economic Corridor (due to US pressure). Iran and India broke off a deal to co-develop some ports (also due to US pressure) so now Iran and China will deal directly with each other…
Compare the numbers:
China- Pakistan deal USD 46 billion
China – Iran deal USD 400 billion (!)
Iran also has a multi-year deal with Russia for development of nuclear energy.
Of course there will be a regional economic “spillover effect” from these bilateral deals between Iran and China & Russia, but “Golden Ring Eurasian economic collaboration” seems to be more wishful thinking than anything else..Pakistan is still too much under US’ thumb… the Caucuses is a recent war zone…Turkey won’t reap more than transit fees …
“Golden Ring” featured strongly in Turkish dominated media, and could be a way for the Turkish leadership to “talk up” the Turkish lira which is in free fall..
Iran is a mature market of 84 million people held in suspended animation for decades. It has plenty of poverty, but its potential among educated people who grew up in a sophisticated culture before the Shiite regime in ’79 is enormous. High value products will do very well in Iran, as well as modern services, and the entire panoply of consumer goods. More than half the population is under 35 years old.
This is why the EU wants the US to stay out and leave Iran to them, why the Israelis and their ‘Abraham’ brothers fear the return of Iran as regional powerhouse, economically, and why the Chinese and the Russians, too, want a big presence inside that marketplace. Trade with Iran is going to be huge when the pressures are off.
One reason the US is trying to destroy the Islamic Republic is to dominate Iran economically as a market when/if a successor government turns toward the West.
Pakistan has 2.5 times the population, but it vastly much more poor. Thus, its marketplace fits with China which has the experience of lifting over a billion people out of poverty. The US has kept Pakistan under its thumb but has done very little to change the situation. Poor people don’t interest the American government or the American capitalists.
iran is resource rich, not simply vast oil & gas reserves but other crucial minerals & gold, as well as an educated young population. pakistan is fortunate to have imran khan, but the mullahs are like nasrallah, all trained in deep thinking, this sort of thinking is foreign to the west, almost as foreign as history. china is doing massive work in pakistan but both xi & imran khan know better than to broadcast it until the work is complete.
Re: Pakistan-China … perhaps you should read this?
i check out AT daily & appreciate many of its articles, particularly the articles on fusion & quantum mechanics, the take of that particular observer over the past 6mos imo follows the agenda of the US & india & perhaps david goldman. i’m not sure china broadcasts its moves through hong kong news sources. if you listen to the pepe hudson exchange, which the saker was wise enough to publish, you may come to suspect not everything the west publishes on the ongoing progress of china’s projects in pakistan is entirely the whole picture. we shall see.
Iran, Pakistan open 2nd border crossing for trade surge. The third will be open 2021.
Larchmonter that was a smart post. I can tell you this CPEC is floundering and after 7 odd years we’re seeing nothing tangible. Yes the power outages are getting addressed but nothing else has visibly changed. Gwader sees 1 or 2 ships per month if lucky, and who the hell would use those highways when there ain’t no industry nor anyone willing to pay the hefty tolls? These two items (power plants/ highways) formed the bulk of the CPEC spending. I sure as shit don’t see any improvement in the economy. Pakistan is on the verge of defaulting. $110 odd billion to the IMF and god knows maybe another $60-$70 billion to China as of today. We’re not looking flash. And to just put things into perspective, the Iranians have not signed off on the dotted line on that $400 billion Chinese deal. I don’t believe Iran is as desperate as Pakistan was. Them Iranians already got substantial infrastructure and are fairly self sufficient on many accounts. Plus they got that bitter taste of having dealt with China on over $400 billion in largely failed projects back during the early 2000’s with nothing to show for. I’m sure the Iranians here would corroborate my claims on that Iran/ China deal at least.
A European alliance with China, ironically mediated by the Turks (or not), is actually to the strategic advantage of Russia. Remember, war between China and the US is on the way. Russia, whether allied with China or not, will be the target of an American nuclear attack. This is what Daniel Ellsberg has been trying to warn us about. America’s nuclear plans involve an attack on both Russia and China and this has been a settled matter since the 1950s. Nothing’s changed. Therefore, I surmise, that the primary Russian strategic aim is to decouple Europe from America war aims. European integration with the new Chinese led Eurasian economy is the most likely means to such an end. Talk of ‘isolating’ Russia is just talk. Russia in the last decade has emerged as the primary supplier of security goods in Eurasia – and beyond. It has achieved the tripartite capacities that Kissinger once specified for American strategic leadership: a preponderance in weapons exports, control of energy flows, ability to export agricultural goods (‘control energy and you control industry; control agriculture and you control populations’). Presently Russia is a world leader in all three capacities. Let the Chinese and Europeans develop their economic partnerships. Russia’s position lay in providing diplomatic and security goods. Again, a European economic alliance with China serves Russian strategic purposes – and the Turks can do what they like. Russia’s activities are actually essential to China’s Belt and Road plans. Finally, the Northern Sea Route to Europe counts for something, surely?
Kevin you make several good points in your comment.
However, “an alliance with China” is not in the cards with Europe. They are trying to re-fashion the broken EU with superglue, and Germany and France and a few others are playing with the concept of a European military force, distinct from NATO (without abandoning NATO). Where would they get the unity for an alliance with China?
A trade deal is what they seek and have been working on. How that ever comes about in reality we will soon see.
If they don’t find the gonads to complete and operate the NS-2 pipeline, not only will they backslide into energy dependence on American gas at +20% and upward over the cost of Russian gas, but they won’t get the huge supply of hydrogen those climate change wackjobs on the Continent want for the next level of energy supply. That hydrogen will be coming from Russia through the same pipeline if they stand firm and stiff-arm the US and its sanctions.
What are the odds that the Europeans can find the spine to do these things?
When Russia pivots East, which will happen if the NS-2 deal is blocked, the Euro weaklings will find another enormous problem they have created for themselves. 40 million Ukies with no gas, freezing their Russophobia asses every winter. They belong to Europe, their adoptive parents. The gas for Ukraine is the gas for Europe.
The Russians won’t have a problem selling that gas. Eurasian countries and China will buy it.
One other point in your comment. War between the US and China/Russia. They will be the target of a nuclear attack? The weapons the US would face in such a science fiction event make that event totally a delusion.
The Russians have an array of weapons for which the US has no defense. It will have no defense for 5-10 years. By then, the Russians and Chinese will have new weapons for which the US will have no defense.
Unless the US is led by a total traitor regime that intends for it to be obliterated, the US will never start such a war. Right now, even a Tomahawk missile accidentally fired, with a non-nuclear war head, incoming, for instance, across the Black Sea from Romania, would likely cost Romania its existence, and the same for a destroyer if it was the platform for launch, as well as Eurocom HQs in Germany. So a nuclear attack, envisioned in 1950 and brought up to date is fantasy, a drug-aided fantasy. Russia quite easily will destroy everything that is USA, everywhere on the planet. All features of government, country, military, command and control, including the features of topographic America on the North American continent. The coastlines, hills and dales, forests, ports and cities, towns and villages, everything will be gone.
Attacking Russia is suicide. There won’t be war between or among these three great nations. Russia, China and the US all will continue past this period of transition in the geopolitical relationship of the trio. The US will be losing its hegemonic powers, but will be one of three.
The military conflicts they will test are at the peripheries, using proxies and PMCs. There won’t be a world war. Russia and China would never start war and the US won’t because it will be utterly destroyed.
‘An alliance with China is not in the cards with Europe’ .. ‘A trade deal is what they seek’ You’re right; I concede the point. I used the term in a much too loose manner to suggest that this would resemble the ‘lets be friends with Russia so as to isolate China’ kind of narrative that both Kissinger and Brzezinski advocated. It’s just talk and can’t happen for reasons such as you’ve cited.
You’re superglue metaphor is apt. I to think these Euro elites have painted themselves into a corner and are now in a condition of stasis, not unlike their brethren on the other side of the Atlantic. For each measure of support for the EU there’s another against. The political condition is basically one of gridlock. Industrial Germany would like to expand into Russia’s and everybody else”s markets but German financial capital is joined to the American Fed at the hip. The sanctions policy of ‘the better half’ of empire will do German industry no good.
‘What are the odds that the Europeans can find the spine to do these things?’ Indeed. I was just watching a Kishore Mahbubani interview wherein he pointedly cited George Kennan who asserted that the winner of the coming cold war would be the power that generated the most spiritual vitality, I think he used those terms. This is not a quality we look to Europe for. And I doubt anybody else will either, their penchant for moralistic sanctions notwithstanding.
On pipeline politics, a question I wonder about. How flexible is the pipeline grid? If oil and gas routed to Europe was determined inadvisable could it be redirected to China? Is the infrastructure laid out for such things?
The other matter of war is much more serious. I’m well aware that you, along with the Saker and Smoothie rarely fail to remind the light headed that war, real war, between the nuclear powers is suicidal. This position is an anchor point of rationality and I cannot but support it, for this most obvious reason. Yet I advanced the prospect of war because I believe it, though, perhaps it would be better to be quiet about it. It would be too much to get into at present so I’ll try to write up an outline of why I think the insane matter is possible. For now, the essential argument I aim to make is that America’s leadership consists of people who are not in their right minds and the prospect of suicide is very real. All the arguments you advance are, I think, sound. But it all depends on a corresponding American rationality able to distinguish what is real from fabricated lies. Here, I think, is the problem.
Otherwise, thank you for commenting. I always look forwards to your posts on both this and Smoothie’s blog.
Kevin, Thanks for your followup comment.
As for war, I accepted Dr. Edmund Burke’s thesis back in the late 50’s that all wars are Economic, for natural resources.
Thus, where would the US risk getting into war and for what?
In the 60s it was SE Asia for natural gas and oil in the South China Sea. That no longer is a need.
In the 90s, it became Iraq. For oil. Kuwait and Iraq oil. That no longer is a need.
In Libya and Syria, for oil. That no longer is a need.
The US might have tried Inner Mongolia for rare earths. It is a need, but a war there is not possible for the US.
Is there anywhere in the Far East that the US would need something from Russia? I don’t think fish and oil are important enough for a war.
The economic reason for war against Russia might be the Arctic, the Northern Sea Route.
However, the US has very little to ship through that corridor. Operating for gas and oil in the North is beyond the US. They own one small ice breaker and are years away from being operationally capable to contest the Arctic.
So, the US doesn’t need natural resources. It needs wealthy people to invest in US companies on the stock market and to buy US real estate to keep that market sector up high.
There seems to me no need, no reason for a war by the US. And China and Russia certainly don’t want to be bothered by war. So much so, that both use PMCs to do their fighting and extending their security interests in distant lands.
What the US wants to do is force a war for them to fight, but not against the US. The US would love to see Russia crash into Ukraine even if the Ukies would only last hours. It would seal Russia off with EU sanctions for decades. And the US would love for China to attack Taiwan. That would ruin China in ASEAN nations for decades. But the US would not fight in either case. They are just trying to figure out how to get those wars started.
Agreed, there are no compelling material reasons for America to go to war, even oil or rare earths and such. In fact, America is not the industrial economy it once was. These days it’s the rentiers, the financial elites that rule the roost. But there is one economic problem that America is seriously vulnerable to and that’s the status of the petro dollar. Asian labourers work like dogs to make stuff that Americans pay for with money that descends from heaven. As well, the petro dollar is what funds the militarised economy. With Russia, Iran, and Venezuela being among the leading energy producers, largely trading with China, which is presently introducing the digital yuan, developed to settle international accounts for just this sort of trade, America worries and rightly so. In fact we are actually at war already. Larry Romanoff has argued that all the biological mishaps that seem to visit China more than anywhere else is indicative of this. But as you say, this is not great power military confrontation but rather so many gambits of ‘asymmetrical’ war, with proxies, plausible deniability, and plenty of fog (also agree with your remarks regarding Ukraine and Taiwan). So, I think your basic point stands. We have recovered the predicament of the Cold War where the great risk concerned ‘accidents’ that could escalate quickly, uncontrollably. I think this is so but there are two differences. One, America is no longer the stable and relatively prosperous country it once was. Two, the adults in the room have been sent out to pasture. The incompetents that Smoothie is forever complaining of are thick as flies in all aspects of Western governance. In times past the spooks kept a low profile but now they’ve seized control of the media with both hands and have gone on a propaganda binge like nothing I’ve seen before – throughout the West. We are watching a process that Dmitry Orlov was the first to take notice of. It’s all headed in the direction of unreason and worse. The basic argument (you cited Edmond Burke but I could only find the great founder of modern conservatism of the late 18th century) to do with economic rationality assumes, well, rationality. But it’s just this that seems to be winding down. So then, I think the above points are worth mentioning but that said it’s all a bit inconclusive.
Pardon my brain freeze: Dr. Albert Burke. It’s been a lot of decades and the old gears aren’t slick as they once were.
“Enough Good Men: A Way of Thinking” his basic book.
He had Russian roots. His TV shows were brilliant lectures, but entertaining use of the medium.
This was when the US valued true intellectual power.
thank you, both kf & lm445. is it possible, as many have suggested, that israel may drag the usa into the middle east? while as you both agree the usa mightn’t need the oil, other treasure, land & water, israel may covet all of the aforementioned, & as nuclear war in the middle east is agreed it cannot be nuclear or it will lay the entire region to waste…israel seems very set upon achieving its goals & extending its borders.
Who is Smoothie?
Military expert and author Andrei Martyanov.
His blog is called Reminiscence of the Future. For the blog, he uses the Smoothie avatar.
HIs books are excellent. He has no peer on analysis of military affairs.
“The Real Revolution in Military Affairs” is his latest.
He has a third book soon to publish. “Disintegration: Indicators of the Coming American Collapse”
His first book was “Losing Military Supremacy: The Myopia of American Strategic Planning.”
He works in the Seattle area, aviation industry. Emigrated here 20+ years ago.
A stone cold expert who takes no sh*t on the subject from anyone, a product of the great math-based hardcore Soviet educational system that has made Russia stand up and lead the world in weapons systems.
But he has a very eclectic sense of culture, so the blog is rich in his tastes in music, literature, film, et al.
and … so to economics.
Someone wants to buy my book or my painting I rejoice. Should he or she be Englisn, Chinese, Russian or Indian I see little difference so long as my bank account allows me to survive a little longer.
There are many here much wiser than I and see a much bigger picture of finance between countries rather than just people. Will an oil pipelind from Russia to Timbucktoo make a difference to an painter’s situaion?
From the point of view of an individual that seeks a better life and sees that today beauty is rejoicing in the ugly, poetry in the lack of verse, music as silence and improving the human life style as a factor of a profit margin is very depressing.
As painters we paint what is happening in front of us as did Rembrant, Vermeer and many others … though I am not in that class, but it was a basic understanding of humanity that allowed many old masterpieces to be produced and influenced so many people.
My point is – has international trade, oil, money, finance etc, become such a monoculture that anyone seeking to manufacture another existence without a political…. ism at the end. What is money without love, beauty and a garden in the sun? Once we lived in a house, in a lane, in a village, in a town and in a country. Now the world is next door and it is huge.
@John, What is money without love? The Zion system of existence, for ‘us’ not for ‘you’.
Yes, trade, human flesh, body parts for sale, oil, finance, minerals, petty paintings(pun intended) are all part of the new Chosenculture. Canned music, canned tv programming, canned education, canned arts, conned science, conned politics, canned freedoms, a huge world with the majority, in the can and conned
Exactly! I had not seeing the world like this, before; but it is exactly as you say. Depressing… However, this situation is not going to last forever. Change may not happen in our lifetime; but it will happen, one day. Humanity is not going to be exterminated forever.
A minor correction. ‘Supply of Hydrogen’? There are no hydrogen mines. There is no terrestrial source of hydrogen. Hydrogen is produced by expending energy that comes from another source, fossil-fuel, nuclear, solar, wind. Either electrolytic or thermal separation from water. I suppose Russia could produce hydrogen and pipe it somewhere, but that makes very little sense. If Germany wants ‘hydrogen’ it can use an NG power plant to make some. Hydrogen makes no sense anyway. It is an energy distribution system, that doesn’t exist. If we don’t want to use fossil fuels directly, then we have an energy distribution system in place already, which can be expanded … it is called the electrical grid.
Russia will be generating hydrogen in the coming years.
This is Gazprom’s presentation of hydrogen from natural gas transporting through their pipelines as a methane-hydrogen mix, separated at exit of the pipe. You’ll need Yandex to translate.
The article below details it the Russian business plan. I have supplied a Yandex translation of an excerpt.
How Russia will develop a new industry
The roadmap includes the following steps.
At the end of the year, officials will develop a concept for the development of hydrogen energy, as well as support measures for pilot projects for the production of hydrogen.
At the beginning of 2021, there should be incentives for exporters and buyers of hydrogen in the domestic market. The government is not yet discussing specific support measures for hydrogen, say two participants in the meetings on this topic.
The first producers of hydrogen will be Gazprom and Rosatom, according to the roadmap. The companies will launch pilot hydrogen installations in 2024-at nuclear power plants, gas production facilities and raw material processing enterprises.
In 2021, Gazprom is to develop and test a methane-hydrogen gas turbine.
Until 2024, Gazprom will study the use of hydrogen and methane-hydrogen fuel in gas installations (gas turbine engines, gas boilers, etc.) and as a motor fuel in various types of transport.
Rosatom will build a pilot test site for hydrogen-powered railway transport in 2024. We are talking about the transfer of trains to hydrogen fuel cells on Sakhalin, which was announced in 2019 by Russian Railways, Rosatom and Transmashholding, says one of the participants in the discussion.
This article discusses various efforts around the world.
And in the USA, a plant is in operation in SoCal.
Solena Group. Lancaster, CA, a plasma heating technology with storage in sodium borohydride, a technology spun off NASA.
Such interesting developments for future trade links, with Pepe’s experience to make sense of it all.. A dire global outlook is creating new economic partnerships out of necessity, with the dysfunctional EU & US fuming on the sidelines..
China’s trade with Pakistan is conducted mainly by boat from Guangdong (Canton) Province.. The completion of a Paki-Baku-Istanbul corridor will complete the southern circle, while India chose to be a US lackey.. As always, all east-west roads run through Turkey, where Erdogan is not a bad partner to have in the midst of such hostilities from the western crybabies.. Look for a major trade / development venture in the near future, as China is well aware of Turkey’s importance..
When the logistics were planned for this 1st Istanbul-Xian route, Armenia was definitely by-passed, as the planners would rather include a goofy cross-Caspian train-ferry than include Armenia..
The main & established Xian-Euro northern route is completely separate from the Istanbul-Xian, which is why Russia was hardly “by-passed”.. The northern corridor, runs Xian-Kazahkstan-Russia-Ukraine-Poland.. There are newer ports of origin from northern China to various destinations in Europe..
The German decision to bypass Russia to trade with China will go down in history as a decision to invade the Soviet Union. Germany cannot compete with Russia in trade with China for reasons of geography and history. China will never forget that Stalin’s Soviet Union brought industry and development to Revolutionary China. Germany along with England was part of the Century of Humiliation for China. As the US collapses, so does Germany and England. China can insist in transporting goods through Russia at a lower cost and smaller footprint.
This is morality above business… Yes, this is what decent civilizations do.
I don’t understand this wishy washy nonsense of Russia/ China/ Iran with jihadi Al-Qaeda wahabbi countries of turkey and pakistan, and Pepe’s incessant rhetoric in pumping this regional connectivity? Do we now assume that the troika in its desperation has to accommodate jihadi/ wahabbi/ Al-Qaeda ex-CIA outposts? Andrew Korbybko is a paid western kook. I have read his rubbish and it disgusts me. Just nonsense. How do we accommodate Al-Qaeda societies? Come on!
Turkey is one of the few countries that hasnt made many mistakes in the past 100 years since Ataturk modernized it.
Being at the crossroads of east and west and north south it placed it in a unique position and has made them astute.
It can play a key role in damping conflict between the west-east tensions.