Sunday 1st of October 2023

russia is moving east, east is moving to Russia…...

Tectonic shifts continue to rage through the world system with nation-states quickly recognizing that the “great game” as it has been played since the establishment of the Bretton Woods monetary system in the wake of the second World War, is over.

But empires never disappear without a fight, and the Anglo-American one is no exception, overplaying its hand, threatening and bluffing its way, right to the end.

End of an order


By Matthew Ehret


It seems no matter how many sanctions the west imposes on Russia, the victims most affected are western civilians. Indeed, the severity of this political blunder is such that the nations of the trans-Atlantic are heading towards the greatest self-induced food and energy crisis in history.

While the representatives of the “liberal rules-based international order” continue on their trajectory to crush all nations that refuse to play by those rules, a much saner paradigm has come to light in recent months that promises to transform the global order entirely.

The multipolar solution 

Here we see the alternative security-financial order which has arisen in the form of the Greater Eurasian Partnership. As recently as 30 June at the 10th St Petersburg International Legal Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin described this emerging new multipolar order as:

“A multipolar system of international relations is now being formed. It is an irreversible process; it is happening before our eyes and is objective in nature. The position of Russia and many other countries is that this democratic, more just world order should be built on the basis of mutual respect and trust, and, of course, on the generally accepted principles of international law and the UN Charter.”

Since the inevitable cancellation of western trade with Russia after the Ukraine conflict erupted in February, Putin has increasingly made clear that the strategic re-orientation of Moscow’s economic ties from east to west had to make a dramatically new emphasis on north to south and north to east relations not only for Russia’s survival, but for the survival of all Eurasia.

Among the top strategic focuses of this re-orientation is the long overdue International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC).

On this game-changing mega-project, Putin said last month during the plenary session of the 25th St Petersburg International Economic Forum:

“To help companies from other countries develop logistical and cooperation ties, we are working to improve transport corridors, increase the capacity of railways, trans-shipment capacity at ports in the Arctic, and in the eastern, southern and other parts of the country, including in the Azov-Black Sea and Caspian basins – they will become the most important section of the North-South Corridor, which will provide stable connectivity with the Middle East and Southern Asia. We expect freight traffic along this route to begin growing steadily in the near future.”

The INSTC’s Phoenix Moment

Until recently, the primary trade route for goods passing from India to Europe has been the maritime shipping corridor passing through the Bab El-Mandeb Strait linking the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea, via the highly bottlenecked Suez Canal, through the Mediterranean and onward to Europe via ports and rail/road corridors.

Following this western-dominated route, average transit times take about 40 days to reach ports of Northern Europe or Russia. Geopolitical realities of the western technocratic obsession with global governance have made this NATO-controlled route more than a little unreliable.


Despite being far from complete, goods moving across the INSTC from India to Russia have already finished their journey 14 days sooner then their Suez-bound counterparts while also seeing a whopping 30 percent reduction in total shipping costs.

These figures are expected to fall further as the project progresses. Most importantly, the INSTC would also provide a new basis for international win-win cooperation much more in harmony with the spirit of geo-economics unveiled by China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013.

Cooperation not competition 

Originally agreed upon by Russia, Iran and India in September 2000, the INSTC only began moving in earnest in 2002 – albeit much more slowly than its architects had hoped.

This 7,200 km multimodal megaproject involves integrating several Eurasian nations directly or indirectly with rail, roads and shipping corridors into a united and tight-knit web of interdependency. Along each artery, opportunities to build energy projects, mining, and high tech special economic zones (SEZs) will abound giving each participating nation the economic power to lift their people out of poverty, increase their stability and their national power to chart their own destinies.

Beyond the founding three nations, the other 10 states who have signed onto this project over the years include Armenia, Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, Syria and even Ukraine (although this last member may not remain on board for long). In recent months, India has officially invited Afghanistan and Uzbekistan to join too.

While western think tanks and geopolitical analysts attempt to frame the INSTC as an opponent to China’s BRI, the reality is that both systems are extremely synergistic on multiple levels.


Unlike the west’s speculation-driven bubble economy, both the BRI and INSTC define economic value and self-interest around improving the productivity and living standards of the real economy. While short term thinking predominates in the myopic London-Wall Street paradigm, the BRI and INSTC investment strategies are driven by long-term thinking and mutual self-interest.

It is no small irony that such policies once animated the best traditions of the west before the rot of unipolar thinking took over and the west lost its moral compass.

An integrated alternative 

The INSTC’s two major bookends are the productive zone of Mumbai in India’s Southeast region of Gujarat and the northern-most Arctic port of Lavna in Russia’s Kola Peninsula of Murmansk.

This is not only the first port constructed by Russia in decades, but when completed, will be one of the world’s largest commercial ports with an expected capacity to process 80 million tons of goods by 2030.

The Lavna Port is an integral part of Russia’s Arctic and Far East Development vision and is a central piece to Russia’s current Comprehensive Plan for Modernization and Expansion of Main Infrastructure and its Northern Sea Route which is expected to see a five-fold increase of Arctic freight traffic over the coming years. These projects are integrally linked to China’s Polar Silk Road.

Between these bookends, the INSTC moves freight from India into Iran’s Port of Bandar Abbas where it is loaded onto double-tracked rail to the Iranian city of Bafq and then to Tehran before coming to the Anzali Port on the southern Caspian Sea.

‘Be like water’

Because the INSTC is based on a flexible design concept capable of adapting to a changing geopolitical environment (very much like the BRI), there are a multitude of connecting lines that branch off the main North-South artery before goods make it to the Caspian Sea.

These include an eastern and western corridor branching off from the city of Bafq towards Turkey and thence Europe via the Bosporus and also eastward from Tehran to Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and thereafter into Urumqi in China.

Railway is still relevant 

From the Anzali Port in the north of Iran, goods may travel by the Caspian Sea towards Russia’s Astrakhan Port where it is then loaded onto trains and trucks for transport to Moscow, St Petersburg and Murmansk. Inversely goods may also travel over land to Azerbaijan where the 35 km Iran Rasht-Caspian railway is currently under construction with 11 km completed as of this writing.

Once completed, the line will connect the Port of Anzali with Azerbaijan’s Baku, offering goods a chance to either continue onwards to Russia or westward toward Europe. A Tehran-Baku rail route already exists.

Additionally, Azerbaijan and Iran are currently collaborating on a vast $2 billion rail line connecting the 175 km Qazvin-Rasht railway which began operations in 2019 with a strategic rail line connecting Iran’s Rasht port on the Caspian to the Bandar Abbas Complex in the south (to be completed in 2025). Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development Rostam Ghasemi described this project in January 2022 saying:

“Iran’s goal is to connect to the Caucasus, Russia, and European countries. For this purpose, the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway is in the spotlight. During the Iranian president’s visit to Russia, discussions were conducted in this regard, and construction of the railway line is expected to begin soon with the allocation of needed funds.”

In recent months, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lobbied to incorporate the joint Iran-India built Chabahar Port into the INSTC which will likely occur since another 628 km rail line from the port to the Iranian city of Zahedan is currently under construction.

Once completed, goods will easily move onward to the city of Bafq. While some critics have suggested that the Chabahar Port is antagonistic to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, Iranian officials have constantly referred to it as Chabahar’s twin sister.

Since 2014, a vast rail and transportation complex has grown around the co-signers of the Ashkabat Agreement (launched in 2011 and upgraded several times over the past decade). These rail networks include the 917.5 km Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan route launched in 2014, and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan rail/energy project launched in 2016 which is currently seeing extensions that could easily go into Pakistan.

In December 2021, the 6540 km Islamabad to Istanbul rail line (via Iran) recommenced operations after a decade of inaction. This route cuts the conventional sea transit route time of 21 days by half. Discussions are already underway to extend the line from Pakistan into China’s Xinjiang Province linking the INSTC ever more closely into the BRI on yet another front.

Finally, June 2022 saw the long-awaited unveiling of the 6108 km Kazakhstan-Iran-Turkey rail linewhich provides an alternative route to the under-developed Middle Corridor. Celebrating the inaugural 12 day voyage of cargo, Kazakhstan’s President Kasym-Jomart Tokayev stated: “Today, we welcomed the container train, which left Kazakhstan a week ago. Then it will go to Turkey. This is a significant event, given the difficult geopolitical conditions.”

Despite the fact that the INSTC is over 20 years old, global geopolitical dynamics, regime change wars, and ongoing economic warfare against Iran, Syria and other US target states did much to harm the sort of stable geopolitical climate needed to emit large scale credit requisite for long term projects like this to succeed.

Caspian Summit Security breakthroughs

As proof that necessity truly is the mother of invention, the systemic meltdown of the entire post-WW2 edifice has forced reality to take precedence over the smaller-minded concerns that kept the diverse nations of Sir Halford John Mackinder’s “World Island” from cooperating. Among these points of endless conflict and stagnation which has upset great economic potential over the course of three decades, the Caspian zone stands out.

It is in this oil and natural gas rich hub that the five Caspian littoral states (Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan) have found a power to break through on multi-level security, economic and diplomatic agreements throughout the June 29-30, 2022 Sixth Caspian Summit in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

This summit placed a high priority on the INSTC with the region becoming both a north-south and east-west transportation hub. Most importantly, the leaders of the five littoral states made their final communique center around the region’s security since it is obvious that divide-to-conquer tactics will be deployed using every tool in the asymmetrical warfare tool basket going forward.

Chief among the agreed-upon principles were indivisible security, mutual cooperation, military cooperation, respect for national sovereignty, and non-interference. Most importantly, the banning of foreign military from the land and waters of the Caspian states was firmly established.

While no final agreement was reached over the disputed ownership of resources within the base of the Caspian, the stage was set for harmonization of partner states’ security doctrines, a healthy environment was established for the second Caspian Economic Summit which will take place in Autumn of this year and which will hopefully resolve many of the disputes pertaining to Caspian resource ownership.

Although geopolitical storms continue to intensify, it is increasingly clear that only the multipolar ship of state has demonstrated the competence to navigate the hostile seas, while the sinking unipolar ship of fools has a ruptured hull held together by little more than chewing gum and heavy doses of delusion.

  The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.






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GusNote: I pinched a bit of Fiona Katauskas, cartoonist & illustrator, cartoon about the three wise men....

meanwhile, re ukraine…….

Russian President Vladimir Putin assured on Tuesday July 19 that the gas giant Gazprom would fully fulfill its obligations to its suppliers, at a time when deliveries to Europe are falling in the midst of the conflict in Ukraine. “Gazprom has fulfilled, continues to fulfill and will fully fulfill its obligations, if anyone needs it,” he told a press conference after talks in Tehran.

Mr. Putin called on Tuesday, July 19, to lift Western restrictions on Russian cereals to obtain progress in the export of Ukrainian agricultural production, currently blocked in the country because of the Kremlin offensive. "We will facilitate the export of Ukrainian cereals, but on the basis that all restrictions related to air deliveries for the export of Russian cereals are lifted," said the Russian president, after talks in Tehran.

Mr. Putin said on Wednesday (July 20th) that he had not seen any willingness on the part of Ukraine to respect the terms of what he presented as a preliminary peace agreement decided in March. Speaking on television after his visit to Iran, Vladimir Putin announced that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had offered to mediate between Moscow and Kyiv. “The result obviously depends on the willingness of the parties to implement the agreements that have been reached. We see today that this is not the will of the power in place in kyiv,” said Vladimir Putin.


Russia "is working on the annexation of Ukrainian territories" using the same "tactics" as for Crimea in 2014, accused the White House on Tuesday, July 19. "The Russian government has detailed plans to annex a number of regions in Ukraine, including Kherson, Zaporizhia and all of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts," Washington said. The “illegitimate” representatives that Moscow has imposed in these areas “will hold puppet referendums on reunification with Russia”, “perhaps in September during the Russian regional elections”, he added.

At the same time, Russia is seeking to set up Russian banks there to generalize the use of the rouble, "forces residents to apply for Russian citizenship", "imposes its cronies in the security services", while "sabotage the civil Internet “, the White House said.




Bombings in eastern Ukraine. In Kramatorsk, a missile fell at the end of the morning, Tuesday July 19, in a small garden surrounded by an enclosure of four-storey buildings, in the heart of the city, noted the journalists of Agence France-Presse. “At this stage we have one death,” said Igor Yeskov, spokesman for the city hall. A seriously injured man, his head bleeding and wrapped in a carpet by neighbors, was lying on the ground, before being taken away by the emergency services. "He was passing by, in the street, and was hit," said a panicked woman. 




Southern Ukraine hit by the Russian army. In the Odessa region, Russian forces fired seven missiles, injuring at least six people including a child, according to the Ukrainian presidency. The Russian Defense Ministry, for its part, claimed that its strikes on Odessa had destroyed a stockpile of ammunition supplied by the West.

Six people were killed in a bombardment on Monday July 18 on Toretsk, in eastern Ukraine. According to local officials, a shell hit an apartment building in this city of about 30,000 people in the Donetsk region, one of two Donbass provinces that Moscow is seeking to conquer in full.



(side column — translation by Jules Letambour)






the "lonesome" russians…...


By Patrick Lawrence

Special to Consortium News

At last we were able to read, last week, a New York Times story that concerned the Russians but not the brutal Russians. However, if we are not reading about the brutal Russians and their brutal military and their brutal attacks on civilians in Ukraine, we are obliged to read about the lonesome Russians, the pariah Russians, the Russians the world has forsaken. We are never going to read about ordinary, just plain Russians in the Times or in the rest of the mainstream press as it apes the Times. This we must accept.

Vladimir Putin traveled to Tehran last Tuesday for a summit with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader. This was an unusual occasion: The Russian president has not been much for foreign travel since the Covid–19 pandemic erupted; it was his second state visit outside the Russian Federation since Russia intervened in Ukraine last February.

And it is a big deal, deserving of our attention. It marks another step, a considerable one, in the construction of the diplomatic, political, and economic infrastructure that will — I don’t consider this a daring prediction — define the 21st century. We witness the new world order many of us anticipate as it is being built.

The new world order many of us anticipate, if you have not noticed, ranks high among the great unsayables in American discourse and among American media. No, we’re still stuck on our “rules-based international order,” which is clunky code for the hegemony America defends. It is hopelessly passé at this point but remains lethally destructive.

Apart from significant signals that Moscow and Tehran are committed to deepening ties, the centerpiece of the occasion was a simultaneous memorandum of understanding signed by the National Iranian Oil Company and Gazprom. In an agreement worth $40 billion, the Russian energy supplier is to assist on the technology side as Iran develops two gas fields and six oil fields. Further out, this is part of a long-in-the-making project that will connect Russia, Iran, and India by sea, road, rail, and, eventually, a very significant Iran–to–India gas pipeline.

One giant step for Russia and Iran, let’s say, and one even more giant step for the non–West as it advances toward parity with the West.

But never mind all that. When Putin traveled to Tehran it was to find solace in “a fellow outcast,” The New York Times misinformed us in its July 19 report. Iran and Russia are “two isolated, sanctions-stricken countries whose main connection is their active opposition to the United States, its allies and its domination of the multilateral world order,” we read in the paper’s second-day story.  

You simply cannot beat the Times for reductionist rubbish when a major development does not match America’s fictions. The task is to keep its readers’ heads buried so far into the sand they have no hope of pulling them out.

I can’t, anyway.


A Second Summit

Apart from the Putin–Khamenei talks and the Gazprom–NIOC surprise, Putin attended a second summit, this one with Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian president, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Tehran and Moscow share a common interest in bringing order to Syria now that Damascus, with Russian and Iranian help, has reasserted sovereignty except in areas of the north where the Islamist militias of ISIS and its offshoots remain active and where the U.S. continues to steal Syrian oil as part of an illegal occupation.

As reported, the intent of the three-way was to dissuade the perfidious Turkish leader from launching another offensive against the Kurdish population in areas near the Syrian frontier with Turkey. There’s no indication at this time as to how successful Putin and Raisi were in their talks with Erdogan, a tinpot main-chancer whose word and a quarter will get you a cup of coffee, as we used to say.

I love some of the problems the Times’ Steven Erlanger identified when analyzing the Russian–Iranian demarche, and there must be problems if an event of this magnitude is to be properly misunderstood. “Russia does not share Iran’s enmity toward Israel and does not want Tehran to develop a nuclear weapon,” Mr. Erlanger tells us.

Last time I checked, Tehran wants a settlement with Tel Aviv that guarantees its security; the enmity runs in the other direction. Tehran, as a matter of its religious principles, does not want to build a nuclear weapon — as it has made clear too many times to count.

Here is a good one: 

“Russia and Iran are also competing to sell their sanctioned and discounted oil to China and other countries. Though the quality of the crude is different in both countries, it is difficult to imagine them forming some sort of cartel to sell sanctioned oil, Mr. Shapiro [a former State Department bureaucrat] said.”

Who said anything about some sort of cartel, other than Mr. Shapiro? But it must be said, who can imagine two oil-producing nations getting along when they both market internationally — especially when they are not selling the same product? I think I understand.   

The best in this crop of silly assertions is Erlanger’s analysis of the main fault line in the Tehran–Moscow relationship. It does not rest on “shared values and democracy.” Uh-oh. It is “transactional” and rests on converging interests. “But transactional relations do not make for lasting alliances or disguise the strains within them,” writes our Steve [as if the U.S. is not transactional in its international dealings].

Translation: The Biden regime is hell bent on replacing politics and history in international relations with ideology and an authoritarians-vs.-democrats binary that is supposed to define all of humanity. I have to set aside my usual decorum here. Horseshit. History, politics and interests are the proper determinants in state-to-state relations. Ideology, even when referred to as “values,” has no place in them.

Stevie, you’re no Jack Kennedy.


Coherence of the Non–West

In the increasing coherence of the non–West, there were a few days last year that I have never got out of my head. They occurred after the Biden regime’s first significant encounter with the Chinese. You remember: the disastrous talks in Anchorage, Alaska, March 2021.

The Chinese side was looking expectantly for a new start with the Americans, the beginning of a serious relationship based on mutual respect, parity, and none other than common interests. Antony Blinken, our secretary of guitar strumming and state, instead gave them canned ideological lectures about democracy, human rights and the rules-based international order. It was a disaster.

As soon as Wang Yi, the Chinese foreign minister, returned to Beijing, Sergei Lavrov, the Russian FM, flew to the Chinese capital for talks. As soon as those talks finished, Wang flew to Tehran and concluded a 25–year, $400 billion agreement with the Islamic Republic — tech transfer, infrastructure development, oil sales, and so on — that had been years in gestation.

There you have it, the dynamic of the non–West’s coalescence. It is not anti–American or anti–anybody, as the Western press insists it is. The powers involved have, imagine this, too many common interests to bother with adversarial enmity and, indeed, would rather the Americans and their allies cut out the ideological antagonism and join in the effort to build a world order worthy of the term. Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping made this explicitly clear in that remarkable joint declaration they made public on the eve of the Beijing Olympics last winter.

What happened in Anchorage, what made it so key a moment, is that the Chinese simply gave up trying to work with the Americans: You can’t get any sense out of them, Beijing concluded. This, parenthetically, is exactly what the Russians concluded 11 months later when they intervened in Ukraine.

The construction of infrastructure to serve a 21st century world order has been under way for some time. China’s Belt and Road Initiative is a big part of it. Then you have bilateral relations improving here and there: China’s recent economic agreements with Cuba, China’s with Iran, Iran’s with Venezuela, China’s with Venezuela, India’s with Russia, and so on. These multiply as we speak.

All these desperate outcasts. They seem to be everywhere, lolling around feeling forlorn.

The Russia–Iran development is another piece of this but seems to me singularly important. It signals that sanctions, which do not work in any case, will eventually fail completely and that Iran is more than gradually coming in from the cold.  

On the diplomatic side, the Islamic Republic has just become part of a three-sided bloc with Russia and China. This follows by a year its admission as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a Eurasian partnership China started in 2001. Tehran’s application to join the BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — is pending, as is Argentina’s.  

When Hossein Amir–Abdollahian, Iran’s foreign minister, visited New Delhi earlier this summer it signaled what The Diplomat is calling a reset in relations. His Indian counterpart, along with Prime Minister Nahendra Modi, were effusive in their celebrations of the relationship afterward.

In the nuts-and-bolts line, Iran recently agreed with Azerbaijan, its northern neighbor — this is another memo of understanding — to build an elaborate corridor establishing rail, road, communications and energy links. Now this gets interesting. Coming atop the Gazprom deal, the project with Azerbaijan brings Iran closer to a direct transport link with Russia.

Now dolly out. This deal comes just as a new rail link between Russia and India opens, via Iran. This is part of something called the International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC), which Moscow, Tehran and New Delhi set in motion at the turn of the century. No, in all likelihood you have read nothing of this.

Here is the part that most interests me. As the INSTC develops, it may follow naturally that India and Iran can revisit a project that was iced many years ago. In the early years of this century, the two sides proposed a gas pipeline linking Iranian fields to Indian ports. The U.S., eager to make the Islamic Republic the outcast Steve Erlanger wants us to think it is, vigorously opposed the project and it was dropped.

Reports now suggest the pipeline project, which makes eminent economic sense, is under study once again. Nothing definite is yet agreed, but it tells us that in time Western markets, long key to the West’s coercive power, will no longer be the only markets. And I like the poetic justice: You can slow us down but you cannot stop us.

This same can be said of the non–West’s ever more evident gathering of forces, interests, and cooperative arrangements. Who, I have to ask, is leading the world forward in a sensible, constructive direction? And who is retarding this process with all its might, the only thing it has left?

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. Follow him on Twitter @thefloutistHis web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site. 

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.








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changing the world…...


BY James O’Neill


Last week there was a meeting of Russian President Putin and President Erdogan of Turkey and President Raisi of Iran in Iran’s capital Teheran. Only a short time ago a meeting of these three men, especially in Iran’s capital of Teheran, would have been unthinkable. The meeting was a measure of how much the world has changed in a very short time.

Iran has recently joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and also applied to join the BRICS group, as has Turkey. The idea of Turkey joining such a group, of which Russia and China are the two strongest members and a bitter opponent of the United States led coalition of Western states, would have been unthinkable. It is a measure of how the world has changed and is changing, all in a very short time period.

Another applicant to join BRICS is Saudi Arabia which recently hosted United States president Joe Biden and what turned out to be a fruitless exercise from the American point of view. Biden, who had earlier expressed very critical comments of the Saudi government, was forced to eat humble pie in his foray to the Kingdom. He was forced to meet the Saudi leader in Jeddah, being denied the privilege of a meeting in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

Russia has made a major effort to woo Turkey which is currently a favoured destination of Russian tourists. Turkey maintains a military presence in Syria, aimed primarily at the Kurdish minority that is in fact an American proxy. The Americans for their part, continue to occupy a part of Syrian territory. There is not the least basis in international law for that occupation. Worse, the Americans are continuing the theft of Syrian oil for which they make absolutely no effort to pay the Syrians. They simply take it and keep the proceeds, which amounts to several million dollars per day. The word “theft” is used advisedly as no other word as accurately describes the nature of the United States actions. Equally as bad as the theft is the complete absence of criticism of such unlawful activity from Australia whose media pretend nothing is happening.

Russia talking to Turkey on such friendly terms marks also another shift in Russian foreign policy. Together with China, Russia is forging a new international trading order on which the vast majority of the nations of the developing world are a part. Again, there is a fundamental shift in the world order, coming on top of the fact that the vast majority of those nations have refrained from uttering any criticism of Russia for its actions in Ukraine.

One of the most important players in this emerging New World order is India. The role of India has always proved something of a puzzle. It is long-enjoyed good ties with Russia and the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) is merely the latest manifestation of the good relationship. India is also a member of the quartet of nations, along with the United States, Japan and Australia, that form what is increasingly an unlikely alliance clearly aimed at China. How India reconciles its membership of this quartet alongside its relationship with Russia remains one of the great mysteries, let alone its membership of BRICS which includes China, nominally one of the targets of the aforementioned quartet.

In this context, India joining the INSTC may be one of the clearest signals, together with its refusal to criticise Russia over the Ukrainian confrontation, that India has decided to cast its lot with the developing nations. In this context it will be interesting to see how its relationship with the Americans survives in the aforementioned quartet.

In this context, India joining the INSTC may be one of the clearest signals, together with its refusal to criticise Russia over the Ukrainian confrontation, that India has decided to cast its lot with the developing nations. In this context also it will be interesting to see how its relationship with the Americans survives in the aforementioned quartet.

Western Europe for its part continues its inevitable slow demise, of which its sanctions against Russia are playing an inexorable role. The confident United States-European view when the full sanctions were applied in February of this year was that Putin’s reign was imminently dead and that the Russian economy would collapse.

What has actually happened has been a rude shock to European arrogance. After some initial stumbles the Russian rouble has progressively strengthened to reach its highest point against the Euro and United States dollar for several years. It is the European economies that are collapsing and the coming winter is likely to be uncomfortably cold for them in more than one sense.

Western solidarity is also collapsing. There are of course those who will oppose Russia to the bitter end, such as Ursula van der Leyen, but their position looks increasingly untenable. A range of European countries are now looking to make private deals with the Russians to avoid the inevitable political consequences of their citizens literally freezing this winter.

Their plight is meeting with a marked reluctance by the Russians to even care about their plight, as entirely self-inflicted as it is. Putin’s recent speech to the Strong Idea For a New Time forum was notable for its promotion of the “truly revolutionary” changes that are occurring in the world that could transform the existing world order to one that was more “harmonious, fairer and more community focused and safe” than the existing world order, dominated is it has been by the selfish demands of the world’s small number of rich nations.

The existing world order was “condemned to fail” Putin said, is it was “becoming a brake on the development of our civilisation”. The old order, which the West was pleased to describe as “the rules based international order”, a singularly inept description and anathema to those who believe in the powerful status of international law as the governing ethos, is bound to fail, Putin argued.

It is a system of change that is long overdue and the sooner it occurs the better off we will all be.



James O’Neill, an Australian-based former Barrister at Law, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.





I know, it seems that "we" (all these articles) are repeating ourselves, but one cannot say it often enough: the US want to take all the toys of all the kids on this planet. We need to be aware that as others are getting on well in the playground, the US bullies could come in at any time and wreck everything.... And with a dithering senile old kook at the helm, the US are in a mess.