Wednesday 28th of February 2024

driving the future....

President Xi Jinping emphasized openness, inclusivity, green development and innovation in his speech during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders' Meeting, which reflects China's profound understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the region and the world, experts said.

"President Xi's speech was a masterstroke in diplomacy... echoing the principles of inclusivity and sustainability," said Maarij Farooq, deputy editor-in-chief of the Daily Ittehad Media Group and Pakistan Economic Net, referring to Xi's address at the meeting on Friday in San Francisco in the United States.

Xi not only underlined China's commitments on key global issues, but also positioned the Asia-Pacific as a front-runner in shaping a balanced and equitable world order, Farooq said.

He said the call for innovation-driven development is particularly significant, as the world is rapidly transforming through technology, and Xi's vision of embracing scientific advancements and digital transformation offers a blueprint for sustainable growth.

The most remarkable aspect of Xi's speech was his commitment to inclusive development, Farooq said, adding that in a world where inequality is rampant, "this focus on a development paradigm that benefits all is necessary".

Mustafa Hyder Sayed, executive director of the Pakistan-China Institute in Islamabad, said that Xi's speech highlighted China's inclination to engage with the US "on an equal basis, with mutual respect".

The key points that Xi underscored in his speech show that China wishes to engage constructively in terms of connectivity and development, and it wishes to have a people-centered approach, Sayed said.

Xi's speech referred to green development, low-carbon development, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the World Trade Organization-centered multilateral trading regime, and all these share a common thread, he said.

These are linked by globalization and engagement, without politicizing, without containment and without a Cold War mentality, he said. "It is based on pure commerce, connectivity, engagement and prosperity, which is shared at a time when the world needs connectivity more than ever."

According to Sayed, China is growing and finding its own, rightful place in the world and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, which is happening under President Xi and which actually coincides with the 45 years of reform and opening-up, should be a reminder for the US to feel secure.

The US must understand that "the only way forward" is to engage with China, he said, adding that the Sino-US relationship is "the most important relationship in the world".

Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, an independent think tank, also hailed Xi's speech. "I think all these proposals are very positive and forward-looking."

Oh said that China should take the initiative, including sponsoring pilot projects in relevant fields, in order to efficiently implement Xi's suggestions.

Dicky Budiman, a public health researcher at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, said that Xi's speech reflects the situation in the Asia-Pacific region and the world, and is relevant for many APEC economies.

His suggestions on how to deal with climate change, environmental pollution and global health challenges are particularly significant, Budiman said, noting that without the collaboration of APEC members, it will be hard to achieve the global goal of reducing carbon emissions.

During his speech, Xi appealed to APEC economies to "fully deliver on the Putrajaya Vision of building an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community for the prosperity of all our people and future generations", as incorporated in the Kuala Lumpur Declaration at the 27th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Malaysia in 2020.

Karori Singh, former director and emeritus fellow of the South Asia Studies Centre at the University of Rajasthan in India, said that Xi reemphasized the importance of innovation-driven development, openness in development and commitment to green and inclusive development, which is beneficial for all.

Singh said the Belt and Road Initiative and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership are very important mechanisms in realizing the goals and the vision of APEC.

"All these measures collectively and in a complementary manner are contributing to achieving the UN 2030 Agenda (for Sustainable Development)," he said.



planet of apes....



THE AMERICAN EMPIRE WANTS TO DOMINATE THE WORLD... and the last bastion of resistance is RUSSIA/CHINA...






UN Security Council can end Israel-Palestine, Ukraine, Syria, and Sahel wars

     By Jeffrey D. Sachs


All P5 members, and indeed the whole world, suffer adverse consequences from the continuation of these wars. All are paying a price in terms of financial burdens, economic instability, risks of terrorism, and risks of a wider war. For the sake of global peace, let the Council now choose to end these wars. 

An edited transcript of testimony by Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, University Professor at Columbia University, UN Security Council Session on Sustaining Peace through Common Development, November 20, 2023.

Mr. President, Ambassadors, Secretary-General Guterres, NDB President Rousseff, distinguished diplomats, ladies and gentlemen,

My name is Jeffrey D. Sachs. I am University Professor at Columbia University. I am a specialist in the global economy and sustainable development. I appear before the UN Security Council on my own behalf. I represent no government or organisation in the testimony I will deliver.

Today’s meeting takes place at a time of several major wars. In my testimony I will refer to four: the Ukraine War, which started in 2014 with the violent overthrow of Ukraine’s president Viktor Yanukovich; the Israel-Palestine War, which has flared repeatedly since 1967; the Syrian War, which began in 2011; and the Sahel Wars, which began in 2012 in Mali and have now spread throughout the Sahel.

These and other recent wars have claimed millions of lives, squandered trillions of dollars in military outlays, and destroyed cultural, natural, and economic wealth built over generations and indeed millennia. Wars are the worst enemy of sustainable development.

These wars may seem intractable, but they are not. Indeed, I would suggest that all four wars could be ended quickly by agreement within the UN Security Council. One reason is that major wars must be fed from the outside, both with external finances and armaments. The UN Security Council could agree to choke off these awful wars by withholding external financing and armaments. This would require an agreement among the major powers.

The other reason why these wars can end quickly is that they result from economic and political factors that can be addressed through diplomacy rather than through war. By addressing the underlying political and economic factors, the Security Council can establish conditions for peace and sustainable development. Let us consider each of the four wars in turn.

The War in Ukraine has two main political causes. The first is the attempt by NATO to expand to Ukraine despite the timely, repeated, and increasingly urgent objections by Russia. Russia considers NATO presence in Ukraine as a significant threat to Russia’s security.(1) The second political cause is the east-west ethnic divide in Ukraine, partly along linguistic and partly along religious lines. Following the overthrow of President Yanukovych in 2014, ethnic Russian regions broke away from the post-coup government and appealed for protection and autonomy. The Minsk II agreement, endorsed unanimously by this Council in Resolution 2202, called for regional autonomy to be incorporated in Ukraine’s constitution, but the agreement was never implemented by the Government of Ukraine despite the UN Security Council backing.

The economic cause of the war results from the fact that Ukraine’s economy faces both west to the European Union and east to Russia, Central Asia, and East Asia. When the EU tried to negotiate a free trade agreement with Ukraine, Russia expressed alarm that its own trade and investments in Ukraine would be undermined unless a three-way agreement was reached among the EU, Russia, and Ukraine to ensure that Ukrainian-Russian trade and investment would be sustained alongside EU-Ukraine trade. Unfortunately, the EU was apparently not prepared to negotiate with Russia over such a three-way arrangement, and the competing east-west orientation of Ukraine’s economy was never resolved.

This Council could end the Ukraine War quickly by addressing its underlying political and economic causes. On the political front, the P5 countries should agree to extend a security guarantee to Ukraine while also agreeing that NATO will not expand into Ukraine, thereby addressing Russia’s deep opposition to NATO enlargement. The Council should also work to achieve a lasting governance solution regarding Ukraine’s ethnic divisions. The failure of Ukraine to implement the Minsk II agreement, and of the Council to enforce the agreement, means that the solution of regional autonomy is no longer sufficient. After nearly 10 years of harsh fighting, it is realistic that some of the ethnically Russian regions will remain as part of Russia, while the vast majority of Ukrainian territory will of course remain with a sovereign and secure Ukraine.

On the economics side, there are two considerations, one regarding policy and one regarding financing. On policy, Ukraine’s strong economic interest is to join the European Union while also to maintain open trade and financial relations with Russia and the rest of Eurasia. Ukraine’s trade policy should be inclusive rather than diversionary, allowing Ukraine to serve as a vibrant economic bridge between the east and west of Eurasia. On the financing side, Ukraine will need funding for reconstruction and for new physical infrastructure – such as fast rail, renewable energy, 5G, and port modernisation. As I describe below, I recommend that the Security Council establish a new Peace and Development Fund, to help mobilise the financing to help Ukraine and other war zones to turn away from war towards recovery and long-term sustainable development.

Consider in a similar way the war in Israel and Palestine. Here too the war could be ended quickly by the Council enforcing the many UN Security Council resolutions made over several decades calling for a return to the 1967 borders, an end of Israel’s settlement activities in occupied territories, and the two-state solution, including UNSC resolutions 242, 338, 1397, 1515, and 2334. It is clear that Israel and Palestine are unable to reach bilateral agreements in line with these UN Security Council resolutions. On both sides, hardliners repeatedly frustrate moderates who seek peace based on the two-state solution.

It is high time, therefore, for the UN Security Council to enforce its decisions, by implementing a just and lasting solution that is in the interests of both Israel and Palestine, rather than allowing hardliners on both sides to ignore the mandate of this Council and thereby to threaten the global peace. My recommendation to this Council is that it immediately recognise the State of Palestine, in a matter of days or weeks, and welcome Palestine as a full member of the United Nations, with capital in East Jerusalem and with sovereign control over the Islamic Holy Sites. The Council should also establish a peacekeeping force, drawn heavily from the neighbouring Arab countries, to help provide security in Palestine. Such an outcome is the overwhelming will of the international community, and in the manifest interest of both Israel and Palestine, despite the vociferous objections by hardline rejectionists on both sides of the divide.

As with the case of Ukraine, the failure of this Council to enforce its earlier resolutions regarding Israel and Palestine have made the current situation far more difficult to resolve. Israel’s illegal settlements have by now expanded to more than 600,000 settlers. Yet Israel’s brazen and long-standing violation of the UN Security Council in this regard is no reason for the Council to shrink from decisive action now, especially as Gaza is in flames, and the broader region is a tinderbox that could explode at any moment.

An economic strategy should accompany the political strategy. Most importantly, the new sovereign State of Palestine must be economically viable. This will require several economic measures. First, Palestine should benefit from offshore oil and gas deposits in Palestine’s territorial waters. Second, the new Peace and Development Fund should help Palestine to finance a modern port in Gaza and a secure road and rail link that connects Gaza and the West Bank. Third, the vital water resources of the Jordan Valley must be equitably shared between Israel and Palestine, and both nations together should be supported to secure a substantial increase in desalinisation capacity to meet the urgent and growing water needs of both countries. Fourth, and most importantly, both Israel and Palestine should become part of an integrated sustainable development plan for the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East that supports climate resilience and the region’s transition to green energy.

The Council can similarly end the war in Syria. The Syrian War broke out in 2011 when several regional powers and the United States joined forces to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. This deeply misguided regime-change operation failed, but triggered a prolonged war with enormous bloodshed and destruction, including of ancient cultural heritage sites. The Council should make clear that all P5 countries and the countries in Syria’s neighbourhood are in full agreement that all regime-change attempts are now permanently ended, and that the UN Security Council intends to work closely with the Syrian Government on reconstruction and development.

On the economic side, Syria’s best hope is to become closely integrated in the Eastern Mediterranean – Middle East region, especially through the construction of physical infrastructure (roads, rail, fiber, power, water) connecting Syria with Turkey, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean nations. As with Israel and Palestine, this investment program should be partly funded by a new Peace and Sustainable Development Fund created by this Council.

The war in the Sahel has similar roots to the war in Syria. Just as regional powers and the US aimed to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad in 2011, the major NATO powers similarly aimed to overthrow the regime of Moammar Qaddafi in Libya in 2011. In pursuing this aim, they grossly exceeded the mandate of UN Security Council Resolution 1973, which had authorised the protection of Libya’s civilian population, but certainly not a NATO-led regime change operation. The violent overthrow of the Libyan government quickly spilled over to the impoverished countries of the Sahel. Poverty alone made these Sahelian countries highly vulnerable to the influx of armaments and militias. The result has been ongoing violence and multiple coups, gravely undermining the possibility of economic improvement.

The Sahel crisis today is first and foremost a crisis of insecurity and poverty. The Sahel is a region that is semi-arid to hyper-arid, with chronic food insecurity, hunger, and extreme poverty. Most of the countries of the region are landlocked, causing massive difficulties for transport and international trade. Yet at the same time, the region has massive deposits of highly valuable minerals, great biodiversity and agronomic potential, huge solar energy potential, and of course an enormous human potential that is not yet realised because of a chronic shortfall of schooling and training.

The countries of the Sahel form a natural aggregation for regional economic investment in infrastructure. The entire region urgently needs investments in electrification, digital access, water and sanitation, and road and rail transport, as well as in social services, notably education and healthcare. As the Sahel is among the poorest regions of the world, the governments are utterly unable to finance the needed investments. Here too, and perhaps more than in any other region, the Sahel needs external funding to make the transition from war to peace, and from extreme poverty to sustainable development.

All P5 members, and indeed the whole world, suffer adverse consequences from the continuation of these wars. All are paying a price in terms of financial burdens, economic instability, risks of terrorism, and risks of a wider war. The Security Council is in a position to take decisive actions to end the war precisely because it is clear that the interest of all UN Security Council members, and notably all of the P5 countries, is to bring these long-standing wars to an end, before they escalate into even more dangerous conflicts.

The Security Council is vested with considerable powers by the UN Charter when it has the resolve of its members. It can introduce peacekeepers, and even armies if necessary. It can impose economic sanctions on countries that do not comply with UNSC Resolutions. It can provide security guarantees to nations. It can make referrals to the International Criminal Court to stop war crimes. In short, the Council is certainly able to enforce its resolutions if it chooses to do so.

For the sake of global peace, let the Council now choose to end these wars.





insane gibberish....


War with China: Babbling incoherence and missing evidence     By Michael McKinley


With the expansion of all services of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) – no matter that it is consistent with a defensive posture – China’s every strategic move now is rendered totally unacceptable after passing through a prism designed and issued on a complementary basis by the US. 

Hyper-suspicion is the attitude and threat inflation is the product.

Whatever China does, regardless of its context, is automatically rendered an indication of a currently hostile mindset and, quite likely, future aggression.

In the parlance of the dominant western strategic discourse, China is the “pacing threat” – a catalyst producing not only contradictions between foreign economic policy and defence policy, but grossly expanded military budgets, and extraordinary levels of weapons procurement throughout the Western system of alliances.

Close attention to this cacophony soon confirms that, what appears at first acquaintance to be groups of people uttering speech-like sounds in language unknown to those listening from an informed and critical standpoint, is in fact exactly that: a vocalising of something resembling speech but which lacks any readily comprehended meaning. The referent of the speech – China’s bellicosity – is not apparent.

It is as well for those speaking that there is no equivalent of Psychology’s Goldwater Rule in strategic commentary.

Strictly speaking, the utterances are not necessarily indicative of mental illness but, also strictly speaking, they’re gibberish.

In some religious contexts they might pass muster under the rubric of glossolalia – but it appears that it is a phenomenon which can now be extended to Australian strategic pronouncements on (say) deterrence.

For references, those of Defence Minister Richard Marles may be consulted (if you must).

What follows is an attempt to highlight this pathology from a perspective that regards it as a form of stupidity within the rubric of the extremes covered by Barbara Tuchman’s magisterial study, The March of Folly.

Consider the “pacing threat” and its associated glossolalia: Exactly what is being attributed to China? Answer: overall, an irrational strategic mindset.

And why? China, is not a complete major power and is, in several respects, extremely vulnerable.

At the core of this is the allegation against it which arises from the strategy of Area Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) a measure inferred to promise the disruption of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and beyond.

What would China gain from such a move (let alone war), given the likely reactions to it?.

This question needs to be asked because: [1] China is highly dependent on fossil fuel imports.

It is the world’s largest importer of oil and natural gas, the bulk of it imported from ostensible US allies; it is an important coal importer as well.

Currently, 80 percent of China’s oil imports, 50 percent of its natural gas imports and 42 percent of goods transit these waters.

[2] Chinese trade through the straits of the Indonesian archipelago would be easy to interdict – and even if that is eventually circumvented by the port projects in Burma and Pakistan, the fact remains that routes from as far away as the Gulf of Guinea and across the Indian Ocean are also extremely vulnerable.

In the event of prolonged disruption, furthermore, China’s economy and, by extension, its ability to wage war, is eventually strangled.

Under such conditions it would legitimately conclude that it faces existential risks.

To enter, as best as one can, the strategic mindset in Beijing, therefore, brings to light the logic of China responding, by way of Area Access/Area Denial (A2/AD), to potential threats to its territory.

Simply expressed, China rejects the suggestion that, given the possibility of war, its intention to deploy deterrent measures (by way of a modernised fleet, undersea warfare capabilities and air warfare systems capable of attacking US fleet elements out as far as Guam) should not be construed as reasonable and threatening when it is the defensive prerogative, justified by the sacred doctrine of Rational Deterrence, of every nation state in the same position, not least the United States and its allies.

Why, then, is the talk of, and preparation for war? The context here being the reconfiguring of the US military, and its tasking, to fight Version 2 of War in the Pacific.

The US Marine Corps, it should be noted, have surrendered their tanks and some aviation capabilities in the name of fighting island campaigns against China involving anti-ship missions from the island chains to Australia’s north.

When? Soon is the favoured answer and to be found in the considered judgements of those who, in ancient Greece, were known as the gnostikoi – those who not only have knowledge and understanding but also make the presumptuous claim to have exclusive access to them.

In the current context they are also thought, especially by the mainstream media, to be better informed by virtue of having once been either “on the inside,” or to have held the status of “consultant,” or “advisor,” and thus, even now, in hearing range of what in Rome is termed “voci di corridoio.” How soon? No later than 2049 – the 100th anniversary of the founding of the PRC.

This, however, is a distant prediction given the many that foresee a prior démarche.

Consider this brief, but representative schedule of the offerings:

  • ADF Major-General Adam Findlayin a confidential briefing in 2020: “high likelihood” that the tensions created by China may spill over into actual conflict.
  • In March 2021, Admiral Philip Davidson, the head of US Indo-Pacific Command warned Congress that China’s military capabilities and posture should only be understood as indicating an aggressive intent; indeed, he described China as “the greatest long-term strategic threat to security in the 21st century,” and one that could erupt in war by 2027.
  • Eight months later, Admiral Davidson’s “2027 window” for an invasion of Taiwan — was reiterated by General Kenneth Wilsbach, the US Air Force Pacific (PACAF) commander.
  • Also in 2021, retired Army Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis, announced that it was “just about inevitable” that the timeline for war with China, specifically as a consequence of its invasion of Taiwan, was within the next five years.”
  • October 2021 also saw former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, announce that China could “soon” invade Taiwan or otherwise escalate the situation.
  • The following month former ADF Major General Jim Molan warned that, in three to ten years, a war will be fought against China over Taiwan and that Australians are going to have to fight in that war to prevent a future Chinese invasion of the land down under.
  • Former Defence Minister Christopher Pyne (in 2021) was in broad agreement: 5-10 years.
  • At year’s end, the US Department of Defence annual report on China’s military strength was advising Congress to be prepared for a war with China over Taiwan any time after 2027.
  • 2022 was no different: in August, Emeritus Professor of Strategic Studies at ANU, Paul Dibb, stated his view that Australia faces the “probability of high intensity conflict” in the region and (inferentially) by 2032.
  • US Chief of Naval Operations, Mike Gilday, by October, had concluded that Admiral Davidson’s “2027 window” was possibly overly optimistic; he cautioned that the window could potentially be later that year, or in 2023.
  • Similarly convinced around this time was US Navy Admiral Charles A. Richard, commander of the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM): warned that the war in Ukraine isn’t the largest conflict that the U.S. will see right now— “Ukraine … is just the warmup … The big one is coming …” “As I assess our level of deterrence against China, the ship is slowly sinking.”
  • Into the current year consistency is maintained. It started with a directive: “Aim for the head.” It’s author is the aggression-obsessed head of US Air Mobility Command, General Michael A. Minihan, whose concern is the need to be ready for a potential war between the US and China within two years. The source of this confidence: “My gut tells me we will fight in 2025.”
  • It was a timeline that the Red Alert series in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age were substantially in agreement with – their horizon extending to three years.
  • With the passing of time the “2027 window” provides a rough consensus: last September, Admiral Davidson’s successor, Admiral John Aquilino, who commands all U.S. forces in the Pacific, said in March that he believes a Chinese military attack on Taiwan “is much closer to us than most think.”
  • By September, however, he had been outflanked by Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall’s fear that the U.S. could find itself in a near-peer conflict with an adversary like China and Russia  “tomorrow.”

A survey conducted by the American Psychological Association soon after Russia invaded Ukraine last year found that nearly 7 in 10 Americans feared “that we are at the beginning stages of World War III.”At this juncture the crucial question is whether there is a substantial body of evidence which justifies these prognostications? Not least because of Australia’s reflexive responses to US wars.

The mood in America is bellicose, as evidenced by the Eurasia Group Foundation’s latest survey report, titled “Order and Disorder: US Foreign Policy in a Fragmented World.”It reveals that overall support, across all political camps, not only favours American military intervention but has undergone a significant increase – to 60%.If evidence is crucial, then the just published 2023 Report to Congress by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission might reasonably be thought to provide it.In summary terms, it does not, despite its exorbitant length (753 pages).

What it does provide is evidence of a lack of analytical rigour with regard to its subject matter and thus a superficial charge sheet – a grab-bag of grievances (real and imagined) – none of which justify the alarmism and hysteria to hand, nor any notion that war would resolve them.Indeed, reflection by the various experts on just how the present came into being is absent.

Were it not, they would recognise that, through hybrid war, the US and some of its allies are already at war with China – diplomatically, economically, financially, commercially, culturally, and ideologically.

What animates these actors, clearly, is the spirit that Thomas Hobbes described as the “disposition to war.”Relatedly, they would reflect on the fact that, while the authorised mainstream discourse is always careful to invoke deterrence as the justification for the exponential expenditures on defence, the pronouncements above are proof that they believe deterrence will fail, sooner rather than later.

The transformation, in plain sight, is from a frequently misunderstood portmanteau concept prone to abuse in strategic policy to a refuge in dystopian fatalism about any serious attempt to engage politics and history at the level of empathy and rigour.

The impending war talked of, therefore, is a clear example of what Tuchman identified as the wilful “impotence of reason.” And it is some abdication.

Pine Gap and other facilities aside, Australia will be ill-equipped in the event of such war.

The AUKUS SSNs, and whatever future surface fleet the RAN might propose, will be anachronisms because their delivery dates are radically out of sync by decades with the circumstances and concepts thought to justify them.

And merely to entertain them, now, requires a suspension of all critical faculties.







preparing WW3.....


Biden announces raft of measures aimed at securing supply chains for World War III                     Tom Hall



On Monday morning, the Biden administration announced a raft of nearly 30 new measures aimed at securing US supply chains. One of these measures was the creation of a new White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience, which convened later that afternoon.

The White House is positioning the moves as aimed at lowering costs for American consumers. In reality, they are aimed at reorganizing supply chains rendered vulnerable by US imperialism’s push for World War III. The speed with which these measures were announced and are apparently being put into practice is a warning that, having fomented war between Ukraine and Russia and backed the ongoing Israeli genocide in the Gaza Strip, Washington is moving rapidly towards opening a third front, this time against China.

Significantly, membership in the new White House council includes nearly every cabinet-level position, including top posts in the military-intelligence apparatus such as the secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security, the national security advisor and the director of national intelligence.

As is customary for US presidential speeches on the economy, Biden’s opening remarks to the council gave a picture that bears no relation whatsoever to reality. While saying there was still “more work to do,” the president claimed that thanks to the policies of his administration the US economy has added millions of jobs, wages have increased and the inflation rate has declined by two-thirds.

In reality, the primary aim of Biden’s economic policy is to rein in wage growth, triggering higher unemployment by increasing interest rates. Another centerpiece of his policy is working with the pro-corporate trade union bureaucracy to block strikes for wage increases which outpace inflation.

An article in Bloomberg published the same day gave a sense of reality. “US consumers are shouldering a burden unlike anything seen in decades—even as the pace of price increases has slowed,” the business outlet reported. “And the government data reports that show easing inflation are cold comfort, because they simply indicate prices are growing at a slower pace, not that they are returning to early 2020 levels.

Wage increases have been almost entirely canceled out by inflation, Bloomberg found. “At the same time, housing affordability is at its worst on record, auto-loan rates have soared, and borrowing with a credit card has never been so expensive.”

The White House’s public explanation for the new measures falsely claims that record inflation over the past three years has been mainly the result of shortages caused by supply chain issues, such as the massive buildup on West Coast ports in late 2021. In fact, official data shows that the chief driver has been rising profits, which have reached record levels during the pandemic as a result of policies designed to protect major corporations at the expense of human lives. This includes the multi-trillion-dollar bailout passed in the early months of the pandemic and the premature ending of public health measures in the name of protecting “the economy.”

Not one of the new measures takes aim at reining in profits, even in a limited or pro-forma way. Biden’s only acknowledgment of the issue came two-thirds of the way into his speech, when he issued a lame admonishment to CEOs to lower their prices.

Biden’s campaign to secure supply chains is subordinated to a broader war against the working class. Since taking office, his administration has conducted unprecedented interventions into contract talks in key industries, including the docks, the oil refineriesUPS and the auto industry. But the most infamous was his administration’s intervention to ban a strike on the railroads last year and impose a contract which workers had rejected. In each of these cases, Biden, who describes himself as the most “pro-labor president in American history,” has relied heavily on the trade union bureaucracy to suppress opposition among rank-and-file workers and impose contracts which limited wage increases to below inflation.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg made a veiled reference to the administration’s policy of forcing workers to shoulder the burden of “supply chains” in his remarks to the council yesterday, when he thanked workers for “stepping up” to work through supply chain backlogs—in reality, through overtime and speedup imposed upon them in the teeth of the pandemic.

The new White House initiatives fall under two basic categories. The first are measures aimed at creating new trade blocs dominated by the United States and oriented against key rivals such as Russia and China. The second are those aimed at securing domestic supply chains, especially those critical to the military, including through suppression of the class struggle at home.

The first category includes a series of supply chain disruption “early warning” systems implemented through existing agreements with the European Union, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Canada and Australia. The White House also highlighted the new “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity,” a trade-bloc initiative launched last yearincluding 13 US allies and excluding China, the second-largest economy in the Indo-Pacific behind the United States.

The White House also pointed to a series of trade measures in Latin America, which are aimed at safeguarding the continued domination of America’s “backyard.”

These are to be combined with initiatives aimed at “onshoring” manufacturing from low-wage countries to the United States. For example, the White House announced it would invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to increase domestic production of “essential medicines.” The DPA, a Cold-War era measure, was also used by President Trump in 2020 to force meatpacking plants to stay open during the pandemic—one of the few Trump-era executive orders Biden did not rescind.

In presenting these measures at the council meeting, Biden attempted to out-“America First” Donald Trump, declaring that Republicans wanted to go back to the “bad old days” when production was moved overseas in search of the cheapest labor. Now, he said, “we’re not importing anything, other than what we don’t make.” In reality, the development of domestic production is based on reducing labor costs as much as possible in the United States itself.

Biden also reiterated an earlier false claim that inflation was caused by manipulation by “foreign shipping companies,” in a continuing attempt to redirect social tensions at home outward to a foreign enemy.

Both Biden’s speech and the White House press release devoted considerable attention on access to semiconductors, a vital component in all computers. Biden warned that the US market share in semiconductors had fallen from 40 percent to 10 percent, and pointed to a raft of measures designed to stimulate domestic production.