Pepe Escobar: From Minsk to Wales, Germany is the key

From Minsk to Wales, Germany is the key

Published time: August 28, 2014 09:27
 
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (L), Russia's President Vladimir Putin (top centre R) and Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko (3rd R from Putin) meet with high-ranking officials and presidents from Kazakhstan and the European Union in Minsk, August 26, 2014.(Reuters / Alexei Druzhinin)

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko (L), Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (top centre R) and Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko (3rd R from Putin) meet with high-ranking officials and presidents from Kazakhstan and the European Union in Minsk, August 26, 2014.(Reuters / Alexei Druzhinin)

 
The road to the Minsk summit this past Tuesday began to be paved when German Chancellor Angela Merkel talked to ARD public TV after her brief visit to Kiev on Saturday.

Merkel emphasized, “A solution must be found to the Ukraine crisis that does not hurt Russia.”

She added that “There must be dialogue. There can only be a political solution. There won’t be a military solution to this conflict.”

Merkel talked about “decentralization” of Ukraine, a definitive deal on gas prices, Ukraine-Russia trade, and even hinted Ukraine is free to join the Russia-promoted Eurasian Union (the EU would never make a “huge conflict” out of it). Exit sanctions; enter sound proposals.

She could not have been more explicit; “We [Germany] want to have good trade relations with Russia as well. We want reasonable relations with Russia. We are depending on one another and there are so many other conflicts in the world where we should work together, so I hope we can make progress”.

The short translation for all this is there won’t be a Nulandistan (after neo-con Victoria ‘F**k the EU’Nuland), remote-controlled by Washington, and fully financed by the EU. In the real world, what Germany says, the EU follows.

Geopolitically, this also means a huge setback for Washington’s obsessive containment and encirclement of Russia, proceeding in parallel to the ‘pivot to Asia’ (containment and encirclement of China).

It’s the economy, stupid

Ukraine’s economy – now under disaster capitalism intervention – is… well, a disaster. It’s way beyond recession, now in deep depression. Any forthcoming IMF funds serve to pay outstanding bills and feed the (losing) creaking military machine; Kiev is fighting no less than Ukraine’s industrial heartland. Not to mention that the conditions attached to the IMF’s ‘structural adjustment’ are bleeding Ukrainians dry.

Taxes – and budget cuts – are up. The currency, the hryvnya, has plunged 40 percent since early 2014. The banking system is a joke. The notion that the EU will pay Ukraine’s humongous bills is a myth. Germany (which runs the EU) wants a deal. Fast.

The reason is very simple. Germany is growing only 1.5 percent in 2014. Why? Because the Washington-propelled sanction hysteria is hurting German business. Merkel finally got the message. Or at least seems to have.

The first stage towards a lasting deal is energy. This Friday, there’s a key meeting between Russian and EU energy officials in Moscow. And then, later next week, it will be Russian, EU and Ukrainian officials. The EU’s energy commissioner, Gunther Oettinger, who was in Minsk, wants an interim deal to make sure Russian gas flows through Ukraine to Europe in winter. General Winter, once again, wins any war.

(L-R) Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko, Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, European Commissioner for Energy Guenther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht pose on the sideline of a summit in Belarus' capital of Minsk on August 26, 2014. (AFP Photo / Kirill Kudryavtsev)

(L-R) Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, European Commissioner for Energy Guenther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht pose on the sideline of a summit in Belarus’ capital of Minsk on August 26, 2014. (AFP Photo / Kirill Kudryavtsev)

Here, essentially, we have the EU – not Russia – telling Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to stuff his (losing) ‘strategy’ of slow-motion ethnic cleansing of eastern Ukraine.

Moscow has always insisted the Ukraine crisis is a political problem that needs a political solution. Moscow would accept a decentralization solution considering the interests – and language rights – of people in Donetsk, Lugansk, Odessa, Kharkov. Moscow does not encourage secession.

Poroshenko, on the other hand, is your typical Ukrainian oligarch in a dance of oligarchs. Now that he’s on top, he does not want to become road kill. He might, if he relies on ‘support’ by the neo-Nazis of Right Sector and Svoboda, because then there will never be a political solution.

The Empire of Chaos, needless to say, does not want a political solution – with a neutral Ukraine economically tied to both the EU and Russia; economic/trade integration across Eurasia is anathema.

It’s all about NATO

In parallel, every EU diplomat with a conscience – well, they do exist – knows that the non-stop hysteria about the Russian‘threat’ to Eastern Europe is a Washington-peddled myth designed to boost NATO. Secretary-General Anders ‘Fogh of War’ Rasmussen sounds like a scratched CD.

It’s hardly a secret in Brussels that larger EU powers simply don’t want permanent NATO bases in Eastern Europe. France, Italy and Spain are forcefully against it. Germany is still sitting on the wall, carefully weighing how not to antagonize both Russia and the US. Needless to say, the Anglo-American “special relationship” badly wants the bases, supported by the hysteria unleashed by Poland and the Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

So Fogh of War is on a predictable roll, talking “rapid reinforcements”, “reception facilities”, “pre-positioning of supplies, of equipment, preparation of infrastructure, bases, and headquarters” and “a more visible NATO presence.” This graphically proves, once again, that the Empire of Chaos couldn’t give a damn about Ukraine; it’s all about NATO expansion – the key talking point next week at the Wales summit.

The no-holds-barred neoliberal asset-stripping, wild privatization and outright looting of Ukraine, disguised as loans and ‘aid’, is now unstoppable. Yet gobbling up Ukraine’s agriculture and energy potential is not enough for the Empire of Chaos. It wants Crimea back (that future NATO base in Sevastopol…). It wants missile defense deployed in Poland and the Baltics. It would even love regime change in Russia.

And then there’s MH17. If sooner rather than later is proved the Empire of Chaos fooled Europe into counterproductive sanctions based on the flimsiest ‘evidence’, German public opinion will force Merkel to act accordingly.

Germany was the secret behind the Minsk summit. Let’s see if Germany will also be the secret behind the Wales summit. In the end it’s up to Germany to prevent Cold War 2.0 getting hotter by the day all across Europe.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.

Fonte: Russia Today

Pepe Escobar − “Balé da Energia 2: Síria, Ucrânia e o Oleogasodutostão”

europe-pipelines

26/8/2014, [*] Pepe EscobarRT − Rússia Today

Energy ballet-2: Syria, Ukraine & “Pipelineistan”

Traduzido pelo pessoal da Vila Vudu

Assim como Irã, Rússia, EUA e União Europeia estão envolvidos num sofisticado balé nuclear/de-energia, Síria e Ucrânia são também dois vetores chaves nos jogos de energia, com peso suficiente para determinar grande parte do que acontece a seguir no Novo Grande Jogo na Eurásia.

E essas duas guerras, na Síria e na Ucrânia, também são guerras de energia.

O plano máster do governo Obama para a Síria era “Assad tem de sair”; a mudança de regime geraria uma entidade da Fraternidade Muçulmana apoiada pelos EUA, e uma perna chave do Oleogasodutostão – o gasoduto Irã-Iraque-Síria, de US$ 10 bilhões – estaria amputada para sempre.

Leiam também: “Balé da Energia: Irã, Rússia e o Oleogasodutostão

O próprio emir do Qatar em pessoa tomou a estrada de Damasco em 2009 para negociar um gasoduto Qatar-Síria-Turquia. Mas Bashar al-Assad disse que não; explicou que não tinha interesse algum em pôr em risco os negócios de energia entre Síria e Rússia.

Mesmo assim, prosseguiram as conversas e, lembrando que em 2001, acontecera um entendimento para um projeto rival Irã-Iraque-Síria. Significa que já aparecia escrito na parede – ou nas tubulações (de aço) que chegariam, mais dia menos dia, ao Mediterrâneo Leste. O gás para consumidores europeus potenciais viria, de fato, do campo Pars Sul, no Irã, contíguo ao campo Cúpula Norte, do Qatar; juntos, os dois campos formam o maior campo de gás de todo o planeta.

Não só para o Qatar e para a Turquia, mas especialmente para a Voz do Patrão, era negócio inaceitável; a política oficial dos EUA de “isolar o Irã” estaria em cacos. Pior: a possibilidade estaria aberta para que a União Europeia em seguida se convertesse em consumidora privilegiada de ambos, Rússia e Irã, dos quais passaria a receber nada menos que 45% de seu suprimento de gás. A plena integração energia/comércio da Eurásia – nesse caso envolvendo grande parte da União Europeia, Rússia e Irã – é anátema absoluto para o Império do Caos.

Eis aí o contexto argumentacional que “explica” o desastre intitulado “Assad tem de sair”; uma guerra DE terror, financiada em grande parte por Qatar e Arábia Saudita, com apoio logístico da Turquia, com Ancara, a CIA e a gangue do CCG (Conselho de Cooperação do Golfo) criando uma ponte aérea “secreta” para armar os chamados jihadistas “do bem”, usando para isso aviões cargueiros militares sauditas, qataris e jordanianos, desde 2012.

O mínimo que se pode dizer, é que a volta do chicote no lombo do chicoteador foi espetacular. “Assad tem de sair” deu em nada. E nada menos que o Estado Islâmico (IS), antes conhecido como ISIL, liderado pelo Califa Ibrahim, ergueu a própria cabeçorra. Até as Forças Especiais dos EUA estão embasbacadas ante o poder de luta deles.

O Califato, que engloba partes da Síria e do Iraque está ganhando rios de dinheiro vendendo – ironia mãe de todas as ironias – petróleo e gás a preço de liquidação no mercado negro. São pelo menos US$ 38 milhões de dólares/mês: US$ 8 milhões de um campo de gás capturado na Síria e US$ 30 milhões de, no mínimo, seis campos de petróleo capturados no Iraque.

As Casas de Saud e Thani mostram-se hoje ostensivamente horrorizadas com o Califa e seus degoladores, inclusive os já chamados jihadistas-Beatles. Mas mesmo assim os doadores sauditas e qataris privados, além de outros notáveis do CCG, continuam a fazer chover dinheiro e armas sobre o Califato. O presidente Erdogan na Turquia está hoje também oficialmente horrorizado. Mas a fronteira turco-síria continua escancarada para o ir e vir de todos os jihadistas viajantes.

No pé em que estão as coisas no Oleogasodutostão, a possibilidade de o projeto do gasoduto Qatar-Síria-Turquia decolar é zero. E as coisas não estão mais bem paradas no que tenha a ver com Irã-Iraque-Síria, considerando que dois desses três países estão em guerra civil sem final à vista.

Deem-nos Grad, que a gente frack

No cenário da Ucrânia, o “vilão” é a Rússia, em vez do Irã. E a implicação é muito mais direta sobre interesses dos EUA.

O que realmente interessa no leste da Ucrânia é limpar uma vasta área para o fracking – mediante uma ofensiva com mísseis Grad, o que levou a êxodo em massa de refugiados.

Michael Hudson resumiu muito bem:

Agora, imaginem se aqui nos EUA o presidente Obama e o vice-presidente Biden mandassem tropas para o interior do estado de New York, que se opõe à perfuração para extração de petróleo/gás, e bombardeassem as cidades de Rochester, Buffalo, e se pusessem a bombardear as cidades e a matar todos os que se opõem ao fracking. Pois isso, exatamente, é o que está acontecendo na Ucrânia. E estão fazendo isso com o apoio do Banco Mundial.

A empresa Royal Dutch Shell é a principal interessada em perfurar/extrair xisto betuminoso no leste da Ucrânia; em janeiro, assinou negócio de US$ 10 bilhões.

E há também a Exxon, além da conexão Burisma Holdings. O governador nomeado de Dnepropetrovsk, cidadão israelense-ucraniano, o tenebroso bilionário Igor Kolomoisky – que também mantém sua própria milícia privada – está na cama com ninguém menos que o vice-presidente dos EUA Joe Biden.filho de Joe Biden foi contratado como diretor para negócios de petróleo e gás da Burisma Holdings – exatamente a maior empresa de extração/refino de xisto betuminoso [fracking] na Ucrânia.

Além disso tudo, o Parlamento em Kiev aprovou lei que permitirá que investidores dos EUA e da União Europeia participem – em termos de joint venture – de até 49% da propriedade da tubulação enterrada no trecho ucraniano e das instalações subterrâneas de armazenamento de gás.

A conversa dos “especialistas” de Kiev é previsível: a joint venture trará o tão necessário “investimento”. E porá na prateleira para sempre o gasoduto Ramo Sul, de 2.446 km, planejado para levar o ouro azul da Gazprom pelo subsolo do Mar Negro e entrar na União Europeia na Bulgária, absolutamente sem passar pela Ucrânia. Tradução: o já periclitante orçamento de Kiev encolherá ainda mais, com a redução nas taxas cobradas pela “passagem” do gás.

A União Europeia importa da Rússia quase 30% do gás de que precisa. Metade disso transita hoje pela Ucrânia. Mas em futuro próximo o gasoduto Ramo Norte, pelo subsolo do Mar Báltico entrará em operação, e o Ramo Sul é praticamente certo, tão logo a confusão na Ucrânia seja resolvida. Contornar a Ucrânia é opção mais firme a cada dia.

Compare-se isso ao sonho molhado de Kiev, inflado por Washington, de vir a “controlar” todo o fluxo de gás da Gazprom para a União Europeia e, além do mais, de controlar todo o comércio em dólares norte-americanos. Mais uma vez, voltamos à política básica do Império do Caos – impedir maior integração econômica/de-energia entre Rússia e União Europeia.

Assim sendo, a prioridade de Washington no curto prazo é sabotar o Ramo Sul; não surpreende que o gasoduto esteja suspenso, com a Comissão Europeia obedecendo caninamente a Voz do Patrão. Mas a obediência nesse caso também significa que, por hora, largas porções da União Europeia permanecem reféns da Ucrânia.

É sob essa luz que se tem de examinar a recente intervenção, pelo vice-ministro do Petróleo do Irã, Ali Mejidi, quando declarou entusiasticamente que o eternamente conturbado Nabucco, a ópera do Oleogasodutostão, se algum dia houve tal coisa, estaria outra vez “em cena”.

A ideia do gasoduto Nabucco é levar gás para a União Europeia via Turquia, Bulgária, Romênia, Hungria e Áustria. Sim, mas, gás vindo de onde? O Turcomenistão e o Cazaquistão ficaram, afinal, excluídos. Poderia ser gás do Azerbaijão, mas essa via exige uma fortuna extra em investimentos. A indústria iraquiana não estará, tão cedo, em operação. E o Irã só estará no jogo se assinar algum acordo nuclear até o final de 2014 e se as sanções forem levantas em 2015 (e todos esses “se” são gigantes).

Assim sendo, na Ucrânia, como na Síria, estamos de volta ao começo do jogo, em termos de energia. O país é uma arca de recursos econômicos, que está sendo sugado para dentro do poço do capitalismo de desastre. No fim, é provável que a Gazprom surja como vencedora.

Não está entendendo Síria e Ucrânia? Calma: basta seguir a trilha das guerras da energia.

____________________________________________

[*] Pepe Escobar (1954) é jornalista, brasileiro, vive em São Paulo, Hong Kong e Paris, mas publica exclusivamente em inglês. Mantém coluna (The Roving Eye) no Asia Times Online; é também analista de política de blogs e sites como: Tom Dispatch, Information Clearing HouseRed Voltaire, Counterpunch e outros; é correspondente/ articulista das redes Russia Today,The Real News Network Televison e Al-Jazeera. Seus artigos podem ser lidos, traduzidos para o português pelo Coletivo de Tradutores da Vila Vudu e João Aroldo, no blog redecastorphoto.

Livros:

 Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War,  Nimble Books, 2007.

− Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad During the Surge,  Nimble Books, 2007.    

 Obama Does Globalistan,  Nimble Books, 2009

 

Fonte: Rede Castor Photo.

Pepe Escobar: A chessboard drenched in blood

the-grand-chess-board-e1322080690924

A chessboard drenched in blood
By Pepe Escobar 

The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” Everyone remembers the Downing Street Memo, which unveiled the Bush/Blair “policy” in the run-up to the 2003 bombing/invasion/occupation of Iraq. The “policy” was to get rid of Saddam Hussein via a lightning war. The justification was “terrorism” and (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which had “disappeared”, mounted in trucks, deep into Syria. Forget about intelligence and facts. 

The tragedy of MH17 – turned, incidentally, into a WMD – might be seen as a warped rerun of imperial policy in Iraq. No need for a memo this time. The “policy” of the Empire of Chaos is clear, and multi-pronged; diversify the “pivot to Asia” by establishing a beachhead in Ukraine to sabotage trade between Europe and Russia; expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to Ukraine; break the Russia-China strategic partnership; prevent by all means the trade/economic integration of Eurasia, from the Russia-Germany partnership to the New Silk Roads converging from China to the Ruhr; keep Europe under US hegemony. 

The key reason why Russian President Vladimir Putin did not “invade” Eastern Ukraine – as much as he’s been enticed to by Washington/NATO – to stop a US military adviser-facilitated running slaughter of civilians is that he does not want to antagonize the European Union, Russia’s top trading partner. 

Crucially, Washington’s intervention in Kosovo invoking R2P – Responsibility to Protect – was justified at the time for exactly the same reasons a Russian intervention in Donetsk and Luhansk could be totally justified now. Except that Moscow won’t do it – because the Kremlin is playing a very long game.

The MH17 tragedy may have been a horrendous mistake. But it may also have been a desperate gambit by the Kiev minions of the Empire of Chaos. By now, Russian intel may have already mastered the key facts. Washington’s predictable modus operandi was to shoot from the hip, igniting and in theory winning the spin war, and doubling down by releasing the proverbial army of “top officials” brimming with social media evidence. Moscow will take time to build a meticulous case, and only then lay it out in detail. 

Hegemony lost 
The Big Picture spells out the Empire of Chaos elites as extremely uneasy. Take Dr Zbigniew “The Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski, who as a former foreign policy mentor has the ears of the increasingly dejected White House paperboy. Dr Zbig was on CNN this Sunday challenging Europe’s leaders to “stand up to Putin”. He wonders if “Europe wants to become a satellite” and worries about “a moment of decisive significance for the future of the system – of the world system”. 

And it’s all Putin’s fault, of course: “We’re not starting the Cold War. He [Putin] has started it. But he has gotten himself into a horrendous jam. I strongly suspect that a lot of people in Russia, even not far away from him who are worried that Russia’s status in the world is dramatically being undermined, that Russia’s economically beginning to fail, that Russia’s threatened by the prospect of becoming a satellite to China, that Russia’s becoming self-isolated and discredited.” 

Obviously Dr Zbig is blissfully unaware of the finer points of the Russia-China strategic partnership, as well as their concerted voice inside the BRICS, the G-20 and myriad other mechanisms. His trademark Russophobia in the end always gets the better of him. And to think that in his latest book, Strategic Vision (2012), Dr Zbig was in favor of an enlarged “West” annexing Turkey and Russia, with the Empire of Chaos posing as “promoter” and “guarantor” of broader unity in the West, and a “balancer” and “conciliator” between the major powers in the East. A quick look at the record since 2012 – Libya, Syria, Ukraine, encirclement of China – reveals the Empire of Chaos only as fomenter of, what else, chaos. 

Now compare a fearful Dr Zbig with Immanuel Wallerstein – who was a huge influence in my 2007 warped geopolitical travel bookGlobalistan. In this piece (in Spanish) Wallerstein argues that the Empire of Chaos simply can’t accept its geopolitical decadence – and that’s why it has become so dangerous. Restoring its hegemony in the world-system has become the supreme obsession; and that’s where the whole “policy” that is an essential background to the MH17 tragedy reveals Ukraine as the definitive do or die battleground. 

In Europe, everything hinges on Germany. Especially after the National Security Agency scandal and its ramifications, the key debate raging in Berlin is how to position itself geopolitically bypassing the US. And the answer, as pressed by large swathes of German big business, lies in a strategic partnership with Russia. 

Show me the missile
Slowly, with no hype and no spin, the Russian military are starting to deliver the goods. Here, courtesy of the Vineyard of The Saker blog, is their key presentation so far. As The Saker put it, Russia had – and has – a “20/20 radar vision”, or full spectrum surveillance, on everything going on in Ukraine. And so, arguably, does NATO. What the Russian Ministry of Defense is saying is as important as the clues it is laying out for experts to follow. 

The damaged MH17 starboard jet engine suggests a shape charge from an air-to-air missile – and not a Buk; that’s consistent with the Russian Ministry of Defense presentation graphically highlighting an Ukrainian SU-25 shadowing MH17. Increasingly, the Buk scenario – hysterically peddled by the Empire of Chaos – is being discarded. Not to mention, again, that not a single eyewitness saw the very graphic, thick missile trace that would have been clearly visible had a Buk been used. 

Way beyond the established fact of a Ukrainian SU-25 trailing MH17, plenty of unanswered questions remain, some involving a murky security procedure at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport – where security is operated by ICTS, an Israeli company based in The Netherlands and founded by former officers from the Israeli Shin Bet intel agency. And then there is the unexplained presence of “foreign” advisors in Kiev’s control tower.  

As much as Bashar al-Assad in Syria had absolutely no motive to “gas his own people” – as the hysterical narrative went at the time – the Eastern Ukraine federalists have no motive to down a civilian airliner. And as much as Washington doesn’t give a damn about the current civilian slaughter in Gaza, it doesn’t give a damn about the MH17 civilian deaths; the one and only obsession is to force Europeans to sanction Russia to death. Translation: break up Europe-Russia commercial and geopolitical integration. 

One week before the MH17 tragedy, the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies was already sounding the alarm concerning the Empire of Chaos’s “policy” and its refusal to “adhere to the principles and norms of international law and the rules and spirit of the existing system of international relations”. 

Moscow, in building its case on the MH17 tragedy, will bide its time to debunk Kiev’s claims and maximize its own credibility. The game now moves to the black boxes and the cockpit voice recorder. Still Ukraine will remain the do or die battlefield – a chessboard drenched in blood. 

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). 

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com. 

(Copyright 2014 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.) 

Fonte: Asia Times

Pepe Escobar: The future visible in St Petersburg

THE ROVING EYE
The future visible in St Petersburg
By Pepe Escobar

The unipolar model of the world order has failed. 
– Vladimir Putin, St Petersburg, May 22

In more ways than one, last week heralded the birth of a Eurasian century. Of course, the US$400 billion Russia-China gas deal was clinched only at the last minute in Shanghai, on Wednesday (a complement to the June 2013, 25-year, $270 billion oil deal between Rosneft and China’s CNPC.)

Then, on Thursday, most of the main players were at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum – the Russian answer to Davos. And on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin, fresh from his Shanghai triumph, addressed the participants and brought the house down.

It will take time to appraise last week’s whirlwind in all its complex implications. Here are some of the St Petersburg highlights, in some detail. Were there fewer Western CEOs in town because the Obama administration pressured them – as part of the “isolate Russia” policy? Not many less; Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley may have snubbed it, but Europeans who matter came, saw, talked and pledged to keep doing business.

And most of all, Asians were ubiquitous. Consider this as yet another chapter of China’s counterpunch to US President Barack Obama’s Asian tour in April, which was widely described as the “China containment tour”. [1]

On the first day at the St Petersburg forum I attended this crucial session on Russia-China strategic economic partnership. Pay close attention: the roadmap is all there. As Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao describes it: “We plan to combine the program for the development of Russia’s Far East and the strategy for the development of Northeast China into an integrated concept.”

That was just one instance of the fast-emerging Eurasia coalition bound to challenge the “indispensable” exceptionalists to the core. Comparisons to the Sino-Soviet pact are infantile. The putsch in Ukraine – part of Washington’s pivot to “contain” Russia – just served to accelerate Russia’s pivot to Asia, which sooner or late would become inevitable. 

It all starts in Sichuan
In St Petersburg, from session to session and in selected conversations, what I saw were some crucial building blocks of the Chinese New Silk Road(s), whose ultimate aim is to unite, via trade and commerce, no less than China, Russia and Germany.

For Washington, this is beyond anathema. The response has been to peddle a couple of deals which, in thesis, would guarantee American monopoly of two-thirds of global commerce; the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – which was essentially rebuked by key Asians such as Japan and Malaysia during Obama’s trip – and the even more problematic Trans-Atlantic Partnership with the EU, which average Europeans absolutely abhor (see Breaking bad in southern NATOstan, Asia Times Online, April 15, 2014). Both deals are being negotiated in secret and are profitable essentially for US multinational corporations. 

For Asia, China instead proposes a Free Trade Area of Asia-Pacific; after all, it is already the largest trading partner of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

And for Europe, Beijing proposes an extension of the railway that in only 12 days links Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, to Lodz in Poland, crossing Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus. The total deal is the Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe network, with a final stop in Duisburg, Germany. No wonder this is bound to become the most important commercial route in the world. [2]

There’s more. One day before the clinching of the Russia-China gas deal, President Xi Jinping called for no less than a new Asian security cooperation architecture, including of course Russia and Iran and excluding the US. [3] Somehow echoing Putin, Xi described NATO as a Cold War relic.

And guess who was at the announcement in Shanghai, apart from the Central Asian “stans”: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and crucially, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

The facts on the ground speak for themselves. China is buying at least half of Iraq’s oil production – and is investing heavily in its energy infrastructure. China has invested heavily in Afghanistan’s mining industry – especially lithium and cobalt. And obviously both China and Russia keep doing business in Iran. [4]

So this is what Washington gets for over a decade of wars, incessant bullying, nasty sanctions and trillions of misspent dollars. 

No wonder the most fascinating session I attended in St Petersburg was on the commercial and economic possibilities around the expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), whose guest of honor was none other than Li Yuanchao. I was arguably the only Westerner in the room, surrounded by a sea of Chinese and Central Asians.

The SCO is gearing up to become something way beyond a sort of counterpart to NATO, focusing mostly on terrorism and fighting drug trafficking. It wants to do major business. Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Mongolia are observers, and sooner rather than later will be accepted as full members. 

Once again that’s Eurasian integration in action. The branching out of the New Silk Road(s) is inevitable; and that spells out, in practice, closer integration with Afghanistan (minerals) and Iran (energy).

The new Crimea boom
St Petersburg also made it clear how China wants to finance an array of projects in Crimea, whose waters, by the way, boasting untold, still unexplored, energy wealth, are now Russian property. Projects include a crucial bridge across the Kerch Strait to connect Crimea to mainland Russia; expansion of Crimean ports; solar power plants; and even manufacturing special economic zones (SEZs). Moscow could not but interpret it as Beijing’s endorsement of the annexation of Crimea.

As for Ukraine, it might as well, as Putin remarked in St Petersburg, pay its bills. [5] And as for the European Union, at least outgoing president of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso understood the obvious: antagonizing Russia is not exactly a winning strategy. 

Dmitry Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, has been one of those informed few advising the West about it, to no avail: “Russia and China are likely to cooperate even more closely … Such an outcome would certainly benefit China, but it will give Russia a chance to withstand US geopolitical pressure, compensate for the EU’s coming energy re-orientation, develop Siberia and the Far East, and link itself to the Asia-Pacific region.” [6]

On the (silk) road again
The now symbiotic China-Russia strategic alliance – with the possibility of extending towards Iran [7] – is the fundamental fact on the ground in the young 21st century. It will extrapolate across the BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Non-Aligned Movement. 

Of course the usual shills will keep peddling that the only possible future is one led by a “benign” empire. [8] As if billions of people across the real world – even informed Atlanticists – would be gullible enough to buy it. Still, unipolarity may be dead, but the world, sadly, is encumbered with its corpse. The corpse, according to the new Obama doctrine, is now “empowering partners”.

To paraphrase Dylan (“I left Rome and landed in Brussels”), I left St Petersburg and landed in Rome, to follow yet another episode in the slow decadence of Europe – the parliamentary elections. But before that, I was fortunate to experience an aesthetic illumination. I visited a virtually deserted Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences, where two dedicated, extremely knowledgeable researchers gave me a private tour of some pieces belonging to arguably the most outstanding collection of Asian manuscripts on the planet. As a serial Silk Road traveler fanatic, I had heard about many of those documents, but I had never actually seen them. So there I was, on the banks of the Neva, a kid in a (historical) candy store, immersed in all those marvels from Dunhuang to Mongolia, in Vedic or Sanskrit, dreaming of Silk Roads past and future. I could stay there forever.

Notes: 1. China Thwarts U.S. ‘Containment’ With Vietnam Oil Rig Standoff, Forbes, May 8, 2014.
2. Le president chinois appelle la Chine et l’Allemagne – construire la ceinture economique de la Route de la Soie (in French), Xinhua, March 30, 2014.
3. China calls for new Asian security structure, Washington Post, May 21, 2014.
4. Russia plans to build up to eight new nuclear reactors in Iran, Reuters, May 22, 2014.
5. Naftogaz Debt to Gazprom Stands at $4 Bln – EU Energy Commissioner, Ria Novosti, May 28, 2014.
6. See here.
7. China, Iran and Russia: Restructuring the global order, Al Jazeera, May 20, 2014.
8. In Defense of Empire, The Atlantic, March 19, 2014.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

(Copyright 2014 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

Fonte: Asia Times

PEPE ESCOBAR: “PIVÔ” NA EURÁSIA

22 DE MAIO DE 2014

 

Pepe Escobar: “Pivô” na Eurásia

21/5/2014, [*] Pepe EscobarFacebook

The  Eurásia Pivot

Traduzido pelo pessoal da Vila Vudu

Escrevo de São Petersburgo, cidade na qual, nas próximas horas e dias, haverá diversão da boa, garantida.

timing para firmar o negócio de gás acordo Rússia-China de US$400 bilhões em Xangai, não poderia ser mais ESPETACULAR. É coisa IMENSAMENTE estratégica. Primeira coisa que fiz hoje cedo, mal cheguei ao aeroporto Schiphol, desembarcado em São Petersburgo, foi procurar jornais. A primeira página do Wall Street Journal, noticiava, pode-se dizer que com algum júbilo, “Negócio Rússia-China de gás emperrou”. Dois telefonemas depois da manchete precipitada, estava tudo resolvido, selado, assinado e confirmado.

Significa, dentre muitas outras coisas, que as sanções de EUA/UE contra Moscou já têm de ser analisadas pelo que realmente são: piada.

Analisem a declaração conjunta Rússia-China sobre a Ucrânia; é crise “doméstica”. “É indispensável que se encontrem ou se criem meios pacíficos, políticos, para resolver problemas que surjam”.

Entrementes, o Primeiro-Ministro Medvedev disse à TV Bloomberg que sim “estamos andando lenta, mas com certeza na direção de uma segunda Guerra Fria”. Subtexto: é o que Washington deseja.

Analisem então o que Xi disse a Putin:

O desenvolvimento posterior de uma parceria ainda mais ampla entre Rússia e China, com cooperação estratégica baseada nos interesses mútuos e ditada pela necessidade de promover justiça e igualdade no mundo, manter a paz no planeta, e pela necessidade de alcançar a prosperidade conjunta da China e da Rússia, é escolha inevitável que brota do próprio processo de formação de um mundo multipolar.

E analisem o que disse Putin, sobre o progressivo ultrapassamento do petrodólar:

Estamos trabalhando para aumentar a quantidade de pagamentos que serão feitos em moedas nacionais, e planejamos considerar novos instrumentos financeiros.

É coisa grande, MUITO, MUITO GRANDE, mais do que se pode ver já. Quase nem se acredita! Moscou completou o mais elegante e perfeito pivô estratégico na direção da Ásia e a China bailou junto, em perfeita harmonia.

Parabéns, governo Obama: vocês são excepcionais no basquetebol.

__________________

[*] Pepe Escobar (1954) é jornalista, brasileiro, vive em São Paulo, Hong Kong e Paris, mas publica exclusivamente em inglês. Mantém coluna (The Roving Eye) no Asia Times Online; é também analista de política de blogs e sites como: Tom Dispatch, Information Clearing HouseRed Voltaire e outros; é correspondente/ articulista das redes Russia TodayThe Real News Network Televison e Al-Jazeera. Seus artigos podem ser lidos, traduzidos para o português pelo Coletivo de Tradutores da Vila Vudu e João Aroldo, no blog redecastorphoto.

Livros:

− Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War, Nimble Books, 2007.

− Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad During the Surge, Nimble Books, 2007.   
− Obama Does Globalistan, Nimble Books, 2009.