Wednesday 28th of February 2024

socrates, diogenes and aristotle are dead......

If somehow all those ‘rules-based’ systems work overwhelmingly to the benefit of the US and its Western allies, the rest of the world may wonder why they should follow them.

The latest meeting between presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden was covered all over the world. And yet, the Western media have been strangely silent about a key speech Xi gave before an audience of some 300 American business leaders in San Francisco, at the end of which they responded with a standing ovation.

 

Is this the end of America’s sanctimonious ideology?    By Alex Lo

 

If he had said the opposite, say, praising the superiority of the Chinese political system or economic model over America’s, it would have been front-page news everywhere. But he didn’t.

Instead, Xi said something very different: “Just as mutual respect is a basic code of behaviour for individuals, it is fundamental for China-US relations … We are proud of our choice, just as you are proud of yours. Our paths are different, but both are the choice by our peoples, and both lead to the realisation of the common values of humanity. They should be both respected.”

Who can argue with that? Of course, what Xi said was nothing new; Beijing has repeatedly said that it is not interested in fighting another cold war, or supplanting the dominant position of the US within the international system.

“China never bets against the United States, and never interferes in its internal affairs,” Xi continued in the same speech. “China has no intention to challenge the United States or to unseat it. Instead, we will be glad to see a confident, open, ever-growing and prosperous United States. Likewise, the United States should not bet against China, or interfere in China’s internal affairs. It should instead welcome a peaceful, stable and prosperous China.”

Before you dismiss it all as communist propaganda, let’s draw up a few takeaways. Our values and your values may be different, but they need not lead to conflicts. There need not be an ideological fight to the death between China and the US.

There also need not be a naked power struggle to the death either – so long as you stay out of my backyard and I yours. You do your things, good or bad, and I do mine, but let’s stay off each other’s lane.

This is basic pragmatism or political realism. It must sound perfectly reasonable to many if not most Chinese, including yours truly. It’s also why it will mean little to the American ruling elites. masking its fundamentally narrow national interests, say those of Wall Street, with universalist claims of good and evil, or democracy against communism, fascism, Islamic extremism or Chinese authoritarianism.

Put another way, America is so used to fighting and winning big ideological wars over the centuries it seems constitutionally incapable of recognising much simpler struggles between great powers. Indeed, historically, it has rejected great power politics and refused to play by such traditional categories as “balance of power” and “sphere of influence”. This doesn’t mean it didn’t practise them all along, from its inception.

The centuries-old Monroe doctrine arguably still applies today, to the western hemisphere. And yet, the US refuses to recognise Russia’s own sphere of influence in eastern Europe and Central Asia, a root cause of the war in Ukraine; nor China’s in the South and East China seas, hence the ever escalating tensions. It exercises provocative behaviour in other countries’ backyards in ways it will never tolerate in its own neighbourhoods. As Henry Kissinger once said, other countries have national interests, America alone has global interests.

Moreover, from fighting off corrupt monarchical empires of old Europe, beginning with the colonial British overload and then the Spanish empire, to beating European fascism and communism in the last century and Islamic extremism in this one, the US has always positioned itself as the universal defender of freedom and democracy.

And so, when it comes to China, rather than recognising it as a good, old-fashioned contest between great powers, Washington insists on an ideological cover, as a universalist war for democracy against authoritarianism; never mind that the US has always supported and made friends with any number of dictatorships and authoritarian regimes throughout its history up to the present day.

But this time, China may yet win the ideological war, if not the geopolitical and economic power struggle. Why? Because it doesn’t have a world-conquering ideology or even ambition; and more importantly, for the rest of the world, across the Global South, few people buy into America’s sanctimonious ideology any more. Ukraine and Gaza have merely accelerated this ideological unmasking.

The horrors in Gaza have exposed Washington’s extreme tolerance for the mass killing of civilians that borders on genocide and ethnic cleansing, so long as it’s done by a close and friendly regime. Regards for human rights and sanctity of human life, it turns out, are completely relative.

In an unhinged, unguarded moment, Stuart Seldowitz, who helped direct US policy on Israel-Palestine between 1999 and 2003 and then served on the Obama administration’s National Security Council, was captured unloading a vile tirade against a New York Islamic street food vendor selling halal food.

“Did you rape your daughter like Mohammed did?” he said on a video clip that has gone viral. “If we killed 4,000 Palestinian kids, it wasn’t enough.”

For all the crocodile tears from the Biden administration over the high death toll of Palestinian civilians, especially young children, now we know the kind of US officials who have been rushing weapons and financial aid to Israel “to finish the job”.

Talks of global norms and a rules-based international system are increasingly exposed as masked challenges to real international law and institutions. The US, often supported by allies, freely attacks or invades other countries, subverts their governments, and wrecks their economies. It breaks international law and undermines international institutions while chastising others for doing the same.

Whether it’s rulings by international courts and adjudicators, UN Security Council or General Assembly votes, and/or the operations of the World Health Organisation and the World Trade Organisation, Washington castigates others for challenging them while freely opposes or undermines them when it’s convenient.

It can do it not because it is the right but because it has the might. Common international goods such as the global Swift financial transaction messaging system is being abused by the US for sanctions and as an instrument of foreign policy. International underwater cables for internet traffic are increasingly controlled and tapped by US government agencies, especially intelligence services.

If somehow all those “rules-based” systems work to the benefit of the US and its allies, the rest of the world may wonder why they should follow them. That is one big reason why while the rest of the world has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the vast majority have refused to join Western sanctions – it’s not in their interests but rather US interests.

Hawks in Washington see lies, misinformation and propaganda coming from Russia and China that try to challenge America’s global narratives. Yes, there are plenty of those, which I suspect, are far less effective than many have assumed.

The rest of the world is simply waking up to the sanctimonious ideology of the West, but especially that of the US. If you and your ally want to wipe out my whole family with million-dollar bombs, there is nothing I can do about it. But spare me the lies that you are fighting terrorism or furthering the cause of freedom.

 

Article first published in South China Morning Post on 23 November, 2023

 

https://johnmenadue.com/is-this-the-end-of-americas-sanctimonious-ideology/

 

 

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europeanicon.....

Europe is experiencing a storm, not from the periphery of Europe or other parts of the world, but from within the continent itself.

Europe should stop looking at the uncertainty of the world but instead focus on self-reflection. After a year of victory for a right-wing leader in Italy, the people of the Netherlands, another founding country of the European Union, have chosen the far-right leader Geert Wilders. "Turning to the right" has almost become an irreversible political trend in Europe.

Anti-immigration is a prominent feature of this trend. As demonstrated by the recent unrest in Dublin, Ireland, people's resentment toward Muslim immigrants is constantly growing. This poses a danger of Europe being engulfed in a storm of the clash of civilizations.

With less than seven months until the European Parliament elections, the rise of right-wing and far-right forces will continue to strengthen the Euroskepticism, which could potentially affect the outcome of the elections.

On the economic front, France was first regarded an uncertain factor earlier this year, and now it is Germany, the backbone of the European economy. Many economic institutions assess that Germany may be the only country among the major global economies to experience a recession.

The surge in illegal immigration, economic weakness and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have further heightened anxiety within the EU.

Internal issues within the EU have made them somewhat flustered when facing global issues. European media outlets are discussing the need to readjust their policies toward Turkey and reassess their policies toward the Middle East. There is no clear direction on how to deal with the rise of China.

 The EU, standing at the crossroads, faces two intertwined challenges. The first is the lack of clear self-positioning. While the EU can feel that its position has shifted amid major changes around the world, a true recognition of the problem seems lacking. Many EU politicians maintain their assertive and arrogant stance, however, the foundations supporting their arrogance are gradually weakening.

The second challenge is that the leadership of the EU and its member states, although aware of the issues they are facing, no longer possesses stronger decision-making and governing capabilities. In particular, the ability to integrate and unite various social classes in Europe has significantly declined, and embracing populism has distorted the implementation of policies. The leaders in Europe can only resort to blaming and complaining about external factors, diverting attention from internal contradictions.

Facing severe challenges from the US, China and other developing countries, Europe, as a crucial global player, needs a clear direction to enhance its competitiveness. However, understanding its own position is a prerequisite for figuring out the next steps for Europe.

Europe needs a revolution of spirit. The immediate priority of this revolution is to have a precise understanding of its own position and not to remain wallow in its past glory and arrogance. Only by knowing its own position can Europe determine what it should do, what needs to be done and what it can achieve.

The upcoming China-EU Summit in Beijing next month presents a significant opportunity to establish a clearer China-EU relationship amid global uncertainties. Both sides need to address specific issues to promote cooperation and lay the foundation for further building mutual trust. Further cooperation between the two sides will benefit the EU in gaining a sense of direction for development. Embracing conservatism under the influence of the right and far-right forces is not the solution. Rediscovering the European spirit involves the dynamics of openness, inclusivity and competition.

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202311/1302540.shtml

 

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EU doldrums......

Вопрос: Каковы перспективы российско-европейских торгово-экономических отношений? Учитывая, что Россия является поставщиком почти одной трети углеводородов в Европу, которая, видимо, будет искать альтернативу. Как Москва представляет себе развитие этих отношений?

С.В.Лавров: Даже не буду пытаться гадать, что Европа собирается делать. Думаю, она (кроме Канцлера ФРГ О.Шольца и вице-канцлера Р.Хабека) поняла, где оказалась.

Почитайте статистику, во сколько раз США обгоняют экономический рост Европы. Франция, судя по всему, будет в «нулях». Некогда «локомотивы» европейской экономики (Германия, Великобритания) будут «расти» вниз. После серии законов, принятых американцами для борьбы с инфляцией и по другим темам, цены на энергоносители в США в 4-5 раз ниже, чем в Европе, где происходит деиндустриализация.

Думающий о своем будущем бизнес переезжает в Соединенные Штаты. Убежден, что это не просто стечение обстоятельств, а осознанная политика Вашингтона. Потому что Европа – это тоже конкурент, который США не нужен. Им нужна группа «серых» людей, выполняющих то, что прикажут. Не хочу обижать европейцев, но нынешние политические элиты действуют именно так.

Смотрим статистику. Полезно понимать, что происходит. Но на данном этапе нам не надо думать о том, как восстановить отношения с Европой. Сейчас нужно думать, как не зависеть от «вывертов» в европейской политике (прежде всего в торговой, экономической, инвестиционной сферах), которые они делают под воздействием Вашингтона. Мы должны обезопасить себя во всех ключевых отраслях нашей экономики (безопасности и жизни в целом), от которых зависит будущее страны. Мы должны самостоятельно производить всё, что нам нужно для безопасности, развития экономики, обеспечения решений социальных вопросов, внедрения современных технологий (недавно прошло очередное мероприятие по искусственному интеллекту), чтобы не страдать от новых «капризов», когда и если они захотят накинуться на нас с санкциями.

Рестрикции никуда не исчезли. Запад хочет закончить всё «втихаря», по-хитрому. Заморозить, выиграть время (как было с Минскими соглашениями), опять вооружить нацистский режим в Киеве и продолжать свою гибридную (или не гибридную) агрессию против Российской Федерации. Но даже когда всё закончится, большинство санкций останутся.

Нам надо жить своим умом. Когда и если к ним придет «протрезвление», и нам будут что-то предлагать, мы десять раз подумаем, взвесим, отвечают ли все предложения нашим интересам и насколько европейские коллеги надежны. Они свою договороспособность и репутацию сильно подорвали. Может быть еще не окончательно.

 

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Translation:

Question: What are the prospects for Russian-European trade and economic relations? Considering that Russia supplies almost one third of hydrocarbons to Europe, which will apparently be looking for an alternative. How does Moscow imagine the development of these relations?

Sergey Lavrov: I won’t even try to guess what Europe is going to do. I think she (except for German Chancellor O. Scholz and Vice-Chancellor R. Habeck) understood where she ended up. Read the statistics on how many times the US economic growth is faster than Europe. France, apparently, will be in the “zeros”. The once “locomotives” of the European economy (Germany, Great Britain) will “grow” downwards. After a series of laws adopted by the Americans to combat inflation and other topics, energy prices in the United States are 4-5 times lower than in Europe, where deindustrialization is taking place. Businesses thinking about their future move to the United States. I am convinced that this is not just a coincidence, but a deliberate policy of Washington. Because Europe is also a competitor that the United States does not need. They need a group of “gray” people who do what they order. I don’t want to offend Europeans, but this is exactly how the current political elites act. Let's look at the statistics. It's useful to understand what's going on.

But at this stage we do not need to think about how to restore relations with Europe. Now we need to think about how not to depend on the “twists” in European politics (primarily in the trade, economic, and investment spheres) that they make under the influence of Washington. We must protect ourselves in all key sectors of our economy (security and life in general), on which the future of the country depends. We must independently produce everything we need for security, economic development, providing solutions to social issues, introducing modern technologies (another event on artificial intelligence was recently held), so as not to suffer from new “whims” when and if they want to attack us with sanctions. The restrictions have not disappeared anywhere. The West wants to finish everything “on the sly,” in a cunning way. Freeze, buy time (as was the case with the Minsk agreements), again arm the Nazi regime in Kyiv and continue their hybrid (or non-hybrid) aggression against the Russian Federation. But even when everything is over, most of the sanctions will remain. We need to live by our own mind. When and if they “sober up” and they offer us something, we will think ten times, weigh whether all the proposals meet our interests and how reliable our European colleagues are. They have greatly undermined their ability to negotiate and their reputation. It may not be final yet.

There, everything is answered. And yes, Russia will talk to Washington only and only when she sees that Washington is ready to talk. Well, this is what happens when the high-school basketball team tries to play with NBA squad. Everything has been calculated and forecasted.

https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/

 

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No Shit, Genius! Stoltenberg Has A Epiphany.  

It is difficult to explain to them: 

 

Ukraine’s failure to breach Russian lines for the last year demonstrates that NATO should “never underestimate Russia,” the bloc’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Monday. 

 

The whole academic and political system in the West is BUILT to underestimate Russia by means of non-stop self-aggrandizing which creates nausea among normal cultured people be them in Russia or in the West. The whole "elite" education system in the West is one non-stop perpetuator of delusion of grandeur and informational GIGO. Militarily, combined West is a reflection of its best army, which also happened to be the loser against Russians. This is Wehrmacht and different other Third Reich military security services who shaped modern West militarily. 

 

SEE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKqHswsufEs

 

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