By Pepe Escobar – posted with permission
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stresses urgent need for international coordination ‘to build a shared future’
Few postmodern political pantomimes have been more revealing than the hundreds of so-called “international decision-makers,” mostly Western, waxing lyrical, disgusted or nostalgic over “Westlessness” at the Munich Security Conference.
“Westlessness” sounds like one of those constipated concepts issued from a post-party bad hangover at the Rive Gauche during the 1970s. In theory (but not French Theory) Westlessness in the age of Whatsapp should mean a deficit of multiparty action to address the most pressing threats to the “international order” – or (dis)order – as nationalism, derided as a narrow-minded populist wave, prevails.
Yet what Munich actually unveiled was some deep – Western – longing for those effervescent days of humanitarian imperialism, with nationalism in all its strands being cast as the villain impeding the relentless advance of profitable, neocolonial Forever Wars.
As much as the MSC organizers – a hefty Atlanticist bunch – tried to spin the discussions as emphasizing the need for multilateralism, a basket case of ills ranging from uncontrolled migration to “brain dead” NATO got billed as a direct consequence of “the rise of an illiberal and nationalist camp within the Western world.” As if this were a rampage perpetrated by an all-powerful Hydra featuring Bannon-Bolsonaro-Orban heads.
Far from those West-is-More heads in Munich is the courage to admit that assorted nationalist counter-coups also qualify as blowback for the relentless Western plunder of the Global South via wars – hot, cold, financial, corporate-exploitative.
For what it is worth, here’s the MSC report. Only two sentences would be enough to give away the MSC game: “In the post-Cold War era, Western-led coalitions were free to intervene almost anywhere. Most of the time, there was support in the UN Security Council, and whenever a military intervention was launched, the West enjoyed almost uncontested freedom of military movement.”
There you go. Those were the days when NATO, with full impunity, could bomb Serbia, miserably lose a war on Afghanistan, turn Libya into a militia hell and plot myriad interventions across the Global South. And of course none of that had any connection whatsoever with the bombed and the invaded being forced into becoming refugees in Europe.
West is more
In Munich, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha got closer to the point when she said she found “Westlessness” quite insular as a theme. She made sure to stress that multilateralism is very much an Asian feature, expanding on the theme of ASEAN centrality.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, with his customary finesse, was sharper, noting how “the structure of the Cold War rivalry is being recreated” in Europe. Lavrov was a prodigy of euphemism when he noted how “escalating tensions, NATO’s military infrastructure advancing to the East, exercises of unprecedented scope near the Russian borders, the pumping of defense budgets beyond measure – all this generates unpredictability.”
Yet it was Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi who really got to the heart of the matter. While stressing that “strengthening global governance and international coordination is urgent right now,” Wang said, “We need to get rid of the division of the East and the West and go beyond the difference between the South and the North, in a bid to build a community with a shared future for mankind.”
“Community with a shared future” may be standard Beijing terminology, but it does carry a profound meaning as it embodies the Chinese concept of multilateralism as meaning no single state has priority and all nations share the same rights.
Wang went farther: The West – with or without Westlessness– should get rid of its subconscious mentality of civilization supremacy; give up its bias against China; and “accept and welcome the development and revitalization of a nation from the East with a system different from that of the West.” Wang is a sophisticated enough diplomat to know this is not going to happen.
Wang also could not fail to raise the Westlessness crowd’s eyebrows to alarming heights when he stressed, once again, that the Russia-China strategic partnership will be deepened – alongside exploring “ways of peaceful coexistence” with the US and deeper cooperation with Europe.
What to expect from the so-called “system leader” in Munich was quite predictable. And it was delivered, true to script, by current Pentagon head Mark Esper, yet another Washington revolving door practitioner.
21st Century threat
All Pentagon talking points were on display. China is nothing but a rising threat to the world order – as in “order” dictated by Washington. China steals Western know-how; intimidates all its smaller and weaker neighbors; seeks an “advantage by any means and at any cost.”
As if any reminder to this well-informed audience was needed, China was once again placed at the top of the Pentagon’s “threats,” followed by Russia, “rogue states” Iran and North Korea, and “extremist groups.” No one asked whether al-Qaeda in Syria is part of the list.
The “Communist Party and its associated organs, including the People’s Liberation Army,” were accused of “increasingly operating in theaters outside China’s borders, including in Europe.” Everyone knows only one “indispensable nation” is self-authorized to operate “in theaters outside its borders” to bomb others into democracy.
No wonder Wang was forced to qualify all of the above as “lies”: “The root cause of all these problems and issues is that the US does not want to see the rapid development and rejuvenation of China, and still less would they want to accept the success of a socialist country.”
So in the end Munich did disintegrate into the catfight that will dominate the rest of the century. With Europe de facto irrelevant and the EU subordinated to NATO’s designs, Westlessness is indeed just an empty, constipated concept: all reality is conditioned by the toxic dynamics of China ascension and US decline.
The irrepressible Maria Zakharova once again nailed it: “They spoke about that country [China] as a threat to entire humankind. They said that China’s policy is the threat of the 21st century. I have a feeling that we are witnessing, through the speeches delivered at the Munich conference in particular, the revival of new colonial approaches, as though the West no longer thinks it shameful to reincarnate the spirit of colonialism by means of dividing people, nations and countries.”
An absolute highlight of the MSC was when diplomat Fu Ying, the chairperson on foreign affairs for the National People’s Congress, reduced US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to dust with a simple question: “Do you really think the democratic system is so fragile” that it can be threatened by Huawei?
What the West would really like is to go back to the days of the Opium War Treaties.
I’m not so sure Jiri, I have been following one the more powerful American oligarchs, Mike Bloomberg, he seems to be very conciliatory when it comes to China. He’s on record defending the Chinese system and president Xi by stating that the Chinese political system is a representative form of government and not an autocratic dictatorship. In fact, one of his presidential campaign pledges is to stop the US trade retaliation against China and to try to work with China instead of confronting China
Of course, Bloomberg’s critics point out that Bloomberg is heavily invested in China, and that his position is the result of a corrupt globalist shilling for China because like most shills he’s sold out his principles for money. He even got savaged on tonight’s democrat debate by Pete Buttguy who mocked him for thinking that China’s “belligerence” could be shaped by American engagement with china and the use of soft power when the reality is that only direct aggressive hard power and confrontation moderates chinese policy. Pete Buttguy seem to be making the case that the idea of reasoning with China is foolhardy and a hardline is what works. This is really interesting because everyone of the leftwing Democrat presidential contenders echoed the line that a hardline confrontation with china is necessary.
Bloomberg states that his views are held by other American billionaire class business leaders. So isn’t that great!? American billionaires generally are for engagement with China. On the other hand Trump supporters hold the view that the US elite are group of sold out whores to China that have zero concert for the middleclass and working class and have worked hard to cash in on cheap chinese labor at the expense of the American working class.
If the American oligarchs win then US will drop their retaliation against what has been termed chinese mercantilism, however if the section of both democrats party that pretends to be pro middle class or pro-workingclass and the Trump wing of Republicans both have their way, then the situation for China will only get worse and more confrontational.
So the situation is not certain yet.
Looks to me like the two parties are playing Good Cop Bad Cop.
Jiri, I don’t think that the 2 parties (democrats and Republicans) are playing good cop bad cop as you state, I think they’re hostility towards China has become real.
What I’m saying is that both American Political Parties are now hostile to China because of the dynamic Trump has created. And now, the hostility towards China also includes the US Deep state as represented by their chosen candidate, Pete Buttguy who openly advocates for a hardline against China. The recent unsealed declassified court evidence against Huawei has shown hard evidence from source code that China was indeed embedding backdoors into Huawei mobile core networking controller and switching nodes, even RT news admitted this point only this week after the evidence was just declassified.
The people within the American system that one observes making the case for cooperation and normalization with China are those business and banking class Americans that are now termed as sold out elitists (people like Bloomberg, Carl Icahn, the Walton family that owns Walmart, Paul Krugman, Friedman, etc.) that are clearly coming out openly in favor of China. They aren’t faking their support for China, their profits and agenda depend on it. You now hear open contempt for these interests with them being referred to as zero-value middlemen and carpetbaggers. This includes US/Western journalists too who work for US media organizations (such as Politico) that have commercial obligations towards China based media companies, as revealed US MSM last night.
The belief amongst most middle class Americans is that it is these elitists that have transferred US/EU/Japanese production to chinese factories, or made a killing importing very low cost chinese good from China, marking up the price several fold and then selling them to American consumer at below local goods prices. It is these people that have hollowed out a sizeable chunk of US production and driven local manufacturers either out of business or forced them too to transfer production out of the US to China. Certainly that’s the case Trump has made.
Bloomberg’s awkward self-blind arrogance, conflict of interests, his astonishing ignorance, and his overt patronising attitude towards everyone has only further reaffirmed these suspicions against the US oligarch class amongst average Americans.
” The recent unsealed declassified court evidence against Huawei has shown hard evidence from source code that China was indeed embedding backdoors into Huawei mobile core networking controller and switching nodes, even RT news admitted this point only this week after the evidence was just declassified.”
What evidence? I just watched RT’s “Boom $ Bust” interviewing Andy Purdy. He goes on record to say thatthat Huawei has NOT seen any evidence from the US that there is a backdoor.
However, the US and CIA has been outed:
So, talk about hypocrisy! The US can spy on anybody that they want, and the evidence has been revealed; or the allegations NOT substantiated on Huawei are more of an international threat.
“The revelation that the CIA (and German Intelligence) was in secret control of the Swiss cryptography firm Crypto AG highlights the hypocrisy of US ‘security concerns‘ over the advance of Huawei and other firms.”
That’s not quite fair to Bloomberg–I don’t think he sold out his principles for money. I don’t expect he ever had any principles to sell out–or rather, money is his principle.
Really, check out some quotes from that guy, his loyalty to wealth is unshakeable, whether it’s backing tax cuts for the rich or opposing increases in the minimum wage or literally saying he favours regressive taxation because problematic behaviour by the poor will be curbed by taking some of their money away.
Yes, the West would like to go back to the 19th century opium “trade” and wars, something the Chinese cannot forget. They use the English language because they have to, not because they like it, while syphilis in China is known as the “English disease”.
What we have now are the closing days of the Atlantist strategy, began in 1776 with the banker created United States, the banker financed and organized French “revolution” of 1789, and continued with Napoleons invasion of Russia in 1812, when “Bonny” was generously financed by the Rothschild’s, who instigated the revolutions of 1830, 1848, and the Russian “revolution” of 1917, not to mention financing two world wars in conjunction with their banker cousins in the US. Historians never fully explained how Germany could finance two world wars, nor how German industry could function through both wars, bearing in mind the only raw material it has is coal.
What is the Atlantist strategy ? Simple. The Atlantic powers want to prevent the creation of one, or more continental powers, who would end up controlling Euro-Asia, like Russia and China. Two world wars were fought to prevent this. It failed. Neither Russia and China are willing to fall for the old political trick of divide and conquer, as Chinese foreign Minister Wang Yi stipulated in Munich, underlining that Russian-Chinese cooperation would be increased. The East is rising and the West is incapable of stopping this, short of a nuclear or biological war. That virus in China I find highly suspicious.
Yes, the article is correct in stating that the EU is subordinated to NATO, which is no big surprise, bearing in mind the EU is a copy of the US Federation, where both have central banks controlled by private bankers. However, the article is not correct in stating that Europe is irrelevant, as that would be going too far. Yes, Europe has been made impotent by the EU, which curtailed the sovereign status of European states, as intended. However, as we all know, everything revolves around money. The US instigated sanctions against Russia caused EU states to lose 100 billion euros by the second half of 2016, something that was bitterly resented. What the total losses amount at the present moment I am not familiar with. However, such a situation cannot last permanently. During the past few years analysts have been stating that a rift will occur between European and US elites, with the European ones turning towards the East, which I think is inevitable, all the more so since Washington has implemented arrogant imperial threats towards Europe, both with respect to the Nord Stream – 2 gas pipeline and the export of Chinese 5G high tech. The US empire is doing what all empires do when collapsing, both issuing and applying threats, which speed up their actual collapse. As far as I can see, the elites in Europe are waiting for an opportune moment to turn towards the East. This, of course, will provoke Washington to do something. We shall see what.
B.F.: Thanks for this explanation.
> the chairperson on foreign affairs for the National People’s Congress, reduced US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to dust with a simple question:
From my viewing of the moment, it looked like she reduced Pelosi to dust just by standing up. I lost it at:
Pelosi: “She’s from China!”
Pelosi: “She’s from”… (turns back to audience with an awkward smile)
Maybe I’m just not used to watching American politicians.
These are the same ‘people’ who have brainwashed their own populations to believe that mankind is its own worst enemy, as opposed to themselves of course. I guess it really is always ‘someone else’s fault’, if you ask them (even if they are talking about something that they, themselves, are actually doing… to the people they are doing it to… while they are doing it…).
I have to wonder what it is that they secretly tell themselves that they actually are when they are alone, and there is nobody else there to lie to.
My guess is they are busy dreaming up conspiracy’s and their no fault plan to apply them.
The geopolitical landscape is littered with Western vassals. In the hands of the Cult of Liberalism, these colonies of American Imperialism can no longer function as sovereign states. They are capons, neutered, terrified by the global financial dominance of the US more than by its military might.
It is the sociopathy of American diplomacy that whips these vassals to spout whatever nonsense the US dictates. Obey or be destroyed. Those are the Rules.
Only the architects of Eurasian Integration and multi-polarity stand in defiance to the Hegemonic Beast. Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, sometimes India, sometimes Philippines and, of course, the victims of American war crimes, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Serbia resist.
There is no diplomacy with America. Obey or be destroyed. The RuleMaker dictates. You obey.
So, we are at the end of geopolitical relationships where the US rules. Elsewhere, SCO, ASEAN, BRICS, BRI, AIIB, are healthy relationships among scores of nations.
This leaves the US facing a wall of humanity and the vast majority of nations in both hemispheres who not only reject American Imperialism but embrace Russia and China as the last best hope for Peace and Progress. They all know the West/US does not want their part of the globe developed. They understand that there will be a Feudal system like a permanent yoke placed upon them and their neighbors.
So, we shall see who wins in Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Cuba and Venezuela. You can tell by Lavrov and Wang and by watching the Russian military that the Hegemon is confronting a Resistance the US never accounted for in its strategies.
Yes, when they got rid of Stalin / Beria and Mosaddegh [i.e. got control over the USSR and Iran] in 1953, they thought their NWO (i.e. AngloZionist world domination) was within reach.
But they underestimated Russia’s (2000), Iran’s (1979), and especially Communist China’s resilience (China proved incorruptible).
So, now the Evil Empire has launched a new (real) Cold War on the free world [i.e. the socialist East], as real, vicious, and fought by all means as the (last, pre-1953) one on Stalin’s Marxist-Leninist Soviet Union.
Sociopathy and caponocracy. Has a nice ring, eh?
East-West divide – yep!! Happy to keep the divide, when its REALLY a communist, democracy divide.
China wouldn’t even work well with the Soviet Union and they were BOTH communist.
The US needs another Senator McCarthy come along to “drain the swamp” of the commies in the US, so definitely not interested to “build a shared future” with china.
Excuse me, Sam; have you ever been to the planet Earth?
It did work well between USA and China when relations between USSR and China were sour (that is when Americans helped the Chinese establish manufacturing zones), it also worked well between Khmer Rouge and USA, Americans even helped Cambodia within the UN despite the killing fields. Nothing to do with communism, my friend, everything to do with great power competition and rivalry, just have a look at the 19th century.
The Khmer Rouge were armed by the USA and her allies as well as China.
British SAS special forces were also dispatched to the jungles of Cambodia by Margaret Thatcher to train the Khmer Rouge after they were deposed by the Vietnamese Army.
“Do you really think the democratic system is so fragile” that it can be threatened by Huawei?”
Yes indeed, LOL. Bloody Huawei! Bet thst had them spluttering all over their iPhones.
Lets them keep demonizing China, Russia, Iran, Yemen,… actually the list only grows. It is growing every day indeed. The criteria to be included is the usual: dare to develop, to become independent or two seek for the well being of your population and you are labelled a rough state.
I see here in Europe how it works. People can’t clean their houses any more or trash the garbage. The refugee cleaning ladies and guys have became an indispensable accessory. Same applies for care of the elderly relatives. Soon Europeans will not be able to even walk. As soon as an immigrant dares to study or to organize some business, the sky gets down.
The hysteria is all about the fact they are starting to realize their days are numbered. Shrinking birth rates, foreign languages they don’t understand getting more spoken more than native ones and many other layers of obsolescence at work. French now is just a kind of lingua franca, not even the more spoken idiom in many localities in France anyway. I suppose same applies for German. The politic of bombing the world and aborting development wherever it happened created at first a waves of refugees sure, but now Europe is being colonized from inside. The nationalist movements popping out all around are just a futile reaction to an irreversible phenomena. Did you realize europeans can’t be nationalist without being racist? This thing about west values is bullshit. There is no democracy anywhere. For sure, formal democracy in the country of the other makes the life easier to the interventionists, like for example it helps to get elected dudes like Bolsonaro in Brazil… the hysteria about election meddling in USA is just the robber’s paranoia speaking loud.
So, I will not respect european leadership, and aligned brainwashed european citizens for completeness sake, until I see them criticizing Saudi Arabia or stopping backing coups d’etat in Africa and South America.
Here at my workplace, everyone has something negative to tell about the coronavirus outbreak in China, blaming the chinese for everything. No one even cogitate the simple possibility of offering help, which would be the normal decent attitude when witnessing to someone in trouble.
So, lets them to get back to their explicit colonialist instance. This time it will be different though.
“The refugee cleaning ladies and guys have became an indispensable accessory. ”
I also have seen an immigrant having to walk the dog for a native woman, clearly she was too busy to even do that while pursuing her career . Just imagine the cultural shock that guy went thru not to mention the disgust he had for her . I could see it on his face, the utter disbelief what he is experiencing at that moment.
+ agree with everything you said
Bear in mind the EU is totally neutered on purpose as regards economic growth. Anglozionist transnational finance and Usrael hubris will never allow the same level of growth in Western Europe as THEY have (see the annual GDP growth in constant terms in the last 30 years for USA, Israel, and the EU countries, it speaks for itself), lest we would become a growing cog of the OBOR, and realize we hardly need US nor Israel in Europe for anything at all.
Wages are kept below 30-year back equivalents in real terms for a plethora of qualified jobs. There is no new job creation nor investment; industry has been totally dismantled, know-how has been drained to the US; EDUCATION has been literally sabotaged on purpose so they can have a country of blundering idiots dreaming to be youtubers while they serve drinks to Anglo or Asian tourists with no further aspirations. FMI-financial warfare is also present here, with blatant unnecessary privatization of national assets fueling austerity measures imposed to guarantee debt-access in an unending vicious spiral of dredging the EU for its blood. Were it not for multiple jobs, underground economy, and community extra-state ties, there would not be a working society. Most Europeans are not whimsical Eloi but rather Matrix-puppets trapped in a neutered sabotaged economy.
Walking dogs is actually a career path in some locales in the USA.
I don’t know where RATM is located, but if not in the USA, his/her comment suggests that this need for dog walkers is more of a class thing than a nationality thing.
Many many *many* working professionals pay someone to walk their dog(s).
They are busy all day in their offices and when they are finished with work, they might be too tired to walk their dogs. Also, the dogs need to be taken ouit in the daytime. It is not fair to expect them to stay home all day alone.
The dog walkers are not necessarily—or even at all—immigrants. I expect that many of the dog owners are immigrants, such as maybe Indian IT professionals, etc.
Personally I am against the keeping of pets, especially dogs. I won’t bore readers with my reasons. But I try not to be judgmental about those who want to have a pet. Many of them do spend time with their pets on the weekend.
Hiring someone to walk the dog is not the worst crime committed by young professionals! Being clueless about foreign policy and the legitimate interests of other peoples and nations is a much worse crime, IMHO.
It is not easy when literally everything you can vote for in every election in any EU country (aside of morons or statistical irrelevances) are creeps and thugs in the pocket of anglozionist atlanticism. Take the VOX paleofascist party in Spain for instance, they are criptoneoliberals, and openly pro-EU and pro-NATO (which is the same thing since ignorant or brainwashed populations voted for the Maastricht treaty, killing any hope for European sovereignity at the nation level): That alone should disqualify them as a true right-wing legitimate party (to the extent that is not an oxymoron). How the hell can you claim to be nationalist when you are openly embracing the NATO anglozionist yoke?!
No future for EU countries for several generations, indeed, until they become a meaningless small exotic peripheral part of the new multipolar Eurasian-inspired world.
Powerful elites have long used fascist elements as “useful idiots”. Not exclusively , though.
The pattern of history must be changed if we are to achieve “peaceful coexistence” and a “shared future for mankind”.
Balazs Martonffy and Oscar Jonsson receive John McCain Dissertation Award
The 2020 John McCain Dissertation Award was awarded to two laureates. The first award recipient is
BALAZS MARTONFFY, fellow at the International Center for Security and Leadership and lecturer and assistant professor at the National University of Public Service (hu. Nemzeti Közszolgàlati Egyetem)
His doctoral thesis “Analysis Paralysis: Threat Perception and Incohesion in NATO, 1960-1980”
analyzes why alliances find it more difficult to cooperate in peacetime.
Balazs Martonffy – Adjunct Instructor – School of International Servicehttps://www.american.edu/sis/faculty/bm9150a.cfm
“NATO’s Partners Across the Globe” (in Hungarian), in SZENES, ZOLTAN (ed.), NATO Partnerships,
National University of Public Service Press (hu. Nemzeti Közszolgàlati Egyetem) Budapest, 2014.
P.S.: I did not find any information about Balazs Martonffy’s date of birth and place of birth on
the English-German-Russian- and Hungarian-speaking internet – Azorka
Zoltàn Szenes – Biography
“NATO’s Partners Across the Globe” (in Hungarian), in Szenes, Zoltan (ed.), NATO Partnerships, National University of Public Service Press (Nemzeti Közszolgàlati Egyetem) Budapest, 2014.
(In English translation only the title and the content of the NATO Partnership 2014 – Azorka)
NATO PARTNERSHIP 2014
Past, present and future of allied partnership programs.
National University of Public Service Press
P. 006 – Introduction
P. 010 – The present and future of the NATO partnership
P. 021 – Partnership for Peace – 20 years of experience
Siposnè Kecskemèti, Klàra
P. 053 – Strange relationship between NATO and Russia
P. 078 – Relationship between Ukraine and NATO
P. 098 – Georgia turns to NATO
P. 118 – NATO and the Mediterranean (Middle East and North Africa) dialogue – experience of 20 years
P. 136 – 10 years old Istambul Cooperation Initiative
P. 153 – NATO and the Global Partnership
P. 174 – The authors
Link to Balazs Martonffy – Adjunct Instructor – School of International Service
In English translation only the title and the table of contents of the NATO Partnership 2014
The collective West, led by America, is basically a lunatic asylum masquerading as a cabal of Liberal Democracies.
This lunatic asylum is increasingly enraged that it will no longer be able to dominate the world as is their God-given birthright.
After all, the West are the global crusaders for Freedom, Democracy, Human Rights, the Rule of Law, blah, blah, blah.
But the West is facing challenges from Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, North Korea, and even non-state actors like Hisbollah and the Houthis, whom they have not been able to subjugate.
This drives the West–especially the Anglo Americans–into an apoplectic fury.
Hence, this is what why you see all this spittle-flecked handwringing about “Westlessness.”
The West is basically a Crusader-Colonizer religion that is scared sh!itless to find out their religion is a false idol of the first order.
I don’t understand what “Westlessness” means.
I don’t see an explanation of it.
Can someone point me to the explanation?
Explanations are just a Google away.
“‘Westlessness’, or the idea that the world in general and ‘Western’ countries themselves are uncertain of their values and their strategic orientation. The word, coined by the authors of the Munich Security Report, is meant to address the changing geometry of global power, the fact that the world has become less Western-oriented and the West has become less Western in itself, too.”
It appears to be the politician’s philosophy-lite form of existential angst, daring to deny yet ask in so denying deep questions like, why isn’t the Great Game any fun when we’re not winning like bandits?
“Do you really think the democratic system is so fragile” that it can be threatened by Huawei?”
Well, since Western democratic systems aren’t all that democratic, and more like systems to game, a lot less than Huawei could threaten it.
At the very least, the West can’t have Huawei gumming up the surveillance net with unhackable, secure equipment that answers only to native government security services.