Who Does America Belong to?

Not to Americans

The housing market is now apparently turning down. Consumer incomes are limited by jobs offshoring and the ability of employers to hold down wages and salaries.  The Federal Reserve seems committed to higher interest rates—in my view to protect the exchange value of the US dollar on which Washington’s power is based.  The arrogant fools in Washington, with whom I spent a quarter century, have, with their bellicosity and sanctions, encouraged nations with independent foreign and economic policies to drop the use of the dollar.  This takes some time to accomplish, but Russia, China, Iran, and India are apparently committed to dropping  or reducing the use of the US dollar. Continue reading

BRICS in a multipolar world

This week, South Africa is hosting the 10th annual gathering of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). When the first BRIC summit was held in 2009 (South Africa was added in 2010), the world was in the throes of a financial crisis of the developed world’s making, and the increasingly dynamic BRIC bloc represented the future. By coming together, these countries had the potential to provide a geopolitical counterweight to the West.

But Western commentators have long underestimated that potential, forcing BRICS to demand greater representation in global-governance institutions. In 2011 and 2012, BRICS challenged the process of selecting leaders at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. But, lacking a united front behind them, a European (Christine Lagarde) and an American (Jim Yong Kim) continued to preside over those organizations. And though BRICS did get these institutions to reform their voting structures to give developing countries greater weight, the US and Europe still wield disproportionate power. Continue reading

Germany Encouraging India to Buy Iranian Oil

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(Photo Credit: Office of Prime Minister of India)

 

Foreign minister says it would be a ‘very important statement’ if New Delhi ignored President Trump’s sanctions.

Germany’s obsession with Iran’s oil—and opposing President Donald Trump—today went from merely taking care of its own interests to becoming an outright salesman for the Islamic Republic to other countries. Continue reading

Taiwan Doubles Down On U.S. LNG

LNG vessel

LNG Vessel. Source: OilPrice

 

Taiwan, which has seen increased military exercises off its coast by Chinese forces this year, has just inked a major energy deal with a U.S. energy firm.

On Monday, Taiwan’s CPC Corp., a major LNG importer, announced a preliminary deal to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from U.S. based LNG producer Cheniere Energy for a period of 25 years. CPC signed a Heads of Agreement to purchase 2 million tonnes of LNG annually from the major gas exporter, which is gearing up to start exports from its second export plant at Corpus Christi, Texas. Continue reading

Struggle for Influence in the Western Pacific (I)

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – The US-led RIMPAC 2018, the world’s largest naval maneuver, began yesterday with German soldiers participating. According to the US Navy, the naval exercise will also include operations in the Western Pacific. The region of the Southwest Pacific islands will thus come into focus, which – even though largely ignored by the European public – has been gaining significant global influence. On the one hand, the influence of Western countries has shrunk recently, while that of their strategic rivals, such as Russia and China, has significantly grown. Some Pacific island nations have since then been seeking to pursue a foreign policy independent from the West. On the other hand, the Southwest Pacific has become even more important also for Australia and the Unites States: as the political economic backyard for Australia and “gateway to the Indo-Pacific” for the U.S.A. Germany is also attempting to increase its activities in the region.

Continue reading

China and India Establish “Oil Buyers’ Club” to Counter OPEC

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On June 11, major Chinese and Indian oil companies started a formal meeting in Beijing, discussing the establishment of an “oil buyers’ club” to negotiate better prices with OPEC countries. The chairman of China’s biggest energy company China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Wang Yilin, and the chairman of refiner Indian Oil Corporation both attended the meeting. According to the India Times, the two largest energy consumers together accounted for almost 17% of world oil consumption last year. Should this “oil buyers’ club” become a reality, New Delhi, and Beijing will have greater leverage to negotiate with OPEC about oil prices and will also have a significant say in matters such as importing more crude oil from the US. Continue reading

The World Transformed and No One in America Noticed

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The world transformed and nobody in the West noticed. India and Pakistan have joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The 17 year-old body since its founding on June 15, 2001 has quietly established itself as the main alliance and grouping of nations across Eurasia. Now it has expanded from six nations to eight, and the two new members are the giant nuclear-armed regional powers of South Asia, India, with a population of 1.324 billion and Pakistan, with 193.2 million people (both in 2016).

In other words, the combined population of the SCO powers or already well over 1.5 billion has virtually doubled at a single stroke. Continue reading

As the G-7 Implodes, SCO Meeting Confirms the New Century of Multipolarity

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The historical changes we are witnessing have never been so evident as in the last few days. The G7 summit highlighted the limits of the Atlantic alliance, while the SCO meeting opens up unprecedented possibilities for Eurasian integration.

At the G7 meeting in Canada in recent days, we witnessed unprecedented clashes between Trump and G7 leaders over the imposition of tariffs on trade. We must now conclude that the event has been relegated to irrelevance, as the G7 has heretofore derived its clout from speaking as one voice. Trump even went further, refusing to sign the final draft of the organization’s joint statement after Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau lashed out at Trump’s trade decisions. Trump showed how little he cares for his allies, leaving the summit a day early to arrive early for the meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore to make preparations for the long-awaited encounter between the two leaders. Continue reading

As G7 feuds, Xi and Putin play up their own club

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The leaders of China and Russia Sunday praised the expansion of their regional security bloc at a summit which put on a show of unity in stark contrast to the acrimonious G7 meeting.

President Xi Jinping gave the leaders of Pakistan and India a “special welcome” to their first summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, since their countries joined the group last year. Continue reading

Mattis Announces Name Change for U.S. Pacific Command

Adm. Harry Harris, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and CNO Adm. John Richardson (L-R) attend a change of command ceremony / Getty Images

 

Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced Wednesday that the Pentagon was renaming U.S. Pacific Command to Indo-Pacific Command in order to better reflect regional priorities.

Mattis made the announcement at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam on Wednesday during a change-of-command ceremony for the U.S. military’s oldest and largest geographic unified combatant command. Continue reading

On Point: China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Camouflaged in Silk

Think of it as a revived Silk Road, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in 2013 when he announced China would proudly sponsor a multi-decade international commercial and infrastructure development project — notionally running from China through Central Asia and connecting to points beyond. Yes, a benign Silk Road where all prosper. The project would have a maritime development component as well.

India, however, was immediately suspicious. China and India are rival powers, militarily and economically. They have unresolved territorial disputes in the Himalayas that occasionally involve gunfire between their armies. Continue reading

OPEC Has Regained Its Grip On Oil Markets

OPEC

 

Higher oil prices seem to have given OPEC the confidence that it needs to begin thinking about moving forward, and with Russia in the mix as well, it appears as though the alliance will be a force to be reckoned with.

– Gasoline prices averaged $2.92 per gallon for the week ending on May 21, and have surpassed $3 per gallon in regional markets.

– The prices are the highest for the Memorial Day weekend in four years.

– However, prices are likely to fall back soon with crude oil prices plunging over the past week. Continue reading

What will India’s role be in the SCO?

Next month the heads of state of India and Pakistan will attend, for the first time as full members, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit, being held in Qingdao, China. Pakistan was already engaged with SCO member states through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Joining the SCO will reinforce Pakistan’s position and integration into the region.

However, regarding India, there are few clarifications needed. What will India’s role be in the SCO? How well can India integrate into the SCO? What are the expectations? Continue reading

How Russia and China Gained a Strategic Advantage in Hypersonic Technology

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(Strategic Culture Foundation)

 

A hot topic in military prognostications regarding China, Russia and the United States revolves around the development and use of hypersonic technology for missiles or UAVs as an invulnerable means of attack. As we will see, not all three countries are dealing successfully with this task.

The United States, China and Russia have in recent years increased their efforts to equip their armed forces with such highly destructive missiles and vehicles seen in the previous article. Putin’s recent speech in Moscow reflects this course of direction by presenting a series of weapons with hypersonic characteristics, as seen with the Avangard and the Dagger. Continue reading

China’s naval build-up is a threat to regional peace

China’s first home-built aircraft carrier has recently undergone sea trials and is expected to enter service as early as next year. The Asian power already has one carrier in active service, the Liaoning, a refurbished Cold War-era vessel bought from Ukraine and commissioned in 2012.

In an editorial on May 13 — the day the as-yet-unnamed 50,000-ton Type 001A vessel and the country’s first “combat” aircraft carrier headed out for its first sea trial — the Global Times said “China is gradually stepping into an era of dual aircraft carriers” and its “second aircraft carrier highlights the country’s major progress.”

But, the paper, an influential offspring of the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, stated that “as a major power, China should have multiple aircraft carriers.”

The view that the rising superpower needs to build more aircraft carriers — at least six such vessels, with at least four of them being nuclear-powered — in the future is widely maintained by other Chinese state media outlets and analysts. Continue reading