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Sunday, 10 April 2022

US, EU and UK follow the Pied Piper of Kiev (The Sunday Guardian)

 Clearly not many adults in that continent remember the story, but European children have heard the tale of the Pied Piper, who by playing his flute was able to lure all of a particular life form within Hamelin to a cliff overlooking the sea. In seconds, they began falling to their doom, even as the piper played on his flute, finally driving all the lot over the precipice. Fast forward to 2022, when NATO is sleepwalking in the direction that the Pied Piper of Kiev leads the alliance in taking. The Ukrainian government from the start seeks from NATO that it ensures that the Russian Federation and its population suffer the torment of complete meltdown. President Zelenskyy regards admission into NATO and the application of Article 5 as the only chance of avoiding the fate that President Putin seems to have in store for Ukraine. Zelenskyy and his ministers and officials appear shocked that the atrocity upon atrocity that the government in Kiev assures was carried out by Russian troops has thus far failed to prod NATO into sending troops and aircraft into the air and land borders of Ukraine. Even the Bucha massacre, which was revealed to the world by Ukrainian forces only three days after Russian forces had left the city on March 30, failed to drag NATO into entering the battlefield directly. Zelenskyy and others from Kiev have predicted that still greater massacres await disclosure. Their expectation is that the discovery of further “proofs of genocide” would bring NATO forces directly onto the battlefield. Kiev wants nothing less than NATO putting hundreds of thousands of boots on the ground. Not to forget hundreds of aircraft and thousands of projectiles to be launched by NATO to ensure that a No Fly Zone for Russians gets created across Ukraine. After all, something done so easily in Iraq or Libya, why not in Ukraine, which is well on track to becoming a European version of 1980s Afghanistan? The warlike words of the Secretary-General of NATO must make Zelenskyy and those who claim to work under him confident that finally the next atrocity, the next tranche of punitive sanctions on the Russian Federation, would generate momentum sufficient to push NATO over the cliff edge of a kinetic war with the Russian Federation. Eager for this outcome to come true, the increasingly impatient and testy flutist in Kiev continues to play the flute with its plaintive tones to parliaments across the western world. The hope is that his calls would drive governments within this openly Russophobic military alliance towards more measures that would escalate already unprecedented tensions with the world’s most advanced nuclear weapons state. Those in authority in Kiev regard as essential that NATO send combat aircraft manned by EU “volunteers” and Ukrainians to take out Russian forces.

NATO has made it clear to the rest of the world that it considers the Russian Federation as the enemy, exactly as the alliance regarded the Soviet Union during the days of the US-USSR Cold War. Efforts are being made to rope in the PRC on the side of the US-EU-UK coalition, recreating the alliance between Beijing and Washington against Moscow that lasted until 2010. The world has entered the era of Cold War 2.0, which is between the US plus and the PRC plus, hence it is confusing to countries in Asia that this memo seems to have been lost in transit while making its way to the White House. NATO is in no way anxious to contest the accelerating efforts of CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping to establish the PRC’s dominance over the Indo-Pacific. The neo-Atlanticist powers, snug in their Cold War 1.0 foxhole, would rather concentrate on Russia rather than on China as their enemy of choice. They are refreshing in their honesty, for they make no secret of NATO’s intention to melt down the Russian Federation. NATO presumably accepts what Russophobic Ukrainian interlocutors have talked about for decades, which is that Russians are not really “European” in the way that Ukrainian-speaking people are. The Kremlin has made it clear that an existential conflict, which is exactly what NATO is now openly waging against the Russian Federation, would be met with overwhelming force from the Russian side. NATO’s march towards the cliff edge continues.
MDN

Bucha massacre generates parallel perceptions (The Sunday Guardian)

 

Much of the ‘independent reporting’ of western media outlets comes from videos and briefings provided by the numerous irregular forces within the Kiev establishment.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba seemed shocked during a BBC interview that the grotesque images of corpses at Bucha near Kiev failed to get NATO members to accept the complete shutdown of all ties between the countries in that alliance and Russia. Certainly the narrative presented within NATO (and which is identical to that of the Kiev government) has generated more anger, indeed hatred, directed at Russia and its people. Almost in lockstep, the Kiev narrative has been repeated by almost all media channels within NATO member states. Those refusing to fall in line may lose their promotions if not their jobs at such apostasy. What Russia gained from torturing and killing hundreds of Ukrainians and then ensuring that the evidence was preserved for the Ukrainian army to discover is a matter for reflection. Even the suspicious scrawling of “This is for children” on a Tochka missile (abundantly available in the Ukrainian army) that Kyiv-NATO claims was dropped on a train station by Russia to kill civilians aroused no suspicion in the minds of a visiting EU delegation. All (anti-Russia) Ukrainians are good, while all Russians are bad, is the accepted wisdom within much of NATO. There is in Atlanticist media a Saints versus Sinners narrative on the Ukraine war that has been playing out since the Russian invasion over television screens and in newspaper headlines in member countries of NATO. The wars it has fought in the 21st century have revealed that kinetic battles are clearly not a NATO forte, but the alliance has been adept at spin management within the International Community (aka its own membership). There is rising Russophobia within the Atlantic community, now that it has been subjected for weeks to a barrage of messaging that show Russians as barbarian hordes led by an incarnation of Adolf Hitler. Ironically, the last time the Russian people were characterised as barbarian hordes led by the satanic despot was during 1941-45, when Adolf Hitler made the second biggest mistake of his life by launching a war on the USSR led by J. Stalin, the biggest being the Holocaust that denuded Germany of its best and brightest minds. Then as now, news outlets in Nazi Germany portrayed until well into 1944 the army of that country (in its former avatar, the USSR) as being on the verge of collapse, and Stalin himself as having suffered a series of escalating mental breakdowns. This sounds familiar to the comments on the Russian military and on President Putin since the invasion of Ukraine. Every time Russian forces re-deployed their troops away from a Ukrainian town, their “defeat” at the hands of the Ukrainian forces (who entered such locations after the Russians left) is broadcast in the “international community”, which as always is defined as comprising only the NATO member states. Defeat after claimed defeat by Russian forces are reported, as were items on nervous breakdowns following each other at speed in the Kremlin, and yet this defeated, demoralised, untrained and poorly trained army still continues to dominate the battlefield in Ukraine.
Certainly RT (among the news channels blocked from transmission within NATO countries in order to protect freedom of the press) gives an entirely contrarian view to that of those outlets that generate so much Russophobia within their staple readership, outlets such as CNN, BBC, the Guardian or the New York Times. If RT is to be taken seriously, Russian soldiers are weighed down not with weapons but with candy for the children of Ukraine. The soldiers are indeed busy, not through fighting a war since February 24, but because so much of the day gets spent assisting elderly Ukrainians to escape the evil intentions of some of the troops in their own military. Certainly the numerous Russophobes and Racial Supremacists that have been mainstreamed into the Ukrainian military since 2014 are not those who emulate the example of Mother Teresa or Mahatma Gandhi. This is clear from their record in dealing with Russian-speaking inhabitants of Ukraine after the elected government led by Viktor Yanukovich was toppled by street protests generously funded by NGOs patronised by Hillary Clinton. This was well before the 2017 US Presidential elections, in which Trump bested Clinton, and which was promptly blamed by the latter on Putin.A longstanding ogre, it would appear, to the formidable Empress of the Beltway. If the Kremlin under Putin had been influential enough to decide on who would occupy the White House, the Russian economy and people would not have been in the less than ideal state that they have been in both before and after the toppling of the USSR at the close of 1991. At the same time, although such facts seem to be unknown to “international community” media, the irregulars who now dominate the Ukrainian military and security services have an easily trackable record of cruelty and oppression of the Russian-speaking inhabitants of Ukraine.
The International Criminal Court seems as unconcerned about ascertaining the identity of the corpses that were strewn inside Bucha for media outlets to cover three days after Russian forces left. Much of the “independent reporting” of western media outlets comes from videos and briefings provided by the numerous irregular forces within the Kiev establishment. The working assumption is that if a Ukrainian source within an irregular-controlled zone says something, it is the gospel truth, whereas if a Russian says anything, it must be an untruth. The CNN and BBC-certified “independent” reporters working on this axiom have wholly adopted the narrative that before the Russians left Bucha on March 30, and during the three days when Ukrainian authorities controlled the city (and never talked about such corpses), murder of hundreds of residents had been carried out. An alternative narrative from Ukrainian sources is that most of those killed were Russian-speaking, and were not part of the Russophobe Kiev establishment. And hence that they were punished for such heresy by Ukrainian army irregulars once they took back control of a city that had been abandoned by Russian forces. The Kiev establishment has been spinning cartwheels seeking to generate enough of a frenzy within the “International Community” as to motivate the Biden-Johnson duo masterminding the NATO response in Ukraine to intervene kinetically. Presenting Kiev-declared victims of Russophobia as prey to Russian soldiers is engineered to generate sufficient anger within the public in NATO member states to force timid politicians to further tighten sanctions on Russia and finally meeting Kyev’s demand that NATO enter directly the battlefields of Ukraine. What the Bucha images and narrative have done is to make the public within the NATO bloc less than eager to enter into battle against an enemy as cruelly ruthless as what NATO info-warriors present them as being. It is of course plausible that most of the Bucha dead may have been regarded as Ukrainian spies by Russian forces and despatched to the other world. Only an early and neutral forensic examination of the identities of the victims would determine which of the competing narratives is fact and which is false, but such an investigation seems remote. This is so despite the Ukrainian establishment now controlling this unfortunate suburb of Kyev. A genuinely independent investigation may still be in a position to uncover the identities of almost all the Bucha dead and reveal them and their social media views to the entire world, as distinct from the much more limited NATO-certified “international community”. Only a transparent investigation by observers from neutral countries would be able to find out if those killed were Russian-speaking collaborators of the “Occupiers”, or were Ukrainians who had signed on to the Russophobic agenda of the Azov Battalion. Truth is usually the first casualty of war, it is said, and that seems to have been the case with the tragic destiny that befell so many in Bucha and elsewhere.

Bucha massacre generates parallel perceptions

Monday, 4 April 2022

Collateral damage to sanctions by US, UK (The Sunday Guardian)

 Joseph Robinette Biden secured the US Presidency by the public display of Trumpian incoherence during the mercifully truncated daily press conferences that the 45th President had on the Covid-19 situation within the US. In reality, the Trump administration had done a fairly effective job on tackling the virus that was born of Sino-US collaborative experiments in the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). President Trump sought to avoid leaping into the WHO-suggested pitfall of paralysing economic activity by imposing sanctions that killed jobs in 2020 rather than the transmission of the man-made virus. Unfortunately for Trump, those lower down the food chain continued with the very crew headed by Dr Anthony Fauci that had provided funding to the WIV. Had Trump won the election that year, Fauci and his acolytes would have been dismissed. Biden put them on steroids, and this burst of energy was replicated by the man-made virus, which increased its spread and deadliness in 2021 despite President Biden saying and believing that he had the best minds in the world to slay the pandemic, at least in the US. Biden vowed to be better than Trump, and he is showing to the world that he is even more expert than Trump in blowing his own image and goodwill into bits by his approach to issues. Ironically, given the way in which the Biden-Johnson sponsored sanctions regime on Russia is leading to the demise of the US dollar as the global reserve currency, if he fails to get passed his admittedly visionary social legislation through the US Congress, he may be the last US President to have the luxury of printing money in an almost limitless manner to fund various needs. Such overuse of the manufacturing of the dollar was made possible only because private individuals as well as governments regarded the US dollar as a safe currency reserve. The Biden-Johnson sanctions, including on ethnic Russians who are not even citizens of the Russian Federation but are “close” to Putin (whatever that might mean), have shown the world that due process has been extinguished in the US and the UK at least.

Assets have been stolen—sorry, confiscated—in the past, including the gold and currency reserves of Libya once that country went into a regime-free state courtesy NATO bombardment in 2011, but not with the visibility that has been demonstrated in the matter of making the whole of Russia pay for “Putin’s war”. Russia being a significant player in the world of commodity markets, not just they but the rest of the world are paying an escalating price for the Biden-Johnson sanctions regime on Russia, measures publicly designed to melt down the Russian economy and beggar its population. Joe and Jill Biden are devout churchgoers, and it is clear that the US President at least is among those who love listening to the sermons that are a part of church services. So entranced is Biden that he appears to have staffed his administration with lay preachers, one of whom (whose other job was in the National Security secretariat) was in Delhi a few days ago. No doubt with finger wagging and a disapproving glance, this “high official” warned the 1.4 billion people of the world’s most populous democracy that “there would be consequences” were India to refuse to follow the US line on Ukraine with the same fealty as Quad members Australia and Japan showed. Biden and Johnson have gone ahead with measures against Russia that would result in the collateral damage caused by the end of the US-controlled petrodollar regime and the UK-centred gold selling and pricing global system. President Putin’s response, of forcing NATO member-states that are buyers of Russian gas and oil to either pay in gold-denominated roubles or do without supplies, shows that reports by the CIA, CGHQ and others of his mental deterioration are somewhat premature. Once implemented, this new measure would make the London Bullion Market Association unable to fix the international price of gold any longer. The Biden-Johnson sanctions have also punctured a hole in the London Metals Exchange. Experts have suggested that this is the time for India to set up an Indian bullion markets association to capture the leadership of trade in this precious metal, the price of which will now be set not by the British pound but by the Russian rouble, 5,000 of which have been made exchangeable for a gram of gold. Simultaneously, the US dollar has joined the British pound, the euro and the Swiss franc as risky assets for those outside the NATO network to hold. What has been done to Russian billionaires today can be as speedily done to their counterparts in China, or in parts of the world such as Africa and Asia, where refusing to obey the diktat of the key members of NATO may result in the expropriation even of those who have given up the citizenship of the offending country. Were Joe and Boris the “sincere friends” of the PRC that they have been (falsely) rumoured of being, they could not have done a more thorough job of hurting the future of the US and the UK than the duo have managed since 24 February 2022. 
MDN

Sunday, 3 April 2022

The many victims of the Russia-Ukraine war (The Sunday Guardian)

 

The entire world is paying an increasingly steep price for the folly of NATO believing that Russia would be as much of a pushover as Libya was.

There seems to be an umbilical link that joins together administrations in the US and the non-Russian part of Europe, given the manner in which Washington’s policy has often functioned as though the rest of the world counted for little. The 46th US President seems to have entered a time warp and receded 50 years. This is in the way Biden has been acting as though it was a rerun of the 1970s US-USSR rivalry that represented the challenge before America in the 21st century, and not the expansionism of the Peoples Republic of China. Judging by the commentaries of news channels across both sides of the Atlantic, the Kremlin is an open book to the US, the UK and the EU. After just a few days, CNN and BBC spoke in gleeful terms about how Russia had “failed in its Ukrainian blitzkrieg”. Much of the succeeding week was spent on forecasting the imminent collapse of “the Putin regime”, with Senator Lindsey Graham calling for the assassination of the President of the Russian Federation. Graham must be auditioning for the post of Ambassador to the (post-Putin) regime in Moscow that is “imminent” despite an absence of evidence of such catastrophic change in the Russian leadership. European countries, Poland in particular, that welcomed millions of Ukrainian refugees did so in the belief that they would return to their home country in a matter of weeks, once (as CNN predicted) Russian forces were defeated by Ukrainians wielding NATO-supplied weapons. It remains to be seen how warm the welcome to such migrants would be, once it sinks in that most if not almost all of the guests from Ukraine are unlikely to return as citizens to the country they left.
BBC, CNN or any of the many western channels that are doing 24/7 reporting on the war in Ukraine are uniform in informing the rest of the world what the western world (aka the international community) apparently believes. This is that from almost the start of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the latter was a defeated force. The reportage of western media, both print and television carries detailed insights of what they claim to be the intimate thought processes of President Putin. Recent media reports sourced from western spooks claim that Putin is being misled by unnamed (and very possibly non-existent) “advisers” that Russia is actually prevailing in the war rather than what CNN, BBC and countless others believe is the case, which is that Russia is being whipped to a pulp by Ukraine. To safeguard freedom of the press, Russian channels have been blocked from the NATO bloc, and such champions of healthy eating as KFC and McDonalds have exited Russia. Their CEOs evidently expected that Putin would soon get replaced by another leader who would appreciate the contribution made to healthy living by such brands, and would beg them to return. The prospect of President Putin continuing in office and expropriating the properties of those companies that had exited Russia would never have crossed their minds, so profound has been their faith in western media and its reports on the Russia-Ukraine war. The leaders of the US and its allies in Europe often say how much they love the Russian people. Their way of showing that love is to publicly revel in the fact that their intention is to reduce the Russian people to penury, so that they flood the streets and drive out Putin the way in which Viktor Yanukovich, the elected Prime Minister of Ukraine, was driven out in 2014. Ukraine has not had a moment of stability since then, thereby proving Yanukovich right when he had warned that his country would never be tranquil absent a close relationship with Russia. It is unclear why NATO refused to prevent war by making clear at the beginning of February that Ukraine would not be allowed to join NATO. There are those who say that this is because NATO sought to lure Russia into a war in Ukraine that Brussels expected would drain and melt down the Putin regime in the manner that Afghanistan of the 1980s did for the USSR, but such a conjecture may be speculation.
The manner in which leaders of the US, the UK and some of the Baltic states are calling for punishing the Russian people through sanctions for the crime of electing Vladimir Putin as the President of the Russian Federation is likely to lead to a dislike of the West even among those in Russia who were earlier pro-West. Countries that profess humanitarian concerns exhibit this by sending not so much medicines or food into Ukraine, but weapons designed to lengthen the war, no matter what the cost in lives. They have been straightforward in saying that they seek the meltdown of the Russian state, no matter what the consequences are for the people of Russia. The people of Ukraine are already paying a terrible price for the fact that their leaders believed in the informal promises of certain NATO leaders and refused to come to peace terms with Moscow when conditions based largely on realities on the ground in end-2014 would have been acceptable to President Putin. Not just they but the entire world is paying an increasingly steep price for the folly of NATO in believing that Russia would be as much of a pushover as Libya was. It is clear that not just President Biden but the other leaders of NATO have learnt nothing about the changes in global geopolitics from the 20th to the 21st century. Asia has witnessed the manner in which a force as puny as the Taliban forced NATO to kowtow to that militia by kneecapping the Afghan army and beating a retreat from Afghanistan. Next time, voters may need to choose those who understand better what changes are taking place in the world, and why they need to respond to them in a manner that is in the best interests of the countries they represent rather than be based on the ghosts of the past.

The many victims of the Russia-Ukraine war

Monday, 28 March 2022

Nothing official about it, but PRC Foreign Minister Wang Yi visits India (The Sunday Guardian)

 

Rather than come to an accommodation with India based on mutual respect and interests, CCP General Secretary Xi and his trusted aides such as Foreign Minister Wang Yi have worked ceaselessly in efforts at preventing the rise of India, and indeed, in seeking a meltdown of the country as desired by GHQ Rawalpindi.

New Delhi: CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping’s handpicked undiplomatic and hectoring Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, arrived and exited India this week. For Xi, domestic politics are front and centre in this year, when he expects to be confirmed as General Secretary for life by the CCP. The purpose of Wang Yi’s unofficial stopover was to enbed to Chinese Communist Party cadres the fiction that under Xi Jinping, relations with India remained normal. The fact that the PRC trade surplus with India has reached levels not regarded as possible just two years ago has been put forward by Team Xi as illustrating his point that no matter how aggressive the PRC may be in transgressing the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India, Beijing’s hold over the commercial aspects of the Sino-Indian relationship remains impregnable. Meanwhile, Xi’s Beijing appears to have no limit on its hunger for fresh territory on land and sea. This is despite the Peoples Republic of China under Chairman Mao Zedong having seized control of more than double the territory that had been ruled from Beijing in the pre-CCP period, whether these be KMT or Imperial rule. The PRC will pay a heavy geopolitical cost for having alienated the only other country with a billion plus population on the planet, and increasingly, individuals within the CCP leadership circles are beginning to understand this fact. There is a growing perception within the CCP that Xi Jinping has, by his actions and policies, lost the friendship of India, and may now be on track to lose the friendship of the Russian Federation as well. This is through Xi and those under him trying to be all things to all people. In the Ukrainian case, to both the Russia-targeting members of NATO as well as to a Russia that is under siege for the crime of choosing Vladimir Putin rather than a Boris Yeltsin or Gorbachev clone as the leader of the world’s largest country by far. After Xi having first delighted NATO by being neutral in the first UNSC vote after the 24 February 2022 Special Military Operation (aka invasion) of Ukraine by Russia, a perception is growing in that country that Xi remains far from committed to the “Limitless Partnership” that he had proclaimed in the presence of President Putin shortly before the Russian military moved in force to create a new geographical realty in Ukraine. According to Wang Yi, it was entirely coincidental that the invasion began almost immediately after the Beijing Winter Olympics ended. This while from the military point of view, it would have been preferable to have launched it three weeks earlier than 24 February, when the preparedness of the irregular forces that have since 2015 been trained and equipped by NATO to fight Russian forces by NATO ( a la Afghanistan circa 1980s).

MISTAKES DONE BY PAST GOVernments
India under Modi has understood the error made in the past by previous governments. This was to constantly support the case of Communist China in international fora even against the Indian interest. This led to such anomalies as India backing the PRC within the UN in its claim for the permanent seat in the UN Security Council even during the period in 1962 when the PLA was attacking this country on a broad front. The attack was in contempt of international laws on sovereignty and territorial integrity, a flouting of international norms that is especially visible in the present era, when Xi Jinping has taken control of the CCP to a level possibly greater than that ever exercised by Chairman Mao, the creator of the PRC, or by Deng Xiaoping, the architect of Economic Superpower China. Rather than come to an accommodation with India based on mutual respect and interests, CCP General Secretary Xi and his trusted aides such as Foreign Minister Wang Yi have worked ceaselessly in efforts at preventing the rise of India, and indeed, in seeking a meltdown of the country as desired by GHQ Rawalpindi. Under Xi, the Sino-Wahabi alliance has progressed in spectacular fashion, and this was on display in the days preceding the PRC Foreign Minister’s unofficial visit to India. Wang’s stopover was unannounced by the host country, although media outlets across the world spoke of the “game changing” and “immense significance” of the “first visit by the Chinese FM to India since the pandemic”. Wang Yi had chosen to visit Afghanistan and Pakistan while making repeated attempts to procure an official invitation to visit India, a hostile act with clarity of intent. Wang Yi’s public embrace of the Two Nation theory in Pakistan has seriously weakened the PRC claim to Xinjiang and Tibet, which have a Muslim and a Buddhist majority despite decades of demographic change through the importatation of Han into both. Given the mating calls that foreign ministers belonging to NATO have been making to the PRC, it would appear that such open backing to extremist elements by the CCP leadership under Xi is of as little consequence as the fact that GHQ Rawalpindi assisted Taliban and other anti-western fighters to kill NATO troops in Afghanistan over the entire 20-year period of the battle waged by NATO since 2021.This was to rid Afghanistan of extremist militias that ended with its surrender to them in 2022. The problem facing the Office of the General Secretary of the CCP is that the only force that Xi has relied on (the Pakistan military) is rapidly losing public respect in the country. Whether it be Baloch, Sindhis, Pashtuns or Shia, there is rising dissatisfaction with the stifling control of the Pakistan military over the civilian establishment, anger that is erupting into open confrontation across several locations. This is putting Xi’s signature policy, the CPEC, at risk. In much the same way, the consequences of the war being waged by NATO against the Russian Federation is putting at risk much of the immense investments made by the PRC in Belt & Road projects across Eurasia. What was once seen as a masterstroke is now looking like a trillion-dollar gamble going wrong.

Nothing official about it, but PRC Foreign Minister Wang Yi visits India

Sunday, 27 March 2022

Don’t oppose K-Rail Silverline project (The Sunday Guardian)

 From the start of 2013, in the minds of BJP cadre, not to mention amongst large swathes of the citizenry, Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi has been regarded as the natural leader of not just his party but the country. Memory is still fresh of Narendra Modi’s record of success in transforming Gujarat. This took place in a manner that became common talk within other parts of India. There was no state government scheme in Gujarat during his time (and afterwards) that excluded the minorities. Unlike in UP before Yogi Adityanath took over, the people of Gujarat, a state where communal riots had become a commonplace, experienced 12 years during which there was not a single inter-religious riot. Interestingly, in Bengal the victory of the TMC in the Assembly polls was followed by violence against a section of society. In UP, after the BJP was voted back to power, there was a complete absence of any such violence. As Prime Minister, from the start of his tenure, Modi has focused on prosperity for all. Millions of voters in UP who derived benefit from the many Central schemes implemented in the state voted for the Samajwadi Party under Akhilesh Yadav. Long before the election campaign began, some voters had made clear their opposition to the Yogi Adityanath government. None of that stopped every benefit enjoyed by pro-BJP voters from being extended to them freely and enthusiastically by the state government. Much has been written about the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, and continues to figure in commentaries in India and abroad to this day. Much fewer has been any mention of the numerous houses of worship belonging to the majority community that were demolished by Modi in Gujarat during his term in the post of CM, or by Adityanath during the years he has held the office of CM, UP. Not far from the newly reconstructed Ram temple, a magnificent masjid is coming up in place of the dilapidated structure that was destroyed by hundreds of individuals at Ayodhya three decades back. Once the holy sites of Kashi and Mathura are restored to their glory before they were vandalised by Aurangzeb, the wound that exists in the Hindu psyche by the partition of India on the basis of the Two-Nation theory will heal completely. Ignoring the physical and psychic pain of Partition in the manner that Nehru sought to do has only built up a head of steam that became apparent in the 1990s. This time around, hopefully such a transformation would take place after securing the consent of the Muslim community in India. A step in that direction would be to ignore fringe elements within the majority community who talk of re-taking all the sites of temples that were destroyed by the Mughals. Historical wrongs cannot be corrected by rolling back history, something that the Congress discovered after the Sonia Gandhi-engineered split in that party in 1996. Such a stance by the Hindu fringe would assist GHQ Rawalpindi in its efforts to prevent the Muslim community in India from accepting the logic behind the three holy sites of the Hindu faith being returned to their pre-Aurangzeb glory, together with new and magnificent masjids built close by to replace the structures built during Aurangzeb’s time in Kashi and Mathura. Such a stance is as self-defeating as was the action of Nathuram Godse in assassinating Mahatma Gandhi. That single act has been used over more than six decades to entrench “Nehruvian secularism” in India. This is a construct where the majority community is treated in the same discriminatory and unequal way that minority communities are in some countries. If some friends in that party are correct, these days the Congress asks the applicant to reveal such personal details as religion and “caste” in its application form. Genuine secularism occurs when the faith of a citizen is of no consequence outside his or her personal life, and certainly ought to pay no role in anyone’s political or administrative activities. Among the key requirements of any national security strategy is equality of treatment of all communities. The last remnant of the Two-Nation theory that was used by Jinnah and Churchill to partition India was Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir, and this was removed a couple of years ago, finally. In the case of the BJP, it is a matter of concern that the Kerala unit of the party is opposing the construction of a new and fast railway system that would transport goods and passengers not merely across the state but to different parts of the country. In a state where hundreds of thousands working in the Middle East may soon get unemployed as a consequence of geopolitical shocks there, such opposition goes against the spirit of Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas Sabka Viswas that is the guiding principle of PM Modi. The Kerala unit of the BJP has some outstanding young leaders such as Union Minister Muralidharan, and they need to step in and prevent their party from joining hands with the Congress in an effort at blocking the K-Rail Silverline project. In case the compensation paid to those losing land is low, the party should agitate for an increase without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The young in Kerala need more such projects.

MDN

Don’t oppose K-Rail Silverline project


President Biden, India is not shaky, your base is (The Sunday Guardian)

 

Why the leadership of NATO is eager to convert a European country into another Syria, Libya or Afghanistan is unclear.

The more things change, they say, the more they remain the same. There were several from the professional and business classes who fled Iraq under Saddam Hussein to safer locations. Over the years, since their arrival in the US in particular, the new citizens began working the phone lines convincing those involved with policy that the rest of the population of Iraq was very similar to them. That they were closet liberal democrats, waiting for deliverance from Saddam Hussein. That last part was not wrong at all, so far as the Shia majority in Iraq was concerned. Saddam filled his government with Sunnis, and very few Shias, and with a disproportionate number of high positions going to those from Saddam’s home province, Tikrit. It was not accidental that Saddam launched an attack on Iran soon after the clergy under Grand Ayatollah Khomeini took charge in 1979. Most of those sent to the front line as fodder for Iranian artillery were Shia, sent to battle and perish facing the almost entirely Shia military mobilised by Tehran. The Kurds were also suppressed, not by sending them into battle but by bombing their villages and towns once President George H.W. Bush obligingly allowed the Iraqi Air Force to once again take to the skies to “establish order”. For an Iraqi resident in her or his own country, being opposed to Saddam Hussein was likely to end badly for the opponent and much of his family and friends, barring those who had reported the enemy of Saddam (sorry, Iraq) to the Mukhabarat. Almost as risky was to be close to him, for with rare exceptions, the dictator was less than constant in his choice of favourites, and before a new batch was selected and placed in suitable positions of trust, many of those in the earlier batch of favourites found themselves either in graves or in prison. Those were horrible times, with pulses racing with dread each time the doorbell rang. Ridding Iraq of Saddam Hussein was deliverance. The manner in which the country was subsequently occupied and ruled by President Bush with help from Labour grandee Tony Blair was a disaster for the world. As is the manner in which the Biden-Johnson duo is “helping” the Ukrainian people, much the same way as “a hangman’s rope supports the hanged”. The transparent reprise of US strategy followed in 1980s Afghanistan of Cold War 1.0 enemy the USSR will inevitably choke to dangerous levels the very survival of the people of that unfortunate country. President Zelenskyy and many of his advisors are Jewish, but seem not to have had much contact with Israel or they would have understood better how to ensure that their policies enable Ukraine to survive the war launched on it by the Russian Federation on 24 February.
Judging by the trajectory of events, the probability is rising that in about six more weeks of Russian countermoves to what passes for “generous NATO assistance” Ukraine would be converted into a wasteland, with almost half its population newly resident in countries to its west, excepting the two having the most vociferous Cold War 1.0 warriors, the UK and the US, the two countries that are most complicit in what from the start has been a hopeless battle against a military machine that has long prepared itself for war, not just with Ukraine but with NATO. In case there are still some realist minds within the Pentagon working in Net Assessment, they may wish to consider the probability of Russia starting a war to regain control of the Baltic states and afterwards, grabbing as much territory in Poland as to close the land corridor into Russia provided within that country from invaders moving in from the west. The land, sea and air corridors leading to the Baltic states are, of course, eminently vulnerable to an attack from Belarus and the Russian Federation.
This is just the good news. The bad news is that President Putin, who from his KGB days has been taught (correctly, it would seem to him, looking at the manner in which events have evolved since 1992 and especially since February 2022) to consider the threat from the west an existential hazard. There is a difference between what the giant intellects that act as strategists for NATO consider existential to the Russian Federation and what is regarded as existential in Moscow. If a russian attack on the Baltic states is launched through use of a low-fallout yield battlefield nuke that has been under development in Russia (and presumably in the US as well), would NATO respond with a nuclear strike on Russia that would inevitably trigger an Existential Alert in the Kremlin, thereby beginning a cycle of escalation, the end of which may not be a pretty sight for the world? NATO has failed first in deterring President Putin from invading Ukraine, a country that was eager to become the bridgehead of NATO looking into the Russian Federation, then in holding back the Russian advance, and afterwards in preventing the destruction of civilian infrastructure that has partially been used to supply with kinetic reinforcements, mostly irregular groups fighting Russian forces. It would have been logical to assume that Biden and Johnson would have understood by now the risks their alliance is running by climbing up the ladder of sanctions and supply of deadlier and deadlier weapons systems and ammunition to the Ukrainian forces battling against “Putin’s army”. Why the leadership of NATO is eager to convert a European country into another Syria, Libya or Afghanistan is unclear.
The defenders of the Atlanticist Alliance military alliance have till now avoided fighting any foe that is not defenceless against it, although being scared away even by such groups, as in Afghanistan. The lawful military there could have held the Taliban at bay and finally overcome it, had Biden not kneecapped it in his wholesale adoption of the shoddy Trump-Taliban deal at Doha in 2020. This is a lesson that Taiwan certainly must be looking at, vulnerable as that country has now become as a consequence of NATO’s serial missteps in Afghanistan and Ukraine. NATO as an existential threat is not just in Putin’s mind but in the entire consciousness of the Great Russian mind—for there is such a construct in Russian minds. This is similar to the idea of Great Britain in so many minds in the UK, including those of Boris Johnson and his ally, Keir Starmer.
Europe, this time with not just the participation from the start but under the leadership of the United States, is “stumbling towards World War”, much as Germany, Russia, France and the UK stumbled into a war that made inevitable the end of European overseas empires. Not having understood this, European colonial occupiers sought to continue to stifle freedoms in Asia, Africa and elsewhere, although their exit as occupiers became obvious after 1945. This was obvious to the British people, if not to Churchill, but was not so to the French, who (having been affected relatively lightly during World War II, sought to retain control of countries such as Algeria and Vietnam. Alas, the US under Truman stood by the side of the colonial power and not with the forces of history, just as the US under President Biden is now standing and acting side by side with those in Europe who appear to believe in the effective control of a Russia after, of course, Putin.

President Biden, India is not shaky, your base is

Monday, 21 March 2022

India's stance independent on NATO-Russia row (CHINA DAILY)

 Since September 2021, some leaders of NATO member states had been repeating the error they made in 2014-of saying "post-Maidan revolution" Ukraine could soon join the European Union and NATO. In doing so, they ignored the fact that Russia wanted nothing less than a neutral Ukraine, which Russian President Vladimir Putin had made clear on many occasions.

Many expected President Volodymyr Zelensky not to repeat the mistakes of his predecessor Petro Poroshenko, and announce that Ukraine would not join NATO. But he did not.

After the street protests led to the ouster of the elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014 and he was called a Kremlin agent, Poroshenko's policies led to the Crimea crisis, and worsened the problems of the Russian-speaking people in the Donbas region, especially in Lugansk and Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine.

Even after Crimea voted in a referendum to join Russia in 2014, neither Ukraine nor NATO heeded the warnings of Moscow. As a result, the domestic political struggle in Ukraine intensified, leading to the Russia-Ukraine conflict on Lugansk and Donetsk in February 2022.

And on Feb 24, Putin ordered the "special military operation" in Ukraine. And again, as in 2014, NATO refused to join Ukraine in a conflict with Russia, even refusing to impose a no-fly zone against Russia, perhaps because Russia is not Iraq or Libya.

Since the United States-led NATO forces had withdrawn from Afghanistan in August 2021 after almost 20 years, they were not ready to confront as powerful a rival as Russia. Yet NATO entered into a "proxy war" with Russia by provoking Kyiv to take on Moscow, in the hope of using the conflict to effect a regime change in Russia.

Led by the US and the United Kingdom, NATO and EU member states imposed sanctions on Moscow aimed at causing a meltdown of the Russian economy and even creating public unrest in the same way that Hosni Mubarak was ousted in Egypt and Yanukovych in Ukraine. The West tried similar tactics in Belarus and Kazakhstan to overthrow sitting governments, but failed in both cases, partly due to the intervention of Russia.

Now, instead of the Russian leadership, several pro-Western governments in other countries face public unrest due to prices rise and supply disruptions caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict which could lead to their ouster. Asian economies, in particular, have been hit hard by the steep rise in commodity prices caused by the sanctions against Russia.

As a developing country in the process of transforming its economy and lifting millions of people out of poverty, India will suffer the consequences of the Western sanctions against Russia. This is one of the reasons why India is opposed to NATO waging a non-kinetic war against Russia which could become kinetic.

India has its own redline when it comes to international relations, and it will not cross it to support NATO's strategy to counter Russia.

So, it is in the US' interest to establish a working and productive relationship with Russia, instead of pressing India to join it in its proxy war against Russia, in order to end the conflict and prevent the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine from worsening.

Under pressure from the US, both Japan and Australia joined that country in trying to change India's policy toward Russia, but failed. A country of more than 1.3 billion people that for two centuries endured colonial oppression will not allow outside powers, no matter how powerful they are, to make it go against its critical interests.

The special and strategic partnership agreement Russia and India signed in 2000, which was expanded in 2010, will continue to determine Russia-India relations.

US President Joe Biden assumes the world is still stuck in the late 1980s. Why else is he treating Russia even worse than the way the US treated the Soviet Union?

By forcing EU countries to suffer the consequences of the measures designed to punish Russia-just as it did in the case of Iraq, Libya and Iran-Washington is damaging the interests of the European people in order to carry forward its agenda of destroying the strategic and economic potential of the Russian Federation.

India will not join any move by NATO against Russia, which has been made clear to NATO leaders. It is better that Western leaders, especially NATO leaders, realized that not all countries support them in their confrontation with Russia and hence they should let the people of Ukraine and Russia decide their future relations.

Sino-Russian currency war on Atlantic powers gets a Ukrainian stimulus (The Sunday Guardian)

 

Both Russia and China have been working on alternatives to SWIFT, with China’s CIPS at the top of the scale, with Russia close behind.

 

New Delhi & New York:  The declaration of a financial war against Russia by the US, EU, UK and Switzerland after the invasion of parts of Ukraine by Russian forces on 24 February 2022 was predicated on a rapid climbdown by the Kremlin in the face of the financial firepower it was subjected to. After more than three weeks of conflict, such a retreat still seems distant. The backwash of the rapidly cobbled together list of sanctions on the economies of the sanctioning countries is increasing, and will soon begin to do so exponentially. The rest of the world, of course, is irrelevant, given that the “International Community” comprises solely of the entities mentioned above, the US, EU, UK and of course Switzerland. Should NATO succeed in prolonging the agony now being endured by the Ukrainian population by a few months, the resulting economic downturn would dwarf not just the Great Depression of the previous century. This is the risk that the world is facing as a consequence of tactical plans mapped out less through use of the brain than of the glandular instincts of the many venerable thinkers within the Atlanticist military machine. Given NATO’s obsession with Russia, it is unsurprising that so much attention has been paid to Ukraine, the country which has as its capital the Jerusalem of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kyiv. Once (if ever) Ukraine falls as firmly into NATO’s overall grip as firmly as on the Czech Republic or Slovenia, the country and its capital would be invaluable at engineering a regime change not merely in the Kremlin but in the Russian Orthodox Church, the leadership of which backs the deeply religious Vladimir V. Putin in his “righteous” war on “Ukrainian apostates”. Ensuring that the Russian Federation under Putin (who has proved a great disappointment to the Atlantic Alliance in comparison to Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin), loses its war in Ukraine is critical to the geopolitical success of the post-1992 project of converting Moscow into a compliant and complicit partner of the US-UK-EU partnership. This still formidable alliance has been joined by Switzerland, which did not feel any moral impulse to move away from its neutrality during the Nazi occupation and brutalisation of Europe that began in the 1930s and ended in 1945, but which has now finally found its moral compass. The once neutral country has joined explicitly with the US, UK and the EU in its (so far non-kinetic) war on the Russian Federation. International institutions that have been headquartered in Switzerland because of its presumed neutrality need to re-evaluate their locations and move to more impartial shores, such as India. Switzerland can no longer be described as neutral, despite choosing to remain so during the two previous World Wars that took place in the 20th century. Apart from promoting a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine by transferring billions of dollars and weapons to the (largely irregular) Ukrainian forces, NATO through its key members has launched a financial war on Russia that it hopes would prove fatal to the present regime in Moscow and once again bring into office a replacement that (as in Ukraine since 2014) is a reliable accessory to the interests of NATO. This is an alliance that remains fixated on what it was set up for, dealing with Russia as The Enemy, much to the delight of the Chinese Communist Party.

Bureaucracies routinely find new reasons to perpetuate themselves and grow, and after its disastrous kinetic efforts in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan, NATO has retreated to the only cause that the organisation and the band of academics and think tanks nourished by it know, which is to contain Russia. The problem is that the US-UK-EU strategists who have scripted the campaign against Russia since shifting focus to Ukraine in 2009, while acknowledging that Putin is no Gorbachev or Yeltsin, fail to understand that he is no Khrushchev or Brezhnev either. It was the fear of kinetic conflict with the US in particular that prevented military escalation by the USSR even in the matter of moving to take over the whole of Berlin in the days when the Vozd (Stalin) was still around in the Kremlin or the nearby Dacha. Or in not daring to expand the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s to the country that needed to be attacked the hardest from the air and seas by Soviet forces, Pakistan under General Zia. After going through the battlefield experiences of NATO in the Muslim countries mentioned above, Vladimir Putin has indicated that he would not blink in the manner that Nikita Khrushchev did in 1962 over Cuba, but play any game of chicken until the other side either destroyed itself and the rest of the world or chickened out. This is not the insanity or thuggishness diagnosed in Putin by psychologists of eminence such as Joe Biden or Boris Johnson, but cold strategic logic based on a study of available data on the actual 21st century combat operations of the Atlanticist alliance. The Sino-Russian alliance has become the cornerstone of the strategic ambitions of CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping, who early on saw the need to dethrone the US dollar as the reserve currency of the world, and who has been working together with Putin to succeed in this effort. Beginning with George W. Bush, continuing with Barack Obama and now Joseph Robinette Biden Jr, the oft-used but since then turbocharged weaponization of the US dollar has been affecting global confidence in USD as a safe and stable reserve currency, not in the “International Community” as defined by Washington, London or Brussels but in the rest of the world, which are by implication therefore not part of the “international community”.

 

CHINA AND RUSSIA ACTIVE IN DE-DOLLARISATION

Along with Xi Jinping on a parallel track, President Putin has quietly been working on a de facto de-dollarisation, a process the acceleration of which US-EU-UK-Switzerland financial sanctions has made imperative. From at least 2013 (trigger: sanctions on Iran) and ramping up in 2014 (trigger: Crimea). This is being achieved through boosting stocks of gold, such that Russia and China now have possibly the highest gold reserves of any country in the world. In short, both Russia and China have been preparing for a post-SWIFT world for some time. Once Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge in 2014, so has India, with the consequence that Indo-Russian trade can be shielded from US and other Western financial sanctions involving the use of their currencies in such trade. As for the de-dollarisation that has been forced on Russia by President Biden from last month, even before the Biden sanctions, the share of USD in Russia’s trades was below 56% before February 2022. This may be compared to 90% in 2014. Both Russia and China have been working on alternative to SWIFT, with China’s CIPS at the top of the scale, with Russia close behind. Now that sanctions that would have the (presumably unintended) effect of scaring away the Rest (as distinct from the West) from the US dollar, the euro, the Swiss franc and the UK pound, swap trades between the Rest using their own currencies are certain to accelerate, so that currencies with a high geopolitical risk factor are bypassed. Among the last pillars holding up USD as the global reserve currency is the pricing of international oil trade in USD. Now that petroproducts have been sanctioned by NATO, it is unlikely that a situation that has persisted since 1971 would last for much longer. Another USD pillar is crypto, where the dominant Bitcoin is still priced in USD, although recent curbs on that crypto asset by the sanctioning countries may change that situation. Saudi Arabia and other OPEC producers are in talks to arrange payment in non-NATO (or Swiss) currencies, while purchasers of Russian oil and gas in the Rest would need to use alternative currencies, given that sales in USD have been banned by the White House. How such self-defeating steps by the US, Switzerland, UK and EU are being carried out is clear. Why all this is happening is another question. Bringing Ukraine into the grip of the West would not seem worth a global loss of confidence in Western currencies within the Rest. Worse, should Russia re-price its abundant natural resources in currencies other than the Big Four mentioned above, that would have an immediate consequence on the viability of any of these currencies as a reserve for the Rest. If yesterday the target was Iran and today Russia, tomorrow it could be any of the Rest, for whatever imaginary or actual reason proffered by the West for its actions.

 

REAL RESOURCES COUNT FOR MORE

Ironically, it is not so much Russia that has abandoned the USD, it is the USD that has abandoned Russia. It is not Putin who forced Western brands to shut down in his country, but the leaders of those countries themselves. Given the dynamic of the escalatory steps taking place, it seems only a matter of time before Russia’s debt to the West gets repudiated rather than repaid, and assets of the departed companies seized. If (as in the case of several countries) more than half or even two-thirds of the currency reserves of a country within the Rest can be eliminated at the stroke of a pen, the concept of a neutral currency goes out of the window. Before Biden and Johnson began a process that may lead to the death dance of the US dollar and the UK pound, the self-advertised “liberal” Prime Minister of Canada confiscated the bank accounts of several of his citizens who had been (in Trudeau’s view) unpatriotic enough to send even as little as $5 for the truckers’ protest against not the continuance of Canada as a unified country but the Justin Trudeau Vaccine Mandate. Confidence in a bank or currency is not so much rational as it is psychological. It is not based on currency that is presently being created limitlessly in the West, but on resources. Once India gains access to Russian resources and monetizes them in its own currency, it would be on a much stronger financial footing than West-biased “rating agencies” endlessly warn about. For them, it is not inherent soundness of an economy but fealty to the shifting sands of Western global interests that determine rankings that are still surprisingly being taken seriously in India, especially by financial institutions. What any economy in the Rest needs are not so much dollars, pounds, euro or francs that are capable of being rendered worthless by actions outside the sovereign boundaries of non-Western countries but the real resources that they gain access to and use. Russia may have a policy-driven famine of currencies of the West but has real resources in abundance. These are what a modernising India needs, which is why Prime Minister Modi has ignored the condescending warnings of Western leaders to shoot the economy in the foot in the same way as they are doing by some of their measures.

 

THE WAR COMES TO THE WEST

Given that he has lived off the exchequer for more than four decades as Senator, Vice-President and now President of the US, Joe Biden can be forgiven for not being able to factor in the effect that the commodity inflation caused by the Biden-Johnson sanctions on the Putin regime. Although the West has among the least prepared monetary regimes in history, with debt to GDP ratio having already exceeded World War II levels, with interest rates close to zero, although the Federal Reserve Chairman seems to have reflexively raised interest rates in a Pavlovian manner. Such a rise in rates will not affect commodity-driven hikes caused by geopolitical factors, but reduce the rate of recovery of the US economy in time for the Republican Party to garner the consequences during the 2022 midterms. Now that the USD is getting priced loose from its status as the currency used for petroproduct sales, and prices of resources abundant in Russia and Ukraine are soaring, the costs of the war to Putin (and Xi, assuming he does not commit hara-kiri of his career by obeying Biden’s command to decouple from Russia) are already much lower than the geopolitical benefits being caused to the West by the blowback caused by the NATO war on Russia. Not that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman can be faulted for his pivot from the West, given the demonisation of him by that construct, on a scale now being matched by the abuse being hurled by the West on Putin. Now that the previous biggest customer (the US) has become your biggest competitor, it makes sense to not destroy OPEC by agreeing to throw Russia out. And to get closer to your biggest customer since the past few years, China. As for USD, a currency incapable of buying anything in a spreading geographical zone is en route to becoming valueless. As and when sense prevails within NATO and a sanctions rollback begins despite large tracts of formerly Ukrainian land going to Russia (in the way much of Mexico went to the US in the 19th century), the costs of this war to the West and the benefits to China and Russia (in descending order) will become apparent. In the 1990s, financial sanctions may have been effective. In the 2020s, they may end up doing more harm to the sanctioning countries than to the countries sanctioned. The bad news is that such a realisation may come about when it is too late to avoid damage, not only to the West, but to large swathes of the Rest as well.

Sino-Russian currency war on Atlantic powers gets a Ukrainian stimulus

Sunday, 20 March 2022

Sino-Russian currency war on Atlantic powers gets a Ukrainian stimulus (The Sunday Guardian)

 

Both Russia and China have been working on alternatives to SWIFT, with China’s CIPS at the top of the scale, with Russia close behind.

 

New Delhi & New York:  The declaration of a financial war against Russia by the US, EU, UK and Switzerland after the invasion of parts of Ukraine by Russian forces on 24 February 2022 was predicated on a rapid climbdown by the Kremlin in the face of the financial firepower it was subjected to. After more than three weeks of conflict, such a retreat still seems distant. The backwash of the rapidly cobbled together list of sanctions on the economies of the sanctioning countries is increasing, and will soon begin to do so exponentially. The rest of the world, of course, is irrelevant, given that the “International Community” comprises solely of the entities mentioned above, the US, EU, UK and of course Switzerland. Should NATO succeed in prolonging the agony now being endured by the Ukrainian population by a few months, the resulting economic downturn would dwarf not just the Great Depression of the previous century. This is the risk that the world is facing as a consequence of tactical plans mapped out less through use of the brain than of the glandular instincts of the many venerable thinkers within the Atlanticist military machine. Given NATO’s obsession with Russia, it is unsurprising that so much attention has been paid to Ukraine, the country which has as its capital the Jerusalem of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kyiv. Once (if ever) Ukraine falls as firmly into NATO’s overall grip as firmly as on the Czech Republic or Slovenia, the country and its capital would be invaluable at engineering a regime change not merely in the Kremlin but in the Russian Orthodox Church, the leadership of which backs the deeply religious Vladimir V. Putin in his “righteous” war on “Ukrainian apostates”. Ensuring that the Russian Federation under Putin (who has proved a great disappointment to the Atlantic Alliance in comparison to Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin), loses its war in Ukraine is critical to the geopolitical success of the post-1992 project of converting Moscow into a compliant and complicit partner of the US-UK-EU partnership. This still formidable alliance has been joined by Switzerland, which did not feel any moral impulse to move away from its neutrality during the Nazi occupation and brutalisation of Europe that began in the 1930s and ended in 1945, but which has now finally found its moral compass. The once neutral country has joined explicitly with the US, UK and the EU in its (so far non-kinetic) war on the Russian Federation. International institutions that have been headquartered in Switzerland because of its presumed neutrality need to re-evaluate their locations and move to more impartial shores, such as India. Switzerland can no longer be described as neutral, despite choosing to remain so during the two previous World Wars that took place in the 20th century. Apart from promoting a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine by transferring billions of dollars and weapons to the (largely irregular) Ukrainian forces, NATO through its key members has launched a financial war on Russia that it hopes would prove fatal to the present regime in Moscow and once again bring into office a replacement that (as in Ukraine since 2014) is a reliable accessory to the interests of NATO. This is an alliance that remains fixated on what it was set up for, dealing with Russia as The Enemy, much to the delight of the Chinese Communist Party.

Bureaucracies routinely find new reasons to perpetuate themselves and grow, and after its disastrous kinetic efforts in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan, NATO has retreated to the only cause that the organisation and the band of academics and think tanks nourished by it know, which is to contain Russia. The problem is that the US-UK-EU strategists who have scripted the campaign against Russia since shifting focus to Ukraine in 2009, while acknowledging that Putin is no Gorbachev or Yeltsin, fail to understand that he is no Khrushchev or Brezhnev either. It was the fear of kinetic conflict with the US in particular that prevented military escalation by the USSR even in the matter of moving to take over the whole of Berlin in the days when the Vozd (Stalin) was still around in the Kremlin or the nearby Dacha. Or in not daring to expand the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s to the country that needed to be attacked the hardest from the air and seas by Soviet forces, Pakistan under General Zia. After going through the battlefield experiences of NATO in the Muslim countries mentioned above, Vladimir Putin has indicated that he would not blink in the manner that Nikita Khrushchev did in 1962 over Cuba, but play any game of chicken until the other side either destroyed itself and the rest of the world or chickened out. This is not the insanity or thuggishness diagnosed in Putin by psychologists of eminence such as Joe Biden or Boris Johnson, but cold strategic logic based on a study of available data on the actual 21st century combat operations of the Atlanticist alliance. The Sino-Russian alliance has become the cornerstone of the strategic ambitions of CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping, who early on saw the need to dethrone the US dollar as the reserve currency of the world, and who has been working together with Putin to succeed in this effort. Beginning with George W. Bush, continuing with Barack Obama and now Joseph Robinette Biden Jr, the oft-used but since then turbocharged weaponization of the US dollar has been affecting global confidence in USD as a safe and stable reserve currency, not in the “International Community” as defined by Washington, London or Brussels but in the rest of the world, which are by implication therefore not part of the “international community”.

 

CHINA AND RUSSIA ACTIVE IN DE-DOLLARISATION

Along with Xi Jinping on a parallel track, President Putin has quietly been working on a de facto de-dollarisation, a process the acceleration of which US-EU-UK-Switzerland financial sanctions has made imperative. From at least 2013 (trigger: sanctions on Iran) and ramping up in 2014 (trigger: Crimea). This is being achieved through boosting stocks of gold, such that Russia and China now have possibly the highest gold reserves of any country in the world. In short, both Russia and China have been preparing for a post-SWIFT world for some time. Once Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge in 2014, so has India, with the consequence that Indo-Russian trade can be shielded from US and other Western financial sanctions involving the use of their currencies in such trade. As for the de-dollarisation that has been forced on Russia by President Biden from last month, even before the Biden sanctions, the share of USD in Russia’s trades was below 56% before February 2022. This may be compared to 90% in 2014. Both Russia and China have been working on alternative to SWIFT, with China’s CIPS at the top of the scale, with Russia close behind. Now that sanctions that would have the (presumably unintended) effect of scaring away the Rest (as distinct from the West) from the US dollar, the euro, the Swiss franc and the UK pound, swap trades between the Rest using their own currencies are certain to accelerate, so that currencies with a high geopolitical risk factor are bypassed. Among the last pillars holding up USD as the global reserve currency is the pricing of international oil trade in USD. Now that petroproducts have been sanctioned by NATO, it is unlikely that a situation that has persisted since 1971 would last for much longer. Another USD pillar is crypto, where the dominant Bitcoin is still priced in USD, although recent curbs on that crypto asset by the sanctioning countries may change that situation. Saudi Arabia and other OPEC producers are in talks to arrange payment in non-NATO (or Swiss) currencies, while purchasers of Russian oil and gas in the Rest would need to use alternative currencies, given that sales in USD have been banned by the White House. How such self-defeating steps by the US, Switzerland, UK and EU are being carried out is clear. Why all this is happening is another question. Bringing Ukraine into the grip of the West would not seem worth a global loss of confidence in Western currencies within the Rest. Worse, should Russia re-price its abundant natural resources in currencies other than the Big Four mentioned above, that would have an immediate consequence on the viability of any of these currencies as a reserve for the Rest. If yesterday the target was Iran and today Russia, tomorrow it could be any of the Rest, for whatever imaginary or actual reason proffered by the West for its actions.

 

REAL RESOURCES COUNT FOR MORE

Ironically, it is not so much Russia that has abandoned the USD, it is the USD that has abandoned Russia. It is not Putin who forced Western brands to shut down in his country, but the leaders of those countries themselves. Given the dynamic of the escalatory steps taking place, it seems only a matter of time before Russia’s debt to the West gets repudiated rather than repaid, and assets of the departed companies seized. If (as in the case of several countries) more than half or even two-thirds of the currency reserves of a country within the Rest can be eliminated at the stroke of a pen, the concept of a neutral currency goes out of the window. Before Biden and Johnson began a process that may lead to the death dance of the US dollar and the UK pound, the self-advertised “liberal” Prime Minister of Canada confiscated the bank accounts of several of his citizens who had been (in Trudeau’s view) unpatriotic enough to send even as little as $5 for the truckers’ protest against not the continuance of Canada as a unified country but the Justin Trudeau Vaccine Mandate. Confidence in a bank or currency is not so much rational as it is psychological. It is not based on currency that is presently being created limitlessly in the West, but on resources. Once India gains access to Russian resources and monetizes them in its own currency, it would be on a much stronger financial footing than West-biased “rating agencies” endlessly warn about. For them, it is not inherent soundness of an economy but fealty to the shifting sands of Western global interests that determine rankings that are still surprisingly being taken seriously in India, especially by financial institutions. What any economy in the Rest needs are not so much dollars, pounds, euro or francs that are capable of being rendered worthless by actions outside the sovereign boundaries of non-Western countries but the real resources that they gain access to and use. Russia may have a policy-driven famine of currencies of the West but has real resources in abundance. These are what a modernising India needs, which is why Prime Minister Modi has ignored the condescending warnings of Western leaders to shoot the economy in the foot in the same way as they are doing by some of their measures.

 

THE WAR COMES TO THE WEST

Given that he has lived off the exchequer for more than four decades as Senator, Vice-President and now President of the US, Joe Biden can be forgiven for not being able to factor in the effect that the commodity inflation caused by the Biden-Johnson sanctions on the Putin regime. Although the West has among the least prepared monetary regimes in history, with debt to GDP ratio having already exceeded World War II levels, with interest rates close to zero, although the Federal Reserve Chairman seems to have reflexively raised interest rates in a Pavlovian manner. Such a rise in rates will not affect commodity-driven hikes caused by geopolitical factors, but reduce the rate of recovery of the US economy in time for the Republican Party to garner the consequences during the 2022 midterms. Now that the USD is getting priced loose from its status as the currency used for petroproduct sales, and prices of resources abundant in Russia and Ukraine are soaring, the costs of the war to Putin (and Xi, assuming he does not commit hara-kiri of his career by obeying Biden’s command to decouple from Russia) are already much lower than the geopolitical benefits being caused to the West by the blowback caused by the NATO war on Russia. Not that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman can be faulted for his pivot from the West, given the demonisation of him by that construct, on a scale now being matched by the abuse being hurled by the West on Putin. Now that the previous biggest customer (the US) has become your biggest competitor, it makes sense to not destroy OPEC by agreeing to throw Russia out. And to get closer to your biggest customer since the past few years, China. As for USD, a currency incapable of buying anything in a spreading geographical zone is en route to becoming valueless. As and when sense prevails within NATO and a sanctions rollback begins despite large tracts of formerly Ukrainian land going to Russia (in the way much of Mexico went to the US in the 19th century), the costs of this war to the West and the benefits to China and Russia (in descending order) will become apparent. In the 1990s, financial sanctions may have been effective. In the 2020s, they may end up doing more harm to the sanctioning countries than to the countries sanctioned. The bad news is that such a realisation may come about when it is too late to avoid damage, not only to the West, but to large swathes of the Rest as well.

Sino-Russian currency war on Atlantic powers gets a Ukrainian stimulus


US media resembling Pravda (The Sunday Guardian)

 “Pravda” (truth) was the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and the “truth” detailed in its columns was reality as defined by the CPSU. The clearly capable White House Press Secretary has ensured that not just the mainstream media but leading social media influencers reflect the conflict with Russia as defined by the White House. Jen Psaki deserves a raise. There is no need any more for the followers of mainstream media or influencers to access their favourites. All that they need to do is view clips on YouTube of Jen Psaki, Joe Biden, Antony Blinken and other officials who present the “truth” in the manner that the White House regards as advantageous for the Democratic Party in the 2020 midterms. It has not been a secret that media in the Russian Federation is overall respectful of President Putin. They apparently do not share the view, couched in terms that these days passes for diplomacy in the NATO bloc, that Putin is at best insane and at worst, an incarnation of Adolf Hitler. NATO channels endlessly repeated the clip of a charming lady holding a placard against the war and state propaganda in a Russian news channel. The young lady has apparently been persuaded by her VPN access to NATO channels that it is only a matter of weeks if not days before Putin gets toppled in Moscow in the manner that President Viktor Yanukovich was toppled by street violence in Kyiv in 2014. When that happy event occurs, she expects that Putin’s successor Alexei Navalny will appoint her as Information & Culture Minister. This would win the support of Joe Biden and Boris Johnson, both of whom have become ardent admirers of the comely media personality after her 15 seconds of fame on a Russian television channel. Should Putin not oblige those predicting his imminent doom, the young lady is likely to earn the ire of ordinary Russians for embracing the views of western media so publicly. Following the same rulebook, prominent voices in the US who are talking truth to power such as Tulsi Gabbard or Tucker Carlson are being branded as traitors. Exactly the way those who protested against the US rush to disaster in Vietnam initially were. Tucker Carlson and Tulsi Gabbard need to be in the US Senate, which appears to be sinking in credibility as an independent wing of governance because of being programmed to follow the narrative presented by the White House and mainstream media. The rising blood lust against Russia has risen to such a pitch that voters are calling for yet more escalatory steps than the many carried out rather than favouring the path towards an outcome that would protect the world from the damage that the present course would cause just a few months from now.

Decades ago, after the Iraq invasion of 2003 against Saddam Hussein, this writer had the privilege of meeting Andrew Marshall, one of the finest strategic minds of the 20th century. In the Pentagon, when presented with the view by an ordinary Indian professor that US troops in uniform should leave Iraq’s population centres alone and concentrate on border security (or that having a US Administrator rather than a lifelong citizen of Iraq was certain to create public resentment at such alien domination), Marshall was attentive, while others were dismissive of such conclusions at the early stage of the US-UK (aka the former colonial power) occupation of Iraq. Media in the US and in other countries active in the post-invasion occupation of Iraq uniformly bought the NATO narrative, much as they are doing now in the case of the war in Ukraine. Labelling dissenting voices as treason and adopting the same degree of objectivity as Pravda in its heyday are certain steps towards disaster. During the Vietnam War, when it became clear that metrics of success such as body counts were giving a misleading impression of the conflict’s trajectory, Senator J. William Fulbright held hearings in which he brought to account the White House for the war. It is difficult to imagine Chuck Schumer or Mitch McConnell showing similar moral courage. If the McConnell was the lapdog of President Trump, Shumer has accepted that role under President Biden. Their absence of moral courage fused with a paucity of common sense is ensuring that the US lead NATO towards a disaster that may scar the remainder of this century. Were Biden as fortunate as Clinton, he may in time leave the White House in the hands of a Republican successor and escape responsibility for the catastrophe begun under his watch, in the manner Bill Clinton dodged the responsibility for nurturing terrorism in Afghanistan and in turbocharging the PRC economy through generous unilateral trade concessions that caused the trade deficit between China and the US to soar. Clinton left the White House in the nick of time, although Biden and his party may not be so lucky. Latest around the time last year that Biden re-installed the Taliban in power in Afghanistan last year, the folly of his policy on Afghanistan and Russia will become inescapable to voters. There seems no longer any point in trying to get across even a mildly alternative view than NATO “truth” to the Guardian, the New York Times or too many other publications. They claim to print “all the news that’s fit to print”, when what is meant by that is “all the news that NATO leaders considers fit to print”. Poor world.
MDN

President Biden needs a reality check on Ukraine (The Sunday Guardian)

 

The strategy being urged on the Ukrainians by NATO of fighting to the death against Russian forces will inevitably lead to Ukraine falling into a morass.

India is a country in which attacks on sovereignty and grabbing of territory by Pakistan and later China have spanned 75 years and counting. Barring a few statements of concern on recent incidents and a still insufficient level of weapons sales, Washington under Joe Biden has done nothing. What is taking place to the Ukrainian people is horrible, although the causes of that may differ from the accounts retailed in most US or European newspapers. There is an obvious frenzy in the Atlanticist media, as report after report gives details of what the Ukrainians say are Russian atrocities. Each such report is followed by calls from discussants on television and contributors in print and online media to accelerate the supply of still more deadly weapons to Ukrainian forces, which from the period of the western-backed Regime Change Movement in 2014 has mostly consisted of militias who are not exactly admirers of Russian-speaking individuals, including in Ukraine. There is a cry for even the S-300 and other Russian weapons platforms to get transferred from former Warsaw Pact partners to Ukraine. And yet it is evident that Biden, Johnson and Stoltenberg do not believe that transferring such supplies would provide a reason for Putin to expand the war into the former Warsaw Pact zone, so that such transfers cease. Why countries such as the US, France, Britain and Germany are directing petrol instead of water into the cauldron that Ukraine has become is beyond logical understanding. World wars, it is said, begin by accident. This is not true. Germany under its clueless Kaiser launched World War I by its overconfidence in the abilities of Hindenburg and Ludendorff to prevail over even France. That country, assisted by Britain and belatedly by the US, held its own and at great cost in lives and treasure, held the Kaiser’s minions to a stalemate that proved fatal to the survival of the Hohenzollerns and to the country that the last Kaiser Wilhelm led to disaster. After taking over France while allowing the British military to escape to safety by the stupidity of the former corporal turned Fuehrer, who was the Supreme Warlord of Germany during World War II, Hitler regarded the takeover of the USSR as child’s play, as apparently did their generals until they were held up outside the gates of Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad (whose names that were steeped in Russian history were changed in the 1990s by another disastrous leader, Boris Yeltsin) after less than six months of what seemed to the rest of the world a one-sided conflict. Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill disagreed with this view, and that fateful initial stalemate of the Wehrmacht proved them to be right. By 1943, helped by weapons mostly from the US and by intelligence on German capabilities secretly transferred from the UK to the USSR through a network of Soviet agents of British nationality, it was clear except to a psychotic or psychedelic mind that the Wehrmacht was facing the prospect of doom at the hands of the Soviet armies. Hitler was aware of the fate that Stalin had reserved for him if captured by Soviet forces, so he decided to pre-empt such an outcome by first killing himself, his Alsatian dog Blondi and his wife Eva, in decreasing order of importance to Der Fuehrer.
The Russian Federation is not the country that the largely Russian Soviet forces fought during WWII, Nazi Germany. Nor is Vladimir Putin the Hitler of the 21st century, although Biden confidante and Regime Change Specialist, Victoria Nuland, may believe otherwise. The problem facing the global community is that the collective leadership of NATO seems intoxicated by the idea of rendering Russia helpless in the face of the alliance that, when last heard of in Asia, had exited in Afghanistan after handing control back to the Taliban. This is the government that since the NATO withdrawal has faded from Atlanticist attention in their collective hysteria about Putin and in effect the whole of Russia. The NYT, Washington Post, CNN, BBC and other repositories of truth as seen from the perspective of the “international community” aka the members of NATO seem unaware that as these words are being written, the Taliban is carrying out house to house searches in Kabul and other cities to identify and execute those who had been unwise enough to assist NATO in its 2001-2021 operations in Afghanistan against the Taliban. As a consequence, several times more Afghans lost their lives or limbs during that period than troops from the NATO countries that had earlier assured them protection. Of course, Afghans are not Ukrainians, but what is so different about Ukrainians that make them in the eyes of the Atlanticists different from those populations that saw NATO military involvement and which have all been in an indescribable way since then? Of course, it must be added that the strategy now being urged on the Ukrainians by NATO, of not cutting their losses and moving on, but fighting to the death against Russian forces will inevitably lead to Ukraine falling into the same morass that the North African and West Asian countries find themselves in, a morass that has disappeared from the pages of NATO media despite its continuing consequences on innocent lives. It is without a trace of incongruity that those who favour the incarceration of Julian Assange, the blocking of Russia Television and the condemnation of contrarian voices such as Tucker Carlson or Tulsi Gabbard lecture the world on freedom of speech. Biden has flagged the conflict between NATO and Russia as a battle between authoritarian and democratic forces. Clearly, China is in the latter category, for otherwise it would not be getting courted by the US President and his European counterparts. The good news for the EU is that Boris Johnson has returned to the fold in all but name. The bad news is that the sanctions screw that is being steadily tightened against Russia is making it more likely that Putin will not stop at Ukraine but continue until the Russians reach a point where kinetic conflict erupts between NATO and Russia. This would not be over Moldova or Georgia, that will meet the fate of Ukraine, but because of the Baltic states and more and more likely, Poland. From then to the use of tactical nuclear weapons and the subsequent chain reaction of escalation would not be an impossible step. It is a testimony to his disconnect from geopolitical reality that Volodymyr Zelenskyy is ­importuning NATO members to carry out actions that would lead to the catastrophe he is anxious to prevent. Rather than bringing him into reality in accepting the situation and cutting a deal with Moscow, it is inexplicable why Biden, Johnson and Stoltenberg are encouraging him in his disastrous fantasy of defeating Russia. Both Napoleon and Hitler had similar fantasies. President Zelenskyy,
unlike such despots, is a liberal ­democrat and a Ukrainian patriot, which makes his escalatory demands
on lawmakers in the US,
UK and EU so tragic for Ukraine.

 President Biden needs a reality check on Ukraine