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Russia, China, India and Iran: The Magic Quadrant That is Changing the World

The bombing and destruction of Yugoslavia was the final step in the assault on the Russian Federation following the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


With the end of the unipolar moment, which saw Washington dominate international relations, the richest and most powerful Eurasian countries are beginning to organize themselves into alliance structures and agreements that aim to facilitate trade, development and cooperation.

At the height of the US unipolar moment, Bill Clinton was leading a country in full economic recovery and the strategists at the Pentagon were drawing up plans to shape the world in their own image and likeness. The undeclared goal was regime change in all countries with unapproved political systems, which would allow for the proliferation of us-made “democracy” to the four corners of the earth. Clearly Eurasian countries like Russia, India, China and Iran were on top of the to-do list, as were countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

The bombing and destruction of Yugoslavia was the final step in the assault on the Russian Federation following the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. Yeltsin represented the means by which Western high finance decided to suck all Russia’s wealth, privatizing companies and plundering strategic resources.

China, on the other hand, saw a rebirth as a result of American and European manufacturing companies relocating to the country to take advantage of the cheap labor it offered. India, historically close to the USSR, and Iran, historically averse to Washington, were struggling to find a new balance in a world dominated by Washington.

Tehran was clearly in an open conflict with the United States because of the 1979 Islamic revolution that liberated the country from Western submission under the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. India understood the new reality, laying the foundations for a close cooperation with Washington. Previously, the use of jihadism in Afghanistan, through the coordination between Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United States, had severely undermined relations between India and the United States, remembering that New Delhi was an important ally of Moscow during the Cold War.

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the commencement of the unipolar era, India, Russia, China and Iran started down their paths of historical rebirth, though starting from very different positions and following different paths. India understood that Washington had immense economic and military power at its disposal. Despite the early embraces between Clinton and Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, relations between New Delhi and Washington reached unexpected heights during the Bush era. A series of factors helped to weld the bond. There was, firstly, the reality of India’s great economic growth. Secondly, India offered the opportunity of counterbalancing and containing China, a classic geopolitical scenario.

During this delicate unipolar period, there were two highly significant events for Russia and China that represented the beginning of the end for Washington’s plans to dominate the planet. First of all, Putin became president of the Russian Federation on December 31, 1999. Secondly, Beijing was accepted into the World Trade Organization (WTO). Today’s Chinese economic power took flight thanks to the Western industrial companies relocating their manufacturing to China so as to see their dividends triplicate and costs more than halve. It was a winning model for the capitalist, and a loser for the Western factory worker, as we would come to see 20 years later. The strategic thinking of the newly elected Putin was geopolitically visionary and had at its base a complete revamp of Russia’s military doctrine.

China and Russia both initially sought to follow the Indian path of cooperation and development with Washington. Moscow attempted a frank dialogue with Washington and NATO, but the decision by the US in 2002 to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) marked the beginning of the end of the Western dream of integrating the Russian Federation into NATO. For Beijing, the path was more downhill, thanks to a vicious circle whereby the West relocated to China to increase profits, which were then invested into the US stock market, multiplying the gains several times. It seemed like the Americans were onto something until, 20 years later, the entire middle and working classes found themselves being reduced to penury.

In this period following September 11, 2001, Washington’s focus shifted rapidly away from confronting rival powers to the so called “fight” against terrorism. It was an expedient way of occupying tactically important countries in strategically important regions of the planet. In Eurasia, US forces settled in Afghanistan on the pretext of fighting al-Qaeda and the Taliban. In the Middle East, they occupy Iraq for the second time and have made it an operational base from which to destabilize the rest of the region in the decades since.

While India and China mainly pursued peaceful growth as a means of economically empowering the Asian region, Russia and Iran early understood that Washington’s attention would eventually fall on them. Moscow was still considered the deadly enemy by the neoconservative Cold War warriors, while the Islamic revolution of 1979 was neither forgotten nor forgiven. In the decade following 9/11, the foundations for the creation of a multipolar order were laid, generating in the process the huge transitional chaos we are currently experiencing.

India and China continued on their path to becoming economic giants, even as there is a latent but constant rivalry, while Iran and Russia continued on their path of military rejuvenation in order to ensure a deterrent sufficient to discourage any attacks by Israel or the US respectively.

The breaking point for this delicate geopolitical balance came in the form of the “Arab Spring” of 2011. While India and China continued their economic growth, and Russia and Iran grew to become regional powers that were difficult to push around, the US continued its unipolar rampage, bombing Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq after having earlier bombed Yugoslavia, as the Pentagon devising light-footprint operations in the Middle East with the help of the Saudis, Israelis, Brits and French, who aided and armed local jihadis to wreak havoc. First Tunisia, then Egypt, and finally Libya. More dead, more bombs, more chaos. The warning signs were apparent to all regional powers, from China and Russia to India and Iran. Even if the synergies were still not in place, it was clear to everyone what had to be done. US destabilization around the world had to be contained, with particular focus on Eurasia, the Middle East and North Africa.

Slowly, and not without problems, these four countries began a military, economic, political and diplomatic cooperation that, almost a decade later, allowed for the ending of the US unipolar moment and the creation of a multipolar reality with different centers of power.

The first confirmation of this new phase in international relations, favoured by historical ties, was the increasingly multifaceted cooperation between India and Russia. Another factor was China and Russia being drawn to the Middle East and North Africa as a result of the Obama administration’s actions in the Middle East with its Arab Springs, bombing of Libya and destabilization of Syria. They feared that prolonged chaos in the region would eventually have a negative effect on their own economies and social stability.

The final straw was the coup d’état in Ukraine, as well as the escalation of provocations in the South China Sea following the launch by the US of its so-called “Pivot to Asia”. Russia and China were thus forced into a situation neither had thought impossible for the previous 40 years: the joining of hands to change the world order by removing Washington from its superpower dais. Initially there were amazing economic agreements that left the Western planners stumped. Then came the military synergies, and finally the diplomatic ones, expressed by coordinated voting in the United Nations Security Council. From 2014 onwards, Russia and China signed important agreements that laid the foundations for a long-running Eurasian duopoly.

Obama’s legacy did not stop, with more than 100,000 jihadists unleashed on the country, financed by US and her allies. This led Moscow to intervene in Syria to protect its borders and obviate the jihadists’ eventual advance on the Caucasus, historically Russia’s soft underbelly. This move was hailed by the Pentagon as a new “Vietnam” for Russia. But these calculations were completely wrong, and Moscow, in addition to saving Syria and frustrating the plans of Washington and her confederates, greatly strengthened its relationship with Iran (not always a simple relationship, especially during the Soviet period), elevating it to the high level of regional cooperation.

Obama’s legacy was to inadvertently create a strategic triangle involving Iran, China and Russia and their development of high-level projects and programs for the region and beyond. It represents a disaster for US foreign policy as well as the unquestionable end of the unipolar dream.

Jumping forward a few years, we find Trump in the driving seat of the United States, repeating just one mantra: America First. From the Indian point of view, this has further aggravated the relations between the two countries, with sanctions and duties placed on India for what was a Western decision in the first place to shift manufacturing to low-wage India in order to further fatten the paychecks of the CEOs of Euro-American companies.

Modi’s India is forced to significantly increase its ties to Iran to guarantee its strategic autonomy in terms of energy supply, without forgetting the geographic proximity of the two countries. In this context, Russia and Iran’s victory against terrorism in the Middle East pacifies the region and stabilizes Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Libya, thereby allowing for the development of such new projects as the mega Silk Road 2.0 investment on which Beijing places considerable importance.

We could go on in this vein, detailing how even China and India have overcome their historical mistrust, well aware that divide and rule only benefits those who are on the other side of the ocean, certainly not two countries experiencing great economic growth with a common border spanning thousands of miles. The meetings between Modi and Xi Jinping, as well as those between Putin and Xi Jinping or Putin with Modi, show how the intention of these three leaders is to ensure a peaceful and prosperous future for their citizens, and this cannot be separated from a stronger union together with an abandonment of disputes and differences.

The synergies in recent years have shifted from the military and diplomatic arenas to the economic one, especially thanks to Donald Trump and his aggressive policy of wielding the dollar like a club with which to strike political opponents. One last step that these countries need to take is that of de-dollarization, which plays an important role in how the the US is able to exercise economic influence. Even if the US dollar were to remain central for several years, the process of de-dollarization is irreversible.

Right now Iran plays a vital role in how countries like India, Russia and China are able to respond asymmetrically to the US. Russia uses military power in Syria, China seeks economic integration in the Silk Road 2.0, and India bypasses the dollar by selling oil in exchange for goods or other currency.

India, China and Russia use the Middle East as a stepping stone to advance energy, economic and military integration, pushing out the plans of the neocons in the region, thereby indirectly sending a signal to Israel and Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are occasions for peacemaking, advancing the integration of dozens of countries by incorporating them into a major project that includes Eurasia, the Middle East and North Africa instead of the US and her proxy states.

Soon there will be a breaking point, not so much militarily (as the nuclear MAD doctrine is still valid) but rather economically. Of course the spark will come from changing the denomination in which oil is sold, namely the US dollar. This process will still take time, but it is an indispensable condition for Iran becoming a regional hegemon. China is increasingly clashing with Washington; Russia is increasingly influential in OPEC; and India may finally decide to embrace the Eurasian revolution by forming an impenetrable strategic square against Washington, which will shift the balance of global power to the East after more than 500 years of domination by the West.

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J_KantOlivia KrothShaun Ramewe Recent comment authors
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Shaun Ramewe

Time for BRICS to be changed to VRICS!! Venezuela for Brazil.

Olivia Kroth
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Brazil should be kep in, because that way its politics can be better controlled by Russia and China. Venezuela should be added to the list.

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J_Kant

Russia-China-India is a concept popular with Russophiles and utterly divorced from reality. Modi and Jinping may have all the pleasant photo-sessions in the world, that doesn’t change the essence of India-China relations. Duran writers and Counterpunch readers can remain as obsessed with US unipolarism as they want, it doesn’t affect India. India’s first strategic priority will remain defending itself against the China-Pakistan axis. It is spending billions of dollars to bolsters its northern border (particularly Tawang which China claims), and it has signed new defence cooperation agreements with the US & Japan to counter the spread of Chinese influence in… Read more »

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The conclusion of Russiagate, Part II – news fatigue across America

The daily barrage of Russiagate news may have been a tool to wear down the American public as the Deep State plays the long game for control.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Presently there is a media blitz on across the American news media networks. As was the case with the Russiagate investigation while it was ongoing, the conclusions have merely given rise to a rather unpleasant afterbirth in some ways as all the parties involve pivot their narratives. The conclusion of Russiagate appears to be heavily covered, yet if statistics here at The Duran are any indication, there is a good possibility that the public is absolutely fatigued over this situation.

And, perhaps, folks, that is by design.

Joseph Goebbels had many insights about the use of the media to deliver and enforce propaganda. One of his quotes runs thus:

The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.

and another:

That is of course rather painful for those involved. One should not as a rule reveal one’s secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, it should be a big lie, and one should stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.

If there has ever been a narrative that employed these two principles, it is Russiagate.

A staggering amount of attention has been lavished on this nothing-burger issue. Axios reports that an analytics company named Newswhip tallied an astounding 533,074 web articles published about Russia and President Trump and the Mueller investigation (a number which is being driven higher even now, moment by moment, ad nauseam). Newsbusters presently reports that the networks gave 2,284 minutes to the coverage of this issue, a number which seems completely inaccurate because it is much too low (38 hours at present), and we are waiting for a correction on this estimate.

Put it another way: Are you sick of Russiagate? That is because it has dominated the news for over 675 days of nearly wall-to-wall news cycles. The political junkies on both sides are still pretty jazzed up about this story – the Pro-Trump folks rejoicing over the presently ‘cleared’ status, while of course preparing for the upcoming Democrat / Deep State pivot, and the Dems in various levels of stress as they try to figure out exactly how to pivot in such a manner that they do not lose face – or pace – in continuing their efforts to rid their lives of the “Irritant-in-Chief” who now looks like he is in the best position of his entire presidency.

But a lot of people do not care. They are tired.

I hate to say it (and yes, I am speaking personally and directly), but this may be a dangerous fatigue. Here is why:

The barrage of propaganda on this issue was never predicated on any facts. It still isn’t. However, as we noted a few days ago, courtesy of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, at present, 53% of US registered voters believe that the Trump campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

That means 53% of the voting public now believes something that is totally false.

Many of these people are probably simply exhausted from the constant coverage of this allegation as well. So when the news came out Sunday night that there was no evidence of collusion and no conclusive evidence, hence, of obstruction of justice by the Trump Administration – in other words, this whole thing was a nothing burger – will this snap those 53% back into reality?

Probably not. Many of them may well be so worn down that they no longer care. Or worse, they are so worn out that they will continue to believe the things they are told that sustain the lie, despite its being called out as such.

C.S. Lewis wrote about this peculiarity of human nature, in particular in the seventh book of his Chronicles of Narnia. After a prolonged and fierce assault on the sensibilities of the Narnians with the story that Aslan, the Christ figure of this world, was in fact an angry overlord, selling the Narnians themselves into slavery, and selling the whole country out to its enemy, with the final touch being that Aslan and the devilish deity of the enemy nation were in fact one and the same, the Narnians were unable to snap back to reality when it was shown conclusively and clearly that this was in fact not the case.

The fear that was instilled from the use of false narratives persisted and blocked the animals from reality.

Lewis summarized it this way through the thoughts of Tirian, the lead character in this tale:

Tirian had never dreamed that one of the results of an Ape’s setting up as a false Aslan would be to stop people from believing in the real one. He had felt quite sure that the Dwarfs would rally to his side the moment he showed them how they had been deceived. And then next night he would have led them to Stable Hill and shown Puzzle to all the creatures and everyone would have turned against the Ape and, perhaps after a scuffle with the Calormenes, the whole thing would have been over. But now, it seemed, he could count on nothing. How many other Narnians might turn the same way as the Dwarfs?

This is part of the toll this very long propaganda campaign is very likely to take on many Americans. It takes being strongly informed and educated on facts to withstand the withering force of a narrative that never goes away. Indeed, if anything, it takes even more effort now, because the temptation of the pro-Trump side will be to retreat to a set of political talking points that, interestingly enough, validate Robert Mueller’s “integrity” when only a week ago they were attacking this as a false notion.

This is very dangerous, and even though Mr. Trump and his supporters won this battle, if they do not come at this matter in a way that shows education, and not merely the restating of platitudes and talking points that “should be more comfortable, now that we’ve won!”

The cost of Russiagate may be far higher than anyone wants it to be. And yes, speaking personally, I understand the fatigue. I am tired of this issue too. But the temptation to go silent may have already taken a lot of people so far that they will not accept the reality that has just been revealed.

Politics is a very fickle subject. Truth is extremely malleable for many politicians, and that is saying it very nicely. But this issue was not just politics. It was slander with a purpose, and that purpose is unchanged now. In fact things may even be more dangerous for the President – even risking his very life – because if the powers that are working behind the people trying to get rid of President Trump come to realize that they have no political support, they will move to more extreme measures. In fact this may have already been attempted.

We at The Duran reported a few months ago on a very strange but very compelling story that suggested that there was an attempted assassination and coup that was supposed to have taken place on January 17th of this year. It did not happen, but there was a parallel story that noted that the President may have been targeted for assassination already no fewer than twelve times.  Hopefully this is just tinfoil-hat stuff. But we have seen that this effort to be rid of President Trump is fierce and it is extremely well-supported within its group. There is no reason to think that the pressure will lighten now that this battle has been lost.

The stakes are much too high, and even this long investigation may well have been part of the weaponry of the group we sometimes refer to as the “Deep State” in their effort to reacquire power, and in their effort to continue to pursue both a domestic and geopolitical agenda that has so far shown itself to be destructive to both individuals and nations all over the world.

Speculation? Yes. Needless? We hope so. This is a terrible possibility that hopefully no reasonable person wants to consider.

Honestly, folks, we do not know. But we had to put this out there for your consideration.

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Parliament Seizes Control Of Brexit From Theresa May

Zerohedge

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Schaeuble, Greece and the lessons learned from a failed GREXIT (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 117.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine a recent interview with the Financial Times given by Wolfgang Schäuble, where the former German Finance Minister, who was charged with finding a workable and sustainable solution to the Greek debt crisis, reveals that his plan for Greece to take a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone (in order to devalue its currency and save its economy) was met with fierce resistance from Brussels hard liners, and Angela Merkel herself.

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Via FT

“Look where we’re sitting!” says Wolfgang Schäuble, gesturing at the Berlin panorama stretching out beneath us. It is his crisp retort to those who say that Europe is a failure, condemned to a slow demise by its own internal contradictions. “Walk through the Reichstag, the graffiti left by the Red Army soldiers, the images of a destroyed Berlin. Until 1990 the Berlin Wall ran just below where we are now!”

We are in Käfer, a restaurant on the rooftop of the Reichstag. The views are indeed stupendous: Berlin Cathedral and the TV Tower on Alexanderplatz loom through the mist. Both were once in communist East Berlin, cut off from where we are now by the wall. Now they’re landmarks of a single, undivided city. “Without European integration, without this incredible story, we wouldn’t have come close to this point,” he says. “That’s the crazy thing.”

As Angela Merkel’s finance minister from 2009 to 2017, Schäuble was at the heart of efforts to steer the eurozone through a period of unprecedented turbulence. But at home he is most associated with Germany’s postwar political journey, having not only negotiated the 1990 treaty unifying East and West Germany but also campaigned successfully for the capital to move from Bonn.

For a man who has done so much to put Berlin — and the Reichstag — back on the world-historical map, it is hard to imagine a more fitting lunch venue. With its open-plan kitchen and grey formica tables edged in chrome, Käfer has a cool, functional aesthetic that is typical of the city. On the wall hangs a sketch by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who famously wrapped the Reichstag in silver fabric in 1995.

The restaurant has one other big advantage: it is easy to reach from Schäuble’s office. Now 76, he has been confined to a wheelchair since he was shot in an assassination attempt in 1990, and mobility is an issue. Aides say he tends to avoid restaurants if he can, especially at lunchtime.

As we take our places, we talk about Schäuble’s old dream — that German reunification would be a harbinger of European unity, a step on the road to a United States of Europe. That seems hopelessly out of reach in these days of Brexit, the gilets jaunes in France, Lega and the Five Star Movement in Italy.

Some blame Schäuble himself for that. He was, after all, the architect of austerity, a fiscal hawk whose policy prescriptions during the euro crisis caused untold hardship for millions of ordinary people, or so his critics say. He became a hate figure, especially in Greece. Posters in Athens in 2015 depicted him with a Hitler moustache below the words: “Wanted — for mass poverty and devastation”.

Schäuble rejects the criticism that austerity caused the rise of populism. “Higher spending doesn’t lead to greater contentment,” he says. The root cause lies in mass immigration, and the insecurities it has unleashed. “What European country doesn’t have this problem?” he asks. “Even Sweden. The poster child of openness and the willingness to help.”

But what of the accusation that he didn’t care enough about the suffering of the southern Europeans? Austerity divided the EU and spawned a real animus against Schäuble. I ask him how that makes him feel now. “Well I’m sad, because I played a part in all of that,” he says, wistfully. “And I think about how we could have done it differently.”

I glance at the menu — simple German classics with a contemporary twist. I’m drawn to the starters, such as Oldenburg duck pâté and the Müritz smoked trout. But true to his somewhat abstemious reputation, Schäuble has no interest in these and zeroes in on the entrées. He chooses Käfer’s signature veal meatballs, a Berlin classic. I go for the Arctic char and pumpkin.

Schäuble switches seamlessly back to the eurozone crisis. The original mistake was in trying to create a common currency without a “common economic, employment and social policy” for all eurozone member states. The fathers of the euro had decided that if they waited for political union to happen first they’d wait forever, he says.

Yet the prospects for greater political union are now worse than they have been in years. “The construction of the EU has proven to be questionable,” he says. “We should have taken the bigger steps towards integration earlier on, and now, because we can’t convince the member states to take them, they are unachievable.”

Greece was a particularly thorny problem. It should never have been admitted to the euro club in the first place, Schäuble says. But when its debt crisis first blew up, it should have taken a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone — an idea he first floated with Giorgos Papakonstantinou, his Greek counterpart between 2009 and 2011. “I told him you need to be able to devalue your currency, you’re not competitive,” he says. The reforms required to repair the Greek economy were going to be “hard to achieve in a democracy”. “That’s why you need to leave the euro for a certain period. But everyone said there was no chance of that.”

The idea didn’t go away, though. Schäuble pushed for a temporary “Grexit” in 2015, during another round of the debt crisis. But Merkel and the other EU heads of government nixed the idea. He now reveals he thought about resigning over the issue. “On the morning the decision was made, [Merkel] said to me: ‘You’ll carry on?’ . . . But that was one of the instances where we were very close [to my stepping down].”

It is an extraordinary revelation, one that highlights just how rocky his relationship with Merkel has been over the years. Schäuble has been at her side from the start, an éminence grise who has helped to resolve many of the periodic crises of her 13 years as chancellor. But it was never plain sailing.

“There were a few really bad conflicts where she knew too that we were on the edge and I would have gone,” he says. “I always had to weigh up whether to go along with things, even though I knew it was the wrong thing to do, as was the case with Greece, or whether I should go.” But his sense of duty prevailed. “We didn’t always agree — but I was always loyal.”

That might have been the case when he was a serving minister, but since becoming speaker of parliament in late 2017 he has increasingly distanced himself from Merkel. Last year, when she announced she would not seek re-election as leader of the Christian Democratic Union, the party that has governed Germany for 50 of the past 70 years, Schäuble openly backed a candidate described by the Berlin press as the “anti-Merkel”. Friedrich Merz, a millionaire corporate lawyer who is the chairman of BlackRock Germany, had once led the CDU’s parliamentary group but lost out to Merkel in a power struggle in 2002, quitting politics a few years later. He has long been seen as one of the chancellor’s fiercest conservative critics — and is a good friend of Schäuble’s.

Ultimately, in a nail-biting election last December, Merkel’s favoured candidate, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, narrowly beat Merz. The woman universally known as “AKK” is in pole position to succeed Merkel as chancellor when her fourth and final term ends in 2021.

I ask Schäuble if it’s true that he had once again waged a battle against Merkel and once again lost. “I never went to war against Ms Merkel,” he says. “Everybody says that if I’m for Merz then I’m against Merkel. Why is that so? That’s nonsense.”

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